Free and Fair buses for Bristol and West

Free and Fair buses for Bristol and West

10 June 2022
Petition to
Dan Norris (Mayor of the West of England) and
Signatures: 837Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Dear the West of England Combined Authority,

We, the undersigned, demand that urgent action is taken to improve our region's buses and implement free bus travel for young people.

The West of England is facing a public transport crisis. Your continued cuts to bus services, increasing fares, and refusal to make the transport system work for working class communities make you complicit in the cost of living, climate AND air pollution crises.

Our country is in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Inflation bounds ahead whilst wages stagnate. An improved bus network would have society-wide benefits, especially for those on lower incomes and young people, by allowing them to access services, and to be able to afford necessities.

WECA and all of its constituent local authorities (including North Somerset) have declared climate emergencies and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. In order to reach these targets we need to dramatically reduce the number of journeys made by cars. Part of this is increasing public transport access. By removing fares for young people specifically you can then help to develop sustainable habits that last a lifetime.

Bristol’s air is so toxic that it is breaking the law.  It causes hundreds to die every year and disproportionately affects working class areas. Other parts of our region are facing similar crises with similar histories of decades of inaction. Inadequate measures such as the Clean Air Zone are predicted to save only a few dozen of these lives. Incentivising residents to jump on high capacity, frequent service, low emission public transport is one of the most effective ways of reducing car usage and improving air quality.

Further education in our region has high levels of inequality, largely due to many low income areas of the city not having schools or colleges that offer the qualifications needed in order to progress onto higher education. A public transport network free of charge for young people would make education more accessible, and allow us to flourish.

We therefore demand the following of the West of England Combined Authority and its constituent local authorities:

  • Free buses: Free travel within the West of England (including North Somerset) for all those under the age of 25, all students, and all apprentices.
  • Fair buses: A consultation and public forum is run to identify improvements to bus routes that would best serve communities.

Changes like these are not unprecedented. Greater London already has free bus travel for under 18s, Scotland has introduced a free bus pass for all under 22s, and parts of Greater Manchester are serviced by entirely free buses.

We know that this is seen by many as a tall ask. We see it as a basic necessity, both for working class people facing high levels of pollution and the cost of living crisis, as well as to allow us to have any chance of reaching our climate goals.

For the sake of the climate, cost of living, and air pollution crises, as well as educational equality, we demand free and fair buses for the West of England.

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Signatures: 837Next Goal: 1,000
Support now