West of England Mayor considering bus franchising in Bristol

After two years of Green Party campaigning, West of England Mayor Dan Norris has taken the first steps towards considering bus franchising in the city.

Bristol suspension bridge at night
Bristol suspension bridge at night
Green World

West of England Mayor Dan Norris is exploring the possibility of bus franchising in Bristol, aligning with initiatives championed by the Green Party.

Following two and a half years of advocacy led by the Bristol Green Party and a coalition of groups, the West of England Mayor has initiated the initial steps toward contemplating bus franchising in Bristol.

Carla Denyer, MP candidate for Bristol Central and Green Party co-leader, commented: “I welcome the news that the West of England Mayor has finally listened to what Bristol Green Party and thousands of Bristolians have been saying for years. 

“Everyone in Bristol wants our transport system to work better, and buses are vital to creating fairer, greener communities in this city. Accessible, reliable and affordable public transport is the foundation of a thriving city - connecting people to each other, education, work, and crucial services, whilst tackling congestion, air pollution and climate change all at the same time.”

The Bristol Green Party have long supported the franchising of buses in Bristol, highlighting the failures of the 1985 Bus Deregulation Act passed by the Conservatives. Greens have long stressed the environmental impact of the act, in putting more cars on the road and increasing congestion in city centres. A franchising system would give the Bristol public greater control over their buses whilst simultaneously working to tackle the climate crisis.

Carla Denyer added: “It is both Green Party policy and common sense that we need our buses to work for people, not for the profit of large private bus companies. It is promising for the people of Bristol that the West of England Mayor is finally admitting the failure of the current model.

“However, this fight is not over and we will continue to call on Dan Norris to ensure he follows through and uses his powers to bring buses into a franchise system.

“This would give the authority greater powers to set routes and frequencies rather than private companies cherry-picking the profitable routes while leaving other passengers out in the cold and some communities completely cut off.

“Subsidising public transport can result in savings elsewhere, cutting the costs of congestion, reducing health costs associated with air pollution and helping tackle carbon emissions and the huge costs we will incur from the climate crisis."