A meeting of the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour Party unanimously demanded that the East Cleveland, Guisborough and South Tees area needed the return of a properly regulated and planned bus service for the area’s residents and businesses.
The local Labour Party is demanding that the power of regulation and direction of bus services should be taken on board by the Tees Valley Mayor and the Combined Authority, as they now have powers to do this under the Buses act which went into law just before this years general election.
Constituency Labour Party Chair, Ms Jolan Gergaly, said yesterday (17th December 2017) “This area has long had a poor bus service, combined with route monopolies from Arriva and Stagecoach. Parts of East Cleveland and some of the South Middlesbrough estates have only what can be called vestigial bus services, with many shutting down completely in the evening and on Sundays.”
“This is part of a huge regional divide between the North and South. We are in the middle of a deep crisis over buses, and it’s easy to see why. Funding has been cut by 33% since 2010, and and almost all local councils have had to cut services (2,400 routes have been cut in 7 years) with fares going up above the rate of inflation. Now, with the Buses Act on the statute book, the Tees Valley Combined Authority has the chance to reverse this dismal decay – if the Mayor and local Boroughs have the will”
East Cleveland is especially badly hit. Local Loftus resident, bus user and active Labour Party member, Irene Barnes, says she speaks for many “Here in East Cleveland we are on the edge of the bus map. Small villages like Skinningrove and Liverton Mines have only one bus an hour in the day to places like Guisborough and none to Redcar. We also have no Arriva links to the Skelton ASDA whilst at night we have only one main bus route – the 5 – to and from Urban Teesside. We have no direct link to James Cook Hospital, and the lack of early morning and evening buses means many people are cut off from what limited jobs market there is.”
The Constituency Labour Party will be writing to the Labour leaders of Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough Council, to ask them to see that the Combined Authority and the Tees Valley Mayor take action.