Our public transport has been run into the ground through budget cuts and underinvestment by successive Westminster governments. We will reverse this decline and provide the services that are a vital part of sustainable, just, and inclusive communities.
The outrageous costs and poor services provided under privatisation have demonstrated that private railway ownership has failed. We will renationalise the railways. In the same vein we will also allow councils to run local bus and other mass transit networks in-house, and ensure these networks are affordable to all. In both cases we will no longer allow private companies to profit from overpriced and inadequate services: public ownership will ensure we have access to high-quality services the North needs to connect our communities and tackle climate change.
Funding Public Transport
We will increase public transport funding to improve the availability, reliability and sustainability of services. We will expand rail and bus networks to ensure all areas are covered, and in particular, we will improve East-West transport connections within the North.
We will use the new powers granted to local authorities to create bus franchises that run more regular services on routes that actually get people where they need to be, and establish London-style zone-based ticketing that allows for more flexible travel.
We will restore rural services so that no one without access to a car is cut off, and we will ensure services and tickets do not arbitrarily stop or start at county lines but rather reflect where people wish to travel. The needs of people living near county borders must be included when reforming the bus network: these frequently rural areas have as much need for good quality public transport as anywhere else.
Light Mass Transit
We will expand the existing major rail network by creating new tram and light rail networks in urban areas. Areas we will focus on first include Bradford, Leeds, Hull and Teesside. We will also expand existing networks in the following areas: Tyne and Wear Metro to Blyth, Derwent Valley, Washington and Throckley.
Sustainable Road Infrastructure
We will put sustainable travel at the forefront of every development and road changing scheme, and ensure a continual rolling improvement to existing roads through proper isolation of pedestrians, cyclists, and traffic. These improvements will also include dedicated funding for maintenance, especially repairing potholes promptly. Many people would like to cycle and walk, but currently feel unable to do so due to road traffic. This will improve the safety of our roads and allow everyone to use the mode of transport they want.
As a further measure to control traffic and improve air quality, we will introduce more twenty miles-per-hour zones in residential areas and near schools, increase the number of roads designated as school streets, and provide fiscal incentives to get diesel vehicles off the roads. As an additional safety measure, we will ban the use of ‘smart’ motorways practices that eliminate the hard shoulder, and reestablish the hard shoulder on all motorways.
Many people, particularly those in flats and houses with multiple occupancy, are unable to securely store a bike. We will provide secure, on-street bike hangers to ensure that everyone who wants to cycle, can cycle.
Free Transport for Young People
We will expand free and discounted access to public transport to everyone under the age of eighteen, mirroring the access offered to senior citizens. Young people should be able to travel to school or visit friends and family in a way that is safe, affordable and sustainable.
We will not approve the expansion of any airports: we must reduce the total number of flights in order to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. Any needed domestic transport capacity can be provided through the expansion and improvement of our rail and bus networks.
We will also fund the research and production of additional electric planes to reduce the carbon emissions of unavoidable flights.