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Parliamentary candidate for Stroud wants a bus service revolution

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After forty years of privatised bus services, the Stroud area is ready to take back control of its buses, according to Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Stroud.

Dr Simon Opher said: “Privatisation was initially brought in by Margaret Thatcher, and frankly it’s been a disaster for rural areas like Stroud, Dursley, Wotton and our outlying villages. We need buses to run when people need them. Many people rely on buses to get to work and school, and businesses need them to bring in their customers.

“Services such as the 84/85 in Wotton are threatened with closure. The 62 service running to the south from Berkeley has already been curtailed. Services from Eastington and Frampton are very infrequent. Even services from Nailsworth and Cainscross have reduced frequency nowadays.”

The news that a new Labour Government will end privatisation of the buses and bring them back under the control of the local authority has been welcomed by many local people.

Under the proposed change, local areas like Stroud will be able to run their own services in the same way as Manchester and Liverpool. In addition, the planning time to make this change happen has been slashed from 6 years, as it was for Andy Burnham’s team in Manchester, to just 2 years.

Mo Windsor from Arlingham said: “Local buses are so poor here that parents are spending thousands getting their children to school. If we can get the services we want, this might ease the pressure on local families and reduce traffic.”

David Smith, Secretary of the Cam and Dursley Transportation Group said, “We welcome the support from Dr Opher and the local Labour Party on issues such as restoring the off-peak bus service to Cam and Dursley Station.”

Barbara Lawrence, a campaigner in Wotton said: “It’s so important to maintain our local bus network. People rely on buses to get to work, health appointments and school.”

Wendy Thomas, Gloucestershire County Councillor for Dursley Division and chair of GCC’s Bus Services Improvement Group said: “This is a genuine game changer for our local area. We can arrange a service that’s more flexible and works for local people. We have a lot of work to do, but this is a really exciting new dawn for our bus services. It makes it even more essential that we get a Labour Government. These changes can’t come soon enough.”

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