Public transport funding at a 30-year low

Merseytravel chair tells conference of problems for sector – and points to the public solutions

Photo: Marcus Rose


Funding for public transport in the UK is at its lowest level for 30 years, Liam Robinson told UNISON delegates in Liverpool today.

The chair of Merseytravel, who was talking to the union’s water, environment and transport conference as a guest speaker, expanded: “The clock’s been turned back 30 years. The last time we were spending this little on public transport was in the early 1990s.”

However, he said that he was optimistic about the future of the sector under a Labour government, with plans to renationalise the railways and to reverse cuts made to bus services under the Tory government.

“The night is darkest just before the dawn,” he said, “but there’s a glimmer of light ahead in terms of public transport and the public sector generally.”

Mr Robinson also announced the introduction of new, publicly owned, trains on to the Merseyrail network next year, thanks to a £460m project managed by Merseytravel on behalf of the Liverpool City Region combined authority.

Because it’s public, “the trains are one third cheaper than if we had used to a privatised model to fund them,” he said.

Conference called for a campaign to safeguard jobs and protect transport members’ terms and conditions in a fully funded, integrated and publicly owned transport system

Delegates also called on the union to work with the Campaign for Better Transport to promote awareness of and improve bus services and promote buses as part of the solution to meet climate change targets.