LOYAL bus users are calling for action on what they see as York and North Yorkshire’s “failing private bus network”.

An NHS worker, a bus factory workers, a pensioner and disabled user have joined the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Better Buses for Yorkshire campaign, which aims to bring our buses back into public control and ownership.

The union body’s analysis of Department for Transport Data shows York and North Yorkshire bus services have seen 5 million fewer passenger journeys since 2009, and 3.1 million fewer elderly and concessionary passenger journeys since 2009.

One hundred local residents have written to their council leader raising concerns about cuts to services.

Gareth Lewis of the TUC said “Our bus system is in crisis.

“Buses in Yorkshire should be run to serve our community, not for the benefit of private operators. But right now we face a funding cliff edge, with hundreds of services at risk.

“It is deeply disappointing that council leaders have chosen not to attend a public meeting on this. York council leader Keith Aspden talks about how important buses are to fight the climate emergency, so why won’t he meet residents to discuss their concerns?

“The Better Buses for Yorkshire campaign is ready to work with councils to change the privatised system that is failing working people.

“Right now, public money goes straight from government to private operators, with local councils having little say over routes, timetables, or services. We need that money to come directly to councils, so decisions about bus services can be made closer to those it affects.

“The government needs to fully fund services.We cannot let the poorest pay the price for a failing system.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said: “As an authority, we are always interested in ways to improve local services. Local bus operators have reacted to multiple challenges over the recent years, especially those faced during the current period. We continue to look for ways to improve local services, and we continue to work closely with York Bus Forum.”