The Liberal Democrats will provide discount fares for all people under 21.
Elmbridge is a relatively densely population area therefore buses could play an important transport service role not just for those that cannot afford a car, unable to drive or who are legally barred from driving because the are too young but for everyone.
Buses find it difficult to compete against the car because if someone already owns a car the marginal cost of driving is usually less that the cost of using a bus. The car is already paid for. So it is cost of petrol against the cost of a bus ticket. This dynamic changes when the driver has to pay for parking at the other end of the journey – say to Kingston.
As cars began to dominate the road-space buses got caught up in congestion even though – generally speaking – cars cause the congestion. If buses and cars paid equally for the congestion they caused then the dynamic – especially in the rush hour – would swing the other way. Bus travel would become cheaper than driving – even at marginal costs. As congestion is removed then reliability increases – both for car drivers and bus users. This reduces the cost both to businesses and increases the social benefits of an improved bus service.
I believe that Surrey should be responsible for bus transportation and raise any funding itself – initially from general taxation but later on from road user charging.
A standard level of expected service should be published to indicate desired frequencies. For example, a town should, in my view, be linked to its neighbouring towns by a service -all day, everyday – of not less than two buses an hour. All towns should be linked to its local market town by a frequency of not less than four buses an hour. In Elmbridge’s case most towns would be linked to Kingston even though it is in London and not Surrey.