The Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle has said that train and bus companies must give more back to customers and tax payers.
“The transport industries are heavily dependent on public subsidy,” she told the Transport Hub fringe at the Labour conference.
“We put three and a half billion pounds a year into the train system, public money, taxpayers’ money, and a billion pounds into the bus system.
“These are big public subsidies, yet both the bus companies and the train companies think that it is all about them maximising the amount of profit that they can make out of that chunk, without necessarily bringing much to the party.”
Ms Eagle said that “especially now, in a time of austerity when we have got to get more value for money and think about new ways of doing things”.
“It is just unconscionable for the train companies and bus companies to think they can carry on just take, take, taking the whole time, instead of thinking how can we jointly all together provide a better deal for the passengers or taxpayers.”
Ms Eagle said that under New Labour free bus passes for older and disabled people was something she was “quite proud of”.
“But how did we do it? We wrote a cheque to the bus companies.
“Now we would not be in a position to do that, and I think that what we would be looking at now, something that would be really good to come out of our policy review, is 16 to 19 year olds at college not being able to get to their education or employment opportunities.
“It would be good for them to have a free pass.
“There is a good strong argument in terms of growth and educational opportunities there.
“But I would not be in a position in 2015 to just write a big cheque. But that is not to say it can’t be done, if the bus companies and the train companies might join with us in achieving that, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t.”
Ms Eagle also spoke out against proposals for a new
She said the so-called