Campaigners are calling on MPs to oppose a Government ban on new public bus companies.
Local MPs Alan Campbell and Mary Glindon, along with Mayor Norma Redfearn, have joined members of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Users Group who are calling on MPs to ‘take control of our buses’.
The Government has drawn up the Bus Services Bill, currently being debated, to include Clause 21 which would stop English local authorities from setting up new municipal companies.
Mr Campbell said: “It’s absurd that after 30 years of the failures of private bus companies, the Government is ruling out new public ownership of buses.
“It’s time to take control of our buses and run them for people not profit.
“All councils should be not just allowed but encouraged to follow the lead of the public ownership success stories in Nottingham and Reading.
“I’d also like to thank the Tyne and Wear Public Transport Group who have worked so hard to keep this issue in the public eye.”
While buses are privatised in most towns and cities across the UK, there are 12 local authority-owned bus companies – including in Edinburgh, Nottingham and Blackpool.
Mrs Redfearn said: “I’ve recently written to Lord Ahmad at the Department for Transport to signal North Tyneside Council’s opposition to Clause 21. One of the biggest issues facing residents in North Tyneside is the lack of decent bus services.”
“It should be about passengers not profit.”
Polling shows that 57 per cent of the British public think local authorities should be allowed to set up new public bus companies – as opposed to 22 per cent who don’t believe they should have this power.