Bristol bus, photo Ad Meskens/CC

Bristol bus, photo Ad Meskens/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Bristol Socialist Party member Frankie Langeland called a protest after late and cancelled buses repeatedly made her seven-month-old baby miss bedtimes and even forced her to breastfeed by the side of the road.

Frankie was flooded with stories of the horrendous impact of the failings of the privatised service. People complained of missing hospital appointments and regularly being late for school or work.

Up to 200 people protested the state of Bristol’s bus service on 24 November. Bristol’s buses, overwhelmingly run by First, are 150 drivers short.

The priority of private bus firms like First is to make a profit, not to run a service. Many passengers have seen steep fare rises, even as the chaos continues. We have no control over these companies who are only accountable to their shareholders.

Speakers at the rally, including Socialist Party members, called for bus services to be returned to public ownership and democratically run through local councils. The Tories made this illegal, another example of them putting their big business mates first.

We need to end their shambolic rule and an incoming, Corbyn-led Labour government needs to give councils the power and the funds to run bus services themselves. Buses are a crucial part of many working-class people’s lives – we need a decent, affordable service, run in the interests of passengers and staff, not profit.

Tom Baldwin, Bristol Socialist Party