Spiralling bus fares should be cut and the Government should look into allowing under-16s around the country the same right to free journeys as those in London, the Green Party has said.
Green co-leader Jonathan Bartley will make his call for a “bus revolution” in a speech to the party’s spring conference in Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Greens said the cost of local bus journeys in England is now two-thirds higher than a decade ago while the number of miles they cover outside London has fallen to 1980s levels, leaving communities reliant on cars and “abandoned with no other way of getting around”.
Mr Bartley will call for a spending boost to fund new and extended routes, and will say the party’s transport plans can be paid for through VAT and fuel duty on aviation.
Ahead of his speech, he said: “Most politicians have no idea what it’s like to catch a bus, let alone rely on one as the only way to get around. Well I am proud to say I get the bus every day, and I know what a lifeline Britain’s buses are, especially for people who cannot afford or access other means of transport.
“As Britain’s roads clog with cars I am proud to stand up for our local bus services as the backbone of a cheap, efficient and sustainable transport system.”
Mr Bartley and his co-leader and Green MP Caroline Lucas will also call for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal with an option of remaining in the EU to stop the Government “marching us towards a national calamity”.
Ms Lucas is expected to say: “Let’s not forget that the EU was originally a peace project, forged in the wake of the destruction and devastation of the Second World War. Rising from the rubble left by bombs and armies. The principle that nations who share resources will value peace above war. And the cause of peace is at stake again today.
“The way this Government is playing politics with peace in Northern Ireland is reckless and indefensible. So our message to Theresa May is very clear: sacrificing the Good Friday Agreement on the altar of an extreme Brexit is nothing short of criminal, and it must not be allowed to happen.”