Labour candidate hoping to defeat Ben Houchen in mayoral election sets out transport policy

Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley mayor has set out his key transport pledges ahead of May’s election, in which he hopes to defeat Conservative mayor Ben Houchen.

Darlington Council deputy leader Chris McEwan has promised to take local buses back under public control across the five constituent boroughs of the Tees Valley, following in the footsteps of Labour metro mayors in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and West Yorkshire, where plans to franchise bus services were confirmed only last week.

While many bus fares are currently capped at £2 due to central government funding, Mr McEwan aims to extend the cap to all fares on bus services in the Tees Valley region. The £2 fare cap is already subsidised by the combined authorities of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, where incumbent Labour mayors Andy Burnham and Tracy Brabin have allocated funds for the scheme.

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“Accessible and efficient transport is vital for all,” said Mr McEwan, “I am committed to taking back control of our buses and integrating local transport networks to work seamlessly with buses, trains, and our airport.”

Labour Tees Valley Mayoral candidate Chris McEwan.Labour Tees Valley Mayoral candidate Chris McEwan.
Labour Tees Valley Mayoral candidate Chris McEwan.

If elected Mr McEwan also aims to introduce free travel for 16-18 year olds travelling to education or work.

“For the last 14 years, the Tories have run our transport network into the ground,” adds Mr McEwan. “They’ve overseen cut after cut, and done nothing to support some of our most isolated communities.

“If elected Tees Valley Mayor on May 2, I will connect our communities to opportunity.”

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Three candidates will stand for election as Tees Valley mayor alongside Mr McEwan; incumbent Conservative mayor Ben Houchen, the Liberal Democrats’ Simon Thorley, and Sally Bunce from the Green Party.

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