Lunch with Leon episode 30 – Laura Shoaf

“Public transport is social justice. There’s never a better time to remind us nationally why we’re doing what we’re doing,” says Laura Shoaf, MD of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and newly-appointed Chair of the Urban Transport Group.

A planner by background, Laura has extraordinary energy and is a huge force for good for public transport internationally, as well as in the UK.

Talking with Leon Daniels over lunch she explores what the future holds: “Every crisis has an opportunity. How we come out of this with a functioning integrated transport network that’s still affordable and reliable, is challenging in a way it’s never been challenged before.”

Leon Daniels and Laura Shoaf at the House of Lords

“We cannot afford to have a car-based recovery. We must have a green recovery,” and she sends a clear set of messages to the government.

“As an industry, we need to lobby government, saying ‘you need to make sure that in ‘building back better’ our networks are fully functioning and supported.”

They chat about what the Government’s forthcoming bus strategy might hold. Laura says she’s hoping for devolution of Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) as “we can get better outcomes, the more funding and powers that are devolved to us.”

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