Well, the Conservative government receive a smaller proportion of votes in London too AIUI (I think Labour have around two thirds of the parliamentary seats?), but London seems to do okay transport wise. The problem is though that if councils are going to have chaotic/vulnerable funding then I don't know that bus provision would sit best with councils. I mean, in an ideal world, I'd have councils well funded with stable income etc etc, but realistically local government spending isn't great these days so I don't know if the average council would do a better job (yes, there's Nottingham, but there's also Warrington). Any expenditure on a new vehicle would always be money that could be used to fund Meals On Wheels or keep a Library open. The routes that Northern operate would still be basket cases, whichever franchise they were part of. Nobody on here seems interested in what we do with so many loss making routes where heavy rail isn't fit for the modern market (the Victorians left us lines that don't serve town centres particularly well or are on the wrong side of the valley to most of the population or aren't flexible enough to cope with the huge changes over the past couple of generations). Carve up the franchises however you want but it's like Northern Rock parcelling up toxic debts with good debts to try to hide them away. Maybe the argument is the other way round and TPE would still be making do with 158s if it was still shackled to the rest of the "Provincial" franchise in northern England. I completely agree that public transport is much better at serving areas of higher population density - rail isn't going to be competitive between small towns - a bus route will struggle to penetrate a village where people live long distances from the nearest stop - we'd be much better focussing on urban areas. It's just that the OP was an article about rural public transport provision in the UK (and how it's equally bad in northern and southern England). Some people on here think that train stations should be liberally sprinkled around the country, rather than targeted in the areas most suitable though. I'm perfectly relaxed about whole parliamentary seats or even counties not having a train station if there's no effective way of providing one. Rail should pick the battles it can best win. Agreed - which is why I roll my eyes when people's great schemes typically involve re-opening heavy rail between small rural places - we'd be much better investing in urban areas. But that's probably less "romantic" to the misty-eyed people still grumbling about Beeching... So many points but... I'm not sure that public transport is ever going to solve the problems that you raise. I know Sheffielders who never use local buses/trains around here but are happy using the red buses and Underground of London, in the way that I know Sheffielders who never visit the Cruicible/Lyceum theatres but will always want to go see a "show" when they are in London. That's just the way things are. I'm not sure that the number of Universities in London are too many. Compared to the size of the place, the London Universities seem on the low side - huge numbers of Students can have a huge effect on places like Manchester/ Leeds/ Sheffield/ Newcastle but London's Student population seems a lot more invisible. If you can afford to be a Student in London then good luck to you, given the living costs etc! Tourists want to visit the capital city (with it's palaces/ monuments/ history etc)? Fair enough. That's how it works, isn't it? Not enough people are being encouraged to use Manchester Airport? Well, it's got a strangle hold on railways in northern England because of the obsession with running direct trains there. And the Airport is going to have a very fast rail link to London in the next decade or so... Lots of things to criticise London for (as there are of any capital city) but the fact that they've got too many Students and Bradford doesn't have enough theatres seems a bit thin.