Boris Johnson – always full of puff – is now promising a public transport utopia of cheaper, greener, more user-friendly buses.

Very commendable, but perhaps a admission of the failure of Thatcher’s privatisation and deregulation of buses in the 1980s, and which resulted long-term in less buses or routes, more expensive fares, and the closure of many bus termini.

As a life-long user of public transport, who has lived in Southampton 35 years, buses here are still a mess.

The coach-station is dismal, too small and rather isolated (we came to the issue of personal safety at night again), while the former bus station, where Marlands now is, with its waiting-room, food and news kiosk, and one centralised stand for buses, has never been replaced.

That alone – for a city the size of Southampton – is a disgrace.

Thirty years on, no matter the city politics, it is a shambles, buses here, there and anywhere from WestQuay to Hanover Buildings to Pound Tree Road. No coordination or logic.

But, while we might applaud non-diesel, greener buses, the real issue to try and encourage people back to public transport is still being ignored.

Compare our buses with that of the Netherlands, the Baltic states, Finland, France or Spain.

Passengers need, not just clean, regular buses, but better information – maps, time-tables, working and reliable electric information (again Southampton is woefully shambolic) and proper bus-shelters at every stop.

Our climate, and especially winters, does not encourage standing at a shelter-less bus-stop in the suburbs in the wind and rain, with a electronic time-table not working or giving ‘phantom’ buses, in the hope something might appear in the next 20 minutes.

There is no incentive to use public transport if one finishes up cold and wet before you’ve even gone anywhere.

Until this issue of good shelters (not the silly, ineffective ones we have) and reliable information, and bus routes not constantly being changed to negate the use of city bus maps, then you will never stop people in this city using cars.

Unfortunately the politicians and planners never actually use public transport on a regular basis themselves.

Garth Groombridge

Southampton