Latest Public Sector News

12.02.16

New Buses Bill will allow councils more choice – transport minister

Increased competition and deregulation will help local authorities improve bus services, transport minister Andrew Jones MP has stated as he introduced a new government Bill.

Jones told the Transport Times UK Bus Summit 2016 that the aim of the Buses Bill is to give local authorities more choices and freedom in forming partnerships with bus services.

The Bill removes the requirement that a quality partnership must involve new infrastructure, and will allow local authorities and bus operators to agree their own standards on services in their area. Jones said this could be applied to areas such as frequency and reliability, emissions standards and branding, ticketing and marketing.

He said: “The Buses Bill is an enabling Bill. It gives local authorities new choices.

“Choices about how they can improve bus services in the interests of their residents, and, I believe, in the long-term interest of the bus industry too.”

The Bill will also require operators to make data about routes, fares and times “open and accessible”.

Jones said the Buses Bill will appear before the House of Commons “very soon” and he hoped it would become law early in 2017.

James MacColl, Campaign for Better Transport’s head of campaigns, said: “We look forward to seeing more detail about how exactly this Bill will help people and communities, particularly in rural and isolated areas, stay connected.

“People living in rural areas have been hit the hardest by local authority funding cuts to supported bus services and they must not be forgotten and should also benefit from these new powers. With the scale of cuts we are now seeing urgent action must be taken by the government and we hope the Buses Bill will ensure buses have the funding they need and deserve.”

CBT recently released a report showing that proposed cuts to supported bus authorities across 11 local authorities in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years will total £27.3m.

Comments

Alan Whittaker   15/02/2016 at 16:52

Yet another Tory scam. The cuts to LA's make it virtually impossible for them to subsidise buses. Bus companies will only run routes in rural areas if they get money from Councils. People without cars will be left isolated. As on senior citizen said to me "what good is a bus pass if there's no bloody buses

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