Bus Services Bill
Although sixty percent of all journeys on public transport are made by bus, passenger numbers are in long-term decline. The Bill proposes major reforms to the way services could be delivered in England, outside London.
Powers for local authorities to introduce integrated networks and ticketing; the use of open data to compare offers from providers and the standard fitting of audio-visual equipment on buses, are three proposals which would win support from passengers.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, said:
"Bus services face a number of challenges from deregulation, increasing fares and cuts to services on local routes. Yet they are a vital lifeline for communities up and down the country. A reliable service allows individuals to access employment, education and public services, and ensure that they can fully participate in society. Even non-bus users agree that a good bus network is important for their area.
A recent report predicted a 55% growth in all traffic by 2040. Buses can make a real impact towards reducing congestion not only in metropolitan areas, but increasingly in smaller market towns and rural areas.
In this Bill, there are possibilities for local authorities to implement new forms of partnership or franchising based on what's best for their communities. But Committee scrutiny of the franchising process was hindered by a lack of information. We expect to see all relevant draft secondary legislation and guidance when the Bill is introduced into Parliament.
There is a lot to welcome in this Bill. By giving local authorities new powers and offering practical measures such as improved passenger information and services, these proposals have the potential to bring about significant improvements for both passengers and communities."