Bus Services Bill, House of Commons, Committee Stage, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Key messages

  • Amendment 7, tabled by Andrew Jones MP, amends the Bill to its original purpose of opening bus franchising to mayoral authorities automatically. The Government have stated the Bill in its current form (franchising for all transport authorities) is not the Act of Parliament it wishes or intends to pass, and the changes made are not in the spirit of the devolution deals that have been reached by the Government with local areas. The Bill introduces much needed improvements to simplify and make franchising more accessible. In the LGA's view, it is imperative the Bus Services Bill progresses in the House of Commons and becomes an Act of Parliament. As such, we are offering a way forward for all councils on bus franchising which acknowledges the Government's recent response to the Transport Committee's inquiry into the Bus Services Bill. Mayoral combined authorities should have automatic and immediate access to these powers and we want to ensure that all Government decisions on franchising for other areas are transparent, timely and achievable. Where it is appropriate, some local areas may wish to bid for bus franchising powers to improve local transport services. The LGA will be working with the Department for Transport to ensure the secondary legislation is clear about the process for accessing franchising powers, in order to secure the best deal for all councils, including those in non-mayoral combined authority areas.
  • Amendment 1, tabled by Andrew Jones MP, intends to reverse an amendment made in the House of Lords and remove the power of the Secretary of State to issue an order for local authorities in an advanced quality partnership scheme to enforce traffic offences. Since 2004, the Secretary of State has had the power to issue an order to all local authorities to enforce moving traffic offences, but has chosen not to enact these powers. Our view is that the Government should enact the powers that are already on the statute book, making them readily available to all transport authorities.
  • We support Amendment 19, tabled by Daniel Zeichner MP, Lilian Greenwood MP and Nic Dakin MP, which would mean local service contracts are able to specify that bus operators should meet certain standards of service on bus punctuality and bus journey speeds. This would ensure passengers receive consistently high standards of services, which in turn will improve passenger journeys and could lead to increased demand for bus services. We also support Amendment 20, tabled by Daniel Zeichner MP, Lilian Greenwood MP and Nic Dakin MP on equipping buses with Wi-Fi after a specified period for the same reason. 

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LGA Briefing - Bus Services Bill, House of Commons, Committee Stage, Tuesday 14 March 2017

14 March 2017