Tuesday, 27 March 2012

More from Norman Baker

Local Transport Minister Norman Baker announced a package of new measures yesterday, in response to the need to reform bus subsidy (Bus Service Operators Grant) and the recently concluded Competition Commission investigation into the bus market.
  • New regulations to ensure healthy competition between bus companies. This is in response to the Competition Commission report in to the local bus market;
  • Support to local authorities in delivering effective, innovative public transport services for local communities through the Bus Service Operators Grant; and
  • An extra £15 million to help increase investment in smart ticketing equipment, particularly among small and medium-sized bus companies.
The new proposals follow consultation with bus operators, local councils, Local Government Association, the Passenger Transport Executive Group, the Confederation for Passenger Transport and the Community Transport Association.
  • Subsidy payments: a proportion of these will now be devolved to local authorities, rather than paid to bus companies. The government recognises that every area has their own travel issues and transport needs. It will now be up to authorities to decide how this money is spent;
  • Competition barriers: will be eliminated and new regulations developed to prevent anti-competitive practices by bus operators. The Department will work closely with local councils to offer guidance on developing reasonably-priced tickets that can be used on any bus; and
  • Smart ticketing: we are providing an extra £15 million to operators of local bus services that do not have smart ticketing equipment installed on their buses. This will help meet the aim that by 2014, the majority of journeys by public transport be made using a smartcard.
Information from DfT website.

David Gambles