PTE bus powers reaffirmed
England's big city transport authorities today welcomed Norman Baker's decision to begin a process of devolving bus subsidies to local transport authorities.
David Brown, who leads on bus issues for pteg, said:
'We have been arguing long and hard that support for local bus services is best targeted locally rather than paid out on a uniform basis by Whitehall. Whilst falling short of full devolution of bus subsidies, today's announcement is a breakthrough that we believe will ultimately lead to better value being achieved from every pound of taxpayer support for the bus. In particular it offers the opportunity for PTEs to work with bus operators to target BSOG funding where it will have the biggest impact. This could include bus priority, smart ticketing or cleaner buses - whatever makes most sense in each area. There's now some hard yards ahead in thrashing out the detail of how the principles of BSOG reform will work in practice. We look to playing a full and constructive part in these discussions.'
Commenting on the Government's response to the Competition Commission report, David Brown said:
'The Local Transport Act 2008 gave PTEs a powerful set of tools to improve bus services for passengers. We are using these powers to radically improve bus services for passengers wherever we can. We were concerned that the Competition Commission's obsession with promoting bus wars on the streets might jeopardise the future use of these powers. We are very pleased that today Norman Baker has reaffirmed that local transport authorities should continue to be free to make full use of all the options in the Act - up to and including the franchising of bus networks.'
Half of all bus trips outside London take place in PTE areas.
The six locally accountable PTEs serve eleven million people in the six largest city regions outside London.
For more contact Jonathan Bray on 07818 041 485 / 0113 251 7445.