David Brown, who leads for pteg on buses, said:
'In principle there are recommendations in this report that could be of benefit to passengers - including on promoting tickets that can be used on more than one operator, and on making it harder for operators to chop and change services at short notice. However, it's unlikely these will be enough to address the significant negative impact of the existing market structure on consumers and the public purse, which the CC now estimates could be as high as £150m per year. It's disappointing, therefore, that the CC has been lukewarm on some of the measures that would deliver the simple, integrated and good value public transport networks that passengers want - including top end Statutory Quality Partnerships, Qualifying Agreements and the franchising of bus networks.'
'However this is a complex report of loosely coordinated reccomendations on a complex issue. We will need to examine in more detail whether and how each of these proposals will work in practice. The clue is in the name with the Competition Commission and as they accept local transport authorities also have wider social and policy objectives that have been absent from this investigation. Passengers at bus stops in the big cities we represent are not obsessing about the number of operators in their area - what they want is integrated public transport with one ticket for one network. As the Competition Commission process draws to a close and the Government's review of bus policy begins we will be emphasising that this broader view will be needed if passengers are going to get the integrated, high quality and affordable big city public transport networks that they need and deserve.'
pteg represents the transport authorities in the six largest urban areas outside London. Half of all bus trips outside London are made in PTE areas.
For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485