pteg today welcomed the Government's announcement that they plan to consult on reducing the time it would take for PTEs and local authorities to introduce bus quality contract schemes. pteg said the Government's announcement brings the introduction of franchising of bus services outside London a 'step closer,' and that it 'reflects a growing consensus that it's time to get some quality contract schemes underway.'
However pteg stressed that even after today's announcement many legislative and procedural barriers remain, and that pteg would continue to press Government for further simplification of the process. Research for pteg suggests that it would still take around 3 years to introduce quality contracts - even with a relaxation of the 21 month rule.
Kieran Preston, Director General of Metro and Chair of pteg, said:
'We are pleased that the Government is proposing to remove one important barrier to the introduction of bus franchising outside London. Bus franchising works well in London and we need to be able to introduce something similar outside London, in circumstances where the market has consistently failed to deliver on Government objectives for passenger growth, social inclusion and service quality.'
'In the light of today's announcement we will continue to develop proposals for specific quality contract schemes, as well as continuing our constructive dialogue with Government about the further legislative and procedural changes required if those schemes are to be brought forward.''