Buses Bill gives councils freedom to run own bus services

11 February 2016  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

A new Buses Bill has been put forward with the aim to reform bus travel by giving councils more freedom to improve services.

Buses Bill

In his keynote speech, Roads Minister Andrew Jones announced a Buses Bill that would deliver new measures to make bus travel more passenger-friendly by giving councils greater freedom to improve services.

Under the changes in the Buses Bill, councils will be given the choice to franchise services and enter into new partnerships with providers.

Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:

“Good bus services can help communities thrive and grow and we want to make journeys better so everyone has the choice to leave their car at home.

“Passengers want to see Oyster-style ticketing, better information on fares before they travel and live updates about when their bus is going to arrive at their stop.”

Buses Bill could pave the way for Oyster-style ticketing across the country

In order to be successful, information sharing about routes, fares and timetables would need to be established for programmers to develop new apps passengers can use to plan their journeys.

Councils will not have to use the new powers and they may decide they are happy with the arrangements already in place. The reforms are designed to give them new tools to drive up standards in the interests of residents.

Local authorities will be given new powers to enter into stronger partnerships with bus companies, and agree minimum standards for services, improving reliability and punctuality.

The new partnerships will also be given the power to set standards for local buses and introduce standard ticketing rules over wider areas, paving the way for Oyster-style schemes.

In addition, the government will embark on its devolution commitment to transfer more bus franchising power to local to authorities.

The Buses Bill will go before Parliament later year.

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