Bus operators are now countering calls for buses to be regulated in England, Scotland and Wales, with the party conferences expected to fuel the debate

The debate over the regulation of local bus services has reached its most intense level in years, with the industry now countering  calls for bus franchising in England, Scotland and Wales.

Wales’ second city, Swansea, has become the latest authority to consider the use of Quality Contracts to seize back control of local bus services from local bus operators, following in the footsteps of West Yorkshire and Tyne & Wear in England.

Meanwhile, this week saw Scotland’s shadow transport minister, Iain Gray, present his plans for a private member’s bill on bus regulation at CPT Scotland’s annual conference in Crieff. The consultation on his bill closes on October 11.

With calls to bring local bus services back under public control intensifying, chief executives of two of the UK’s major passenger transport groups have entered the debate. FirstGroup’s Tim O’Toole told the CPT Scotland conference that regulation would ultimately deprive the bus industry of capital. Meanwhile, Go-Ahead Group’s David Brown urged Nexus, the Tyne & Wear PTE, to focus on its day job, instead of seeking new powers over bus services.

The debate is expected to intensify even further later this month during the Labour party conference in Brighton. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle and her team are expected to publish the outcome of their policy review on buses, which includes plans to enable “deregulation exception zones”
to be established in England.

 

Further coverage of this debate can be found inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport:


First’s dominance leads to calls for Swansea QC
Concerns over First’s near-monopoly of local bus services has led Swansea’s council to ponder plans for a Quality Contract. Rhodri Clark reports

Go-Ahead tells PTE to focus on its day job
David Brown hits out at Nexus plans for a Quality Contract

Tyne & Wear QCS Board is named
Board will decide whether scheme meets interest test

SPT luke warm on QC proposal
Warning of cost implication of MSP’s regulation bill

Letters: Quality Contract is ‘ticking timebomb’
Tyne & Wear ITA’s plans to take forward Quality Contract plans are ‘misguided’ and not about the performance of bus operators

Special Report: Out of the wilderness and into the lion’s den
During two years on the backbenches, Iain Gray, Labour’s former leader in Scotland, has worked up plans to re-regulate bus services

 

 

THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN PASSENGER TRANSPORT.

DON’T MISS OUT – GET YOUR COPY! – click here to subscribe!