Better deal pledged for bus users
Monday 26 March 2012
Bus passengers in England were promised improved services today following a series of changes announced by the Government.
These included the elimination of barriers to competition and new regulations to prevent anti-competitive practices by bus operators.
Announcing the changes, Transport Minister Norman Baker said his vision was "for a bus service that is reliable, flexible, offers competitive prices, smarter ticketing and provides passengers with a service they want to use time and again".
But the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said the announcement was "just a silver lining to a big black cloud of bus cuts".
Reforms announced today, which apply to services in England, included:
:: New regulations to ensure healthy competition between bus companies. This is in response to the Competition Commission report in to the local bus market;
:: Support to local authorities in delivering effective, innovative public transport services for local communities through the bus service operators grant;
:: An extra £15 million to help increase investment in smart ticketing equipment, particularly among small and medium-sized bus companies.
Mr Baker said: "By devolving funding to local authorities it now gives them the power to tackle local issues on the ground and develop practical solutions to community problems.
"This cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. Each local bus market has its own issues and challenges. The focus over the coming months is on guiding, empowering and encouraging local partners to be efficient, innovative and creative in coming up with solutions to the transport needs of local people."
CBT's public transport campaigner, Sophie Allain said: "The new bus policy is welcome and giving councils more powers and funding may help, but today's announcement is just a silver lining to a big black cloud of bus cuts and doesn't deal with the cuts to services across the country."
She went on: "These cuts matter because they stop people getting to jobs and training and also harm high street trade. The underfunding of the free bus pass scheme for pensioners and deep cuts in Government bus funding still need to be urgently addressed.
"However, the proposals today do give councils new opportunities to improve buses and we will be pressing councils to use them."
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
James Foley 'beheaded': PM cuts holiday short for emergency meeting on British response to latest Isis atrocity
Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...