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The Bus Services Bill 2016

Read the briefing paper: Bus Services Bill briefing paper (.pdf, 614kB)

Important new legislation is currently going through Parliament: the Bus Services Bill 2016. The bill will give local authorities powers to, among other things:

  • Set fares
  • Set timetables and service levels
  • Ensure that tickets are transferable across operators

If the bill is passed we will encourage our local authorities – Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council – to take up these powers.

Clause 21

Unfortunately Clause 21 of the bill would prohibit local authorities from setting up their own bus companies, even when this would provide better services for passengers and reduce the cost of subsidies from taxpayers. 12 local authorities currently run their own successful bus services, with Lothians returning £5.5 million to the public purse and Reading returning £3 million.

It’s a sensible, effective solution to providing better services at less cost to the taxpayer but will be impossible if Clause 21 goes through as part of the Bus Services Bill 2016.

What you can do

Although Clause 21 has been dropped in the House of Lords it could be added again in the House of Commons.

We Own It are running a campaign to keep Clause 21 out of the bill. You can sign their petition online here: Stop the government ban on new public bus companies.

We’ve produced a paper version which you can use to collect signatures in your local area: We Own It Clause 21 petition.

The Bill originated in the House of Lords but will soon reach the House of Commons. This is an ideal time to contact your MP to ask them to oppose the reintroduction of Clause 21. You can email them directly via the website:

You could also contact Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport:

Parliamentary Debates

The Bus Services Bill was last debated in the House of Lords for its third and final reading on Wednesday 23rd November 2016. No major amendments were passed but there was good discussion around limiting the powers of the Competition and Markets Authority, bus safety (whistle blowing), accessibility and general comments about the bill. We’ve provided links to video of each individual discussion.

Please note that withdrawn amendments are usually withdrawn with the promise of further discussion rather than their intention being removed.

Third Reading – Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Full meeting video | Hansard

Click here for individual debates


The previous debate was the report stage on Wednesday 12th and Monday 24th October 2016. You can read the full list of amendments here (direct download, .pdf): Marshalled list of amendments.

You can watch the meeting, which was in two parts, on the Parliament Website. The debates run to nearly seven hours in total so we’ve provided direct links to the discussions around particular issues and their related amendments below.

Report Stage Day 1 – Wednesday 12th October 2016

Full meeting video | Hansard

Click here for individual debates

Report Stage Day 2 – Monday 24th October 2016

The second day of the report stage was held in two parts.

Part 1: Full meeting video | Hansard

Click here for individual debates

Part 2: Full meeting video | Hansard

Click here for individual debates

The previous House of Lords meeting was on 20th July. You can watch the full debate here: Bus Services Bill – Committee Stage Day 3

The discussion around Clause 21 is here: Clause 21

The bill was scrutinised by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee on Monday 12th September.

You can watch that meeting here: Bus Services Bill

Further information

A summary of the Bill and other documents are on the site here: Bus Services Bill: overview

The full bill and timetable for its passage through Parliament is here: Bus Services Bill