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.
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 writetothem.com website:
You could also contact Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Please note that withdrawn amendments are usually withdrawn with the promise of further discussion rather than their intention being removed.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 2016Click 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 2016Click here for individual debates
- Local authorities ensuring proposals meet social and economic needs, e.g. employment & training (withdrawn)
- Consulting passengers and their representative organisations (passed)
- Powers for transport authorities to enforce traffic offences (fell)
- Pollution and emissions (partially passed)
- Concessionary fares for young people aged 16-19 (fell)
- Employee representation, such as trade unions (passed)
- Restricting Competition and Markets Authority ability to reopen agreed matters (withdrawn)
- Allow all local authorities, not just mayoral combined authorities, to use franchises (passed)
Report Stage Day 2 – Monday 24th October 2016
The second day of the report stage was held in two parts.Click here for individual debates
- Workforce protection (withdrawn)
- Consulting national park authorities (withdrawn)
- Independent audit of proposals for new franchising schemes (withdrawn)
- Wider social, economic and environmental benefits of schemes (withdrawn)
- Disclosure of information from operators (passed)
- Accessibility for disabled people (withdrawn)
- Traffic Commissioners’s powers and vehicle standards (withdrawn)
- Bus routes and services as Assets of Community Value (withdrawn)
- Provision of information to passengers – timetables, fares, live travel information and emissions (passed)
- Clause 21 (passed)
- Bus safety – subscribing to Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System (CIRAS) (withdrawn)
- Extra assistance for rural services – particularly around concessionary fares (withdrawn)
- Increased parliamentary scrutiny of legislation resulting from the bill (withdrawn)
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
A summary of the Bill and other documents are on the gov.uk site here: Bus Services Bill: overview
The full bill and timetable for its passage through Parliament is here: Bus Services Bill