Sixty-nine MPs have signed a commons Early Day Motion (EDM) that calls on the government to relax competition regulations that are hampering local bus improvement schemes. The regulations are designed to prevent anti-competitive collusion by bus operators on issues such as fares, but are also restricting the freedom of local authorities and local bus companies to work together to improve services.
Jeremy Beecham, chair of the LGA said:
'Two thirds of public transport journeys are made by bus and improving bus services is the quickest way to improve public transport at the local level. Councils want to work with their local bus companies and other partners to improve bus services and the government must play its part by giving these partnerships the freedom to experiment with new ideas.'
Transport minister John Spellar has agreed to meet the LGA to discuss its concerns.
1) An EDM is a parliamentary petition that allows backbench MPs to register their support for a particular issue or campaign. To see the text of EDM 1091 on improving local bus services and the names of the MPs who have signed up follow this link .
2) A full briefing on the LGA's bus campaign can be found here .
3) The LGA partners in the campaign are the Confederation of Passenger Transport (which represents bus operators), the National Federation of Bus Users, the NHS Confederation, Age Concern, the British Chambers of Commerce, the National Society for Clean Air, Transport 2000 and the Association of Transport Coordinating Officers.
4) The bus campaign is part of the LGA's wider six commitments initiative. In June 2001 the LGA identified six key areas where councils are committed to tackling the issues that really matter to local people. These issues - education, environment, transport, older people, supporting children and employment - are priorities for central and local government alike. The aim is to pilot innovative approaches at the local level to bring about real improvements in local public services. The success of the initiative hinges on developing a more effective partnership between central and local government and local agencies and organisations.