Right now, the Bus Services Bill is going through Parliament. The Bill will give new powers to local authorities outside London to plan and set standards for their bus networks. Local authorities would be able to set fares, to plan a joined-up network of bus routes, and introduce integrated ticketing so that tickets can be used across different bus operators or even on trams and rail in the same city. Thousands of passengers across the country stand to benefit from these new powers.
But the Bill doesn’t do enough to protect bus services outside cities, which have already faced huge cuts. In addition, it restricts how areas without elected mayors would be able to use the powers in the bill. We want to ensure that these new powers benefit bus passengers everywhere, including in towns and villages most urgently in need of reliable, frequent buses.
The Government must back a strong Bus Services Bill that will benefit bus users outside of regions with an elected mayor. A Bill that will protect the bus services so many of us rely on.
Take action today. Ask your MP to support a Bus Services Bill that works for all passengers.
Down at the bottom of this page you'll see the main changes we are asking for in the Bus Services Bill. You can email your MP using the form below. Personalising your email by referring to your area, and your own experiences of buses, will make your message more powerful.
(A face-to-face meeting with your MP can be even more effective in influencing them. Why not invite your MP to come on a bus trip with you?)
- Enabling community groups to nominate bus routes as an Asset of Community Value. This would ensure that any bus routes designated as Assets of Community Value would have a six month moratorium on closing them, to allow time to find an alternative.
- Strengthening the duty on local authorities to carry out an Assessment of Need for public transport services in their area. Buses aren’t an end in themselves – they’re there to ensure that people can reach work, school, shops and healthcare. There’s already a duty on local authorities in caselaw to carry out an Assessment of Need for public transport, and to, where possible, meet this need, but too often, it’s ignored. The Bus Services Bill is an opportunity to clarify that bus services are there to serve local people; and thereby protect bus routes that connect people to education, employment and public services.
- Ensuring that all local authorities automatically have the full range of powers to plan their bus services and manage their traffic, not just those areas with an elected mayor. We think that every local authority should be able to choose how best to manage buses, and enforce traffic offences, in the way that’s best for their area.
- An Investment Strategy for buses. Rail, road, cycling and walking all have a Government investment strategy. We think that if the Government is serious about growing bus passenger numbers, it needs to give buses the same recognition as every other form of public transport, and enable local authorities and bus operators to plan for the long term.