The Bus Services Bill

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Legal matters, News, Services

Did you know that there is a Bus Bill currently making its way through Parliament? The Bus Services Bill is a Public Bill presented to Parliament by the Government. The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on 24 November 2016. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate. Why is this interesting? Outside London, bus companies currently compete on the street for passengers but if the Bill is passed they will instead compete for franchises set by local authorities with a set level of service for a specific area. The hope is that this will help combat the current skew towards well used, more profitable bus routes – literally leaving many people and communities standing in the cold. Though the Bill falls short of providing new resources, it does provide the tools for local authorities to tackle bus provision creatively and in response to local need. The Bill has barely made the headlines despite it having the potential to make a very tangible difference to millions of people. As we get older, mobility often changes with age related impairments and vulnerabilities, resulting in many people giving up their car and relying on other forms of transport. For people in later life who have to forego their cars, especially in rural areas, there is a greater risk of social isolation and loneliness than for previous generations whose lives were, in general, lived closer to home. In Bucks, all commercial bus services focus on routes to nearest commercial centres and not to locations where people need to access services. MPs will next consider the Bill at Second Reading, the date for which is yet to be announced. You can track the Bus Bill’s progress here: Bus Services Bill