Commentary on provisions of Bill
Advanced quality partnership schemes
Clause 1: Advanced quality partnership schemes
21 This clause inserts new sections 113C to 113O into Part 2 of the Transport Act 2000 to provide for Advanced Quality Partnership (AQP) schemes in England.
22 The Transport Act 2000 as amended by the Local Transport Act 2008 allows LTAs to establish a Quality Partnership Scheme (QP scheme) with their local bus operators. Under these existing QP scheme provisions, the LTA must commit to provide new infrastructure (‘particular facilities’) and the bus operators commit to providing services of a particular standard.
23 An AQP scheme differs from a QP scheme as it: allows an LTA to set up a scheme based on bus-improvement measures as well as, or instead of, infrastructure facilities; and adds new standards of service that may be included in a scheme. These new standards of service include requirements relating to:
● the marketing and promotion of bus services, ticketing and fares;
● how passenger information is provided; and
● operators’ participation in ticketing and smartcard schemes.
24 An AQP scheme may only be made by an LTA or LTAs in England 1 . The existing QP scheme provisions will continue to apply in Wales and to QP schemes made by an English LTA in conjunction with a Welsh LTA (as provided for in Clause 2 and Schedule 1).
113C Advanced quality partnership schemes
25 This section sets out the fundamental requirements and principles of an AQP scheme. It largely replicates for an AQP scheme the provisions in section 114 of the Transport Act 2000, which allow LTAs to set up a QP scheme. However, it also includes the ability for an LTA to create an AQP scheme on the basis of taking particular measures, rather than or as well as, providing new facilities.
26 An advanced quality partnership scheme must also describe the authority’s plans on consulting with such representatives of users of local services as it thinks fit during the lifetime of the scheme in order to seek their views on how well the scheme is working.
27 The Bill also enables the Secretary of State to make, by order, provisions to confer upon an authority the functions to enforce traffic offences if: (i) the authority has made an advanced partnership scheme, and (ii) the authority has made a proposal to the Secretary of State that such an order be made.
113D Advanced quality partnership schemes: registration restrictions
28 New section 113D allows an LTA to prevent or restrict the provision of local services; or variation/withdrawal of local services. Such restrictions can be applied where the LTA believes that the actions they prevent might be detrimental to the scheme. The restriction must be described in the scheme.
29 These provisions largely reflect the equivalent provisions relating to QP schemes in section 114 of the Transport Act 2000 (as amended by the Local Transport Act 2008).
113E Advanced quality partnership schemes: facilities, measures and standards
30 This section sets out requirements relating to the commitment by local authorities; and service standards that may be included in the scheme. It replicates for an AQP scheme the equivalent provisions in section 114 of the Transport Act 2000 concerning QP schemes but also provides for measures to be taken by an LTA as well as or instead of the provision of infrastructure facilities; and some new standards of services that may be specified in the scheme.
31 The new standards of services include requirements about ticketing structures and methods of payment, and how information to passengers should be provided. The Bill provides that emission standards can be included in the scheme. The Bill also requires each AQP scheme to have, as a standard of service, a requirement that new vehicles delivering local services meet the specification of the low-emission bus scheme (as set out by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles in its 2015 document "Low Emission Bus Schemes: Guidance for participants") if the vehicle comes into service after 1 April 2019.
32 Certain standards of services can only be included in a scheme if there are no admissible objections to them from relevant operators. The standards of services subject to admissible objections are different in AQP schemes that include only facilities and AQP schemes that also include measures.
113F Advanced quality partnership schemes: traffic regulation orders
33 Facilities or measures contained in a Quality Partnership Scheme may require temporary or permanent restrictions on traffic on one or more roads. These are provided by traffic regulation orders made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. If the road with which such an order is concerned is the responsibility of another local authority or the Secretary of State then this new section requires that they are also a party to the AQP scheme.
34 Subsections (1) and (2) largely replicate sections 114(7) and (8) of the Transport Act 2000 which concern QP schemes, but apply also to measures specified in a scheme. Subsections (3) and (4) largely replicate subsections 114(9) and (10) of the Transport Act 2000.
113G Notice and consultation requirements
35 This new section specifies that when an LTA proposes to make a scheme, it must first give notice of the scheme and consult on it. It sets out how the notice is to be given and who the authority must consult.
36 113G largely replicates the equivalent provisions for QP schemes at section 115 of the Transport Act 2000. There is a new requirement for the notice to give full details of the plans described in the scheme for consulting in order to seek views on how well the scheme is working. There is also a new requirement to consult Transport Focus (Passenger’s Council), National Parks authorities and appropriate representatives of any affected employees.
113H Making of scheme
37 113H sets out the arrangements for requirements for making, including specifying what must be included in, an AQP scheme. Mandatory requirements include:
● the facilities and/or measures to be provided by the LTA,
● the standard of services specified for bus operators;
● any registration restrictions imposed;
● the scheme’s period of operation; and
● when different facilities, measures and standards of services come into force.
38 The scheme may also exclude certain services or class of services.
39 This new section largely replicates section 116 of the Transport Act 2000 regarding QP schemes, but includes specific reference to measures (as well as facilities) in subsections (2), (4), (5), (7) and (8).
113I Postponement of scheme or of provision of particular facilities, taking of particular measures or provision of particular standards of service
40 This new section sets out the arrangements for postponing key aspects of the scheme. Before making a postponement decision, the LTA must consult all operators that would be affected and give notice. The scheme may not be postponed for more than 12 months.
41 113I largely replicates section 117 of the Transport Act 2000 which relates to QP schemes, but includes specific references to measures (as well as facilities) in subsection (3)(b).
113J Effect of the scheme
42 113J places obligations on authorities and operators arising from the scheme. It largely replicates the equivalent QP scheme provisions at section 118 of the Transport Act 2000, but includes specific references to measures in subsections (1), (2), (3) and (5).
43 As, unlike a QP scheme, an AQP scheme can include the provision of measures, subsection (5) requires operators to provide a written undertaking to provide services to the standards specified under the scheme if they wish to ensure that authorities take the measures under the scheme.
113K Regulations about schemes involving existing facilities or measures which are already in effect
44 The new section 113K gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations about schemes involving existing (as opposed to new) facilities or measures. This power is designed to avoid an LTA requiring operators to provide services to a certain standard without keeping its "side of the partnership bargain" by providing new facilities or taking new measures.
45 113K largely replicates section 119 of the Transport Act 2000 which concerns QP schemes, but includes specific reference to measures.
113L Variation and revocation of schemes
46 This section specifies how a scheme can be varied or revoked. In order to revoke the scheme, the authority needs to seek consent from operators who are currently providing services to the standards specified in the scheme. In order to vary the scheme, the authority will either need to follow the process of making a scheme (if the variation requires making of a traffic regulation order) or the process outlined in the regulation made under section 113N (if it does not).
47 113L largely replicates section 120 of the Transport Act 2000 regarding QP schemes. Subsection (2) also clarifies that consent is only required from operators that are currently providing services under the scheme.
113M Variation: supplementary
48 113M determines whether a traffic regulation authority is an Enhanced Partnership authority when a scheme is varied.
49 This new section largely replicates the equivalent QP scheme provisions at section 121 of the Transport Act 2000 but also includes specific references to ‘measures’ in subsections (3), (4), (5) and (8).
113N Regulations about schemes
50 This section is self-explanatory. It largely replicates section 122 of the Transport Act 2000 which concerns QP schemes.
113O Guidance about schemes
51 This provision is self-explanatory. It largely replicates section 123 of the Transport Act 2000 which relates to QP schemes.
Clause 2: Further amendments
52 Schedule 1 contains further amendments in relation to AQP schemes.
Clause 3: Transitional provisions
53 This clause makes provision for an existing QP scheme made under section 114 of the Transport Act 2000 to be treated as if it were an AQP scheme made under the new section 113C inserted into that Act by this Bill if it relates only to LTAs in England at, or after, the date on which the new AQP scheme provisions are commenced.
Clause 4: Franchising schemes
54 Clause 4 inserts new sections 123A to 123X into Part 2 of the Transport Act 2000. These contain provisions relating to bus franchising schemes in England.
55 A franchising scheme is one in which the authority identifies which local bus services should be provided in an area and what additional facilities should be provided, rather than bus operators determining the vast majority of services on a commercial basis. The LTA then enters into ‘local service contracts’ with bus operators to provide the bus services it has specified.
56 These new sections of the Transport Act set out which LTAs can make a bus franchising scheme, the process they must follow before establishing a scheme and how bus services are provided once a system of franchising is established.
123A Franchising schemes
57 Section 123A establishes the core principles of a franchising scheme.
58 Where a franchising scheme is established, local bus services should only be provided in accordance with the terms of the local service contracts awarded by the LTA (the "franchising authority") or where:
● the operator has been granted a ‘service permit’ by the authority to run an additional bus service (section 123P);
● the operator is providing an interim service in the situation where another operator has failed to provide or ceased to operate a bus service before the end of the contracted period (123O); or
● the operator is running a local bus service of a type that has been excluded from the franchising scheme (123H(4)).
59 In addition, community transport services operated under a permit granted under section 22 of the Transport Act 2000 are not prohibited from operating in a franchising scheme area.
60 This new section also provides the power for certain local transport authorities 2 to establish a franchising scheme, either singly or jointly 3 . A franchising scheme can be made over the whole area or combined area of the franchising authority or authorities, or can be made so that it applies to any part of that area.
61 The section then states that an authority may only make a scheme once they have complied with certain requirements that are set out in the new sections 123B to 123G which this Bill inserts into the Transport Act 2000.
62 These sections include requirements to prepare and consult on an assessment of the proposed franchising scheme. The provisions require a franchising scheme to describe the authority’s plans for consulting with such organisations which appear to it to be representatives of users of local services to seek their views on who well the scheme is working. The sections also provide that emission standards may be included as a standard of service, and that a local service contract must require that new vehicles delivering local meet the specification of the new low-emission bus scheme (as set out by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles in its 2015 document "Low Emission Bus Schemes: Guidance for participants") if the vehicle comes into service after 1 April 2019.
123B Assessment of proposed scheme
63 This new section requires a franchising authority to prepare an assessment of the franchising scheme that they propose to operate in their area. The assessment must describe the likely effects of the scheme and compare it to a range of alternative options.
64 123B also sets out the range of issues that the authority or authorities must consider when conducting their assessment, including whether:
● the proposed scheme would contribute to the implementation of the authority’s transport policies and wider policies;
● the proposed scheme would contribute to the implementation of the policies of neighbouring authorities;
● the authority has the capability and resources to operate the scheme;
● the authority can afford to operate the scheme;
● the scheme would represent value for money; and
● the proposed scheme can be procured successfully.
65 The list of issues that the authority should consider when preparing their assessment is not exhaustive, and does not prevent the authority from considering any other matters which they think are pertinent.
66 Sub-section (5) requires the Secretary of State to issue guidance about the preparation of an assessment of a franchising scheme. The guidance may include more detail about the methods to be used when assessing a scheme.
123C Consent of the Secretary of State and notice
67 The authorities must publish their intention to prepare an assessment under the new section 123B.
68 Section 123D requires the authority to obtain a report from an auditor relating to its assessment of its proposed franchising scheme. This aims to ensure that the assessment and subsequent consultation is based on appropriate material which has been analysed effectively. The report also has to state whether the auditor considers that the franchising authority has had due regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
69 The requirements as to who may be an auditor for these purposes reflect the position for the local auditor of the accounts of a local authority.
70 Section 123E sets out the consultation exercise that an authority must conduct before it can introduce its proposed franchising scheme. The authority should only consult on its proposed franchising scheme once it has obtained a report from its auditor.
71 This new section lists the documents that must be published by the authority as part of its consultation on a proposed franchising scheme. They must also give notice to the public of the proposed scheme. The notice should describe the proposed franchising scheme and state where copies of the documents published as part of the consultation can be inspected.
72 123E(4) sets out who the franchising authority must consult. This includes local bus operators in the proposed scheme area, relevant LTAs, such persons as appear to the authority to represent employees of operators and bus users as they think fit, appropriate representatives of affected employees, including representatives of recognised trade unions, Transport Focus (Passenger’s Council), the Competition and Markets Authority, and National Park authorities.
73 The authority or authorities may modify the proposed scheme following the consultation, to take account of any proposed changes.
123F Consultation document
74 Section 123F explains what the authority must include in its consultation document for a proposed franchising scheme.
75 Amongst other things, the authority must include descriptions of the scheme area, the scope of the bus services to be provided, any proposed exclusions from the scheme and a summary of the assessment of the scheme prepared under section 123B. The consultation document should also describe plans for consulting during the lifetime of the scheme to seek views on how well the scheme is working.
123G Response to consultation
76 Section 123G requires the franchising authority to publish a report containing a response to the consultation and a decision as to whether or not to operate the proposed franchising scheme.
77 If the authority or authorities decide to operate a franchising scheme in their area, the report must set out how, when conducting the procurement process for the provision of local bus services, the authority, or authorities will enable small and medium-sized bus operators to be involved in the process. This aims to ensure that there is clear local accountability for, and transparency about, how smaller operators will be able to compete effectively to run bus services under a franchising scheme.
78 The section also requires that, in the case of a Mayoral Combined Authority, the decision as to whether or not to implement the franchising scheme rests with the Mayor, and is exercisable only by the Mayor.
123H Making and publication of the scheme
79 Section 123H sets out what a franchising scheme should contain and how it should be made and published.
80 The authority must publish their franchising scheme at the same time as they publish their response to the consultation. The scheme sets out how the franchising of bus services will be operated in the local area.
81 The scheme must specify:
● the area(s) it covers;
● the local services that will be provided under contracts;
● when the authority will first enter into contracts with operators to provide franchised bus services; and
● the minimum period that must expire before the first franchised services under those contracts can be provided.
82 The scheme may also specify ‘sub-areas’ within the overall scheme area, and may specify the minimum period that must expire before franchised services can be provided under the contracts in those ‘sub-areas’. The Bill then goes on to provide that the minimum period that must expire must be at least 6 months.
83 The franchising scheme can also specify certain local bus services, or classes of services that are excluded from the franchising scheme. Such services will not be impacted by the franchising scheme and will be able to continue to operate as normal.
84 Existing partnership arrangements may be in place in an area in which franchising is proposed. The subsection allows for a franchising scheme to make provision varying or revoking any existing Advanced Quality Partnership and Enhanced Partnerships Schemes ("partnership schemes") relating only to the area, or areas, of the franchising scheme. This will ensure that partnership schemes and franchising scheme are not run in the same area concurrently. If an existing partnership scheme also relates to areas that are outside of the franchising scheme then the franchising scheme can only vary the partnership scheme as it relates to the franchised area.
85 If an existing partnership scheme is varied, so that it no longer relates to the area or areas of the proposed franchising scheme, then a local transport authority who made the partnership scheme (but is not the franchising authority concerned) may vary the partnership scheme. They may also revoke it if all bus operators providing a service to a standard specified under the partnership scheme consent to it being revoked.
123I Postponement of local service contracts
86 Section 123I allows the franchising authority to postpone the date on which local services contracts for the franchising scheme area or sub-area may be entered into. Before making the postponement, the authority should consult, if possible, people who are likely to be affected by the decision. They must also publish their decision to postpone all or part of the scheme, explaining the reasons why they decided to do so.
123J Effect of local service contracts: registration requirements and provision of services
87 Section 123J contains new provisions to explain how franchising schemes impact on the registration requirements for local bus services (as set out in section 6 to 9 of the Transport Act 1985).
88 Bus services operating wholly within the area of a franchising scheme will not need to be registered with a Traffic Commissioner unless the local service or class of service is excluded (see paragraph 84 below). This is because sections 6 to 9 of the Transport Act 1985 will not have effect in relation to the area to which the franchising scheme relates once the effective time (which is provided for in the new section 123K) has expired.
89 Bus services with a stopping point in the franchising area may only be provided under a local service contract with the authority; if they have a service permit issued by the authority (provided for under the new section 123P); or if they are an interim service (as set out in the new section 123O).
90 Where a local service, or class of service, is excluded from the franchising scheme, then the operator of that service must register it with the Traffic Commissioners in accordance with section 6 to 9 of the Transport Act 1985. Community transport services operating under a permit granted under section 22 of the Transport Act 1985 are excluded from all franchising schemes by subsection (5)(b). 4
91 The new section also requires an authority to inform a Traffic Commissioner if an operator is running services in contravention of the prohibition at subsection (3) and has failed to take all reasonable precautions and to exercise all due diligence to avoid doing so. The Traffic Commissioner is given powers to then take action against the operator concerned by adding to Traffic Commissioners’ existing powers by way of amending the Transport Act 1985 and the Transport Act 2000 (see Schedule 2).
123K Local service contracts
92 Section 123K contains new provisions relating to local service contracts.
93 A franchising authority may only enter into local service contracts with bus operators who hold either a Public Service Vehicle operator’s licence or a community bus permit. It also provides that authorities may not enter into local service contracts with operators who have conditions attached to their licence prohibiting the operator from providing local services of all descriptions or any description to which the condition relates.
94 The section also provides that a person cannot start operating under a local service contract until the minimum period has expired, as specified in the scheme, or a longer period if specified by the authority in individual local service contracts.
95 An authority has to inform a Traffic Commissioner when they enter into local service contracts under a franchising scheme. This is designed to notify a Traffic Commissioner of the date on which services will no longer have to be registered with them in that area.
123L Exceptions to section 123K
96 Section 123L provides that services can start to be provided under local service contracts before the minimum period has expired where the authority needs to take urgent action. This could occur if, for example, an operator withdraws from a contract or goes out of business or if an unexpected and urgent need for a bus service is identified.
123M Variation of scheme
97 Section 123M sets out the process that the authority must follow before varying its franchising scheme. The authority must publish a notice of its decision indicating when the variations to the scheme are to have effect, which must be at least 6 months from the point at which the decision to vary is made.
98 To vary a scheme an authority must follow much of the same procedure as it did when it made the franchising scheme. But unless the variation extends the geographical scope of the scheme it does not have to:
● request consent from the Secretary of State (if relevant);
● prepare an assessment of the scheme;
● have its assessment audited and receive an auditor’s report.
99 If the authority is a Mayoral Combined Authority, the decision to vary the scheme must be made by the Mayor.
123N Revocation of scheme
100 Section 123N sets out that an authority may revoke a franchising scheme if they think that:
● there would be better local services in the area to which the franchising scheme relates if the scheme were not operating;
● continuing to operate the scheme would cause financial difficulties for the authority; or
● the burdens of the scheme are likely to outweigh its benefits.
101 Before revoking the franchising scheme the authority must publish a notice of their decision and give notice of their decision to a Traffic Commissioner within 14 days of their decision. The notice must set out the date on which the revocation is to have effect, and the date of revocation must fall after a period of 6 months beginning with the date on which the notice is published.
102 If the authority is a Mayoral Combined Authority, the decision to revoke the scheme must be made by the Mayor.
123O Interim services and replacement services
103 Section 123O provides for the situation where an authority has entered into a local service contract with an operator for a specified period but the operator either fails to provide the specified service or ceases to provide the service before the end of the specified period. In this circumstance, the authority may provide the bus services themselves in place of the original service. Such a service is called an ‘interim service’. An authority is able to provide interim services in spite of any prohibition, restriction or limitation on the power of the authority to provide local services contained in any other Act.
104 This new subsection also limits the length of time during which an authority can provide an interim service to 6 months. However, if the authority procures a replacement service, the authority may continue to provide its interim service until that replacement service comes into operation.
105 The transition notice period does not apply to replacement services, which means that they can be provided immediately once the local service contract has been entered into.
123P Service permits
106 Section 123P provides for service permits to allow commercial services to operate in a franchised area. They are most likely to be used for cross-boundary services that run through, into or out of an area covered by a franchising scheme, but an operator can also apply for them to provide services which a franchised network does not cover. A service permit is needed if the service concerned is not: specified by the franchising authority under a local service contract; exempted from the scheme by the new section 123J(5) of the Act; or an interim service under the new section 123O.
123Q Application for service permit
107 Section 123Q allows the franchising authority or authorities to determine the application process for a service permit including the information that an applicant has to provide.
108 The authority may also charge a fee under subsection (3) for dealing with the permit application on a full cost recovery basis, with the maximum fee level set by the Secretary of State in regulations.
109 Authorities must accept applications for service permits where the application has demonstrated that the proposed service would benefit passengers and not adversely impact on any services operated under local service contracts. If the authority or authorities do not grant the service permit, they must inform the applicant of the reasons why within 10 days.
110 Section 123R provides that an authority or authorities may attach conditions to service permits. The types of conditions that can be attached will be set out in regulations made by the Secretary of State.
111 The authority has to set out in a notice the types of conditions - from the options available in the regulations - they intend to attach to service permits, together with the circumstances in which they intend to attach those conditions. It will be possible to set out different types of conditions for different types of services or circumstances. Before issuing the notice, the authority must consult local bus operators in the area. If the authority decides to withdraw the notice they must specify the date on which it will be withdrawn and clarify whether it will be replaced by another notice.
112 Authorities may retrospectively attach conditions to permits where these have been set out in a notice.
113 If an authority grants a permit with conditions attached to it, or attaches conditions to a permit which has previously been granted, they must give notice of their reason for attaching the conditions to the applicant within 14 days.
123S Revocation and suspension
114 Section 123S sets out that an authority or authorities may revoke or suspend a service permit granted by them if:
● the criteria for granting the permit are no longer satisfied;
● the holder of the permit has breached a condition attached to the permit; or
● the public would be endangered if the service in question continued to operate.
115 The Secretary of State may make regulations setting out the period of notice that needs to expire before a revocation or suspension of a permit takes effect.
116 Section 123T sets out the appeals process when: a permit application is not accepted by the authority, conditions are attached to such a permit, and where a service permit is suspended or revoked.
117 An appeal is to be made to a Traffic Commissioner, and the appeal must be brought within the time period specified by the Secretary of State in regulations. The Traffic Commissioner may either uphold, quash or substitute the decision of an authority or authorities.
118 Appeals against Traffic Commissioner determinations may be made to the Upper Tribunal.
123U Regulations about schemes
119 This section is self-explanatory.
123V Transitional provisions about schemes
120 Section 123V provides that the Secretary of State may make regulations in relation to transitional provisions relating to the coming into operation, continuation and ending of franchising schemes.
121 It also amends section 6 of the Transport Act 1985. This allows for regulations to be made to allow franchising authorities to extend the notice period for varying or cancelling local bus services. The authority must specify the revised time period for the franchising scheme area in a notice.
122 The regulations may set out certain requirements in relation to the notice that an authority can issue, including requirements about:
● when the authority should publish the notice;
● the publication of the notice;
● alerting a Traffic Commissioner; and
● the extended time period specified, which must not exceed 112 days.
123W Guidance about schemes
123 This section is self-explanatory.
123X Local service contracts: application of TUPE
124 Section 123X provides for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 ("the TUPE Regulations") to apply when staff are transferred as a result of local service contracts, and for those staff to be provided with certain pension protection.
125 Where a local service contract comes into force requiring incumbent bus operator to cease providing services and, at the same time, a new bus operator begins to provide bus services in the same area or sub-area then the situation should be regarded as a "relevant transfer" for the purposes of the TUPE Regulations.
126 A "relevant transfer" also occurs if the provider of the local services stops providing them before the new local service contract commences, and so the authority agrees with a new operator to provide those services earlier than they otherwise would have done.
127 Any transfer of staff as a result of franchising that is regarded as a relevant transfer for the purposes of TUPE is also subject to sections 257 and 258 of the Pensions Act 2004.
128 The Secretary of State may make regulations supplementing the provisions in this section. The provisions that may be made by regulations include:
● defining the meaning of "principally connected" with the provision of local services;
● determining any particular "organised groupings" of employees and the new operator who is to be the new employer;
● requiring current operators to provide information relating to employees;
● requiring the franchising authority to provide information;
● pension protection for transferring employees; and
● securing that pension protections are enforceable by the employee.
129 The Secretary of State must exercise powers to make regulations securing pension protections for all transferring employees. These pension rights must be the same as those under the employees’ original employment contracts or should count as being broadly comparable, the same or better than those original pension rights.
130 The definition of transferring original employees is an employee who immediately before the date of transfer was providing local services under a contract of employment for an original operator at the "relevant date" for the transfer.
Clause 5: Power to obtain information about local services
131 Section 5 inserts a new section 143A after section 143 of the Transport Act 2000 concerning the provision of information in relation to franchising schemes.
143A Power to obtain information about local services: franchising schemes
132 Section 143A provides a franchising authority (or authorities) 5 with the ability to require operators of local bus services to provide it with relevant information for its assessment of the proposed franchising scheme, or when the authority is considering varying the franchising scheme.
133 What constitutes relevant information is set out in subsection (3) which also provides the Secretary of State with the power to specify further types of information in regulations. Operators can only be required to supply information for the period up to five years before the date on which the information is requested.
134 Bus operators in the area will be required to provide information in any form in which the authority deems it reasonable to be provided. The franchising authority will also be able to specify a period by the end of which the information needs to be provided.
135 If it appears to an authority that an operator has failed to take all reasonable steps to comply with a requirement imposed under this section then the authority must inform a Traffic Commissioner. Schedule 2 of the Bill provides Traffic Commissioners with power to take enforcement action against the operator concerned.
136 Subsections (8) and (9) detail what franchising authorities may do with information obtained under this section.
137 The authority may decide not to publish an assessment, consultation document or auditor’s report that includes information that the authority deems should not be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provisions or Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Clause 6: Further amendments
138 This clause is self-explanatory.
Advanced ticketing schemes
Clause 7: Advanced ticketing schemes
139 This clause inserts new sections 134C to 134G into Part 2 of the Transport Act 2000 to strengthen the powers that LTAs (or LTAs acting together) in England have to make joint and through ticketing schemes.
140 Such schemes enable passengers to purchase a ticket, or tickets, in a single transaction that may be accepted by different operators, including rail and tram operators, across the scheme area for more than one journey. For example, this may be through a ‘travelcard’ type product entitling the holder to use transport services within the scheme area over a set period of time.
141 The new sections largely replicate sections 135 to 138 of the Transport Act 2000 with additions designed to: achieve a more joined-up approach to ticketing issues across LTA boundaries; and clarify the scope of the powers to accommodate a range of technological possibilities.
134C Advanced ticketing schemes
142 The new section 134C enables an LTA whose area is in England, or one or more such LTAs together 6 , to establish an advanced ticketing scheme, if such a scheme would be in the public interest and would contribute to the implementation of local transport plans. An LTA is required to have regard to the desirability of making such schemes jointly with neighboring authorities to facilitate cross-boundary journeys and to ensure, in establishing, varying and managing such schemes, that they co-operate with other LTAs in England.
143 Sub-sections (7) and (10) are additions to the current provisions under section 135 of the Act. Sub-section (7) clarifies the ability of the scheme to contain certain details. Its main purpose is to ensure that an LTA could specify in the scheme particular technological options - such as smart ticketing or contactless payment.
144 Sub-section (10) aims to ensure that an LTA considers the needs of passengers to travel across LTA boundaries by considering ticketing arrangements in other areas while it is preparing the scheme - not just after it is in place, as under the current section 135 provisions.
134D Notice and consultation requirements
145 134D obliges an LTA to comply with notice requirements and consult: operators who would in the opinion of the authority be affected by the proposed scheme; such organistions which appear to the authority to be representative of users of local services as they see fit; the Competition and Market Authority; a Traffic Commissioner, other relevant local authorities (including National Park authorities), and Transport Focus (Passengers’ Council) before making a ticketing scheme.
134E Making a scheme
146 This new section sets out how the scheme will be made or varied. An LTA has to give 14 days’ notice to: a Traffic Commissioner; affected operators; and, if it includes rail or tram journeys, the Secretary of State.
147 Rail and tram services may only be included in such schemes by agreement with those operators.
148 A ticketing scheme cannot come into operation earlier than three months after it is made.
134F Effect of scheme
149 This new section makes the scheme’s provisions binding on local bus operators. Once a ticketing scheme is in operation, operators of bus services in the scheme area must make and implement the necessary arrangements required by the scheme.
150 This section is self-explanatory.
Clause 8: Further amendments
151 This clause is self-explanatory.
Enhanced partnership plans and schemes
152 These clauses create a new type of partnership arrangement which is available only to LTAs in England and known as an Enhanced Partnership (EP). An EP is intended to be easier to apply to a wide geographical area than a Quality Partnership (QP) or Advanced Quality Partnership (AQP) scheme. Also, unlike QP and AQP schemes, an EP scheme does not include the concept of admissible objections from specific operators which need to be resolved individually. Instead, operators can object to the scheme at several key stages. If a sufficient number of operators do so, The LTA would then have the opportunity to revise its proposals for reconsideration.
153 Although the powers to make EP schemes are vested in LTAs, the provisions include requirements for LTAs to invite operators to participate in the work of the partnership and the Government anticipates that in practice arrangements will be developed collaboratively between operators and LTAs.
Clause 9: Enhanced partnership plans and schemes
154 This clause inserts new sections 138A to 138S into Part 2 of the Transport Act 2000 to establish a new type of partnership - known as an Enhanced Partnership - for LTAs in England.
155 These new EP provisions enable LTAs, with the participation of local bus operators, to specify a package of: facilities and/or measures provided or taken by an LTA; and requirements to improve bus services in the EP area.
138A Enhanced partnership plans and schemes
156 This new section gives LTAs - acting jointly or collectively with other authorities 7 - the power to make an ‘enhanced partnership plan’ and one or more ‘enhanced partnership schemes’. It describes key features of both the plan, in sub-sections (3) and (4), and the scheme, in sub-sections (5), (6) and (7).
157 The EP plan is the higher level of the two types of document. It analyses the local bus market, identifies how bus services contribute to its wider objectives, and sets out how bus services in the area it covers should be improved.
158 The EP scheme is more detailed and practical, identifying specific actions that the LTA and bus operators will take to improve bus services in some or all of the partnership area. It can set out facilities that the LTA will provide, measures that the LTA will take and requirements bus operators in the scheme area will need to comply with. An LTA can create multiple schemes for an area covered by one plan. The EP plan must also describe the authority’s plans for consulting such organisations as appear to the authority to be representative of users of local services as they see fit in order to seek their views on how well the plan and scheme are working.
159 An EP plan and scheme must also set out how they will be reviewed. The scheme may also include provisions about its variation and revocation (see section 138E).
160 138A stipulates that before making an EP plan or scheme the LTA must be satisfied that the scheme contributes to the implementation of the LTA’s local transport policies, and that it will:
● bring benefits to passengers by improving services; and/or
● reduce or limit noise or air pollution.
161 This section also places a duty on LTAs to co-operate with each other and consider whether an EP should be made jointly with another LTA.
162 Before an LTA can make a scheme, it has to comply with requirements in the new sections 138F (preparation, notice and consultation) and 138G (1) to (4) (making of plan and scheme) that deal, for example, with process for ensuring that there is an appropriate level of support for the scheme from bus operators. In this paragraph, and through the explanatory material on EP, "support" is taken to mean that no more than a "sufficient number" of operators object to the plan and/or the scheme. "Sufficient number" means such number of persons as together provide certain proportion of qualifying local services (by number of operators and/or market share). These percentages will be defined in secondary legislation.
138B Further parties to a scheme
163 Providing facilities or taking measures contained in an EP scheme may require a traffic regulation order (i.e. temporary or permanent restrictions on traffic within its area). If the road with which such an order is concerned is the responsibility of another local authority or the Secretary of State then this new section requires that they are also a party to the EP scheme.
138C Requirements in respect of local services
164 An EP scheme will set out requirements that can be placed on bus operators to contribute to the objectives outlined in the EP plan. This new section prescribes the scope of these requirements.
165 The Bill (at clause 11) provides for two types of such requirement – "route requirements" that relate to the frequency of timing of bus services; and "operation requirements" which include all other requirements that a scheme can impose.
166 The ‘operation requirements’ may include:
● vehicle requirement - such as emission standards, "talking buses", common or route-specific branding;
● common ticketing arrangements - including the types of single operator tickets to be provided, branding of tickets, common fare zones across operators, common length of period tickets, methods of payment that must be accepted (such as contactless or smart card); and common terms and conditions - such as the times and circumstances in which concessions are valid;
● the prices of a multi-operator tickets;
● the way in which information is provided to the public; and
● common dates for changing timetables.
167 The Bill requires EP schemes to impose a requirement that new vehicles delivering local services will meet the specification of the low-emission bus scheme (as set out by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles in its 2015 document "Low Emission Bus Schemes: Guidance for participants") if the vehicle comes into service after 1 April 2019.
168 An EP scheme can include requirements from one or both types of category on a "mix and match" basis. Whatever combination of these requirements that is considered appropriate locally can be included. More than one EP scheme can apply to the same services or geographical area.
169 There are some requirements that cannot be included in an enhanced partnership scheme - such as the prices of single-operator tickets or requirements compelling operators to run services that they do not wish to operate.
170 Scheme requirements cannot be imposed on bus operators by the LTA, but effectively have to have the support of sufficient operators in the scheme area. This is provided for in the new section 138F(5).
171 Community transport operators (operating under a section 22 permit) are exempted from the requirements imposed by the scheme under sub-section (11). 8
138D Facilities and measures
172 An LTA may commit through an EP scheme to provide facilities or measures - as they could do under an AQP scheme. This section provides that these facilities may not be the same as facilities specified by section 139 and 140 of the Transport Act 2000 that require LTAs to consider what local bus information should be made available to the public and the way in which it should be made available.
138E Conditions relating to variation or revocation
173 The EP scheme may specify cases in which, and how, it may be varied or revoked. This new section gives the LTA and the operators the flexibility to agree, in the scheme mechanism for variation and revocation of the plan/scheme if they feel that such mechanism would be more suitable for local market conditions than the mechanism outlined later in the Bill. Such arrangements could, for example:
● change the way operators can object to the scheme from that provided for in primary and secondary legislation to better reflect the nature of the local bus market;
● recognise different types of variation which would require different levels of operator support or objection to proceed or otherwise; or
● allow minor changes to the scheme to be made without operators having an opportunity to object.
138F Preparation, notice and consultation
174 138F prescribes the process by which the LTA(s) may make enhanced partnership plans and schemes. An EP plan must be made with an EP scheme, but if a plan and at least one scheme have already been adopted additional schemes can be added at a later stage.
175 This new clause deals with the process between the plan and/or scheme(s) being initiated and consultation (the remainder of the process is described in 138G). The steps are as follows:
● an LTA must give notice of its intention to develop a plan and/or scheme(s);
● it must invite operators of qualifying services (which will be defined in regulations) to participate in the preparation of the proposed plan and/or scheme(s);
● the LTA then prepares the plan and/or scheme(s). While the Bill places the responsibility to produce the enhanced partnership plan and scheme(s) on the LTA, in practice, the Government would expect the LTA and operators to work together to produce the plan and the scheme. The Government envisages issuing guidance (under the new section 138P on the Transport Act 2000) to this effect;
● the LTA notifies all qualifying bus operators of the plan and/or scheme(s). The notice must contain the full details of the plan and/or scheme(s) and state how long operators have to disagree with them (which must be at least 28 days). The LTA can only proceed further in this process if no more than a "sufficient number" of operators objected to the plan and/or the scheme(s). The sufficient number may be based on number of operators and/or their market or mileage share. What constitutes a "qualifying local service" and a "sufficient number" will be detailed in secondary legislation. The plan and/or scheme(s) are dealt with as a package. Sufficient support from operators needs to be required for each plan and/or scheme which is being put forward, otherwise none can proceed;
● after the LTA has obtained appropriate support from the operators it must undertake a consultation. Statutory consultees include: operators of local services in the area who would in the opinion of the authority be affected by the proposed plan and scheme; such organisations as appear to the authority to be respresentative of users of local services as they think fit; a Traffic Commissioner; the Competition and Markets Authority, Transport Focus (Passengers’ Council) and any other relevant authorities any part of whose area would be affected, including the National Park authorities.
138G Making of plans and schemes
176 138G prescribes the next stages in the process by which the LTA may make an EP plan and/or scheme(s). It deals with the process after consultation until the plan and/or scheme(s)’s adoption (the remainder of the process is described in 138H). The steps are as follows:
● following the consultation, the LTA(s) can decide to proceed with the plan and/or scheme(s) as originally proposed or with modifications;
● before the LTA can adopt (make) the plan and/or scheme(s), the LTA must again seek the support of operators of qualifying local bus services, who are able to object as set out above in relation to the new section 138F of the Transport Act 2000;
● no later than 14 days after the plan and/or scheme(s) has been made, the LTA must give notice to operators and a Traffic Commissioner. Such notice must contain full details of the plan and/or the scheme(s) and whether it has been modified following consultation.
138H Content of scheme
177 This section specifies what a scheme must contain including:
● what requirements it imposed on operators;
● any facilities provided or measures taken by the LTA(s);
● provisions about variation and revocation of the scheme and its duration; and
● the date from which different requirements come into effect and the date from which any facilities are to be provided and measures taken.
178 A scheme can also specify services that are excluded from it. For instance, the scheme could exempt all services that only have one stopping point in the scheme area or services that do not run further than a certain distance into the scheme’s area from its boundary. Community transport services operating under permits granted under section 22 of the 1985 Transport Act are excluded automatically under the new section 138C(11) of the Transport Act 2000 inserted by this Bill. 9
138I Postponement of scheme or part of scheme
179 There may be circumstances where the LTA needs to postpone some elements of the scheme. For example, the infrastructure it is required to provide is not ready or the operators are struggling to meet a requirement to introduce smart ticketing because the IT is taking longer than expected to set up. This new section gives the LTA the power to postpone the scheme, or part of the scheme, by no more than 12 months. It must consult relevant operators to postpone the scheme but does not require their consent. After making the decision to postpone the scheme, the LTA must give notice to local operators and a Traffic Commissioner.
138J Effect of plans and schemes
180 If the scheme requires the LTA to provide facilities or take measures, this section includes provisions about how and when the LTA’s obligations are to be fulfilled. If the plan contains a provision of review, this section places an obligation on the LTA to carry it out in the manner specified in the plan and complete by the date specified in the plan. The section also states that operators must comply with the requirements contained in the scheme.
181 This section gives the LTA the power to vary the plan or scheme(s), provided it complies with the procedure in the new sections 138L and 138M. This provision is designed to enable plans or schemes to be varied if they are no longer responding to the local market conditions or benefiting passengers.
182 When varying the plan or scheme(s), the LTA must be satisfied that the varied scheme(s) contributes to the policies outlined in the plan and to local transport policies. It must also be satisfied that it brings benefits to passengers and reduces or limits traffic congestion, noise or air pollution.
183 Nothing in this section prevents the scheme being varied in accordance with provisions outlined in the scheme (see section 138E).
138L Variation: preparation, notice and consultation
184 New sections 138L and 138M set out the process by which an EP plan or scheme is varied (alternative variation mechanism can be included in the scheme, see section 138E). The LTA will have to draw up the variation (with the participation of the operators) and seek an appropriate level of support for the change from operators. Before the LTA can proceed with the variation, it must then consult on it. The LTA is able to decide on what is an appropriate consultation for any given proposed amendments, as different types of amendment will require different types of consultation. The only statutory consultee is the Competition and Markets Authority.
138M Variation: making a variation
185 This new section deals with the process from consultation to the making of a variation to an EP plan and/or scheme(s).
186 The default position is that before making the variation, the LTA must again seek the support of the operators. It can do so by giving notice to all operators of qualifying bus services, which must: contain the full details of the plan and scheme, state whether it has been modified following consultation, and state how long operators have to disagree with the variation. The LTA can make the plan and the scheme unless a sufficient number of the operators of qualifying local services disagreed with the proposed plan and/or scheme(s).
187 Once a decision to vary the plan and/ or scheme(s) has been taken, the LTA must give notice of the change.
188 This section provides that further detail of how variations can be made in an EP plan or scheme can be made in secondary legislation. The Secretary of State may specify by regulation what constitutes - in the default scenario - a sufficient number of operators for these purposes, the description of a qualifying local service, as well as specify the minimum period that operators will have to object to the variation.
138N Variation: supplementary
189 138N determines whether a traffic regulation authority is an Enhanced Partnership authority when a scheme is varied. It largely reflects the terms of the existing sections 121(3) to (8) of the Transport Act 2000 as they apply to QP schemes.
190 This section provides that the LTA may revoke: (i) the EP plan and all of the associated schemes; or (ii) an EP scheme or schemes (provided that one or more schemes remain in place). The latter ensures that there is always both a plan and a scheme in place. A scheme can also be revoked by an alternative mechanism, when such mechanism is included in the relevant scheme, see section 138E.
191 Before the LTA can make the revocation it must first consult at least the operators of qualifying local services and the Competition and Markets Authority.
192 The LTA must give notice of its intention to all operators of qualifying bus services, which must include:
● a date on which the plan and scheme is to be revoked;
● the LTA’s reasons for the proposed revocation; and
● any arrangements for operators to disagree.
193 The default position is that before the LTA can revoke the scheme, it will have to give operators of qualifying local services an opportunity to object. The LTA cannot make the revocation if a sufficient number of the operators of qualifying local services disagree with the proposed plan and scheme.
194 Notice must be given after the decision has been taken. The date of revocation cannot be earlier than 14 days after notice has been given.
195 Further details of how revocation can be made will be detailed in secondary legislation. The Secretary of State may specify by regulation what constitutes - in the default scenario - a sufficient number of operators for these purposes, the description of a qualifying local service, as well as specify the minimum period that operators will have to object to the revocation.
138P Regulations about plans and schemes
196 This new section is self-explanatory.
138Q Transitional provision about schemes
197 This section gives the Secretary of State power to make by regulation provisions about transitional arrangements including concerning the making, coming into operation, variation and revocation of EP plans and schemes. These may particularly include provisions concerning the procurement of subsidised bus services by an LTA and the implications for the registration of local bus services in an EP area.
138R Guidance about plans and schemes
198 This section is self-explanatory.
138S Application of TUPE
199 There may be some limited circumstances, provided for in clause 12 of this Bill and set out in sub-sections (1) and (2) of this new section, in which an EP scheme could lead to a change in the operator of a local bus services. Section 138S provides for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 ("the TUPE Regulations") to apply in these circumstances when staff are transferred as a result of an EP scheme and for those staff to be provided with certain pension protection.
200 The practical effect of these provisions is the same as set out in these notes in relation to the new section 123X of the Transport Act 2000 inserted by this Bill.
Clause 10: Information about local services
201 Clause 10 amends Part 2 of the Transport Act 2000 by inserting a new section 143B to provide LTAs in England with the ability to obtain information from bus operators to assist in preparing, reviewing, varying or revoking an EP plan/scheme. It also amends section 155 of the Transport Act 1985 in relation to sanctions imposed by a Traffic Commissioner.
143B Power to obtain information about local services: enhanced partnership schemes
202 When preparing an enhanced partnership plan and scheme, an LTA or LTAs can require operators to provide relevant information for the purposes of making, reviewing, varying or revoking the plan or the scheme. Relevant information includes information relating to local services or passengers or any other information described in regulation by the Secretary of State.
203 The operator will need to provide the information in a specified format. The authority will also be able to specify a period by the end of which the information needs to be provided. If an operator fails to take all reasonable steps to provide the information, the LTA(s) must inform the Traffic Commissioner.
204 Subsections (6) and (7) detail what LTAs may do with information obtained under this section.
205 If the Traffic Commissioner is satisfied that the operator failed to take all reasonable steps to provide the relevant information, it can take action under section 155 of the Transport Act 1985. Such action can include the payment of a penalty.
206 The information provided under this section must not be disclosed if it could be withheld under the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 relating to personal information; information provided in confidence; legal professional privilege; and/or commercial interests.
Clause 11: Registration of local services
207 This clause amends section 6 of the Transport Act 1985 to insert provisions to enforce requirements in EP schemes through the bus registration system. This clause will apply to England only.
6D Applications for registration where an enhanced partnership scheme is in operation
208 If the person operating the service is considered to be unlikely to comply with an operation requirement then the registration must be refused. This is provided for in sub-section (2).
209 Where - as a result of an EP scheme - the local authority has awarded a contract for the provision of services on a particular route, the subsection (3) states that these registrations are to be treated in accordance with regulations. This situation is provided for in clause 12.
210 While this clause refers to the Traffic Commissioner as the registration authority, this Bill (in clause 14) provides for the functions of a Traffic Commissioner in relation to bus registration to be exercise by an LTA in certain circumstances. Therefore, if such functions are delegated, applications for registrations will be dealt with by the relevant LTA.
Clause 12: Cancellation of registration
211 This clause inserts new sub-sections (7A) and (7B) into the Transport Act 1985 so that cancellation of registered services under an EP scheme is possible. It also inserts section 6E. This clause will apply to England only.
6E Cancellation and control of registration where enhanced partnership scheme is in operation
212 These provisions allow the Traffic Commissioner (or the LTA, if registration functions have been delegated under clause 14) to cancel registration of services that are not complying with the relevant operation or route requirements.
213 The section also gives the Secretary of State the power to specify in regulation: what services may be registered in place of services whose registration has been cancelled and for how long; and circumstances under which a cancellation of a registration can be revoked or postponed.
214 The provisions in relation to route requirements are designed to ensure that these requirements can be met where there may be more registrations for a particular route than are allowed by the relevant scheme. It would not be legal to reject registration solely on the basis that the maximum frequency allowed on a given route under an EP scheme had been reached. Instead, the LTA(s) would ask operators to draw up a voluntary, competition-law compliant qualifying agreement that states which operator is operating what service within the parameters set by the scheme. If such a qualifying agreement was not in place by the end of a set period as prescribed in the regulations, the LTA would have to tender services on the particular route to avoid illegally granting an "exclusive right".
215 A tendered service in these circumstances does not have to involve payment or subsidy - the Government’s intention is that this mechanism allows for the LTA(s) to operate a slot-allocation system by way of tender. The Government intends to cover the operation of these arrangements in the statutory guidance to be issued under the new section 138R of the Transport Act 2000 inserted by this Bill.
Clause 13: Appeals
216 This clause inserts a new section 6F into the Transport Act 1985 to give a right to bus operators to appeal the decision of the responsible registration authority (which under clause 14 of this Bill can be a Traffic Commissioner or an LTA) against: a decision to record a requirement, refusal of registration, or cancellation of registration. If the Traffic Commissioner is the responsible registration authority, then the appeal is to be made to the Upper Tribunal. If an LTA is the responsible registration authority, then the appeal is to be made to the Traffic Commissioner. Further appeal then can be made to the Upper Tribunal (by either the bus operator or the LTA).
217 This clause will apply to England only.
Clause 14: Traffic commissioner functions
218 This clause inserts new sections 6G to 6I into the Transport Act 1985 to provide for further changes to bus registration arrangements relating to EP schemes. This clause will apply to England only.
6G Traffic commissioner functions where an enhanced partnership scheme in operation
219 This section details the functions of the Traffic Commissioner where an EP scheme is in place. It also requires the LTA to notify the Traffic Commissioner whether a new or varied schemes includes operation and/or route requirements.
220 The Bill enables relevant registration functions to be delegated from a Traffic Commissioner to an LTA. This has the effect of making the LTA concerned the registration authority for services with stopping places only within the EPS area. Other than as provided for in clause 13 the Traffic Commissioner is no longer involved in the decisions taken by the LTA. Relevant registration functions include application to register and vary a service and cancellation of a service that operate wholly in the area covered by the enhanced partnership scheme.
221 If the scheme is made by more than one LTA, the LTAs involved must also notify the Traffic Commissioner which is the ‘lead’ LTA. This is important, as the Traffic Commissioner can only delegate the registration function to the ‘lead’ LTA.
222 If the scheme contains a route requirement related to a service with stopping places only in the EP scheme area, the relevant registration function must be delegated from the Traffic Commissioner to the (lead) LTA. If the scheme does not contain such route requirements, the (lead) LTA may elect to carry out the relevant registration function. The delegation will come to an end when the relevant scheme ceases to operate.
6H Fees relating to relevant registration functions
223 6H provides that if relevant registration functions are delegated from the Traffic Commissioners to an LTA, the LTA may charge a fee for the exercise of these functions. This section details the fees that the LTA can charge. These include a fee for application for registration, variation of registration, cancellation of registration. The fees are to be determined in accordance with regulations.
6I Record of registration etc.
224 If relevant registration functions are delegated from the Traffic Commissioners to an LTA, this new section requires that the LTA must keep a record of services that are registered, varied or cancelled in the area covered by the enhanced partnership scheme. The LTA must supply this information to the Traffic Commissioner and allow a member of the public to inspect them on request. Regulation may specify the form and the particulars of the record, as well as the particulars that are to be supplied to the Traffic Commissioner.
Clause 15: Further amendments
225 Schedule 4 contains minor and consequential amendments in relation to an enhanced partnership scheme.
Power to make traffic regulation orders
Clause 16: Powers to make traffic regulation orders
226 This clause includes consequential amendments to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as a result of the introduction of the new franchising, Advanced Quality Partnership and Enhanced Partnership schemes provisions.
Information for bus passengers
Clause 17: Information for bus passengers
227 This section inserts new sections 181A to 181D into the Equality Act 2010.
181A Information for bus passengers
228 This Section creates a power for the Secretary of State to make Regulations requiring bus operators to provide information to passengers travelling on local services in Great Britain, with the specific aim of enabling disabled people to travel.
229 Regulations may specify what information has to be provided. In particular, this might include information identifying the route, the direction of travel, upcoming stops or places where the vehicle is diverted from its intended route. Operators may also be required to provide information on connecting services using nearby stops.
230 The Regulations may also specify how the information must be provided, including when it must be made available during the course of a journey, the communication methods which must, or must not, be used, the standard of communications including audio-visual requirements to be met and forms of communication that are not regarded as satisfying the requirements.
231 Different requirements may be specified for different descriptions of vehicle, or for vehicles operating in different circumstances.
232 The Secretary of State must consult with the Scottish and Welsh Governments when making Regulations under this Section.
181B Exemptions etc
233 This Section provides the Secretary of State with powers to make regulations exempting from the regulations under section 181A –
● certain prescribed descriptions of public service vehicles, operators or local services; or
● a prescribed public service vehicle, operator or local service.
234 The Regulations may apply the exemptions subject to specified restrictions and conditions or for a certain period only.
235 Exemptions applying to specific categories of vehicle, local service or operator may be different depending upon the location in which they operate, and exemptions applying to categories of operator may be defined in terms of the size of that operator.
236 Where regulations under this section only apply to a prescribed vehicle, operator or local service they do not need to be made by way of a statutory instrument. They may however be amended or revoked as regulations made by statutory instrument.
237 The Secretary of State must consult with the Scottish and Welsh Governments when making Regulations under this Section.
238 This Section requires the Secretary of State to issue guidance supporting the Regulations made under Section 181A, and to review such guidance at least every five years.
239 Before issuing Guidance or making substantial changes to it, the Secretary of State must consult the Scottish and Welsh Ministers, the Passenger Council (Transport Focus) and certain organisations representing disabled passengers and operators and other persons as the Secretary of State thinks are appropriate.
240 This Section provides definitions of "local service", "public service vehicle" and "stopping places" for the purposes of these provisions. It also clarifies the meaning of a "connecting service".
241 This Section also makes consequential amendments to the Transport Act 1985 and the Transport Act 2000 and the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001 in order to provide the Traffic Commissioners with powers to enforce the Regulations, including the ability to issue fines and attach conditions to the licenses of non-compliant operators.
Information about English bus services
Clause 18: Power to require provision of information about English bus services
141A Power to require provision of information about English bus services
242 This section inserts new section 141A into the Transport Act 2000 to provide open data on all bus services in England, outside London. It does this by providing for regulations under which new applicants registering bus services, existing operators, franchising authorities and in some circumstances Traffic Commissioners may be required to provide prescribed information.
243 These powers enable a single repository of information to be created that could contain all the information about routes, timetables, fares and tickets for local buses including live information about vehicle location and bus arrival times. The information so collected would be open to the public and could be used by software developers to create, for example, information applications for mobile devices through which passengers could access real-time bus arrival information.
244 The regulations will set out the detail of the information that will be required including when, how and to whom it is to be provided. This section will only apply to services that run in England except Greater London. Where an operator fails to comply with the regulations, a Traffic Commissioner may apply the existing sanctions available under section 155 of the Transport Act 2000. The Secretary of State must consult such persons or organistions as appear to the Secretary of State to represent the interests of operators and users of relevant local services, and of local transport authorities in England before making the regulations.
Registration of bus services
Clause 19: Variation or cancelation of registration: service information
245 This section inserts new section 6C into the Transport Act 1985.
6C Variation and cancellation or registration: service information
246 6C makes provision for regulations under which operators of local bus services are required to provide the LTA with certain information relating to patronage and revenue of the service when making an application to vary or cancel a bus service. In particular, the regulations will prescribe how much historical information the bus operator has to provide, when and how information is to be provided and the role of Traffic Commissioners (or a body carrying out a traffic commissioner’s functions) in ensuring compliance. Regulations will also provide for the circumstances under which LTAs may disclose such information to third parties who may be tendering for the services that are being varied or cancelled.
247 This clause implements a recommendation from the Competition Commission (now the Competition and Markets Authority).
Clause 20: Rail replacement bus services
248 This section amends section 6 of the Transport Act 1985 (registration of local services). The effect is to exempt temporary rail replacement bus services in England from the need for registration.
249 New subsection 6(1D) of the Transport Act 1985 sets out whether a service is considered to be a temporary rail replacement bus service in England. New subsection 6(1E) of the Transport Act 1985 makes provision for circumstances where a temporary rail replacement bus service operates both inside and outside England.
250 This section also amends section 179 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 so that a temporary rail replacement bus service is not considered to be a London local service.
Clause 21: Registration of English local services: fees where functions contracted out
251 This section inserts new section 6J into the Transport Act 1985.
6J Contracting out of registration functions: fees
252 Existing legislation already enables the Secretary of State to authorise a person to accept applications to register, vary or cancel a local bus service instead of the Traffic Commissioner. This clause provides that the authorised person will be able to recover the costs of their activities in carrying out this function through registration fees payable by operators. The fee amounts will be set by the Secretary of State in regulations.
Clause 22: Power to make consequential and supplementary provisions etc
253 This clause is self-explanatory.
Clause 23: Transitional, transitory or saving provisions
254 This clause is self-explanatory.
Clause 24: Extent
255 This clause is self-explanatory.
Clause 25: Commencement
256 This clause is self-explanatory.
Clause 26: Short title
257 This clause is self-explanatory.
Schedule 1: Further amendments: advanced quality partnership schemes
258 The schedule contains only consequential amendments. It amends the Transport Act 2000 so that sections 114-123 on Quality Partnership Schemes apply only to Wales. The Bill inserts new sections to the Transport Act 2000 (section 113C-113O) that provide for Quality Partnership Schemes in England.
259 The schedule also amends the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Transport Act 1985, so that it reflects that (i) England and Wales are now covered by different provisions, and (ii) ‘measures’ are included alongside ‘facilities’ throughout existing legislation.
260 It also amends Schedule 10 of the Transport Act 2000 to include AQP scheme alongside QP scheme and other statutory schemes that are covered by the competition test contained in Part 1 of Schedule 10.
Schedule 2: Further amendments: franchising schemes
261 This section amends section 26 of the Transport Act 1985 and section 155 of the Transport Act 2000 to allow Traffic Commissioners to impose sanctions on bus operators who:
● fail to provide information prescribed by regulations made regarding the application of TUPE;
● run a services in a franchising area illegally and failed to take reasonable steps to avoid doing so; or
● fail to take all reasonable steps to provide information to a franchising authority under the new section 143A of the Bill.
262 This will allow Traffic Commissioners to impose certain sanctions and financial penalties on operators, and attach conditions to the operator’s operating license.
263 The schedule also contains consequential amendments. It amends the Transport Act 2000 (and Local Transport Act 2008) so that sections 124-134B on Quality Contracts Schemes apply only to Wales. The Bill inserts new sections into the Transport Act 2000 (section 123A-123X) that provide for franchising schemes in England. It will no longer be possible for an English LTA to make a Quality Contracts Scheme.
Schedule 3: Further amendments: advanced ticketing schemes
264 This schedule makes consequential changes to the Transport Act 1985 to enable Traffic Commissioners to attach a condition to Public Service Vehicle operators licences prohibiting the operators from using vehicles under the license unless they have made and implemented the arrangements required under any advanced ticketing scheme.
265 This schedule also amends section 135 of the Transport Act 2000, so that after the provisions on advanced ticketing schemes are in force, English LTAs may only make ticketing schemes under section 135 where such a scheme is made joint with one or more LTAs and at least one of those LTAs is an authority whose area is in Wales. Section 135 provisions on joint and through ticketing schemes also apply to schemes made by LTAs whose area is in Wales. This schedule also makes other consequential amendments to the Transport Act 2000.
Schedule 4: Further amendments: enhanced partnership plans and schemes
266 The schedule makes consequential amendments to the Transport Act 1985 and the Transport Act 2000. It for example dis-applies traffic regulation conditions in an enhanced partnership area (Transport Act 1985) and includes the enhanced partnership plan and scheme in the scope of section 162 (interpretation) of the Transport Act 2000.
267 It also amends section 26 of the Transport Act 1985 and section 155 of the Transport Act 2000 to allow Traffic Commissioners to impose sanctions on bus operators who:
● run a services in a partnership area that does not comply with the requirements of the enhanced partnership scheme;
● fail to provide information prescribed by regulations made regarding the application of TUPE; or
● fail to take all reasonable steps to provide information to a franchising authority under the new section 143B of the Bill.
268 This schedule also amends Part 2 of the Transport Act 2000 (section 153) and Schedule 10 of Transport Act 2000. This amendment includes enhanced partnership schemes alongside other statutory bus improvement schemes that have to comply with the competition test contained in Schedule 10 of the Transport Act 2000.
1 A reference to "an LTA" in the notes for this sub-clause should be taken as including a reference to " LTAs".
2 This includes a mayoral combined authority, a county council in England for an area for which there are district councils, a county council in England for an area for which there are no district councils, a non-metropolitan district council for an area for which there is no county council, an Integrated Transport Authority for an integrated transport area in England, and a combined authority which is not a mayoral combined authority.
3 In the notes on this clause, references to an "authority" should also be taken as referring to " authorities".
4 Community transport operators running services under a section 19 permit are not affected by the Bill, as they are not running a local service.
5 References in the notes on this clause to "an authority" should be taken to include a reference to " authorities".
6 References in these notes on Clause 7 to "an LTA" should be taken to refer to "an LTA or LTAs".
7 References in the notes on this Clause 9 to "an LTA" should be taken as referring to "an LTA or LTAs".
8 Community transport operators running services under a section 19 permit are not affected by the Bill, as they are not running a local service.
9 Community transport operators running services under a section 19 permit are not affected by the Bill, as they are not running a local service.