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42. Clause 115 confers a new framework power on the National Assembly for Wales by inserting a matter into field 10 (highways and transport) of Schedule 5 to the Government of Wales Act 2006. This is discussed further at the appropriate place under "Commentary" below. The existing power for information obtained by any Minister of the Crown, government department, local authority or other statutory body to be disclosed to charging authorities under Part 3 of the TA 2000 is extended to allow information to be disclosed to the Welsh Ministers in relation to charging schemes established pursuant to an Assembly Measure under Part 3 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (see clause 116).
43. In relation to many of the matters covered in the Bill, separate provision is made for London by other enactments, including the GLA Act 1999. The following table lists the provisions in the Bill which have application in London.
Part 1: The traffic commissioners
Clause 1: Traffic areas
44. Section 3(2) of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 ("PPVA 1981") empowers the Secretary of State by order to vary the extent or number of traffic areas. Clause 1 inserts new subsections (2A), (2B) and (2C) into section 3 of the PPVA 1981.
45. These new subsections provide that an order made under section 3(2) may include amendments or modifications to any enactment needed to give full effect to any changes to traffic areas in England and Wales.
46. Subsection (2) substitutes subsections (1) and (2) of section 4 of the PPVA 1981. The effect is to abolish the existing requirement for a traffic commissioner to be appointed for each traffic area. Instead, the Secretary of State may appoint such number of traffic commissioners for England and Wales as is considered appropriate. However, a single commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area is retained. New section 4(2) continues the existing provision for traffic commissioners to be appointed by the Secretary of State and provides for them to be known as "traffic commissioners".
47. Subsection (4) inserts new section 4(3A) and (3B) into the PPVA 1981 to define the jurisdiction of traffic commissioners. Traffic commissioners in England and Wales are granted full jurisdiction in respect of all their statutory functions throughout England and Wales, and also in relation to "reserved matters" (within the meaning of the Scotland Act 1998) in the Scottish traffic area. The Scottish Commissioner is granted full jurisdiction in respect of all devolved and reserved statutory functions in the Scottish traffic area, and also in relation to reserved matters in England and Wales.
48. The Secretary of State has designated one of the traffic commissioners as senior traffic commissioner. The post currently has no statutory basis and the post holder no statutory powers. Subsection (1) inserts new sections 4A to 4C into the PPVA 1981 to put this post on a statutory footing.
49. New section 4B confers powers on the senior traffic commissioner to deploy other traffic commissioners. The effect is that the senior traffic commissioner can require any traffic commissioner or deputy in England and Wales to carry out any function at any place within that jurisdiction, and also to carry out reserved functions in Scotland. The senior traffic commissioner can also require the traffic commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area, and his deputies, to carry out any reserved function in any place in England and Wales.
50. New section 4C empowers the senior traffic commissioner, following consultation, to issue guidance and general directions to traffic commissioners about the exercise of any of their functions. Traffic commissioners would be required to act under the general directions of, and to have regard to any such guidance given by, the senior traffic commissioner. This replaces the previous requirement for traffic commissioners to act under the general directions of the Secretary of State (whose power to give such directions is removed). The power of the senior traffic commissioner to issue guidance and directions to the Scottish traffic commissioner extends only to reserved matters.
51. Subsection (6) of new section 4C empowers the Secretary of State to issue guidance to the senior traffic commissioner on the exercise of his functions, and subsection (7) requires the senior traffic commissioner to have regard to any such guidance.
52. The clause also provides for additional remuneration to be paid to the senior traffic commissioner, and includes a transitional provision so that the person designated as senior traffic commissioner prior to the creation of the new statutory post will become the first holder of that office.
53. This clause amends Schedule 2 to the PPVA 1981, which includes provisions about the terms of service of traffic commissioners, appointment and terms of office of deputy traffic commissioners, and pensions and remuneration.
54. The circumstances in which the Secretary of State can dismiss a traffic commissioner are amended. Currently a traffic commissioner can be dismissed for "inability or misbehaviour". Under the new provisions the Secretary of State could dismiss a traffic commissioner for misbehaviour or because that traffic commissioner is unable, unfit or unwilling to perform the functions of a traffic commissioner to a satisfactory standard.
55. The clause inserts new provisions relating to the appointment and terms of office of deputy traffic commissioners in England and Wales. The effect is to empower the Secretary of State to appoint such number of deputy traffic commissioners in England and Wales as she thinks fit. Deputy traffic commissioners for England and Wales may be deployed by the senior traffic commissioner to exercise any of their functions in any place in England and Wales, and to exercise functions in relation to reserved matters in the Scottish Traffic Area.
56. The existing powers in paragraphs 3 to 5 of Schedule 2 relating to the appointment and terms of office of deputy traffic commissioners will in future apply in Scotland only.
57. This clause contains transitional provisions which will apply to traffic commissioners and deputy traffic commissioners in England and Wales who are in post when these provisions come into force. In particular, traffic commissioners already in post will remain on their existing terms and conditions of employment, except that they will be subject to the revised terms on dismissal in the amended paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the PPVA 1981 (see clause 4 above). Similar provisions are made for any existing traffic commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area. As the appointment and terms of office for any deputy traffic commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area are not affected by these provisions, no transitional arrangements are required.
58. This clause empowers the Secretary of State, in secondary legislation, to make any necessary consequential changes to other legislation (primary and secondary) to give full effect to the new provisions about traffic commissioners. This will be necessary in particular to reflect the new jurisdiction of traffic commissioners and the removal of the link in England and Wales between particular commissioners and specific traffic areas. The power is limited, in so far as it extends to Scotland, to reserved matters. Orders made under this provision will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
Clause 7: Local transport policies
59. This clause, together with Schedule 1, inserts the new term "local transport policies" into Parts 2 and 3 of the TA 2000. This is defined as the policies developed under section 108(1)(a) of the TA 2000. Section 108(1)(a), as proposed to be amended by clause 8 of the Bill, will require each local transport authority to develop policies "for the promotion and encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport to, from and within their area".
60. This clause extends to England and Wales.
61. This clause amends section 108 of the TA 2000. Subsection (2) omits the words "facilities and services" from the duty in section 108(1)(a), as described in relation to clause 7 above. Subsection (3) makes consequential changes following on from subsection (2).
62. Subsection (4) inserts new subsections (2ZA) to (2ZC) in section 108 of the TA 2000. These subsections create new duties on all local transport authorities: first, to take account of any policies announced by the Government which relate to the protection or improvement of the environment and, secondly, to have regard to any guidance on this subject which the Secretary of State may issue.
63. This clause amends the duty in sections 108 and 109 of the TA 2000 for local transport authorities to produce a local transport plan ("LTP"). Subsection (1) provides that an LTP in England must be one or more documents containing local transport policies plus proposals for implementing those policies. Subsection (3) replaces the obligation on local transport authorities to replace their LTPs every five years with a power to replace them as they think fit. Subsection (4) inserts new subsections (2A) and (2B) into the TA 2000 which list those authorities which (i) local transport authorities other than ITAs, and (ii) ITAs, must consult in drawing up their LTP and keeping it under review.
64. This clause repeals the requirement under the TA 2000 for local transport authorities - including ITAs - to prepare a bus strategy. 5 Following on from this, subsections (8) to (11) make consequential amendments to the TA 1968 and the TA 1985.
5 Section 110 of the TA 2000 provides that a bus strategy must be included within a local transport authority's local transport plan. Clause 10 specifies that a bus strategy is no longer required.
65. Section 112(2) of the TA 2000 contains a duty for local transport authorities, when developing their policies under section 108(1) of that Act, to have regard to the transport needs of persons who are "elderly or have mobility problems".
66. This clause amends that duty in two respects. First, it provides that it will extend additionally to the implementation (as well as the development) of local transport policies. Secondly, it extends it to cover the transport needs of all "disabled persons" within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005), in addition to those to whom it already extends.
67. The provisions in clause 12 remove the previous joint duty on PTAs and metropolitan district councils in a PTA area to produce a local transport plan under section 108(1)(a), and place the duty in future solely with the ITA (see clause 9). The duty in section 108(1)(b) to carry out functions so as to implement those policies continues to apply to metropolitan district councils, who will also in this respect be subject to the new duty in section 108(2ZB) to have regard to certain policies and guidance relating to the protection or improvement of the environment.
Clauses 13 to 18: Quality partnership schemes 6
6 A quality partnership scheme is a scheme made by a local transport authority under which that authority provides particular facilities at specific locations along the routes used by local bus services, and operators of local services who wish to use those facilities agree to provide services of a particular standard.
68. Clauses 13 to 18 amend provisions on quality partnership schemes in sections 114 to 123 of the TA 2000. As section 114 stands, before making such a scheme, the local transport authority must be satisfied that it will benefit the users of local bus services by improving the quality of such services, or will reduce or limit traffic congestion, noise or air pollution. These clauses extend to England and Wales.
69. Clause 13 amends section 114 of the TA 2000. Section 114(6)(b) of the TA 2000 currently excludes requirements as to frequency or timing of services from the description of a "standard of service". The effect of subsection (5) is to amend section 114(6)(b) so that such requirements may explicitly be included in a quality partnership scheme. Subsection (6) inserts new subsections (6A) and (6B) into section 114. The effect of subsection (6A) is to stipulate that requirements as to maximum fares may be specified in a scheme. Subsection (6B) provides that a scheme may include requirements as to frequencies, timings and maximum fares only if there are no "admissible objections" from relevant bus operators (see also clause 18 below). The effect of the amendment in subsection (7) (which inserts a new subsection (6C) into section 114) is to enable both facilities and service standards to be phased in on predetermined dates over a period of time, rather than the current procedure under which all facilities and standards must be available when the scheme takes effect.
70. Subsection (4) inserts new subsections (3A) to (3D) into section 114 of the TA 2000. The purpose of these provisions is to enable a local transport authority, in appropriate circumstances, to specify in a quality partnership scheme any restrictions which are to be imposed on the registration of certain local services. Such restrictions can be imposed only where the local authority considers that the provision of additional local services in the area of a quality partnership scheme may be detrimental to the provision of services under that scheme. Any scheme which includes restrictions on the registration of local services must also specify the criteria to be used by traffic commissioners when deciding whether or not to accept an application to register a local service. (See also clause 43.)
Clause 14: Notice and consultation requirements
71. Clause 14 amends section 115 of the TA 2000 (notice and consultation requirements) to require any notice which is given about proposals to make a scheme to include details of any proposed restrictions on the registration of local services, and the criteria against which any applications to register such services will be judged (see paragraph 70 above). Subsection (3) also amends the description of "relevant local authority" that must be consulted if affected by the scheme, so as to include non-metropolitan as well as metropolitan district councils. This would bring the provision into line with the consultation requirements for quality contracts schemes under section 125 of the TA 2000.
72. These clauses make consequential amendments to sections 116 to 118 of the TA 2000 to provide for the phased implementation of quality partnership schemes and the ability to postpone any part of a scheme, not just the whole of it.
73. This clause amends section 122 of the TA 2000, which makes provision for regulations about quality partnership schemes. The purpose of the amendments is to enable regulations to make specific provisions in respect of quality partnership schemes that include requirements as to frequencies, timings or maximum fares.
74. Subsection (2) inserts a new section 122(1)(aa), which enables regulations to make provision with respect to the "content or operation" of such schemes, in addition to "the procedure to be followed when making, varying or revoking a quality partnership scheme" (which is provided by the existing section 122(1)(a)). This is to allow regulations to cover matters such as those mentioned in new section 122(3), discussed below.
75. Subsection (3) inserts new subsections (3) to (5) into section 122. These new subsections provide that, as regards schemes which include requirements as to frequencies, timings or maximum fares, regulations made under section 122(1)(a) and (aa) may in particular make provision for a number of specified matters.
76. The provisions would enable such regulations, for example, to:
77. The effect of new section 122(5) is to ensure that, where requirements as to frequencies, timings or maximum fares are revised in accordance with provision made in accordance with the new section 122(3)(b) described above, the provisions of section 120 of the TA 2000 (variation or revocation of schemes), which include requirements as to notice and consultation, do not apply.
78. These clauses amend, and insert new provisions in relation to, sections 124 to 134 of the TA 2000, which provide for the making of quality contracts schemes in England and Wales. A quality contracts scheme is a scheme under which the local authority determines the local bus network for the area to which the scheme relates. Where such a scheme is in place local bus services in that area can only be provided under quality contracts (with the exception of services specifically excluded from the scheme by virtue of section 127(4) of the TA 2000, or services registered in accordance with new section 6B of the TA 1985 see clause 44). A quality contract is a contract under which the authority grants a particular operator the exclusive right to operate certain services following a competitive tender.
79. The effect of the amendments is to replace the existing requirement that a quality contracts scheme must be the "only practicable way" of implementing the policies in the local authority's bus strategy with a new set of criteria.
80. The provisions also abolish the requirement for quality contracts schemes in England to be approved by the Secretary of State; they establish a new type of board to carry out that function. A separate board is to be assembled for each application. There is a right of appeal against decisions of a board to the Transport Tribunal. The amendments also include a number of smaller changes to allow schemes to be implemented in stages, to extend the maximum duration of quality contracts, and generally to allow greater flexibility. A new section is also inserted into the TA 2000 to provide that, where an operator ceases to provide local services in an area because of the making of a quality contract, that will be a relevant transfer for the purposes of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. This will provide protection of terms and conditions for employees following the making of a quality contract.
81. These clauses extend to England and Wales, although - as noted below - some provisions apply only in relation to schemes in England.
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