|Local Transport Bill [HL] - continued||House of Commons|
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125. This clause amends section 9 of the TA 1985, which provides for a right of appeal against actions by a traffic commissioner in determining, or refusing to determine, traffic regulation conditions under section 7 of the TA 1985. The appeal currently lies to the Secretary of State and the effect of this amendment is to transfer it to the Transport Tribunal. This is consistent with the appeal process in respect of other decisions of traffic commissioners. The provisions in Schedule 4 to the TA 1985 (constitution, powers and proceedings of the Transport Tribunal) will apply to such appeals, including the right of appeal against a decision of the Transport Tribunal to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.
126. Section 126 of the TA 1985 contains a power for the Secretary of State to prescribe fees to be paid by bus operators in connection with the registration of local bus services. This clause extends the scope of that power. Currently the Secretary of State may prescribe fees chargeable by the traffic commissioners for applications to register a local service, and to vary such registrations. This clause would, in addition, enable fees to be prescribed for the cancellation of a particular registered service, and for the continuation in force of registrations.
127. The clause extends to England and Wales. The power to make regulations to prescribe the new fees would rest with the Secretary of State.
128. This clause amends section 12 of the TA 1985, which currently enables holders of a taxi licence to apply to the traffic commissioner for a restricted Public Service Vehicle ("PSV") operator's licence - referred to as a "special licence". 15 A special licence entitles the operator to use taxis to provide local bus services - which have to be registered with the traffic commissioner. The effect of the amendment is to enable the holders of private hire vehicle ("PHV") licences similarly to apply for a special licence in order to use PHVs to provide local bus services - which also have to be registered with the traffic commissioner. 16 The amendment allows PHVs operating in this way to pick up passengers at bus stops as provided for in the route registration, rather than having to be pre-booked through an operator.
15 A taxi licence is a licence granted under section 6 of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869 (in London), or section 37 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (in the rest of England and Wales), or section 10 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (in Scotland). The driver can accept immediate hirings by standing at ranks or by being hailed in the street; pre-bookings can also be arranged.
16 A private hire vehicle licence is a licence granted under section 7 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, or section 48 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (in the rest of England and Wales), or section 10 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (in Scotland). Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked.
129. The clause extends to Great Britain. However it will apply (i.e. have effect) in London only if Transport for London ("TfL") makes a decision that it should do so and makes an order under new section 13A (inserted by clause 49).
130. This clause amends section 13 of the TA 1985 (provisions supplementary to sections 10 to 12) and inserts a new section 13A (application of sections 10 to 13 to London). This allows for differentiation between the section 12 provision as it applies in London and as it applies in the rest of Great Britain.
131. Section 13 of the TA 1985 is amended to include a definition of "appropriate authority". This is to identify TfL as being responsible in London for making regulations under section 12 of the TA 1985 and amending the codes in respect of both taxis and PHVs for the purposes of sections 10 to 13 of the TA 1985, and the Secretary of State as being responsible for the same elsewhere in Great Britain.
132. Section 13A contains a power for TfL to by order apply section 12 of the TA 1985 to PHVs in London should it so wish.
133. Subsections (1) to (7) of this clause extend to Great Britain (although sections 10 and 11 of the TA 1985, which are referred to, do not extend to Scotland).
134. These two clauses amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 ("the DDA 1995"). Section 36 of that Act imposes certain duties which relate to the carrying of disabled persons who are in wheelchairs. The duties apply to any driver of a "regulated taxi" who does not hold a valid exemption certificate issued by the relevant taxi licensing authority. The term "regulated taxi" in this section carries the meaning given to it in regulations made under section 32 of the DDA 1995. No regulations have been made under section 32, and sections 32 to 36 have not been brought into force.
135. Clause 50 amends section 36 of the DDA 1995 so as to apply the duties to the drivers of "designated vehicles" that are being used to provide a local service within the meaning of section 2 of the Transport Act 1985. It also makes provision for licensing authorities to exempt drivers on medical or physical grounds. "Designated vehicles" are defined as vehicles appearing on a list maintained by a licensing authority under the new section 36A of the DDA 1995, inserted by subsection (2) of clause 51. Only vehicles meeting the conditions set out in subsection (2) of new section 36A may be included in such a list. These conditions include that the vehicle must be either a taxi or a PHV.
136. Subsections (3) to (7) of clause 51 amend section 38 of the DDA 1995, so as to provide a right of appeal against the decision of a licensing authority to include a vehicle on such a list. Subsection (8) amends section 68(1) of that Act (interpretation), to provide that (for the purposes of sections 36, 36A and 38) the phrase "licensing authority" is to carry the meaning given in section 36A(6).
137. Section 70(3) of the DDA 1995 (commencement) provided for most provisions of that Act to come into force on a date or dates to be appointed by the Secretary of State. Subsection (9) of clause 51 inserts a new subsection (2A), which provides that section 36 as it applies to designated vehicles, section 36A and section 38 as it extends to Scotland (section 38 is already in force in England and Wales) will instead come into force two months after the Local Transport Act 2008 receives Royal Assent. (This reflects the provision made by virtue of clause 122 of the Bill.)
138. The provisions of clauses 50 and 51 extend to Great Britain.
139. These clauses amend sections 19 to 23 of the TA 1985, which enable certain voluntary bodies to operate public service vehicles without a PSV operator's licence (which would otherwise be required under section 12 of the PPVA 1981).
140. Section 19 of the TA 1985 enables permits to be granted to educational, religious, social welfare and other bodies. The effect of a permit is that the body does not need a PSV operator's licence to operate passenger-carrying services for members of the body. Members of the general public may not be carried on such services. Section 22 of the same Act enables permits to be granted, under certain conditions, for the provision of local services for the general public.
141. Permits for "small buses" (as defined in section 19(1) of the TA 1985) may be granted either by the traffic commissioners or by bodies designated by order under section 19(7) of that Act. Bodies so designated include local authorities and a number of national non-Governmental organisations.
142. These clauses extend to Great Britain.
143. The effect of clause 52 is to remove the current restriction which prevents the use of PSVs with fewer than nine seats under a permit issued under section 19 of the TA 1985. It also makes a small change to the order-making power for designated bodies so that an order may require them to keep records of permits as well as make returns. Clause 53 makes consequential changes to sections 20 and 21 of the TA 1985.
144. This clause amends sections 22 and 23 of the TA 1985. The effect of subsections (1) and (2) is to enable large buses (defined as those capable of carrying in excess of 16 passengers) to be used to provide community transport services. The effect of subsections (3) and (4) is to remove the current prohibition on the drivers of such services from being paid.
145. Under the TA 1985, permits granted under section 19 or 22 remain in force indefinitely until surrendered or revoked. The effect of this clause (which inserts a new section 23A into the TA 1985) is to enable a date to be specified in regulations after which all such permits will be granted for a specified period, not exceeding 5 years. Such regulations may also provide for all permits granted before that date, and which were therefore issued on an indefinite basis, to be revoked. Holders of such permits would be able to apply for new time-limited permits to replace those revoked.
146. This clause amends section 126 of the TA 1985 (application of sections 52 and 56 (records of licences) of the PPVA 1981) to require traffic commissioners to keep records both of permits granted by them and copies of permits submitted to them by designated bodies. It amends provisions already requiring them to keep records of other documents issued under the TA 1985.
147. The effect of these clauses is to strengthen the enforcement powers of the traffic commissioners with particular reference to punctuality of registered local bus services. These clauses extend to England and Wales.
148. This clause amends section 26 of the TA 1985 (conditions attached to PSV operator's licence) which empowers a traffic commissioner to attach conditions to the licences of operators who engage in certain conduct, such as failing to comply with certain requirements applying to local bus services or failing to take the necessary steps to maintain their vehicles in a fit and serviceable condition. 17 Such conditions may prohibit the operator from using vehicles to provide specified local services, or prevent him from providing any local services.
17 The requirements applying to local bus services (outside London) include that a local service has been registered under section 6 of the TA 1985, that the registered particulars (including the route and timetable) have been complied with, and that the standards required under a quality partnership scheme have been complied with.
149. The amendments in subsections (1) to (6) of this clause would enable a traffic commissioner to attach such conditions to any other licence held by that operator (by directing the traffic commissioner for the traffic area in which that licence is held to do so), or to the licence of another operator that is connected with the operator in default (for example, a subsidiary of the same holding company). A traffic commissioner who is given a direction by another commissioner must attach the condition unless he considers there is a good reason not to do so. The amendments also enable a condition to be attached either indefinitely or for a specified period of time.
150. Subsections (7) to (9) amend subsections (5) and (6) of section 26 of the TA 1985, which allow a traffic commissioner to attach a condition to a licence to restrict the vehicles which a PSV operator may use under that licence to particular vehicles specified in a condition. This provision applies to PSV operators generally, not just to operators of local services. These amendments also enable such conditions to be attached to licences held in other traffic areas by the same operator and to licences of other subsidiary companies.
151. This clause introduces a new power under which, where a traffic commissioner considers that action taken, or not taken, by a local traffic authority might have affected bus punctuality, he can investigate that performance and recommend remedial measures to both the operator and the traffic authority to try to improve punctuality.
152. The clause inserts new sections 27A and 27B into the TA 1985 to give new powers to the traffic commissioners to investigate poor punctuality. In particular a commissioner may require a local traffic authority to provide any specified information connected with any aspect of their network management duty under Part 2 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 and to attend any inquiry he holds into an operator's performance. (Section 27 of the TA 1985 requires the traffic commissioner to hold an inquiry, if so requested by the operator, before attaching any conditions to the operator's licence under section 26 of that Act.) The commissioner may prepare a report setting out such remedial measures (for implementation by either operators or the local traffic authority) as he considers necessary to improve performance. The new section 27A(6) places an obligation on the traffic commissioner to send a copy of the report to the operator and, in certain circumstances, to the local authority or Integrated Transport Authority. It also enables him to send the report to relevant persons and authorities (in particular the appropriate national authority) and, if he sees fit, to publish the report. 18
18 The appropriate national authority is the Secretary of State (in England) or the Welsh Ministers (in Wales).
153. This clause amends section 155 of the TA 2000, which enables the traffic commissioner to impose financial penalties on operators who fail to operate local services satisfactorily. The amendments would empower the traffic commissioner, either as an alternative or in addition to a fine, to make an order requiring the operator to spend a specified sum of money on improving specified local services, or requiring the operator to compensate the passengers on such services. Compensation may take the form of free or reduced price travel for a period of time. There is a provision for further sanctions to be prescribed by regulations, and such regulations would be made by statutory instrument subject to affirmative resolution by both Houses of Parliament (or, as respects Wales, by the National Assembly for Wales).
154. This clause amends section 155 of the TA 2000 to enable a traffic commissioner to impose sanctions for a failure to comply with requirements about the provision of information in accordance with regulations made under section 6 of the TA 1985. It also amends the regulation-making powers in section 6 of the TA 1985 (registration of local services) so that regulations requiring operators to keep records or provide information may impose restrictions to prevent the misuse of such records or information. The regulations may make failure to observe the restrictions a criminal offence with a maximum penalty not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
155. This clause amends section 10(1) of the TA 1968, which specifies the powers of PTEs. The section originally included powers for PTEs to carry passengers by road (paragraph (i)) and to let passenger vehicles on hire (paragraph (viii)). These two powers were disapplied (along with section 24(2) of the TA 1968) by orders made under section 60(5) of the TA 1985.
156. Clause 61 would revive the power in an amended paragraph (viii) for the specific purpose of enabling PTEs to purchase buses to hire out to operators who provide local services by contract, either in pursuance of section 9A of the TA 1968 (see note on clause 62 below) or under a quality contract. It would also enable a PTE to hire out vehicles to a community transport body holding a permit under section 19 of the TA 1985 (permits in relation to the use of vehicles by educational and other bodies). The clause revokes the existing orders so far as they disapply paragraph (viii) of section 10(1) of the TA 1968. It also repeals paragraph (i) of section 10(1) of the TA 1968, section 24 of the TA 1968 and provisions in section 60 of the TA 1985 which are now spent.
157. This clause extends to England and Wales, but since there are no passenger transport areas in Wales, it has no application there.
158. This clause amends section 9A of the TA 1968, which sets out the general functions of Passenger Transport Authorities (to be renamed "Integrated Transport Authorities" by the Bill) and Passenger Transport Executives ("PTEs"). Section 9A(4) empowers a PTE to enter into agreements in order to secure the provision of passenger transport services where the service would not otherwise be provided. The effect of this clause is to empower a PTE to enter into such agreements also in cases where the service would not otherwise be provided "to a particular standard". Subsection (3) inserts a definition of "standard", which includes the frequency or timing of the service, the days or times of day when the service may be provided, and the vehicles used to provide the service.
159. This clause extends to England and Wales, but since there are no passenger transport areas in Wales, it has no application there.
160. This clause amends section 63 of the TA 1985 to empower authorities other than PTEs in the way described above under clause 62. It extends to England and Wales.
161. This clause amends section 7 of the Transport (Wales) Act 2006, which enables the Welsh Ministers to secure the provision of any public passenger transport service which they consider appropriate for the purpose of meeting any public transport requirements within Wales which would not otherwise be met. It empowers the Welsh Ministers in the way described under clause 62 above.
162. This clause amends section 90(1) of the TA 1985 to increase the maximum length of a service subsidy agreement which is made in accordance with section 89 of that Act from five to eight years. It extends to England and Wales.
163. This clause repeals various provisions in Part 4 of the TA 1985 which relate to public transport companies and their directors. 19
19 A public transport company is defined in section 72 of the TA 1985.
164. Subsection (2) repeals the provisions in section 74 of the TA 1985 which require a director of a public transport company who is a councillor of the authority that owns the company to obtain dispensation from the Secretary of State (in England) or Welsh Ministers (in Wales) in order to take part in, or vote on, matters relating to the activities of the company.
165. Subsection (3) repeals sections 75(3), 79(3) and 79(7), and some words in section 79(8), of the TA 1985 so as to remove the requirement for local authorities to seek consent of the Secretary of State before exercising the powers contained within these sections. These are powers to dispose of public transport companies owned by the authorities, or shares or significant assets of the companies, as well as the power to provide financial backing for the establishment and operations of public transport companies.
166. The repeal of these requirements extends to England and Wales.
167. The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee ("DPTAC") was established under section 125 of the TA 1985 to consider any matter relating to the needs of disabled persons in connection with public passenger transport and to give advice to the Secretary of State on such matters where appropriate.
168. The original terms of the TA 1985 restricted payments to DPTAC members to travelling and other allowances and payments to defray other expenses incurred in connection with DPTAC functions.
169. Subsection (2) of clause 67 amends paragraph 2 of Schedule 5 to the TA 1985 to enable DPTAC to remunerate its members for carrying out Committee work.
170. DPTAC is a cross-border public authority within the meaning of section 88(5) of the Scotland Act 1998. Subsection (3) of clause 67 ensures that DPTAC members are not remunerated for performing functions relating to devolved matters.
171. This clause inserts three new sections into the TA 1985. The new provisions are inserted after section 125 of that Act, which already provides for the establishment of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee.
172. New section 125A empowers the Secretary of State by order to establish a body to be known as the Public Transport Users' Committee for England. Section 125A(3) provides that the order may make provision about the status and membership of the Committee and prescribe other details about its proceedings and conduct of business.
173. New section 125B sets out the functions of the Committee. In particular it provides that the Committee may consider and make recommendations or representations to the Secretary of State about any matter relating to such public passenger transport services or facilities in England as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State. This will enable the Secretary of State to determine the scope of the powers of the Committee by prescribing the services and facilities, or the description of services and facilities, in relation to which the Committee is to exercise its functions.
174. If, under new section 125B(3), the Secretary of State has conferred powers on the Committee to make recommendations or representations to certain people or bodies, such as bus operators, local authorities, and traffic commissioners, new section 125C would enable the Secretary of State, by order, to confer functions on those persons in respect of such recommendations or representations. The power could, for example, be used to provide that where the Committee makes representations to a particular person, that person must consider those representations and send a written response to the Committee.
175. Orders made under these new sections are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
176. This clause inserts a new section 19A into the Railways Act 2005. Section 19A(1) empowers the Secretary of State by order to confer functions on the Rail Passengers' Council relating to local bus services or domestic coach services to the extent that they operate in England. Subsection (2) enables such amendments to be made to provisions of any Act as may be needed as a consequence of making such provision. Subsection (4)(b) empowers the Secretary of State to alter the number of members which can be appointed by the Secretary of State to the Rail Passengers' Council so as to enable members to be appointed to represent bus and coach passengers. This will not affect members appointed by the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers or the London Assembly.
177. Subsections (5) and (6) make provision corresponding to that made in relation to the Public Transport Users' Committee for England by inserted section 125C of the TA 1985. Subsections (5) and (6) provide that, where a function of making representations or recommendations to a body or person has been conferred on the Rail Passengers' Council, the relevant order may also place an obligation on that body or person to respond to such representations or recommendations in a specified manner, so long as that new obligation relates to local services or domestic coach services operating in England.
178. Subsection (7) provides that the power does not extend to altering the functions of the Rail Passengers' Council so far as they relate to the provision of railway passenger services or station services.
179. Orders made under the new section are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
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