13 Jan 2011 : Column 5P


Thursday 13 January 2011



Bus Service (Walsall)

The Petition of users of Bus Service 639, Walsall to Wednesbury,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned at the way the 639 bus has been taken out of service from the Kings Hill area; notes that the Petitioners believe that this action was taken without consultation of the people who live in the Kings Hill area; notes that the reason given was lack of use, but that the Petitioners believe this was not the case and that it was lack and incompetence of West Midlands Travel (Walsall), as the bus often did not turn up and was mostly late when it did; further notes that there is not now a service to the Manor Hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call on National Express West Midlands and Centro to take all possible steps to put this problem right and ensure that the 639 bus service is reinstated.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. -[Presented by Valerie Vaz , Official Report, 9 December 2010; Vol. 520, c. 634.]


13 Jan 2011 : Column 6P

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

The majority of bus services outside London are provided on a commercial basis by private operators. Decisions such as where to run services, their frequency, the type of vehicle used, and the level of fares charged, are mainly a matter for the commercial judgment of the operator concerned.

There are no statutory requirements on bus operators to carry out consultation, as such, when introducing, amending or withdrawing services. The Government do encourage bus operators and local authorities to work together to ensure the interests of passengers, and consequently the wider community, are taken into account when any changes are being considered.

Local authorities also have powers to procure socially necessary bus services where these are not running commercially. It is for local authorities to work in partnership with operators and local communities to decide how best to provide these services.

Central Government are unable to intervene in the operational decisions of bus operators. Petitioners may wish to contact the local authority regarding this matter.

I understand that service 639 was operated commercially by bus operator National Express West Midlands. The company decided to withdraw the service because, unfortunately, the low number of passengers using the service meant it did not make enough money for it to continue running on a commercial basis.

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