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After Clause 151, insert the following new clause--


(“ .--(1) With effect from the appointed day, Transport for London shall introduce, or procure or facilitate the introduction of, a means by which passengers shall be able to make journeys in Greater London using more than one public passenger transport service having purchased only a single ticket, such ticket be a voucher or an electronic card or such other system as appears to Transport for London to be the most reliable, economic and efficient means to effect such journeys.
(2) The Mayor may issue regulations under this subsection as to the day on which subsection (1) above shall come into effect, provided that the appointed day within that subsection shall be no later than the fifth anniversary of this Act coming into force.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 397 standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Brabazon of Tara. In doing so it may be convenient if I speak also to Amendment No. 398.

In Committee the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, conceded that if TfL were to scrap the Travelcard it would probably break the mayor's general duty under Clause 126. The amendment before us is a major boost to the interests of the travelling public. It will compel TfL to maintain some form of universal through ticketing. Subsection (1) sets out the requirement: a single cross-London ticket or other facilities to achieve that. Subsection (2) sets a deadline for implementation of five years.

I accept that in practice this adds nothing to the existing non-statutory travel scheme arrangements, and the comments of the Minister in Committee were encouraging. Let us therefore entrench the principle on the face of the Bill as a non-contentious amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, Amendment No. 397 would require the mayor to introduce, within five years of the GLA Act coming into force, ticketing arrangements allowing passengers to travel on more than one mode of public transport on the purchase of a single ticket.

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We believe the amendment is unnecessary because such ticketing arrangements already exist, most prominently in the form of the Travelcard. Noble Lords opposite and their colleagues in another place have suggested that we should somehow legislate to preserve the Travelcard. But that ignores the fact that the Travelcard scheme is not a statutory scheme. It is underpinned by a voluntary agreement between London Regional Transport and the train operating companies. TfL will take on London Transport's obligations under that agreement and will thus continue to offer the benefits of Travelcard.

It is highly improbable that any mayor would want to risk losing the benefits of Travelcard. Travelcard and products like it will be a vital component in helping the mayor to discharge his or her general transport duty in Clause 127. Indeed, it is hard to see how reducing the benefits Travelcard offers could be consistent with that duty.

However, there might actually be risks in attempting to legislate for Travelcard. If we were to do so, as noble Lords opposite suggest, there is a danger that the current Travelcard arrangements would be preserved in aspic. The mayor's scope to build on Travelcard and introduce innovative and new multi-modal tickets might be inadvertently restricted if she or he were compelled to stick too rigidly to a particular format. I hope that the noble Earl will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her reply. I found it very interesting. I accept her argument and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 152 [Structure of fares and services]:

[Amendment No. 398 not moved.]

Clause 161 [Addition or variation of a network service]:

[Amendment No. 399 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 162 [Discontinuance of a network service]:

[Amendment No. 400 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 163 [London service permits]:

Baroness Gardner of Parkes moved Amendment No. 401:

Page 89, line 3, at end insert--
(“(2A) When preparing the guidance document, the Mayor shall include consideration of matters affecting--
(a) routes,
(b) terminal points,
(c) places at which passengers may or may not be taken up and set down,
(d) traffic flow, safety and congestion,
(e) environmental amenity,
(f) the safety and convenience of the public, including persons who have mobility problems, and
(g) any other matters which appear to the mayor to be relevant.").

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The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Clause 163 covers London service permits for buses that are not part of the London bus network. Those of us who have seen total deregulation of buses both in London and other parts of the country are aware of how important it is to have some degree of control. The amendment sets out possible items for the mayor to incorporate in guidance. I am slightly opposed to the shopping lists which we see so often with regard to the National Health Service because whatever shopping list you have you leave something out of it. I hope that the Minister will be able to reassure me that the guidance document referred to in subsection (2) of the clause will automatically take this type of item into consideration. If she is not able to give me such an assurance, I believe that the amendment would cover the point. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, the noble Baroness is to be congratulated on giving thought to what the mayor's guidance document should contain or encompass. I suspect that much of what she proposes may ultimately be included in the document in one form or another. Indeed, when we consulted on our proposals for this part of the Bill late last year we received other suggestions about the content of the guidance document, each reflecting the different interests of the group, organisation or individual who proposed them.

We do not see it as our policy to second guess what the mayor should include in his guidance document any more than we would wish the Bill to dictate to the mayor what should be included in other strategies the mayor will be required to produce. Our intention is that the mayor should start with a clean sheet of paper in deciding what the policy should be in respect of London service permit services. The mayor will be required to produce the document in draft and publish it for public consultation. The Bill contains extensive public consultation provisions for the guidance document. We believe that these provisions will make it possible for everyone with an interest in such services to make their views known. In particular, we have made specific provision for information about the document to be published in a newspaper circulating throughout greater London.

In practice, we believe that the production of the guidance will be a partnership between the mayor initially setting out the policies that the mayor believes would be beneficial, and the many interested parties such as local authorities, bus companies, residents' groups, the police and disabled groups responding to the draft and making their input through the consultation process. We believe--I think that the noble Baroness would agree with me--that such a consultation should spark some quite lively debate. That will be good. We believe that that is a better approach. But we are grateful to the noble Baroness for giving such thought to this important subject. We do not want to see the document set in stone, and the Bill provides for revisions to be produced to which all the consultation provisions will apply again. That will allow experience of operating the new permit system.

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The document must evolve and that is why we do not believe that it would be wise to constrain the development of the mayor's policies. I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her interest. I hope that she now feels able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that detailed reply. I am quite reassured by the process of consultation, which I think will be productive. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 164 [Grant of London service permits]:

[Amendment No. 402 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Baroness Gardner of Parkes moved Amendment No. 403:

Page 89, line 27, at end insert--
(“(4A) If--
(a) any of the persons and bodies specified in subsection (4) above (“the consultee") objects to the grant of a London service permit or considers that a permit should only be issued subject to conditions, and
(b) Transport for London is minded to grant a London service permit despite such objection without any or all of the conditions referred to at subsection 4A(a) above,
Transport for London shall refer the matter to be determined by an appeal panel as provided for under section 167 below.
(4B) Any appeal considered under the provisions of subsection 4A above shall be by way of a hearing unless the applicant and the consultee concerned decide not to appear.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is a slightly different amendment. The Bill gives the mayor control over the regulation of commercial bus services. Amendment No. 403 would provide for an automatic referral to the appeal process, which comes under Clause 167. Noble Lords will note that subsection (4A)(a) of my amendment is linked to paragraph (b) with the word “and". The two conditions in the amendment would have to be met.

Perhaps I may save the House time by also speaking briefly to Amendments Nos. 406 and 407 which are grouped with this one. Amendment No. 407 requires consultation with local authorities and others. Again, if the Minister is able to assure me that the consultation process will be thorough, I think I shall be satisfied on that point. However, I should be grateful for a reply regarding Amendment No. 403 and the automatic provision for appeal. I beg to move.

9.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, on the face of it, the noble Baroness's amendment sounds reasonable. However, I am concerned that it could generate a large number of appeals. At the beginning, TfL will consult widely. There will therefore be a wide number of consultees, some of whom would be able to exercise their right of appeal. That could present a substantial workload. A permit system could become clogged with appeals and each application could be held up for some time. That would not be in anyone's interest. Bus companies that wished to apply for a permit might well lose confidence

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in such a system. I am sure that they would expect their applications to be dealt with efficiently and with reasonable speed.

We have covered the matter in a different way. We intend the appeal panel to provide an appropriate safeguard for the interests of bus companies against decisions taken by TfL. It was never our intention that they should act at the request of consultees.

I believe that we have ensured that consultees will be able to play their part at a much earlier stage and make their views known to TfL on permit applications. I am firmly convinced that TfL should take the final decisions regarding applications, subject to the applicant's right of appeal. But the views of other consultees will have been taken into account by the time the decision has been reached.

Turning to the other two amendments, a requirement for TfL to consult local authorities before making any variation, however small, could be time consuming. There is a better way of going about this. It would be preferable for the issues of variations to be addressed in the mayor's guidance document. We shall expect the mayor to set out his policy in respect of the circumstances under which conditions may be attached to a permit, after having taken account of the views of all the interested parties, including local authorities and the operators. It is in those conditions that TfL has the power to vary under the provisions of Clause 165. Any variations made would have to be consistent with what is stated in the guidance document.

The other advantage of dealing with the matter through a guidance document rather than on the face of the Bill is that it would not be set in stone. As experience grew, revisions could be considered at the request of the operators, the local authorities or other interested parties. Such revisions would be subject to wide consultation.

I believe that I heard the noble Baroness aright: she said that if she could receive reassurances in relation to the consultation process, the appeals process might not be the appropriate way of dealing with the matter. I hope that she accepts that that is the way in which we are dealing with it, subject to a guidance document being drawn up which makes that clear to all parties concerned.

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