Take Back Control Act would streamline path to greater bus powers with
a presumption in favour of franchising for all local transport authoritiess
The Labour Party has announced plans to take significant steps to reform bus services in England if it wins the next general election, claiming that “decades of failed deregulation have left communities with little say over the essential services they rely on”.
Pointing to new data that suggests thousands of bus services have been lost in recent years, with over 1,000 services cut in the past year alone, shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said Labour would “reform the country’s broken bus system and hand power and control to local communities”. She announced plans for a Take Back Control Act as part of the first King’s Speech of a Labour government. The proposed legislation would give local communities more control over public transport in their area.
This reform would:
Extend the chance to franchise bus services to every community;
Introduce a presumption in favour of franchising to halt delays;
Lift the legal ban on setting up new municipal bus companies introduced by the government in the 2017 Bus Services Act.
Labour will fix our broken bus system – and we’ll do it by giving power and control of bus services to the communities who depend on them
Launching the policy last week, Haigh said: “Labour will fix our broken bus system – and we’ll do it by giving power and control of bus services to the communities who depend on them.”
The government introduced bus franchising powers in the 2017 Bus Services Act, but Haigh’s plans drew scorn from buses minister Richard Holden. He said: “They want bureaucrats to run bus services instead of bus companies and, with no mention of funding, it’s council taxpayers who will end up paying.”
This story appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.
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