New legislation, which comes into force on 11th January 2010, gives new powers to local authorities to set up Bus Quality Contracts. Previous legislation on this topic was so restrictive that not a single local council had managed to set one up in 9 years. The Government has Announced that councils will have power to set them up without having to get permission from the Department for Transport. This should make it much easier. Steve Dawe comments:
“Councillors can now demand that their councils take control of bus routes and ensure services particularly in rural areas rather than leaving it to the operators or the whims of the Department of Transport. Under the new system for bus service contracts, Councils will be able to determine routes, timetable, fares and potentially other aspects of bus services. They would even be able to impose financial penalties where operators do not meet targets, or cancel contracts when not satisfied with the Bus Operator.
“Kent Green Party welcomes this change as it is particularly valuable to rural areas. Since 13% of rural households in Kent do not have a car, and bus coverage is poor, this change to Bus Quality Contracts means councils can meet rural needs more effectively. It also allows rural inhabitants in general to avoid car use and cut their carbon footprint, helping with the fight against Climate Change.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, Kent Green Party: 01732 355185 or mobile 07747 036192. Contact address as above. KENT GREEN NEWS is available monthly: subscribe at www.kentgreenparty.org
1. Details of the legislation can be found at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/localtransportbill/