Author Topic: Bus Users UK questions legality of funding cuts for bus services  (Read 675 times)

Offline Suzy Scott

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18/03/2011
Bus Users UK questions legality of funding cuts for bus services
Bus Users UK is questioning how local authorities can reconcile massive cuts in funding for bus services with their duties under the 1985 Transport Act.

The organisation has written to Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire County Councils, which particularly appear to be obviating their duties to support bus services that are not being provided commercially. The two authorities have announced their intention to cut all funding for the supported bus network.

The 1985 Transport Act is still the main legislation governing the provision of bus services, which subsequent acts have only modified and not replaced. It requires local authorities to secure bus services where they are necessary and where none is being provided commercially. ‘Obviously we accept that the need for public transport services will change over time, and we don’t expect the bus network to be pickled in aspic’, says Bus Users UK General Manager Stephen Morris. ‘But neither can we accept that the entire supported bus network in major, largely rural, shire counties can become dispensable overnight. We believe these councils are failing to meet their statutory duty, and have asked them to justify their action.’ Bus Users UK has also pointed out that buses are important to the local economy, as people rely on buses to get to work, jobseekers use buses to look for work and travel to interviews, high-street retailers depend on local shoppers; that bus use is better for the environment and congestion than car use and buses are vital for social inclusion.
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Offline northantsbusman

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Re: Bus Users UK questions legality of funding cuts for bus services
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 06:28:51 pm »
It is my understanding that with the massive withdrawl of bus service due to cuts, there is funding available for local communities to fund local bus projects / shared taxi services, there are some problems with this:

1) Small bus schemes, using Council owned minibus often requires the driver to have MiDAS training.
2) Community bus schmes often rely heavily on volunteer labour on an ad hoc basis, regular services would need employed staff.
3) Since 1997 new drivers (passing car test post Feb 97 are only licenced to drive up to 8 passenger seats (MPVs) unless they have took a further D1 driving test, this requires a full medical.
4) Drivers that have took this further test often have a 101 restriction (not for hire or reward). When I enquired into taking a MiDAS course, the council asked me if I had a 101 restriction, when I said no as I had full category D entitlement and drove for hire / reward as a profession, I was tolds "I'm sorry but the rules state you must have a 101 restriction on your licence." I few phone calls later sorted this out for me. But if they cant drive for hire or reward then I understand they cannot take fares.

There is schemes existed in the past where the Council run demand response schemes following a set route out of a town, and then roaming which are advantagous to communities, but these are often run by PCV operators with appropriately qualified drivers.