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Competition in the Local Bus Market (Third Report of Session 2012-13 - Volume I: Report, Together With Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence)

Competition in the Local Bus Market (Third Report of Session 2012-13 - Volume I: Report, Together With Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence)

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In this report the Committee concludes that the Local Transport Act 2008 gives local authorities a range of tools to work with bus operators to improve local bus services and does not need updating. However, the Government and bus industry need to show more leadership to raise the standard of bus services with the introduction of multi-operator smartcards, service stability and passenger information. While some bus services are good, too often passengers are dissatisfied with the reliability of the service, the level of fares and the need to buy another ticket if the trip involves two bus companies. More competition among bus operators may improve services in some areas but many routes simply cannot sustain more than one operator. It is worrying that the Traffic Commissioners who are responsible for bus safety and punctuality monitoring appear to have insufficient resources to carry out these crucial roles as effectively as they would wish. Outside London, the quality of bus services depends on partnerships between local authorities and the bus operators. In a minority of areas, such as where local authorities take on responsibility for local rail services, bus franchising may be an appropriate option. These would require additional subsidy and sustained political commitment