For so many people who use community transport services, bus routes provide a vital lifeline to their communities. For older people, those with disabilities, the unemployed, younger people and those in low income jobs, bus services run by community transport operators can have a significant impact.
It’s important, then, that we at the Community Transport Association work with the government to make sure that community transport organisations are enabled to provide the best services they can to those that need them. This year, the Department for Transport is looking at reforming bus services across England in what is being referred to as the ‘Buses Bill.’ The CTA is keen to work with everyone involved in the process to ensure that the bill offers the best deal for local communities. The CTA also strongly believes that community transport should feature prominently in any new regulatory system and is committed to making sure that the voices of our members are heard in this process.
To that end, we’d like to encourage our members to take part in the Department for Transport’s briefing sessions in September and October to speak up for community transport in discussions surrounding the Bill. The sessions, in which the DfT are hoping to hear from those across the transport sector, are taking place in Birmingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol. The time, dates and venues can be found on our website.
To help our members in raising issues that we feel are vital to ensuring that the bill puts community transport at its centre, we’ve produced a briefing document highlighting the most salient issues. You can download the full briefing paper here but our primary suggestions are that the Buses Bill should devolve responsibility for bus regulation to all local authorities at County Council level, in addition to those Passenger Transport Executives with an elected Mayor, and franchise bus services via partnership mechanisms which integrate community transport into the overall bus network.
We want the voices of community transport operators to be heard in this process so we’re encouraging members to attend one of the briefing sessions and highlight the opportunities for community and voluntary transport in the Buses Bill. If you are planning to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to let us know. As the event is being run by the Department for Transport, you can’t book through us however. Email the DfT on email@example.com to book your place.
We believe that the Bill can help to ensure that community transport is integrated into mainstream bus networks, and improve the understanding of the work that the sector does. These workshops are a great opportunity for members to share that point of view and fly the flag for community transport, so please get involved.