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What I think of the Buses Bill

I was sitting listening to Transport Minister Andrew Jones recently in London introducing the new Buses Bill, and I thought ‘hey, they get it’, and they should be applauded for that.

The Bill includes new measures to make bus travel more passenger-friendly by giving councils greater freedom to improve services.

If the Bill becomes law, local authorities and bus operators – in enhanced partnerships – will be able to agree standards for all services in their area based on local needs.

In essence, the Bill is saying if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Really, it feels like an endorsement of everything we’ve been doing as a partnership in Brighton & Hove for some time.

As the city’s bus operator, we already have a high rating in customer satisfaction and more people use buses here than anywhere outside of London per head of population. We run an environmentally-sound bus fleet. We offer a range of targeted discount tickets – and are always looking for the next deal to offer. What’s more, we have a history of working collaboratively with the council and have successfully delivered on things such as priority bus lanes, which help to get local residents to where they need to go more efficiently.

We’re an active partner in the city and consider it our job to play a key role in its well-being.

The Transport Minister said the Bill would also enable other solutions in areas where they were appropriate but emphasised there was ‘much about today’s deregulated bus industry that works well’.

And we agree on something else too. The Bill wants operators to open up information about routes, fares and times to everyone. It’ll mean passengers can plan their journeys better and independent app developers can design products to integrate transport data. So in future making a journey that involves more than one mode of transport will be easier than ever.

I’ve long thought we should have an app that – along with bus information – can pull together data about car parking spaces, traffic queues, cycling parks and anything else you might need to plan your trip about town. In fact it’s something that’s frustrated me for ages.

The point of the Buses Bill is to increase bus passenger numbers and this brings me to the core of our business as a bus operator – to continually strive to deliver an excellent bus service.

The Transport Minister said: “Good bus services can help communities thrive and grow, and we want to make journeys better so everyone has the choice to leave the car at home”.

We’ve been in the business of helping communities thrive and grow for some time now, so it’s good to know, the Transport Minister gets it too.

Let me know your thoughts @citybusnews