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Bus Services

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will introduce another Kickstart initiative to help the commercial bus industry to introduce new and enhanced services. (202518)

We are keeping under review whether to hold a further competition for Kickstart funding against the background of the proposals contained in our consultation document ‘Local Bus Service Support—Options for Reform’, published on 13 March.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she has taken to prevent bus companies changing their services to create more journeys within the national concessionary bus fare scheme process for remuneration per journey. (203157)

The main principle which applies to reimbursement is that bus operators should be financially no better and no worse off as a result of taking part in concessionary travel schemes. Reimbursement paid to bus operators takes two forms: revenue forgone and additional costs.

Revenue forgone is reimbursement of the fares operators would have received for existing passengers now travelling free. Here reimbursement is not based on the full commercial adult fare as, in the absence of a concession, discounted fares would be available at off-peak times.

Additional costs are those associated with carrying people who are only travelling because of the concession. The operator only receives a payment to cover the marginal additional costs of carrying these extra passengers.

As such, any rise in patronage as a result of the concession should be revenue neutral to operators.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many journey changes to bus routes were notified by bus companies to the traffic commissioners in each of the last 48 months for which figures are available. (203158)

Information is not available on a monthly basis. The number of applications in Great Britain to vary the registration of a local bus service which were accepted by the traffic commissioners in the latest four years (ending 31 March) for which figures are available is as follows:

Number

2003-04

9,976

2004-05

9,613

2005-06

9,426

2006-07

8,109

Currently, around 23,000 registered bus services operate in Great Britain. This figure does not include local services provided wholly within London, which are not subject to registration by the traffic commissioners.