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Bus Services: Concessions

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many full-time equivalent officials are working on matters related to the determination of operator appeals connected with the national concessionary bus fare scheme; and what the average length of time has been between submission of appeal and determination; (206556)

(2) what recent assessment she has made of the consistency of appeal decisions in respect of operator appeals under the national concessionary bus fare scheme;

(3) what percentage of appeals have been decided (a) fully and (b) partly in favour of bus operators in respect of the 2007 national concessionary bus fare scheme; and how much has been awarded to bus operators to date;

(4) how many appeals have been registered by operators against the 2008 national concessionary bus fare scheme; and if she will place a list of those operators in the Library.

[holding answer 19 May 2008]: There are the equivalent of around four full-time officials working on matters relating to the determination of bus operator appeals, including legal and economic specialists. There were also two independent decision makers appointed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport for the 2007-08 appeals although neither works full time. The average length of time between appeal submission and issue of a determination was 10 months. The issues are complex and it is imperative that each appeal is considered fairly, and this takes time.

The Secretary of State has not made any assessment of the consistency of the appeal decisions. Determinations of appeals are made by independent decision makers appointed on her behalf. They consider each case on the basis of the evidence submitted by each applicant and the relevant travel concession authority (TCA), with professional economic and legal advice from officials in the Department.

Appeals determinations in the year 2007-08 were either upheld, in which case the decision makers directed the TCA to modify their schemes to award additional reimbursement to the operator, or they were dismissed. To date, for 2007-08 appeals, 33 were upheld and 34 were dismissed. The decision makers are appointed to determine whether or not the arrangements in a TCA’s concessionary travel scheme are appropriate with respect to reimbursement for the services provided by the applicant operator. Based on estimates of outturn data, around £6.5 million additional reimbursement was directed to be paid, in total, to operators whose appeals were successful in 2007-08.

There were 102 appeals by bus operators regarding reimbursement arrangements in 2007-08, of which, 25 were withdrawn and three were not valid. Of the remaining 74, to date, 67 have been determined. The following is a list of operators who lodged appeals. Some operators had lodged appeals in more than one TCA. Two appeals have so far been lodged against 2008-09 schemes.

Anglian Bus and Coach Ltd.

Arriva Midlands

Arriva North East Ltd.

Bakers Coaches

Bournemouth Transport Ltd.

Bowers Coaches Ltd.

Brighton and Hove Transport

Brylaine Travel Ltd.

Burtons Coaches Ltd.

Castleways (Winchcombe) Ltd.

Centrebus Ltd.

Choice Travel

Compass Travel (Sussex) Ltd.

D and G Coach and Bus Ltd.

East Kent Road Car Ltd. (Stagecoach in East Kent)

East Midland Motor Services Ltd.

Eastbourne Buses Ltd.

Excel Passenger Logistics Ltd.

F. Hunt (Coach Hire) Ltd.

First Devon and Cornwall Ltd., jointly with First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd. and First Somerset and Avon Ltd.

First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd.

First PMT Ltd.

First South Yorkshire Ltd.

Go West Midlands Ltd.

Hants and Dorset Bus (Damory Coaches)

Hodson Coaches Ltd.

Konect Bus Ltd.

Leicester City Bus (First Leicester)

Lincolnshire Road Car (Stagecoach in Lincolnshire)

Marchwood Motorways

MAS Special Engineering Ltd.

MetroBus Ltd.

Midland Red South Ltd. (Stagecoach in Warwickshire)

Norfolk Green (Go West)

North Shropshire Community Transport Ltd.

Northampton Transport Ltd. (First Northampton)

Nu-Venture Coaches Ltd.

Oxford Bus Co.

P. C. Coaches of Lincoln Ltd.

Plymouth City Transport

Powells Bus Ltd.

Pulham and Sons (Coaches) Ltd.

Red and White Services Ltd. (Stagecoach in South Wales)

Regal Busways

Sleafordian Taxi Co. Ltd.

Solent Blue Line

Stagecoach Devon

Stagecoach East Midlands

Stagecoach in Cambridgeshire (Cambus)

Stagecoach in Lincolnshire

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

Stagecoach in Yorkshire

Stagecoach North West

Stagecoach South

Stagecoach West

Stagecoach Yorkshire

Stephensons of Essex Ltd.

T. M. Travel Ltd.

Thames Travel (Wallingford) Ltd.

Thamesdown Ltd.

Tourist Coaches

Trent Barton Buses

United Counties Omnibus Co. Ltd. (Stagecoach East)

W. H. Nelson Coaches (Wickford) Ltd.

West Midlands Travel Ltd.

Wilfreda Luxury Coaches Ltd.

Wilts and Dorset Bus