The Government’s view is that the commissioning and provision of bus services should be kept separate, particularly as new partnership and franchising powers in the Bus Services Act 2017 are likely to lead to more local authority control and better influence of local bus services.
To be fair, the right hon. Gentleman’s question was, “What plans he has to enable public transport authorities to operate their own bus services,” and I gave the appropriate answer. However, as he will know, I am quite keen, as a localist, to try to do some of this, but the Government are committed to implementing the UK’s first ever long-term bus strategy, which will be accompanied by long-term funding. That strategy will focus on passenger needs and set out how the Government will work with local authorities and the private sector.