To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make local authorities aware of the benefits for service, quality and passengers of the bus service agreement established in Oxford between the bus operators and the local authority under the Local Transport Act 2008. [HL1772]
The Government welcome the plans to enhance bus services in Oxford city centre. The proposals show how much can be achieved through collaborative working between local authorities and bus operators, and by making best use of the powers in the Local Transport Act 2008.
My colleague, the Minister of State, recently spoke at a conference on this very topic, which my department co-sponsored with the Local Government Association, the Passenger Transport Executive Group and the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and at which Oxfordshire County Council gave a presentation on its plans. The objective of the event was to promote initiatives of this kind.
The Local Transport Act provides a range of tools for local authorities to improve the standard of bus services, for the benefit of passengers. We encourage them to consider all options available, and in many cases voluntary and quality partnership schemes will secure the desired improvements. However, quality contract schemes are now a realistic additional option, and it is for local authorities to assess what approach will work best in their areas.