A Welsh Government Bill, introduced by Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales. The Business Committee has remitted the Bill to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee.
About the Bill
The Bill includes Provision for:
The policy objective of the Bill is to provide local authorities with an improved range of tools to use when planning and delivering local bus services within their area, and to improve the availability of information on bus services.
The Bill seeks to amend the legislative framework relating to the planning and delivery of local bus services. Specifically it makes provision for the creation of Welsh Partnership Schemes (WPS), Welsh Franchising Schemes (WFS), and for local authorities to run their own bus services. Local authorities would be able to use any or all of these options to improve bus services within their area.
Welsh Partnership Schemes bring together operators and local authorities to plan and implement a series of agreed measures and improvements in certain areas. This could include co-ordination on timetables, better information and ticketing, higher quality vehicles, and the local authority providing facilities and taking measures such as better waiting areas and enforced bus lanes. Bus operators not involved in the WPS could not use the improved facilities or use stopping places in areas with measures in place in the WPS area. Welsh Partnership Schemes may involve cross-border bus services. In these cases, a Welsh local authority and an English local authority must make a WPS jointly.
Welsh Franchising Schemes would allow local authorities to award the exclusive right to operators though contracts to run bus services in the franchise area. Local authorities would be able to decide how many franchise contracts they wanted to let in their area.
The provisions in the Bill to allow local authorities to run their own bus services by removing restrictions on this in current legislation. This will allow local authorities, working on their own or jointly, to directly run bus services in their areas. These services could be managed in-house or via an arms-length company.
The Bill also seeks to introduce a requirement on bus operators to share two types of data with two audiences. The Bill allows (by regulations) the Welsh Ministers to require operators to provide data about local bus services (‘open data’) which could be used to give the public access to more consistent, reliable and up-to-date information on bus services. The Bill also seeks to give local authorities the power to request information, including fare, revenue and passenger data, from bus operators on routes they have proposed to alter or withdraw.
Further detail about the Bill can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.
The Bill is currently at Stage 1. An explanation of the various stages of Assembly Bills is available in the Guide to the Stages of Public Bills and Acts.
Record of Passage in the Welsh Parliament
The following table sets out the dates for each stage of the Bill’s passage through the Welsh Parliament.
Bus Services (Wales) Bill, as introduced
Business Committee’s Report on the timetable for consideration of the Bill:
Committee considerations of general principles
Scrutiny of the Bill was paused due to the pandemic, and on 1 April the First Minister issued a written statement on the Government’s approach to legislation in light of Covid-19. The Bill was not prioritised for progression but remained under continual review. On 15 July 2020 the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, in Charge of the Bill, notified the Llywydd that the Bill was being withdrawn in accordance with Standing Order 26.79.
Clerk: Robert Donovan
Phone: 0300 200 6565
Business type: Legislation
Reason considered: Government Business;
Status: For consideration
First published: 16/03/2020