The government has been challenged to give communities new legal powers over bus services after a bus bill underwent two amendments, backed by the Co-operative Party.
The Bus Services Bill concluded its report stage, a further chance to examine it and make changes in the House of Lords, and will now continue into the House of Commons.
Speaking in the debate, Labour’s spokesperson Baroness Jones tabled two amendments, both supported by the Co-operative Party, and focused on recognising the importance of bus routes to the communities they serve.
Amendments 73 would require authorities to consider social value when commissioning bus services, while Amendment 97 would enable communities to designate bus routes as assets of community value.
Local councils would be required to consider “the wider economic, social and environmental benefits” of bids to run bus services in their area, added Baroness Jones.
The Co-operative Party stated on its website: “Co-operative Party peers and MPs will be working in partnership with Labour colleagues to continue holding the Government to account.
“Via our People’s Bus campaign, both in and outside of Westminster, we’ll be standing up for passengers and continuing to make the case for a fairer, better way of delivering local transport to the people who rely on it most.”
Bus companies outside London compete ‘on the street’ for passengers whilst those in the capital run a route exclusively and standards are specified across the city. The Bill aims to redress this imbalance with franchising.
The third reading, a final chance to tidy up the bill and makes changes, is scheduled for 2 November.