Local Transport Act

The Government is committed to ensuring that we are well equipped to meet not only today's transport challenges, but also those of ten or twenty years' time. The Local Transport Act is a key part of the Government's strategy to meet this commitment, empowering local authorities to take appropriate steps to meet local transport needs in the light of local circumstances.

New voice for bus passengers as local transport bill gets Royal assent. A copy of the final version of the Act can be found on the Office of Public Sector website.

The Act will:

  • Give local authorities the right mix of powers to improve the quality of local bus services, as proposed in Putting Passengers First last December following an extensive bus policy review;
  • Allow for the creation of an influential new bus passenger champion to represent the interests of bus passengers;
  • Give local authorities the power to review and propose their own arrangements for local transport governance to support more coherent planning and delivery of local transport;
  • Update existing legal powers so that, where local areas wish to develop proposals for local road pricing schemes, they have the freedom and flexibility to do so in a way that best meets local needs - whilst ensuring schemes are consistent and interoperable.

Community Transport: LTP Best Practice Guidance 

Community Transport, often run by the third sector, provides transport to those unable to access conventional public transport.   

The aim of this guidance is to highlight the benefits of community transport and explain how local authorities can engage with the sector. 

Quality Contracts Schemes

The Local Transport Act 2008 includes provisions designed to make bus quality contracts schemes - the London-style model of bus contracts - a more realistic option for local transport authorities throughout England and Wales.  Those provisions will come into force, in England, on 11 January 2010.

The Government has published its response to the consultation, together with statutory guidance about quality contracts schemes that will also take effect in England from 11 January 2010. Regulations are being laid before Parliament and should be available at www.opsi.gov.uk shortly. The relevant Statutory Instrument reference numbers will be S.I. 2009 No. 3242 (commencement order) and S.I. 2009 Nos. 3243 to 3247 (QCS-related regulations). 

Guide for local authorities and bus operators

The Local Transport Act 2008: Creating the right public transport system for your area (PDF, 106 KB) 
This is a helpful guide for local authorities and bus operators on the Local Transport Act 2008. It aims to give an overview on the measures available under the Act, to improve public transport. Published: 16 September 2009

Review of Designated Bodies for Section 19 Permits: consultation

The Department is inviting views on the proposal to review the system of ‘designated bodies’, who play an important role in the community transport sector by issuing section 19 permits.  The document begins by setting out some background to the designated bodies system and explains why the Department is looking to review it.  It then describes the Government’s proposals for taking forward the review and poses a number of questions for consultation.

Local Transport Act 2008: Quality Contracts Schemes

The Local Transport Act 2008 contains provisions intended to make bus quality contracts schemes a more realistic option for local authorities in England and Wales.  This consultation invites views on a package of draft regulations and guidance which relate to quality contracts schemes.

PSV Impounding: Response to Consultation Paper

The Government consulted in December 2008 on proposals to establish a new regime for the impounding of certain illegally-operated public service vehicles (e.g. buses, coaches, etc).  This document provides a summary of the consultation responses and sets out the Government’s response.

Guidance about quality partnership schemes

The Local Transport Act 2008 includes provisions to support more effective partnership working between bus operators and local authorities, including through quality partnership schemes. The Department consulted late last year on draft guidance to support those provisions. The final version of the guidance has now been issued, and local transport authorities and metropolitan district councils in England are under a statutory obligation to have regard to the guidance when exercising functions relating to quality partnership schemes.

Guidance: The Local Transport Act 2008: Quality partnership schemes: Statutory guidance to English local transport authorities and metropolitan district councils [PDF, 336 Kb]

Response to consultation on bus partnerships

The Local Transport Act 2008 includes provisions to support more effective partnership working between bus operators and local authorities.  The Department consulted late last year on regulations and guidance to support those provisions.  Download a summary of the consultation responses, setting out the Government’s response.

The regulations themselves will be available from early March at www.opsi.gov.uk.

Publication of guidance on voluntary partnership agreements

The Department has published guidance to local authorities, bus operators and other interested parties concerning the provisions in the Local Transport Act which relate to voluntary partnership agreements.  The guidance can be downloaded:

Separate guidance on the application of competition law to voluntary partnership agreements, and certain other agreements and schemes, will be published during February 2009 on the Office of Fair Trading website.

Response to consultation on community transport regulations

The Department consulted in the second half of 2008 on draft regulations, which will support the implementation of provisions in the Local Transport Act which relate to community transport.  The Government has published a response to the consultation, which can be downloaded:

Commencement Order

The first Commencement Order for the Local Transport Act has now been made, bringing into force various provisions in the Act on the dates specified in the Order.  A copy of the Order can be downloaded from the OPSI website, in HTML or PDF (65KB) format.  The Explanatory Note at the end of the Order provides a helpful summary of which provisions are brought into force on what dates.

Consultation on proposed regime for impounding illegally-operated PSVs

VOSA launched a consultation on 10 December 2008, seeking views on draft regulations which VOSA propose as part of the implementation of the Local Transport Act 2008.

The consultation document sets out the proposal for a regime to enable VOSA to impound illegally-operated Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), as well as proposed amendments to the existing Goods Vehicle impounding regulations to align the two regimes.

House of Commons Report stage

It has now been announced that the remaining Commons stages for the Local Transport Bill are scheduled to take place on Monday 27 October.  The Government gave notice on 16 October 2007 of a number of amendments to the Bill, copies of which are available from the Parliament website.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, has written a letter to MPs explaining the purpose of the Government amendments.

The package includes a substantial number of amendments to the provisions about quality contracts schemes.  The Department has prepared a marked-up version of the relevant provisions of the Transport Act 2000, showing how they would look if the Bill (as proposed to be amended by the Government amendments) were to be enacted.

Consultation on bus partnership guidance and regulations

The Local Transport Bill includes measures to promote more effective partnership working between local authorities and bus operators, including through voluntary partnership agreements and quality partnership schemes.

The Department has published a consultation on draft Guidance which it is proposing to issue, and drafts of Regulations which it is proposing to make, assuming the Bill receives Royal Assent.

The draft Guidance and Regulations would apply to England and, in some cases, Wales. The consultation materials can be found here. The consultation is open until 31 October 2008.

Separate guidance has been published for consultation jointly by the Department and the Office of Fair Trading, explaining how competition law applies in the bus market.  Details of this consultation can be found on the OFT website.

Consultation on secondary legislation on community transport permits

The Local Transport Bill will support further development of the community transport sector by removing unnecessary restrictions, and by strengthening the system for issuing permits to community transport providers.

The Department has published a consultation on draft regulations which it is proposing to make, assuming the Bill receives Royal Assent. The regulations relate to the conditions of use and procedures applying where vehicles are used under permits granted to community transport groups under section 19 and section 22 of the Transport Act 1985.

The Bill will amend the 1985 Act to allow greater flexibility over vehicle size, and over the payment of drivers of community buses. It will also make provision for the issue of time-limited permits, the phasing out of existing timeless permits, and for the keeping of records of permit issue.

The consultation covers two sets of draft regulations, one relating to section 19 permits and the other relating to community bus (section 22) permits. Further secondary legislation, to amend the Designated Bodies Order and to phase out the existing 'timeless' permits is planned for a later stage.

The draft Regulations apply to England, Wales and Scotland. The consultation on secondary legislation on community transport permits, the draft Regulations, and an impact assessment on the regulations is available online.

The consultation is open until 17 October 2008.

Quality partnership schemes - draft regulations and guidance

We have heard calls for further detail on certain aspects of the Bill's proposed changes to Quality Partnership Schemes.  The Quality Partnership Scheme model was introduced by the Transport Act 2000 as a means by which a local authority agreed to invest in improved facilities at specific locations along bus routes (eg, bus stops or bus lanes) and operators who wish to use those facilities agree to provide services of a particular standard (eg, new buses, or driver training standards).

Under proposals in the Bill quality partnership schemes would be able, for the first time, to specify frequencies, timings and maximum fares as standards of service.  This could only be done where there were no “admissible objections” from “relevant operators”.

The Bill includes a power for the Secretary of State (and the Welsh Ministers) to make regulations defining the terms "admissible objections" and "relevant operators".  To assist the Public Bill Committee's consideration of the Bill, the Government has published a pre-consultation draft of these regulations, along with an updated draft of the supporting guidance which was first published in December 2007.  The draft regulations and guidance relate to England only, and can be found here:

Improving Local Bus services:  Draft Guidance Volume 3 - Quality Partnership Schemes

We welcome any comments that you may have, sent to the Bill address at LocalTransportBill@dft.gsi.gov.uk.

Bus passenger representation

We have also published an analysis of the responses to our consultation on the options for strengthening bus passenger representation. The Secretary of State has announced that we intend to expand the remit of Passenger Focus, the rail watchdog, to represent the interests of bus and scheduled coach service passengers.

Draft Guidance and Keeling Schedules - December 2007

In order to aid understanding of the Bill and to make clearer some of the issues that have been raised since its publication, a number of documents were published in time for the first day of the Bill's Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

This includes draft guidance on Governance Reviews and the Publication of Governance Schemes, Guidance on Improving Local Bus Services, and Keeling Schedules that update previous relevant Acts with the changes proposed by the Local Transport Bill.

These documents can be found here:

We have also published a Consultation on options for strengthening bus passenger representation.

The Bill has now successfully passed through the House of Lords and on to the House of Commons.  The latest version of the Bill, transcripts for all sessions and other information for each stage of the Bill can be found online.

A number of new amendments have been made to the Bill as it went through the Lords, lists of which can be found under "Amendment Papers and Proceedings" on the Parliament link above. 
The Bill is currently waiting to be allocated a date for Commons Second Reading.  This depends on Parliamentary time, so it is not yet known when this will happen.  This of course means that dates for all subsequent stages of the Bill also cannot be predicted. However, checking the above Parliamentary website will always provide the most up to date information on the Bill's progress.

Publication of the Bill:

The Bill was introduced to the House of Lords for First Reading on Wednesday 7 November.  The Bill has been updated in light of the consultation on the draft Bill and of Parliamentary Pre-Legislative scrutiny by the House of Commons Transport Committee.  We are grateful to those who responded to the consultation and attended the regional events, as well as to the Transport Committee for their report.

The Bill and related documents can be found here:

Information on the parliamentary progress of the Bill can be monitored here.

Further information about any aspect of the Bill can be obtained by emailing LocalTransportBill@dft.gsi.gov.uk.

The draft Bill:

The draft Bill was published for public consultation and Parliamentary pre-legislative scrutiny on 22 May 2007, and has now closed.

We are grateful for the over 200 written responses to the consultation on the Bill, as well as all those who took part in the regional events and Ministerial visits on the Bill.  Read a summary of these events, as well as summaries of the related consultations on Traffic Commissioners and Local Transport Plans.

More information on the Traffic Commissioner Consultation , and on the Bill-related aspects of the consultation on Local Transport Planning.

The draft Bill was also the subject of pre-legislative scrutiny by the House of Commons Transport Committee, whose Report was published on 25 July 2007 and can be found on the Committee's Website.  On 17 October 2007 the Committee published the Department's responses to each of the Committee's recommendations.

Quality Contracts Schemes: Statutory Guidance

This document contains guidance to local transport authorities in England (LTAs), the senior traffic commissioner and QCS boards about the exercise of their functions relating to quality contracts schemes.

10 December 2009

Local Transport Act 2008: Improving local bus services: Guidance on voluntary partnership agreements (104 kb)

This document provides guidance to local authorities, bus operators and other interested parties about the provisions in the Local Transport Act 2008 which relate to voluntary partnership agreements.

09 February 2009

Archived content

The following content is available from the Department for Transport web archive .

Keeling Schedules

Local Transport Bill: Written consultation responses

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