'Council should have more control of bus services'
THE city council should look further into taking more control of Bristol's bus services, councillors have agreed.
Tim Kent, who is responsible for transport in the city, believes a move towards quality contracts – where bus services would essentially be re-regulated – could see a reduction in fares and an improvement in services.
But Tory leader Peter Abraham told last night's meeting of the city council that the proposal was "premature and petrifying".
Labour councillor Mark Bradshaw said that by the time the authority had "jumped through all the legal hoops" it could take four years.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Liberal Democrat cabinet councillor Mr Kent presented a report to the meeting at the Council House calling for discussion on proposals for £25,000 to £30,000 being spent on more detailed work on the project. The money would be spent on consultants and compiling a business case for quality contracts in the city.
Mr Kent, pictured, said: "I think this is a very important policy and I think it needs significant debate.
"It could be a small expenditure to develop but it could be a big shift in how we deliver bus services. I think everyone will agree the current situation with the way bus services are run is not satisfactory."
Mr Abraham told the meeting that he was one of the few people in the chamber who could remember when the council ran the buses.
"Everyone wanted to get off the buses and into cars – it is one of the reasons car ownership in this city is so high, because the bus company run by Bristol City Council was rubbish," he said. "This really is something that petrifies me."
Mr Kent said that moving to a quality contract would not mean that the city ran the bus services and transport firms would continue to do so. But he said it would increase competition, which should in turn improve services for passengers in Bristol.
Mr Kent agreed that after more detailed investigation and assessment the decision might be taken not to move forward with the quality contract, but he felt there was a "strong case that it would radically improve our bus service here in Bristol".
"I think we would be letting the people of Bristol down if we did not proceed on to this."
Tess Green (Green, Southville) said that she would like to see the bus service taken back under the council's control but was concerned about the use of consultants. She said that the benefits the move would bring meant the "people of Bristol would not thank us if we did not do this".
After a vote, the 46 councillors agreed to note the report.