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Greater London Authority Act 1999

Chapter V: Regulation of Bus Services in Greater London

313.Greater London is the only area in Great Britain in which bus services were not deregulated under Part I of the Transport Act 1985. A separate system for regulating road passenger transport in London is contained in Part II (sections 34 to 46) of that Act. This provides for the licensing of local bus services. No licence is required where a bus service is provided by LRT, one of its subsidiaries or someone who has an agreement with LRT by virtue of section 3(2) of the LRT Act 1984. Most local bus services in London are provided by private bus companies under contract to LRT through powers contained in the LRT Act 1984. A small number of bus services are licensed by the Traffic Commissioner through powers contained in the Transport Act 1985. The Act adapts the regulation of bus services in Greater London.

Sections 179 and 180: Introductory

314.The bus services that are covered by this Chapter are local services that have stopping places within the Greater London area (including the London section of a service that runs partly outside London). There are exceptions, such as those services that have stopping places more than 15 miles apart and rail replacement services. The Act sets out provisions with which such services will have to comply. Failure to do so is an offence which may result in a fine up to a maximum of level 3 on the standard scale (level 3 is currently set under the Criminal Justice Acts at £1,000).

315.A PSV operator's licence, provisions for which are set out in the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, is normally required by anyone carrying fare-paying passengers in vehicles over a certain size. Community bus permits (section 22 of the Transport Act 1985) are granted by traffic commissioners for certain types of non profit-making services serving particular communities.

Sections 181 to 184: The London bus network

316.These sections require TfL to determine which bus services are required to make up the "London bus network" and so far as practicable to ensure that that network is provided. Only TfL or a subsidiary or someone who has an agreement with TfL or a subsidiary may provide a service that is a part of the network. Any party who provides a bus service under an agreement with TfL must hold a PSV operator's licence or a community bus permit.

317.Agreements between TfL and another person to provide a bus service that is part of the London bus network will be called "London local service agreements". The London local service agreement must take account of any restrictions placed by a Traffic Commissioner on any part of a service that runs outside London.

318.These sections also provide for consultation of interested parties where TfL proposes to provide (or enter into an agreement for the provision of) a new network service, to vary an existing service or to discontinue a service. TfL is required to consult the police, the local authorities affected, the London Transport Users' Committee and anyone else it thinks fit before proceeding.

Sections 185 to 190: Bus services outside the network

319.Anyone who wishes to provide a bus service which is not part of the London bus network must obtain a London service permit. The Mayor is placed under a duty to state his policy for the issue of permits by publishing a guidance document (see below). That will contain the criteria against which applications for a permit will be considered. It must be kept under review and revised as necessary.

320.Section 186 provides for applications for and the grant of London service permits. Separate fees may be charged for processing the application and for granting the permit or a composite fee may be charged for both. TfL must consult the police, the local authorities affected, the London Transport Users' Committee and anyone else it thinks fit, but in deciding whether or not to grant a permit it must have regard to the guidance document and to any other material considerations (such as exceptional local conditions) which are relevant to the application.

321.Section 187 provides for the terms on which a permit is held. Conditions may be attached to a permit to ensure that suitable routes and stopping places are used and that the safety and convenience of the public (including those persons with mobility problems) is secured. Conditions about fares may not be imposed by a permit. TfL may at any time alter, remove or attach conditions to a permit. The duration of a permit will normally not be longer than 5 years. The effect of applying section 57 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, through section 193, means that a permit is terminated early if a permit holder dies or becomes bankrupt, though TfL is given power to defer such termination if appropriate.

322.If a condition of a permit is contravened the holder may, by virtue of section 187(6), be liable to prosecution and if convicted fined up to the maximum of level 3 on the standard scale (currently set under the Criminal Justice Acts at £1,000). If the breach is considered serious enough by TfL the permit may be revoked or suspended (section 188.)

323.Section 189 provides that where a permit is refused, conditions are attached, altered or removed from a permit, or a permit is suspended or revoked TfL must issue a notice stating its reasons. An aggrieved applicant or permit holder will have a right of appeal to the Mayor who must refer the matter to an independent appeals panel before giving directions to TfL as to how it should act in response to the appeal.

Section 191 and 192: Guidance document

324.Sections 191 and 192 provide for the preparation and publication of the guidance document. It must first be prepared in draft and the local authorities affected, the police, the Traffic Commissioners affected, the London Transport Users' Committee and anyone else the Mayor thinks fit must be consulted. It must be published not later than 180 days from the date of publication of the Mayor's transport strategy and be made available to the public. Similar provision is made for the preparation and publication of revisions to the document.

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