The government is introducing a thing it calls the Bus Services Bill, a framework that wants to fix the country's piecemeal approach to bus operations and hand back more controlling power to local councils.
The new law will see "enhanced partnerships" put into place between bus companies and local councils, with some areas given the power to introduce their own bus franchising schemes -- like they have in that London we're always going on about -- to open up competition while also maintaining overall control of the network. This would end the deregulated approach that's in place across much of England, where bus companies get contracts and can then do whatever they like with routes, timetables, tickets, seat fabric choices and whatnot from thereon.
Regions with elected mayors will be able to introduce this all by themselves under devolution powers, with other areas needing to seek permission from the Transport Secretary first.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: "Good bus services can help cut congestion and deliver better journeys for hard-working people, helping them get around and get on. We are determined to increase bus usage and these measures are designed to give councils access to a range of powers to help deliver regular, reliable services for all."
Oh, the changes only apply to hard-working people. That's a shame. [GOV]