Yesterday, the House of Commons passed through the Bus Services Bill following the Bill’s Third Reading.
As part of the bill, PACTS pushed for an amendment that would focus on bus safety as part of the franchising requirement. The amendment added a clause that would have required bus operators taking part in any scheme to subscribe to a confidential incident reporting and analysis system (such as CIRAS) and to make bus casualty data available to local authorities at least monthly. It would also have required local authorities to publish that data quarterly.
The amendment was voted down in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones MP responded to the amendment in the House of Commons by stating that bus companies would be ‘encouraged’ to consider the benefits of confidential reporting systems,
If a franchising authority wishes to stipulate a system such as CIRAS as part of its conditions of contract, it is of course free to do so—that is what TfL has done here in London. Authorities that negotiate partnerships could also include bus safety measures as part of such an arrangement, so I will explore through guidance how we could encourage operators and local transport authorities to consider the benefits of an independent confidential reporting system, but we will probably limit that only to a franchising or partnership scheme to start with.