Brighton & Hove City Council yesterday voted unanimously to refer The Big Lemon’s petition to the Transport and Public Realm Cabinet Member for consideration, and also unanimously passed an amendment to the motion to consider how best to offer help and advice to The Big Lemon in the same way that it does for other social enterprises in the city.
The Motion was put to the Council’s vote following the presentation of a petition to “level the playing field in the local bus industry to ensure smaller groups like The Big Lemon Bus Company are not at a disadvantage.” The petition was started by Jackie Chase following price reductions from Brighton & Hove Buses on routes in competition with The Big Lemon, whilst other routes were not given reductions. The petition called for the City Council to:
- Ensure all bus operators in the city compete in a fair and legal manner, and refer unfair or illegal competitive behaviour to the Office of Fair Trading
- Ensure passage of information from the City Council to the public is unbiased and consistent for all bus operators
- Open up the City Council’s Quality Bus Partnership agreement to all operators within the City
- Take steps to establish a multi-operator ticketing system using new powers under the Local Transport Act 2008, as has been done in Oxford
- Ensure smaller operators are not at a disadvantage when applying for Council contracts due to the level of resources at their disposal.
The petition had overwhelming support from passengers and the public, and with 2316 signatures was one of the most popular petitions ever received by the Council. The petition was presented to the Mayor, Councillor Anne Meadows, and politicians of all parties spoke in favour of the Motion. Cabinet Member for Transport and Public Realm Ian Davey responded to the petition, pledging to consider it in detail and make recommendations for action.
The Big Lemon’s Managing Director Tom Druitt, who sat with supporters in the public gallery to watch proceedings, said:
“It was nice to see so much support from all parties for The Big Lemon, and a commitment from the City Council to act on our concerns. This is a testament to all the passengers and members of the public who have taken action to ensure one of Brighton’s favourite initiatives has a secure future.”