Brighton Pavilion MP lodges parliamentary questions on bus competition in Brighton & Hove

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas has lodged two parlimentary questions on bus competition in Brighton & Hove and has received responses from Norman Lamb, minister for employment relations, consumer and postal affairs. The questions, set out below, were written in response to the publication of the Competition Commission’s final report of the Local Bus Services Market Investigation, which The Big Lemon has given a significant amount of evidence to.

Caroline Lucas MP behind the wheel of a Big Lemon bus
Caroline Lucas MP behind the wheel of a Big Lemon bus

29 Feb 2012 (Column 377W ):

Bus Services: Brighton

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has (a) held discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport on and (b) made an assessment of how the recommendation of the Competition Commission to introduce legislation to give local transport authorities additional powers to introduce mandatory multi-operator ticketing schemes will affect the Big Lemon Bus service in Brighton and Hove; and if he will make a statement. [96668]

Norman Lamb: No assessment has been made of how any of the Competition Commission’s recommendations arising from its Local Bus Services Market Investigation would affect every local bus operator in every individual local bus market. The Department for Transport’s response to the Competition Commission’s provisional remedies, available online at:
http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/assets/bispartners/competitioncommission/docs/2010/localbus/dft_pdr_response.pdf
makes clear the Government’s support for effective multi-operator ticketing schemes. The formal Government response to the final report will be published in due course.

Bus Services: Competition

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make it his policy to implement in full the recommendations made in the local bus services market investigation published by the Competition Commission in January 2012; if he will ensure that the Office of Fair Trading has sufficient resources to ensure that operators abide by any new rules arising from implementation of the recommendations; and if he will make a statement. [96178]

Norman Lamb: It is my intention to set out the Government’s response to the final report of the “Local Bus Services Market Investigation” published by the Competition Commission in due course. The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), has publicly set out his intention to make a statement on bus policy in the near future.

Caroline Lucas said:
“As the Competition Commission has found, there are many features of the local bus market which favour larger incumbent operators at the expense of small businesses and ultimately passengers – which is why I’m calling on transport ministers to take action to create a more level playing field.”

“If we are to safeguard the community-focussed and environmentally friendly service which The Big Lemon provides in Brighton and Hove, and support other small local transport operators, we need the Government to implement the recommendations in the Competition Commission’s Local Bus Services Market Investigation, especially with regard to multi operator ticketing.”

Tom Druitt, MD of The Big Lemon, said:
“We are very grateful to Caroline Lucas for her help in raising awareness and putting pressure on the government to make the changes so desperately needed, and look forward to Norman Baker’s statement.”