Labour will seek to amend the planned Buses Bill if it restricts franchising powers to areas with devolution agreements, Transport Network has learned.
A Labour transport source told Transport Network that Labour thinks franchising powers 'should be available to any competent authority that wants to apply for them'.
Labour will also look at municipal ownership as a model, as put forward in a recent report.
The Buses bill aims 'to get more people using buses'
Although making franchising powers widely available is longstanding Labour policy, this is the first time the party has confirmed that it will amend the forthcoming Bill to achieve it.
It follows last week’s speech by transport minister Andrew Jones in which he appeared to suggest that only areas with devolution agreements would be able to implement franchising.
Mr Jones said the Bill would ‘honour our devolution deal commitments to give local authorities the choice to use new powers to franchise bus services in their areas.’
There is as yet no date for the publication of the Bill. Mr Jones said last week that ‘the finest minds are working on it and you will see it very soon’.
He added ‘There’s plenty of opportunity to shape the content:’
Last month a report by Transport for Quality of Life (TfQL) Community Interest Company argued for 'a shift to franchising or to municipal bus companies'.
The Labour source told Transport Network the party was 'looking at the recommendations of the TfQL report in relation to municipals', citing the Nottingham City Council's majority ownership of the city's largest bus company.