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MiniPlus Article
January 16 2019
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

CTA sees hope as ‘DfT tone softens’ on permits

Minister’s claim that DfT is committed to CT continuing draws immediate reaction from association

MPs have claimed that if the Regulation is enforced, CTOs will close down

Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani says that the government is “committed to ensuring that community transport organisations (CTOs) continue to operate,” leading the Community Transport Association (CTA) to suggest that the Department for Transport (DfT) is softening its line on enforcing EC Regulation 1071/2009.

Ms Ghani was responding to a question from Reading East MP Matt Rodda. He claims that bringing the sector in line with the Regulation will “introduce a significant and unwanted extra burden”.

Mr Rodda adds that charity Age UK has already reported that the majority of its community transport services would be forced to cease under the “mistaken” proposals.

A government response to last year’s consultation on the issue is still awaited, and the minister gave no indication when it will be delivered. Until then, the “status quo as it is today for CTOs continues,” says Ms Ghani.

At the same time, Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, urged the government to ensure that community transport groups will not require an O-Licence when the use of Section 19 and Section 22 permits are aligned with the regulation. Ms Ghani replied that the government’s response “will fit the fantastic voluntary work that takes place within our community transport network.”

The CTA immediately suggested that Ms Ghani’s words represent a change of language for the DfT. That, it adds, suggests that the final guidance may take account of the “compelling case” that the CTA and other parties made in the consultation response period, and be better than the scenario set out in Stephen Fidler’s letter of July 2017 which stated that the Regulation would be enforced.

“Statements in recent months have marked a notable change in tone. It is important that the minister has again noted that the status quo should continue,” adds the Association.

The Bus and Coach Association has stated that it will apply for a Judicial Review if the Regulation is not enforced in full.

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