Transport for London Managing Director Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, has become the latest industry heavyweight to rail against politicians’ plans to permit local authority regulation of bus services in areas outside London.
Speaking on behalf of IRU President Janusz Lacny at Euro Bus Expo last Tuesday (4 November), Mr Daniels says that while London’s bus network is â€œfabulous,â€ it is not the only part of the country which can boast excellent service provision.
â€œSilly season is approaching with a General Election soon,â€ he says. â€œPoliticians of all colours are making bold statements about the future of the bus industry, but please don’t think that the fabulous arrangements we have in London are the only examples of good operation.â€
Mr Daniels points to the comprehensive integration of the capital’s bus network with Underground and National Rail services as part of the reason for its effectiveness, and comments that such arrangements will be impossible in much of the rest of the UK.
â€œJust changing the regulatory model outside London in isolation won’t work,â€ he continues, explaining that if services are to be improved, operators themselves are best placed to do that.
â€œA rigorous attention to detail is what allows improvements to be made day on day, and then the operator’s credibility goes up as a result.â€
Smartcards and contactless payment were also covered in his address. Contactless, present on London buses for almost two years, was implemented on the Underground in September and already accounts for 5% of transactions in this setting.
Mr Daniels sees contactless, rather than smartcards, as the way forward, noting that â€œcontactless payment cards are issued free-of-charge by the banks to all of your customers.â€