Andrew Jones MP, minister for buses, has stated that the Buses Bill is expected to have gained Royal Assent before the end of 2016.
In reply to a letter from Louise Ellman MP, Chairman of the Transport Select Committee, Andrew wrote: “We will be taking forward the Bill in the first session, although an exact introduction date has yet to be agreed.
“I understand that introduction is likely to be scheduled in the new year, and as such we are currently developing the detail of our policy to instruct Parliamentary Counsel.
“We will endeavour to ensure that there is sufficient time between first and second readings for the committee to scrutinise the proposals, but this will be dependent on the legislative programme and other parliamentary business.”
In her letter, Louise Ellman added: “I would be interested to know why these provisions could not be included in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill and the government chose instead to bring them forward in a separate bill.”
To this, Andrew Jones answered: “Firstly, we felt that the timetable proposed for the Cities and Local Government Bill would not allow us the time that we felt was necessary to discuss and develop the bus proposals with stakeholders, including local authorities and bus operators.
“Secondly, we recognise that not all places will want to pursue franchising and we are also keen to develop a package of measures for those who do not wish to move to franchising to provide the tools for local authorities to improve local bus services.”