During a session on the future of the bus industry at the UK Bus Summit 2016, Tobyn Hughes, MD of Transport Operations at the North East Combined Authority, commented on the QCS scheme in the North East.
He said: “We wanted to attract people back to the bus system – something which we’ve seen declining for a very long time.
“The QCS had to pass through a very unholy tangle of complex legislative hurdles.
“We knew it would be controversial – enough people told us so – and we knew it would be difficult. But we and the people we worked for believed it was worth it because the social and economic benefits it would deliver would justify the pain.
“I have to say it isn’t easy to get the seven council leaders in the north east to agree on much, but on this they were united.
“The QCS board’s opinion was that our proposal didn’t meet three of the five statutory tests. We think we were right and we don’t agree with the QCS board opinion.
“Unfortunately, bus patronage has continued slide over last couple of months since the QCS decision. You may tell me it’s related to congestion, weakness in the local economy, there is a variety of factors I’m sure, but nevertheless we still need to act.
“The shape of the buses bill will be hugely important for people who live and work in the North East and across the UK as a whole.”