Draft application of variation or cancelation now required to be submitted to English authorities 28 days before the application is submitted. Combined with a reduced notice period of 42 days, a total of 70 days could be required before a service can be withdrawn
Transport law firm Backhouse Jones has highlighted the Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, which it said ‘quietly came into force’ on April 24, 2018.
The new Regulations amend the Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services) Regulations 1986.
Those Regulations set out the process that must be followed for an operator to register a local bus service with a traffic commissioner, and relate to the registration of services with stopping places in England.
The new regulations follow an investigation by The Competition and Markets Authority into the market for local bus services in the UK.
It made recommendations following this in 2011, including that local authorities should have powers to request and make available from operators information about the patronage and revenue of commercial services that are cancelled, helping them to make informed decisions about any replacement services and to avoid disruption to passengers.
The new regulations mean each operator must now provide each appropriate English authority with a copy of the complete draft of an application it wishes to submit for registration, variation or cancellation of a service at least 28 days before it makes that application.
Additionally, it provides that the applicant must not submit their application until the appropriate English authority has either confirmed receipt of that application or 28 days have elapsed, whichever is the earlier.
The requirement will not apply in cases where the period of notice of the registration or the effective date of the variation or cancellation is modified by the Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services)(Franchising Schemes Transitional Provisions and Amendments)(England) Regulations 2018.
In most cases, operators which have applied to vary or cancel a registration of a service must, if requested, provide certain information to each appropriate English authority.
That information relates to the types of tickets used by the passengers, the numbers of passengers using that service, the structure of the fares on that service and the revenue obtained from it over a period of at least 12 months.
Backhouse Jones also highlighted that the new regulations reduce certain notice periods. The notice period between the time when the traffic commissioner accepts an application for registration or for variation or cancellation of a local service and the time when the notice period expires in relation to that application is now reduced from 56 days to 42 days.
It also reduces the same period for applications for registrations, variations and cancellations in relation to community bus services from 28 days to 14 days.
There is also a requirement in the new regulations for the Secretary of State to review the operation and effect of these Regulations and to publish a report within five years after these Regulations come into force.
James Backhouse commented: “The new Regulations impose a stricter timetable and set of rules for disclosure of potentially sensitive information on operators who wish to apply for, vary or cancel the registration of a service. We recommend that operators contact us in good time so they can be given proper advice on how not to fall foul of the new rules.”