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Tough regulation needed to stop dissipation of partnerships

THE LOCAL Government Association this week warned that co-operation on transport schemes between the private and public sectors will dissipate unless new legislation is timetabled for the next parliamentary session.

Speaking after NCE's PSfIT conference on Thursday, chairman of the LGA's integrated transport working group Councillor Derek Bateman claimed that interest from the private sector in Quality Bus Partnerships would 'ebb away' without tougher regulation.

He added: 'Because the bus daughter document (of the integrated transport White Paper) is not out yet and is slipping we are worried that the legislation will not be in place before the next general election.'

Bateman claimed that under existing regulations rogue bus operators cannot be prevented from using infrastructure funded under Quality Partnerships.

The better operators would become disillusioned with other bus companies 'stealing' their passengers, he said.

But bus operators denied that they would back away from Quality Partnerships.

'Our view is that there is an awful lot we can do under the current legislative regime. We believe that competition actually keeps us on our toes,' said a First Group spokesman.

(See Analysis page 13)

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