Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Norman Baker on the buses

Well done to Norman for getting lots of press coverage on the lunatic effect of new EU legislation on buses. He is quoted in the Daily Telegraph, the Sun and the Daily Mail.

As the Sun explains it:

A Brussels ruling has banned local services longer than 30 miles to ensure drivers don’t spend too long at the wheel.

As a result, drivers have to pull in as they hit that limit and order everyone OFF their bus.

They then change the route number on the front and invite passengers to jump back ON before resuming the trip.

An example of a route affected is Western Greyhound's Newquay to Plymouth service, which now involves three buses and requires passengers to buy three separate tickets, but uses only one driver throughout.

The Sun report goes on:

Last night Lib Dem transport spokesman Norman Baker blasted the “lunatic law”.

He said: “These rules don’t stop buses running more than 30 miles.

“All they do is inconvenience the passengers who have to keep getting on and off. It’s like an Ealing comedy.”

He has written to Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly demanding an opt-out.

An opt-out would be welcome, but why are local bus routes a matter for the EU in the first place?

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

Will this hit the Cambridge-Oxford bus service?
The distinction between local bus services and long distance coach services cannot be due to driver hours, because a coach driver doesn't have to stop every hour or so. It has been explained to me as being about regulations on timekeeping, etc, overseen by the local Traffic Commissioners, and also relates to the type of vehicle that can be used, speeds at which they run and so on. Typically of course there is another distinction: a bus service has frequent stops en route, a coach service few or none. Now there is another rule in England: free travel concession passes are valid on 'local bus services' but not on long distance coach services.
Here's a question: the London Victoria - Cambridge National Express coach stops at Stratford, and its possible to travel the short leg Victoria to Stratford (convenient for someone arriving from a far away place at Victoria and wanting to go on to Stratford), so is that leg a local bus service?
It is a matter for the EU in the creation of a common market, so that a bus operator can more easily set up in more than one country or even run cross-border services.