Bus Services Bill [Lords]

Part of Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 1st March 2017.

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Photo of Mary Robinson Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle 2:23 pm, 1st March 2017

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that important point, which I will discuss later.

People want passenger-friendly bus services, which is about not only how information is delivered, but having good-quality information available in the first place. I echo the comments of Mary Creagh, who is no longer in the Chamber, about the importance of open data. Open data can allow passengers more easily to compare offers from various providers, thereby increasing their confidence in the service they can expect and when they can expect it. At present, bus operators have no obligation to provide information about fares, except at the point of boarding, or how routes are performing. Live information via information screens at waiting stops and smartphone apps is key to empowering passengers, encouraging the use of services, and allowing operators to understand local needs better so that services can be improved.

Addressing air quality is a key aspect of the Bill. Poor air quality contributes to an estimated 1,000 early mortalities a year across Greater Manchester. The increased use of public transport will clearly help to address the problem, so I welcome its being part of the Greater Manchester 2040 strategy. Air quality is particularly important in Cheadle, where the local pinch point at the Gatley-Kingsway junction causes a great deal of congestion and misery for local road users and commuters. More people using buses, and combined authorities having the ability to set minimum standards for bus fleets across the region, have the potential to reduce dangerous emissions.