It was really strange that DVLA decided to announce without any consultation or discussion with the Bus and Coach community that the period of time that commercial bus routes need to register a service in the UK has gone up from 30 days to 70 days. There was no explanation, no discussion, it was simply a fait accomplie without ant discussion or explanation. I am struggling to understand just what has prompted this surprising decision as it now makes the pace of change for bus operators slower as so much notice is required to either start or amend an bus service.
The bus service notice period has been basically unchanged since the Transport Act of 1986, just typing the year now makes me feel old, it was back in another millenium when the 30 day rule seemed like a reasonable time period to register or indeed amend a bus service. The idea was that within that time band, you had enough time to advise the passenger by means of back then posters and banners that were put up on the inside of buses. There changes would sometimes include what were called Fares revisions, now back then a fares revision was something to do with trying to remember new fares, what it really meant was that the fares were actually going to go up.
It was never the case that the fares ever went down, that was not how the game was played, no, once a new route was advertised, it was very rare that prices ever went down, except of course when ever a competitor appeared and they could charge what ever they wanted, and that is what some operators did. This of course was basically a suicide mission as while the passengers were very happy due to low fares, it was of course unsustainable and as soon as the one party had gone then the fares went back up again. Simple straight forward market forces, the legislation was the centre point that kept the rules of the game going. Unchanged over decades until now. Then without warning or discussion and literally overnight a game changing alteration, offered without any explanation.
To be honest I am starting to have a few concerns about decision making in the corridors of power. Since George Osborn decided without any consultation to give Metro mayors franchising powers in Local Authority and indeed other areas, mostly in an attempt to add clout to the Northern powerhouse for reasons long since forgoton. Right through to the recent debacle about Community Transport, and the knee jerk reactions emanating from the Mandarins in Whitehall. It just strikes me as odd that all of a sudden it is all about buses, Clean air zones, congestion, quality contracts the list of topical bus related issues has appeared without warning on the political landscape. To be frank I think that I preffered it when the humble bus was not in the cross hairs of political interference. Mind you in this mad world of Trump, and Putin,, Brexit, and Korea, quite literally anything is possible, lets hope that it is for the better rather than for the worse. As ever time will tell.