To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to announce his plans for the deregulation of the London bus market.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I have today published the consultation paper "A Bus Strategy For London" which sets out our plans for the deregulation of the London bus market together with a range of proposals aimed at making bus services in London more attractive to passengers. The closing date for comments is 7 May.
The Government are firmly committed to the future of bus services in London. Deregulation will bring more competition between more operators which will increase the choice and quality of services available to the passenger. However, deregulation will require primary legislation to safeguard the future of the concessionary fares scheme for London as a whole, and to alter London Transport's statutory duties to make them more compatible with a deregulated bus industry. Primary legislation must await a suitable opportunity, so I am unable yet to give any firm indication of timing.