ePetition - Save the Big Lemon Bus

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ePetition details

Save the Big Lemon Bus

We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to level the playing field in the local bus industry to ensure smaller groups like The Big Lemon bus company are not at a disadvantage.

The Big Lemon is an example of a community bus company that does less damage to the environment in its low emissions and in recycling waste cooking oil for fuel. This not only provides benefits to the local environment, it also provides an example for local schoolchildren and students from across the world, of a sustainable future. The Big Lemon is also an example of a real community social enterprise where they take time to really look after their passengers, whether they are students on the way home after a heavy night, or elderly people going home with their shopping. They also support local good causes with their Give Something Back scheme, and work with communities to explore ways of moving to more sustainable methods of transport.

All this is under threat, however, because of the targeted anti-competitive pricing of the larger competitor. With millions of pounds behind them, large bus operators can afford to take however long it takes to muscle smaller operators out of the City. In order to stop this happening, we call upon the City Council to:

1. Ensure all bus operators in the city compete in a fair and legal manner, and refer unfair or illegal competitive behaviour to the Office of Fair Trading

2. Ensure passage of information from the City Council to the public is unbiased and consistent for all bus operators

3. Open up the City Council’s Quality Bus Partnership agreement to all operators within the City

4. Take steps to establish a multi-operator ticketing system using new powers under the Local Transport Act 2008, as has been done in Oxford

5. Ensure smaller operators are not at a disadvantage when applying for Council contracts due to the level of resources at their disposal.

Students from the Universities have commented that they feel very much safer on the Lemon Bus late at night, than on the Brighton Bus Company, buses and that warrants consideration.

This epetition will be presented to the Council on 21 July 2011.

This ePetition ran from 08/03/2011 to 07/07/2011 and has now finished.

2165 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

The petition was referred from Councilon 21 July 2011 to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Cabinet Members Meeting on 4 October 2011 where the Cabinet Member for Transport & Public Realm advised that part of the issue was the tendering process for supported bus routes; the council had sought to make it accessible to smaller operators and encouraged them to bid for the contracts. He reported that officers had met with the Big Lemon Management to specifically discuss the tendering process to ensure that, in addition to following the legal requirements, local and smaller companies were made aware of them; the Corporate Procurement Team was also on hand to assist smaller operators. To ensure that small businesses could bid for contracts, the council tendered individual services rather than whole network services.

The Cabinet Member also reported that the Office of Fair Trading would complete its Local Bus Services Market Investigation later in the year.


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