The Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) Board has today (3 November 2015) published its report on the proposed Tyne and Wear QCS.
The report contains the board’s opinion on whether the scheme meets the public interest criteria and concludes that:
- Nexus failed to comply with the statutory requirements on consultation
- the proposed scheme cannot demonstrate that it would increase use of bus services because its affordability is not demonstrated
- service quality would improve
- the proposed scheme would contribute to the implementation of the local transport policies
- the proposed scheme does not provide value for money
- the proposed scheme imposes disproportionate adverse effects on operators
The QCS Board, which is chaired by Traffic Commissioner for the North East of England, Kevin Rooney, was asked to examine the proposed quality contract scheme in October 2014.
The board held oral evidence hearings into the proposed scheme in July this year.
In a summary of the board’s opinion, the report notes:
This is the first time that the 15-year-old legislation supporting quality contract schemes has been put to the test. It seems to us, that the legislators probably had in mind that it would be tested in a rather smaller scale first.
By its very nature, everything that Nexus was trying to assess was a novel intervention. There was little, if any, truly relevant research for them to draw upon. It is the board’s view that they have done exceptionally well to get where they have got to today. It is always far easier to criticise, than to create.
In the voluntary partnership agreement, Nexus can be proud that it has led 3 bus companies to put forward a proposal that is in itself novel and groundbreaking, with the makings of potentially effective governance allowing local citizens real influence over their bus services.