Not everyone thinks Quality Contracts are a good idea. Take South Yorkshire for instance. There, bus operators have been working in partnership with their Passenger Transport Executive to expand a bus ticketing scheme.
Councillor Mick Jameson is a Doncaster councillor and chairs their Integrated Transport Authority. He has welcomed the scheme as “a better alternative to ‘quality contracts’ for making improvements.”
Transport bosses are planning to expand the scheme across the whole of Sheffield in which bus operators share the running of routes and offer tickets which can be used on any firm’s vehicles. South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and operators First and Stagecoach are proposing to run the scheme citywide from September.
Quality contracts would have seen control of services taken out of bus companies’ control with the PTE setting routes, timetables and fares. But firms including Stagecoach threatened legal action against the move.
Coun Jameson said: “There would be some difficulties with legal challenges. But under the Optio scheme, we can work with operators to deliver much improved services.”
An internal PTE email, seen by The Sheffield Star, said: “Following the launch of Optio Orange and Optio Red… we have now also undertaken research along the red and orange corridors which shows improved patronage and satisfaction.”
David Young, SYPTE director of customer experience, said: “We are talking with operators about expanding the joint scheme.”