I used to use an analogy to describe the informal partnership between the bus company and local authority in Brighton & Hove as the company baking a cake, overseeing the recipe’s ingredients were properly included (attractive frequency of service, value for money fares, quality buses, legendary customer service and excellent marketing and publicity) while the local authority looked after the oven, kitchen equipment and utensils (bus priority measures, bus stop facilities, parking management, pricing and enforcement and highway design).

You couldn’t bake a cake without a decent oven and equipment; and it was no good having a decent oven and equipment if no-one used it to bake tasty cakes.

Both parties needed each other; and each other’s professional skills and experience. On the one hand commercial acumen and an entrepreneurial approach to attracting passengers and on the other stewardship of public infrastructure, highway management skills and political nous to deliver controversial policies (e.g. parking).

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