"Responsibility for franchised bus services in the devolved geography for integrating smart ticketing across all local modes of transport, including integrated smart ticketing extension to the Transport for the North connected cities ticketing initiative."
If ticketing is the sole motivation, then franchising is using a sledge hammer to crack to a nut. The big bus groups have committed to a smart ticketing initiative and EYMS are part of the proposed Hullcard scheme - I'm sure something could be worked out voluntarily to meet the specific desires of this proposal without destroying the ability of operators to innovate and invest in a deregulated market that has given East Yorkshire an (on the whole) excellent network of services. And without the need to administrate a franchising scheme, money that could be better spent supporting enhancements to the bus network and reversing some of North Yorkshire's extensive cuts to tendered services.
There was also a Greater Lincolnshire expression of interest submitted covering North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire, which is far less well developed and references "Improving transport links regionally, nationally and internationally". Until the expression of interest becomes a more detailed proposal then it's uncertain what this could mean in practice.
A couple of final thoughts:
- Hopefully councils will take a close look at the partnerships in South Yorkshire which have potential to achieve a far more stable, co-ordinated and integrated network without removing operator's ability to innovate and develop services
- I wonder if Hull could end up regretting not pursuing a Humber approach to devolution? In the North East Lincolnshire Council statement they went as far as stating they were not bound yet to any geographical arrangement and I sense North Lincolnshire Council could have been convinced. However right now Hull has been snubbed by Leeds in it's Greater Yorkshire bid, and snubbed by York, North Yorkshire, and most significant of all East Yorkshire, with their bid that leaves Hull isolated in submitting it's Greater Yorkshire bid with no support from other Yorkshire councils. Unfortunately probably not going to happen, but it would be great to see a Humber-wide proposal emerge from the current mess.