In the United Kingdom, passenger transport executives (PTEs) are local government bodies which are responsible for public transport within large urban areas. They are accountable to bodies called integrated transport authorities (ITAs), or where they have been formed, to combined authorities. The PTEs joined together to form the Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG) of which Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport for London were both associate members. In 2016 it became the Urban Transport Group.
The first PTEs and PTAs were established in the late 1960s by the Transport Act 1968 as transport authorities serving large conurbations, by the then transport minister Barbara Castle. Prior to this, public transport was run by individual local authorities and private companies, with little co-ordination. The PTEs took over municipal bus operations from individual councils, and became responsible for managing local rail networks.
The 1968 Act created five PTE/As. These were:
Initially they covered slightly different areas to the ones they cover today.
Local government in England was re-organised in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. The re-organisation created the six metropolitan counties, and the existing four English PTEs were named after, and made to match the borders of the new counties (for example West Midlands PTE was expanded to take on Coventry and Tyneside PTE expanded to include Sunderland becoming Tyne and Wear PTE in the process). In addition to this, two new PTEs were created for the newly established metropolitan counties of South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
The 1974 reorganisation also abolished the PTAs, and their role was taken over by the Metropolitan county councils (MCCs). However, when the MCCs were abolished in 1986, the PTAs were re-created.
Local government re-organisation in Scotland in 1975 created the region of Strathclyde, and the existing Greater Glasgow PTE was named after, and made to cover the new region.
PTAs were recreated by the Local Government Act 1985 when the metropolitan county councils were abolished.
The Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 had the same effect in the Strathclyde Region.
Until the mid-1980s the PTEs operated bus services in their areas, but bus deregulation by the Transport Act 1985 forced them to separate their bus operations into new arms lengths companies. These were called PTC's which were all sold off by the mid 1990s. The PTE's were also stripped of their powers to regulate the fares and timetables of private bus operators.
The integrated transport authorities (ITAs) from 2008 onwards are the bodies which administer the executives; they are made up of councillors representing the areas served by the PTEs. They are responsible for funding the PTEs, and making the policies which the PTEs carry out on their behalf. PTEs secure services on behalf of the ITA but it is the ITA that pays for them.
In the six metropolitan counties, councillors are appointed to the ITAs or the transport committees of combined authorities by the metropolitan boroughs, or in the case of Strathclyde by the twelve unitary authority councils in the area.
The ITAs are not "precepting authorities", so they have to negotiate a "levy" every year that is applied to council tax collected by the local authorities in the areas that they serve. The executive usually requests a budget and the council representatives on the ITAs negotiate from this position.
It is worth bearing in mind that PTEs do not, strictly speaking, own anything - their role is a statutory one to provide services using the resources provided to them by the ITAs.
There are currently six passenger transport executives in England, covering areas which correspond - though are not limited - to metropolitan counties. When a combined authority is created the integrated transport area and integrated transport authority are replaced with the combined area and combined authority. This happened in Greater Manchester on 1 April 2011 and happened in three other integrated transport areas from 1 April 2014: to become the larger Liverpool City Region, as well as Sheffield City Region, and West Yorkshire combined areas. In West Yorkshire and West Midlands, the PTE has been absorbed into the combined authority, and is no longer a separate legal entity; in these areas the combined authority itself is the executive.
|Combined authority area||Combined authority||Passenger transport executive||Brand|
|Greater Manchester||Greater Manchester Combined Authority||Transport for Greater Manchester|
|Liverpool City Region||Liverpool City Region Combined Authority||Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive||Merseytravel|
|South Yorkshire||Sheffield City Region Combined Authority||South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive||Travel South Yorkshire|
|Tyne and Wear||North East Joint Transport Committee||Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive||Nexus|
|West Midlands||West Midlands Combined Authority||Transport for West Midlands||West Midlands Network|
|West Yorkshire||West Yorkshire Combined Authority||West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive||Metro|
In recent years the PTEs and ITAs have campaigned to be given more powers to regulate local bus services, as is the case in London (see London Buses).
The Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG) was a federated body based in Leeds to bring together and promote the interests of the six PTEs in England, plus associate members Strathclyde Partnership for Transport; Transport for London; Nottingham City Council; and Bristol and the West of England.
PTEG's main tasks were facilitating the exchange of knowledge and good practice within the PTE network, and raising awareness nationally about the key transport challenges which face the city regions, and the public transport solutions which PTEs are implementing.
PTEG's strategy and policy was determined by the Directors General of the PTEs, who met every quarter. It administered a number of specialist task groups which bring together professionals from across the pteg network to focus on specific policy areas and to share expertise and good practice. The PTEG Support Unit, based in Leeds, co-ordinated PTEG's activities and acted as a central point of contact.
PTEG became Urban Transport Group in 2018.
In Scotland, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, formerly Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive, covers the former region of Strathclyde, which includes the urban area around Glasgow. All of Scotland is now divided into partnership areas for Transport. A similar body, Transport for London, exists in Greater London. In shire county areas, similar functions are carried out by county councils.