Passenger Transport Executive

From Academic Kids

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 Passenger Transport Authorities (PTAs) (see below).

There are six PTEs in England, one for each of the metropolitan counties

A similar body, Transport for London, exists in Greater London.



The PTEs and PTAs were first established in the late 1960s by the 1968 Transport Act as transport authorities serving large conurbations, by the then transport minister Barbara Castle. Innitially they covered slightly different areas to the ones they cover today. When the six Metropolitan counties and Strathclyde were established in 1974 they took on their present shape.

In 1974 the PTA's were abolished and their role was taken over by the Metropolitan county councils (MCC's). However when the MCC's were abolished in 1986, the PTA's were re-created.

Until the mid 1980s the PTEs operated bus services in their areas, however bus deregulation by the Transport Act of 1986 forced the PTAs to sell their bus fleets to private operators. They were also stripped of their powers to regulate the fares and timetables of private bus operators.


  • The PTAs are now responsible for subsidising bus services which are not profitable to run but are considered socially necessary, and the PTEs organise this role on their behalf. And for providing bus shelters and stations.
  • Most PTEs do not operate public transport services but in some cases they do, the Tyne and Wear PTE operates the Tyne and Wear Metro, and Strathclyde PT operates the Glasgow Subway, in Merseyside, Strathclyde and Tyne and Wear some ferry services are operated by the PTEs.
  • The PTEs, on the PTAs' behalf, have retained more powers over local train services, which they do not operate but are responsible for dictating fares and services.
  • The PTEs are also responsible for planning and funding new public transport facilities, such as light rail systems and new stations.
  • They also run concessionary travel schemes for the elderly and disabled including "Dial-a-Ride" type services.
  • They are also responsible for giving out travel information about transport services.

In recent years the PTEs and PTAs have campaigned to be given more powers to regulate local bus services, as is the case in London (see London Buses)

Passenger Transport Authorities

The Passenger Transport Authorities (PTAs) are the bodies which administer the executives, they are made up of councillors representing the areas served by the PTEs. They are resposible for funding the PTEs, and making the policies which the PTEs carry out on their behalf.

In the six metropolitan counties, councillors are appointed to the PTAs by the metropolitan boroughs, or in the case of Strathclyde by the twelve unitary authority councils in the area.

The Passenger Transport Authorities are not "precepting authorities", 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 district representatives negotiate from this position.

It's worth bearing in mind that PTEs do not, strictly speaking, own anything - their role is a statutory one to provide services using the resources behind by PTAs. While this structure might allow a PTA to sack its respective PTE, this is not permitted. PTEs, for example, secure services on behalf of the PTA though it is the PTA that pays for them.

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