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In the United Kingdommarker, 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) (formerly known as passenger transport authorities (PTAs)) (see below).

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

Metropolitan county Brandname Article
Greater Manchestermarker GMPTE Greater Manchester PTE
Merseyside Merseytravel Merseyside PTE
South Yorkshiremarker SYPTE South Yorkshire PTE
Tyne and Wear Nexus Tyne and Wear PTE
West Midlands Centro West Midlands PTE
West Yorkshire Metro West Yorkshire PTE

In Scotlandmarker, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, formerly Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive, covers the former region of Strathclyde, which includes the urban area around Glasgowmarker.

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

In shire county areas, similar functions are carried out by county councils.

The PTEs are represented by the Passenger Transport Executive Group (known as pteg). Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport for London are both Associate Members of pteg.


The first PTEs and PTAs were first 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 PTE's 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 Coventrymarker and Tyneside PTE expanded to include Sunderlandmarker 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 Yorkshiremarker 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.

Until the mid-1980s the PTEs operated bus services in their areas, but bus deregulation by the Transport Act 1985 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. They are also responsible for providing bus shelters and stations.

  • Most PTEs do not operate public transport services. There are limited number of cases where they do - the Tyne and Wear PTE operates the Tyne and Wear Metro, and Strathclyde Passenger Transport 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 setting fares and timetables of.

  • The PTEs are also responsible for planning and funding new public transport facilities, such as light rail systems and new stations.

  • They fund concessionary travel schemes for the elderly and disabled including free passes and "Dial-a-Ride" 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).

Integrated transport authorities

The integrated transport authorities (ITAs) (which until 2008 were known as 'passenger transport authorities') 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 by the metropolitan boroughs, or in the case of Strathclyde by the twelve unitary authority councils in the area.

The integrated transport authorities 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 PTAs 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 PTAs. Whilst such a structure might appear to allow a ITA to sack its respective PTE, this is not permitted.

Local Transport Act 2008

A number of changes to PTE/As were made under the Local Transport Act 2008. The main changes made were be:

  • Passenger transport authorities (PTAs) have been renamed as integrated transport authorities (ITAs) although PTEs would retain their current names.
  • The bill would allow for the possibility of new PTEs being created, and for the areas of existing ones to be altered.
  • The bill has strengthened the powers of PTEs/ITAs to regulate bus services, and would make ITAs the sole transport planning authorities in their areas.


Pteg, or the Passenger Transport Executive Group, is a federated body that brings together and promotes the interests of the six PTEs in England, plus associated members Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport for London.

Pteg's main tasks are 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 is determined by the Directors General of the PTEs, who meet at least quarterly. Pteg also administers a number of task groups and committees which bring together professionals from the PTEs, SPT and TfL to focus on specific policy areas and to share expertise and good practice. The pteg Support Unit, based in Leedsmarker, coordinates pteg’s activities and acts as a central point of contact. Pteg publish all their reports and publications on their web site (see below).

See also


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