Scottish councils can run bus services


The Scottish Government has now commenced powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act for local authorities to run their own bus services.

Transport Scotland said that where local transport authorities were previously prohibited under the Transport Act 1985 to run local bus services, Section 34 of the Act essentially gives them the power to do so in any way they see fit within the wider context of their obligations, and alongside their existing ability to subsidise services.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth (pictured) said: ‘The Act was designed to help make Scotland’s transport network cleaner, smarter and more accessible than ever before.

‘By giving local authorities the flexible tools they need to respond to their own transport challenges, we can deliver a more responsive and sustainable transport system for everyone in Scotland.’

Ms Gilruth said she recognised that not every authority would want to run its own bus services and that some may opt for a partnership or franchise approach, adding: ‘What’s key is that local authorities will soon have greater tools at their disposal to revitalise bus services where required.

‘I would encourage all local transport authorities to consider using this power, and the full range of tools available to them under the Act, to ensure that everyone has accessible public transport regardless of where they are in Scotland.’

She cited funding for bus priority infrastructure, free bus travel to under 22s and cash to encourage a shift to zero emission buses as examples of how the SNP government is ‘responding to the climate emergency by placing buses at the front of our just transition to a net zero society – supporting our world leading commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030’.

However, the devolved administration is still continuing with a number of road building schemes, including the £3bn Perth to Inverness dualling.

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