Scottish minister delivers ultimatum to bus operators


Scottish transport minister, Derek MacKay MSP has threatened legislative action against bus operators who he says are 'dragging their feet' on introducing universal smartcard-based fare payment.

Acknowledging that Scotrail and island ferry operator CalMac have firm plans for implementation over the next few years, he delivered an ultimatum to uncooperative operators.   

'Connecting all bus operators will be the next big step. My warning shot is this - it is a clear vision of the Scottish Government. If we do not get there through partnership, we will legislate'.

Derek MacKay

The move was 'planned as part of Scotland’s national transport strategy ten years ago'.

Implementation would be through smartcard technology being made a condition of grant payments to operators.

Some Scottish companies currently offer smartcards but these mainly cover season tickets rather than pay-as-you-go travel.

One major exception is Edinburgh-based Lothian Buses, which offers top ups on its citysmart card. ScotRail says that its smartcard will be available on all routes by 2019, starting with the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line during 2016.

Paul White, of the Confederation of Passenger Transport's Scottish office, said smart, multi-operator bus ticketing will be introduced across Edinburgh and in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee 'over the next two years'.


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