The Scottish Government has been accused of doing a “U-turn” on bus regulation after the Transport Minister announced proposals that could see councils run their own bus routes.
The current bus industry has been criticised for private companies cancelling unprofitable routes forcing hard-up councils to then pay the companies to keep the routes open.
A new Transport Bill could let councils establish Lothian Buses-style municipal bus companies, allowing public v private bidding wars for newly-franchised routes.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald, who has previously stated that re-regulation of the bus industry could cost up to £1 billion, welcomed the news.
He said: “A new Transport Bill, allowing for local bus services to be operated by local authorities would ensure that those reliant on those services aren’t faced with the prospect of routes being cut because they have become unprofitable. The provision of regular bus services, focussed on the needs of local people rather than profit would allow for confidence to come back into our bus services, and would provide a much needed boost to our local communities.”
Councillor Craig R Martin, who is campaigning for councils to have more control over bus services, said: “I welcome this U-turn by the Scottish Government over bus regulation. I am delighted that Angus and his party now agree with me and the Scottish Labour Party that we need to put passengers before profits and reverse Thatcher’s privatisation.”