12 June 2019

Scottish Labour has overhauled the Transport Bill to lift the ban on Councils running bus services.

Scottish Labour’s amendments to the Bill will allow communities to wrestle control of Scotland’s bus network away from big business.

Under the plans, local authorities will be able to run bus services directly or through an arms length municipal bus companies with either model free to compete for any other service or franchise. Currently the only publicly owned, municipal bus company in Scotland is Lothian Buses, whose existence pre-dates deregulation.

The Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity backed the plans by 6 votes to 5 on Wednesday, with only SNP MSPs voting against the Labour’s proposals.

Communities want more control over their services and the SNP should now relinquish their opposition to Labour’s amendments when the Bill returns at Stage 3 to the Parliament.

Scottish Labour’s Transport spokesperson, Colin Smyth MSP, said:

“Under the SNP government Scotland’s bus network is being dismantled route by route, fares are rising and passenger numbers are plummeting.

“Scottish Labour wants to change this, and our amendments to the Transport Bill will allow communities to wrestle control of their bus network away from big business.

“These changes will allow councils to run services directly or through an arms-length company to the benefit of the communities which they serve.

“This is a historic change which shows Scottish Labour is setting the agenda with radical proposals to ensure we have a transport system that works for the many, not the few.”


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