The Scottish Government should work with Scottish Labour to deliver better bus services.
That’s the message from Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Dr Richard Simpson.
Scottish Labour have written to SNP transport Minister Derek Mackay asking him to adopt the Bus Regulation (Scotland) Bill as a government bill after parliament officials said it would not have the time to be delivered as a private members bill.
Scottish Labour plans would have given more powers to local councils to set up bus networks as rail style franchises.
It would also have given transport authorities the power to combine profitable and loss making routes for tender, potentially saving local routes which have been routinely under threat. Communities would have more say in routes, timetables, ticketing and fares.
Prior to 2007 the SNP supported bus regulation, however they u-turned on this position ahead of the 2007 election and have opposed attempts to re- regulate since.
Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:
“I believe our buses should serve the communities they drive through, not merely line the pockets of private companies. Scottish Labour plans would have allowed many local routes to be protected.
“There is cross party support for re-regulating the industry. The SNP used to agree with Labour on this but u-turned in 2007 on it. However I believe they should look again at our plans, it would benefit people in Mid Scotland and Fife and across Scotland.
“Bus companies may not support these measures, but passengers do. Scottish Labour believes that buses should be run in the interests of passengers rather than the industry. It’s time for the SNP Government to pick a side.”