MSP calls for bus re-regulation

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A Glasgow MSP has said that the bus industry needs to be regulated to allow communities a say in decisions that leave them with no services.

The Glasgow Evening Times reported that the Scottish Government has been called on to take action to impose greater controls on bus operators. Patricia Ferguson, Mayhill and Springburn Labour MSP, asked for a return to bus industry regulation.

She said: “I am sure that I am not the only constituency or list MSP whose communities have been blighted over the years by the relatively fast withdrawal of bus services from local communities.

“It seems to me that transport authorities are also hidebound in this regard, because their current guidance means that they have no opportunity to intervene when there is another or a similar service operating in the area, which is the case with the two services that I mentioned.”

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “I have no plans for wholesale re-regulation but I want to see closer partnership working between operators and transport authorities.”

He added that local authorities can intervene and put in place subsidised services and said he was proposing changes that would involve better engagement with local authorities.

Green MSP for Glasgow, Patrick Harvie, also backed calls for greater regulation and for more government investment in public transport.

He said: “If we look around Europe and the countries that enjoy the excellent public transport provision that Scotland deserves but does not have, one thing is clear: those countries regulate firmly, subsidise, not just at the margins, and recognise that a free-market approach involving the private sector alone does not deliver the goods.”