Fife Council is set to write to transport minister Humza Yousaf calling for legislation ‘to re-regulate the bus industry’ in order ‘to reverse the decline of bus services in Fife and across Scotland’.
Bus re-regulation would allow local transport authorities to set routes and fares in their area, powers that only Transport for London currently has. Certain councils in England are set to win back such franchising powers under negotiated devolution deals and the Bus Services Bill.
A full meeting of Fife Council approved the motion as written, following a public outcry earlier this year over proposed changes to bus services in the area by Stagecoach.
The company subsequently bowed to pressure and performed a U-turn on some of the most drastic cuts.
The motion states: ‘Council notes with concern the recent cuts to local bus services across Fife. Council agrees to work with local community campaigns and continue to press Stagecoach and other bus operators for the restoration of vital local bus services.
‘Council believes that affordable and accessible bus services are essential for the quality of life in our communities and that in order to reverse the decline of bus services in Fife and across Scotland, the Scottish Government should legislate to re-regulate the bus industry.
‘Council agrees that the Council Leader should write to the Scottish Transport Minister requesting the Scottish Government to introduce legislation to re-regulate the bus industry.’
The motion was proposed by Labour's Cllr John Wincott, who told Transport Network that legislation was needed to achieve a balance between profit and the necessary social service provided by public transport.
‘I think the only way for it to work is to have national legislation across Scotland. The Government has to look at regulation and decide what it wants.
‘The key issue for me is that the people most affected by bus cuts are the people least able to cope with them; people who don’t or can’t drive, people in low paid work.’
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