Scottish Bill will aim to stem decline in ridership

Route franchising will be among the options the Scottish government considers in a Transport Bill being prepared for the Edinburgh parliament.

Speaking at the UK Bus Summit in London in February, Scotland’s transport secretary, Humza Yousaf, said the government would look at whether it can adapt aspects of the Bus Services Bill for England currently being debated in Westminster. ‘There is no point in reinventing the wheel,’ he commented.

Buses will form a key part of the planned legislation with the aim of stemming and reversing a recent steep decline in bus ridership in Scotland, especially Glasgow, with potential restrictions on car access to city centres likely to be considered along with the introduction of low emission zones.

Observing that ‘the debate on buses is often mired in deregulation’, Yousaf said: ‘The issue of bus ownership is a red herring. The decline in bus travel in the 1960s and 1970s was some of the steepest.’

While the Scottish government is not in favour of changes in regulation, he said it would examine local franchising to see if there is a case for it.

Lothian Buses, the only arms length municipal company in Scotland, has applied a version of its new double-deck livery to 169 (SN58 BYW), a Wright Eclipse 2-bodied Volvo B7RLE. KEITH McGILLIVRAY