Strathclyde to develop franchising scheme

SCOTTISH COLUMN

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport is to develop a bus franchising scheme for the region by 2031.

In March, its elected and appointed members approved a report from its officers recommending franchising as the best of five basic options for future delivery of the regional bus network. The other options were business as usual, voluntary partnerships, bus service improvement partnerships (BSIP) and the creation of a municipal bus company.

Each option was appraised against four criteria:

• Strathclyde Regional Bus Strategy policies on level of service, affordability and service quality.

• Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance on the environment, climate change; health, safety and wellbeing, economy, equality and accessibility.

• Feasibility, affordability and public acceptability.

• Risk and uncertainty. Members agreed that SPT should initiate the franchise process in line with the requirements of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019. The cost of taking the franchising process to the point of implementation is estimated to be around £15million and likely to take between five and seven years, during which time it will also pursue BSIP initiatives as a medium-term measure. SPT believes that franchising would have the most beneficial effects for the delivery of enhanced service provision, more affordable fares and service quality.

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