Local authorities handed power to operate their own bus services

The move is aimed at giving local authorities greater flexibility over the way public transport is provided.

Scottish councils handed power to operate their own bus services STV News

Councils in Scotland have been given the power to run their own bus services.

Ministers had pledged to enact powers under the Transport (Scotland) Act enabling local authorities to do so by summer this year.

And the Scottish Government has now confirmed that those powers have been commenced.

It means that councils will be able to run local bus services in any way they see fit within their wider obligations.

The move is aimed at handing councils greater flexibility in responding to their own transport challenges.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed the powers have been enacted.Website

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said the powers will help deliver a “more responsive and sustainable” transport system in Scotland.

“When the Transport (Scotland) Act was developed, local authorities asked us for flexible options to revitalise local bus networks, including running their own bus services and I am pleased that they are now being empowered to do so,” she said.

“The Act was designed to help make Scotland’s transport network cleaner, smarter and more accessible than ever before.

“By giving local authorities the flexible tools they need to respond to their own transport challenges, we can deliver a more responsive and sustainable transport system for everyone in Scotland.

“I recognise that not every local authority will want to run their own bus services – some may opt for a partnership or franchise approach.

“What’s key is that local authorities will soon have greater tools at their disposal to revitalise bus services where required.”

Gilruth encouraged local transport authorities to use the power.

She said: “By investing over half a billion pounds in long term funding for bus priority infrastructure, coupled with the roll out of free bus travel to under 22s and significant investment to encourage a shift to zero emission buses.

“We’re responding to the climate emergency by placing buses at the front of our just transition to a net zero society – supporting our world leading commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.

“I would encourage all local transport authorities to consider using this power, and the full range of tools available to them under the Act, to ensure that everyone has accessible public transport regardless of where they are in Scotland.”

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