Iain Gray lobbies for more bus regulatory powers

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FORMER Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray will today seek powers for greater control over the country’s buses in a proposed law to be introduced at Holyrood.

The East Lothian MSP’s bus regulation bill would give councils more power over bus operators, including to run services as rail-style franchises.

Buses on Edinburgh's Princes Street. Picture: Jane Barlow

Buses on Edinburgh's Princes Street. Picture: Jane Barlow

However, the move was condemned by the bus industry as unnecessary and unaffordable.

Mr Gray said: “My bill aims to give more power to local transport authorities, by giving them a greater say in how services are delivered in their area beyond the most basic terms.

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“At the moment, the system makes it too easy for operators to walk away from even those services they are paid to deliver, and when they do, it’s communities that suffer.”

Paul White, a spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which speaks for bus and coach firms, said: “If Mr Gray wishes to put the passenger first he should be focussing on the deliverable, rather than attempting to impose a level of further regulation that is unnecessary, unwanted, unworkable and unaffordable across most areas of Scotland.

“CPT shares Mr Gray’s aims of improving bus services in Scotland. This bill is not the answer. It ignores the reality of local authority budget constraints or the demonstrable benefits of the current partnership working between the public sector and bus operators.”

SEE ALSO

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• Scottish fact of the day: Lothian Buses

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