The Scottish government has implemented policy that enables local transport authorities to explore the bus franchising and partnership powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.
The new powers, set out in the Programme for Government, will come into effect on 04 December 2023, providing local transport authorities in Scotland with further tools to help them revitalise bus services.
These will be followed by further substantive regulations that will give the powers full effect.
Fiona Hyslop, Scottish minister for transport, said: “The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 was designed to give local transport authorities more flexibility to respond to their own transport challenges, empowering them to help us make Scotland’s transport network cleaner, smarter and more accessible than ever before.”
With the new regulation, local transport authorities can work with operators to improve the quality and efficiency of local services through a Bus Services Improvement Partnership.
What’s more, they can develop a franchising framework, where the authority sets out the services to be provided and standards to be met within an area, contracting bus operators to run them.
Hyslop added: “We know how important bus services are and we are committed, in conjunction with operators and local authorities, to improving services to ensure everyone has accessible public transport regardless of where they live.
“Buses have a key part to play in cutting emissions in transport and contributing to our climate change ambitions, which this government is supporting by investing in bus priority infrastructure and encouraging a shift to zero emission buses, as well as offering the most generous concessionary travel scheme in the UK.”
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