Green MSP for the West of Scotland, Ross Greer, has called on East Dunbartonshire Council to seize the opportunity to create an affordable and accessible network of publicly run bus routes.
This follows recent talks between Green councillors in Glasgow and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, regarding the potential of a fleet of council owned electric buses, and the announcement by the Scottish Government of a new Transport Bill that will allow councils to introduce a franchise model for routes as well as more easily set up their own bus companies, such as Lothian Buses in Edinburgh.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“It’s been clear for years now that the free-for-all bus deregulation has sent prices skyrocketing, seen routes reduced and benefitted no one but the private bus companies. The public have been forced to accept patchy service provision, often unreliable and with unaffordable ticket prices, which simply isn’t good enough.
“Green councillors in Glasgow have already shown it’s possible for councils to take steps towards running bus services themselves, and Lothian Buses demonstrates how municipal bus services can be run successfully. With the news that the Scottish Government intends to make public sector bids to run the buses possible, East Dunbartonshire and other councils across the West of Scotland should be preparing to seize the opportunity.
“A well-integrated regional network of publicly run bus routes would be a game changer for the East Dunbartonshire, better able to connect communities and provide the transport links they need to thrive, not just those most profitable for bus operators. It would also reduce the pressure on council budgets by reducing the level of subsidy paid to private bus operators, and instead re-invest the profit from busy council-run routes into less busy but no less vital routes in areas currently suffering from poor services.”