Renfrewshire Council given powers to run bus services

29th Jun 2022

Local authorities, like Renfrewshire Council, have been given extra powers that will allow them to run their own bus services.  This is seen as a huge change for councils as this is the first time since 1985 they will be able to do this.

The change to existing legislation is aimed at allowing services in communities be more flexible and bring a boost to local economies.

“These new powers will allow councils to run local bus services in any way they see fit, to suit their local conditions” said Natalie Don MSP (SNP – Renfrewshire North and West) commenting on the commencement of new powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act which essentially gives local authorities the power to run local bus services.

These new powers sit alongside the existing powers of councils to subsidise services as well as either working in partnership or in a franchise arrangement to improve bus services in their local area.  Section 34 of the Act essentially gives local transport authorities power to run local bus services in any way they see fit within the wider context of their obligations, which they were previously prohibited from doing under the Transport Act 1985.

However, such plans would have to fit in with any pre-existing agreements with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), which is the regional transport partnership for the west of Scotland, including Renfrewshire and Inverclyde council areas.  SPT’s role involves planning and delivering transport solutions for all modes of transport across the region. SPT is at the centre of the region’s transport planning; analysing all travel needs and developing the transport system for now and the future.

Natalie Don MSP added: “I am really excited to see these powers handed over to local authorities. The Transport (Scotland) Act was designed to help make Scotland’s transport network cleaner, smarter and more accessible than ever before. These new powers will allow councils to respond to their own local challenges, hopefully delivering a more responsive and sustainable transport system for their local area.

“Within Renfrewshire North & West we have seen a reduction in bus services in both our towns and villages over the years so these powers could be a positive step towards improving transport in the area which would be of huge benefit to local people and by reducing the number of cars on our roads, would help towards our climate targets.

“Councils are best placed to know what is needed in their own areas and of course, it will be up to each local council to decide which powers they want to use in collaboration with their local regional transport which, in the case of Renfrewshire North & West, is SPT. I will look forward to exploring how these now powers might be utilised in the area with both the local authorities and SPT.”

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