THE WAY local bus services are run and managed could face radical changes that give more power to councils and communities.
Transport Scotland’s proposals “Local Bus Services in Scotland – Improving the Framework for Delivery” are currently out for consultation and Dundee City Council’s response will be discussed next week.
Lynne Short convener of the council’s city development committee said: “It is more than 30 years since the bus market was de-regulated in Scotland and the Scottish Government has decided that there is a demand for change.
“Some of the proposals in the document are interesting and innovative but we are looking for less bureaucracy that will put serving our communities at the heart of decision-making when it comes to bus services.”
Transport Scotland has identified a number of areas where it believes change can be made under four broad headings - partnerships, local franchising, transport authority run bus services and open data.
A report by executive director of city development Mike Galloway recommends that the council supports the principle of giving local authorities unambiguous powers to operate bus services for the local community - either directly or indirectly through an arms-length company.
It goes on to say: “The proposals around partnership working as described in the consultation paper are considered to be overly bureaucratic, with too many checks and balances and too many opportunities for bus operators to withdraw from the process.
“Dundee City Council is determined to pursue long term, two-way partnership working with bus operators who are committed to collaboration and serving the interest of the city.”
In response to the consultation the council proposes developing the idea of 'powers of direction' that would give transport authorities greater control without the need for full franchising.
Councillors will be asked to back the response which supports legislation to compel bus operators to share data including punctuality figures, because it helps to inform strategic decisions that impact on the bus industry.
The city development committee meets on Monday (December 11).