Transport Bill ‘most radical’ since devolution

Humza Yousaf

A proposed bill on transport will bring forward the most radical measures since devolution, the Scottish government has said.

The Transport (Scotland) Bill aims to empower local authorities and establish consistent standards in the transport system.

Proposed measures in the bill include: providing local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) with the flexibility to improve bus services through partnership working with operators or, where there is a good case for doing so, local franchising or running services themselves; enabling the creation and decriminalised enforcement of Low Emission Zones; standardising smart ticketing technology to ensure compatibility, and setting in place an advisory body to best support interoperable Scotland-wide smart ticketing; strengthening the powers of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner in order to better regulate road works; and allowing RTPs to build up and carry appropriate financial reserves.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This government will not stand by as bus passenger numbers decline. Partnership is at the centre of our proposals, with a new model for local authorities to work with bus operators to revitalise services. We are also providing clearer options for authorities to pursue local franchising or provide services themselves in appropriate circumstances.

“Beyond bus services, this bill will allow for decriminalised enforcement of Low Emission Zones, double parking and parking on pavements. This will help transform our towns and cities into cleaner, more accessible and more pleasant spaces to travel and enjoy. By strengthening the technology and governance which underpins smart ticketing, people will be able to move between our cities with greater ease and convenience.”

He added: “The bill will also further increase the safety and efficiency of road works to help keep our traffic flowing. We are supporting regeneration along our canals and ensuring the future of the network by strengthening governance and we are also bolstering the ability of RTPs to manage larger projects.

“By empowering local authorities and continuing to work in partnership with transport operators, we will continue to develop a cleaner, smarter public transport system with improved connectivity, accessibility and greater economic benefits for all of Scotland.”