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Following stage 2, I have listened very carefully to what the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Confederation of Passenger Transport and local authorities have said about the bill’s provisions in this area.
Amendments 65 and 66 address the two stage 2 amendments that were concerned with municipal bus operations and would ensure that there is clarity in the new powers. The amendments recognise what Colin Smyth was also seeking to achieve at stage 2. They empower all local transport authorities in Scotland to provide services
“for the carriage of passengers by road using vehicles that require a PSV operator’s licence” and to operate services in the commercial bus market where they consider that that will
“contribute to the implementation of their relevant general policies.”
That wide power enables a local transport authority to choose the most appropriate option for their circumstances. LTAs will continue to have proper regard to all other obligations on them, such as those regarding competition and state aid rules.
Over the coming months, my officials will continue to engage with local transport authorities, the Competition and Markets Authority, bus operators and others in developing appropriate guidance.
Amendments 128, 130 and 131 are consequential amendments.
I move amendment 65 and urge members to support the other amendments in group 11.