Public Transport

– Scottish Parliament written question – answered on 22nd March 2011.

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Elaine Smith (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what penalties there are for bus companies that fail to satisfy local demand.

Keith Brown: The provision of local bus services is generally a matter for individual bus operators, who use their own commercial judgement on service routes and frequencies including the number and size of vehicles used. Local authorities can provide subsidy for services that are not provided on a commercial basis but this is entirely a matter for the local authority. The Scottish Government provides funding to local authorities for this purpose.

Elaine Smith (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what provisions there are to ensure adequate bus coverage at peak times.

Keith Brown: The majority of bus services in Scotland are operated on a commercial basis by private bus companies. Provided that an operator registers a service with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, they can operate any route to any frequency they wish. Local authorities can provide subsidy for services that are not provided on a commercial basis but this is entirely a matter for the local authority. The Scottish Government provides funding to local authorities for this purpose.

Elaine Smith (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive how much public money has been spent subsidising bus services in each year since 1999, also broken down by parliamentary constituency.

Keith Brown: Local authorities can provide subsidy for services that are not provided on a commercial basis. In addition, the Scottish Government provides subsidy to all local bus services through the Bus Service Operators Grant scheme. Scotland level figures are available from the Scottish Government’s Bus and Coach Statistics publication which can be found at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Transport-Travel/PubBusCoach.

Table 10 shows local authority support for bus operators and table 12 shows Bus Service Operators Grant expenditure. This information is not available at Scottish Parliamentary Constituency level.

An updated edition of Bus and Coach Statistics will be published on 12 April 2011.

Charlie Gordon (Glasgow Cathcart) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will introduce secondary legislation before the dissolution of the Parliament to enable civil enforcement of bus lanes.

Keith Brown: The Scottish Government is committed to introducing such legislation. Draft statutory instruments are almost complete but it will not be possible to lay the legislation before the dissolution of the Parliament.