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Transport bill proposes powers for LEZs and improved bus services

Words: Roger Milne
Transport (Scotland) Bill to improve bus services / iStock-532394224

The Scottish Government has published the legislation that will underpin the creation of council-developed and ministerial-approved low emission zones (LEZs).

The Transport (Scotland) Bill includes new measures that aim to provide 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.

In addition, the bill will prohibit double-parking and parking on pavements, and give local authorities the powers needed to enforce this important change.

The legislation will also standardise smart-ticketing technology to guarantee compatibility and provide for an advisory body to support interoperable, Scotland-wide smart ticketing.

The bill gives Scottish ministers the powers to enhance the board structure of Scottish Canals to strengthen its capacity to support economic regeneration.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “This transport bill responds to the views of passengers and stakeholders by providing local authorities and RTPs with the tools to address local needs.

“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: “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.”

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