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Archive for the ‘Better Buses News’ Category

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Bus Regulation Proposal Lodged

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Iain Gray MSP has today lodged his final proposal for his Bus Regulation Member’s Bill:

Iain Gray: Proposed Bus Regulation (Scotland) Bill—Proposal for a Bill to extend the powers of transport authorities to regulate bus services through (a) quality contract schemes, (b) quality partnership schemes, and (c) ticketing schemes; and to extend the powers of the Traffic Commissioner in relation to the registration of bus services. (lodged on 4 December 2014)

He has also published a summary of the consultation responses, which you can access on the Scottish Parliament website.

Patrick has long supported the idea of increasing regulatory control over local bus services and welcomed today’s announcement, stating:

“In many parts of Scotland, both urban and rural, bus services remain way below the standards that other European countries enjoy. That won’t change until government recognises that public transport is a public service, and should not be left to the market to organise.

“Iain Gray’s bill will be a step in the right direction and will allow some protection for people who rely on routes that the private sector left to itself would scrap. I urge the Scottish Government to give this proposal a fair hearing, and I will continue to push for better buses in my own city of Glasgow.”

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First announces fare revisions for Greater Glasgow services

Monday, March 31st, 2014

First Bus has announced fare revisions for their Greater Glasgow services, due to take effect on Sunday 6 April.

Many fares remain unchanged, and the cost of a standard single has risen only 5 pence (although at £1.95, it will be just that wee bit more difficult to have the exact fare ready!).

However, with many four week tickets going up £7 (a rise of 18%) many commuters will feel the pinch.

First Glasgow scored relatively well on value for money in the recent Passenger Focus survey (although notably poorer than Lothian Buses, the only other Scottish service surveyed).

We’ve argued that re-regulation (if combined with investment) could help improve services and keep fares down (you can read First’s response in their letter to the Scotsman).

You can view the full list of changes on the First website.

As ever, we’re keen to hear your views. Do you think the changes are justified? Has the SimpliCITY service improved buses in Glasgow? All thoughts – good and bad – welcome!

Have your say here.

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Passenger satisfaction rates make case for bus regulation

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Patrick Harvie has commented on the gap in passenger satisfaction rates between Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses and First in Glasgow, saying it demonstrates the need for re-regulation of local bus services.

Passenger Focus surveys, carried out at the operators’ request and published today, show that satisfaction levels are higher for Edinburgh’s publicly owned service against almost all measures.

Among the measures in which Lothian scored higher satisfaction rates were:

• Overall journey satisfaction (Lothian 96%, First 91%)
• Value for Money (79% against 71%)
• Punctuality (91% against 84%)

Lothian also scored higher across a range of other measures, including the cleanliness and condition of their buses and personal security.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“It’s to be welcomed that passenger satisfaction was high across the board. But there’s a significant gap in satisfaction and value for money between the main providers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. If we want to encourage more people to make the shift to public transport, we have to be offering an outstanding level of service.

“If the market can’t deliver the same level of service as public ownership, then the Scottish Government should be looking at ways to bring it up to speed. I will continue to support calls for Scotland’s local bus services to be re-regulated.”

A full breakdown can be found on the Passenger Focus website (see pages 102-104).

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Bus Bill Consultation - Now Closed

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The consultation on the proposed Bus Regulation Bill has now closed and I would like to thank everyone that has engaged in the process through Better Buses.

I look forward to seeing Iain Gray’s summary of the responses from the public, transport groups and other bodies.

As I’ve said before, regulation is not a silver bullet and significant investment is required in our local bus services if we are to deliver the quality, affordable, sustainable transport that we so need.

But we cannot expect genuine change without giving some powers back to local policy makers.

This is an issue that runs across party political divisions and I am hopeful that the proposals will gain support – and constructive criticism – from all parties.

 

Patrick at launch without the hat

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Stagecoach dub Bus Regulation plans "immoral"! Patrick responds

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Stagecoach has written to Patrick, lashing out against Iain Gray’s proposed Bus Regulation Bill, which they dub both “immoral” and possibly a violation of Human Rights.

In the letter, they state: “We doubt whether proposed legislation to confiscate the freedom to operate commercially will comply with EU Human Rights legislation, and in any event we consider such action would be immoral.”

Patrick is a supporter of the plans to re-regulate Scotland’s local bus services, and has been encouraging Better Buses supporters to respond positively to the consultation on Iain Gray’s proposals.

Patrick said: “Stagecoach’s comments on the bill are utterly laughable. The ludicrous suggestion that it’s actually immoral to rein in the behaviour of the free market is followed immediately by a complaint that there’s not enough public subsidy. This is mental gymnastics of Olympic standard.

“The plain fact is that the countries which manage to provide the high quality public transport that Scotland deserves do it with a mix of regulation, subsidy, and in some cases public ownership. We won’t achieve the much needed step change in services until Governments – and operators – accept that reality.”

Read the full story on the Herald website.

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Consultation deadline extended for Bus Bill consultation

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

BRB responsePatrick has given his backing to a proposed bill to re-regulate bus services in Scotland, and he is asking all bus users to make their voice heard too.

The on-going consultation on Iain Gray’s proposed Bus Regulation Bill is an opportunity for bus users, and for people interested in Scotland having a better bus service, to have their say.

If enacted, this bill would give local transport authorities far greater powers to shape the services we make use of on a daily basis.

Due to increasing interest in the bill, the deadline for responses is now 11th October. Email your response to bus.bill@scottish.parliament.uk.

You can read Patrick’s full response by clicking here. Feel free to copy or adapt this text when submitting your own response.

You can see more details on the Bill, and the full consultation document on the Scottish Parliament website.

Please be aware that the normal practice is to make consultation responses public. For full details, please see page 12 of the consultation document.

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Your chance to demand better buses

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

BRB response

Patrick has given his backing to a proposed bill to re-regulate bus services in Scotland, and he is asking all bus users to make their voice heard too.

Iain Gray MSP has opened a consultation on his proposed Bus Regulation Bill.

If enacted, this would give local transport authorities far greater powers to shape the services we make use of on a daily basis.

This is an opportunity for bus users, and for people interested in Scotland having a better bus service, to have their say.

You can read Patrick’s full response by clicking here. Feel free to copy or adapt this text when submitting your own response.

The deadline for responses is 30th August. To respond, email your response to bus.bill@scottish.parliament.uk.

You can see more details on the Bill, and the full consultation document on the Scottish Parliament website.

Please be aware that the normal practice is to make consultation responses public. For full details, please see page 12 of the consultation document.

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PATRICK HARVIE MSP BACKS BID FOR BUS REGULATION

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

MEDIA RELEASE

25 July 2013

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and creator of the Better Buses campaign, has given his backing to proposals to re-regulate Scotland’s bus services.sign

In his response to the consultation on the Bus Regulation Bill being proposed by Labour MSP Iain Gray, Mr Harvie says that de-regulation is a “failed experiment” of the Thatcher era.

Supporters of the Better Buses campaign are being encouraged to respond positively to Mr Gray’s consultation.

Patrick Harvie said:

“I strongly support the general aim of this proposed Bill. There are clear economic and equality benefits to improving our bus services. Along with regulation we need investment, and I urge those who want those changes to make their views known.

“Moving away from high profile and expensive road projects and towards public and active transport measures would make a real difference to people’s lives. Iain Gray’s proposals mark the third time that a Private Members Bill to regulate bus services has been proposed in the Scottish Parliament. Let’s hope this one gets beyond the first stop.”

(Ends)

Details of previous proposals:

Kenny MacAskill, Bus Re-regulation (Scotland) Bill, 2002:
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S1_Bills/Session1MembersProposals.pdf

Charlie Gordon Regulation of Bus Services Bill, 2008:
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/17988.aspx

Glasgow City Council calls for regulation:
http://news.stv.tv/west-central/32375-council-passes-policy-calling-for-regulation-of-bus-network/

SPT calls for regulation:
http://betterbuses.org/better-buses-news/spt-proposes-new-regulation-for-buses/

In 2007 the SNP dropped their support for regulation amid claims that donations from Stagecoach owner Brian Souter had influenced policy: http://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/top-stories/snp-under-attack-after-bus-u-turn-1-744256

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Community Transport users 'Still Waiting' for a better bus pass

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Age Scotland Still Waiting 05.07.13 CROP

Today I visited Age Scotland’s shop on Union Street to give my support to their Still Waiting campaign.

They are calling for an extension of the National Concessionary Travel (NTC) scheme – the free bus pass for those aged 60 and over and the disabled – to include community transport providers.

At the moment, the NCT card can only be used on commercial services and those who rely on community transport to get around still have to fork out.

Not only is this unfair to community transport users, it also deprives the small organisations that provide these services a much needed cash flow.

Community transport is about more than getting people from A to B; it keeps families and communities together and enables people to play a full and active part in society.

Where commercial operators fail to provide an adequate service, or where individuals require a more specialist provision, community transport represents a real life line.

It is only fair that those who provide or rely on these services share in the support that is currently extended to others, and I think it is time for the Scottish Government to act on the calls of this campaign.

For more information on Age Scotland’s Still Waiting campaign, see their website.

 

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Better Buses Gets Bigger!

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

417px-Scotland_map-en.svg

I started the Better Buses campaign so that the voice of Glasgow’s bus users could be made louder by speaking collectively. Now it’s time to make that message louder still, by gathering the comments of people all across Scotland.

The big idea behind Better Buses was to give bus users a voice. Motorists have a powerful political lobby and train users benefit from a closely regulated system. Bus users have neither.

Through street surveys, online polling, social media and direct contributions to this website, I’ve collected first-hand experiences of the city’s buses. The picture is clear – we have a service that is failing to deliver. So many places in Europe enjoy public transport that makes for cleaner and greener places to live, as well as making life easier for people in every walk of life. So why can’t we?

As many respondents highlighted, much of the problem is systematic. Many of the failings stem from lack of regulation and insufficient investment, which are far from being unique to Glasgow.

Equally, there are problems particular to rural areas that need to be considered if the Scottish Parliament is to act to improve our buses.

When passengers have no voice, it is no surprise their services are treated as the lowest priority. By encouraging comments from across Scotland, I hope we can make the voice of bus users loud enough that it cannot be ignored any longer.

This doesn’t mean that I’ll be taking my eye off the situation in Glasgow. As an MSP for Glasgow, and a daily user of buses in the city, it will remain my most immediate concern. Not every improvement to the buses that people have suggested requires regulation, and I will continue to push for things that can be done here and now.

 

Visit the Your Say section to submit your comments

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