Public offered chance to influence future of bus industry and smart ticketing

Transport Scotland has launched two public consultations to help shape the future of bus operations and also smart ticketing.

‘Local Bus Services in Scotland – Improving the Framework for Delivery’ and ‘The Future of Smart Ticketing in Scotland’ are open to the public from today (13 September) and will run for 12 weeks until 5 December.

During this period, a number of stakeholder workshops and other events will be held so participants can find out more about proposals being put forward for bus, as well as consider the future of smart services.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said:  

“These two important consultations offer a great opportunity for the public and key stakeholders to have their say on the future of bus services and smart ticketing in Scotland.

“Buses provide an essential service to millions of Scots however declining passenger numbers pose a serious challenge to the industry. The proposals in this consultation set out a viable and flexible range of options to help local authorities improve bus services, working in partnership with bus operators.

“As we continue to make progress with a Scotland-wide integrated smart ticketing and payment service, that can be used across all modes, it is important we gather views from transport operators, public bodies and users.”

Once all responses from both consultations have been analysed and reports produced, the findings will be used to inform the Transport Bill.

Gavin Booth, Director of Bus Users Scotland

“Bus travel is an essential ingredient in Scottish life and Bus Users Scotland is pleased to see that the views of bus passengers are being sought on the elements of the new Transport Bill that directly affect them, including smart ticketing and powers that could give local authorities greater control over bus services in their areas.”

More information on ‘Local Bus Services in Scotland – Improving the Framework for Delivery’ can be found at

  • The proposals in this consultation are about ensuring that local authorities (and ‘model III’ Regional Transport Authorities, which carry out the relevant transport functions on behalf of their local authorities) have a viable and flexible set of options to improve bus services in their area.
  • At their heart is partnership working between local authorities and bus operators, with a proposal for a new statutory ‘Service Improvement Partnership’.
  • Where appropriate, we also want local authorities to be able to adopt local franchising or even run their own buses so options are also provided for those, and we are seeking views on what checks and balances should be put in place.
  • Lastly, we present a proposal to require bus operators to share information on routes, timetables, punctuality and fares so that passengers find it easier to plan and make their journeys.

More information on ‘The Future of Smart Ticketing in Scotland’ can be found at

  • The consultation seeks the views of the people of Scotland on a number of issues for further developing smart ticketing.
  • Specifically, it focuses on views on a national smart payment scheme (epurse), regional/cityzone schemes such as those already in place in Dundee and Aberdeen
  • Finally, governance arrangements for smart ticketing which will ensure that all operators can/do take part.
  • The main Scottish bus operators have agreed to work towards compatible smart ticketing, dovetailing with the ScotRail smart ticketing programme.
  • Currently 40% of bus journeys already use the smart saltirecard and the entire ScotRail network is now fully smart enabled.
  • The Glasgow Subway is already smart, thanks to our £246m investment in its modernisation and we have integrated smartcards between ScotRail and the Glasgow Subway.
  • Legislation may be required to deliver fully on the ministerial vision that “all journeys on public transport can be made using some form of smart ticket or payment” and this consultation will help gather evidence.


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