Implementing the bus provisions of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019

Closed 6 Oct 2021

Opened 14 Jul 2021

Feedback updated 11 Mar 2022

We asked

Part 3 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 develops and refines the existing regulatory framework for bus services with a range of options designed to give Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) the powers and flexibility they need to improve bus services and reverse the decline in bus usage in their area. 

We asked for your views to help shape the regulations and supporting guidance required to implement the new bus provisions.

The questions covered the areas of partnership working, local services franchising, powers for local transport authorities to run their own buses and improvements to information. 

You said

The consultation resulted in 67 responses (42 from organisations and 25 from individuals). In addition, we received 1,107 campaign-led responses in support of implementing the provisions on Local Transport Authority (LTA) run services and franchising.

A number of key themes were evident across consultation questions as well as across respondent groups. Some of these were outwith the scope of the consultation and were general comments on the models being discussed and, as such, will be more appropriate for LTAs when considering which options to use. 

On Local Authority Bus Services, respondents indicated no desire for additional duties to be imposed on LTAs in how they run services. Instead, respondents made suggestions on supporting information to help implement this provision.

On Bus Service Improvement Partnerships respondents commented on a range of aspects relating to the operation of the model, including processes related to the preparation, variation and revocation of partnership plans and schemes, the partnership voting mechanism, accessibility provisions and the scrutiny of the partnership, among others.

On Local Services Franchising respondents commented on guidance required, information required, and the composition of the independent panel considering the making of the framework.

On the provision of service information when varying and cancelling a registration local authorities expressed a preference for receiving a broader range and greater detail of information whereas operators preferred to mostly continue with current practices relating to information whilst highlighting the need for protection for commercially sensitive information.

We did

An analysis of the responses to the consultation has been published on 11 March and can be accessed at The responses to the consultation will inform our ongoing work with relevant stakeholders to progress the development of necessary secondary legislation and guidance.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Bus Services are an economic and social cornerstone for Scotland. The sector accounts for three quarters of all public transport journeys and is set to play an increasingly important role in achieving a just transition to net zero by 2045. However, bus patronage in Scotland (and the UK) has been declining since the 1960s with the trend continuing through and beyond the privatisation of the sector following deregulation in 1985.

Set against this backdrop, the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 develops and refines the regulatory landscape with a suite of options designed to halt the decline in patronage and improve bus services.

The purpose of this consultation paper is to help us design the implementation framework set out by the bus provisions contained within the 2019 Act, which covers partnership working, local services franchising, powers for local transport authorities to run their own buses and improvements to information. 

The consultation contains questions on:

  • Local Authority run services (questions 1 - 2)
  • Bus Service Improvement Partnerships (questions 3 - 19)
  • Local Services Franchises (questions 20 - 25)
  • Information relating to services (questions 26 - 34)
  • Impact assessments (questions 35 - 36)

Why your views matter

The responses to this consultation will help shape the regulations and supporting guidance for implementing the new bus provisions in Part 3 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019. This will ensure that regulations and guidance are fit for purpose and are able to be utilised effectively by local transport authorities to support the resurgence of a vibrant public transport network that Scotland deserves.

Read the consultation paper. 

What happens next

After the consultation has closed, we will analyse all of the responses received and use your feedback to help inform our considerations and development of the regulations and supporting guidance on the implementation of the whole package of bus provisions within the 2019 Act.


  • Transport