Aberdeen Labour today called for extra transport powers in a bid to take over First Aberdeen.
The political group, which forms part of Aberdeen City Council’s ruling administration, has called for more powers to be handed down to councils ahead of the Transport Bill being debated tomorrow.
It emerged last month that bus giant First Aberdeen is likely to be sold off after Aberdeen-based transport operator FirstGroup confirmed it is considering a sale of its UK bus business.
Sandra Macdonald, Aberdeen Labour and the administration’s transport spokesman, said: “Aberdeen requires high quality, affordable, reliable public transport to stimulate economic growth and allow people across the city to prosper.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to tackling the historic decline in bus passenger numbers and the Transport (Scotland) Bill is designed to give local authorities the power to meet local needs should they wish to pursue partnership working, local franchising or run their own buses if that is appropriate.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
“Since the Bill was introduced, some local authorities have told us they would like the powers to be extended further and we have lodged an amendment to the Transport Bill that would enable local transport authorities to set up a company to operate local services in a commercial market.
“Local transport authority companies would operate in the same way as any other commercial bus operators and would be subject to all the usual registration and licensing requirements.”
A spokesperson for FirstGroup said: “Last month, we announced that we will be pursuing strategic options to separate First Bus from FirstGroup. This could be via a sale – either as a whole or in part – or by other means as a demerger or partnership.
“As this process unfolds, we will continue to operate our services as usual, working closely with our local authority partners and demonstrating our commitment to our customers through the service we offer them.”