A fresh move has been made by Aberdeen City Council’s ruling administration to look at the possible reintroduction of local authority-run buses.
Proposals to bring back corporation buses to the streets of the city were first revealed last year as a central manifesto pledge by Aberdeen Labour.
The ruling Labour/Conservative/Independent administration later committed to look at the viability of a council-owned bus company within their joint policy statement.
Labour councillor Ross Grant, the administration’s transport and regeneration spokesman, has written to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf ahead of a debate in Parliament tomorrow asking if he intends to lift the current ban on councils establishing new municipal bus companies.
When asked if Aberdonians were likely to see Grampian Buses back on the roads soon, Cllr Grant said: “There’s no doubt that there would be a lot of work to do.
“I think the first steps would be that the city council needs to be granted the powers or legislation to look at the feasibility of the options.
“I can see no reason why the Transport Minister should not grant those powers back to enable councils like Aberdeen to look at the options.
“We believe re-regulation is needed to protect services to areas of need within our city and to ensure bus fares are affordable for all users.”
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said his party also backed the plan, having featured it in their manifesto last year.
Cllr Flynn said: “We had a commitment in our manifesto to look into the possibilities around a public bus company and our stance hasn’t changed on this issue.”
The one-time Grampian Regional Transport was bought over under an employee stock ownership plan in 1989 following deregulation laws introduced by Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Cllr Grant added: “We have submitted our representations and are now waiting for the new Transport Bill to come through with an update expected imminently.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting services and tackling the historic decline in bus passenger numbers.
“The forthcoming Transport Bill aims to give local authorities the flexibility to pursue partnership working, local franchising, or running their own buses, allowing local authorities to better respond to local needs.”