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As the constituency MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, I thought it appropriate to respond to

this consultation in relation to Iain Gray MSPs Bus Regulation (Scotland) Bill. This Bill
would help to reverse long-term decline in bus industry by improving services, increasing
passenger journeys and will give more power to local transport authorities to decide how
services are run locally, including on frequency and fares.

The proposal to regulate bus services is driven by a decrease in the number of bus services
in recent years as successive governments have not properly supported bus services. It is
important to note that buses still remain the most frequently used public transport service
and adequate funding and regulation is necessary to maintain this provision.

In my constituency, services have been radically reduced, and some have been withdrawn.
In an area of low car ownership and with rail prices rising, it is imperative that there is a
reliable, affordable bus service within Coatbridge and Chryston. It is clear that the
community feel the same. I recently compiled a local petition calling on better buses that was
signed by over 1,600 constituents and have since handed the names and addresses over to
the consultation on this bill. I also have a number of individual complaints from constituents
regarding bus services and I would be happy to send redacted copies to the consultation if
necessary. I am therefore certain that there is consensus that current regulation of bus
services is not working in an effective manner.

Good bus services are essential for allowing people to get to work, to see family and friends
and to get to leisure activities. Diminishing services could potentially leave people isolated in
their communities. Commercial providers such as First Bus who have significantly reduced
access to buses in the Bargeddie and Moodiesburn areas of my constituency should be
made to take account of the social needs of my constituents.

Many senior citizens live in these areas and use their concessionary card to take advantage
of bus services. First Bus have removed important services in Bargeddie meaning those
travelling to Glasgows Royal Infirmary would have to get three buses. This undoubtedly
makes it more difficult for those in need of medical care, particularly elderly and disabled
people. Furthermore, those in Moodiesburn have had to come to terms with new timetables,
altering the frequency and availability of services they once relied on.

Buses are fundamental in allowing people to easily go about their daily lives and I believe
this legislation is required as operators are not meeting local needs at present. This is a key
reason why I support Iain Grays proposal to give more power to local authorities to regulate
the bus facilities in their own areas.

Bus provision is an important issue for people right across Scotland and I hope my MSP
colleagues across the political spectrum will support this legislation to allow better bus
services for their constituents.

Elaine Smith MSP