Transport Scotland Response
Transport Scotland welcomes the strong stakeholder support for the majority of the proposals put forward in the Consultation. We also welcome the constructive use of the Consultation responses by stakeholders to draw to our attention a range of potential alterations and additions to the bus registration process.
Based on the feedback received, it is clear that the majority of respondents consider that there is room for improvement in the process of bus service registration.
However, we note that there is a degree of disagreement on some proposals, notably on whether to reduce the registration period from 56 days to 42 days, either for all registrations or for those registrations where only EBSR is used.
We intend to proceed with the proposals outlined in Questions 1, 2, 3, lengthening the pre-registration period, drafting guidance to encourage the shift towards consultation rather than notification and encouraging authorities where appropriate to draw concerns to the attention of the Traffic Commissioner and/or Transport Scotland
We also intend to proceed with the proposal put in Question 4a, to reduce the period between registration and changes coming into effect from 56 days to 42. Further discussion on this point with local transport authority representatives reinforced the view that the corresponding 14 day increase in the pre-registration period would allow sufficient time to plan for service changes and prepare public information.
As part of this further work, we will also develop best practice guidance on the bus service registration process for bus operators and local transport authorities – as envisaged under Question 7.
We do not intend to proceed with the proposal in Question 4b, to introduce a shorter timescale for registrations submitted electronically. We are however keen to encourage more use of EBSR, which has a number of potential benefits including streamlining the production of passenger information. As part of the further work mentioned above, we will seek to identify the specific barriers to the use of EBSR in Scotland. We will also work with DfT, who are also looking to promote wider use of EBSR.
Although a majority of respondents supported the proposal in Question 5, to require 'frequent service' registrations to be detailed within hourly frequency bands, there were some significant counter-arguments and we are not minded to proceed with the proposal at this time.