Questions to which the answer is “Er…” – Number 6


Only two parties in Scotland are opposed to some form of re-regulation of the bus industry: the Tories and the SNP.

The Tory position is understandable: they believe the market – and the private bus industry itself – is best placed to decide whether a particular community should get a service.

The SNP’s position is rather harder to understand. After all, they pride themselves on being a “left of centre” party, so presumably don’t have the same faith in an unregulated market as do the Tories.

Re-regulation doesn’t have to mean a return to the days when local authorities owned bus companies; a small change in the law would allow local authorities to issue “quality contracts”, legally-binding agreements which could, if the councils chose, force bus companies to provide a minimum level and quality of service to those areas which currently suffer from poor coverage. Such a change would have a negligible cost, so lack of funds hardly explains the SNP’s reluctance to go down that route (ahem!).

So the latest Question to which the answer is “Er…” is:

Why are the SNP so reluctant to introduce even a modest measure of bus re-regulation?

Here at LabourHame, we just cannot conceive of any reason why Alex Salmond would be reluctant to annoy the owners of the large bus operators like First, Arriva and… oh, what’s the other one called…?

But maybe you can?

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