THE bus market in Scotland has been broken and unfit for purpose for some time.

Regular readers will know I have written in the Tele about this subject on a number of occasions.

Around a month ago, I welcomed new proposals from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to franchise local bus services in our region.

And now, you have an opportunity to have your say on the future of bus services by taking part in an important consultation on these plans.

Buses are a vital mode of public transport for many in Inverclyde. People use them to get to work or to get to the shops, and to get home again.

But across the country bus services have been in decline and fares are becoming increasingly unaffordable.

For example, there are nearly one in four fewer buses operating in Scotland since 2017, and users in the Strathclyde area are paying among the highest fares anywhere in the UK.

There have of course been challenges for bus operators with rising fuel costs, shortages of drivers and traffic congestion.

Some private bus companies also think that franchising is a bad idea.

They have a right to their opinions, but the status quo is clearly not good enough for passengers. And besides, the system is proving a success in Manchester and Liverpool and Leeds are following suit.

A franchised service would mean greater public control of timetables and routes.

It could also make bus travel cheaper and more affordable for those who need them most – which in turn would encourage more people to use them.

Bus passengers in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds have been benefiting from £2 capped adult single fares. If it’s good enough for them, then surely it’s good enough for us too.

Whatever your views, I urge everyone to take part in this consultation at Have your say by 13th May.