SOUTH Lanarkshire Council is calling for an upgrade to the bus system across Lanarkshire after claims that it has been ‘broken’ for years.

At a recent full council meeting, councillor Joe Fagan (East Kilbride Central North) proposed plans to roll out a London-style bus system across Lanarkshire and the West of Scotland.

The plan includes the council working together with councils across Strathclyde to take control of the region’s bus networks.

This has already been done by councils south of the border in Manchester and Liverpool.

Councillor Fagan said that the current bus system is flawed and urged councillors to back his proposal to introduce a seamless new network.

He said: “The bus market in the West of Scotland is broken. It has been for years. It’s time to scrap the broken bus market and replace it with a system that is democratically controlled and accountable. Buses should be run for people, not for profit.

“With metro regions like Greater Manchester and Merseyside embracing London-style bus franchising, with seamless integrated ticketing, it is time Scotland’s city-regions did the same. We are calling on SPT to use new Transport Act powers to take back control of the bus network and ensure that routes and pricing delivers a better deal for passengers.

“Integrated, affordable public transport is the norm in other parts of Europe. It should be the norm here as well. The taxpayer invests a huge amount in a broken system. By regulating the network under a new franchise, I am confident we can get value for money for taxpayers and fare-paying passengers and we can build a modern public transport system that joins our communities up better.”

The council will now write to SPT and the Scottish Government to communicate its view that a new model of bus provision for Strathclyde must be developed that is integrated and democratically accountable.

The new model of bus provision must contribute towards Regional Transport Strategy objectives and policies set out by SPT.

And the council will call on the Scottish Government to support local authorities and transport authorities seeking to replace deregulated bus models with models of regulation or common ownership, with fair funding regulation that respects the wishes of Scotland’s communities and regions.

Councillor Ross Gowland ( Clydesdale South) said: “As a regular bus user myself, I know how stretched local bus services can be. In rural areas, there are serious bus blackspots where residents are poorly served by bus services and some of these villages are the most deprived in South Lanarkshire.

“There is a compelling case for creating an integrated and democratically accountable bus franchise right across the Strathclyde region.”