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Transport (Scotland) Act 2019

Provision of service information when varying or cancelling registration: inserted section 6ZA

243.Inserted section 6ZA(1) sets out that the remainder of that section applies where the operator notifies an affected authority of its intention to cancel or vary a registered local service.(15) The affected authority (or authorities) then may require the operator to provide them with information about the service (subsection (2)). Regulations made under section 6ZC may, however, provide for exceptions to this rule; for example, if the variation is to add stops or increase the frequency of service it would be inappropriate (and unnecessary) for the authority to look at the specific service information. The regulations may also prescribe the time period which the authority has to make the requirement.

244.The information that the affected authority can request will be fully set out in regulations, but it will be limited (by virtue of section 6ZA(3)) to two types of information, namely:

  • information about passenger numbers, journeys and fares (which is sometimes referred to in the industry as “patronage information”); and

  • information about the revenue obtained by the service (the “revenue information”).

245.Further restrictions on the information that an authority may seek are set out in subsection (4).

246.The first restriction (subsection (4)(a)) is that they may only request the information in connection with their functions under section 9A of the Transport Act 1968 (where the affected authority is SPT) or under section 63 of the 1985 Act (where the affected authority is a local transport authority or a Transport Partnership other than SPT).

247.Under section 9A of the 1968 Act, a Passenger Transport Authority must formulate general policies with respect to the descriptions of public passenger transport services the Authority considers is appropriate for the Passenger Transport Executive to secure for their area for the purpose of meeting any public transport requirements within their area which in the view of the Authority would not be met apart from any action taken by the Executive for that purpose. This is supplemented by a duty on the part of the Executive to secure the provision of such services as they consider it appropriate to secure for meeting any public transport requirements within their area in accordance with those policies. The functions of the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority and the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive under section 9A were transferred to SPT by order made under section 10 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005.

248.Under section 63 of the 1985 Act, the functions relate to the authority’s duties to (i) secure that there are sufficient services to meet the public transport requirements in their area which would not be met without action being taken by the authority and (ii) formulate from time to time general policies as to the descriptions of services that the authority proposes to secure in terms of that duty.

249.The information sought must therefore relate to the authority’s obligation to ensure that there is a sufficient service provision and the formulation of general policies in connection with that. This may manifest itself in different ways. For example, it makes it clear that an authority cannot request information in relation to their wider transport planning duties or for the purposes of informing a proposal to make a franchising framework under section 13A of the 2001 Act. However, it will inform decisions about how they comply with their duty to provide services to meet public transport needs in their area, which might include providing subsidies for particular services.

250.The second restriction (subsection (4)(b)) is that the authority can require information in respect of the preceding 12 months only (or a shorter period if the service has not been operating that long). Section 6ZC provides that the Scottish Ministers may, however, adjust the length of that period by regulations.

251.Subsection (5) deals with operators’ responses to requirements for information and has two elements.

252.The first element is that an operator must respond with the required information within a period to be set by regulations. That period is expected to start with the day that the operator receives the requirement from the authority.

253.The second element is that an operator can, at the same time as sending the required information, also request that the authority do not disclose it on the basis that disclosure of the information is likely to harm the operator’s business. In making such a request they are required to provide evidence of their assertion. This evidence will be assessed by the authority under inserted section 6ZB(6). If they decide that disclosure of the information is likely to harm the operator’s business they cannot disclose it.


Notification is a requirement under the regulations governing the registration of local services (currently the Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2001.

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