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Public Transport Users Committee - Report

DescriptionA report on a recent consultation on the PTUC. The consultation document “Proposals for a Public Transport User’ Committee for Scotland” are already on the executive website
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateJanuary 24, 2007
Consultation on Proposals for a Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland

1. The Scottish Executive issued a consultation document on the proposals for a Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland in December 2005. The consultation ran until March 2006 and asked for views on the structure, remit, relationships with other bodies and membership of the proposed Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland. A total of 74 responses were received. A list of the respondents is attached at Annex A.

Main findings

2. The main findings from the consultation were as follows:

  • The majority (52 out of 74) of responses were in favour of an integrated high -level committee incorporating sub-committees.
  • 5 organisations favoured an umbrella body superimposed on existing bodies.
  • 10 organisations (including MACS) were in favour of keeping MACS (Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland) separate.
  • 2 organisations were in favour of keeping BUCT (Bus User Complaints Tribunal) separate.
  • BUCT offered an argument for PTUC to have a more widely based brief than those proposed in the consultation document.
  • Most respondents were in favour of the remit as set out in the consultation.
  • Many of respondents saw a major role of the PTUC to be carrying out research and consulting with users.
  • 5 organisations said that the PTUC should cover internal air services.
  • 10 organisations suggested that the PTUC should deal with internal rail services.
  • The consensus was that the members should be widely representative of all modes of transport, with a geographical spread and be able to contribute at a strategic level.
  • A large number of replies said members should be regular users of public transport.
  • A large number of organisations did not like the name Public Transport Users' Committee.


3. The Transport (Scotland) Act 2005, which received Royal Assent on 05 August 2005, placed a duty on Scottish Ministers to establish a Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland (PTUC). During the passage of the Bill in Parliament the Minister of Transport gave a commitment to consult on the establishment of the new body prior to its creation.

4. The consultation document asked for views on the following six questions:

Question 1: Which option do you believe would best deliver an effective PTUC?

Question 2: Do you have any alternative suggestions of how the PTUC could be structured?

Question 3: What do you believe should be included in the remit of the PTUC?

Question 4: In what way do you envisage the PTUC interacting with users or your organisation?

Question 5: Should PTUC membership seek to include passenger representatives covering rail, bus, ferry and air or should the focus be on an individual's ability to contribute at a strategic level?

Question 6: What essential skills and knowledge should a member of the PTUC have?


5. The consultation document stated that the PTUC should be an overarching body with a high level advisory remit. It put forward two options for the form and structure of the new body. Option 1 was to create an integrated high-level committee incorporating mode - specific sub-committees. Option 2 was to create an umbrella body superimposed on existing bodies. The document stated that the Scottish Executive's preferred option was option 1. It was felt that this option would provide a simple structure which would be easy for users to understand and engage. It was also felt that option 1 would reduce the total number of user representation bodies and the number of public bodies in keeping with the principles of best value and efficient government.

6. Option 1 proposed that the PTUC could create sub-committees to carry out the functions of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) and to carry out the functions of the Bus User Complaints Tribunal (BUCT). It also proposed that the functions of the proposed Scottish Ferry Committee could be carried out by a sub committee of the PTUC.

7. The majority (91%) of respondents, that commented on the options, were in favour of Option 1, many felt that this was because it was a more simple structure. Five organisations were in favour of Option 2.

8. The majority of respondents were in favour of modal sub committees while four respondents called for the sub-committees to be based on geographical area rather than mode of transport. The reasoning being that they would correspond to the regional transport partnerships.

9. When asked for views on alternative suggestions eleven respondents mentioned that MACS should remain independent but work in partnership with the PTUC. MACS were one of these organisations; however they did say that they may be able to join PTUC in 5-10 years' time. Several respondents mentioned that BUCT should be independent but should work in partnership with the PTUC.

10. Other suggestions were that the PTUC structure should be similar to that of the London Travel Watch, should be part of Consumer Voice, should carry out an Ombudsman role or should operate through RTPs.


11. The PTUC will be an integrated, high-level, multi-modal committee that will have a sub committee that will take on the functions of the Bus Users Complaints Tribunal and will be able to establish its own sub committees. The BUCT functions will be transferred to the PTUC by secondary legislation with BUCT legislation being revoked by a separate order. The Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland Order 2006 (SSI 2206/250) which will establish the PTUC on 01 January 2007 can be viewed at

12. The PTUC will not take on the functions of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS). The PTUC will work closely with MACS and will share a joint secretariat in keeping with Efficient Government and Best Value policies. The position will be reviewed in 3 years' time.

13. Scottish Ministers will not set up a Scottish Ferry Committee either as a self standing Committee or as a sub committee of the PTUC. The functions of the three existing Shipping Services Advisory Committees will from 1 January 2007 be exercised by the relevant regional transport partnerships (RTPs).


14. The consultation document suggested that the PTUC's remit could include:

  • representing all users and potential users of public transport in Scotland, and cycling and walking interests;
  • engaging with and complementing the work of existing, proposed and new bodies, as well as users and providers;
  • giving advice and making recommendations to the Scottish Ministers regarding the promotion and improvement of integration, safety, the environment, sustainable transport, social inclusion, accessibility and economic growth;
  • advising Scottish Ministers on strategic issues, either at their own instigation or at Scottish Ministers' request;
  • inputting into the development of national and regional strategies and accessibility policy;
  • producing an annual report for Scottish Ministers highlighting issues of concern to travellers;
  • undertaking research;
  • requesting reports from mode specific bodies; and
  • referring matters to the Scottish Ministers for consideration by them.

15. The document also suggested that the PTUC should not deal with day-to day issues such as individual complaints between users and individual providers nor with local operations and licensing.

16. Many respondents were in favour of the remit proposed in the consultation document. Several suggested that the remit should be expanded to cover rail and internal air service complaints. Other suggestions were that the remit should cover ticketing, fares and overcrowding with some calls for the remit to take cognisance of tourism and business needs. The majority of those that commented on cycling and walking said that it should not be included in the remit as they were personal modes of transport, other than in relation to rail's cyclist policy.

17. There were two distinct views of PTUC's role: one being that the Committee would represent to Ministers the views of user, obtained through research and consultations, and by advising transport operators, councils and RTPs on transport development matters; the other being that the PTUC would be a users' forum and should handle user issues such as complaints, dealing with public transport complaints at sub committee level. Some suggested that it should deal only with unresolved complaints and that the PTUC should have the power to fine operators and compensate passengers.

18. Several stated that the sub-committees should be based on geographical areas (e.g.RTP area) rather than being modal while many called for the name to be changed, particularly dropping the "public" so as to represent all users of transport.


19. The PTUC will be an advisory NDPB and will discuss all forms of transport but will have a minimal role in dealing with complaints; complaints will be dealt, in the first instance, by the operators. The decisions on how many sub committees the PTUC requires will be left to Committee to determine. Each sub committee will contain at least one member of the main Committee.

20. The PTUC will operate with the remit as set out in the consultation document (see above) and will have a close working relationship with the Air Transport Users Council and the Railway Passengers' Council, which have a UK-wide remit and a GB-wide remit respectively.

21. Although legally it will be the Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland the PTUC may operate under a more user-friendly name.

Relationship with other bodies

22. Most organisations hoped they would be consulted by the PTUC on policy development and with regular questionnaires. Some organisations stated that they would appoint a dedicated PTUC Liaison Officer and proposed that PTUC members would be invited to attend their meetings.

23. RTPs expected to liaise with the PTUC on the development and implementation of their strategies. Several said that PTUC should consult with RTPs and local authorities while some said that there should be interaction with local transport providers.


24. The PTUC will work with many organisations in an informal manner with more formal arrangements being in place with RPC, ATUC and MACS. Given the interest in the work of the PTUC we propose that the majority of its meetings should be held in public on a well publicised timetable. To keep costs to a minimum the PTUC will utilise existing public bodies' meeting rooms whenever possible.


25. The consensus was that the members should be widely representative of all modes of transport, with a geographical spread and able to contribute at a strategic level. Some suggest that the board should be split 50/50 between modal experts and those with ability to contribute at strategic level. There was also a suggestion that a transport academic should have a seat on the Committee.

26. Most respondents thought that members should have a thorough understanding of the Scottish transport network and of passengers' issues as well as being regular users of public transport. The majority of respondents also stated that it was important that members are open minded and able to work at a strategic level. It was also stated that it is important that some of the members should have a knowledge of accessibility and mobility issues or be willing to undertake awareness training.


27. The total membership of the PTUC, including Convener and excluding sub committees, will be 12. As far as possible the membership will have a geographical balance. The positions of Convenor and Member will be filled following a public appointments process.
28. The appointments process will be under the auspices of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland.

29. No one will be barred from applying and all will be judged on their ability as assessed against established criteria. The member appointments will be advertised on the Scottish Executive's website: (

Bill Brash
Local Authority and Partnership Liaison Team
Transport Strategy Division
Scottish Executive Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department
December 2006


List Of Respondents

Ref Organisation

640/01 ACPOS
640/02 Individual
640/03 Angus Transport Forum
640/04 Scottish Taxi Federation
640/05 Badenoch and Strathspey Community Care Forum
640/06 NHS Ayrshire & Arran
640/07 Individual
640/08 South Ayrshire Council
640/09 London TravelWatch
640/10 Derek Halden Consultancy
640/11 East Dunbartonshire Council
640/12 City of Edinburgh Council
640/13 Dundee Accessible Transport Action Group
640/14 South Lanarkshire Council
640/15 Air Transport Users Council
640/16 Scottish Association for Public Transport
640/17 Scottish Borders Council
640/18 Clyde Shipping Services Committee
640/19 Individual
640/20 The Friends of the Far North Line
640/21 East Renfrewshire Council
640/22 Individual
640/23 The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors In Scotland
640/24 Parallel Transport Liaison Group
640/25 HITRANS
640/26 Sense Scotland
640/27 TRANSform Scotland
640/28 Scottish Accessible Transport Alliance
640/29 Bus User Complaints Tribunal
640/30 Individual
640/31 Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers
640/32 Cairngorms National Park Authority
640/33 Confederation of Passenger Transport UK
640/34 Individual
640/35 Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector
640/36 Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS)
640/37 Scottish Natural Heritage
640/38 Disability Rights Commission
640/40 Highland Council
640/41 Isle of Barra Transportation Committee
640/42 Virgin Trains
640/43 Individual
640/44 Bute Ferry Users Group
640/45 FirstGroup plc
640/46 Dundee City Council
640/47 Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Scotland
640/48 Campaign to Open Blackford Railway-Station Again
640/49 Lothian Buses
640/50 Stagecoach Scotland
640/51 Renfrewshire Council
640/52 Aberdeenshire Council
640/53 Inverclyde Council
640/54 The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK)
640/55 Outer Hebrides Tourist Industry Association
640/57 Fife Council
640/58 Scottish Consumer Council
640/59 NHS Fife
640/60 Individual
640/61 Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC)
640/62 Living Streets Scotland
640/63 West Lothian Council
640/64 Individual
640/65 Angus Council
640/66 Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
640/67 Forth Valley NHS Board
640/68 Highlands and Islands Enterprise
640/69 Highlands and Islands Public Transport Forum
640/70 GNER
640/71 Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, SPT
640/72 Argyll and Bute Council
640/73 Clydesdale Rail Action Group
640/74 Railway Passengers' Council (Passenger Focus)