Give me better public transport and I'll leave the car at home. It's a frequent comment I receive from constituents. I am listening, we are listening.

I was proud to recently vote as a member of the board of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to put to consultation a route map that will lead to our bus network returning to public control via franchising so that your voices could be heard.

It's no surprise the SPT recommendations are very similar to the bus governance route map agreed by Glasgow City Council in 2022. The SNP-led city council has a bold vision for public transport, including bus priority enhancements on five Strategic Bus Corridors across Glasgow including Dumbarton Road and Great Western Road. SPT is now being bolder under its first-ever SNP chair, Stephen Dornan. Our national government in Edinburgh has also taken positive steps to improve public transport.

Bus deregulation was part of the Thatcherite ‘big bang’ of neo-liberal policy, which allowed for both deregulation and privatisation in the bus market this allowed private companies – and eventually monopolies – to emerge.

Enabled by the Labour Administration at Glasgow City Council who undervalued the sale at £30m, the resulting hollowing out in our bus capacity and network was an inevitable result. Like the Tories, Labour expected people to ‘get on their bike’ without investing in the active travel network SNP are also doing to tackle their destructive legacy.

The Scottish Government brought ScotRail under public control righting these wrongs. Just a few days ago, data showed it is one of the best-performing train operators in the UK.

SPT is currently delivering an over £200 million modernisation scheme for the Subway, with Sunday operating hours to be expanded upon completion. SPT will also be delivering a new 'smart' version of the zonecard travel pass with new ticket durations available such as day tickets. This will mean seamless journeys across different forms of public transport.

The ambitious Clyde Metro project which will be a key connector, particularly to areas not so well served by existing public transport, moved a step further forward with Glasgow City Council securing over £12 million to assist to move this forward.

When it comes to delivering bus franchising, it's important to be upfront with the public and state two important facts. 1. Franchising won't happen overnight and some patience will be required. 2. Significant money will need to be provided by the Scottish Government and/or the UK Government.

The latter point has been used by some as validation as to why bus franchising should not proceed. Claiming that this would be a waste of public money is a misjudged view in my opinion. The cost is clear but what needs to be highlighted more is the benefits. The economic benefit of public transport is without doubt. It helps someone go to a college course or travel to a new job opening up a range of opportunities. An improved bus network as part of better overall public transport can power the economy while assisting in tackling inequality. If we are serious about the fight against the climate emergency, then good quality public transport is also essential.

For some bus franchising is a matter of ideology, for me it represents the best chance to deliver the radical change to our bus network that the public deserve. I encourage everyone who cares about our bus network to head on to the SPT website and submit their views on the consultation. The SNP have made sure SPT are listening and hearing your voice.