Rural bus services in Scotland : the SCOTMAP impacts and the role of accessibility measurement
This research examines the main elements which constitute the 'rural transport problem'. The work focuses on what appears to be a key issue for local government---establishing the level and nature for local public transport. Two possible approaches to the measurement of accessibility need, recently used by an English and a Welsh local authority, are applied to 4 case study areas in Scotland. Each study area has undergone significant service losses as a result of a major bus company rationalisation programme---the Scottish Bus Group's SCOTMAP exercise. A measure of the impact of these losses, in accessibility terms is attempted and a critical evaluation is made of the methodologies used to calculate this. The analysis presented was completed before the 1985 Transport Act created a new financial and legislative environment in local bus service provision. The Act has significantly altered the role of the regional councils in securing public transport services. These changes accompany deregulation of local bus services and a return to free-market competition between bus operators. The final section of this research considers the enhanced role for needs evaluation as part of the planned subsidy allocation procedure administered by local government for socially necessary (but non-commercial) arms of the bus networks. A number of recommendations are made, based upon the case studies with the aim of gearing a needs-based method to the Scottish context. It is concluded that whilst problems must be overcome, the analysis of needs has an important potential role in the deregulation context.