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"Passenger View Scotland" by John Elliot, Convenor, Passenger View Scotland.

Passenger View Scotland is a statutory body, originally called the Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland established under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005. The Act placed a duty on Scottish Ministers to establish a a body to represent public transport users and consultation favoured an integrated, high level, multi modal committee with a sub committee to take on the functions of the Bus Users' Complaints Tribunal (BUCT). In 2006, The Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland Order 2006 established the PTUC on 1 January 2007 and it has now chosen to be called "Passenger View Scotland" (PVS).

The first meeting was held in April 2007 and the new body consists of 12 members drawn from all walks of life. The remit of the body is to primarily look at ways of improving public transport integration and information provision. There are many examples of good and bad practice and PVS encourages research and the adoption of good practice by transport operators. The body also advises the Transport Minister and is responsible for looking at integration and information provision for all modes of public transport in Scotland.

The strategic objectives of the body are set by the Scottish Government and the body can advise the Transport Minister on anything that they choose. Currently PVS is looking at competition policy and will report it's findings to the Transport Minister in the new year. However, Competition is not a devolved matter and is still under the auspices of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission and these organisations still have a remit in Scotland.

PVS has 12 part time members from a variety of backgrounds, for example one member is a university professor whilst another is a nurse. These members ensure that there is a wide representation and good working relationships between the various organisations that PVS interfaces with. There is a secretariat of staff seconded from the Scottish government to provide the necessary administration and PVS is based in Dunfermline, but may move to Edinburgh in the future.

There are four working groups covering Integration, Information, Policy and the Environment and Communications. These are all headed by a well known transport figure and look at various aspects of transport within their own remits. PVS also has taken over the statutory role of the Bus Users' Complaints Tribunal, but prefers to let operators attempt to resolve complaints before it becomes involved. It provides a forum for passengers who have not had their complaint satisfactorily resolved by the operator concerned and the aggrieved passenger can appeal to the gull committee who will hear the case.

John Elliot then answered a great many questions from the audience on various aspects of the work of PVS and outlined his views of how public transport would develop, before the Chairman presented a quaich to him. The evening concluded with the provision of Christmas fare and refreshments. The Scottish Region would like to thank John Elliot for his presentation and Edinburgh City Council for hosting the event. Thanks are also due to Graham Atkins and Margaret Roy for the provision of the festive refreshments.

Report by John Fender.


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