A BAN on pavement parking is among a raft of proposals aimed at improving Scotland’s transport network.

New legislation being introduced to Holyrood would hand councils extra powers to prohibit parking on pavements and double parking.

Previous efforts to address the issue were held up by various complications, including whether the necessary powers were devolved to Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s wide-ranging Transport Bill also aims to give councils more flexibility in running bus services, through working with operators, local franchising or running services themselves.

It also allows for the creation of low emission zones – such as that proposed in Glasgow – which will be under civil rather than criminal enforcement.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said the legislation would give local authorities a new model to revitalise bus services.

He said: “We are also providing clearer options for authorities to pursue local franchising or provide services themselves in appropriate circumstances.

"Beyond bus services, this Bill will allow for decriminalised enforcement of low emission zones, double parking and parking on pavements.

"This will help transform our towns and cities into cleaner, more accessible and more pleasant spaces to travel and enjoy.”

The new proposals would also strengthen the technology underpinning “smart ticketing”, which could eventually allow all journeys on Scotland’s bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks to be linked into one payment system.

But critics described the legislation as a "missed opportunity" – insisting many of the measures don’t go far enough.

Scottish Labour's Colin Smyth said the SNP’s plans would mean "public ownership of bus routes can only happen in very restricted circumstances”.

He said: "This would leave local councils picking up the pieces, running the very few loss-making routes whilst transport tycoons line their pockets on the rest of the bus network."

Green MSP John Finnie said: "While we are pleased the Bill includes provision for local authorities to provide their own bus routes in areas where communities have been left behind by private operators, it is disappointing that it does not allow for the re-regulation of buses so that local authorities can choose to bring all bus services under public ownership.

"There's also not a single mention for trains. This was an opportunity for the government to pave the way for a public bid for the ScotRail franchise and disappointingly they haven't taken it."

Scottish Conservative Donald Cameron MSP said some of the proposals would “exacerbate” feelings that the Scottish Government has an anti-car agenda.