Former Labour leader Iain Gray plans to bring forward legislation aimed at strengthening regulation of the bus industry.
Mr Gray, who once worked as a bus conductor, intends to introduce a member's Bill to Holyrood to try to achieve this. He wants the legislation to give local councils the power to bundle together profitable routes with those that make a loss but are important in their communities, for companies to tender for.
These contracts could also specify routes, timetables and fares for the journeys, along with the quality of the vehicles used for them, and would allow the performance of bus companies to be monitored more directly.
His proposed Regulation of Bus Services (Scotland) Bill comes after an earlier attempt to strengthen bus regulation, which was put forward by former Labour MSP Charlie Gordon, fell because it failed to win the necessary cross-party support from MSPs.
Mr Gray said: "Bus journeys have decreased in recent years but they are by far the commonest means of public transport in Scotland, with many more journeys by bus than by rail. Yet successive SNP governments have given little attention or support to Scotland's buses, cutting government funding of bus routes and continuing to invest more money in rail journeys.
"As a result, we have seen services reduced or even withdrawn across Scotland, and inflation-busting fare increases imposed on passengers." The East Lothian MSP claimed his constituency had been "one of the hardest hit", adding: "The deregulated, free market in bus services has not served my constituents well, delivering expensive and unreliable services, or none at all for many communities."
"Doing nothing will simply allow this slow, steady decline to continue, until we have no buses at all. I am hoping that problems like those in East Lothian will finally have convinced other parties that we have to act and that they will support my Bill so that we can get it to Parliament and change the law," he said.
His proposals already have the backing of the Unite trade union, with Jackson Cullinane stating: "We believe this Bill will provide a better bus service for thousands of working people across Scotland and address the gaps in services which are currently failing many communities."
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "The Scottish Government has established an impressive record in funding bus travel, providing some £250 million annually to support a range of schemes including Bus Service Operators Grant, Concessionary Travel and the Scottish Green Bus Fund."
He also said: "Legislation is currently available to local authorities to enable them to influence the provision of bus services in their area. This includes Quality Contracts which enable the development of local franchises in areas where bus service provision has demonstrably failed."