The latest figures from the Department for Transport show a mixed picture for Scotland’s bus services with bus mileage down and passenger journeys up thanks to free travel for the under 22s.
As the industry adapts to changes in funding and travel patterns and with a UK General Election looming, Bus Users UK is calling on the newly elected Government to prioritise these lifeline services.
In its Manifesto for Bus Services, the charity wants to see communities at the heart of transport planning with long-term, fully funded support for public, shared and active travel.
Bus priority measures are among the key asks in the Manifesto, along with a commitment to ensuring services are fully accessible, integrated with other transport modes and built around housing developments, education, employment and healthcare.
Bus Users is also calling for simplified fares, a lifting of restrictions on concessionary passes and a legal requirement for local authorities to provide socially necessary services.
Greig Mackay, Bus Users UK’s Director for Scotland said:
“Bus services are the most accessible, affordable and used form of public transport and the lifeblood of local communities.
“But they have been failed by transport policy that consistently favours the private car regardless of the social, environmental and economic costs.
“The free travel initiative for the under 22s is clearly having an impact but bus mileage continues to fall as operators manage rising costs, short-term funding and congestion.
“We need to radically rethink the way we travel and we would urge the newly elected Government to prioritise public, shared and active travel for a healthier and more sustainable future.”