I asked the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to encourage the public to travel by bus, in light of reports that the recent Transport Scotland Covid-19 transport trends indicate that concessionary bus travel is down by 35 per cent on pre-pandemic levels. (S6O-00380)

See my question below:

Pre-pandemic Scottish Government analysis showed that Scottish bus passenger numbers were falling by an average of 10 per cent per year, yet on Lothian Buses services, passenger numbers had remained constant. Given the success of that mutual ownership model, is the Scottish Government prepared to give local authorities the resources that are provided for in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, so that the rest of Scotland can enjoy the level of service that is offered by Lothian Buses? Will the Scottish Government take this opportunity to support Scottish Labour’s call for free transport for the under-25s?

Graeme Dey, The Minister for Transport answered:

The member makes a good point about Lothian Buses bucking the trend, which is one of the reasons why the powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 are a full range of powers, and they will be supported by a community bus fund in order to extend their implementation.

On the point that the member makes about free bus travel, as he is well aware, from January, we will be extending it to under-22s. As part of the fair fares review, we will look at further opportunities in that regard.

Meeting date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021

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