Tag Archives: buses

Greener Buses

Cathy has welcomed the launch of the £3.4 million Scottish Green Bus Fund.
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MSPs back Alexander Dennis

The Scottish Parliament has overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for action to help Alexander Dennis Limited.
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Why not build better buses now?

MSPs are calling for support for the introduction of a new generation of environmentally and user-friendly buses in Scotland which could help save production at Scotland’s last bus manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) in Falkirk.
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Community Transport

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tackled the Transport Minister on the issue of support for Community Transport schemes such as Forth Valley’s Dial-a-Journey.

Opening the Scottish Parliament Questions, Cathy asked whether the Scottish Government would “extend the national concessionary travel scheme to include demand-responsive community transport schemes such as Dial-a-Journey in Forth Valley, which is used by older and disabled people who are eligible for the scheme but cannot use scheduled services”

In his reply, the Minister said that “the scheme has been the subject of a review since last July. The review is now complete and the resulting report and recommendations will be published this month.”

Cathy then asked “why are private bus operators trusted to operate concessionary transport schemes when community transport organisations are not? A number of disabled and older people throughout the country cannot access travel schemes. Will the minister please look again at the discrimination that those people face daily?”

The Minister, Stewart Stevenson. accepted that this was “a perfectly fair point about the need to provide access to affordable public transport for people with a range of disabilities that prevent their having ready access to standard service buses. We provide substantial support for a wide range of demand-responsive transport, which comes in many shapes and sizes. Some forms fall within the present scheme, whereas others are outside it. We have commissioned additional work on the demands of the transport sector to which Cathy Peattie refers. That work will be available to us later.”

Speaking later, Cathy said: “I have raised this issue several times, through questions, motions and in committee. It is important to maintain pressure on the Scottish Government. Let’s hope that the report takes a positive and constructive approach to support for such services. They really should be included in the national concessionary travel scheme.”

See also: https://cathypeattie.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/fare-deal-for-community-transport/

U turn on buses

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has welcomed the news that Scotland’s pensioners will continue to enjoy free bus travel.

SNP Ministers confirmed last month they were cutting the budget in real terms for concessionary fares by £10 million over the next three years in answer to a Parliamentary Question.

Cathy spoke on the issue in parliament, calling for the scheme to be protected and extended.

“This is an important victory for the campaign to stop Alex Salmond shoving our grannies off the bus,” she said.

“Alex Salmond had refused to guarantee that charges would not be introduced, or that the scheme would remain free at all times, and throughout Scotland. The SNP has been under pressure to come clean on their review of concessionary travel. After weeks of dodging the issue the Scottish Government has finally caved in.

“They are however still slashing £10 million from the budget in real terms, and we will be scrutinising the review for other hidden cuts.”

Labour Spokesperson Des McNulty said: “Alex Salmond has done more twists and turns on this issue than a bendy bus. But if this is his final u-turn then it is the first victory of Labour’s by-election campaign in Glasgow East.”

On the buses

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Cathy Peattie has highlighted the shortcomings of public transport in the Falkirk area, and called for action to tackle the problems, including bus regulation.

“Public transport is one of the most persistent and widespread sources of dissatisfaction among my constituents,” she said.

“I wish that First ScotRail would give my constituents a better deal. Fares from Falkirk and Polmont to Edinburgh and Glasgow are more per mile than most. A passenger station in Grangemouth would also be exceedingly welcome.

“Rail might be expensive and serve too few places, but bus travel is undoubtedly the biggest bugbear. If we are serious about tackling climate change and encouraging people to use public transport, we need better buses, more routes and timetables that meet the public’s needs.

“It is too easy to say that there is no demand when the lack of services has forced travellers to use private transport. It is too easy to say that people would rather use their cars and that buses are uncomfortable, inaccessible and expensive. It is also too easy to say that services are not viable when, if the truth be known, they arrive late, leave early and miss connections, if they appear at all.

“People need reliable and affordable public transport that is a pleasure to use, not a nightmare. Without it, we will not achieve our targets for modal shift and climate change.

“To be fair, some bus companies realise their shortcomings and the better among them attempt to take on board passengers’ views, but the bottom line is always profits, not people.

“Competition between bus companies is often imperfect, if it exists at all. In such circumstances, we cannot expect companies to provide adequate self-regulation and to achieve proper integration of public transport. We need Scotland-wide regulation. We also need to address the Scottish Government’s policies, which have left Scotland’s bus operators with higher costs than those in other parts of the United Kingdom and have led to massive fare increases for bus passengers throughout Scotland.

“We have seen a secret deal to extend the rail franchise and higher-than-inflation increases in rail fares. There has also been outrage among users of ferry services on the Clyde, in the northern isles and on most routes in Argyll because of discrimination in ferry fares between islands.

“In particular, we should strive for better provision for older and disabled travellers, and young families with prams and small children. Bus timetables should include information about low-loader and accessible buses. I still hear stories about disabled people waiting an hour or more for an accessible bus. That is not good enough.

“Free bus passes have been very well received by the people of Scotland. I have yet to hear a good reason for not extending concessionary travel to those who are on the lower rate of the disability allowance. We must also address the need for a concessionary travel scheme for those who depend on community transport, and I welcome what the minister said about that. It is time to stop dithering and to regain the momentum to improve public transport in Scotland.”