Gordon MP Richard Thomson has welcomed figures showing the success of the Scottish Government’s concessionary bus travel with approximately 100 million concessionary bus journeys being taken each year thanks to increased investment in the scheme.
However, the SNP MP has warned that the action taken at Scottish Government level to increase access to public transport risks being undermined by the actions of the Conservative/Liberal democrat-led Aberdeenshire Council who agreed over £600,000 worth of cuts to supported bus routes which will take effect from June this year.
Since 2014/15, over 894 million concessionary bus trips have been made across Scotland by passengers holding a concessionary travel card, including people over 60 years old, those with a qualifying disability and young people under 22 years old.
Most recent data show that there are 1.5million people living in Scotland who benefit from a concessionary travel card.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“I’m obviously delighted that people in Gordon, and right across Scotland, are taking full advantage of the concessionary travel cards available to them, and these figures underline the SNP Scottish Government’s commitment to widening access to free bus travel.
“Not only does supporting people to use public transport help everyone enjoy greater independence but it is a key way we can reduce our carbon footprint and tackle the climate emergency. And of course if demand is high, then there is the case to be made for operators to expand services in some of our more rural communities.
“From increasing eligibility of the concessionary travel card to include injured veterans to rolling out free bus travel for young people under 22, the Scottish Government is making sure people can get around without being put out of pocket.
“However, concessionary bus travel is only helpful if there is a functioning bus service in your community. Unfortunately, a range of bus services across Aberdeenshire will be cut from June as a result of the decision by the Conservative/Lib Dem-led council to cut the budget for public transport by some £600,000.
“It has not gone unnoticed that the SNP-led opposition managed to produce a balanced budget whilst maintaining the commitment to the current bus services.”
Between 2014-15 and 2021-22 there have been 894 million concessionary bus trips in Scotland.
As at November 2022, there were 1.5 million concessionary travel card holders in Scotland (figures from Scottish Transport Statistics 2022).
Figures are for single journeys i.e. a return trip would count as two passengers.