Scottish government to give £500m for buses
A landmark investment of more than £500 million to improve bus infrastructure in Scotland has been announced. The investment is aimed at encouraging more people to use public transport.
The move is part of the Scottish Government’s next steps to tackle climate change. It follows an acknowledgement by the Scottish First Minister of a global climate emergency earlier this year. The First Minister also announced plans to decarbonise Scotland’s railways by 2035 and make the Highlands and Islands the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040.
Other transport actions include creating the conditions to phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland’s public sector fleet by 2030, and phasing out the need for all new petrol and diesel cars from the public sector fleet by 2025.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Scotland said the government’s investment was “an investment in Scotland’s future” and would help people switch from the car to more sustainable bus travel.
CPT Scotland’s Director, Paul White, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to invest in improved infrastructure for buses. Congestion is the biggest issue holding back buses in our communities. Reducing journey times will make buses more attractive for customers, reduce the number of cars on our roads, improve local air quality and free up resources to deliver improved bus networks and better value fares.
“Every £1 invested in bus priority can generate up to eight times that amount in wider economic, social and environmental benefits. So, investment in buses is an investment in Scotland’s future. As such, it is fantastic to see buses at the heart of the Scottish Government agenda.
“We are committed to working in partnership with local authorities to deliver an attractive, modern, green bus network for Scotland, and we look forward to helping maximise the impact of this fund.
“Bus operators have demonstrated a commitment to invest in better buses for customers and communities. If there is political will among local authorities to work in partnership with bus companies and match that commitment it will be a win-win for the country.”
CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler added: “This is excellent news for bus users across Scotland. I encourage the governments in Westminster and Cardiff to show similar leadership and commit to dedicated long-term funding to tackle congestion. Investment in bus infrastructure will facilitate the achievement of the UK’s climate change targets, improve air quality and grow our economy. It is time to follow Scotland’s lead.”
Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users, said: “Scottish Government clearly sees buses as part of the solution to climate change and is ready to take action to get people out of their cars and onto clean, green public transport. Setting such ambitious targets and demonstrating a willingness to work with service providers will ensure we get the best possible outcome for passengers, and for the planet.”
£200 million of funding for the bus industry was announced in the Spending Review.