A campaign for a better bus service in East/West Dunbartonshire is now underway after a local Green MSP brought a debate on the subject to the Scottish Parliament.
Ross Greer, who represents the West of Scotland and is an East Dunbartonshire resident, told politicians at Holyrood about how fare rises, including First Bus’s recent major fare hike is causing financial problems for his constituents, especially those who have no access to other bus or rail routes.The Green MSP highlighted how a publicly owned bus service, like Lothian Bus in Edinburgh, would be focussed on providing a quality service rather than maximising its profits and would be less likely to cut routes and raise fares by such a large margin.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“Bus services, despite being the overwhelming majority of public transport journeys, are treated as anything but a public service across most of the West of Scotland. Instead, they are run in the interest of private companies and their profit margins and as a result, we have seen services run for profit over people. So when times get tough, routes get cut, fares rise, and delays to pollution-reducing initiatives.
“It does not have to be this way of course. Lothian Bus in Edinburgh is a first class example of a publicly-run bus service that’s in the public interest. A bus service run in the public interest would not leave communities stranded in pursuit of maximised profits.
“First’s services to Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch and beyond are a lifeline to people in our communities, yet passengers see year on year fare increases and a service which at best has not improved at all but has often gotten much worse. Passengers travelling the furthest are already paying the most and now being hit the hardest. This needs to end and the government have the power to end it.”
On making public transport more environmentally friendly, Greer said:
“The Scottish Greens have estimated at the current rate, it would take 70 years to green the bus fleet in Scotland, and that includes from using public grants from the Scottish Green Bus Fund.
“It is great to see the Scottish Government commit an additional £10m in loan funds to retrofit buses to reduce emissions and to establishing an engine retrofitting centre in Scotland to support the delivering of air quality targets.
“Of course, policy towards public transportation cannot exist in isolation of other transport policies, particularly on the use of cars. With Scottish cities establishing low emission zones, we must accelerate the move towards sustainable transportation and ensure that our towns like are designed for people and not cars.”