For immediate release 17 January 2012
Scottish Greens have welcomed today's announcement of £2m for the Green Bus Fund, but point to the £7m a year cuts* being made to the Bus Services Operators' Grant that helps to keep bus prices down.
Based on grants given to recipients of the first round of the Green Bus Fund, the £2m may help bus operators to purchase around 20-30 hybrid buses spread across Scotland. In contrast, cutting direct support to bus operators may impact upon tens of thousands of bus users.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
"SNP Ministers do seem to have a habit of slashing a budget, then trying to look generous when they give back a bit of the cut they’d threatened. Let’s be clear: this is a smaller Green Bus Fund than last year, and bus services and fares continue to be threatened by further cuts.
"For far too long buses have been treated by Ministers as the lowest transport priority, despite the fact that so many people rely on them every day of their lives. Bus companies have been left to run a deregulated market instead of a public service, and passengers have too often been taken for granted.
"Like other daily bus passengers, I’m not willing to accept a third rate service, which doesn’t even begin to compare with other European countries. It’s time for bus passengers to raise a voice that’s as powerful as the motoring lobby; most people in Glasgow don’t drive a car, and we deserve a bus service that meets our real needs."
* See Table 13.04 on the following page of the Scottish Government's draft budget.