New research by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), published today, shows a staggering increase in the cost of public transport in the last 20 years, while the cost of motoring has plummeted by a quarter in the same time period.
The research shows that while the cost of motoring has fallen by 24%, rail fares have increased by 38%, and bus fares have rocketed by 80%. The proportion of distance travelled by bike in the period is unchanged, but that the proportion of journeys made by foot it down.
Commenting on the figures, the Scottish Greens Transport Spokesperson John Finnie MSP said:
“In the face of a climate emergency governments must take bold and transformational action. This research shows us that the business as usual policies of the Scottish Government are fuelling this crisis, by incentivising people to continue making most journeys by car. That’s why we have proposed a Scottish Green New Deal to transform our transport network.
“Bus patronage has plummeted in recent years as private operators have cherry picked routes, often leaving communities cut off from services. I’m delighted that my better buses campaign culminated with a win in the transport bill, empowering councils to run their own services. The Scottish Government must now support local authorities to start up their own bus companies, and we must look to provide fare-free journeys to ensure public transport is always a convenient option for folk.
“Rail fares have also skyrocketed in recent years, but the service continues to be substandard for far too many passengers. We must make all public transport more affordable. Greens delivered a local rail development fund in budget negotiations, which has allowed local communities to test the feasibility of opening new lines and stations. But we must also invest in improving rolling stock, and electrifying the whole network.
“The Scottish Government has a target of 10% of everyday journeys by bike by 2020. This current figure is around 2% and its clear it'll get nowhere near its goal. There must be a co-ordinated approach to the introduction of safe walking and cycling routes in our towns and cities to make them more people centred, tackle air pollution, and improve the nation’s health.
“In light of these figures, is it any surprise the Scottish Government’s flagship infrastructure project, the Queensferry Crossing, designed to increase public transport journeys and reduce motor car travel has failed so dramatically.”