New services hardly a rail revolution
Sarah Beattie-Smith, Scottish Green PArty transport spokesperson and lead MSP candidate for the South of Scotland, has today branded Scottish Government plans to increase Scotrail services as 'timid'. Sarah welcomed the increase in train services, but highlighted that Scotland's broken public transport system needs deeper reform to properly service the population.
Sarah argued that in order to reach all people currently isolated by poor public transport, the provision and cost of services need to be radically reformed. Increasing local councils’ budgets for transport by reforming local tax and bringing public services to public hands would tackle the fundamental issues with Scotland’s transport system.
"The SNP seems to think that tinkering with train service numbers is enough to fix Scotland's broken public transport system. Don't get me wrong - new rail services are all well and good, but this policy falls far short from the ‘rail revolution’ the Scottish Government wants to brand it as. To properly support the people who are currently isolated by our poor and expensive public transport, we need to do much, much more.
"At the moment, keeping travel prices affordable and unprofitable but vital routes running is an uphill struggle. Too many services are run by private companies for private profit, while councils are unable to fund local buses because of ruthless cuts to their budgets.
"Our public transport services have been broken into pieces by austerity politics and privatisation, but there is a better way forward. We know that state owned transport companies can be profitable and that well-funded councils are better able to run local services. The Scottish Greens believe that we need to fight to keep public transport services in public hands and rethink the local tax system so that councils can raise the revenue they need.
“We don't need another four years of timid policy-making, but bold reform that will create a sustainable public transport system run by the people, for the people. The Scottish Greens are committed to driving this long overdue reform forward."