Martin Whitfield MSP is calling for more financial support for Scotland’s bus services to save them from further “decimation” as new figures reveal bus passenger numbers have more than halved under the current government.
Annual Scottish Transport Statistics have shown bus passenger numbers struggling to recover from the pandemic and failing to make a dent in the long-term decline seen over recent years.
As well as bus passenger numbers still being 35 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels, under the current Scottish Government administration the number of bus passenger journeys taken in Scotland has also fallen by 52 per cent – falling faster than the UK average.
The number of buses in service has also fallen from 5,400 in 2007/08 to just 3,700 in 2021/22.
In recent weeks bus operators have been further hit by delays in the payment of grant funding from the Scottish Government to support their services.
Commenting on the growing crisis in bus services, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“Bus operators across Scotland have struggled to recover from the significant loss of revenue they suffered during the pandemic, which has been compounded by the impact of high inflation and other costs.
“I know from speaking to local operators that they are finding it increasingly difficult to keep services running, with Scottish government support for our buses simply not being sufficient and now delayed.
“Ministers should act now to provide additional support to keep our bus network operating, but this must maintain services and cap fares to make bus travel more affordable.
“Without urgent action the decline in our bus network risks communities losing more services, passengers being left with no public transport options, and more cars on the road than ever.”