Transport User Voice – What’s happening in Scotland?
Scottish Bus Passenger Survey
The way local bus services in Scotland are run could be set for a major shake-up.
The Scottish Government has proposed changes to the way buses are run in a new Transport Bill. The Transport Bill will provide local transport authorities with new ways of providing local bus services. We’re working hard to make sure passengers’ top priorities are heard and that they get the best deal as part of this process.
Last year we spoke to almost 10,000 passengers across Scotland. Our Bus Passenger Survey (BPS) expanded in 2016 to cover all the mainland Regional Transport Partnership areas, the Highlands (mainland only) and the South West for the first time. Passenger satisfaction remains high at 90 per cent overall.
However, a recent independent report for CPT Scotland shows that bus patronage in Scotland has fallen from 436 million trips in 2011/12 to 409 million trips in 2015/16. The analysis shows that a little over a half of the reduction in bus patronage can be explained by changing transport needs but changes to Scotland’s population has also a major impact.
We will use the wealth of information we have from speaking to 20,000 bus passengers in Scotland in our BPS to ensure that the best interests of passengers are at the heart of the ongoing debate.
Transport Focus chairs Community Rail Partnership meeting
Transport Focus recently chaired a meeting of HITRANS Rail User Groups. The Community Rail Partnership movement has grown in Scotland in recent years and the various partnerships in the Highland area are working hard to make rail more attractive. This was a good opportunity to learn more about how they are working to make rail more accessible to communities, encouraging more commuters to leave the car at home and use public transport and improving local transport links.
We recently responded to the Network Rail consultation on the proposed closure of Breich station. The overwhelming response to the consultation was in favour of keeping Breich station open. Not only that, many respondents wished to see more services calling at Breich Station to increase patronage. It is pleasing to see that the station will remain open and plans are being developed to possibly improve services.