Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Transport User Voice – March 2021 – Scotland Board meeting

25 February 2021

The role of transport on key issues

Our latest public Board meeting on 16 February focussed on our work in Scotland. Rather than hear from industry providers, we talked about the needs of both young people and those living in poverty and how transport has a role in reducing inequalities.

These problems were outlined by Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, and Neil Cowan, policy officer at The Poverty Alliance. Issues included people being able to access transport options which could provide links to employment, education and leisure. It showed the limitations of the transport network in terms of cost, frequency and going where people want to go.

A common theme was that young people and those experiencing inequality felt detached from the choices being made on transport. This showed the need to make them feel included in the decision-making process. Both speakers acknowledged that Scotland’s National Transport Strategy and its Delivery Plan are a step in the right direction.

Michael Matheson MSP, cabinet secretary for transport, spoke about the value of our travel during Covid-19 surveys and our report on the key lessons for 2021 that would be useful in the coming months.

The cabinet secretary addressed the ongoing uncertainty and the fact that the number of people using public transport has gone down. He also talked about our findings on behaviours and attitudes of lapsed users. On the subject of the previous speakers’ contributions, he said he was determined that the National Transport Strategy would be a living document (rather than a strategy that sits on a shelf) that would address climate change and inequality.

When the time was right the cabinet secretary was keen to welcome people back to public transport and look at ways to create incentives for lapsed and non-users to use the public transport network.

The panel discussion that followed had a good mix of industry (bus and rail) including a national transport agency and a sustainable transport group. They talked about issues such as how to tackle economic growth, inequality, climate change and health and wellbeing as well as the important role transport has to play.

You can watch it back here.

 

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