SNP must rule out increasing bus pass age
Scotland’s public transport system is a patchwork of services, with many areas left behind with no decent provision.
Bus services are grinding to a halt and passenger numbers have declined by 78 million since 2007.
Public money has been siphoned off through privatisation and used to fund the rocketing earnings of directors, dividends for shareholders, and the coffers of overseas governments.
A different system is possible. Labour will prioritise public service over private profit.
As part of our summer campaign, For the Many, we have unveiled a plan to save our lifeline bus and ferry services, which includes:
• Extending the powers to re-regulate local bus services to all areas that want them – a policy the SNP dropped before 2007 while accepting donations from bus tycoon Sir Brian Souter.
• Creating municipal bus companies that are publicly run for passengers not for profit, based on the successful Lothian Buses model.
• Introducing regulations to designate and protect bus routes of critical community value.
• Keeping ferry services, such as CalMac, in public hands by not subjecting them to tender in the future.
• Encouraging public and private sector bodies to take part in ‘active travel’ schemes to persuade workers to commute by public transport.
We are also challenging the SNP to keep the free bus pass for all those aged 60 and over.
The free bus pass was delivered by Labour and a Labour government would protect it.
But the SNP Government has cut the bus pass budget by £10m, and there is still no commitment from ministers to keep the age eligibility level at 60.
There are now over one million people in Scotland benefitting from the bus pass, which has given older and disabled people the freedom to travel when they choose - many of whom would otherwise be unable to do so.
As part of our campaign to build a country that works for the many, not the few, Labour would prioritise public service over private profit.