Number of bus journeys drop by 10% in last five years

The numbers released by Scotland Transport Statistics show the number of journeys fell by around eight million.

The number of bus journeys in Scotland has dropped by 10% in the last five years.

The figures, released by Scottish Transport Statistics, also show the journeys fell by 2% in a year.

There was around 517 million passenger journeys made by public transport in 2019, down from 525 million in the previous year.

Bus journeys accounted for 380 million of that number and represented 73% of all public transport last year.

Meanwhile ScotRail journeys have increased by 13% in the last five years to around 97.8 million.

Over the same period, motor traffic has continued to increase.

The number of motor vehicles registered in Scotland is at an all-time high of three million and the distance driven by motor vehicles on roads increased by 10% over the past five years to reach 47.8 billion vehicle kilometres in 2018.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said he was confident a “more sustainable transport system for Scotland” could be created.

He said: “The latest statistics outline the importance of the action we are taking through our Programme for Government commitments and our spending priorities, underpinned by our longer term vision established through the National Transport Strategy.

“I’m confident that these collective steps will help deliver a more sustainable transport system for Scotland.

“Rates of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to work remain largely stable.

“We doubled the active travel budget in 2018, maintained it in 2019 and have proposed increasing it further to a record level of over #85 million in the draft budget for 2020-21.”

He added: “We face a global climate emergency.

“Scotland must transition to a net-zero emissions economy for the benefit of our environment, our people and our future prosperity – and through these actions and our investment we will encourage a more sustainable transport system than ever before.”

Reacting to the news Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson, Colin Smyth, said: “It’s clear that 13 years of SNP mismanagement has hit our public transport system hard.

“We’re facing a climate emergency, yet the number of passengers using local bus networks is consistently declining.

“Scottish Labour increased the number of bus journeys being taken when it introduced free passes for elderly people in Scotland.

“Now we’re campaigning for the SNP to offer the same to under 25s in this year’s budget.

“Not only would that help young people access education and work opportunities, the environmental impact of having fewer cars on the road would help the SNP move towards starting to meet its environmental targets.”

And the WWF has also hit out saying the figures “continue to go in the wrong direction”.

The wildlife charity’s head of policy, Gina Hanrahan, said: “Transport is Scotland’s biggest source of damaging climate emissions and these figures are continuing to go in the wrong direction, with public transport down and aviation and motor traffic up.

“In order to get people out of their cars, and encourage them to use other modes of transport, we need greater investment in cleaner forms of transport to tackle climate change, clean up our dirty air and enhance public health.

“We need to see really clear shifts in the final budget and the Infrastructure Investment Plan to support this.”

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