APRS today is lending our support for the Better Buses for Strathclyde Campaign. Excellent public transport networks are the foundation of a fairer society and an essential part of reducing our carbon emissions. We need far better public transport provision for people who live on the edges of towns and cities and in rural neighbourhoods which means, in most cases, better buses.
If we are to deal with the climate crisis we need to get people out of their cars, and this includes people heading out to the countryside for a walk or a day out. Car travel should not be the default, but it is unfortunately for so many journeys due to the impracticality, unreliability and expense of the buses. We have all seen many of our popular rural spots getting gridlocked with cars on a sunny day, in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park or by the coast. We should be making bus transport the go-to choice for travel to these places, thereby dealing with the issues of too many cars, and also providing better public transport opportunities for people living in these rural areas to get to the city.
Buses need to be more frequent, more convenient and more affordable. Buses are the poor relation in terms of transport infrastructure, especially in rural areas where bus services are frankly appalling or non-existent and, if you don’t have a car, life can be extremely challenging.
This is also a case of dealing with inequality. Those in less well-off areas, which are often rural, or semi rural, young people, the elderly and people with disabilities are less likely to own a car, and better buses will ensure that everyone can travel conveniently for studies, employment or leisure.
This report by CPRE highlights the challenges and inequalities faced by people living in rural areas due to lack of public transport and what needs to be done to address the situation.
We need to make bus travel convenient and affordable for people, with regular and on-time services, and with multi-modal tickets across buses, trains and subway. For those of us who have taken a bus in the more rural areas of Strathclyde recently, this will feel like a far off and distant dream.
We believe that part of the solution is in re-regulating the buses, as they have done in Greater Manchester (London’s public transport was never deregulated) and it could also mean having a publicly owned bus company, such as they do in Edinburgh with Lothian buses. With the Oyster card in London celebrating its 20th anniversary in June this year it really is inconceivable that we cannot have integrated ticketing in Glasgow and Strathclyde.
We can see how it can work elsewhere – let’s make it happen in Strathclyde.