The Scottish Government’s Transport Strategy ‘Refresh’ and release of transport statistics from 2006-2014 showed a significant drop in bus passengers and the continued dominance of the car.

Commenting on the figures, Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon:

“These disappointing figures show that the Scottish Government is idling on the transport changes the country needs. Our current transport policies are killing people and trashing the climate. There are more cars on the road, more miles being driven and a higher proportion of journeys to work being made by car. Put simply, we’re going in the wrong direction. The majority of our air pollution is coming from traffic, leading to the public health crisis whereby 2000 lives are lost each year.

“A quarter of all our climate emissions are coming from our transport system – a figure that has remained largely unchanged in the last decade while other sectors have reduced emissions.”

Bus Passenger journeys have decreased by 12% from 476 million to 414 million from 2006 to 2014.

Dr Dixon continued,

“The significant fall in bus journeys is deeply concerning and the Government should be investing more in public transport if they wish to see a real sustained improvement in passenger figures. The Government have presided over 14% and 16% rises in bus and rail whereas the cost of running a car has stayed the same in real terms. Public transport must be on a level footing with the private car if people are to be able to make sensible transport choices.”

“Cycling has progressed steadily but still is the poor relation when it comes to government funding. Active travel schemes that encourage walking and cycling will receive just £41million this year whereas motorways and trunk roads will get twenty times as much. We’re calling on Finance Secretary to rethink these allocations and boost spending on clean transport. The Scottish Government’s target is for 10% of all journeys to be taken by bicycle by 2020 so we’ve got a mountain to climb.”

On Transport minister Derek Mackay’s comments as reported in The Scotsman saying that car growth could not continue, Dr Dixon concluded:

“We welcome the Minister's recognition that the current situation cannot go on but the Government must be more radical if it is to transform our transport system.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Transport Minister launches National Transport Strategy refresh http://scottishgovernment.presscentre.com/News/Transport-Minister-launch…

2. National Transport Strategy Refresh – Transport Statistics – Change Since 2006 http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/system/files/documents/reports/NTS%2…

3. Minister Mackay's comments as reported in The Scotsman 21/1/16 http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/campaigners-denounce-failure-to-c…

4. Scottish Government’s Cycling Action Plan for Scotland includes a vision of 10% of all journeys to be made by bike by 2020 http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/316212/0100657.pdf

5. Friends of the Earth Scotland released a list of Scotland’s most polluted streets this week http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/most-polluted-streets-2015

6. Friends of the Earth are calling for a proportion of £820million 2016/17 budget for motorways and trunk roads to be reallocated to active travel schemes. http://act.foe-scotland.org.uk/lobby/active-travel-budget

7. Friends of the Earth Scotland is

• Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation

• An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

• Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.