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Better Public Transport

We want our public transport system to be one of the best in the world.
We need public transport to become more affordable, more widely available, and of high quality everywhere.

Major improvements must be made to the quality and affordability of public transport if Scotland is to catch up with best practice around the world. There has been progress in this area in recent years, but we need to see a continuation of investment in all forms of public transport – buses, trams, trains and ferries.

High quality public transport is necessary if society is to function successfully, and can help ensure key public policy objectives regarding the environment, social inclusion and the economy are met. In particular, policy should aim to ensure that public transport achieves a high modal share of all motorised transport and is comprehensively available, enabling wide accessibility to work, education, health, shopping and leisure facilities. For this to happen we need to see priority given for investment in public transport over less sustainable modes of transport. This is especially true for buses where there is a sustained, marked decline in patronage.

Create a National Smart Ticket that can be used on All Public Transport across Scotland

International experience shows that Scotland-wide smart ticketing would significantly increase public transport use. Travellers could conveniently store their season tickets and also hold a balance for pay-as-you-go use on any transport operator. Transport operators have experience with a multi-modal ticket scheme with SPT’s Zonecard, and buses and rail stations across Scotland already have smartcard readers fitted. A national smart, integrated ticketing scheme would make Scotland a world leader in public transport. In time, this could be expanded to other modes of transport such as cycle share, car share and even parking.

Improve Connections at Public Transport Hubs

Our ‘Interchange’ project demonstrated that much work could be done to improve connections for those arriving by bike at Scotland’s bus and rail stations and ferry terminals. But similar improvements are also required for those arriving on foot at transport hubs, for journeys between public transport hubs, and with other services (e.g. car sharing schemes).

Make the Train Faster than the Car Between Scotland’s Seven Cities

The main rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow has been given a long-needed overhaul, with electrification, faster journey times and new trains. However, the rail routes to the Central Belt from Inverness and Aberdeen, as well as the route between those cities, remain stuck with unmodernised, out-of-date infrastructure. We want to see journey times for rail travel between Scotland’s cities made competitive with road journey times; to achieve this, we need to see a detailed programme for the electrification and dualling of the rail routes from the Central Belt to Aberdeen and Inverness, and between those cities.