Date lodged: 15 September 2016
To ask the Scottish Government for what reason there has been a reported decline in the number of journeys across (a) commercial and (b) subsidised bus routes.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 27 September 2016
In terms of subsidised routes, local authorities have powers to financially support services regarded as socially necessary to meet local needs and make decisions around how to prioritise support for routes.
We have been carrying out engagement with local authorities and across the bus industry to better understand the situation and I discussed this most recently when I chaired a meeting of the Bus Stakeholders Group. It is clear that bus patronage trends vary by geographical area and there is no one element driving a decline in bus patronage. The impact of the financial crisis, low costs of private car ownership, congestion and running changes in travel behaviour such as out of town and internet shopping are all contributory factors.
Bus passenger journeys have generally been falling over the long term, almost halving between 1960 and 1975 and roughly halving again since then. More recently the rate of decline in journey numbers has decreased but we have still seen bus passenger journeys down 12% in the last ten years.