Scottish Transport Secretary announces flat fare bus trial

A flat fare for bus trips is to be trialled in Scotland following a review of the cost of public transport triggered by the SNP’s power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens, reports The Scotsman.

It also recommended under 22s would get free inter-island foot passengers travel in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, and 18 to 21-year-old islanders added to the National Ferry Concessionary Scheme for four free single trips to or from the mainland a year. But past cuts of up to 40 per cent on ferry fares under the Road Equivalent Tariff scheme since 2015 may be scrapped for non-residents.

The Fair Fares review, launched in 2021 under the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and Greens, also includes a pilot scheme to extend free rail travel to the companions of eligible blind people.

The flat bus fares plan, which would be tried in an as-yet undisclosed part of Scotland, marks a change of policy after ministers previously focused on free travel for the over 60s and under 22s.

A £2 cap on thousands of bus journeys in England was introduced last year and has been extended to December. Edinburgh’s main bus operator, Lothian, has £2 flat single fares across the city.

The Fair Fares report stated: “We will develop a proposal for a bus flat fares pilot for an area-based scheme to provide flat fares on bus travel, or reduced fares on zonal integrated travel for consideration in future budgets.”

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The recommendations and actions set out today will help us to ensure we have an available, affordable and accessible public transport system which enables people to make positive and proactive travel choices which result in using their cars less.”

(Picture – FirstGroup)


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