Transforming Scotland’s public transport system could create over 20,000 jobs, says new Friends of the Earth report

More than 20,000 jobs could be created in Scottish public transport — and hundreds of thousands more in manufacturing and construction — by concerted public investment, according to a new report.

Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoE)’s report On the Move, due to be published today, sets out the opportunities and challenges of transforming Scotland’s transport system to reduce carbon and emissions, reports the Morning Star.

Building on earlier work commissioned by the TUC looking at England and Wales, On The Move states that the equivalent of 6 billion kilometres of car journeys must move to public transport, or active travel, to meet the Scottish government’s ambitious targets.

Doing so could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 1.2 million tonnes by 2030, the report states. But it would require an 80 per cent increase in distance travelled by bus, a doubling of rail miles — and a £1.6 billion per year boost in Scottish government spending until the end of the decade, says the report.

The political challenge of finding that cash and implementing measures such as road pricing to discourage care use could be tempered with the jobs created in both building and running a new public transport system.

FoE transport campaigner Gavin Thomson said: “Transport is Scotland’s biggest source of climate emissions, so we urgently need to change the way we get around.

This report shows that with the right investment to make that happen, we’ll also reap the benefits of significant job creation, a boost to the economy and reduced social isolation.”

Commenting on the findings, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Public transport is central to meeting Scotland’s climate change targets, but cuts to rail infrastructure budgets and services mean we are a long way off from meeting these goals.

“We need far more ambition for our public transport, including urgent large-scale investment to improve and expand Scotland’s railway.”

Aslef Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay added: “This report is timely and serves as another reminder that investing in rail travel will also create employment, grow our economy, make people healthier and happier at the same as reducing emissions.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “As well as tackling climate change, boosting the economy, and connecting communities, this report shows that investment in better public transport can create tens of thousands of jobs.”


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