Chapter 5: Improved Quality, Accessibility and Affordability
177. Scotland aspires to be a society which is socially inclusive, just and where everyone has the opportunity to contribute and participate in that society. That means ensuring that people have the opportunity to access education, training and employment as well as key services such as health, cultural, sporting and leisure activities.
178. Accessing services can be a challenge if you are one of the many people who live in remote or rural areas of Scotland, if you live in isolated and often deprived urban communities on the outskirts of towns or cities, if you have limited mobility through age or disability or if you are on a low income. Transport has a key contribution to make to ensure that Scotland becomes an inclusive and just society by providing high quality and affordable public transport which will enable access to key services and leisure and cultural opportunities. This chapter describes how we aim to improve the quality, safety and affordability of transport to give people a choice of public transport in order to improve social inclusion.
179. The challenge we face is how to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of transport in order to improve access not only for our urban areas but also for rural Scotland, disadvantaged communities and people with limited mobility. High quality transport means ensuring services with appropriate routes to access services, appropriate levels of frequency of service, services which people are able to physically access, high quality transport information, simple and effective ticketing and services which are value for money. We also face the challenge of improving safety on public transport for travellers to ensure they have the confidence to use the services provided.
180. The outcome we want to achieve is improved quality, accessibility and affordability of public transport to enable better access, as a means of promoting social inclusion by connecting remote and disadvantaged communities, increasing the quality of the experience of the transport network for everyone including improving safety for passengers and staff travelling on public transport.
181. The broader benefits that will accrue from this will include sustainable economic growth, contributing to the improved health of Scotland's population through encouraging active travel and contributing to developing a socially just Scotland. Improved quality, accessibility and affordability will also have a significant broader benifit to the tourism industry who will benefit from both attracting visitors and getting repeat visitors by having improved access and a better journey experience getting to and travelling within Scotland.
182. To measure progress against this outcome we will report on a range of monitoring indicators in reviews of the Strategy. These indicators will include:
- Passenger numbers on buses, through lifeline airports and on lifeline ferries
- Satisfaction of bus and rail passengers
- Walking time to nearest bus stop and frequency of bus service at nearest bus stop (for urban and rural areas)
- Access to key services
Delivering improved quality, access and affordability - What we will do
Deliver the existing Concessionary Fares scheme for older and disabled people and introduce a new scheme for young people
183. The Scotland-wide free bus scheme for older and disabled people is a major achievement under which over one million older and disabled people can travel free on local buses and long distance scheduled coaches throughout Scotland at any time of day. This scheme has tackled a significant affordability issue for older and disabled people. The scheme which was introduced on 1 April 2006 has had an uptake of over 930,000 cards compared to a forecast of 830,000. The Scottish Government has committed £322million to the scheme over the next 2 years. The scheme demonstrates the success of partnership working that can be achieved across the public and private sector to deliver real transport improvements.
You told us… that ensuring better access for rural communities is vital. You said that accessibility affects everyone but you also said that people with mobility problems are 50% less likely on any given day to travel, leading to isolation. You asked us to consider more flexible and demand responsive transport to address social exclusion, recognising the benefits that Community Transport providers can bring, and to invest more in making transport infrastructure and information more accessible. You asked us to look to create greater integration in the planning and delivery of services to improve access to health and education.
184. We will, as part of a review of the scheme, give consideration to extending the free concessionary scheme for bus travel for older and disabled people to include flexible, demand responsive and Community Transport ( CT) services. Whilst the current scheme fully implements our Partnership Agreement commitment, most CT services are not registered local services and their passengers are unable to benefit. It is recognised that an extension of the scheme to CT would require additional, and at this stage, unspecified resources. We will review the concessionary fares scheme after
2 years and look at the evidence for any changes to the scheme.
185. We are also committed to introducing a national concessionary travel scheme for young people by January 2007. The Executive recognises that the ability for young people to access public transport for work, education or social activity is important for both their development and independence. Affordability of transport and having public transport available to young people is a key factor in young people being able to participate in work, education, sporting and cultural activities. This commitment will allow young people greater choice not only in travel options but also greater economic and social opportunities.
Continue to support lifeline ferries and air services
186. We are committed to sustaining the viability of remote and fragile communities through ensuring access to lifeline air and ferry services.
187. We provide direct funding for air services which link the communities of Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree with Glasgow and also provide direct funding to Highlands and Islands Airport Limited ( HIAL) for the maintenance and operation of 10 airports which facilitate lifeline air links, and the development of scheduled air services in conjunction with airlines. These activities play a key role in supporting economic growth, inward investment and inward migration in our peripheral communities throughout the Highlands and Islands.
188. We currently also provide support for ferry services to the Northern Isles and support the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services. In July this year Northlink Ferries Ltd. was awarded the new contract to provide essential lifeline ferry services to the Northern Isles. A public service contract for the Dunoon to Gourock route was tendered in late July and a separate tender for the main bundle of Clyde and Hebrides ferry service routes currently operated by Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd will be tendered later this year.
189. We are committed to maintaining lifeline ferry services and to ensuring that wherever technically and financially possible, ferry services are developed to improve access to vulnerable island and peninsular communities. Once the tendering of the Clyde and Hebrides ferry service has been completed in 2007 we will undertake a comprehensive review of lifeline ferry services to develop a long-term strategy for lifeline services to 2025. The review will include a detailed appraisal of routes to determine whether a better configuration could be developed in response to calls for new and faster connections serving these isolated communities and a review of fares structures as part of a broader review of the affordability of public transport.
Review the affordability of public transport
190. We are committed to ensuring that lifeline ferry services remain affordable, which is why for many years now we have restricted CalMac's fares increases in line with inflation, increasing our subsidy requirements in real terms as a result. However, CalMac's fares system is highly complex and we shall be considering, as part of our comprehensive review of ferry services, the scope for rationalisation of fares structures and whether through fares adjustments we could provide greater support for particularly vulnerable island communities.
191. Current fares policy for rail is set out in the First ScotRail Franchise Agreement, which was let by the Strategic Rail Authority and agreed with Scottish Ministers. As a consequence of the Railways Act 2005, Scottish Ministers now hold direct responsibility for future fares policy. The current fares structure is a mixture of regulated and unregulated fares. Scottish Ministers can restrict the permitted increase on regulated fares while unregulated fares are set by the operator. Scottish Ministers have no control over the levels of unregulated fares.
192. We wish the rail fares structure to be easily understood by passengers, to encourage people to travel by rail and to be competitive, where possible, with other modes. We are currently reviewing fares policy and will seek to develop a new policy which maximises opportunities to encourage modal shift to rail.
193. Buses are flexible, cost-effective high occupancy vehicles which carried 477 million passengers (2005-06) (Rail 73 million (2004-05), Air 24 million (2005)). Direct support for the Bus industry amounts to £62.6 million in 2006-07 (Rail £631 million, Air £41.6 million, Ferry £61.7 million). Subsidy per passenger journey amounts to £0.14 (Rail £9.15, Air £1.81).
You told us… that your main concern in relation to fares was not the absolute cost of fares but the relative difference between public and private transport. Many of you commented on the need to explain more fully to drivers the full cost of car use relative to public transport. Some of you were also concerned about the complicated nature of rail fares.
You told us… that we should do more to improve the passenger experience of bus services through encouraging quality contracts and quality partnerships.
You told us… Irregular and unreliable bus services are a big problem in some areas, particularly in rural parts of Scotland and in some urban areas. Many of you commented that there were too many providers competing for key routes to the detriment of other routes and stated that new, innovative models should be explored in Scotland.
194. The average fare paid across Scotland (excluding concessionary fare passengers) is currently about £1.20 per journey. 71 Due to the increase in car use (54% rise in trips since 1985-86), 72 bus passenger numbers have declined by 31% since 1985-86 and passenger receipts by 14% (real terms). 73 However, increases in congestion (it is estimated that the number of buses and operating costs have increased by at least 10% due to the effects of congestion) have contributed to a real terms increase in fares of 19%. 74
195. We will review the funding arrangements for bus services in the round to ensure that they are adequate, fit for purpose and provide the synergy required to maximise opportunities to improve the provision of bus services; and that they are commensurate with the significance of buses as the principal form of public transport and with their potential to develop.
Promote the improvement of the quality of bus services
196. The current bus regime is market-led with light regulation by central and local government, and safety net arrangements to enable local government to intervene in the market where commercial services do not meet essential needs. The underlying principle is that private bus companies are best suited to seek out and develop market opportunities while at the same time driving down costs - which have reduced in real terms by around 50% over the last 20 years. Our consultation has shown that while over the larger part of Scotland the minimum requirements of frequency, reliability and affordability are being met, borne out by the overall satisfaction rating of 84-87% for bus services, significant concerns remain about the provision of rural services and the basic quality and reliability of transport planning, bus infrastructure and services. 75 Wider concerns have also been expressed about safety, congestion, overcrowding and late running.
197. The extent and quality of partnership working has also been raised as has the consistency in levels of compliance and enforcement of bus registrations. While there are many good examples of partnership working in Scotland, there remain concerns about the inconsistent nature of the quality and extent of bus services.
Evidence Base: In rural communities drivers spend a higher proportion of their income on motoring costs. 76 The inherent characteristics of rural areas, namely a low population density and dispersed settlement pattern results in demand which is not necessarily conducive to public transport with more flexible solutions such as Demand Responsive Transport being more appropriate.
You told us… that you recognised the importance of integration and of making journeys easier for passengers and freight. Visitors, commuters and businesses want to be able to plan their journey easily and quickly, buy a single through ticket, often on line, and be confident that the connections and journey times will be reliable. This means that we need high quality information, transport interchanges and effective integration of key services on routes. Freight users want to increase the choice of transport modes into their supply chain and need to be able to connect between road, rail and sea more seamlessly.
198. Our Bus Action Plan will help to ensure a step change in planning, partnership and the policy framework for bus services in order that buses can make the required contribution to growing the economy and supporting communities that we wish to see. We want to see regional transport partnerships and local authorities having explicit bus policies and targets, which include key economic and social aims. We will encourage these organisations to integrate their bus planning with planning for demand responsive transport and health service planning to ensure integration. We also want to see a step change in bus compliance enforcement by VOSA and the Traffic Commissioner, including targeted enforcement where there are problems.
199. A substantial investment is made by the Scottish Government in the bus industry. Our Bus Action Plan seeks to establish a higher return on that investment, driving up quality for the benefit of the millions of passengers who use the bus. It seeks to be alive to the different requirements of different parts of Scotland. While many of the fundamental challenges for the bus industry are the same across Scotland, in important respects there are also unique circumstances in different parts of the country. There is no one size fits all solution and solutions should be tailored to the specific problems faced.
200. A step change is required in bus service provision and infrastructure if bus services are to meet the needs of current bus users and to attract passengers from the car. Action is required to strengthen a range of policy and financial tools to help shift the quality of provision upwards across the industry. That means:
- Closer alignment between central government financing and quality on the ground;
- Strengthening Quality Partnerships so that they can cover more readily issues such as the frequency and punctuality of services;
- Simplifying the process to enable franchising ( i.e. a quality contract) where that is seen to be an option by transport authorities; and
- Intensifying the regulation regime so that performance problems are addressed quickly and decisively.
201. Information is key to continue to grow passenger numbers. We want to see a nation wide review of the provision of bus information and will work with our stakeholders to achieve this.
202. We believe that more could be achieved through the pro-active use of Quality Contracts, Quality Partnerships and Punctuality Improvement Partnerships (intended primarily to tackle bottlenecks) to deliver better bus services. We will review the legislation on Quality Contracts and Partnerships to simplify the process to encourage transport authorities to use them. We will also work with DfT colleagues on the development of Quality Partnerships.
Evidence Base: Our review of DRT in Scotland (2006) 78 demonstrates that DRT plays an important and growing role in the spectrum of transport provision. The importance of community transport to the development of DRT is recognised with the suggestion that more secure and improved funding may be required to enable further contribution from this sector in the longer term.
Case Study: Demand Responsive Transport
Fife Council introduced several DRT services in rural areas of North East Fife from August 2004. The new services reflected residents' comments about the need for improved transport provision to local hub towns containing services and potential interchange opportunities.
One service introduced included the "Flexi Service 1" operating between Newburgh-Auchtermuchty-Ladybank-Cupar which used fully accessible low floor buses on a flexible local timetable enhancing travel opportunities between these settlements whilst also improving inter-village travel. Improvements to the quality and availability of information and infrastructure at bus stops were also integral aspects of the service.
The service has proven to be very popular with passenger numbers increasing from 2000 during the first four weeks of the service to an average of 3000 per four weeks from February 2005 onwards.
Improving quality, accessibility and affordability of services to, from and within remote and rural areas in Scotland
203. Many access and social inclusion issues apply equally in an urban or rural context. However, some issues are specific to rural areas.
204. We are committed to maintaining and improving access for rural Scotland. This involves ensuring a high quality public transport system as well as supporting the development of community transport solutions in local areas. We will continue to support and enhance the Rural Transport Fund, currently £8.7 million, which aims to improve social inclusion in rural areas through targeted schemes including the Rural Petrol Station Grants Scheme, Rural Community Transport Initiative and Rural Public Passenger Grant Scheme. Reviews of all three schemes have reported positive findings for the rural communities benefiting from each initiative.
205. We encourage regional transport partnerships and local authorities to consider flexible solutions when they are planning bus services. As part of the incentives to consider flexible services, we intend to amend the legislation on Bus Services Operators Grant ( BSOG) to allow claims to be made in respect of fully flexible services, thereby removing the financial disincentive that currently exists. This will support the development of bus services generally but will have a particularly positive impact in rural areas.
206. The Air Discount Scheme aims to improve access for remote communities in the Highlands and Islands. We introduced the Air Discount Scheme in May 2006 which provides discounted air fares for anyone whose main residence is in Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Islay, Jura, Caithness and North-West Sutherland. The discount which is set at 40% of the core fare is available on air routes between the eligible areas and Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. We are committed to continuing the scheme until March 2008 and we will review its success in improving access in advance of that date.
207. Currently, the cost of fuel in rural areas is of concern. However, the cost of fuel is a matter reserved to the UK Government. Scottish Ministers have regular dialogue with Treasury Ministers and will continue to ensure that the Scottish interest on this issue is fully understood by the UK Government.
Improving the quality of journey information
208. We already provide travel information services through Transport Direct (a GB wide 'door-to-door' internet transport and information journey planner service covering public transport and car journey planning), Traveline Scotland (a telephone, internet and text based public transport journey planning service) and through Traffic Scotland (an internet service for traffic information). The evidence suggests that making public transport information available to users does make a significant contribution to encouraging people to use public transport. 77
209. These services are extremely successful already, however we believe that more could be achieved. We want to aim for the provision of a 24 hour/365 days a year integrated service which brings together all modes of transport so that users can use their preferred technology to access accurate information before and during their journey. This enhanced service will be of particular importance to visitors to Scotland both in pre-planning their journeys and using public transport to access visitor attractions and events. We want to explore adding cycling and walking into this information service and to extend the amount of real-time information that is available.
210. Transport authorities are required by legislation to determine what local bus information (including information about routes and timetabling) should be made available. We will review the progress that has been made across Scotland ensuring that information is appropriate to the needs of different groups, including commuters and visitors.
Promoting Integrated ticketing and higher quality transport interchanges to enhance the passenger journey
211. We recognise the importance of the journey experience to visitors as well as commuters. Having both simple ticketing and better integreated services and interchanges themselves is vital. There have already been successful local schemes for integrated ticketing in Scotland for example, Zonecard, PlusBus and OneTicket. We are also in the process of rolling out smart enabled ticketing machines to every bus operator in Scotland, creating a platform to develop new integrated ticketing initiatives. This will support the implementation of the concessionary travel scheme.
212. We want to go further. We have already started to develop an integrated ticketing strategy for Scotland which will be published in 2007 and which will outline how to secure seamless journeys between bus, ferry and/or rail journeys by different operators. We will explore the possibility of introducing an integrated ticketing pilot across all modes in partnership with a regional transport partnership or local authority. We intend to harness the new technology and equipment that is already being progressively installed through funding provided by the Scottish Government across the entire Scottish bus fleet to maximise the opportunity to deliver integrated ticketing. We intend to explore the possibility of extending this technology to ferries and trains. We believe this will make public transport more attractive to users and simpler to use. We will continue to push the boundaries of current technology to make pre-paid travel even easier for passengers e.g. by exploring mobile phone technology. This will also speed up boarding times for all bus users.
Case Study: Lothian Buses travel information leaflet: How to get to Edinburgh's Attractions by Bus
Lothian Buses have produced a new publication featuring a selection of places to visit by bus in Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian which will prove useful to both locals and visitors, highlighting visitor attractions especially many lesser known ones outside the City Centre.
As well as information on each attraction there are details on the bus service to take and at which stop to get off, along with a handy map and some helpful tips for visitors on how to use Edinburgh's buses.
The brochure promotes bus travel by demonstrating how simple and convenient this can be and at the same time encourages visitors to venture further than the standard "tourist trail" to see and experience what else Edinburgh has to offer.
Public transport is important to the tourism industry, for example visitors to The Scottish Mining Museum in Newtongrange previously arrived mainly by car, this brochure highlights an alternative means of transport. Using public transport eases congestion in general by reducing the number of cars travelling to and from the city centre and also saves the effort and costs of parking. The attractions' telephone number and web address is provided so they can be contacted direct for further details.
The leaflet was distributed from Lothian Buses Travelshops, at featured visitor attractions, tourist informations centres throughout Scotland and Edinburgh city centre hotels. The publication has proved so popular that Lothian Buses hope to continue publication of this leaflet in the future. Other recent publications are "How to use Edinburgh's Buses" which has sections in five different languages - English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
213. Transport interchanges must be of the highest quality, including airports, rail, bus and ferry interchanges. They must cater for all modes of transport including cycling and walking, be accessible for those with limited mobility and suitable for visitors and commuters alike. Integrated planning is central to this and regional transport partnerships will have a key role to play in promoting integration and improving key interchanges in their region. RTPs and local authorities should also consider flexible demand-responsive feeder services for key transport interchanges as a way of improving the quality of transport for the public.
214. We recognise the importance of improving the journey experience as a whole and look to transport operators to maximise the potential market oppertunity created by, for example, tourists and commuters.
Promote improvement of the overall accessibility of the transport network for older and disabled people and those with limited mobility
215. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (amended 2005) ( DDA) sets out the requirements for transport operators, services and public bodies to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that their services and facilities are accessible for disabled people. Aircraft and shipping vessels are currently exempt from the requirements of the DDA, although voluntary guidance is in place. The DDA 2005 empowers the UK Government to lift the transport exemption but there is no timetable for this currently. Many airports and airlines within the European Union already make considerable efforts to assist disabled people, but since this assistance is not uniform the proposed EU regulation on the rights of disabled travellers in relation to air transport will ensure a consistent level of service across the EU.
216. Part 3 of the DDA applies to rail stations, ports and ferry terminals and requires operators to take reasonable steps to make adjustments for disabled people to access facilities. Considerable progress is already being made and we are supporting this effort through the Railways for All Accessibility Strategy for Great Britain. In addition all major transport rail infrastructure projects funded by Transport Scotland will take the issues of accessibility into account and will follow best practice. In terms of access to ferries, around £9m has been invested already by the Executive in piers and harbours since 2000 involving improvements to passenger access.
217. In May 2006, research on Improved PublicTransport for Disabled People79 was published which highlights that key inequalities still exist between disabled and non-disabled travellers and that a considerable majority of disabled people would like to travel more than they currently do. The barriers facing disabled people when travelling are numerous, ranging from negotiating the physical environment to personal safety issues to the need for reliable travel information through the whole journey. We know that the incidence of disability increases with age and therefore demographics suggest that difficulties with transport will affect a larger proportion of the population in the future.
The Patient Transport Service based in the Beatson Oncology Centre started in late March 2004. It was grant-funded (£414k over 2 years) and enabled its partners to run a small fleet of People Carriers to transport patients within the Greater Glasgow area. The main partners were Scottish Ambulance Service, Greater Easterhouse Development Company, 80 Big Lottery Fund, Beatson Oncology Centre and Greater Glasgow NHS.
The project aims were to reduce health inequalities by addressing a gap in transport services for cancer patients in Glasgow, improve cancer care and create job opportunities for individuals living in recognised disadvantaged areas throughout Glasgow. These were tackled through:
- Shorter and quicker journeys to and from hospital
- Improved rapport with drivers
- Enhanced reliability of hospital transport service
- Reduced waiting times
An independent evaluation of the service concluded that, 'The PTW services appear to be offering significantly enhanced comfort, driver interaction, and reduced journey times when compared with minibus patient transport services and better comfort and driver interaction when compared with volunteer car services.' ( DHC, April 2005). An estimated 4,000 patients were provided with quality and supportive transport to and from treatment centres over the two years of the project.
In terms of creating employment, recruited drivers who delivered the service were all previously long-term unemployed individuals and resident in social inclusion partnership areas throughout Glasgow. The drivers were given full professional training by the Scottish Ambulance Service and able to take advantage of promotion opportunities within the ambulance service. Twelve long-term unemployed individuals were initially recruited on fixed-term contracts. Eight have now attained full-time permanent positions as drivers and one has been promoted to Ambulance Care Assistant.
218. We would like to see duties for transport authorities and providers enforced and policed through the setting of targets that are clear and can be properly monitored. Such targets need to relate to measurable outcomes of transport initiatives rather than the provision of services. Contracts with transport operators should include specific relevant performance measures.
Investigate ways to improve high quality demand responsive transport to enhance access to health and education
219. Access to health and education is critical. Evidence from across Scotland seems to indicate that although access to health and education is generally good if you have private transport, access through public transport is more varied and can be problematic. This has the potential to become worse as healthcare services are re-located to key sites across a particular region.
220. We wish to address this issue directly as we want to see Scotland's National Transport Strategy as providing a focus to improve access to key services such as health and education. We will be requiring NHS Boards to consider transport implications in planning and designing services and we will expect to see a full transport impact assessment to have been carried out in considering new builds or significant changes to health services.
221. We believe that demand responsive transport ( DRT) may provide some positive opportunities to create flexible services to meet this demand. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for those who find conventional public transport difficult to use and for services which have a low or fluctuating demand, such as in rural areas.
222. We intend to increase funding for DRT beyond the current pilots to enable an expansion of the flexible services available. However, we do not believe that funding is the most significant barrier. The real difference lies in having these services designed and delivered at the very local level.
223. We recognise that currently there is fragmented service provision at a local level. We need to ensure that at the local and regional level these services work together in the most efficient way possible. This requires improved co-ordination between these various services and the removal of current barriers which prevent more efficient integration.
224. We would like to see regional transport partnerships, local authorities and Health Boards working together to address these issues with a view to maximising the contribution of the investment being made in transport services across a region, including social work transport, local authority subsidised bus services, non-emergency patient transport and community transport.
225. We are interested to explore with RTPs, LAs and Health Boards what additional measures could be taken, including enhanced co-ordination of all non-scheduled services with the introduction of Regional Travel Dispatch Centres ( TDCs) to co-ordinate all services in an area, including access to health, education and social work services. We are also interested to see the outcomes of the current bids to the Efficient Government Fund proposing integrated transport pilot projects.
Case Study: Bus services in Dundee
Bringing Confidence into Public Transport ( BCPT )
Implemented between 2002 and 2005, this project has brought about a step change in the quality of bus infrastructure at major interchanges and in public transport information and its availability. Also, vehicles have been modernised and the main urban operator now has a 100% low floor fleet.
BCPT concentrates on providing high quality bus passenger facilities at the major interchanges - City Centre and Ninewells Hospital. The main features of the city centre interchanges are:
- Shallow bus bays with accessible kerbs;
- Bus shelters with leaf shaped roof using high quality materials and internal and external lighting;
- Real-time information, static information panels and audio information for the visually impaired;
- Acoustic absorbent panel to reduce noise pollution;
- DDA compliant shelters.
Smartbus has already seen all buses operating in the city fitted with CCTV, will expand high quality facilities city-wide by April 2006 and will provide:
- 300 bespoke high quality bus shelters (from a total of 920 stops within city) that will include real
- time information displays, good quality paper information and CCTV capability.
- 550 quality new bus poles each incorporating solar power to light good quality paper information.
- Accessible kerbing at all bus stops and shelters, scheduled for early 2006.
- Bus priority at all traffic signal junctions within Dundee.
- All stops to include 29 metre clearway markings
- 15 million passenger transport trips per annum made in Dundee (source - bus operators).
- Patronage increases of up to 9%
Continue to promote safety for travellers and staff on public transport
226. Safety and the perception of safety for travellers and staff on public transport is key to encouraging more people to use public transport. Physical safety on public transport for passengers and staff is an issue for transport operators, involving the police as necessary. Physical safety while waiting for a bus, for example, is primarily a public order issue but transport authorities can play a role in making facilities as safe as possible.
227. To help reduce antisocial behaviour and violence within our towns and city centres, we want to see regional transport partnerships and local authorities work in partnership with the police and public transport operators in providing sufficient transport to allow individuals away from our towns and city centre locations particularly around closing time for licensed premises. The advantage of this work would be to help reduce antisocial behaviour.
228. To improve safety on buses, we would like to see regional transport partnerships and local authorities working in partnership with bus operators. Infrastructure developments should feature appropriate enhanced safety features such as well-lit bus stations/stops and CCTV. The Scottish Government has through its Public Transport Fund, invested heavily in implementing CCTV on buses and as part of the rail franchise, CCTV coverage at rail stations has been extended.
229. We recognise and welcome the approach of bus operators in investing heavily in a range of preventative measures in conjunction with the police, the Scottish Business Crime Centre and others. Measures include swab kits, panic alarms, free travel for police, use of safety screens and community initiatives. We also welcome the partnership working with the police which has led to dedicated posts in some police areas to tackle bus crime.
230. Research into anti-social behaviour on buses highlighted the need for close inter-agency working to implement a range of physical, preventative and diversionary approaches. We are also implementing, overseen by our Justice Department, the Protecting Public Sector Workers - When the Customer isn't Right81 report and working with our partners on the rail network to ensure that the franchisee takes forward safety issues.
231. We believe that pro-active use of Quality Contracts and Quality Partnerships can make a difference to improving passenger safety. Enhanced safety features such as well-lit bus stations/stops and CCTV should feature in these.
Promote accessibility planning as a means of ensuring improved quality and affordability of transport at local and regional levels
232. Accessibility planning is about taking a holistic view of access for a particular region or area. It can be a helpful process in identifying gaps in transport provision, areas of poor integration and potential social exclusion. This kind of planning process is now an integral requirement of the second round of the English Local Transport Plans with the aims of ensuring that there is a clear process and responsibility for identifying groups or areas with accessibility problems. Transport authorities collect improved information on barriers to accessibility and the areas where accessibility is poorest and work in partnership with others to consider a wide range of solutions to accessibility problems.
233. We are supportive of the concept of accessibility planning and expect that this kind of planning process will feature within the development of both Regional and Local Transport Strategies. Here in Scotland, we believe however that the process should be owned by those developing the strategy locally and therefore we will not be making accessibility planning a compulsory requirement for regional transport partnerships or local authorities. We will continue to support both regional and local transport authorities to create a clear picture of the key issues and objectives for their own strategies and will support this through our liaison teams at the Executive, the existing RTS and LTS guidance and by making available relevant accessibility planning tools to those RTPs and local authorities who wish to use them.
You told us… that you are supportive of accessibility planning but responses were split over whether or not accessibility planning should be made compulsory or not. Most of you were interested to explore the concept further. There was also a call for improved access to cultural activities, particularly in the evenings and at weekends.
Our Key Commitments
- Introduce a national concessionary travel scheme for young people.
- Deliver our existing concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people and review after 2 years.
- Support lifeline airports and air services.
- Undertake a review of ferry services with a view to developing a long-term strategy for lifeline services to 2025.
- Review the affordability of public transport in relation to ferry, rail and bus services.
- Publish our Bus Action Plan to strengthen a range of policy and financial tools to help achieve a step change in the quality of bus service provision across the industry.
- Amend the legislation on Bus Services Operators grant ( BSOG) to allow claims to be made in respect of fully flexible services.
- Support the Air Discount Scheme.
- Explore introducing an integrated ticketing pilot across all modes in partnership with a regional transport partnership or local authority.
- Expand funding for DRT beyond the current pilots to enable an expansion of the flexible services available.
- Use Quality Contracts and Quality Partnerships to enhance safety on public transport.