An efficient public transport system is essential

Monday May 20th 2024

Colin Beattie MSP
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View

An efficient public transport system is essential in unlocking Scotland’s economic potential and in our fight against climate change. I was pleased to see the Scottish Government are committed to this and announced an extension to the eradication of the peak rail fares trial. The pilot scheme began in October last year and was originally due to end in June and has now been extended until the end of September.

This was made possible thanks to the nationalisation of ScotRail. Passengers across Scotland have been saving as much as £26.20 per journey, ensuring public transport serves the public and supports commuters during the cost-of-living crisis.

As well as successful rail transport, the Scottish Government are also committed to improving the way the next generations view public transport through the fare-free bus travel scheme for under-22s, making public transport more accessible for younger generations and showing them the benefits it can have on their lives.

The economic benefits for a well-funded and efficient public transportation system cannot be overstated. It connects people to jobs, education and services, promoting social inclusion, reducing unemployment, reduces the cost burden of car ownership on families, and supports job creation within the transport sector. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy in Musselburgh North and Musselburgh, and they can thrive in areas with good public transport links. Scotland is known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant towns and cities, and to maintain these aspects a robust transportation is essential. It ensures that our towns and cities remain accessible and connected. This connectivity allows for a more dynamic workforce and supports tourism – a vital sector.

Public transport will be key in improving our environment. It reduces traffic congestion and lowers emissions, contributing significantly to our net-zero targets.

As your MSP, I will continue to advocate for robust public transport policies that support Midlothian North and Musselburgh, drive our economy, and protect our environment.

I hope commuters reading this column will welcome the extension of scrapping peak rail fares pilot and I would encourage you to continue to take advantage of this scheme to ensure it is a success with the view to see peak fares scrapped for good.

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