You Told Us the Best and Worst Things about Scottish Transport – Now Let’s Work out How to Make them Better
Thanks to everyone who contributed to our review of the best and worst of Scottish transport either by e-mail or face to face at our networking event.
We have collated and ranked the responses and the most frequently stated issues coming top and bottom have been identified below. The sample does not aim to be either comprehensive or representative, but if many of the best informed people about Scottish transport hold these views they deserve further consideration.
We now want to look at how to make more of the big successes and how to fix the problems – so we need your help. Please respond to this e-mail adding brief comments below including suggestions for what more can be done. We will then collate the responses for Scottish Transport Review and publish the results with anonymous quotes from the responses later in the spring.
First let’s look at the best of Scottish transport. How can we protect and promote this better and extend the best approaches across more of the country?
- A scheduled air service has planes landing on the beach in Barra – This iconic transport service is famous across the world promoting everything that is best about Scotland.
- Many of the best roads in the world to drive and cycle – View from the road, discovery, and freedom were all emotions mentioned.
- The Lothian Buses real time information app – Designed with the customer’s needs in mind users have no problem planning journeys and watching the count-down till the bus arrives.
- Travelling with a Calmac hopscotch ticket in the Hebrides.
- The flat fare on Lothian buses in Edinburgh – The buses are used by every part of Edinburgh society and the flat fare makes the service offer more simple and understandable
- The ease of movement in pedestrianised Buchanan Street in Glasgow – The space for people creates a social and economic magnet.
- How paying for buses and parking by phone has removed the need to collect pound coins – e.g. the apps now in use across most of Scotland for parking, bus and rail tickets (on cross border rail services).
- Superb views from the trains on the West Highland rail line.
The worst aspects of Scottish transport came up time and again in responses. How can we fix these issues and who needs to be involved?
- Poor standards of road maintenance – The timing of these views at the end of winter may partly have affected this but road maintenance has been near the top of concerns of households for decades.
- Pedestrian death and serious injury on the roads at a level not consistent with a civilised country – Pedestrian casualties are still relatively high per head of population (even compared to England).
- The lack of easy ways to pay for bus, tram and rail services – It is still much harder to pay for bus and rail than for other transport and other products and services. From cumbersome slow ticket machines at tram stops to the lack of simple and transparent ways of paying for bus and rail services, many different concerns were mentioned.
- Bus journey times – Bus travel is often slower than walking and usually slower than cycling n urban areas
- Pricing issues for some rail journeys – The Glasgow to Edinburgh service in particular was criticised for its high cost with transport prices inconsistent with policy goals.
- Delaying and humiliating bus passengers by asking them to find the correct fare when boarding buses (with little prior information about what the fare might be) – unfamiliar travellers don’t want to appear foolish.
- Clutter on streets with unnecessary signs and lines and poorly managed parking
- The old and decaying bus fleet used for services across much of the country – Operators seem to celebrate doing a heroic job in difficult circumstances rather than seeking to do better.
- The inequitable distribution of public funding for transport – Government spending on transport is targeted at the wealthiest people.
- Too little tax on transport capital (e.g. land for car parking) and far too much tax on revenue (e.g. wages of drivers) – The tax system incentivises greed and lack of productivity.
Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you.