Online Event Recap: Meet the Head of Bus at Transport Scotland
by Rachael Murphy
Director for Scotland
Since October, CTA has been holding a series of free online events looking at important topics for the community transport sector, and what life might look like for our members over the next few months and into 2021. Throughout lock-down, our online events, from our weekly member drop in calls to our Recovery and Restart webinar in July, have been great ways for members to connect with each other and the CTA team in what has been a challenging and uncertain time. Your feedback has been that you wanted to see more opportunities for online events looking at the important topics and issues facing the community transport sector at the moment.
On 18 November, we were lucky enough to be joined by Tom Davy, Joint Head of Bus and Concessionary Travel Policy at Transport Scotland, to give us an update on his department’s ongoing efforts in the pandemic and to answer some of our members’ questions and concerns.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Tom and his team have been focussing on supporting public transport but, tom Told us, whilst Transport Scotland have tried to avoid public messaging that deterred people from public transport, inevitably passengers are worried. Concessionary fares for under 19s were due to be introduced in January 2021, he told us but this has been pushed back. The technicalities of the scheme and the roll out of smart cards is an enormous task, taking significant effort. Rollout of the Bus Partnership Fund has also been pushed back due to the pandemic, we learned, meaning that many of the projects like bus priority lanes and similar infrastructure are also delayed.
Key themes that members were keen to know more about included BSOG, Transport to Health and low carbon options for CT.
BSOG: When asked about the future of BSOG, Tom noted the scheme might change longer term in response to changing travel patterns as well as to reflect low carbon commitments.
Transport to Health: Like lots of CTA members, Tom felt a frustration that community transport is not always empowered to play an effective role in Transport to Health conversations. That said, he stressed that Transport Scotland’s role would be more as a connector of stakeholders than an active agent.
Low Carbon: The green agenda is an increasing priority across Scottish Government, especially within Transport Scotland as transport is the primary polluter countrywide. As such, members were keen to hear commitments from Tom on green vehicle funding for CTs. Whilst Tom agreed there was a need to adopt low carbon vehicles, he did not commit to spend specific to our sector. He also acknowledged rural members’ concerns about charge time and patchy infrastructure coverage for EVs.
At the end of the session, Tom was keen to maintain contact with members via CTA and we’d love to do another similar session next year and build out the other side of the pandemic. Thank you to Tom for joining us.
If you’re interested in attending any of our other events, take a look at ctauk.org/online-events and if you have any questions about any of the topics covered in this event, you can get in touch with our advice service at email@example.com. You can also find our coronavirus guidance for community transport providers at ctauk.org/covid19-guidance.
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