Official statistics published yesterday (February 26) reveal that cars continue to dominate the Scottish transport system.
Earlier this year, seven locations in Scotland were found by Friends of the Earth to be breaking the law due to illegally high levels of air pollution.
The Scottish government has taken various measures to improve air quality, such as the Low Emission Zone in Glasgow in 2018, however, despite this, the government statistics reveal that the number of people driving cars continues to increase.
According to the report, the number of vehicles licenced in Scotland has increased by 1% since 2017 and have increased by 12% since 2008.
During this time, the number of bus journeys has also decreased, around 380 million passenger journeys were made by bus in Scotland in 2018-19, a decrease of 2.2% on 2017-18.
There has been a 10% decline in the number of bus journeys in the last five years.
Friends of the Earth have highlighted that 49% of households in Scotland do not have access to a car, with most of these households located in deprived areas with poor public transport links, therefore they have stated that more needs to be done to improve public transport, not only for the sake of air pollution and the environment but also to address inequality.
Air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth, Gavin Thomson said: ‘These statistics paint a grim picture of a transport system in Scotland that is failing to respond to the climate emergency.
‘The continuing freefall of bus passenger numbers should be keeping politicians awake at night.
‘Buses must be treated as the vital public service they are.
‘Increasing access to free bus travel, and helping councils who want to run their own bus services can boost public health, connectivity and tackle climate change.
‘Improve public transport, make bus travel free to as many groups as possible, and build a joined-up cycling network for Scotland’s towns and cities so that people can cycle where they need to go in safety and comfort.’
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