AT First Minister’s Questions last week there was much about seeking assurances that the bus pass scheme would not only continue but would not be watered down in any way, shape or form. However, the only way that the scheme will continue to be the success it undoubtedly is, is to encourage those eligible to use the service to do so, especially on rural bus services.

It goes without saying that bus companies will not run unprofitable serves in our rural areas if buses are running around empty. They will be for the chop, use them or lose them.

Patrick Harvie said much to champion public transport, and yes I agree it would be great for the environment and people’s health if we could all switch to a more inclusive and sustainable transport system, but let’s go further and seriously consider a free bus service for all of the population.

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I have no idea the financial cost of such a scheme, but I’m sure a lot less than you might think considering the high costs to the taxpayer in subsidies for our existing transport system. This would certainly encourage people out of their cars, saving the planet and the heavy cost of new road building, maintenance and improvements and reduce road accidents and deaths significantly. Improving the health and the well-being of the population as a whole from reduced emissions would only be the start, free transport would go much further. Saving for the low paid to help them out of poverty and greater mobility for their family would improving mental health, much as it does for the elderly now, allowing them to escape a housebound prison. We should not always see social spending as a bottom line cost but always ask, what is the true cost (and savings) with social spending.
Walter Hamilton
St Andrews