Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today unveiled plans to make public transport more affordable and accessible to young people, including calling on ministers to overhaul fares after they take on the running of Scotrail in two weeks’ time.
In this first part of a series of proposals to deliver New Hope for Young People, Mr Cole-Hamilton is calling for:
- All peak rail fares to be scrapped for young people
- The railcard discount to be increased to 50% for everyone under 30
- The reversal of the SNP/Green rail fares hike
- Inter-island ferry travel to be added to the Young Persons' Free Bus Travel Scheme
- New mechanisms to give young people a voice on transport companies’ boards so that their needs are always at the heart of decision-making.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“It is time for a radical shakeup of Scotland's public transport system to make it climate-friendly and respond to the cost-of-living crisis.
“Young people getting to college or to work don’t have any choice but to travel at the start of the day. It’s not fair that they should pay the peak premium. For an apprentice that can consume as much as a fifth of your wage.
“The last thing young people needed was the SNP/Green rail fares hike. It’s why I think the whole transport system needs to be re-engineered for young people, with young people. It can be done if transport bosses give them a proper voice in decision-making and listen to their perspectives.
“It’s time young people got a fair deal. Scottish Liberal Democrats are in their corner.”
Orcadian and Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Young People Jack Norquoy added:
“Affordable and accessible public transport is key enabler for young people's prosperity and wellbeing.
“We know where public transport works just about everything else falls into place, bringing new opportunities, good jobs and stronger public services. This is particularly critical in island and rural communities where getting from A to B can be longer, more costly and often involve ferries rather than buses.
“The Scottish Government's decision to not include inter-island ferries as part of the young persons' free bus travel scheme is entirely wrong and ill-sighted.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will offer a public transport system that works for all communities, for all ages, and for the climate."