Concessionary travel is under treat from a Scottish Government consultation that could see the age threshold raised for thousands of bus users.
In a meeting with Stagecoach in Aberdeen today, Mike Rumbles MSP and Liberal Democrat candidate for Gordon David Evans heard that the company depend on the scheme to subsidise bus routes across the North East.
This spring the Transport Minister announced a consultation into the matter and said that the Scottish Government would make a decision after the election. Mr Rumbles and Mr Evans are calling on bus goers to make the most of the free travel and stop the Scottish Government from finding an excuse to cut it.
Gordon hopeful, David Evans, said: “Thousands of people across Gordon and the North East depend on their bus pass to get about. To get to the shops, to meet family and friends, and even to get to work.
“I am proud that the Liberal Democrats took the lead in delivering concessionary travel over a decade ago, but now it is under threat from a government that sees the older age group as an easy target.
“The only way to make it impossible for the SNP to cut the bus pass is to use it. More popular and well-funded public transport will benefit everyone and encourage even more people to use it, not just those with the free pass.”
Mr Rumbles added: “The fact that the Minister has decided to wait until after the election to make a decision on concessionary travel does not bode well for the scheme.
“The SNP have made it clear that they want to cut the subsidy. That is why bus companies have been getting less and less per journey. What the SNP don’t realise is how damaging that could be for people living in rural communities.
“If bus companies don’t get the fares they will cut even more routes and that will force many people back into cars. It would be a real step backward to start stranding vulnerable people at home and piling up more congestion in the city.”