The introduction of free concessionary travel 10 years ago has made a huge difference for older people in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond, Jackie Baillie has said.
Free bus passes for pensioners were introduced by the previous Labour-led Scottish Government in 2006 and Jackie says the policy has reduced illness and helped older people remain fitter for longer.
However environmental campaigners have pointed out that under the SNP the number of bus passengers has actually contracted by almost 10 per cent since 2009.
Jackie is now calling for the next Scottish Government to take action to regulate bus companies to improve services and introduce a smart ticket similar to London’s Oyster Card that can be used on all bus, rail, subway and ferry services in Scotland.
“I was proud to be part of the Scottish Labour team that delivered free bus passes for older people in 2006 and it is clear that the scheme has been a huge success. For many pensioners the bus pass is more than just a free ticket, it lets them get out and about to meet friends and family and we know this has a positive impact on both physical and mental wellbeing.
“However there is still much more work to be done to improve our bus services. It is disappointing that the number of people using buses has actually declined under the SNP. The next Scottish Labour Government will put passengers first by forcing bus firms to improve services and introducing a fully integrated public transport system