A Holyrood politician has waded into the row over cuts to bus services in Perth and Kinross, describing them as a “backward step.”
Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, claims the axing of several bus services, including many late night journeys to outlying towns back from Perth, is “another example” of bus pasengers being the “last people” considered.
The list of affected services announced by the council includes the last bus home on Friday and Saturday from Perth to Dundee, Crieff, Pitlochry and Blackford.
Other affected services includes routes from Perth city centre to Viewlands and Dobbies Garden Centre along with Saturday services running from Perth to Abernyte and from Pitlochry to Aberfeldy.
Perth and Kinross Council claim the decision to cut the late night buses was mainly down to “low usage”. However, the move has been slammed by politicians and some bus passengers.
Councillor Dave Doogan, leader of the SNP group in Perth and Kinross, said he felt the bus service cuts will be “sharply felt” by local communities. And John Swinney, SNP MSP for Perthshire North, branded the move as “an affront” to residents.
Mr Ruskell has now voiced his criticism.
He said: “These cuts are a backwards step, removing important services which can help build the night-time economy in Perth and provide public transport options for people who work irregular hours. This is another example of bus passengers being the last people considered when transport policy decisions are made at both local and national level.
“It’s no wonder that we’ve seen bus use fall by 43 million trips in the last five years. Bus services are failing to deliver what communities need, and if services are removed then decline in use is inevitable.”
He continued: “The Scottish Greens want to see a legally binding target to reverse bus passenger decline in the upcoming Transport Bill, which would make service cuts such as these possible only as the very last option.”
The list of affected services announced by the council includes the last bus home on Friday and Saturday from Perth to Dundee, Crieff, Pitlochry and Blackford. And the cuts will also impact on children in Crieff, Auchterarder and Kinloch Rannoch.
A council spokesperson commented: “There was low usage on the late night bus services.
“Pupils entitled to school transport on any of the affected buses have been transferred to alternative services.”