Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie has backed a new campaign calling for free public transport in Glasgow.
He said the city “desperately needs” the benefits free public transport would bring, including helping to tackle the climate crisis.
The Free Our City campaign was launched on Saturday with an online conference.
Speakers include representatives from the Get Glasgow Moving public transport campaign, Scottish Youth Climate Strike organisers and Unite Scotland, the union for Glasgow’s bus drivers.
There will also be two speakers from European cities where public transport is already free – Xavier Dairaine, director of engineering in urban communities in Dunkirk, France, where public transport charges were abolished in 2018; and Katrin Winter, a citizen in Tallinn, Estonia, which introduced the policy in 2013.
Mr Harvie, a Green MSP, said: “Free public transport for all would be vital to building a green recovery and tackling the climate crisis.
“It’s a Scottish Greens policy and we already secured free bus travel for under-19s, coming into effect next year, so I warmly welcome this campaign.
“Cities like Tallinn and Dunkirk have shown us that free public transport can tackle pollution, boost passenger numbers, reduce private car use and open the city up for more marginalised communities.
“Glasgow desperately needs all these things.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “While the Covid-19 outbreak has created unprecedented pressures on the priorities of Government, the vision proposed through the National Transport Strategy for a fairer and greener transport system remains as relevant in guiding our actions through and out of this crisis, as it does for the protection of our climate and for our future sustainable economic growth.
“Our National Transport Strategy is clear that active travel and sustainable public transport is key to help address inequalities and respond to the global climate emergency. In the longer term, we recognise that we need to make services more attractive in order to increase passenger numbers.
“The Transport Act offers an ambitious new model for bus services. It provides local authorities with options to influence and improve services in their area, ensuring that there are sustainable bus networks across Scotland.
“We are bringing forward long-term funding of more than half a billion pounds for a bus partnership fund for local authorities and to roll out infrastructure for the trunk road network to prioritise buses in congested areas, helping improve punctuality and reliability. This is in addition to half a billion pounds to support active travel, with high-quality segregated infrastructure, over the next five years.
“More than a third of bus passengers already benefit from free services through our concessionary travel scheme and, as outlined in the Programme for Government, we are committed to providing free bus travel to under-19s. We are also reviewing options for extending public transport concessions to people under the age of 26.”