Public Transport (Lanarkshire)

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 26th June 2003.

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Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour 2:30 pm, 26th June 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive whether any action will be taken to improve public transport links between north and south Lanarkshire. (S2O-262)

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The Scottish Ministers are always anxious to encourage improved public transport links, although, in this instance, the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority, along with North Lanarkshire Council and South Lanarkshire Councils, would have the lead responsibility.

Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour

Does the minister agree that the transport links between those areas of Lanarkshire are in particular need of improvement? Many of my constituents are faced with using at least two different buses—perhaps more—for a journey taking upwards of an hour in order to gain access to their nearest maternity and paediatric facilities. Does the minister agree that, if those facilities are to be of the utmost benefit to the people whom they serve, it is crucial that transport links to and from them improve?

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

I agree that there is significant scope for improving public transport in Scotland. That is one of the reasons why the Executive is shifting its transport expenditure towards public transport and why, over the coming years, we will spend 70 per cent of the funds available on public transport.

As far as more immediate action for Elaine Smith's constituents is concerned, I will be meeting representatives of Strathclyde Passenger Transport on Monday to discuss a range of public transport issues, and I am happy to take up her constituency concern with the chairman.