Covid-19 (Transport)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 26th May 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

Thank you, Presiding Officer. I will not mention whom you are referring to. Mr Crawford.

I recognise the concern that Sarah Boyack has raised. We have already engaged with City of Edinburgh Council about the challenges that it faces with Lothian Buses and the tram services that it operates. The member will recognise, however, that, in ramping up bus services to meet any increase in demand, given the capacity constraints that they will be under, the majority of bus services across the country will effectively be running at a loss because they will not be able to run at the normal capacity that would allow them to meet the costs of those services.

The discussions that we are having with Lothian Buses and other public bus service operators across the country are about understanding the potential financial impact they will face. If we are to expect those operators to increase capacity in the weeks and months ahead, it will need to be financially viable for them to do so, given the loss of revenue that they face as a result of physical distancing. That is why we are having to undertake a level of detailed work with operators such as Lothian Buses to understand that fully, and to look at what measures we can put in place to support them to ensure an increase in bus services in the weeks and months ahead.