Covid-19 (Transport)

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

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

We have faithfully engaged with and consulted the trade unions during the shaping of the transition plan and guidance. They have given us feedback on issues that relate to the plan; some of that feedback has been incorporated into the plan and some will be reviewed. That engagement will continue.

The member will be aware that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has issued guidance to local authorities on the continuance of funding of bus contracts for education purposes until the end of the school term. We are engaging with our colleagues in education with regard to any future arrangements around that issue, because education leads on those matters. We will support our colleagues around the demands of the transition and its potential impact on transport. I expect any arrangements for school transport to reflect the need to maintain social distancing.

On the member’s point about buses not allowing young people to board when they try to go to school, we need to consider how to address that issue effectively. For example, there might be a way to stagger start times for schools, which would help to reduce the risk of buses being busy at peak times. All those issues are being explored and I am discussing them with my colleague the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, to ensure that we understand the implications for transport and consider what mitigation measures could be put in place to help to manage demand.