The Scottish Government is investing more than £100 million in the East Kilbride rail project, which is enabling more diesel trains to be replaced across Scotland and encouraging greater modal shift. The electrification of the line from Glasgow to Barrhead is under way, alongside the relocation of Hairmyres station, whereby the plan is to create a new fully accessible transport interchange, which will give the local community the option to walk, wheel or travel by bus to the station.
In addition, we are supporting bus use through the under-22s free bus travel scheme, which means that around half of Scotland’s population can now travel by bus for free.
For East Kilbride, Network Rail advance works have been undertaken at a number of locations, including the successful removal last weekend of a redundant footbridge at the site of the proposed new Hairmyres station.
We continue to make good progress with the East Kilbride business case, including a well-received event for members that was held in the Parliament late last year. As the project develops and the full programme of works is finalised, Network Rail will intensify its activities and will continue to work closely with communities, MSPs and other stakeholders along the line of the route in order to keep them informed.
Work on the Clyde metro has been undertaken through the 2022 scoping programme-level business case. That is being undertaken collaboratively, led by Transport Scotland and its partner, which are Glasgow City Council and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. A delivery plan will be prepared following completion of the programme-level business case, and engagement will be key to that business case as it progresses.
In my response to Ms Stevenson, I alluded to the on-going engagement with Network Rail. It is important that Mr Simpson too, as a local MSP, continues with that engagement. I think that he met Network Rail very recently about the project.
With regard to the timescales for the decarbonisation work, I am happy to write to the member with an update on those if they have changed in any way, shape or form in the past few months, although to my knowledge they have not.
At a previous portfolio question time, the minister gave a commitment to ask Transport Scotland officials to compile data on the number of bus service cancellations and the reasons for those cancellations. Can the minister update us on that matter, and tell us whether and when the Government expects to know the full extent of bus service cancellations in Scotland?
I did commit to ask my officials in Transport Scotland to provide that data. I have not yet received it, but I will be happy to publish it as and when I receive it in order to give a national picture of cancellations, because I very much recognise the on-going challenges that we face in that respect, to which Neil Bibby alluded.