Fair Fares Review

The Scottish Government has published the Fair Fares Review, making recommendations for the future of public transport.

The Review sets out our aim to ensure the public transport system is more accessible, available, and affordable, with the costs of transport more fairly shared across government, business, and society.

It also highlights the challenges facing public transport and presents options on the immediate to short and medium to long-term actions that are available to reform our current transport offering, including the development of proposals to introduce a national integrated fare structure, developing a proposal for a bus flat fares pilot scheme and establishing a National Forum on the Future of Public Transport to co-ordinate improvement of delivery of a quality, accessible, available and affordable integrated public transport system.

The Review maintains existing eligibility to the National Concessionary Travel Schemes for those groups who currently benefit, which comprise over 2.3 million people across Scotland – a higher percentage than anywhere else in the UK –  and goes further still.

It sets out commitments to develop the feasibility of expansion of the national concessionary schemes, including a pilot project to extend free travel on rail services for companions accompanying eligible blind people, a proposal to provide free foot passenger travel on inter-island ferries for under 22-year-old island residents within the Outer Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland Island groups and extending the existing National Ferry Concessionary Scheme to under-22-year-old island residents.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Fiona Hyslop said:

“The recommendations and actions set out today will help us to ensure we have an available, affordable and accessible public transport system which enables people to make positive and proactive travel choices which result in using their cars less.

“Scotland’s public transport system is a key enabler for growth and opportunity, helping people and communities to connect to jobs, education, retail, public services, leisure, social and family networks.

“We will maintain current eligibility for the free Young Persons and Older and Disabled Persons bus pass. We know that families can save £3,000 for each child who makes full use of free bus travel, and the opportunities this is opening up to young people are truly remarkable.

“A sustainable and viable public transport system is also vital in achieving our ambitions on net zero as well as our target to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.

“I’m pleased to publish the Fair Fares Review and to be taking decisive action to ensure our transport system is fit for purpose and supports our National Transport Strategy’s priorities of reducing inequalities, taking climate action, helping to deliver inclusive economic growth and improving our health and wellbeing.”

David Reilly of the Poverty Alliance said:

"When public transport works well, it gives people more freedom to access jobs, training, education, childcare, and other public services. But people struggling in poverty and on low incomes repeatedly tell us that public transport is too expensive, unreliable, and not joined up.

“It doesn’t have to be like that. We’re pleased that people struggling to stay afloat have been supported to have their say on these plans.

“They told us they need action to make our public transport system more affordable, reliable, and accessible to meet local needs.”