Public transport journeys dropping prior to pandemic

The Scottish Transport Statistics publication released today shows that the number of journeys being made by public transport in Scotland fell from 517 million in 2018 to 502 million in 2019.

The statistics show that there were 366 million bus journeys in 2019, accounting for 73% of all public transport journeys. Bus journeys fell by 3% between 2018 and 2019 and are down 12% over the past 5 years.

In comparison, there were 96.4 million passenger journeys on ScotRail services in 2019/20, an increase of 4% compared with 5 years ago, but 1.4% less than 2018/19. Rail passenger numbers are reported on the basis of financial years, so the fall in 2019/20 may be explained by the impact of the pandemic on travel demand at the end of that financial year.

Over the same period, motor traffic has continued to increase. The number of motor vehicles registered in Scotland (3.0 million) is at an all-time high and the distance driven by motor vehicles on roads increased by 8% over the past five years to reach 48.7 billion vehicle kilometres in 2019.

Other findings presented in the publication include:

  • There were 28.9 million air passengers at Scottish airports in 2019, a decrease of 2 per cent in the last year and 20% over the past 5 years.
  • There were 10.4 million passengers on ferry services in 2019, with 8.7 million passengers on routes entirely within Scotland. Ferry passenger numbers have increased by 8% over the past 5 years.
  • Bus passengers experienced a 9% increase in fare prices (over and above general inflation) between 2015 and 2019.

  • Read the latest Scottish Transport Statistics publication

Throughout the pandemic, Transport Scotland has published weekly reports on transport trends across all main modes. Data which covers the pandemic will be published in future iterations of Scottish Transport Statistics.