Public transport journeys show recovery from the pandemic

The Scottish Transport Statistics publication released today shows that the number of journeys being made by public transport in Scotland rose markedly from 151 million in 2020 to 295 million in 2021. This compares to 497 million journeys recorded in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transport and travel habits in Scotland were profoundly affected by the pandemic. Figures from 2021 show large increases in travel and daily activity, when compared to 2020.

The statistics show that there were 234 million bus journeys in 2021, accounting for 79% of all public transport journeys. Bus journeys rose by 87% between 2020 and 2021 but are down 35% compared to the number of journeys in 2019.

There were 46.7 million passenger journeys on ScotRail services in 2021/22, an increase of 225% compared with 2020/21 but 52% lower than the 96 million passenger journeys in 2019/20.

Motor traffic also rose in 2021. The distance driven by motor vehicles on roads increased by 15% over the past year to hit 43.4 billion vehicle kilometres in 2021 and the number of motor vehicles registered in Scotland (3.1 million) is at an all-time high.

Other findings presented in the publication include:

  • There were 7 million air passengers at Scottish airports in 2021, a decrease of 0.6 per cent in the last year and 76% since 2019.
  • There were 7.7 million passengers on ferry services in 2021, with 6.3 million passengers on routes entirely within Scotland. Ferry passenger numbers have increased by 55% over the past year but are 27% less than 2019.
  • On-road cycling is estimated to have decreased by 27% in 2021, compared to 2020 but is 19% higher than 2019.

Read the Scottish Transport Statistics publication