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February 12, 2014

Boost for transport

Last summer, Scottish Parliament held an inquiry into Scotland’s community transport providers and concluded amongst other things that its creaking infrastructure needed some serious investment. Credit to Scottish Government for its speedy response. Community Transport Association, the umbrella body providing advice and support to Scotland’s 250+ community transport operators had its core funding doubled and a new £1m vehicle fund was established. The deadline for applications has just closed – it’s been oversubscribed by 400%.


Full report can be read here 

Extract of report which relates to resources…

166. Whilst the Committee acknowledges that decisions on their spending priorities are matters wholly for local authorities, it is of the view that the variation in the availability of funding for community transport across Scotland presents significant financial challenges to many operators which in turn can impact on the service provision to users. The Committee therefore considers that the potential for the provision of funding to further assist the community transport sector should be explored.

167. In particular, the Committee is of the view that there is a strong case for a source of capital funding to be introduced to assist in the purchase of new and replacement vehicles. Vehicle purchase has been highlighted as the principal funding concern of operators. If vehicles are replaced at the appropriate stage in their life span this will deliver improvements in reliability, safety and comfort and ensure that services are more efficient and sustainable. The availability of a funding stream would also significantly reduce the financial pressures on community transport providers, allowing them to redirect resources to other aspects of their service provision.

168. Whilst only rough estimates of the likely cost of a managed rolling programme of funding the provision of new or replacement of vehicles across Scotland have been provided to the Committee, it appears that this could be delivered at reasonable cost, particularly when balanced against the likely benefits.

169. The Committee welcomes the very positive comments made by the Minister in evidence that he would be prepared to consider how this might be delivered. The Committee therefore calls on the Scottish Government to work with sector representatives to consider how such a scheme might be developed and introduced. This work should include a full assessment of the likely costs and consider from which source these might be funded. It should also bring forward proposals for application criteria and management and delivery options.