14 March 2006

Community Transport Vital Rural Lifeline Stevenson To Tell Parliament

Banff & Buchan SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson will tomorrow (Wednesday) hold a Members’ Debate on the issue of community transport in which he will call for the National Concessionary scheme to be extended while praising those organisationS that provide community transport.

Mr Stevenson met with representatives from the Banffshire Partnership and Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus in advance of tomorrow’s debate.

Commenting in advance of the debate, Mr Stevenson said:

“This debate is of vital importance to the many thousands of people that rely on community transport to enable them to have a degree of freedom that otherwise they wouldn’t have.  

“The statistics are shocking in my constituency like mine: 44% of passengers in some towns have to wait over 64mins for a bus.

“I welcomed the National Concessionary Scheme but I believe that it should be extended, as at present the scheme does not take into account the whole of community transport, the scheme is open to scheduled bus services, but not to non-scheduled services, this discriminates against those people whom conventional transport has failed we as a Parliament should not fail them also

“Community transport providers like Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus and the Banffshire Partnership should be commended for their determination and spirit that they have shown in fighting for peoples transport needs. However they should not take this fight on solely by themselves, for too long the Executive has passed the buck to local authorities. 

“That is why I will call for a true partnership between the Executive, Councils and various Community Transport organisations so that all people have the independence and freedom that so much of us take for granted, money must be ring fenced to ensure that money meant for community transport is actually spent on community transport not somehow swallowed up in council funds.

“I hope that Parliamentarians from all sides will give their backing for the call of partnership.”

Stewart Stevenson
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