SINCE 2006 older people in Inverclyde have benefited from free Scotland-wide bus travel.

It proved to be one of the most popular achievements of Labour in power in the early years of the Scottish Parliament and today 1.3 million people are bus pass-holders.

For many the bus pass is a lifeline, a way of preventing social isolation and loneliness and keeping in touch with family and friends. It’s a way of accessing local services and staying connected to a wider community.

For others, such as older people on modest incomes who are working up to retirement, the bus pass makes it possible to go to work and commute affordably.

The bus pass has changed people’s lives. Yet, despite having no manifesto mandate to do so, the SNP government have cut £9.5 million from the concessionary travel budget and they are now consulting on the future of the scheme, refusing to rule out new restrictions on eligibility or raising the qualifying age from 60 to 65.

It’s important that the people of Inverclyde take part in the consultation and oppose plans to cut back the bus pass.

Cutting the bus pass will hit a major revenue stream for bus services at a time when passenger numbers are already plummeting. 

Over the past 10 years, the number of bus passenger journeys has declined by 78 million, nearly 70 million vehicle kilometres have been stripped out of the bus network and a fifth of routes been scrapped. There has been a decade of decline in bus services under the SNP and enough is enough.

Cuts to the bus pass budget have got to stop. Instead, the bus pass should be protected, the Scottish Government should invest in public transport and a new system should be brought forward — one that puts passengers before profit.

The bus pass is a lifeline and it has to be protected.

If you agree then please make your views known on the future of the bus pass by completing the consultation online at or by writing to Concessionary Travel Team, Transport Scotland, 2D-North, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ.