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#lovemybus parliamentary reception

Published 27 January 2020 by Transform Scotland

The #lovemybus campaign has held a well-received reception in the Scottish Parliament. The event, hosted by Kilmarnock and Loudoun MSP Willie Coffey, welcomed senior figures in the bus industry, representatives from across the sustainable transport sector, and a cross-party selection of MSPs, for an update on the progress of the #lovemybus campaign.

Willie Coffey welcomed guests, commented on the challenges being faced by the bus sector, and highlighted the need for campaigns such as #lovemybus. Fraser Smith (Commercial Director at Stagecoach West Scotland) then introduced Jacqueline Rowan (Marketing Director for Stagecoach West Scotland) and Jess Pepper (External Affairs Manager for Transform Scotland) to take the guests through a presentation on the lessons the bus sector and policymakers can learn from the successes of #lovemybus and the next steps for the campaign. The evening concluded with a comment from Stuart Douglas (Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Manager at Paths for All), a Q&A, and drinks. The campaign is being financially supported by the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Fund.

Willie Coffey said:

“I was delighted to host the LOVEMYBUS event in parliament. The campaign is to persuade more people to use their bus services rather than their cars. It’s healthier (less stress) and helps the environment too. We know there are many challenges to overcome eg providing more park and ride facilities and tackling congestion. So, the Scottish Government is providing £500million as part of our programme for government to improve bus priority infrastructure.

“Hopefully, we can do something to ease the congestion going into Glasgow every morning and I have been working with government Ministers and Stagecoach on this for some time to try and improve this.”

The Campaign

#lovemybus aims to increase awareness, understanding and positive attitudes to bus travel, in particular, the benefits to health, lifestyle, reduced stress and improved relaxation. It aims to generate ‘feel good’ about bus travel and inspire commuters to choose bus over the car for everyday journeys for their own health, well-being and quality of life as well as for the health of their family, their wider community and the planet.

With support from Professor Adrian Davis from Napier University, surveys have been conducted on the bus, at bus stations, including at Ayr Racecourse. Some of the initial results from the ‘off-bus’ surveys can be seen below, with more due to be completed at three upcoming events.

Six champions were recruited who choose bus instead of car to commute and be the faces of #lovemybus. The champions get free bus travel for a year, an opportunity to attend events, and goodies. Since joining the campaign the champions have shared blogs, given feedback on their experiences and shared their stories on social media. You can find their blogs and more about the champions here.

The #lovemybus team have been working with national and local stakeholders, from MSPs and local councillors to charities and organisations who promote active or sustainable transport. Working together, sharing learning, stories, barriers, ideas, promotion, and support has created the opportunity to promote what we are all doing.

Outcomes and next steps

This year the #lovemybus team hope to roll out the campaign nationwide. Alongside the campaign, our initiative ‘Vision 2030 for Bus’ will bring manufacturers and operators together to set out how bus can help to tackle the Climate Emergency. 

Positive steps have been made in bus policy over the last year. The last Programme for Government saw a commitment of £500 million to invest in bus priority infrastructure. However, the critical role of bus continues to overlooked in strategic plans and advice to address emissions from the transport sector in favour of EVs, vans, and HGVs. 

Buses are important in every day lives of people across the country, and as a nation that makes and operates buses at home and many parts of the world – to our economy and creating jobs across Scotland too. 

 

Q&A

Willie Coffey MSP then hosted a Q&A which covered diverse topics from:

  • Improving infrastructure around bus stops
  • Investment in infrastructure that prioritises buses to go alongside behaviour change campaigns
  • Speeding up the proposed improvements in Glasgow in line with COP26
  • Ways to improve travel links between bus and active travel modes

After the questions concluded refreshments were served and further discussions continued.