(L-R) Cllr Anna Richardson (GCC) and Lorna Finlayson

Transport authorities need ‘more ambition’ to tackle change

Public transport vouchers for people who scrap ageing cars and encouraging GPs to ‘prescribe cycling’ are among plans tabled by a mobility charity to a Holyrood inquiry.

CoMoUK has submitted a number of recommendations to the Scottish Parliament’s Green Recovery inquiry. The organisation aims to reduce car use by encouraging shared transport and commuter behaviour change.

But it has warned the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee that COVID-19 has presented huge challenges in getting people to change their transport habits. New proposals include giving ‘mobility credits’ to people who trade in older, high-polluting cars to be used on public transport or shared initiatives.

The charity also wants to see more ambitious targets set by local authorities to reduce ‘grey fleet’ mileage; increased government funding for bike-sharing schemes; and more cash for community groups which want to invest in electric vehicles.

Local authorities should also be urged to create ‘low car neighbourhoods’, CoMoUK said, while developers of new housing estates should be compelled to include shared mobility facilities.

And in order to improve health and encourage behaviour change, the submission says GPs should consider ‘prescription cycling’ for bike-sharing schemes. Such a move would increase the use and demand of bike-sharing initiatives found in several Scottish cities, and improve the physical and mental health of the nation in the process.

Lorna Finlayson, Scotland director of CoMoUK, said: “Shared transport schemes will improve the health of the nation, boost the environment, and help the Scottish Government hit its own net-zero targets.

“But our sector now faces serious challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More people are using private cars to get to work, and public transport has suffered a huge drop in use, and therefore income. And while that is all clearly of great concern, this inquiry presents an opportunity to change the way people move around.

“These recommendations could make a positive impact on the environment and the quality of life for commuters across the country. We need to see imaginative schemes to encourage behaviour change, and GPs can play their part too by highlighting bike-sharing schemes to improve mental and physical wellbeing.”

The full submission by CoMoUK can be read here.

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