Transport Series Statistical Bulletin Trn/2008/3 Main Transport Trends 2008

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4 Public transport: bus, rail and air and ferry

Local bus services

4.1 In the 2006-07 financial year there were 482 million passenger journeys on local bus services in Scotland, an increase of 1 per cent over the previous year and 1 per cent more than in 1996-97.

Figure 5: Passenger numbers: local bus and rail

Figure 5: Passenger numbers: local bus and rail

Figure 6: Passenger numbers: rail, air and ferry (selected services)

Figure 6: Passenger numbers: rail, air and ferry (selected services)

4.2 However, over the longer-term, there have been large falls. There were almost 1,700 million passenger journeys on local bus services in 1960. The number had almost halved by 1975. Since then, it has roughly halved again, from 891 million in 1975 to 482 million in 2006-07. There were falls in every year between 1960 and 1999 except 1985, 1987 and 1988. Figure 5 shows the trends since 1975; it and Figure 6 show that local bus passenger numbers are significantly higher than other modes of public transport.

4.3 Since 1996-97, the number of passenger journeys on local bus services has increased by 1 per cent in Scotland compared with an increase of 12 per cent for Great Britain over the same period (due to an increase in London). However, Figure 8 shows that, relative to the size of the population, the usage of local bus services is higher in Scotland: in 2006-07, 94 journeys were made per head of population in Scotland compared with 84 in Great Britain.

Rail passenger services

4.4 The total number of ScotRail passenger journeys in the 2007-08 financial year was 81.3 million, 4.0 million (5 per cent) more than in the previous year, and 45 per cent more than 10 years earlier. Over the longer-term, the number of rail passenger journeys originating in Scotland (including cross-border journeys) fell from a peak of 73 million in 1964 to a low of 50 million in 1982.

4.5 Figure 6 shows that, from then until 1996-97, passenger numbers remained between 50 million and 60 million per year. Latterly, rail patronage had been rising since 1994-95 and reached almost 65 million in 1999-00, but then fell to just over 61 million in 2002-03, before rising again to almost 78 million in 2005-06. Figures for 2006-07 and 2007-08 were not available at the time of going to press, but the 2007-08 figure is expected to be around 84-85 million (and so largest number since the current series started in 1960), given the number of ScotRail passengers.

4.6 The 5 per cent increase in ScotRail passenger numbers between 2006-07 and 2007-08 was lower than the 7 per cent rise in rail passengers for Great Britain. Over the last ten years, Scotrail passenger numbers have increased slightly less than GB as a whole. However, the rise in the number of rail passenger journeys originating in Scotland (including those on other operators' services) had not been as rapid, at least up to 2005-06 (the latest data available). Figure 9 shows that, per head of population, there are fewer rail passenger journeys originating in Scotland than in Great Britain: 15.3 per head in Scotland in 2005-06, compared with 18.5 per head in Great Britain.

Air passengers

4.7 There were around 25.1 million air terminal passengers at airports in Scotland in 2007, the largest number ever recorded: 3 per cent more than in the previous year, and 75 per cent more than in 1997. Figure 6 shows the rise since 1975. Over the longer-term, terminal passenger numbers grew from 1.2 million in 1960 to 25.1 million in 2007.

4.8 Between 1997 and 2007, the number of air terminal passengers increased by 75 per cent for Scotland and 64 per cent for the UK as a whole. Over the past ten years, the number of passengers per head of population has been higher for Scotland than for the UK.

Ferry services

4.9 In 2007, over 6 million passengers were carried on those shipping services within Scotland for which figures are available back to 1973 (i.e. Caledonian MacBrayne, P& OScottish Ferries / NorthLink Orkney and Shetland, and Orkney Ferries). This was 0.1 percent less than in the previous year. Figure 6 shows the long-term trends, which were affected by the reduction in traffic that followed the opening of the Skye Bridge in 1995.

Figure 7: Vehicles licensed per 100 population

Figure 7: Vehicles licensed per 100 population

Figure 8: Passenger numbers per head of population: local bus and rail

Figure 8: Passenger numbers per head of population: local bus and rail

Figure 9: Passenger numbers per head of population: rail and air

Figure 9: Passenger numbers per head of population: rail and air