Transport poverty threat for isles drivers

A high risk of “transport poverty” looms over swathes of Shetland, according to a report published this week.

Michael Craigie said work is being done to make public transport “accessible and affordable”.

Transport poverty can happen where a person on a low income is forced into running a car because of poor public transport links.

The list of high-risk areas includes remote locations such as Unst and Fetlar – but also parts of Lerwick.

The findings come from a report compiled by Sustrans Scotland, a charity which promotes walking and cycling.

Shetland Islands Council executive manager of transport planning Michael Craigie called the report “helpful” and said he intended to look at it in detail on Friday.

He added that the council is working with the Scottish government and Transport Scotland to bring “accessible and affordable” public transport to the isles.

Among the high-risk areas featured in the report are:

• Parts of Northmavine;
• Delting;
• West Side;
• Papa Stour;
• Unst;
• Yell;
• Fetlar;
• Lerwick.

The reason why each area was identified as “high-risk” differs. However, the decisions were all made after looking at data on household income, public transport accessibility, and car ownership rates.

For instance, while Lerwick was recognised as having levels of car ownership and transport accessibility in line with the national average, lower income rates in parts of the town pushed those areas into the high-risk category.

That is because running a car disproportionately eats into the pockets of a low income household.

Meanwhile, Yell, Unst, Fetlar and the North Mainland, taken together, produced an average of medium income households, high levels of car ownership and poor public transport. It was placed in the high-risk category on that basis.

The West Side data, on the other hand, revealed an average of high car ownership and poor public transport, alongside low income households. As a result the West Side was also regarded as a high-risk area.

Across the whole country 20 per cent of areas fell into the high-risk box, 43 per cent in medium-risk and 37 per cent in low-risk.

A total of one million people nationwide are viewed as being at a high risk of transport poverty.


Add Your Comment
  • Steven Jarmson

    • October 19th, 2017 13:04

    Where’s Sandness? Walls? Aith? Sand?
    The West side bus service is minimal to say the least.
    It’s also more expensive to travel by “bus” from Sandness to Walls than it is to travel from Walls the Lerwick!!
    Lerwick is far too over subscribed when it comes to buses.
    1 bus an hour for pences rather than pounds is absolutely affordable.
    If you live in Sandness and work in Lerwick travelling by bus, your looking at £250 per month in travel. Or you can buy a car and spend £200 per month.
    Utter joke that Lerwick is included and nothing on the west side.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • October 19th, 2017 13:06

      Just re-read the story!!
      West side is included. My error.
      But still, how can Lerwick be included??

  • Andy Hayes

    • October 28th, 2017 12:23

    Plenty of single occupant cars pass me at the bus stop every day. Perhaps car share is the answer?

    Views are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.


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