Transport poverty threat for isles drivers
A high risk of “transport poverty” looms over swathes of Shetland, according to a report published this week.
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;
• West Side;
• Papa Stour;
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.