Council election manifestos 2022; what’s in them for buses?

Here’s our commentary on the local Party manifestos we’ve seen for the Council elections on May 5. It’s about the local Edinburgh Party manifestos, NOT any national documents which come down from Party HQs.

As well as reading the local Party manifestos, it’s useful to (re)read their answers to our ‘Election Event’ questionnaire (https://edinburghbususers.group/ebug-council-election-event). The SNP and Conservatives either

  1. didn’t get their act together or
  2. couldn’t be bothered answering the questionnaire

so that’s an immediate black mark. Or possibly they took one look at the questions and ran a mile. Anyway, this commentary focusses on the actual manifestos. We:

  1. read each manifesto as it stands
  2. compared them with each other
  3. considered whether they matched EBUG’s ‘manifesto’ https://edinburghbususers.group/council-elections-vote-for-good-quality-public-transport-for-everyone
  4. considered whether words matched deeds in the current Council 2017-2022

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Missed opportunity to improve city buses

As we all know, money is tight among Councils. In Edinburgh and elsewhere, aspirations to improve bus services compete for funding with other worthwhile services. Bus routes, of course, operate on a commercial basis. But the infrastructure they use, the roads, the bus stops, almost everything that doesn’t move, is the Council’s responsibility; as is providing socially necessary services which can’t break even.

So how can the Council maximise funding for improvements?

One source is ‘Section 75’ funding. Section 75 payments are funds secured from developers to pay for facilities needed because of the development; such as improved transport, school buildings etc. So if a developer builds new houses, or offices, the Council can secure payments to cover the cost of public transport improvements needed to serve the development.

We wondered how the City of Edinburgh Council uses this mechanism. So we lodged a Freedom of Information request with the Council, asking how much Section 75 money it had secured to improve bus services.

The FOI request revealed that, between 2015 and 2022, CEC secured a total of £84,230,232 in Section 75 payments.

Continue reading “Missed opportunity to improve city buses”

EBUG Council election ‘event’

Ahead of the Council election in May, instead of a ‘live hustings’, EBUG sent our members’ questions to the political parties currently on the City of Edinburgh Council. We sent the questions to the parties’ Transport Spokespersons on 1 February, requesting replies by 18 February.

The questions are anonymised, the replies are unedited. Here’s what we received: