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.

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No.7 – Members’ Bulletin February 2022

Dear EBUG member,
This is the seventh of our occasional updates for members.
Council Elections

Our main news, and the reason for circulating this bulletin now, is that we’ve completed our first ‘Council election event’. In the last Bulletin we reported that with Council elections due in May, the Committee was thinking of running hustings/a review of party manifestos. Covid-Omicron put a stop to that, so instead we:

  • Published an ‘EBUG manifesto’ on our website
  • Invited written questions from EBUG members, and by social media
  • Submitted the questions to the 5 political parties currently on Edinburgh Council
  • We’re now ABOUT TO publish the parties’ responses on our website, so keep an eye on edinburghbususers.group

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