Dear EBUG member,
This is the fifth of our occasional updates for members. Our previous update was sent out towards the end of the first wave of the COVID pandemic.
- We’re planning an Annual General Meeting as soon as possible. Obviously this wasn’t possible in 2020. So rather than waiting till meetings in person might be allowed, we plan to hold it via online media.
Items to be carried forward from the last AGM (May 2019) include: constitutional amendments including limiting terms of office, auditing accounts, and removing the requirement for regular general meetings. As well as the fact that we breached the constitution by not having a second AGM within 15 months of the first.
- We are looking for new Committee members, so if you’re interested, please think about it! You don’t have to be an expert in transport or running groups. The key thing is that you care about bus services in and around Edinburgh. If you’d like to know what’s involved, please email email@example.com
- EBUG committee members have been working behind the scenes preparing for a pilot audit of (part) of a bus route from a bus user’s point of view and the launch of EBUG’s website (expected in April).
- The past year has disrupted all our lives. Of course it has also disrupted EBUG’s plans and everything bus-related. To pick out a few key issues over the past year:
- We’re sure you’ve seen coverage of the Council’s various Spaces for People schemes. They’ve generated detail on every scheme. While we were broadly supportive in principle, we had substantial reservations about some of the specifics and the processes. We have communicated these to the Council.
- Bus stops? The long-promised consultation on temporary floating bus stops is underway, see here for details.
- The City Mobility Plan was finally approved in February 2021. This is the Council’s Transport Strategy for the next decade, and can be found here. In normal times it would be something we would spend a lot of time talking about with our members and others; but these are not normal times. So it ended up being approved with relatively little fuss. Bear in mind, though, that it now provides a key reference point and background for everything the Council does, transport-wise, until the 2030s.
- We responded to a Scottish Government consultation on extending concessionary (free) bus travel to people aged under 19. We broadly supported it but noted that it doesn’t help those in areas where there are no buses! We also pointed out that the scheme is an individual benefit; it isn’t a ‘subsidy’ to operators and shouldn’t be described as such. The concessionary fare scheme legislation requires that any scheme must be revenue-neutral for operators.
- Bus patronage continues to be low. Fortunately Scottish Government financial support continues to give bus operators a level of protection (as is the case for other businesses via Westminster and/or Scottish Government schemes). Nevertheless, worries remain about the long-term future for buses across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Holyrood and Westminster have made positive noises about the importance of buses when we recover from the pandemic. As ever, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
- You may have seen media coverage of plans to reorganise the relationship between the Council, Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams. Here is the latest Council report on this topic.
Keep well and take care,
Your EBUG Committee