1 April 2020

Scottish Labour has formally asked the transport minister to introduce free public transport for NHS and social workers for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an official letter, Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson Colin Smyth appealed to Michael Matheson to take the measures to help the vital key workers who are on the frontline of our fight against coronavirus.

Describing health and social care workers as ‘indispensable’, Colin Smyth says cutting their travel expenses would be a welcome gesture of the Scottish Government’s and transport firms appreciation for them.

The letter recognises that people should avoid travelling by public transport as much as possible, however some people have no option but to continue to use these devices and welcomes the Scottish Government intervention to offer financial support for rail and bus operators during this time, but Colin Smyth continues:

“I fully support these steps, which will help to sustain our public transport links now and help to prevent long-term damage to the sector.

“However, I believe offering free travel for health and social care workers in exchange is a very reasonable condition for a bailout of this scale.”

Labour in Wales have announced that in return for financial support from the Welsh Government, bus companies will need to commit to NHS receiving free travel. Transport for Wales is already offering free travel on rail services. A similar scheme of free public transport has been introduced in Northern Ireland, and Xplore Dundee is already offering free travel for NHS staff.
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