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All aboard! Labour promises free bus travel for all Aberdonians in council manifesto

A bus in Union Street in Aberdeen. Pictured by Kenny Elrick/DCT Media
A bus in Union Street in Aberdeen. Pictured by Kenny Elrick/DCT Media

Aberdeen could become the first British city with free bus travel for all, it’s claimed – if Labour retains control of the council in May.

The promise to provide free bus travel for all residents aged between 22 and 59 is the big pledge within the party’s council manifesto.

Currently, over-60s in Scotland are given free bus passes, while a nationwide scheme was launched in January to provide the same for those 21 and under.

Now, Aberdeen Labour is promising to provide the same for those currently missing out in response to the growing cost of living.

Aberdeen Labour deputy leader Ross Grant unveiled the promise of free bus travel for all Aberdonians. Picture by Jim Irvine/DCT Media.
Aberdeen Labour deputy leader Ross Grant unveiled the promise of free bus travel for all Aberdonians. Picture by Jim Irvine/DCT Media

Free bus travel to deal with cost-of-living crisis

Deputy group leader Ross Grant said: “Labour is committed to doing all we can to help people through the cost of living crisis, and this scheme does precisely that. With prices of everything going through the roof, an affordable alternative to taking the car to work every day will make a real difference to thousands of citizens.

“With an annual bus pass currently costing an adult passenger £699, this scheme offers to save a two-adult household almost £1,400 a year.

“A Labour-led council will work closely with bus operators in the city to support more passengers and more services. The more people who come into town by bus, the less pollution and greenhouse gases there will be, to the benefit of us all.”

Is free bus travel just the ticket to turn around Aberdeen Labour’s polling fortunes?

Aberdeen Labour is fielding 15 candidates in next month’s election, eight short of the 23 needed for majority control.

Aberdeen Labour's 15 council candidates. Picture by Paul Glendell/DCT Media.
Aberdeen Labour’s 15 council candidates. Picture by Paul Glendell/DCT Media

The party has been in charge at the Town House since 2012, though their numbers reduced from 17 to nine.

Tillydrone, Seaton and Old Aberdeen candidate Mr Grant, speaking for the group as leader Jenny Laing steps down, added: “The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people across the city, and only Labour is offering solutions, here in Aberdeen and nationwide.

“Free bus travel for all city residents will make a real and immediate difference to the lives of thousands of Aberdonians at this difficult time.”

How will they pay for it?

The local party bosses have sounded out council chiefs on the plans, with Mr Grant “satisfied” free bus travel for all is both “feasible and deliverable”.

“There are a number of options around how we do that,” he said.

“It is only possible as a result of the decisions we have taken to make the council fit for purpose – to make sure, under increasing pressures under poor funding settlements, that the council is able to protect frontline services and allow us to deliver these kind of plans.”

You can see a full list of all candidates standing for Aberdeen City Council here.

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