A Guide to Clean Transport in Scotland

By Callum Barraclough

6th May 2022

(Trains are just one way to travel across Scotland. Photograph: Pixabay)

In 2018, Glasgow introduced its Low Emission Zone requirements, mandating that all vehicles that travel within Glasgow’s city centre, from December 2018 Phase 1 of the LEZ was introduced, applying only to busses, but Phase 2 will extend the plan to all vehicles from 1st June 2023, meaning all vehicles that don’t fit within the LEZ’s restrictions will be barred from entering Glasgow. There are some exemptions in these rules, but it means some people will have change the way in which they travel to and within Glasgow in anticipation of this LEZ being fully introduced, with it leading to some people being left without a car or other form of personal transport with which they can access Glasgow, in comparison to some other people who can afford another vehicle.

Another reason why this will be of a concern to some people will be that the emission standards laid out essentially prohibit diesel engine vehicles registered before around September/October 2015, along with petrol vehicles registered before 2006 from entering the LEZ, locking out many currently used vehicles from entering the LEZ in Glasgow.

In addition to this, other cities in Scotland are planned to introduce their own LEZs this year, with Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen being planned to introduce their LEZs this year, with the plan moving to include all areas where the National Low Emission Framework (NLEF) show it is the best way forward to improve Scotland’s air quality and make it the best in Europe. As a result, it will be a good idea to start looking into other transportation methods in order to see if one of them may be ideal for you and your circumstances.

Get a car ride in from a friend

If you have a friend that makes a trip into Glasgow or one of the other cities, whether that’s for work or for another reason, plus they have a vehicle that fits into the restrictions outlined above, it may be a good idea to ask them for a lift in, as it may save you having to pay the cost of taking one of the other methods of transport listed here, plus it will more likely allow you to go directly to where you need to go, like your workplace, or your college/university, without having to plan out how you will get to where you need to go and what form of transport you will take. It will also be more eco-friendly than using your own car, as you won’t use more fuel to power two cars, lowering the amount of CO2 produced in the process. However, not everyone will have someone else they can rely on for help, so the other methods listed below might be better suited to your needs.

Get a train ride in

One of the quickest methods to get into a city, if you happen to have a train station where you live that can go directly to where you need to go. Say you live in Ayr, and you need to travel to Glasgow to go to college once a week, you can get a return ticket at peak time and take a train from Ayr to Glasgow Central for £17.70. If you need to go up to Glasgow for multiple days, you can instead buy a weekly or monthly ticket, which will allow you to take as many journeys to and from Glasgow as you want, with a weekly ticket costing £68.60 and a monthly ticket costing £263.50, again from Ayr to Glasgow. As a result, however, it may only be a good idea to purchase a weekly or monthly ticket if you are travelling to Glasgow often, as the cost of three days’ worth of tickets (£53.10), is less expensive than the weekly ticket.

However, the benefit of this on the environment is that trains can seat many more people at one time than a car can, with trains being able to take 100+ people from start to finish if the train has many carriages, so it has the benefit of being more eco-friendly than using your own car is.

Get a bus ride in

Like getting the train in, you can get a bus from a station all the way to a city like Glasgow, or elsewhere, with the negative to this transportation method over taking a train in being that it will likely take longer to get to where you need to go if you are taking a longer distance journey. However, it will still be of some benefit to you if you take a shorter journey (eg. You live in Glasgow already and need to get to another place within Glasgow), as will stop at more locations along the way than trains can, so it may be ideal for you to get a bus if you don’t have an easily accessible train station.

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