On the 11th and 12th September I chaired the first Rural Transport Convention which was also the first conference for the new Cabinet Secretary Mr Michael Matheson. It was an idea I had late last 2017 and with the help of Scottish Rural Network, Scottish Rural Action and Transport Scotland I can confirm we successfully pulled off the two day event. With standing room only and a very full room at 1615hrs on the last day, one can say the topics and speakers were interesting. Day one focused on freight, logistics, business and tourism and day two was more personalised travel.
Several projects came to the fore for me, most notably Gordon Muir from South Lanarkshire and his ability and vision to turn his bus company into a different model. Community transport meets school transport with a community responsibility element added in. It’s one for the future and his hard work and determination over ten years to change the procurement process will be to the benefit of many in Scotland. Watch this space as I’ll be talking more about this project over the coming months.
There were so many projects and challenges covered but one close to my heart is that of childcare. As Jaci Douglas of CALA and Esme of High Life Highland clearly outlined, without transport to access child care not only are parents missing out on the opportunity to work but children the ability to socialise, access after school activities or take advantage of extra tuition. Esme makes the point well in the below video so please click and watch.
Finally, it was enjoyable to Chair the event and it’s not every day you get to introduce the first Cabinet Secretary for Transport, (remember it was only a ministerial position before) so it will be remembered for all the right reasons.