EVERY single person in Scotland deserves affordable, reliable, and accessible public transport services regardless of where they live.

Put bluntly, if we’re serious about preventing climate catastrophe, addressing transport poverty, and cutting emissions, we need to get people out of cars and onto greener, low carbon public transport.

Cars account for roughly 40 per cent of all Scotland’s transport emissions – the largest contribution of any transport mode – and for just shy of 60 per cent of road transport emissions.

People on lower incomes, though, are much less likely to either own or use a car. Instead, they are much more likely to rely on public transport – often bus – to get around.

And all too often, parts of rural Scotland are dependent on one or two lifeline bus or rail routes that connect them into a broader public transport network.

Yet despite this, we keep seeing lifeline routes in places like Clackmannanshire being cut or ‘temporarily’ withdrawn.

We’ve seen First Bus abandon their X53 route, leaving the Hillfoot villages without any form of public transport whatsoever.

And now, ScotRail’s emergency timetables as a result of the industrial dispute have left folks travelling to Alloa under a defacto curfew, with all weekday services from Glasgow cancelled after 8pm.

After campaigning alongside local residents, I was delighted to see Perth and Kinross Council replace the X53 with a limited service between Kinross and Tillicoultry. I’m hopeful this could be expanded when it comes up for review, but it may need Clackmannanshire Council to help subsidise it too.

And just last week, I asked the minister for transport’s assurance in parliament that ScotRail will be reintroducing key services in the coming days. She agreed to make changes so that smaller towns including Alloa are not disproportionately affected by the emergency timetable.

Ultimately a swift resolution of the dispute will be the best way to get the whole emergency timetable ditched and services restored quickly.

It’s clear that rural Scotland’s public transport network is fragile and vulnerable to cuts – leaving both rural and poorer communities increasingly at risk of being completely cut off.

We’re talking about vulnerable people being further isolated from essential services, young people losing their independence, and people being forced to use private cars exactly at a time when we need to be reducing car kilometres.

Improving our public transport network will take time, investment, and serious political will. But we’re ready to put in the hard graft.

After only being in government for nine short months, the Greens have already had an impact. We’ve delivered free bus travel for all young people under 22, with 1,834 people in Clackmannanshire already benefiting from this exciting new policy since January.

We’ve also secured record levels of cash for active travel and rail decarbonisation – with millions set to be invested in transformative infrastructure by the end of this parliament.

Last month, Clacks elected their first ever Green councillor – Bryan Quinn. I can’t wait to see Bryan help drive the transformative change communities here deserve, not least on public transport.

There can be no excuse for leaving communities behind.