A blueprint has been produced by North Ayrshire Council aimed at helping improve public transport in a bid to meet climate change targets.

Now depute leader Shaun Macaulay says people should explore options other than always opting for the car.

The council unveiled a local transport and active travel strategy (LTATS)  based on wide-ranging consultation with the public at cabinet on Tuesday.

Official Louise Kirk said: “North Ayrshire Council (NAC) alone are unable to progress all the actions and instead we wish to work in partnership with other organisations and operators who are responsible for transport services.

“The council already works with many organisations to deliver and improve transport services in North Ayrshire.

“The delivery plan is at the heart of the strategy and sets out actions to help work towards a transport system that meets the needs of North Ayrshire. 

“While some of the actions included in the delivery plan are not the responsibility of NAC, for example the provision of public transport and ferries, feedback has identified that they would like improvements to these transport modes.”

The LTATS aims to address the feedback by influencing and collaborating with partners.
It is acknowledged that transport provision and travel patterns have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has created uncertainties in transport needs.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Councillor Shaun MacaulayCouncillor Shaun Macaulay (Image: NAC)

More people are working from home and fewer people are commuting and travelling at the traditional peak times (in the morning and early evening).

People were discouraged from using public transport to reduce the spread of the virus and public transport services were reduced.

While public transport service provision has started to increase in some areas, other services have been removed or continue to be reduced.

The strategy has been influenced by local, regional and national views and opinions and produced after local issues and opportunities were identified for an action plan to be put in place.

Councillor Macaulay said: “Over the last few years, Scotland as a nation has taken it more seriously because we are  linking it to our climate ambitions. We  need to change our behaviour, using the car has always been our default.

“The infrastructure is not always there for someone to cycle to work is the argument you come against and we need to do that. We are not where we want to be yet but are on a journey and there is a lot of infrastructure been put into  our communities.

“It is important we continue to work with our communities. We need employers,  do we need a cycle track for a bike rack for instance.”

Council leader Marie Burns added: “Transport and travel is frequently brought up by our community and there is a frustration that only so much is in the control of the council.

“But we can’t fault the team for doing everything that we can to get external funding into North Ayrshire to do the best we can within the limitations of a local authority so is there is some really positive stuff there.”