BUS journeys in Scotland have fallen again while car use rises and a decade-long trend continues, the latest figures show.

While 388 million journeys were made using local bus services in 2017-18, this compares to 487m in 2007-08.

In the same period, the number of cars registered in Scotland has jumped by 13% as drivers covered around 22.5 billion miles.

And, with plane passenger numbers at now 28.8m, air travel has soared by one-third over the past five years.

Citing pollution fears, Gina Hanrahan of WWF Scotland said: “Transport is Scotland’s biggest source of damaging climate emissions and these figures are firmly going in the wrong direction.

“Air travel and car travel are at their highest ever recorded levels, while bus use has fallen and cycling has seen a 6% drop over five years.”

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said he is “concerned” by the drop in bus usage, but says efforts to develop a “more sustainable transport network” will convince people to put the brakes on their car use.

He said: “Although the majority of public transport trips are made by bus, I remain concerned that bus use continues to fall – and this is a trend we see across the UK.

“We are continuing to spend over £250m a year to support our vital bus industry, working with operators to keep fares at affordable levels and providing free bus travel to older and disabled passengers.

“Additionally, the forthcoming Transport Bill will empower local authorities by providing options to improve bus services in their areas, giving them a greater choice in how to deliver a sustainable bus network for customers.”

But Green MSP John Finnie said only “bold action” can tackle poor air quality, which has been linked to poor health and death. And, calling on ministers to axe plans to slash air passenger duty in half, Green

co-convenor Patrick Harvie said: “In the face of the climate crisis, ministers should not be focusing their efforts on placating the only transport industry that is already free of fuel duty.”

The transport stats came as the Church of Scotland urged ministers to commit to delivering a net zero carbon emissions economy by 2050. Moderator Rt Rev Susan Brown said climate justice was one of the defining challenges of the age.