THE transport brief appears to have been axed from the top level of the Scottish Government in Humza Yousaf’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Michael Matheson was previously responsible for energy policy and transport before he was appointed Health Secretary on Wednesday.

It leaves the Cabinet without one person solely responsible for transport – despite ongoing and high-profile issues with the dualling of the A9 and CalMac ferries among others.

Jenny Gilruth was promoted from her junior ministerial role of transport minister under Matheson to take on the job of Education Secretary.

The rail and transport union TSSA said the apparent move to drop transport from the Cabinet was "utterly astonishing". 

The union's interim general secretary Peter Pendle said: "The omission of a cabinet secretary for transport is an utterly astonishing decision from Humza Yousaf and shows anything but a steady hand.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf unveils his new cabinet as fresh faces brought to top table

“Our union is in dispute with ScotRail over on-call working and now have no Cabinet lead to liaise with on this matter. The fact is it seems transport has been shunted aside by the SNP government, despite their commitment to net zero carbon. 

"If they really cared about the future of our railways and buses, or indeed making our ferries work as they should for our island communities, then this decision should be revisited. 

“A green public transport network run for the people, in public hands, must be a priority for any progressive Scottish government, and needs a Cabinet-level role to push that forward.”

The SNP’s opponents in Holyrood have said the apparent omission from the top decision-making table was concerning.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish LibDem leader, said: “It’s … not clear where transport fits into this mix. Will they just be taking it in turns to make excuses about the ferries?”

Responding to the news that a CalMac route serving South Uist was cancelled for the next five weeks, Tory MSP Donald Cameron said: “Something to raise with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport. Oh, hang on...”

And Alba’s general secretary Chris McEleny said: “Ferries needing built for island communities. A nationally owned train service needing public trust. Road promises not delivered. No clear strategy on bus subsidy…

“But the new Scottish Cabinet has just been announced with nobody responsible for transport.”

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.