Better performance in Aberdeen lays way for ART

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.
From left: Commercial Director for First Bus in Scotland Graeme Macfarlan; Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Ian Yuill; Greig Mackay of Bus Users UK; Scottish Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop; Nestrans director Rab Dickson; Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Christian Allard; Project manager for Transport Scotland Daniel Spencer; and David Beaton, Managing Director of Stagecoach Bluebird. NORTH EAST BUS ALLIANCE

The Scottish transport minister has welcomed ongoing work on Aberdeen’s rapid transit project as well as bus service improvements in the city centre

Almost 600,000 bus passengers a month are now experiencing better journeys because of new bus priority routes in Aberdeen city centre, local operators reports. Two months on from their introduction, new figures from First Aberdeen and Stagecoach show the bus gates are already delivering measurable benefits for bus passengers across the region. Funded through the North East Bus Alliance bid to the Scottish Government’s Bus Partnership Fund (BPF), the works have seen punctuality of First’s services improve by 3%, the operator reports, whilst Stagecoach says it has seen a similar uplift, and that its services are also now running on time within the city centre, with an improvement to departures from the bus station where many regional journeys start and terminate.

Scottish Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop visited Aberdeen to meet partners in the North East Bus Alliance, which include Nestrans, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, First Aberdeen and Stagecoach Bluebird, who took the opportunity to highlight to her the success of the new measures so far.
Following the introduction of the improved priority, First Bus said it has since launched a special 50% off ticket offer to complement and support the priority measures and to encourage more people to use the bus and benefit from the improvements. Both major operators say they are now gathering data on the improvement in order to support future enhancements to services such as faster journey times and potential increases to services frequencies.

Robert Andrew, chair of the North East Bus Alliance, said: “Over a million bus passengers have experienced real benefits since the new bus priority route was implemented two months ago, endorsing this first stage of our ambitions to regenerate and transform public transport provision in the North East. It is great to see that the city centre bus priority is already making an impact. Looking ahead, the delivery of these early measures is key to improving public transport provision and the future success of an Aberdeen Rapid Transit system, which will connect key destinations across the region.

“Our successful bids to the Bus Partnership Fund have been instrumental in enabling these works. I am delighted that we’ve been able to welcome the transport minister and demonstrate the success so far. As an alliance, we are working closely with Transport Scotland to discuss future opportunities to maximise further investment, and improvements, through the BPF.”

The Transport Minister added: “I’m really pleased to see first-hand how the bus gates in Aberdeen city centre are already delivering for the millions of bus passengers that travel through the city every year. I also welcome the wider work underway with the North East Bus Alliance to encourage more bus use, including the ongoing work on Aberdeen Rapid Transit (ART), the national importance of which is recognised in our National Planning Framework and second Strategic Transport Projects Review.

“ART will provide an attractive and transformative public transport offer to people in the North East, supporting the wider investment that the Scottish Government is making in the area. Investing in our public transport and infrastructure is crucial to achieving our world leading commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030. I look forward to seeing similar transformational investment right across the country through our Bus Partnership Fund.”