The North East of Scotland Bus Alliance has been successful in its bid for £12m from Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund.
The ambitious proposals have been developed with the vision to significantly transform public transport provision in the North-east. The success of the bid means that early work can begin on the development of an Aberdeen Rapid Transit system, as well as delivering significant bus priority in the city centre, and on key routes into the city.
Funding will be used to develop, the business cases and designs for city centre and radial corridor bus priority measures, and the Aberdeen Rapid Transit system.
The award will also support planned improvements at South College Street, a key City Centre Masterplan scheme which helps to unlock wider improvements for bus priority in the city centre. These changes will benefit many of the region’s bus services, as well as allowing for public realm measures to enhance the city centre as a destination.
The rapid transit system is set to revitalise public transport for the region, delivering a prioritised, high-frequency solution for travel. The project is an integral part of the new Regional Transport Strategy, Nestrans 2040, offering high-capacity, modern vehicles and supported by infrastructure to ensure efficient operation and competitive journey times.
It is hoped that initial bus priority measures in the city centre and on radial corridors could be in place within five years, improving bus journey times and reliability. The delivery of these early measures is key to improving public transport provision and the future success of an ART system, which will connect key routes across the region, beginning with journeys from park and ride sites into the city centre.
The Bus Partnership Fund is a £500m programme of investment in ambitious bus priority infrastructure and it is hoped that this will be the first in a series of bids as the projects progress through the business case development process.
Robert Andrew, chair of the North East Bus Alliance said: “All partners in the Alliance are delighted that Transport Scotland has seen the merits of our ambitious vision. This is the first step towards transforming bus services across the North-east, which will not only benefit residents but give environmental and economic benefits to the region. It will assist in the delivery of "quick wins" which will improve bus operations in the city centre, particularly around South College Street.”
Councillor Sandra Macdonald, chair of Nestrans and Aberdeen City Council’s transport spokesperson, said: “This is fantastic news. I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid to the Bus Partnership Fund. Our success in winning this bid reflects the quality of our application and congratulations should go to Aberdeen City Council and Nestrans’ officers, and to all involved in the work to complete the bid.
“The funding will allow for a step change in both our regional and city ambitions to significantly transform public transport provision in the North East. It will be a particular boost to developing the Aberdeen Rapid Transit system, as well as delivering significant bus priority in the city centre, and on key routes into the city.
“We look forward to further developing the various schemes and ultimately making a real difference to people’s lives by reducing the impacts of congestion and providing a fresh approach to public transport provision in the North-east.”
Councillor Peter Argyle, vice chair of Nestrans and chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee said, “I am absolutely delighted that the North East of Scotland Bus Alliance has been successful in its very robust bid for £12m which will help significantly transform our public transport network both within Aberdeen and across Aberdeenshire.
“I am particularly pleased that the funding will enable the development of the rapid transit system which will deliver faster, more reliable and more convenient transport options for both residents and visitors to the North-east of Scotland for many years to come.”