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Developing bus routes in local areas

19/06/2006

People living in Argyll & Bute and Ayrshire will have access to improved local bus services, thanks to funding from the Executive.

Three routes will share nearly £1 million from the Bus Route Development Grant scheme, which aims to help councils and bus operators improve the quality and frequency of local bus services. The routes are:

  • Strathclyde Partnership for Transport - Stagecoach West: Enhancement to Cumnock local service - £352,000. Enhanced service will improve Cumnock local bus service by 50 per cent from 30 minute to 20 minute frequency and introduce evening and Sunday half-hourly service. Low floor fully accessible vehicles with on board CCTV will be used. Improvements to ticketing arrangements, bus shelters and raised kerbs will also be made.
  • Strathclyde Partnership for Transport - Stagecoach West : Enhancement of Saltcoats to Stevenston service - £438,000. Enhanced service will improve local bus service by 50 per cent during the day and evening and Sunday service from 40 minutes to 30 minute frequency. New low floor fully accessible vehicles with on board CCTV will be used. Improvements to bus shelters, raised kerbs, through ticketing and improved driver training will all be introduced. Will provide significantly improved access to employment opportunities in Irvine and Kilmarnock
  • Argyll & Bute Council - West Coast Motors: Ardrishaig to Lochgilphead service enhancement - £102,000. To enhance the present local bus service between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead to provide a half hourly frequency service, with low floor fully accessible vehicles, and serve the new mid-Argyll Integrated Care Centre which is due to open in June 2006.

Transport Minister Tavish Scott said:

"This devolved government is committed to improving access to public transport to help reduce congestion. Buses provide vital local transport links and access to services such as health, education and leisure facilities.

"In the last six years, passenger numbers on local bus services have increased by over 10 per cent. This new funding will see local services in Ayrshire and Argyll & Bute being developed, providing improved travel links, including to the new mid-Argyll Integrated Care Centre."

These further projects complete the second round of the Executive's Bus Route Development Grant scheme. The guidance for the scheme will now be revised to take account of the experience gained in the first two years of the scheme and authorities will be invited to bid for a further round of projects later in 2006.

The Bus Route Development Scheme is aimed at providing financial support for up to three years to aid the development of new and existing registered local bus services which have the potential for growth. The purpose of the grant is to improve access to public transport, encourage modal shift and reduce congestion. The scheme implements the commitment in a partnership for a better Scotland to pilot new kick-start plans to create better value bus services. Bids must be identified by local authorities in conjunction with bus operators.

In this funding round a further £0.9 million over three years has been awarded to three projects from two transport authorities. These awards complete the second round of the scheme which has so far awarded £16.8 million to 39 projects from 19 transport authorities.

The £5.7 million which remains to be allocated from the scheme will be awarded to new or revised proposals which authorities are being invited to bring forward following the issue of updated guidance which will take account of the experience gained in the first two years of the scheme.