Up to £23.6 million to improve bus services
Up to £23.6 million from the Bus Partnership Fund (BPF) has been awarded to tackle the negative impact of congestion on bus services.
The Fund supports local authorities, in partnership with bus operators, to implement bus priority measures such as bus lanes, guided busways and traffic light prioritisation – making services quicker, more reliable and more attractive as an alternative to the car.
The eight partnerships awarded funding in the first round include 27 local authorities across Scotland. They are now expected to respond to the 100% funding with match in kind investment from partners - for example through ticketing or fare offers, parking restraint measures or investment in bus fleets – so that the impact of the investment is maximised to further improve the experience of bus users.
Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey said:
“I’m really pleased to announce the first awards from our Bus Partnership Fund as we work hard to secure Scotland’s green recovery from COVID-19.
“We continue to provide significant amounts of emergency funding to enable bus operators to continue to run services through the pandemic, but it’s equally important that we look to the future and the vital role investment of this kind will have in our response to the climate emergency.
“Each of the partnerships awarded funding are focused on delivering outcomes for bus users and the environment, and I now need them to step up and channel that ambition into matching our investment in kind, to place bus priority at the heart of our sustainable transport future and provide that positive alternative that will mean people use their cars less. Only then can we achieve our world-leading climate goals.”
Director for the Confederation of Passenger Transport in Scotland, Paul White said:
“It is fantastic to see the first awards from the Bus Partnership Fund being awarded. CPT operator members remain committed to working with local authorities to tackle congestion, improve services and provide a sustainable, reliable, accessible, and attractive public transport network.
“Fostering stronger partnerships between operator and local authorities, facilitated by the Bus Partnership Fund, will be central to meeting the objectives of the National Transport Strategy and government targets such as a 20% reduction in car kilometres by 2030. CPT looks forward to engaging with Transport Scotland to ensure the further rounds of the fund are delivered successfully and put to good use across Scotland.”
The 2020 Programme for Government reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing over £500m long-term investment to deliver targeted bus priority measures on local and trunk roads.
The Bus Partnership Fund will complement the new powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, enabling local transport authorities, in partnership with bus operators, to work together to develop and deliver ambitious bus priority schemes to tackle the negative impacts of congestion on bus services.
The Fund will be guided by the evidence on how bus services will be improved by addressing congestion, but we also expect the Fund to leverage other bus service improvements making bus a more attractive option to many which will in turn help tackle the climate emergency, reduce private car use and support modal shift.
This initial tranche of funding is for quick wins and appraisal work to support local transport authorities towards developing business cases which will detail how the investment will achieve strategic objectives; at both the national and local levels. The aim is that the BPF will fund projects which will make a real difference; supported by match in kind action and investment. Further funding will be released after scrutiny against the Fund criteria is satisfied.
Quick wins include plans to make permanent some of the temporary infrastructure brought forward through the Bus Priority Rapid Deployment Fund subject to due process.
The Fund is also open for a second round of bids, closing in October.