More people are to be encouraged to use public transport in West Lothian as part of plans to reduce delays, develop more routes and reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.
The West Lothian Bus Alliance has received £225,750 from Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund (BPF) to improve bus travel in West Lothian, with the funds supporting a strategic assessment of 15 intervention areas in West Lothian.
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This aim is to make improvements to bus services, reduce delays and encourage more people to use buses, and develop more north-south connectivity in the county.
The strategy also aims to reduce the environmental impact of transport and improve air quality.
The Bus Alliance is chaired independently by Bus Users Scotland and includes representatives from West Lothian Council and SEStran, as well as bus operators Lothian Country, First Bus, Stage Coach, Scottish Citylink, E&M Horsburgh, SD Travel and Prentice Westwood .
Greig MacKay, Director of Bus Users Scotland and Chairman of the West Lothian Bus Alliance, said: “The West Lothian Bus Alliance demonstrates how a collaborative approach can bring real benefits to bus passengers.
“Through improved service reliability and faster travel times on key corridors identified by the alliance, it is hoped that these two measures will increase bus ridership and encourage modal shift to public transport. , while helping to achieve climate change targets for West Lothian Council.
West Lothian Development and Transport Executive Advisor Cathy Muldoon added: “We are delighted to be working as part of the West Lothian Bus Alliance to help improve public transport locally.
“With this support from Transport Scotland, we hope all partners working together can deliver real tangible benefits to West Lothian bus users.
“It has the potential to have a hugely positive impact in a variety of ways, such as opening up new employment and leisure opportunities and reducing our impact on the environment.”
The local bus system contributes to a number of outcomes by connecting communities to services and jobs.
Options for solving problems affecting bus transport could include: giving priority to buses; bus priority signalling; changes to bus stops; junction modification; and parking and other traffic control measures.
Nigel Serafini, Acting Chief Executive of Lothian, said: “We are delighted to partner with West Lothian Council in the successful tender for funding through Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund.
“As we seek to encourage the use of public transport as part of the Scottish Government’s wider environmental agenda, we hope that these infrastructure improvements and bus priority measures will further strengthen the ability of our Lothian Country operation to deliver a consistently reliable level of service for our customers.”
Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director of First Bus Scotland, said: “It is fantastic to have received Transport Scotland’s approval for so many of the work submitted. This is not only great news for us as an operator part of the West Lothian Bus Alliance, but also for bus customers.
“This funding will help us invest in measures to address congestion hotspots, improving travel times, reliability, punctuality and queuing infrastructure for customers across the region.
“The role of the bus has never been more important in the current climate as we aim to reduce emissions and congestion. These developments are a real vote of confidence in the role that the bus must play in encouraging the passage of the car to more sustainable modes of transport.