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Gordon Maclennan talks to Glasgow businesses

SPT Chief Executive, Gordon Maclennan, was the latest speaker at the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce series ‘Glasgow Talks’.

The series, which is supported by Clydesdale Bank and the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, puts top business decision makers, leading politicians and key commentators in front of a business audience to outline key issues affecting their organisation.

The event welcomed more than 50 business people from a range of sectors interested in transport in and around Glasgow.

Gordon was interviewed by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Stuart Patrick, about what SPT does, its priorities and Gordon’s personal experience at the helm of the organisation.

This included a discussion of SPT’s role, which covers:

  • operating the Subway, supporting around 14 million customer journeys each year
  • developing park and ride sites to encourage people to leave their car behind and reduce city centre congestion
  • running Buchanan Bus Station, which provides a central departure point for more than 500,000 services per year, and a further three bus stations across the region that facilitate more than 680,000 departures.
  • working with local councils and operators to deliver bus improvements to make travelling by bus faster and more attractive to the many people who depend on those services and to minimise the number of vehicles in the city centre at any one time.

Mr Maclennan was keen to emphasise the work that SPT does across the region and the benefits of working over 12 Local Authority areas to create better connectivity and achieve economies of scale – delivering better value for the public.

He also highlighted that SPT is a key investor and advisor for projects beyond the services they deliver directly. SPT provides funding for cycling infrastructure, road enhancements and bus infrastructure upgrades – amongst other important transport improvement projects – each year through its capital programme.

Importantly, Gordon spoke about one of SPT’s core objectives to get people out of cars and on to public transport and how this could benefit Glasgow businesses by reducing congestion and improving air quality in the city centre.

He went on to discuss the on-going Subway Modernisation project and the new Bus Rapid Transit system Fastlink and how these will encourage more people on to public transport.

Bus was a main talking point, given that bus passengers spend an average of £54 per city centre trip and make up 29% of all city centre spending (source: Passenger Transport Executive Group).

Gordon highlighted SPT’s desire to drive forward improvement in bus standards and how through the use of Statutory Quality Partnerships and the implementation of SPT’s bus strategy this can be achieved.

When asked about his role as the Chief Executive of SPT, Gordon said a particularly proud moment for him was when efforts to persuade the Scottish Government to back the £288 million investment in Subway modernisation bore fruit. He said he believed that work will tie in with wider regeneration across Strathclyde and in turn make a significant contribution to growth in the local economy.

When asked how Gordon would like to see SPT develop in the future, he talked about the importance of continuous improvement and the need to continually review performance to make sure SPT stays ahead of trends and taking advantage of every new opportunity.

He spoke about building in time to review what the organisation is doing to ensure that they are making every action and every penny count.

During a short Q&A with attendees many were interested in the progress with smart ticketing. Gordon spoke of its huge success with more than 50,000 people using the Subway Smartcard. He also talked about SPT’s approach to adopting this technology and how SPT has entered into a partnership arrangement with the private sector to create a new company, Nevis technologies, to drive forward integrated smart ticketing across Scotland.

When asked about high speed rail, Gordon was open about how he believed it could make a huge contribution to Scotland’s economy and how, not being part of the wider high speed rail plan, could have major implications on Scotland’s ability to compete in the UK market.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and SPT received positive feedback following the event. SPT is committed to communicating and consulting on its plans for the future and events like Glasgow Talks present the ideal opportunity to do so.

Keep up to date on events SPT will be supporting by following our corporate twitter account @SPTCorporate.