SPT’s Chief Executive Gordon Maclennan has welcomed today’s announcement from the Scottish Government that it will contribute £40million to Fastlink, a bus rapid transit scheme for Glasgow.
The ultra-modern bus operation will link the city centre with the Commonwealth Games area at the SECC and the new Southern General Hospital.
It will also connect with the city’s key interchanges at Central Station, Queen Street Station and Buchanan Bus Station and potentially with the Subway.
SPT’s Chief Executive Gordon Maclennan said: “We are delighted with the funding news. SPT’s enhanced Fastlink business case, which was submitted to the government earlier this year, showed that the improved network would boost the number of people using public transport, cut congestion and improve bus journey times by up to 20%.
“We know we can make a real difference with simple measures, for example dedicated controlled bus corridors which will vastly improve access to the city centre. Direct links from Glasgow’s existing bus and rail hubs to the new South Glasgow Hospital and the SECC – a key Commonwealth Games site – will make public transport a credible and attractive alternative to the car.
“This new ‘Fastlink Standard’ can also be mirrored across Strathclyde with other quality bus corridors running outwards and onwards to neighbouring councils in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.”
Fastlink-branded buses will also have smartcard technology as standard with the intention of linking up with the planned Glasgow Subway smartcard technology, bringing seamless multi-modal travel one step closer for passengers.
Other improvements will see real time passenger information installed at bus stops and stances and number plate recognition CCTV brought in to deter drivers of other vehicles taking advantage of bus-only routes.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, Nicola Sturgeon, today confirmed the government’s funding contribution.
She said: “Fastlink will make a real difference to the quality of public transport links in the area as well as provide real economic development opportunities for the many communities along the route.
“It will also provide much better access to the healthcare services at the new South Glasgow Hospital Campus site, and provide another vital transport option for the Commonwealth Games.
“Having received the final business case from SPT and subject to continued reassurance on SPT’s work as it develops during the detailed planning and design of the project, our contribution gives the green light to this important public transport initiative.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “I have long talked about how important this project is to the city’s transport infrastructure and we’ve been demanding that Ministers commit to it.
“So I am delighted that the Scottish Government has finally announced that we’re to get the money we have been asking about for at least five years.
“Fastlink will make a real difference to the the city’s plans for increasing the number of people attending conferences and entertainment events at the SECC.
“It will also make a huge difference for people who need to get to the Southern General Hospital.”
He added: “Ministers were queuing up to promise Fastlink to Glasgow when they scrapped the Airport Rail Link two years ago.
“They then made repeated pledges that we’d receive the money, most recently in the election campaign for the Scottish Parliament.
“The original scheme has now had planning permission for five years and in all that time, we’ve been awaiting a funding decision.
“In the meantime, Glasgow City Council has been working on delivering key parts of the network – the segregated lanes at the Broomielaw and dedicated capacity on the Clyde Arc.”
SPT is project sponsor of Fastlink with Glasgow City Council acting as Project Manager. The project is being developed in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and West Dunbartonshire Council.