More wonderful news emerged this week that followed on from the great CPT bus strategy announced a couple of days ago. In essence the Scottish government has agreed to pump over 500 million pounds into bus priority measures. In what they describe as a “step change in investment”to tackle the twin evils of congestion and toxic emissions, in order to rectify the negative impact on services and patronage levels.
Equally important in my view is the fact that they are going to address the problem of allocating road space to high occupancy vehicles, interestingly this will also extend to parts of the motorway network around Glasgow. The plans were revealed in a policy document entitled ‘Protecting Scotland’s Future”. In the report there is at last recognition that the vast majority of public transport trips are indeed taken by bus. The report also embraces the idea of having a world leading zero -emission fleet of buses, although it does recognise that to achieve this will require what they describe as ‘creative action”
To achieve these lofty but very worthy ambitions it will work with the Scottish National Investment bank, the bus sector and other potential investors to explore potential for new forms of ‘patient and innovative ‘ funding. This will accelerate the deployment of more zero emission buses across Scotland. The Bus and Coach industry trade body CPT ( Confederation of Passenger Transport ) has obviously welcomed the report. Paul White the Director of CPT for Scotland said that operators are committed to working in partnership with local authorities to deliver an attractive, modern, and green bus network for Scotland.
Of particular interest to myself is the fact that for every one pound spent on bus priority they can generate 8 times that amount in the wider economic, social and environmental benefits. Investment in buses is an investment in Scotlands future and it is truly fantastic to see investment in buses at the heart of the Scottish Governments future. For me this is fabulous news I have long since despaired at the absolute lack of interest by central Government at the potential and importance of the UK Bus industry and it’s key role in tackling congestion, air pollution, and stimulating the economic vibrancy of the communities that they serve. I only hope that Westminster and Cardiff follow suite. But hats off to the Scottish Government, and bus partners. After many years in the wilderness at last the humble bus has a chance to play a key role in the future of the nation.