£225,750 to improve public transport in West Lothian

The West Lothian Bus Alliance has been awarded £225,750 by Transport Scotland to improve bus travel in West Lothian.

By Kevin Quinn
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 9:47 am
West Lothian Council logo.

The funding from the Bus Partnership Fund (BPF) will support progressing a strategic business case appraisal for 15 intervention areas in West Lothian.

This aims to deliver key improvements to bus services in West Lothian, such as: reduce delays; encourage more people to use bus travel; reduce environmental impact; improve air quality; and develop more North-South connectivity within the West Lothian area.

The West Lothian Bus Alliance is independently chaired 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.

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Greig MacKay, director of Bus Users Scotland and chairman of the West Lothian Bus Alliance said: “The Alliance demonstrates how effectively, a collaborative approach can lock in real benefits for bus passengers. With improved reliability of services and quicker journey times across the key corridors that the alliance has identified.

"It is hoped that both of these two measures will increase bus patronage and encourage modal shift onto public transport, as well as helping tackling climate change targets for West Lothian Council.”

West Lothian’s Executive councillor for development and transport Cathy Muldoon said: “We are delighted to work as part of the West Lothian Bus Alliance to help improve public transport locally.”

She added: “With this support from Transport Scotland, we hope that all the partners working together can deliver real tangible benefits for West Lothian bus users.

“It has potential to have a hugely positive impact in a wide range of ways, for example opening up new job and leisure opportunities and reducing our environmental impact.”

The local bus network contributes to a number of outcomes by connecting communities with services and employment.

Options for addressing issues affecting bus transport could include: giving buses priority; bus priority signaling; bus stop modifications; junction modification; and parking and other traffic control measures.

Nigel Serafini, interim managing director for Lothian said: “We are delighted to be partnering West Lothian Council in the successful bid for funding through Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund.

“As we look to encourage the use of public transport as part of Scottish Government’s wider environmental agenda, we hope these infrastructure improvements and bus priority measures will further enhance the capability of our Lothian Country operation in the provision of a consistently reliable standard of service for our customers.”

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Bus Scotland, said: “It is fantastic to have received approval from Transport Scotland on so many of the interventions that were submitted. This is not only great news for us as an operator as part of the West Lothian Bus Alliance, but also for bus customers.

“This funding will help us to invest in measures to combat congestion hotspots, in turn improving journey times, reliability, punctuality and waiting infrastructure for customers across the region.

“The role of the bus has never been more important in the current climate as we target reduced emissions and congestion. These developments are a real vote of confidence in the part that bus has to play in encouraging modal shift away from car to more sustainable forms of transport.”