Bus work '˜incomplete' as Forth Road Bridge starts new role

Campaigners have accused ministers of failing to complete promised major improvements to speed up buses as the Forth Road Bridge is officially relaunched as a 'public transport corridor'.

Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 1:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 1:41 pm
The Forth Road Bridge is to be relaunched as a "public transport corridor". Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Taxis and low power motorcycles will join buses on the bridge tomorrow when the parallel Queensferry Crossing becomes a motorway.

However, Transform Scotland claimed linked measures to cut bus journey times into Edinburgh as part of the project were incomplete.

It said just three of 18 planned schemes had been finished, with the others not built or whose fate was unclear.

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They include bus lanes on the A8 and A90, and a park-and-ride site in Livingston.

Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said: “It’s obviously welcome that the Forth Road Bridge is being prioritised for walkers, cyclists and bus users.

“However, the bridge on its own doesn’t deliver a ‘public transport corridor’ as ministers claim.

“Bus journey times into Edinburgh won’t improve significantly until public transport priority is put in place at either end of the bridge and not just on the bridge itself.

“Unfortunately, most of the major commitments made by Transport Scotland towards public transport investment have not materialised.”

A spokesman for Stagecoach, the main operator using the bridge, said: “The investment delivered by Transport Scotland to date and retaining the Forth Road Bridge for use by public transport is welcome.

“It is important to build on that by investing further in wider bus priority and infrastructure measures, as well as tackling road congestion.

“This is vital if we are to deliver better end-to-end journeys for bus passengers and encourage more people to switch from cars.”

The Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents bus and coach operators, said: “Buses all too often lose any time saving when hit with congestion on the approach to Edinburgh.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We intend to publish an update to the strategy during 2018 to reflect the current status of each [project].

“This update is likely to indicate which have been delivered, which are to be considered further and those that are no longer to be taken forward.”