MORE bus lanes and gates should be rolled out across major cities to tackle congestion and speed up journeys for passengers, one of the industry's leading figures has said.

Fiona Kerr, the new managing director for First Bus in Scotland, said increasing traffic volumes in Glasgow had created more gridlock and slower journey times over the past decade despite the roll out of camera-enforced bus lanes and gates by the council since 2012.

Already eight in every 10 public transport journeys in Scotland are made by bus, including 30 per cent of all commuter journeys.

However, Ms Kerr, who is continuing as MD for First Glasgow and has also recently been appointed as the new chairwoman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Scotland, the umbrella body for the bus industry, said journey times had to be fast and reliable to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

"Things like congestion have a huge effect on our passengers and that's why bus priority measures are key, because services are becoming slower," she said.

"If buses are caught in the same congestion as cars, it can be quite difficult to encourage new customers to travel and of course it makes routes more expensive to operate because you're stuck in traffic for so long.

"In the last 10 years our average speeds in Glasgow have dropped by about two miles an hour, which is a lot of extra time on the bus each year, so we need more of those priority measures - like bus lanes which are being monitored and enforced, bus gates, and smart technology such as priority signalling [at traffic lights].

"Just making it easier for buses to flow through the city centre and in and out of the city, that would make a huge difference."

Aberdeen and Edinburgh city councils also fine motorists snapped using bus lanes during restricted hours, but the measure has angered some drivers and motoring organisations who believe it is used as a cash cow and that signage in some areas is poor.

Glasgow City Council earned £4 million from fixed penalty notices related to bus lanes and gates in 2014/15, up 22 per cent on the previous year's income of £3.3m.

Ms Kerr, originally from Paisley, also wants to attract more women to the bus industry.

The 37-year-old former chartered accountant, who began her career at PwC, said the male dominated picture "needs to change".

She said: "In our context in First Glasgow, 94 per cent of the workforce is male and I think that is pretty much replicated across the industry for any operator you look at.

"Historically it was seen, and I guess advertised, as a job more suitable to males, whether that was on the engineering side or the driving side or the scheduling side."

At CPT Scotland she is supported by Sandra Whitelaw, managing director of Whitelaws Coaches, as her vice-chairwoman - the first time the organisation has been headed up by two women at once.

"For me, the first thing is to acknowledge the problem, and then do something about it," said Ms Kerr. "I want women to look at our industry and think 'you know, there's fantastic opportunities for me there, here are some great things I can do within those businesses, this is a terrific job'.

"This is not just about drivers' jobs – this is about drivers, engineers, and all the support functions that come with it."

Ms Kerr, who will oversee First Bus operations in Aberdeen and Scotland East as well as Glasgow in her new role, said she would also like to see "much more equalisation" in the public subsidy for bus compared to rail.

At present, rail receives 37.2 times more support than bus – equivalent to £9.30 per rail passenger compared to 25 pence per bus passenger, excluding the concessionary travel reimbursement.

"It's not a feeling of inequality between bus and rail, it's a fact," said Ms Kerr.