The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Scotland said the government’s investment was “an investment in Scotland’s future” and would help people switch from the car to more sustainable bus travel.

CPT Scotland’s Director, Paul White, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to invest in improved infrastructure for buses. Congestion is the biggest issue holding back buses in our communities. Reducing journey times will make buses more attractive for customers, reduce the number of cars on our roads, improve local air quality and free up resources to deliver improved bus networks and better value fares.

HeraldScotland:

Earlier today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Lothian Buses Deopt in Edinburgh

"Every £1 invested in bus priority can generate up to eight times that amount in wider economic, social and environmental benefits. So, investment in buses is an investment in Scotland's future. As such, it is fantastic to see buses at the heart of the Scottish Government agenda.

"We are committed to working in partnership with local authorities to deliver an attractive, modern, green bus network for Scotland, and we look forward to helping maximise the impact of this fund." 

Worsening road congestion in Scotland is increasing bus journey times by 10% every decade, according to research published by Greener Journey, as well as pushing up the cost of bus travel. 

Scottish bus operators have invested over £250million in new, greener vehicles in the past five years, but rely on local authorities to manage the road network. 

HeraldScotland:

Buses and coaches are responsible for only 5% of poor air quality in towns and cities, with around 50% attributed to cars. Moreover, pollution from all traffic is four times worse in congestion compared with free-flowing traffic.

Ministers announced the new fund as part of their Programme for Government in the context of the recent declaration of a climate change emergency. Buses - the most used form of public transport and a key contributor to sustainable and active travel – have been identified as a focus for investment given the sectors ability to help deliver delivering the government’s environmental policy objectives.

CPT Scotland has long advocated a greater focus on buses, highlighting that modern buses are cleaner than even the latest diesel cars, while also having up to 20 times the capacity.  One bus can replace up to 75 cars on the road, making better use of road space and significantly lowering transport related emissions.

Recent research has also highlighted that buses are essential to supporting economic growth, connecting communities, tacking social isolation, and improving local air quality.

Paul White added: “Bus operators have demonstrated a commitment to invest in better buses for customers and communities. If there is political will among local authorities to work in partnership with bus companies and match that commitment it will be a win-win for the country.”

Richard Hall, Managing Director, Lothian: “Lothian welcomes today’s news from the First Minister announcing significant government funding to improve infrastructure for buses.

“As an industry we have always demonstrated that bus travel creates modal shift and encourages active travel journeys whilst delivering long term health, environmental and economic benefits.

“However the impacts of ever increasing congestion must now be dealt with to ensure that bus can deliver against this positive announcement today from Scottish Government. This will give the opportunity of additional investment to enhance measures already being implemented by operators to encourage active travel and modal shift. 

“We look forward to working on proposals with both National and Local Government to address the impacts of ever increasing congestion and further speed up journey times to enhance the public transport offering for customers across our capital city and surrounding areas.”

For more information please visit www.cpt-uk.org

HeraldScotland:

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) is the trade association for the bus and coach industries. Its members in Scotland run over 90% of the nation’s bus network.

Buses account for three quarters of all public transport trips. There were 388 million journeys made by bus in Scotland last year.

The economic, social and environmental return for each £1 spent on bus priority infrastructure range from £2.00 to £3.80 for revenue expenditure and £4.20 and £8.10 for capital expenditure.

A 10% improvement in bus service connectivity is associated with a 3.6% reduction in social deprivation.

Between 18% and 23% of car users could be encouraged to switch to buses if buses were quicker and more reliable

NOx emissions are more than halved by increasing average speeds from 6 kmph to just 8 kmph