The Glasgow Bus Partnership Steering Group (GBP), which was established in November 2018, has brought together Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Transport Scotland, and the city's bus operators in one forum to address the challenges currently facing the bus industry.
As it has been recognised that bus trips don't just start and stop at the city boundary the group has been expanded to cover the Glasgow City Region. Given the expanded remit, in November 2020, Joan Aitken (the former Traffic Commissioner for Scotland) has been appointed to chair the group.
Working in partnership, the main issues the GBP will be aiming to overcome, which in turn will go a long way in addressing the primary concerns of citizens, are:
Tackling the issues above will have positive impacts on the affordability and accessibility of the bus network, and will assist with creating the conditions that will increase bus patronage which is a key objective of the Glasgow Bus Partnership. A faster, cheaper, and better connected bus network will benefit all of Glasgow's citizens and the travelling public in adjacent local authorities.
Joan Aitken OBE was Traffic Commissioner for Scotland from 2003-2019. In that role she was responsible for licensing and regulating the bus and road haulage industries in Scotland and the conduct of professional bus, coach and HGV drivers. That included setting maintenance standards for vehicles, punctuality standards for local bus services and ensuring road and passenger safety. As Traffic Commissioner she made the first Traffic Regulation Condition implementing a Low Emission Zone for Glasgow bringing bus operators and the city working together to improve the environment in which we live. She is a bus user and knows what a difference a good bus journey makes. Thus she took on the role of Independent Chair determined to put the bus passengers well up the agenda of those shaping the city. The bus operators know of her passion for bus travel and that she will want to get the best out of their industry. She also cycles.
As part of its response to the climate emergency, the Scottish Government is committed to providing a long-term investment of £500m to deliver targeted bus priority measures on local and trunk roads. This is intended to reduce the negative impacts of congestion on bus services and address the decline in bus patronage. The investment takes the form of the Bus Partnership Fund, together with the roll-out of infrastructure for the trunk road network.
The Bus Partnership Fund will complement the powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, enabling local authorities to work in partnership with bus operators, to develop and deliver ambitious schemes that incorporate bus priority measures. The Fund will focus on the evidence of how bus services will be improved by addressing congestion, however, the partnership approach is also expected to leverage other bus service improvements to help tackle the climate emergency, reduce private car use and increase bus patronage.
The Glasgow Bus Partnership will be responsible for the Glasgow City Region's bid to the fund, with Glasgow City Council acting as lead local authority.
If you need to contact someone about Glasgow's Bus Partnership please email ConnectingCommunities@glasgow.gov.uk