Contract worth £650k awarded to firm to improve city bus travel

The Glasgow Bus Partnership wants Jacobs UK to help develop 'priority measures' aimed at tackling congestion on busy routes.

Glasgow bus travel: £650k contract set to be awarded to consultancy firm to improve service iStock

A contract worth almost £650,000 is set to be awarded to a consultancy firm for work on improving bus travel in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Bus Partnership, which includes eight councils and bus companies, wants Jacobs UK to help develop “priority measures” aimed at tackling congestion on busy routes.

Over a 12-month deal, the firm would provide support in producing a business case, which will include five bus corridors.

These corridors would be provided on Great Western Road, Maryhill Road, Paisley Road West, Pollokshaws Road and Dumbarton Road.

The city’s Labour group believes the Glasgow Bus Partnership is “not the answer” and wants bus services to be publicly-owned.

However, SNP councillor Ruairi Kelly said the partnership allows the council to access a £500m fund to “improve the bus sector”.

Formed in November 2020, the partnership includes eight City Region councils, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, bus operators under a new GlasGo alliance and passenger representative groups.

Glasgow City Council submits bids to Transport Scotland’s £500m Bus Partnership Fund on behalf of the partnership, with £3.6m secured for the City Region in the first round in June last year. The council itself received £1.6m of the allocation.

When the funding was announced, the council said business cases would be developed, with route-wide reviews which would consider bus lanes and gates, minimising on-street parking and reviewing the number of bus stops.

On Thursday, councillors will be asked to approve the 12-month contract with Jacobs, which was one of three companies to apply for the work.

A report stated: “The council requires technical support to prepare a business case in relation to bus priority measures in the Glasgow City Region.

“The analysis is required to identify priority projects to be taken forward with particular focus on creating a defined network of strategic cross city services.”

Labour group deputy leader Eva Murray said: “We are very clear: the Bus Improvement Partnership  is not the answer to Glasgow’s deep rooted problems.

“Even the administration admits it will only address “modest ambitions”. We have to have much higher ambition for our city.

“The partnership fails to bring our buses, or our wider transport network, into public control. Public control is the ambition that our city needs.”

However, Cllr Ruairi Kelly, SNP, said the city’s new transport strategy “lays the groundwork for vastly improved public transport in the city, including a commitment to explore various models for how buses are run”.

“That includes a publicly-owned bus operation, which would cost several hundreds million pounds and seven years to deliver.

“The Bus Service Improvement Strategy is a necessary first step towards other models and allows us to access our share of the £500m that the Scottish Government has pledged to improve the bus sector.”

He criticised Labour for failing to improve the public transport network “in all its decades in power in Glasgow and chairing SPT”.

“That’s why we’re playing catch-up with the likes of Manchester,” Cllr Kelly added. “And the financial cost of starting a publicly-owned bus operation would be considerably easier to address were we not saddled with the £500m-plus bill for Labour’s gender pay discrimination.”

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