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28/02/2014 - East Inverness Bus Investment Fund Project

Transport Minister Keith Brown will be in Inverness today (28 February) to launch the £2.7 million East Inverness Bus Improvement Corridor Project.

The project, which will be delivered in partnership by HITRANS, The Highland Council and Stagecoach North Scotland, was one of thirteen bus projects in Scotland to receive grants under the first round of Transport Scotland’s Bus Investment Fund (BIF).
The BIF was set up to encourage partnership working to help improve bus services, standards and infrastructure for communities across Scotland.
The project will see major investment into local bus services including:  15 new efficient vehicles operating on the busiest bus routes in the city; improved bus timetable and service information at stops and in real time at the busiest locations; new bus shelters; and a series of bus priority measures which will form the basis of a Quality Partnership between the partners over the next 3 years.
The launch will take place at the site of the new Inverness Campus which is one of the key destinations which will benefit from the improved bus services and infrastructure. The improvements will also improve public transport links to the city centre, Raigmore Hospital and the Inverness Retail Park. 
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “The East Inverness Bus Investment Fund Project is a good example of the sort of partnership working which I would like to encourage across Scotland.
“I am looking forward to seeing this project develop over the next three years and improve the standards of local transport in the area.
“I was impressed by the level of interest in the 2013 Bus Investment Fund and I am looking forward to seeing the launch of the next round later this year.”
Ranald Robertson, Partnership Director of HITRANS, added:  “HITRANS are delighted that the £2.7million application for Inverness has been successful. The project will see major investment into local bus services that will help form a Quality Partnership between HITRANS, Highland Council and Stagecoach. This will lead to a visible improvement in the level of public transport on offer in the city over the upcoming months.”
Councillor Graham Phillips, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee welcomed the new project, saying: “This project will provide a very welcome enhancement to the quality of bus services in a growing part of the city. By providing new vehicles and bus priority measures, I am confident that it will encourage people to use buses instead of their cars and contribute to reducing congestion. It is particularly important that it will serve the new Inverness Campus from its opening.”
Steve Walker Managing Director Stagecoach North Scotland said: "Stagecoach North Scotland welcomes the commitment and investment to improve the infrastructure and the public transport users’ experiences of bus travel into the Highland capital. The measures proposed by Highland Council and HITRANS in this bid, will compliment current investment in vehicles and the high-frequency services in operation on these corridors. This partnership will help deliver the modal shift towards greater use of public transport and will lead to improved benefits for the air quality around the city."
Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE Project Director for the Inverness Campus, said: “HIE is developing Inverness Campus as a world-class location, home to business, academic and community activity. Good transport links are a vital part of ensuring that the Campus is easily accessible for the researchers, business people, students and members of the public who will want easy access to all its facilities.”
-ends-
Notes to editors:
East Inverness Bus Improvement Project Background
On 30 December2013, Transport Scotland confirmed that HITRANS, The Highland Council and Stagecoach North Scotland’s joint application for an East Inverness Bus Improvement Corridor had been successful in securing funding from the Scottish Government’s Bus Investment Fund. It was one of 13 successful applications out of an original 45 which will benefit from a share of £4.2 million over the next 3 years.
The £2.7 million East Inverness project (including £700K from the Bus Investment fund and also match funding contributions from HITRANS and The Highland Council as well as a £1.7 million investment by Stagecoach in over 15 new vehicles operating on their service numbers 3 and 5) will make the fleet of vehicles operating in Inverness among the youngest of any city in Scotland.
The project will improve bus service provision from residential areas in Inverness such as Merkinch, Hilton, Smithton and Culloden to key destinations like the city centre, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness Retail and Business Park and the new Inverness Campus.
In addition to Stagecoach North Scotland’s investment on its busiest city services, the public funding has been allocated to a mixture of on-street and supporting infrastructure:
                 180+ new branded bus stop poles and information displays stops – incorporating real-time displays at some key stops and Near Field Communication (NFC) codes elsewhere so passengers can access real-time info on their smart phones.
                 15+ bus shelters including improved facilities at the busiest stops, including Falcon Square and the Tesco Retail Park.
                 Investment in real-time technology and traffic signals at key junctions to enable delivery of intelligent bus priority on Millburn Road and several other key junctions in the city centre and in East Inverness.
                 There is also an allocation towards other elements like WiFi at key interchanges, innovative marketing, monitoring of the investment and a commitment to develop a Quality Bus Partnership.
For further information please contact: Alison MacNeill, Senior Public Relations Officer,The Highland Council, Public Relations Officer, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX tel: 01463 702020 mob: 07776 481 267 e-mail: alison.macneill@highland.gov.uk

 

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