14/12/2010 - HITRANS Christmas Newsletter
Catch the news- our latest update following the HITRANS Board meeting in Nairn on 3 December 2010.
JET Bus - Just the Ticket
Stagecoach and HITRANS were delighted to scoop the award for Best Bus Service at the 2010 Scottish Transport Awards. The high quality JET buses, with leather seats, real time information and an effective timetable, serve Inverness - Inverness Airport - Elgin and have seen impressive passenger growth since 2007. Funding for the service was secured by HITRANS through the Scottish Government’s Bus Route Development Grant Scheme.
Moray Task Force
£10,000 was approved to support the Moray Task Force in making the case for investment in the transport network that serves Moray to help provide economic stimulus should the RAF presence be reduced as a result of the Strategic Defence Review.
Network Rail Route Utilisation Strategy
Network Rail presented the draft Scotland RUS Generation Two. This will look at a 30 year planning horizon building on forecasts developed by Network Rail and will help inform future rail spending in Scotland. HITRANS will be submitting a response by 13 January 2011.
Freight Grant Cuts
HITRANS is concerned about the impact of the planned cut from £10.3m to £2.9m in Freight Mode-Shift Grants announced in the recent Draft Scottish Budget. Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) has been used to fund a number of Highlands and Islands schemes including the Tesco rail operation to Inverness taking 20 lorries per day each way off the A9, oil to Fort William and Lairg, and the current Caledonian Canal timber trial.
£20,000 has been allocated to help the five local authorities jointly purchase a new database for the production of public transport timetable information and to supply public transport service information to the national Traveline service. This database will help our local authority partners improve the quality, consistency and standard of information displayed at locations such as bus stops.
More Trains to Inverness
HITRANS welcomes the draft Scottish Budget proposal an increase in Highland Main Line services from 9 to 11 per day from Dec 2011 as the first part of the Room For Growth inspired STPR project.
TransTourism - Giant Puffin
The €1.4M sustainable transport in rural tourism areas Northern Periphery Programme project is now live. We have partners in Sweden, Iceland, Scotland, Eire and Northern Ireland. HITRANS is developing interactive public transport itinerary planning for visitors to the area under the banner of www.giantpuffin.com
RETB Switches and Crossings
A report has been completed on the feasibility of upgrading switches and crossings (points) on Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) signalled rural routes in order to reduce journey times. A technical solution to the control of S&C through motorising points has been found but the benefits are limited by adjacent level crossings, loop lengths and the position of Stop Boards.
Action on Health Transport
HITRANS are working on a number of actions engaging with the NHS, Scottish Ambulance Service and other key partners supporting them in delivering effective and efficient access to healthcare and developing the Health Boards’ action plans to deliver the proposals set out in the Government’s Healthcare Transport Framework.
Regional Transport Strategy Monitoring
Members expressed a concern regarding Audit Scotland’s interpretation of HITRANS role in supporting delivery of the RTS and how monitoring and evaluation indicators of the impact of improvements to the area’s transport networks should be considered, and suggested they should acknowledge our role of promoting, supporting and on occasion facilitating developments that other transport agencies are responsible for delivering. Audit Scotland agreed to consider how they would, in future Audit Reports, best represent the role of HITRANS as a Model 1 RTP, in supporting delivery of the Regional Transport Strategy.