£450,000 to expand buses still in the pipeline

22 Aug 2007

Evening Times

TRANSPORT chiefs have put up £450,000 to look at expanding futuristic buses along the banks of the Clyde - even though the planned service is running a year late.

Government ministers are also months away from deciding whether to give the green light to Glasgow's ambitious Clyde Fastlink scheme.

But Strathclyde Partnership for Transport wants a study into running the tram-style buses from the city to Braehead shopping centre and Clydebank.

SPT has agreed to give £450,000 to Glasgow City Council to help pay for a feasibility report into extending the Clyde Fastlink service beyond the city's boundary.

The decision comes even though the planned introduction of the high-speed service is a year behind schedule and no government approval has been given.

Phase one of the scheme, to link the city centre with Glasgow Harbour, was due to be completed by late this year - at a cost of £42million - but it will now be the end of 2008.

Glasgow council chiefs will manage the "trams on tyres" system, with dedicated lanes along the riverfront.

Ruth Simpson, roads spokeswoman for the city council, said: "Fastlink would make a major contribution to the regeneration of the Clyde corridor.

"We are pleased SPT has agreed funding to support the project's development. We are in talks with the Executive over its initial approval."

Under phase two, the high-speed buses would service the new media village at Pacific Quay and the Southern General Hospital, with stops at Braehead and Renfrew.

Phase three would then see the system stretching beyond Rothesay Dock to Clydebank College and the Golden Jubilee Hospital.

It's believed the entire scheme would cost £110m.

Government money is needed to get the project off the drawing board and ministers need to give approval.

The Executive was asked at the start of the year for the go-ahead but it could be next year before the SNP-led administration makes its decision.

An Executive spokeswoman said talks were continuing.

SPT chairman Alistair Watson said: "We would like to get the go-ahead as quickly as possible.

"We are very keen to see it progress, which is why SPT is putting £450,000 into a pot for phases two and three, while awaiting approval for phase one."


Reproduced with the permission of the Evening Times (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • Artist's impression of Fastlink at Broomielaw by Glasgow City Council