Riverside bus scheme to take four years and cost £110m

01 Sep 2007

A bus network linking Glasgow city centre with developments along the Clyde corridor will cost £110m and take four years to complete, said Strathclyde Partnership for Transport yesterday.

The Clyde Fastlink project, which when finished will be the west of Scotland's biggest public transport scheme in a generation, will use tram-like buses on their own dedicated road network.

The system will connect the city centre with Glasgow Harbour developments, the Golden Jubilee Hospital and Clydebank on the north side of the river and the new Southern General Hospital, Braehead and Renfrew on the south.

The 15-mile roadway will be for the exclusive use of 25 flexibuses, which are essentially trams on wheels and can each carry 140 passengers.

The design leaves open the option of converting the route to a tramway in the future.

SPT formally adopted the plan in Glasgow yesterday and voted to open talks with the Scottish Executive in a bid to secure the £42m needed for the first phase of the development, to link the city centre with Glasgow's international financial district, the SECC, the transport museum currently under construction and Glasgow Harbour. It is keen to secure the funding before the Scottish parliamentary elections this coming May.

The second and third phases, which will bring the north section as far west as Clydebank and a southern section extending along the river as far as Renfrew, will cost £68m.

The planning for these later phases is in its infancy. SPT believes if the money is made available work will not begin until late-2009, and will not be complete until late 2011.

SPT predicts the Fastlink service will run up a deficit of £2m in its first three years, but over 25 years will have an operating surplus of £6m.  It expects revenues of £7m a year.

Craig Roberton, councillor for Yoker and chairman of Glasgow Clyde Regeneration, a company set up by the council to deliver regeneration projects on the waterfront, said: "Private and public sector investment in the Clyde corridor over the next 10 years is expected to reach £2.8bn.

"These developments will place greater pressure on our roads and transport services. Clyde Fastlink will make a real difference … by reducing the number of cars on the road and air pollution."

George Vincent, a senior project manager with the land Services division of Glasgow City Council, warned that some of the proposed developments may not go ahead if a solution is not found to traffic congestion. He said: "We must understand the urgency of having a transport system to serve the new developments in the Clyde corridor … some may falter or fail if we don't."

A spokeswoman for the executive said: "SPT is due to submit its strategy, which will look at the needs of transport in Strathclyde area. We will be interested to see where the Clyde Fastlink fits in to this submission."

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

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