The Highland Council successfully secured phase 1 funding of £2.9 million from Transport Scotland for projects in the Inner Moray Firth and Lochaber.
The investment will take the form of a Bus Partnership Fund (BPF) for local authorities and the roll-out of infrastructure for the Trunk Road network, to prioritise high-occupancy vehicles, such as buses.
The fund will support the development, design and implementation of ambitious and transformational projects that afford significant priority to buses over other forms of motorised transport, improving the punctuality and reliability of bus services.
As part of the BPF, Jacobs have been commissioned by The Highland Council to undertake a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG)-based appraisal of bus-based options in and around Fort William.
Key aims and outcomes of the study will be to:
- Afford significant priority to buses over other forms of motorised transport;
- Improve the punctuality and reliability of bus services; and
- Aid in increasing bus patronage.
As part of the study, specific options will be identified and considered against the scheme’s objectives; any options that will clearly fail to meet the studies objectives, or solve any identified problems, will be discarded.
All remaining options will be further developed into a reasonable number of broadly defined alternative options or packages of options that will be further considered.
The study commenced in Autumn 2022 and is due for completion in Spring of 2023.
As part of this study, The Highland Council is asking people for their views on what they think could be done to help improve the bus network in Fort William.
Next week they are hosting a dedicated public session for people to share their ideas, and they will also be present with a stall at the wider Fort William 2040 event in Caol Community Centre.
At all sessions representatives from the Highland Council’s Bus Partnership Fund Team and Jacobs Consultants will be on hand to answer questions and explain more about work underway.
The first public drop-in information session takes place on Tuesday 1 November at the Charles Kennedy Building in Fort William from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
The following day, Wednesday 2 November, a similar session will take place in the Caol Community Centre from 3pm to 5pm and again from 7pm to 9pm as part of the wider Fort William 2040 event.
The Bus Partnership team will be one of 19 local groups and organisations taking part in the Fort William 2040 event, including HITRANS and Transport Scotland who will be welcoming feedback on transport issues, including active travel improvements.
Chair of the Lochaber Committee, Cllr Kate Willis said:
“One of the best ways for us to reduce our carbon footprint is to change how we make everyday journeys.
“The Bus Partnership fund is being used to provide some of the changes necessary to modernise the local transport network.
“It’s about cutting congestion and car usage by offering more reliable public travel choices that help to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.
“I know that having reliable local bus services is a priority for a lot of people living in and around Fort William.
“These drop in public events next week are a chance to come along to find out more and pass on ideas on further ways our transport links can be improved.
“I hope as many people as possible take up this invitation to come along.”
Further information on the FW2040 public drop-in event taking place on Caol Community Centre can be found by visiting https://www.highland.gov.uk/fw2040