Buses of the future will take passengers to see the past

TRANSPORT chiefs are ­expected to give the green light for Glasgow's first all-electric buses.

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Officials at Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) want to buy two "plug in" battery powered electric vehicles to operate between the city centre and the Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde.

The Riversider Service 100 is currently provided by buses which run on diesel, but SPT want to spend ­almost £500,000 on two revolutionary buses which will produce zero emissions.

Former SPT chairman and senior councillor Alistair Watson said: "The 100 Service route is important for Glasgow's local economy.

"Branding on these buses operating during Commonwealth Games year and Glasgow's Year of Green 2015 will also help to raise the profile of Sustainable Glasgow.

"The new buses will ­provide a high quality green service to this route and the new buses will ­interchange with other bus services, rail and subway, particularly in the city centre."

SPT members are ­expected to give the go-ahead at a meeting today, with the cleaner new generation vehicles likely to be introduced on to city streets in the run-up to Christmas.

The new buses each have the capacity to carry 31 passengers - four fewer than the current two vehicles - and are expected to continue the half hourly service between George Square and the Riverside Museum via the SECC.

SPT's assistant chief ­executive Eric Stewart said: "The service coverage, low daily mileage and city terrain are particularly well suited to zero emission electric vehicle operation."

The move comes a year after First Glasgow - the city's biggest bus operator - gave notice that it intended to scrap the service. The company said it was a loss maker as the number 100 service attracted too few passengers.

Glasgow City Council stepped in to save the route and currently pays SPT to manage the service with the support of government funding.

First Glasgow is contracted to provide the service until next month, when ­rival firm McGill's will then take over the contract which ends in October.

Council chiefs will ­continue to pay £88,400 ­towards the annual costs of £456,400, while the Scottish Government has agreed to give yearly funding of ­almost £300,000. SPT will have to pay a shortfall of £86,790 a year if the pilot project gets the green light.

SPT chairman Jim Coleman said: "This high quality offer is an ideal way to demonstrate how electric buses can be used effectively for public transport services across Strathclyde."

Transport Minister Keith Brown added: “As set out in our electric vehicle roadmap - Switched On Scotland  - we are committed to freeing Scotland’s towns and cities from the damaging effects of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles. Buses are a major contributor to emissions, so we are pleased to have been able to provide nearly £300,000 to this initiative, helping to cut these emissions and improve Glasgow’s air quality, by providing clean modern vehicles for the Riverside 100 Service.”

 

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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