Two agreements aimed at making improvements to bus services in the North-east will be signed today [Thursday 15 March].
The members of the existing Quality Partnership Agreement, which includes Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Nestrans, Stagecoach Bluebird and First Aberdeen, have agreed to update the Quality Partnership Agreement which was last signed in 2005.
This refreshed agreement reinforces the commitment of all five partners to working together to achieve improvements for bus passengers in the North East.
A key element of the agreement is an updated set of standards and targets which will be monitored on an annual basis to assess progress towards achieving the overall objectives of the Quality Partnership and the overarching target to increase bus patronage by at least 10% over the period 2008/9 to 2014/15.
A key element of the Quality Partnership Agreement is to improve the punctuality and reliability of bus services in the North-east. In order to work towards achieving this, the partners are also signing up to a Bus Punctuality Improvement Partnership (BPIP).
This is the first BPIP agreement in the North-east and is a voluntary agreement between the five Quality Partnership partners to achieve improvements in and maintain consistency of punctuality and bus journey times in the area.
It will set a positive and proactive framework for setting improvement targets, identifying factors that impact on bus punctuality and reliability and targeting actions to overcome these all set within an appropriate monitoring regime.
Overall, the BPIP aims to increase the proportion of buses arriving and departing from bus stops on time to over 95% of buses and to reduce the proportion of journeys not operated, within the operators’ control, to 0.5% of journeys.
These documents will set the framework under which to achieve improvements.
Speaking on behalf of the partners, Nestrans chairman Kevin Stewart said: “Nestrans, the councils and bus operators share a vision where buses across the North-east are a viable, reliable and quality option.
“By working together, we believe we can ensure that passengers benefit and help to contribute to increasing numbers, making bus travel a regular travel choice.”
The partners have identified the Buchan and King Street corridor as the first corridor for action. It is recognised that there are issues with punctuality and reliability of bus services across the region and it is intended that this will be the first in a series of corridors to be tackled through the BPIP agreement.
The Buchan and King Street corridor extends from Fraserburgh and Peterhead in the North down the A90 into the city via Bridge of Don, King Street, Market Street and ends at the bus station. A full audit of the route has been carried out and a task group is working to identify actions for improvements and develop a robust method for monitoring current and future levels of punctuality and reliability.
The Quality Partnership Agreement can be viewed here: