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New contract award safeguards bus link

Friday’s meeting of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport’s (SPT) Operations Committee agreed to continue subsidising the bus route to Strathclyde Business Park.

A contract for service 299, Bellshill station to Strathclyde Business Park, will be awarded to Irvine’s Coaches. The contract, worth £12,225, covers the period 29 November 2010 to 15 July 2011.

This service is jointly funded by SPT and HF Developments of Strathclyde Business Park, with SPT’s 75% share amounting to £9,169. The service will operate at peak times from Monday to Friday, in line with the existing timetable.

SPT Vice Chair and member for North Lanarkshire, Councillor David Fagan, welcomed the new contract award saying: “By working closely with the business park owners, I’m pleased we’re able to safeguard the service 299 in the short term. Their 25% contribution to the contract cost is welcome and makes a difference at a time when budgets are under constant pressure.

“Commercial bus operators are looking long and hard at route profitability. When commercial services are withdrawn, SPT faces continuing demands for more route subsidies. We don’t see the situation improving in the foreseeable future.”

SPT subsidises dozens of local bus services across Strathclyde which are vital to communities but not provided by private operators. Some people would be cut off from public transport altogether if SPT was unable to fund gaps in service provision.

Timetable details are available from Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 and at www.travelinescotland.com.