SPT Interchange Issue 9, published July 2005.

Front page headline: Start of a new era for East Kilbride.

The transformation of East Kilbride bus station into a modern, passenger friendly facility is now complete. To mark the occasion, Andy Kerr, local MSP and Minister for Health & Community, led the opening celebrations on 3 June 2005.

It was an ambitious project to redevelop the town's ageing bus station and keep it operational during the construction phase, but the end result is a facility partners Scottish Retail Property Ltd Partnership, SPT and South Lanarkshire Council can be proud of.

The new look bus station provides almost double the capacity, with a spacious modern SPT Travel Centre and electronic passenger information systems at central points and at each bus stance. Improvements have been made to waiting areas to make them more comfortable and there is also a new Citizens Advice Bureau. Personal security issues have been addressed, with a high priority given to the introduction of CCTV cameras, 24 hour surveillance and improved lighting.

SPT Chair, Councillor Alistair Watson said: "Significant effort has gone into designing the bus station to meet the requirements of passengers in terms of up-to-the-minute information, personal security and social inclusion. Our overriding aim was to make East Kilbride an easy place to get to and an enjoyable place to visit, which is why we made comfort, convenience and advanced technology a priority."

David Smith, Regional Director (Scotland) of the Scottish Retail Property Ltd Partnership agreed, saying: "This collaboration illustrates the development team's philosophy of how transport is essential to the sustainability, success and future growth of any town centre."

The task of keeping East Kilbride bus station operational throughout the 18 month construction period fell largely on the shoulders of Michael Hughes and his team. Together they presided over the closure of the old SPT Travel Centre and the move to a temporary home in Princes Mall, before finally taking possession of the brand new Travel Centre last Christmas. While all that was going on, the layout of the bus station and the operational stances changed on three occasions and staff were working hard to minimise disruption to passengers.

This story is illustrated with two pictures. The main picture shows the modern-styled entrance to SPT's East Kilbride Travel Centre. A smaller picture shows Councillor Watson with Andy Kerr standing in front of the Dial-a-Bus service M12 vehicle, at the launch of the new bus station.

End of story.

Front page, secondary story headline: Interim Director General appointed.

SPTA has agreed to appoint Aidan ODonnell as Interim Director General of SPTE to replace Malcolm Reed.

Mr ODonnell is no stranger to the Executive, having held the position of non-executive director since 1996. He is a law and history graduate of Edinburgh University and spent some fifteen years in the rail industry, before becoming a lecturer in public and employment law. He has held teaching posts at Bell College, the University of Strathclyde and is currently Head of Division of Law at Glasgow Caledonian.

As Interim Director General, Mr ODonnell will lead the organisation through the transition to Regional Transport Partnership as outlined in the Transport (Scotland) Bill.

John Anderson, legal advisor to the SPTA is set to become a non-executive director of the Executive and will continue in his capacity as Secretary to the Authority.

End of story.

Page two, first story headline: One ticket joins up journeys on rail and Subway.

Improvements in ticketing technology mean that rail passengers travelling within the SPT area or from any UK surface rail station to a Subway station, can buy one ticket for the entire journey.

SPT joined forces with First ScotRail to offer this convenient, through ticketing opportunity without breaking the journey to buy an additional Subway ticket.

The software upgrade was funded by the Scottish Executive to the tune of £120,000 to make travel easier for the public and to support SPT's vision of creating an accessible, integrated transport network and ticket system across Strathclyde.
SPT Chair, Councillor Alistair Watson welcomed the initiative: "This is great news for rail travellers and follows the recent technological improvements that enabled certain ZoneCard tickets to be used on the Subway.

"The software upgrade would not have been possible without the help of First ScotRail and the Scottish Executive and is, I believe, tangible evidence of the kind of improvements that can be delivered when transport operators work together for the benefit of the public."

Mary Dickson, First ScotRail Managing Director added: "We know that the convenience of being able to buy one ticket to cover a train and subway journey will appeal to our passengers and we expect the new ticket to be very popular.

"We are committed to improving integration across different modes of transport and this latest development demonstrates how working in partnership can deliver real benefits for our passengers."

This story is illustrated with a photograph of Alistair Watson and Mary Dickson at the launch of the new ticket at Queen Street station. They are standing at the ticket barriers, posing with a novelty oversize rail ticket saying "from Glasgow Subway to Wick".

End of story.

Page two, second story headline: SPT looks forward to becoming Strathclyde Partnership Transport.

SPT is set to be the powerhouse driving the new Regional Transport Partnership for the west of Scotland, after the Transport (Scotland) Bill passed its third stage and was voted into law on Wednesday 29 June.

Speaking during the Bill's third stage reading, Transport Minister Tavish Scott MSP said: "The most significant transfer of staff that we expect from the bill - in the short term at least - will be from SPT to the new west of Scotland Transport Partnership. We made it clear during Stage 2 that staff relations are critical to the success of any organisation and that we should do everything possible to ensure that staff employment rights are protected during a period of change.

"We welcome the fact that SPT staff will continue to manage and monitor the rail franchise in the west of Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Ministers; continue to promote key projects such as the Larkhall to Milngavie railway, the Glasgow Airport Rail Link and the Glasgow Crossrail; continue to operate and develop the Glasgow Subway; continue to work with operators to provide better services, such as integrated ticketing and information; and continue to serve the people of the west of Scotland with dedication and professionalism."

Councillor Alistair Watson, Chair of SPT, said: "SPT has shown itself to be a progressive and forward thinking transport body, reflecting an organisation that has an impressive delivery record. We are now at an advanced stage in setting up the shadow Regional Transport Partnership as quickly as possible. We are firmly committed to partnership working with the Scottish Executive and the west of Scotland Local Authorities to go on delivering the best possible transport solutions for the west of Scotland.

"The new body is likely to be called Strathclyde Partnership Transport and will embody most of the responsibilities of SPT. This is a tribute to SPT's 700 staff and its 30-year record of delivery, which is recognised in Europe and beyond."

Councillor Watson has argued tirelessly for many months that the west of Scotland should continue to benefit from SPT's expertise. Placing SPT at the core of the new Transport Partnership is a recognition of the organisation's professionalism and the work it has done in delivering integrated public transport to the millions of people who live, work and visit the region.

End of story.

Page two, third story headline: Subway extension study given funding.

SPT has employed consultants to carry out a new study to look into the possibilities of extending Glasgow's Subway network. Authority members agreed to proceed with the £40,000 study on Friday 3 June. The study will look at all possible options for new tracks and stations and will then draw up preferred schemes. Possible improvements include extending the system to the east end and south side of Glasgow, and the Clyde Waterfront and Glasgow Harbour developments have also been suggested.

Director of Operations Douglas Ferguson said: "The study will identify exactly where the expansion will take place, but one of the obvious areas is the riverside which is undergoing a lot of development but does not have good public transport. The other prime scheme would be to extend the network out into the west end of the city."

New routes could operate in a network of unused tunnels which run under the city or be created by digging tunnels under city roads which would then be re-instated once work is complete. However, before any extension plans get underway, SPT hopes to replace the current rolling stock on the Subway.

Chair Alistair Watson said he expected the extension to cost in the region of £800million, and the replacement of rolling stock to cost around £50million.

End of story.

Page three story headline: "Second to none"

A message from SPTE's outgoing Director General, Malcolm Reed CBE

"As PTE colleagues and members of the PTA will know, I am stepping down as Director General of SPTE after more than eight years in order to take up the post of Chief Executive of the new National Transport Agency for Scotland.

"I first joined the, then, Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive in its early days in 1975, and it is with real sadness that I leave an organisation that has been the core of my professional career in public transport. I have seen enormous changes since I first started in GGPTE's planning department - the modernisation of the Subway; the reopening of the Argyle line; bus service deregulation and the disposal of the PTE's own bus undertaking; rail privatisation and franchising, and two local government reorganisations.

"Throughout this time, however, the existence of the PTE as a continuous legal entity with clearly-defined powers and responsibilities has given a firm basis for the planning and provision of public transport to meet the needs of our conurbation, and the expertise and commitment of PTE staff has put Strathclyde at the leading edge of transport thinking and delivery in Great Britain. In areas as diverse as school transport and rail service development our record is second to none, and our design and branding has won industry recognition for its effectiveness.

"It has been an enormous privilege to have been part of this team and to have led it for the past eight years. I have served longer than all but one of my predecessors as director general, and was reaching the point where it was probably appropriate to consider stepping down. However, the post at the new Agency is the only job in Scotland that could have attracted me away from SPTE. As colleagues are well aware, I have real concerns about the risks to public transport delivery in the west of Scotland that will arise from the new regional organisational structure that is being imposed by legislation. I am confident, though, that the professionalism of the PTE's staff will put them at the core of the new transport partnership, and that despite the uncertainties and changes of the months ahead, they will do their utmost to continue the ethos of service excellence that the PTE has established over more than 30 years.

"My best wishes to my successor, Aidan ODonnell, and all of the staff at the PTE, and my thanks to my colleagues for all their help and support. I have valued and enjoyed these past eight years more than I can say, and I look forward to continuing to work with the organisation in my new post."

Malcolm Reed

This story is illustrated with a photographic portrait of Doctor Reed.

End of story.

On page four, the main story concerns the Glasgow Airport Rail Link, with the headline: Viaduct crossing chosen for St James Park. It is illustrated with a photograph of a concrete viaduct standing above a green field.

SPT has listened to public views and has chosen a viaduct for the airport rail link to cross St James Park. The viaduct option was considered to be more visually appealing and would result in fewer playing fields being lost. Out of a total of 22 pitches, up to four will be lost with the viaduct option and this has to be good news for the footballers.

This option was included in the draft of the Bill, which was sent to the Scottish Parliament's Private Bill Unit on 10 June. SPT continues to work closely with Renfrewshire Council, owner of the playing fields, and users of the park such as football leagues to ensure that the effect on playing facilities is mitigated both during and after construction of the link.

Councillor Alistair Watson, SPT Chair said: "The public came out resoundingly in favour of a viaduct to cross St James Park and after careful consideration, we have decided that this is the option put forward in our draft Bill to the Scottish Parliament.
"We appreciate the strength of feeling surrounding St James Park and are working closely with partners to identify appropriate ways of mitigating against the effects of the rail link crossing the playing fields."

SPT's final Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill will be submitted in October and, following its introduction, objectors have 60 days to register their concerns. If the Bill is given the green light by MSPs, it is estimated the link could be operational by the end of 2008.

The main story includes a section entitled: "Consultation results". The text is as follows:

The extensive four month public consultation into proposals for the Glasgow Airport received a convincing 82% level of support from those who completed consultation questionnaires.

Nearly 3000 individuals and organisations were involved in the process both locally and nationally. The consultation questionnaire also revealed that 81% preferred the option of a viaduct to cross St James Park, rather than an embankment.

The consultation allowed SPT to have a close dialogue with a huge range of individuals, special interest and community groups as well as business and industry partners. And these discussions are set to continue throughout the Bill process.

There then follows a table containing the results at a glance.

First question: What do you think about the Glasgow Airport Rail Link? The responses are: Strong support, 69%; Support, 13%; Not sure, 2%; Against, 3%; Strongly against, 13%.

Second Question: Which option do you prefer for crossing St James Park? The responses are: Embankment, 19%; Viaduct, 81%.

The number of formal responses was 1698. The numbers attending public meetings were 284. The numbers visiting public exhibition stands were 917.

The main story also includes a section entitled: "Rail Link jobs boost".

Glasgow Airport Rail Link could deliver a jobs boost to Paisley town centre by 2012, according to research carried out by economic development consultant, Roger Tym and Partners.
The consultant estimates that the airport rail link would support the development of 135,000 sq ft of office accommodation and could bring between 675 and 700 jobs to Paisley town centre within the first four years of operation. These jobs are in addition to the 650 already predicted for Glasgow and Renfrewshire by the proposed rail link.

The study also estimated that £84m of economic benefits will be created for Renfrewshire alone during the airport rail link's first ten years of operation and underlines the important contribution it could make to Paisley's future prosperity.

End of story.

Page four, secondary story headline: Green light for Partick station

The multi-million pound project to rebuild Partick station has now received the green light after months of negotiations. The £9.7million project involves a complete overhaul of the facilities at the bus, rail and Subway interchange in Glasgow's west end. The station is Scotland's fifth busiest, and looks set to become busier still with the Clyde Waterfront Regeneration now underway.

The project, first proposed in 1996, has been held up by a series of land, legal, technical and financial issues. These include a decision about who would provide insurance cover for incidents such as construction accidents, which could close the rail network and incur performance penalty payments.

A deal resolving the outstanding issues was formally approved on 20 May 2005 following several weeks of intense top level negotiations between SPT, the Scottish Executive and Network Rail to get the project back on track.

The existing station will now be demolished and rebuilt, providing improved access to the platform and bus stances and state-of-the-art passenger information systems. Passengers will also see improved comfort and safety, and greatly improved access for travellers with mobility problems.

End of story.

Page five, first story headline: Kelvindale station ready soon.

Transport chiefs continue to take a keen interest in the £35million Larkhall-Milngavie project and paid a site visit to see, first hand, progress on Glasgow's new west end rail station.

SPT Director General, Malcolm Reed, and Chair, Councillor Alistair Watson, were accompanied on a visit to Kelvindale by First ScotRail Managing Director, Mary Dickson, and former Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Charles Gordon.

The work to extend the northern suburban line between Maryhill and Anniesland stations, together with the new Kelvindale station, is on target to become operational in September 2005. The finishing touches of planting and landscaping around the station are due start soon.

The story is illustrated with a photograph of the group on site, walking the track bed, approaching Dawsholm Viaduct from the south.

End of story.

Page five, second story headline: Record rail figures for SPT.

SPT's commitment to encouraging the travelling public on to public transport has reaped considerable rewards this year, as new rail patronage figures show a huge shift towards rail use. Figures show that 44.86million passengers were carried on SPT rail services during 2004/05, the highest recorded figure and an increase of 2.87million passengers on last year.

Cllr Alistair Watson, Chair of SPT said: "The Scottish Executive's own research shows that over the last 10 years over half of the growth in passenger numbers and revenue on the rail network is down to SPT initiatives like new stations, improved station facilities such as CCTV and lifts, new or refurbished trains, additional services and marketing initiatives.

"Last year we spent some £22 million on new trains to cut overcrowding. Towards the end of this year we will see the whole Larkhall - Milngavie line operational with four new stations and 71 extra services a day. We are working to deliver CrossRail and the Glasgow Airport rail Link. SPT delivers. These figures prove it."

End of story.

Page five, third story headline: last Class 170 Turbostar arrives.

SPT recently took delivery of its seventh and last Turbostar Class 170 unit, concluding the £22m new trains deal with Derby based manufacturer, Bombardier.

On hand to inspect the new train at the Eastfield Depot, before it went into service was SPT Chair, Councillor Alistair Watson.

If the record number of passengers using rail services each year is to be maintained and increased, it is essential to cut overcrowding and provide more capacity. All seven Class 170 units will be operating on SPT services out of Glasgow Queen Street station to ensure passengers enjoy more comfortable journeys.

The story is illustrated with a photograph of Councillor Watson, wearing a high-visibility vest, standing beside Class 170 Unit 478 on the test track at Eastfield Depot.

End of story.

Page five, fourth story headline: SPT'S SQUIRE regime goes national.

The Service QUality Incentive REgime (the first letters spell out the acronym SQUIRE) originally devised by SPT to monitor the service levels for rail passengers within the SPT network, is to be extended in stages across the entire Scottish rail network.

The Rail Franchise Agreement requires specific standards of passenger service quality at stations and on board trains to be maintained. SPT inspectors make checks at individual stations and on-train, to award performance points to First ScotRail on a four weekly cycle. The results form one of the reports submitted to the SPTA Operations Committee.

Performance levels achieved are measured against specified benchmark levels and can result in financial incentives where performance is excellent. Likewise, inspectors can penalise poor performance. The challenging regime standards cover 32 aspects of service, ranging from station clocks set to the correct time to train heating and ventilation. Where performance falls short of the benchmark level, action plans are required to put things right.

The current results provide useful snapshots on performance, but the full roll-out across Scotland will allow sufficient data to be gathered to assess national trends. SPT, working in partnership with First ScotRail, recognises that some elements of performance need long term solutions that cannot be delivered overnight. However, doing nothing is not an option and improving the quality of passenger service for rail travellers remains top priority.

End of story.

Page six feature headline: Remote control.

Sub headline: Remote rural areas are now served by high-tech bus technology in the West of Scotland.

Dial-a-Bus and Ring and Ride users in the west of Scotland are to benefit from brand new technology to improve the efficiency of their bus services.

A new computer system called Trapeze Pass uses leading edge mobile phone technology to allow the Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) operators to schedule a customer's journey while they are still talking to them on the phone. Previously bookings had to be made well in advance, and the bus drivers would work from a printout of their scheduled journeys for that day. This was not popular with users, as it didn't allow for any degree of spontaneity. For example, a driver's schedule is fixed in the morning, so if you have forgotten to buy milk, you would have to book today, and travel tomorrow.

Now all buses are going to be fitted with a Mobile Data Terminal. The drivers will use the terminal as their schedule planner, and will follow their schedule in the same way as before. The crucial difference is that the schedule can be updated at a moment's notice. So when a caller rings to inquire if they can be picked up that afternoon, the DRT operative can instantly check what the driver's schedule is for that afternoon and see if he has time for an extra journey. If he does, the DRT operative can then book that journey in through the Trapeze Pass system, meaning the schedule on the driver's terminal is adjusted accordingly. If the driver can't make the exact requirements of the caller, the system instantly provides a list of alternative times. This allows the DRT team to maximise the amount of people that can use the service in any given day.

The introduction of a new phone system has also helped to streamline the service. Previously the phone operators were assigned a specific rural region and used a software package which was specific to that region. Now all operators share one large database and calls are placed in a queue, and can be answered by any member of the team. This also maximises resources. In the past, if the DRT services in Lanark were especially busy one day, but the Carrick team was very quiet, the Carrick team would not have had the facilities to pitch in and help. Now all operators can deal with all calls, meaning they can respond more effectively to different demands from different areas.

Two further improvements are planned for the near future, to build upon the advantages offered by the Trapeze Pass technology. A journey-check facility is planned, which will allow DRT users to send a text to the DRT database, asking if their bus is running on time. The system uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, to pinpoint the location of the bus, calculate its journey time and text the user back to confirm it is running on time. This again helps users, as they will not have to wait around for their bus unnecessarily. Indeed, the system has such a degree of complexity that it can factor in details about a specific user. So if a DRT user lives at the top of a block of flats, and only ventures down once they see the bus arrive, the system can be programmed to take account of this delay, and add on a few extra minutes to the journey time.

Improvements are also planned to the information provision for DRT. Currently, travel information lines such as Traveline cannot take account of DRT services because they rely on private bookings. SPT's journey planner JESS (Journey Enquiry Support System), available through the SPT website, currently does include DRT services, but can only go as far as advising the user to ring the hotline to check availability. SPT plans to link the Trapeze Pass database to the JESS system, allowing JESS to advise users when the bus is available. Currently if a user enquires about getting from the city centre to a rural area the JESS system would advise taking a standard train or bus as far as possible, then it would suggest ringing the DRT unit to check availability from there onwards. Once JESS is connected to Trapeze Pass, it will know already when the buses are available, and will advise train or bus journeys which link up with that availability.

All these initiatives will vastly improve the reliability, user friendliness and overall quality and flexibility of the service. Not only do rural communities get the benefits of the scenery and tranquillity of the countryside, they get a bus service that comes to their front door, direct to their location of choice, it comes when they ask it to, and it's inexpensive. Far from the skeletal, bare minimum services that some rural areas have to cope with, in the west of Scotland, rural bus users are now enjoying one of the most pioneering, innovative and technologically advanced bus services in the country.

End of story.

Page seven, first story headline: 10th anniversary for Buchanan bus station.

23 February 2005 marked a special day for staff and bus operators based at Glasgow's Buchanan bus station, marking 10 years to the day since the new facilities were officially opened, following an extensive programme of renovation and expansion.

The ambitious project transformed Buchanan bus station into a modern, purpose built facility, conveniently located in the city centre and containing CCTV, electronic information monitors, tactile map and the REACT audio way-finding system to help visually impaired passengers. SPT won the Environmental Award for Buchanan bus station at the National 1995 Design Effectiveness Awards.

During a short ceremony to mark the occasion, SPT Chair, Councillor Alistair Watson said: "Buchanan bus station has gone from strength to strength during the last 10 years and now accounts for some 10 million public transport journeys each year, making it Scotland's busiest bus station.

"The biggest proportion of public transport journeys in west central Scotland are made by bus because of the flexibility and accessibility they offer. With greater choice of destinations and improved levels of comfort, more people should be persuaded to leave the car at home and get a bus instead."

In addition to their normal schedule, bus station staff have been busy with charity fund raising activities in aid of five chosen charities; The British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie, Children 1st Alzheimers Scotland and The Parkinsons Society. So far, the staff have raised over £1000.

This story is illustrated with a photograph of current Chair of Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority, Councillor Alistair Watson, and former Chairs, Councillor Eric Ross and Councillor Charles Gordon. They are standing on the concourse of the bus station, jointly cutting a special anniversary cake covered in white icing with the SPT logo in icing and marzipan and the bus station icon in blue icing.

End of story.

Page seven, second story headline: Improvements for rural Ring'n'Ride services.

Improved levels of public transport are just a phone call away for residents in the Clyde and Gryffe valleys, thanks to a planned extension of the local Ring'n'Ride services.

SPT has responded positively to the concerns of local people and with effect from 17 July 2005, is able to fund extensions to the operating hours of Ring'n'Ride services 800 and 965. This has been possible by working in partnership with the Councils' Education representatives and with agreeing to integrate services with the local school buses.

The extended services in Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire will be operated by Avondale Coaches using the latest low floor, fully wheelchair and pushchair accessible buses. Services will run from 0700 to 1800hrs Monday to Saturday and journeys can be booked by telephone in advance.

This story is illustrated with a photograph of South Lanarkshire Council Deputy Chair of the Education Committee, Patrick Morgan, and SPTA members for South Lanarkshire, Councillors Eileen Logan and Billy McCaig. They are pictured at Lanark Interchange with the new 800 service.

End of story.

Back page, first story headline: VIP day out for design winners.

SPT's annual design competition has attracted a record number of entries in its fourth year, as 350 budding young designers submitted artwork for the Playscheme Travel Pass competition.

The two winners were Jennah Al-Zuherri, aged 11, from Summerston Out of School Care, whose design was chosen for the Standard Playscheme Travel Pass, and Nicole Patterson, aged 10, from Barlanark After School Care, who submitted the winning design in the Freedom Pass category.

The girls received a VIP tour of SPT's Subway and Renfrew Ferry, and won the use of a bus for a day to take all their friends out during the summer holidays.

This story is illustrated with a photograph of the two winners, along with framed enlarged versions of their designs, on board the Renfrew-Yoker ferry.

End of story.

Back page, second story headline: New sergeant on the beat.

Sergeant Helen Wilson has been seconded from Strathclyde Police to SPT to reinforce the message that anti-social behaviour on public transport will not be tolerated in west central Scotland.

SPT, Strathclyde Police, local authorities and bus operators have joined forces to provide funding for this post in a continuing drive to stamp out vandalism and public disorder on buses. Sgt Wilson will act as a central point of contact for bus operators in highlighting and tackling problematic routes. Her base at Consort House means she will be readily accessible to all industry partners.

Crime and the fear of crime can be a deterrent to people using public transport and through this post, the message is loud and clear - SPT and partner organisations regard making travel on public transport safe and comfortable a top priority.

This story is illustrated with a photograph of Sergeant Wilson beside a bus stop in Saint Vincent Street, Glasgow.

End of story.

Back page, third story headline: Blooming Subway stations.

The Subway has gone green and that's official, following SPT's recent award for its colourful floral displays at south side stations.

The Incorporation of Gardeners of Glasgow holds an award scheme each year for businesses that enhance the environment with displays of plants and flowers outside their premises. This historic body is one of 14 Trade Guilds making up the Trades Guild of Glasgow and was instituted by Royal Charter in 1605.

Its annual award scheme "Let Glasgow Flourish" has been running for more than twenty years, and this year SPT won an award for the hanging baskets at Ibrox, Govan, West Street , Bridge Street and Shields Road Subway stations. These beautiful floral displays are thanks to an arrangement with Glasgow City Council Parks Department.

Commercial and Production Manager, Liz Parkes, received the framed certificate on behalf of SPT at the Trades Hall award presentation.

This story is illustrated with a cheerful photograph of bright, colourful flowers in hanging baskets outside the main entrance to West Street station.

End of story.

Back page: News in brief (four stories).

Boost for Kilmarnock study.

Plans to upgrade the line between Barrhead and Kilmarnock took a step forward recently as SPT sought additional funds to take forward proposals in a 2003 study. SPT Chair Alistair Watson recently presented the case for a half-hourly service to Kilmarnock to MSPs and was encouraged by their response to the presentation.

SPT has long been committed to enhancing the rail service between Kilmarnock and Glasgow, to meet the demands of the area's growing population. The project has been dogged by delays caused by the demise of the SRA and other rail industry changes outwith SPT's control.

The 2003 development study showed that the £23.3m scheme to build 2.75 miles of additional track between Dunlop and Stewarton, along with new platforms was technically viable.

End of story.

Royal visit for Gartcosh.

Gartcosh has been reconnected to the rail network for the first time since 1962, following the completion of brand new station facilities by a partnership between SPT, North Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enteprise Lanarkshire. The station received a Royal visit from Princess Anne just before completion on 24March, and was officially opened to the public on 9 May. The station is one of the first in Scotland to comply fully with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and also features CCTV cameras covering the access ramps, platforms and car park to ensure customer safety.

End of story.

Glasgow hosts STAR conference.

Over 130 top transport professionals gathered at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall on 26 April for the first annual Scottish Transport Applications and Research (STAR) conference to debate the challenging issues facing Scotland's transport future. Guest speakers came from across the UK, with prizes given for the best papers submitted.

End of story.

Arran bus changes.

In response to local demand, following consultations with user groups on the island, buses will run more frequently throughout the week and on Sundays on the following services:

322 (Brodick-The String-Blackwaterfoot).
323 (Brodick - Whiting Bay - Blackwaterfoot).
324 (Blackwaterfoot - Lochranza - Brodick) to connect with the extra ferry sailings of the summer timetable.

Better public transport access to the popular leisure facilities at Auchrannie Spa in Brodick will also be provided.

End of Issue 9.

Note: you can send feedback to Interchange, Public Relations and Marketing, S.P.T., Consort House, 12 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1HN.

Telephone: 0141 333 3282.

email: interchange@spt.co.uk