Representatives from First Aberdeen, Stagecoach Bluebird and the Scottish Government hail new bus gate impact

A million Aberdeen bus passengers experience better journeys thanks to new city centre bus priority

  • Almost 600,000 bus passengers a month are now experiencing better journeys.
  • Figures from First Aberdeen and Stagecoach show measurable benefits for bus passengers following the introduction of bus gates in August.
  • North East Bus Alliance meet with Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop to showcase Bus Partnership Fund work to date.

Almost 600,000 bus passengers a month are now experiencing better journeys because of the new bus priority routes in Aberdeen city centre.

Two months on from their introduction, new figures from First Aberdeen and Stagecoach show the bus gates are already delivering measurable benefits for bus passengers across the region. The priority works have been delivered by Aberdeen City Council, funded through the North East Bus Alliance bid to the Scottish Government’s Bus Partnership Fund (BPF).

Scottish Transport Minister, Fiona Hyslop, visited Aberdeen today (Tuesday, 24 October) to meet with the North East Bus Alliance. The bus alliance partners, which include Nestrans, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, First Aberdeen and Stagecoach Bluebird, took the opportunity to highlight to her the success of the new measures so far:

  • Almost 600,000 bus passengers a month across both First Bus and Stagecoach are benefitting from the bus priority measures.
  • Punctuality has improved, with First Bus seeing a 3% improvement and reaching 95% of their services using the new bus priority measures operating on time.
  • More Stagecoach services are also now running on time within the city centre, with an improvement to departures from Union Square Bus Station where many journeys to Aberdeenshire start and terminate. Services such as the popular 727 route to P&J Live and Aberdeen Airport, have also seen punctuality improve by up to 3% since the measures were introduced.
  • First Bus have since launched a special 50% off ticket offer to complement and support the priority measures and to encourage more people to use the bus and benefit from the improvements.
  • Both major bus operators are now gathering data on these improvement in order to support future enhancements to services such as faster journey times and potential increases to services frequencies.

By stopping buses being held up unnecessarily in city centre traffic, bus journey times can be quicker and more predictable. This will have a significant impact on the daily lives of bus commuters and thousands of bus passengers across the north east who make journeys into Aberdeen. With this increased efficiency, operators hope to enable additional services, improving overall service frequency and reliability.

Robert Andrew, chair of the North East Bus Alliance said, “Over a million  bus passengers have experienced real benefits since the new bus priority route was implemented two months ago, endorsing this first stage of our ambitions to regenerate and transform public transport provision in the North East.

“It is great to see that the city centre bus priority is already making an impact. Looking ahead, the delivery of these early measures is key to improving public transport provision and the future success of an Aberdeen Rapid Transit system, which will connect key destinations across the region.

“Our successful bids to the Bus Partnership Fund have been instrumental in enabling these works. I am delighted that we’ve been able welcome the transport minister and demonstrate the success so far. As an alliance, we are working closely with Transport Scotland to discuss future opportunities to maximise further investment, and improvements, through the BPF.”

Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop said: “I’m really pleased to see first-hand how the bus gates in Aberdeen City Centre are already delivering for the millions of bus passengers that travel through the city every year. I also welcome the wider work underway with the North East Bus Alliance to encourage more bus use, including the ongoing work on Aberdeen Rapid Transit (ART), the national importance of which is recognised in our National Planning Framework and second Strategic Transport Projects Review.

“ART will provide an attractive and transformative public transport offer to people in the North East, supporting the wider investment that the Scottish Government is making in the area.

“Investing in our public transport and infrastructure is crucial to achieving our world leading commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030. I look forward to seeing similar transformational investment right across the country through our Bus Partnership Fund.”

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

The North East Bus Alliance is a well-established partnership of public and private sector partners including; Nestrans, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils, First Aberdeen and Stagecoach Bluebird.  It is independently Chaired and is also attended by Bus Users UK who represent the interests of bus passengers. The partners signed up to a Quality Partnership Agreement in 2018, which sets a range of standards and targets to improve bus provision across the north east. 

The Bus Partnership Fund was launched by the Scottish Government in November 2020. The fund is a long term £500 million programme of investment in ambitious bus priority infrastructure; supporting local authorities, in partnership with bus operators, to tackle the negative impact of congestion on bus services. The aim of these interventions is to ensure that journeys are quicker and more reliable, thereby encouraging more people to travel by bus. This fund is part of the Scottish Government’s response to the climate emergency and is also expected to leverage and enable other bus service improvements to reach net zero targets, reduce private car use and increase bus patronage.   

£200,000 Bus Partnership Funding was awarded to the North East Bus Alliance in April this year, to deliver bus priority infrastructure on Market Street, Guild Street, and Bridge Street in Aberdeen city centre.

By limiting general and through traffic along the stretch of Market Street north of Guild Street, Guild Street east of Wapping Street, and Bridge Street, the works reduce the impact of congestion on bus services and make journeys quicker and more reliable for passengers.

The improvements made to South College Street, which received £10m of Scottish Government Funding, offer added capacity for general traffic, enabling the bus priority measures by providing an alternative route for general traffic. This was part of the alliance’s successful £12m bid to the BPF in 2021.

Through the bus partnership fund, the north east bus alliance are also developing proposals for an Aberdeen Rapid Transit system for the region, including bus priority along key routes into the city. The vision for ART is for fast, frequent and reliable services that are attractive, accessible and easy to use, with a cross-city network of ART priority routes that connect people to the places they want to go to, including key education, employment, healthcare, retail and leisure destinations, the airport and rail station, as well as the city centre.   Read more about the ART project here: