A new plan to “revolutionise” Aberdeen’s public transport system will look to rival a £90 million scheme already underway in Belfast.
Transport chiefs claim the flagship project, dubbed the Aberdeen Rapid Transit (ART) system, would create “game-changing” public transport for the region – and look to deliver a prioritised, high-frequency tram-like solution for passengers.
North-east transport partnership Nestrans said the scheme would provide four key fast-bus routes linking the airport and P&J Live in the north to Portlethen in the south.
Links from Bridge of Don to Kingswells and Westhill are also being proposed.
It is understood that the project could be the first of its kind in Scotland.
‘Game-changer for public transport in Aberdeen’
Councillor Sandra Macdonald, chairwoman of Nestrans said: “It’s probably the flagship project in the strategy that we’ve been pulling together.
“This is a real partnership endeavour and if this ambitious project was to move forward it really would be a bit of a game-changer for public transport in Aberdeen.
“Compared to Edinburgh’s tram-system, for example, this is a much more affordable option for a city of our size and could really change the way our city centre works.”
Mrs Macdonald also said the plan was a “key focus” of part of the north-east’s Regional Transport Strategy (RTS), which the Nestrans board approved today.
It will now be submitted to Scottish cabinet secretary for transport Michael Matheson for approval.
It is critical that our public transport offering is attractive, efficient, affordable and can compete with car journey times.”
Councillor Sandra Macdonald
The Belfast project has been described as “a symbol for a modern city in this day in age” and hopes to link communities both in the east and west.
Belfast’s rapid transport system, which will use futuristic Glider buses in dedicated lanes, was initially costed at £80m, but has since swollen to more than £90m.
The north-east transport strategy has been worked up over the past two years.
Mrs Macdonald added: “A key focus of the next RTS is to achieve a 50:50 mode split between car journeys and sustainable options such as public transport, walking and cycling.
“It is critical that our public transport offering is attractive, efficient, affordable and can compete with car journey times.
“Aberdeen Rapid Transit is part of an aspirational package of over 100 proposals in the strategy which aim to improve journey efficiencies, improve safety and enable access for all.”