The Forth Road Bridge celebrates its first birthday today - as a dedicated public transport corridor.
Following the opening of the Queensferry Crossing in September 2017, the Forth Road Bridge was closed for maintenance until early 2018, when it reopened as a public transport corridor on 1st February.
The re-opening of the Forth Road Bridge was celebrated by MSP Humza Yousaf, the Transport Minister at the time, along with a number of public transport operators using the bridge.
Stagecoach East Scotland operate 350 journeys per day across the bridge, connecting Fife and beyond with Edinburgh city centre, Edinburgh Airport and Livingston. Express coaches operate up to every 5 minutes from Fife to Edinburgh, using Park and Ride sites as well as directly connecting towns and cities across Fife, Perth and Dundee with the capital.
Stagecoach have announced a 10% increase in passenger journeys since the re-opening of the bridge, meaning Stagecoach services now carry an average of 80k passengers per week on the Edinburgh corridor.
Douglas Robertson, Commercial Director, Stagecoach East Scotland said: "The public transport corridor has provided longer bus lanes, which means more reliable services and quicker journeys as well as improved connectivity through the use of P&R sites.
"Our investment in new vehicles throughout 2018 also had a positive impact on passenger usage. We launched 19 new coaches last year all operating over the Forth Road Bridge marking a spend of £5.1m and a significant investment in our Express City Connect network.
“The investment in bus priority measures on this corridor delivered direct improvements for our customers and a positive impact on usage of our coach network, proving that a commitment to developing public transport in terms of resource and infrastructure can have measured effect on passenger use, taking more cars off the road and improving the air quality of our towns and cities.”
Stagecoach launched 19 Plaxton Panther LE coaches in May and July 2018 for use on routes X55 and X56 into Edinburgh and X51 to Livingston and Glasgow. The coaches were first of their kind in the UK as low floor entry, with all the luxury of a coach, complete with free wi-fi access, leather seating, air-conditioning, device charging points and at-seat 'stop' buttons. The company also consulted with Bus Users Scotland in the design of the coaches to ensure the new layout was the best fit for regular travellers as well as disabled users.
The anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge re-opening marks an increase in public transport use in the area and Stagecoach continues to develop its services using the bridge. In November, the company announced its involvement in the first autonomous bus trial in the world, to commence in 2020 and will operate over the Forth Road Bridge, connecting Ferrytoll Park and Ride with Edinburgh Park.
Find out more about Stagecoach Express services operating in the area