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Old December 9th, 2015, 06:51 PM   #101
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Trial ferry run following Forth Road Bridge closure

Edinburgh Evening News - 9th December, 2015

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A trial ferry crossing from Rosyth to South Queensferry was held on Sunday as transport bosses investigate ways of alleviating the chaos caused by the temporary closure of the Forth Road Bridge.

The owners of the Maid of the Forth, a 225-capacity vessel normally used to take tourists to Inchcolm Abbey, confirmed last night they were in discussions with transport and port authorities over providing a commuter service.

The ferry sailed from the Port of Rosyth to Hawes Pier, with a crossing time of 30 minutes.

The final decision on whether to provide a ferry service rests with Transport Scotland. A spokesman said all options were actively being considered.

“We are in discussions with ferry operators and will consider this in the context of the operation of the travel plan, which we will continue to adjust as necessary,” he said.

Transport minister Derek McKay announced on Friday the Forth Road Bridge will remain closed until January, causing havoc for thousands of commuters.

On a typical weekday, an average of 70,000 vehicles use the crossing and at peak morning time around 6300 vehicles cross the structure southbound.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the owners of the Maid of the Forth said: “The only option available is a Rosyth - Hawes Pier service, which would use the ferry terminal at Rosyth which is owned by Forth Ports.

“We carried out a trial run on Sunday with Transport Scotland, Calmac and Forth Ports to work out logistics. There would have to be additional security and safe passenger walkways set up at Rosyth, buses organised at both ends and ticketing arrangements sorted out.

“There are a lot of different organisations that need to work together to make it work so it is not something we can do on our own. The upshot is that it is definitely possible, but the decision whether it is to go ahead lies with the transport minister at the moment.”

Stagecoach has ruled out operating a service between Kirkcaldy and Portobello, following a successful trial in 2007, when some 32,000 passengers crossed the Forth via hovercraft.

There was anger from Fife councillors and operators Stagecoach when City of Edinburgh Council refused planning permission for a hovercraft terminal to be built at Portobello in 2011.

The decision led Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Soutar to throw in the towel, declaring he was “scunnered”.

Fife Council had previously backed a plan to build a ferry terminal at a former bus depot on Kirkcaldy Esplanade.

A new firm, Forthfast, was founded in 2014 with the aim of reviving the Stagecoach plans.

In February, Fife Council extended a planning condition requiring the Kirkcaldy bus depot to be demolished, handing Forthfast more time to plan its crossing proposals.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The council has carried out a number of studies and market testing with partners, including Fife Council, exploring the possibility of a cross Forth passenger service, both traditional ferry and hovercraft.

“To date no commercially viable service has been identified but we are happy to engage with any prospective operator and there have been discussions with representatives of Forthfast about their proposal.”

The last regular ferry service between Fife and Lothian, the Queensferry Passage, ended in 1964 following the opening of the Forth Road Bridge.

Previous routes included a rail ferry between Granton and Burntisland.

Scotrail said it was providing an additional 6500 seats following the road bridge’s closure by pulling carriages from other services and taking trains out of refurbishment programmes, increasing its capacity by 40 per cent.


Read more: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.co...#ixzz3tqL7dMis
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Old December 11th, 2015, 04:04 PM   #102
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Disappointment at Sheriffhall delays

Midlothian Advertiser - 8th December, 2015

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Midlothian North’s MSP is keeping up the pressure on the Scottish Government for improvements to take place at Sheriffhall roundabout.

Colin Beattie (SNP) has expressed his frustration at the news that the proposal for potential grade separation for the Sheriffhall roundabout will be delayed until next year at the earliest.

The news came in response to a question Mr Beattie sent to the Scottish Government asking for an update on the roundabout.

Derek Mackay, the minister for transport and the islands, responded by saying that the preferred option for the junction improvement will not be available for public comment until summer 2016.

Mr Beattie had previously written to the Scottish Government last December, with the response saying that the preferred option for junction improvement was to be announced in autumn 2015.

Mr Beattie said: “I am extremely disappointed with this news. I had hoped we would be further along with this process by now, but clearly that’s not the case.

“I’m sure Midlothian drivers must be sick of listening out for traffic reports only to hear that, yet again, there are major delays at the Sheriffhall roundabout.

“Sheriffhall was supposedly designed to ease congestion on our roads but, if anything, it’s made matters worse.

“I will continue to press on this issue until we finally get a solution that will improve the situation.”

Gordon Henderson from the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland, said it was “essential” that the improvement works there are done properly and that there were no more temporary fixes.

“It is disappointing that there is such a delay in progress but hopefully that is down to a permanent solution suitable for the next 50 years rather than five years being planned,” he added.

Midlothian councillor Ian Baxter (Green) said: “We need to resolve the issue of congestion and improvements to Sheriffhall must be part of that. As part of speeding up the traffic flow in the area we need to prioritise public transport and ensure safe routes for cyclists.

“I am concerned about congestion but it isn’t just about private motorists. There are two buses which pass through Sheriffhall.

“It is slowing everybody and we need to resolve that as soon as possible.”


Read more: http://www.midlothianadvertiser.co.u...#ixzz3u1MLeo8q
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Old December 15th, 2015, 02:44 PM   #103
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Whatever happened the the idea by Brian Souter to run a hovercraft across the Forth?
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Old December 15th, 2015, 03:37 PM   #104
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Whatever happened the the idea by Brian Souter to run a hovercraft across the Forth?
CEC refused permission for landing/passenger facilities at Portobello which killed it off. That was around four years ago, though last year it was announced a new company, Forthfast, aims to have a Kirkcaldy-Newhaven hovercraft service operational by 2016.
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Old December 15th, 2015, 06:08 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Kenspeckle View Post
CEC refused permission for landing/passenger facilities at Portobello which killed it off. That was around four years ago, though last year it was announced a new company, Forthfast, aims to have a Kirkcaldy-Newhaven hovercraft service operational by 2016.
And how convenient it would be if there was a tram waiting for them at Newhaven.....
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Old January 5th, 2016, 10:58 AM   #106
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New Transport for Edinburgh Travelshop

Lothian Buses - 5th January, 2016

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Transport for Edinburgh will open the doors on a new west end Travelshop in the New Year.

The Travelshop in Clifton Terrrace (opposite Haymarket Station) will open to the public on 5 January.

Along with the current Travelshops in Hanover Street, Waverley Bridge and Jarnac Court in Dalkeith, customers can pick up timetables, buy tickets and get help with their Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams journeys.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 03:08 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by Kenspeckle View Post
New Transport for Edinburgh Travelshop

Lothian Buses - 5th January, 2016
Interesting that TfE are embarking on a strategy of opening new travelshops instead of investing in technology to negate the need for them in the first place e.g. Online top-ups, contactless payments on buses etc. Complete opposite direction to TfL who are closing most of their ticket offices down.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 05:31 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GM7 View Post
Interesting that TfE are embarking on a strategy of opening new travelshops instead of investing in technology to negate the need for them in the first place e.g. Online top-ups, contactless payments on buses etc. Complete opposite direction to TfL who are closing most of their ticket offices down.
I suspect it just makes sense in the short term to have a shop near Haymarket. The Hanover Street shop seems a bit redundant.

You can already buy and load tickets on your phone with their App and going forward, I'm sure they will be looking at more and more technology.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 08:40 PM   #109
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Scottish first for Edinburgh with live transport updates in Google Maps

Lothian Buses - 5th January, 2015

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Bus and tram passengers in Edinburgh will be the first in Scotland to access real-time service information in Google Maps. From 4th January the partnership between Transport for Edinburgh and Google will help travellers to plan their journeys more effectively and get live updates.

Google Maps will know where all buses and trams are on the network at any time, allowing it to show expected times of arrival and any service delays, and the information will be incorporated into Google Maps' journey planning functions.

The new technology is also fully integrated with the Transport for Edinburgh app and the websites for Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams.

What this means for our passengers

• Live journey planning is now available on Google Maps on desktop and mobile, lothianbuses.com, edinburghtrams.com and the Transport for Edinburgh app for iOS and Android
• When you plan a journey, it takes any delays or diversions into account - and gives you journeys with up-to-the minute ETAs
• If a bus or tram is delayed, you'll be shown alternate journeys that will get you to your destination quicker

John McEvoy, Digital Designer at Transport for Edinburgh said:

We know how important it is for our customers to have timely and accurate information so we’re really pleased that we’ve been able to work with Google on being the first Scottish city to introduce this service. With our travel and mobile ticketing apps, and free wi-fi across the bus and trams fleet, we’re continuing to make use of technology to provide our customers with an even better experience.

Transport data specialists ITO World and the City of Edinburgh Council have also supported the initiative. As an agency for Google's public transit data, ITO provides data conversion and quality improvement services to help ensure public transport information in Google Maps is as consistently accurate as possible.
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Old March 15th, 2016, 02:56 PM   #110
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Edinburgh road named as most congested in UK outside London

STV News - 15th March, 2016

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A main road leading through Edinburgh has been named as the most congested route in the UK outside London.

Traffic delays were up in almost two-thirds of UK cities, a new report shows, with drivers spending an average of 30 hours in congestion last year.

Analyst INRIX named the A8 in Edinburgh, leading from Princes Street to Maybury Road in the west of the city, as the most congested road outside of London.

Motorists spend an average of 43 hours sitting in delays per year on the 5.3 mile route.

The report said the road was at its worst in the afternoon and the most congested peak period is Tuesday at 5pm.

The INRIX scorecard was released just a week after Friends of the Earth Scotland named St John's Road, which is part of the A8, as Scotland's most polluted.

The A8 beat routes in Manchester and Newcastle to the dubious title.

London was named the most congested city in the world, surpassing 100 hours spent in gridlock per driver in 2015.

Of the countries measured in the scorecard, the US leads with the highest annual hours wasted in traffic – an average of nearly 50 hours in 2015 – outranking Belgium at 44 hours, Netherlands at 39 hours, Germany at 38 hours and Luxembourg at 33 hours.

Switzerland ranked the same as the UK on 30 hours, while drivers in France spent an average of 28 hours in traffic.
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Old March 18th, 2016, 11:06 AM   #111
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Scottish canal clearance action to shift 70 years of silt

The Scotsman - 18th March, 2016

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Clearance of a 70-year build-up of silt that boaters claim has made one of Scotland’s most popular canals virtually unnavigable is finally under way, The Scotsman has learned.

New machines are dredging and cutting back weeds on the Union Canal between Falkirk and Edinburgh at the start of a determined effort by Scottish Canals to tackle the problem.

The Scottish Government-funded body, which launched the project this month, plans to dredge 3,500 tonnes by next March compared to 2,000 tonnes last year.

However, canal users said they remained to be convinced the targets would be met after Scottish Canals scaled back plans in 2013 to dredge 4,000 tonnes a year, because of funding cuts.

They contrasted that with £1 million being announced this month to revamp the Falkirk Wheel visitor attraction.

Ronnie Rusack, chairman of the Lowland Canals Volunteer Group, which also covers the neighbouring Forth & Clyde Canal, said the Union should be 5ft deep but was now only 2ft deep in the middle and inches deep at the sides.

He said: “Boats can hardly pass each other, they cannot manoeuvre, and can’t reach the bank if they get into trouble.”

Pat Bowie, general manager of Re-Union Canal Boats, said: “Over the years it has got worse and worse. If you cannot get on top of the dredging, the canal is going to come to a standstill.”

Scottish Canals said it was confident of making progress after buying £271,000 of equipment and taking over the job from contractors to save £50,000 a year.

Chief executive Steve Dunlop said: “We have not been able to do as much dredging as we would have liked in recent years and know certain locations pose navigational problems for full-draft boats.

“However, we’re dealing with 70 years of silt build-up and it will take major investment of many millions of pounds to completely clear the entire length of the Lowland canals for full-depth vessels.

We’re confident boaters will see an improvement in the navigational channels over the coming year.”

Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “This work will help ensure the safe navigation of the Lowland canals by leisure craft while enabling progress towards the Scottish Government’s aspiration of growth in the numbers of boats navigating these vital tourism assets.”



Read more: http://www.scotsman.com/news/transpo...#ixzz43FAYy7H8
Follow us: @TheScotsman on Twitter | TheScotsmanNewspaper on Facebook
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Old March 26th, 2016, 11:07 AM   #112
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Lothian Buses announces expansion plans

BBC News - 25th March, 2016

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Lothian Buses has announced plans to recruit up to 40 new drivers and 10 apprentice engineers.

It said it plans to provide extra services to meet extra demand. Frequency is to be increased on many of its routes.

Lothian Buses is the UK's largest publicly-owned bus company and employs over 2,000 staff.

The company said it would increase the cost of its single fares by 10p - to £1.60 for adults, 80p for children.

It said £18.5m has been invested in a fleet of 85 low-emission and ultra-low emission buses since 2011.

General manager Jim McFarlane said: "We're very pleased that this latest timetable and fare review has allowed us to improve services while also maintaining prices for the vast majority of our regular and loyal passengers.

"The changes we have made are a direct response to feedback from our customers and we're in a position to introduce them thanks to continued strong business performance over many years."

He added: "As one of Edinburgh's largest employers we are delighted to have the opportunity to add to our team. We are also pleased that Lothian Buses will be able to benefit the city's environment with further investment in low emission vehicles."
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Old Today, 11:07 AM   #113
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An integrated transport system – giving Edinburgh a competitive edge

The Herald - 3rd May, 2016

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Delivering a truly integrated transport infrastructure for Scotland’s Capital means much more than adding stops to the tram line or putting on late trains during the Edinburgh Festival.

It is essential that we don’t rest on our laurels and seek ongoing enhancement of our public transport to ensure we are a truly international standard city competing with the best of them. It’s great that our transport system has seen a significant level of development in recent years, contributing to our position as a modern, world class city.

The Borders Railway is now up and running expanding the local economies along the route. The challenges that came with delivering the trams project are now making way for long term, commercial benefits. Indeed there is already a lot of talk about potential extensions. The re-development of Haymarket train station and the ongoing enhancement of the rail network across the board – particularly the modernisation of the routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh – will also support long term growth. The ongoing Queen Street Tunnel works and electrification of the main rail line between the cities will inevitably cause inconvenience for commuters but create a more efficient service in the long term.

Transport infrastructure in the Capital has never before been so conducive to positive economic expansion.

Edinburgh Airport is seeing a higher level of passengers than ever before, contributing nearly £1bn to the Scottish economy and supporting more than 23,000 jobs.

This is all hugely encouraging but there is still a long way to go.

The proposed and much anticipated adoption of smart ticketing across the national rail service will be a major boost. It’s something commuters will undoubtedly adapt to and it will provide valuable data and insights to inform a more effective operation.

Integration is the key focus however, allowing improved connectivity within the city and between Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland. Manchester is a great example of how an integrated, multi-modal transport system can work. While Edinburgh, like any city, has its own specific needs, such as Edinburgh’s role as a gateway to Scotland, its success is something the Capital can perhaps aspire to.

Lothian Buses’ investment of £18.5 million in hybrid buses and the Scottish Government’s ‘Green Bus Fund’ means that we have the greenest bus fleet outside of London. While Edinburgh has one of the highest use of buses in the UK, the city can only achieve its environmental goals if the appeal of all modes of local transport grows. Improved integration, accessibility, convenience and affordability is key.

Edinburgh locals can only sympathise with Glasgow residents ahead of the massive inconvenience and upheaval the SPT Subway closure will create this summer. The multi-million pound modernisation is by no means a direct comparison to the trams project, but it does make you appreciate the value of smooth operating system. However, while we can look on in relief that its them and not us, Edinburgh needs to be prepared for Glasgow’s new found level of competition that will come with the completion of the works and use it to spur us on to push for further improvements.

As Edinburgh’s City Deal and City Vision come to fruition in the near future, continued investment in transport infrastructure is a welcomed priority. In the meantime however, we must make better use of the local transport services we have to demonstrate its value, meet environmental goals and put in practice what an integrated system could deliver.

Liz McAreavey is acting chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce
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