The Scottish Government has announced £10m to support the rapid deployment of 'pop-up' bus priority infrastructure by local authorities.
The money will be targeted at areas with the highest concentration of congestion and be spent on temporary measures including bus lanes or gates to make travel quicker and more reliable.
The announcement follows similar moves for temporary active travel infrastructure like cycle lanes and is designed to support to uptake of sustainable transport post-COVID.
Alongside this, Scottish ministers announced that the £8.8m in 2020 Bus Emissions Abatement Retrofit scheme now new grant thresholds for operators.
Transport Scotland negotiated with the European Commission to enable higher state aid grant funding thresholds per bus.
The funding will enable up to 500 mid-life buses to become Euro VI compliant in 2020-21 through the installation of accredited retrofit technology.
The scheme offers a provision of up to 95% grant funding toward the capital costs of a combination of accredited retrofit exhaust abatement retrofit technology over a five-year period.
The bidding window will be open from 16 July to 6 August. Operators can find out more here.
Cabinet secretary for transport, Infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson said: 'By providing this support for bus priority infrastructure, we’re directly helping bus passengers who we know typically have fewer alternative travel options – helping to improve journey times on congested routes.
'With capacity on buses reduced due to physical distancing, it’s important we leave space for those that need it most. While this step will make bus journey times faster on pinch points, I would continue to ask people to work from home and stay local if they can. Walk, wheel or cycle where possible and plan ahead if using public transport to help manage demand. Let’s continue thinking about how and when we travel so that we can keep Scotland moving.'
Paul White, director of trade body the Confederation of Passenger Transport in Scotland, said: 'CPT welcomes this investment to tackle congestion and to further improve the emissions profile of the Scottish bus fleet. This work will assist in the provision of a reliable, green alternative to car use as people increasingly look to travel.
'COVID-19 travel restrictions demonstrated the potential journey time and reliability improvements possible if bus is freed from car traffic. It is critical we lock in these benefits and the resultant improvements in air quality.'