Trial aims to assess viability of conductors to tackle congestion

 

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Greenock-based bus operator McGill’s has taken the unusual step of introducing conductors at peak hours on one of its routes linking Paisley with central Glasgow for a trial period.

The operator says that it has made the move as a result of the increasing levels of congestion on Glasgow’s roads, something Ralph Roberts, the operator’s managing director, described as “getting to unmanageable levels”.

McGill’s Route 38 service between Glasgow and Paisley is operated by former London articulated vehicles and Roberts told Passenger Transport the trial aims to examine whether journey times can be slashed by reducing bus stop dwell times through the use of conductors.

“Additionally, we hope that the quicker journey time would be more attractive to customers,” Roberts added. “We are seeing healthy reductions in journey time and better consistency of journey times plus a very good response from our customers.

“Whilst this is a very expensive thing to do, it is proving popular so if it can be made to be economically viable, the trial will become permanent. Also, our ETM supplier, Ticketer, were instrumental in making this happen by providing hand held terminals for the duration of the trial to prove the concept.”

The introduction of conductors on the route means that the McGill’s service becomes one of only a handful of bus routes in the UK that continue to be operated with conductors.

Roberts indicated that if the trial was judged to be a success, conductors could be introduced on other routes on McGill’s network. “The financial element is quite something but if passenger growth caters for it, we are keen to do it,” he added.

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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