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Mon, 2014-03-17 14:39

Rail passengers using Bathgate station will receive a boost later this month when the significant expansion to the station’s car park opens to the public.

ScotRail has delivered an additional 160 spaces, increasing the car park’s capacity by 40% to 560, through £850,000 of funding from the Scottish Government. The project is part of a wider £5.27 million investment programme in stations across Scotland announced by the Transport Minister Keith Brown in 2013.

The new car park will officially open on Monday 31 March and will provide facilities for the growing number of passengers using Bathgate station since it opened in 2010.

ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery said: “The opening of this larger car park underlines our commitment to attract more people to use rail. That’s good for the economy, good for the environment and good for the travelling public.

“The extra parking also makes it easier for more people to integrate rail travel into their regular travel plans. We are proud to be playing a key role in promoting sustainable and joined up journeys across Scotland.”

West Lothian Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Linda Scott, said: “I am delighted that there will be an expansion of car parking facilities at Bathgate station. It is greatly needed to ensure a smooth commute for all that use the line.”

Scottish Government Transport Minister, Keith Brown, said: “ScotRail passenger numbers continue to grow and I am delighted to see that this has led to a need for increased car park capacity at Bathgate station.

This extension will allow those using the service currently to enjoy a smoother journey from start to finish and will also help to attract even more people to use our railways. It will also be welcomed by line side neighbours by reducing street parking.

While we recognise that people need to get from their homes to the train station, it is encouraging that so many who are able to are deciding to then make the move onto the train, helping to reduce congestion on the motorways.

The Scottish Government continues to invest in our railways precisely because we see the benefits of getting more people to leave the car behind and let the train take the strain.”

South East Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) Chair, Councillor Russell Imrie, said : “SEStran exists to create a sustainable transportation system for South  East Scotland, based upon making public transport the mode of choice for most journeys.

“We welcome the enhanced facilities at Bathgate station for travellers arriving by car and bicycle, which are in line with the SEStran park and ride strategy designed to encourage more people to consider travelling by train, rather than driving. This will help cut traffic congestion and reduce the carbon footprint.”