YOU highlight one of the consequences of the “exact change only” policy of Lothian Buses, namely the cost to passengers without the correct fare who overpay £340 a day (News, August 23).
But the real problem is the delay caused by the outdated fare collection method.
The excruciating time it takes to allow every passenger to enter single-file past the driver by a single door which is also the single exit is surely by far the biggest cost factor: time lost for all passengers on board; additional fuel consumption and air pollution as the motor idles unproductively; subsequent delays to buses in the queue for the bus stop and their passengers; additional congestion for all road traffic.
When will Lothian Buses reach the 21st century and introduce pre-boarding fare purchase like many other public transport systems in the Western world?
Harald Tobermann, Pilrig Street, Edinburgh
New tack needed on race crimes
I WRITE regarding your coverage of Simon San’s racially motivated murder, and the police apology for not treating it as such at initial stages (News, August 24).
Without a doubt the police are dealing with the racist element from within our communities and clearly parents and the authorities have a responsibility to mitigate such offences.
But above all, the perpetrators need to be dealt with a lot more severely through the courts.
For this to happen the police forces have to change their tack from simply recording a racially motivated crime as racially motivated because the victim believes it to be the case.
The police need to thoroughly investigate whether a crime is racially motivated, right at the initial stages, and put forward comprehensive corroborated evidence for successful prosecutions to the Procurator Fiscal, which needs to be more vigilant on this than its response suggests so far.
The police, particularly Lothian and Borders Police having pioneered recording of racially motivated crime almost 30 years ago, on the whole do a better job than the local authorities and even the Scottish and Westminster governments.
No doubt the Chief Constables could learn lessons from this sad episode and pave the way for a more robust way of dealing with racially motivated crime. As always they have our support for it.
Mohammed Akram, President, Council of British Pakistanis (Scotland), Broughton Street, Edinburgh
Street beggars are so annoying
LAST Saturday I was fundraising outside my place of work in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.
All was fine until I was confronted by a beggar who said that I was collecting where he usually sits begging for money.
He said he needed to collect £8 to buy food. He asked if I could move down the street.
I said: “No, I am staying here.” I also asked him if his name was on the pavement. He became quite abusive and marched off in a huff.
Are there any rules in place banning this annoying habit of street begging? If not, it is time there were.
Stephanie Wint, Holyrood Court, Edinburgh
Democracy relies on its principles
SURELY the measure and worth of any true democracy is its tolerance of those whose views differ from the majority and of course its tolerance to allow those views to be aired publicly.
We hear so much about the problems and restrictions of other so called democracies. But when the individual’s right to free speech is, for whatever reason, taken away, it is highly debatable if the principles and ethics of an elected democracy are being adhered to.
In the case of the Scottish Defence League marching and making their views public, at the end of the day they do have as much right as anybody else to exercise this freedom of expression.
Of course, in doing so they may realise just how unpopular their beliefs are.
Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh