IF you travel by bus every day, you probably haven’t noticed the gradual increase in journey times over the last ten years. Or perhaps, if you did, you wondered whether it was all just in your mind.
But research into Lothian Buses journey times shows there have been fairly dramatic growth in delays on certain routes over the last decade. Those longer journeys haven’t stopped the publicly-owned bus company attracting record numbers of passengers, of course, but that may be as much to do with the city’s growing population as the efficienty of the service.
It is hard to know for sure what makes so many people in Edinburgh choose to travel by bus, but the undoubted high quality of the service certainly helps. How much is speed a factor compared to reliability, frequency and value for money? Who knows?
What these findings certainly do is a highlight a growing problem facing the Capital – and one that has no easy answer. Our roads are getting more traffic-clogged with the inevitable result that it takes longer to go anywhere by road, whether by bus or car.
The Greenways have been a great boon to the city and deserve to be cherished and protected. The idea of police patrolling them rather than relying on camera enforcement is appealing, but we won’t hold our breath.
Should we abandon the experiment which allows other vehicles on the Greenways at off-peak times? Possibly, but that would do nothing to solve the growing delays affecting peak-time bus journey. The biggest issue appears to be the amount of traffic on the non-Greenway roads that all these buses have to use. It would also resurrect old problems of frustrated motorists sitting in traffic jams next to empty Greenway lanes in the middle of the day because they are restricted to just the one lane. Other steps, like more park and rides, extra train services, and, dare we say it, trams, will likely have a bigger impact.