City bus lanes review ‘is a victory for common sense’

Bus Lane Cameras'Pic Neil Hanna
Bus Lane Cameras'Pic Neil Hanna
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AN overhaul of the city’s bus lanes has been hailed as “a victory for common sense”.

Plans by the council to scrap some city bus lanes and make changes to the controversial camera enforcement system were revealed by the News yesterday.

The major review of the Greenways network included proposals to remove some 
camera sites and adopt a more lenient approach to fines.

The review came after a series of problems with the cameras, which were introduced in April. Thousands of drivers were fined up to £60 when caught out crossing lanes inadvertently in heavy traffic.

The changes were welcomed by Neil Greig, head of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists. He said: “This is a victory for common sense. It would be much more sensible to have rush hour bus lanes which people will understand better and accept more easily.

“I am glad the council is looking at whether they add or detract from congestion.”

Councillor Alex Lunn, who represents Duddingston/Craigentinny Ward also welcomed the changes: “I’m very pleased to see the lessons of what went wrong previously with bus lane enforcement appear to have been learned. There is widespread support for making sure bus lanes are kept clear of cars but it must be done to make sure roads are safer, and that this is not done just to fine motorists.”

As well as changing the rules over fines, the review will look to cut out inefficient Greenways, including those seen to be causing more disruption.

Lothian Buses have said they will look closely at the detail of the plans.

Ian Craig, managing director of Lothian Buses, said: “Lothian Buses is now considering the detail of the council report. The provision of bus lanes and their effective enforcement is crucial in our ability to deliver fast and efficient bus services.”

Not everyone welcomed the move, however, with taxi drivers warning it will lead to slower journeys and increased fares.

Bill McIntosh of the Scottish Taxi Federation said: “The bus lanes facilitate the speedy transport of all passengers, but principally passengers from the business sector, who will be inconvenienced by this move.”

Kim Harding, a pro-cyclist, said: “There is no evidence that removing bus lanes will reduce ‘localised congestion’. The congestion is caused by having too many vehicles trying to use a limited amount of road.

“All this proposal will do is to slow down the bus service and encourage people to drive into the city, so increasing the congestion and the existing air pollution problems.”