Edinburgh bus chiefs to keep 20mph impact ‘under review’

There are fears that buses may not be able to keep up with their timetables due to the 20mph zones. Picture: Jon Savage
There are fears that buses may not be able to keep up with their timetables due to the 20mph zones. Picture: Jon Savage
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LOTHIAN Buses has said it will be keeping the impact of the latest 20mph rollout “under review” following the introduction of phase two earlier this week.

Once fully rolled out, the controversial scheme – which is costing £2.2 million to implement – will cover 80 per cent of the Capital.

We don’t anticipate any significant impact but will keep the situation under review

Lothian Buses

A vast swathe of roads from Granton to Portobello and Duddingston to Morningside have now come under the new limit.

Critics have said they fear the 20mph initiative could cause congestion and increase journey times – but bus chiefs have said it is unlikely they will need to adjust their timetables.

A spokesman for Lothian Buses said: “We don’t anticipate any significant impact but will keep the situation under review.”

In response to an early consultation in 2013, the company voiced concern over the initiative, saying 20mph limits had a tendency “to increase overall bus journey times [and] tend also to undermine the economics of the provision of the affected bus services”.

The council-led initiative will be fully rolled out by January next year, with the next phase set to be implemented on roads in west and north-west Edinburgh on July 31.

Transport leader Lesley Hinds told the News this week that she had spoken to the director of Lothian Buses about 20mph and that the council would work with the firm to keep buses running smoothly.

She said: “Our aim is to improve road safety, encourage active travel and generally enhance the local environment in residential and shopping streets – this is what we want to impress upon people.

“What we need to do as we move forward is dispel the myths around the scheme – such as the suggestion that this is a blanket limit – it’s not, we’re keeping the city moving with a network of 30mph and 40mph roads, which can be found on our website.

“We’re still at the very early stages of this phase and it will take time for people to get used to the change, but what we do know, from our own extensive consultation as well as from recent coverage, is that the public are in favour of this.”

Drivers who flout the new limit face the risk of £100 fines and three points on their licence.

Police Scotland said no fines were dished out to drivers during phase two’s first 24 hours, although a total of 15 warnings were issued in the city centre.

A key aim of the scheme is to make the roads a more safe environment, with one primary school head saying she had already noticed a difference.

Mhari-Louise Teden, head of Roseburn Primary School, said: “We’re really pleased to see the new 20mph limits come into effect here at Roseburn Primary.

“We’re already beginning to notice drivers taking more care on our street, which went down to 20mph this week.

“I hope this will create a more relaxed atmosphere around the school, encouraging more pupils to get active and walk or cycle into school.”

It comes after some drivers aired concern that the 20mph limit was “encouraging” people to chance crossing in front of what appear to be slower-moving vehicles.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk