£1 million of temporary new bus lanes announced for Edinburgh and south-east Scotland

Measures aim to speed journeys

A temporary build-out of the kerb at bus stops on North Bridge is one of the measures proposed
A temporary build-out of the kerb at bus stops on North Bridge is one of the measures proposed

PLANS have been announced for more than £1 million worth of temporary new bus lanes and other measures to prioritise public transport across south-east Scotland.

The proposals include bus lanes on the A90 citybound between Cramond Brig and Barnton and on the A89 eastbound approach to Newbridge, as well as signalling improvements for smoother flow of traffic and the temporary build-out of kerbs at bus stops at key locations like North Bridge and South Bridge.

The package of measures is being financed from the Scottish Government’s £10m Bus Priority Rapid Deployment Fund to support temporary changes to improve bus journey times and reliability on some of the region’s most congested routes. It is estimated the changes could save up to 12 minutes on some journeys.

A total of £1.2m has been allocated for the plans drawn up by the South East Scotland Transport Transition Group, which is led by Edinburgh but also covers East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife, Scottish Borders, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire councils.

The proposals were developed in co-operation with bus operators and the councils say there will be engagement with local stakeholders before measures are implemented.

Edinburgh;s transport vice- convener Karen Doran said: “This funding award is extremely welcome and demonstrates the value of months of close partnership working between neighbouring local authorities, bus operators and SEStran.

“The way we travel has significantly changed over recent months and it’s clear commuting patterns won’t be returning to ‘normal’ anytime soon. This funding allows us to quickly prioritise public transport into and around the region, improving bus journey times and making bus travel a reliable, attractive mode of transport as restrictions are eased.”

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the measures would remove pinch points and keep buses moving, resulting in faster end to end journeys.

“I’m pleased that passengers across the south east of Scotland will soon experience the benefits of these temporary bus priority infrastructure measures.

“We know that in some cases, bus passengers have fewer alternative travel options, and so it’s right that buses are prioritised to help improve journey times and reliability across congested routes.

“While these measures will help make bus journey times faster on pinch points and undoubtedly makes bus travel more attractive, let’s continue to leave public transport for those that need it most.

"Walk, wheel or cycle where possible and use temporary active travel infrastructure which helps with physical distancing. Plan ahead if using public transport to help manage demand. By thinking about how and when we travel – collectively, we can keep Scotland moving during the COVID-19 crisis.”

The changes, which aim to encourage and incentivise bus travel as lockdown restrictions are eased, will be implemented using Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders. Detailed designs and additional traffic modelling work are ongoing and further information on each of the schemes is expected in the coming weeks.

The Bus Priority Rapid Development Fund was announced by Transport Scotland in July.