‘For the sake of the city, be reasonable’

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TRUST. Fairness. Reasonableness. These are key words that come into play when considering Edinburgh City Council’s new monitoring of the Greenways by camera.

Those who stray into bus lanes during their hours of operation now face a fine of £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks) in an effort to tackle the number of motorists who are ignoring the rules.

The council was given the enforcement power after it was recently decriminalised by the Scottish Parliament.

From the outset, the Evening News has said it will support this policy – provided that it is enforced in a fair and measured manner.

But why would we be so concerned about this?

In the 1990s, the council was given the power to monitor parking in the city, after it was similarly decriminalised.

The result was the introduction of a private army of wardens – the so-called Blue Meanies – who raison d’etre was not the sensible policing of parking in the Capital, but the issuing of the highest number of tickets possible.

Motorists who parked legally, obtained a correct pay and display ticket and were then a couple of minutes late returning to their vehicle were ticketed. An inch of rubber touching a yellow line at 3am in the morning? Here’s a ticket. A hearse on funeral duty – have a ticket. Residents quickly realised this was all about maximising revenue from hard-pressed motorists - not about fairness.

So here we are again.

News reader Janice Warnes has been fined for driving in a bus lane BEFORE it even began operating.

Her ticket clearly states that the time of her offence was 7.29am and 57 seconds. The bus lane begins at 7:30am. Yes, it’s only three seconds but again it comes back to whether the council is managing a scheme in a fair and reasonable fashion.

Or as some people have suggested, this is another means of raising revenue for an administration that is cash-strapped.

We have a new Labour-SNP administration in charge at the City Chambers led by Andrew Burns, a former transport chief, who is certainly a reasonable man. For the sake of the city, let’s operate this scheme in a fair and reasonable manner.

Nobody wants these cameras to become The New Meanies.

What a week

The build-up to the Scottish Cup Final should be just as much fun as the 90 minutes itself.

So, let’s all revel in it and enjoy it. Just in case it is another 116 years before Edinburgh football is in the spotlight again.