Edinburgh Airport expressed “very real concerns” about the situation, which has seen travel times between the airport and the Newbridge roundabout – a 2.3 mile journey which would usually take four minutes – take 28 minutes.
It called on the council and Transport Scotland to remove a traffic order that was put into effect in 2020 that saw the temporary bus lane installed on the A8 to encourage public transport use and reduce journey times for key workers.
Kevin Lang, Lib Dem group leader and councillor for Almond ward, also expressed fears that continued gridlock on the A8 in the Ingilston area could lead to a catastrophe in the summer months which sees several big events coming to the west of Edinburgh later in the month through to August. These include the Royal Highland Show, that usually brings in around 200,000 visitors across the annual three-day event, as well as concerts at Ingliston featuring musicians such as 50 Cent, Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol.
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In August, legendary American group, Rage Against The Machine will perform at the Royal Highland Centre and between August 26-28 the Connect Festival will feature 52 acts including The Chemical Brothers, Jon Hopkins and The National.
Councillor Lang said: “The Council has been warned for months that the changes to the A8 risked gridlock when airport passengers numbers recovered. Rather than responding with any sense of urgency, it seems heads were buried in the sand in the hope the problem would just go away.”
Now, Edinburgh council have decided that the time is right to remove the bus lane and stop traffic building in the area.
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, yesterday said: "Council officers have met with Lothian Buses today, and reviewed the operation of the lanes and the overall benefit to bus times. They have concluded that the time is now right for the temporary lane to be removed.
“Since the implementation of the bus lane it has been kept under review and a process of data collection has been ongoing. It was always indicated that the bus lane could be suspended during the Highland Show. The data collected during the bus lane operation as well as the monitoring of traffic once this temporary lane is removed will help inform the wider permanent transport interventions being worked up through the West Edinburgh Transport Improvement Programme.
“I am absolutely committed to improving public transport in Edinburgh, so I hope we can learn from this and I look forward to working in partnership with Edinburgh Airport to assist them in their efforts to become more sustainable.”
He added: “I want to thank Councillor Lang for raising awareness of this problem. I am absolutely committed to working with Ward Councillors to resolve issues like this.”