Fines plan sparks review for bus lane overhaul

the greenways scheme has come under heavy criticism
the greenways scheme has come under heavy criticism
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A MAJOR review of bus lanes in Edinburgh is to examine whether the current system needs to be overhauled.

A consultation later this year will ask the public if they think the Greenways, which have a variety of operating hours, should be standardised to avoid catching out motorists and landing them with heavy fines.

The News revealed yesterday how new cameras set up in ten key areas to catch out drivers cutting into bus lanes have already snared 3670 drivers this month, with hundreds more handed £60 fines since a three-week grace period ended on Monday. Today, motoring groups demanded the operational hours were brought in line, arguing having some open to vehicles for 20 hours per day and others permanently closed confuses drivers.

The Greenways have only been reviewed once since 1997 and there are calls to overhaul the current system.

The AA has already warned motorists the new camera system will mean they must “drive blindly to the rules” to avoid falling foul of the strict no-entry lanes.

Brian MacDowall, a spokesman for the Association of British Motorists, said: “There should only be 24-hour bus lanes if the council can ensure they are going to be constantly in use.”

The review is not linked to the introduction of the cameras but is to ensure the current system is “fit for purpose”.

As part of the review, traders whose customers are blocked from parking outside their stores by 24-hour-a-day bus lanes, can put forward their case for changing the hours.

Gaynor Boggon, who runs a Londis store in Willowbrae, said her family business had suffered in recent days due to the camera enforcement.

She said: “Peak times for sale are obviously breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, with the new bus lane fines, our sales have taken a plunge. This week alone between the hours of 7am and 9am, when the bus lane is operation, we have seen our [sales] figures drop to less than half.”

Allan Jackson, transport spokesman for the Edinburgh Conservatives, said: “There’s always been a problem with the varying of times, some are closed for 24 hours and others open for much of the day.

“I have seen people driving in them because they aren’t sure. The only thing that will help people is if there is publicity and I suppose the impact these fines will have.”

Since the fines were brought in on Monday dozens of the same drivers warned during the three-week trial have been caught and fined again.

Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader, said: “There will be a review of the Greenways and there will be a body of opinion who think we should standardise the hours. The public will be able to take part.”

Source of confusion

GREENWAYS, clearways, and bus lanes.

Despite the raft of terminology all 65km of bus routes in Edinburgh are Greenways and all carry a £60 fine for driving through during hours of operation.

The scheme was set up in 1997 at a cost of £8 million to allow buses to cut through congestion, and can be used by black cabs with a fare, along with cyclists and the emergency services.

Operating hours differ between lanes. Bus lanes at Prestonfield and The Jewel are 24-hour but those on Calder Road in west Edinburgh are usable by all motorists outside of rush hour.