A HOTEL manager believes the council’s plans to examine transport in the Capital should be used as an opportunity to overhaul how buses and coaches move around the city centre.
Edinburgh City Council will launch an eight-week consultation next month to gather initial views about which approach out of three visions to transform “how people move around the city centre” should be taken forward.
One approach could see the city centre become “largely traffic free”. A “series of hubs could be developed” where buses would drop off and other forms of “less impactful transport” would take over. Businesses will be consulted as part of the exercise.
A city centre hotel boss is in favour of hubs being created to relieve congestion from Princes Street and the city centre from buses and coaches.
James Fraser, general manager of the Mercure Edinburgh Princes Street Hotel, said: “I have long suggested that hubs be created to take traffic away from Princes Street and this has hitherto been rejected.
“The number of buses that travel on Princes Street is excessive and many of them could easily be re-routed. I cannot understand why express service buses route via Princes Street as I would have expected these out of city destinations depart from the bus station.
“The city service buses who regularly pass my hotel have on most occasions very few passengers and during peak times you could almost walk the length of Princes Street on top of the buses.”
Mr Fraser said he believed to “fully pedestrianise Princes Street would probably not work”, but claimed a rethink could have positive outcomes.
He added: “I would suggest creating a terminus at the West End for buses to loop round and return to the west of the city and do the same at the East End.” He would also like to see another tram stop created outside Jenners on Princes Street, taxis allowed access and to allow hotel guests to alight outside hotels on the city’s main shopping thoroughfare.
One idea touted by the council could be to create freight hubs to reduce the impact of large vehicles in urban areas. The council’s prospectus on potential change adds: “Delivering these ideas would require a partnership approach with communities, small and large businesses, and industry bodies, which would be essential to ensure a successful transition.”
The city’s business group has welcomed the council starting a conversation about the future of how the city centre moves.
Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is early days for the project, which will look at air pollution, congestion, place making, visitor and citizens’ experience in the city centre. Parts of Edinburgh city centre are dominated by vehicles, so it is right that the city leaders look at the longer term vision for the city and how it continues to protect and improve its world heritage status.
“Both residents and tourists should enjoy clean air and a quality experience in the Capital.”