Councillor calls for public consultation on bus lanes

A REVIEW of controversial bus lanes across Glasgow should include a public consultation, it was claimed today.

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On Wednesday, we reported the council's decision to carry out a review on the effectiveness of bus lanes
On Wednesday, we reported the council's decision to carry out a review on the effectiveness of bus lanes

Glasgow City Council this week said it would look at the effectiveness of the lanes across the city.

The local authority will carry out the probe - the first since bus lanes were introduced 24 years ago - over the next seven months.

Council bosses say the move is not in response to public criticism of the management of camera-enforced lanes, which raked in £2.5 million in fines last year.

But former bus driver and councillor Malcolm Balfour - who had launched an online petition calling for a review - said local people should be involved.

He said: "I welcome this action by the council, as this is what the people of Glasgow have been calling for.

"This is not about kudos or credit for individual councillors. The most important thing is that the issue of bus lanes will be looked at again.

"However, because there has been so much reaction from the public over bus lanes and local people have very strong feelings about them, I would like to see a public consultation on the matter."

The council insists that bus lanes play an essential role in Glasgow's transport network, improving the flow of traffic on a number of congested stretches and increasing the reliability of bus journeys on some routes.

But it says that in recent years concerns were raised that bus lane enforcement was not carried out rigorously enough to enable the council to deliver "strategic policy objectives", including reducing congestion and providing clear bus lanes to help bus companies improve their services and reduce journey times in the city.

But drivers across the city have hit out at the enforcement lanes, particularly the 15 across the city which are fitted with cameras.

Of these, 10 are switched on 24-hours-a-day despite there being no 24-hour bus services.

The local authority agreed to stop fining drivers on Christmas and New Year's Day - when there are also no bus services - after the Evening Times revealed that 370 fines were issued those days, generating at least £11,100 in penalties.

One driver was hit with a £30 penalty charge, later overturned, as he strayed into a lane while rushing to his dying mother-in-law's bedside.

The Christmas and New Year's Day U-turn is part of a council 'pilot' but the authority says that while fines will not be issued the cameras will stay switched on.

A council spokesman said: "The review will analyse how bus lanes are benefitting the city and if there is scope for improvement. It will involve input from key stakeholders including SPT, bus and taxi companies, and motoring bodies to ensure we capture a comprehensive set of data and keep the city moving."

linzi.watson@eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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