Bus lanes continue to drive city motorists mad

THE roads network is one of the few council services used virtually every day in life by the majority of city residents.

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Whether it is driving, travelling by bus, cycling or out on foot, people get a close-up view of where their money is being spent.

And roads department staff know to their cost that council-tax payers are not backward in coming forward with their opinions. As one said wearily the other day: "Everyone thinks they know how to solve any problems we have."

It will be interesting then to see how the public will react to two major roads schemes announced last week.

On Wednesday, the Evening Times revealed there is to be the first major review of bus lanes since they were introduced 24 years ago. Council bosses insist they are needed to keep the city moving and to prevent buses getting clogged up in congestion.

But a growing number of motorists are reacting angrily at being hit with a ticket for using a bus lane when no buses are running or when the roads are virtually deserted.

In October last year, Liverpool decided to scrap bus lanes for a nine-month trial.

A trial which Glasgow roads bosses suggest has proved to be nothing short of a disaster. The Liverpool trial runs until July but it is unlikely Glasgow will opt to follow the example of its English counterpart.

Instead, it will spend seven months looking at how the city has changed over the past two decades before deciding whether more bus lanes are needed or whether existing ones can be scrapped. Anyone hoping they will vanish for ever would be well advised not to hold their breath.

The impact of the Commonwealth Games on the road network was also on the minds of officials on Wednesday when the extent of parking and traffic restrictions was revealed for the first time.

The good news for people living close to the venues is that they will be given free permits allowing them to park near their homes.

The bad news for drivers is that it will be impossible to find a space close to one of the Games venues with tough parking restrictions in place. And if motorists are unhappy about being fined for driving in existing bus lanes, they are likely to be less than chuffed when they are hit with a £50 fine for driving in one of the priority lanes which can be used only be athletes and members of the Games family.

The lanes are being introduced to ensure athletes can get to venues without getting snarled up in traffic. But they will mean drivers who can normally use two lanes having to make do with only one.

A small price to pay for Glasgow being in the world spotlight as host of the biggest sporting extravaganza Scotland has ever seen.


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