Coaches to be banned from Princes Street?

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This section between South St David Street and North Bridge will be unaffected by the ban
This section between South St David Street and North Bridge will be unaffected by the ban

Tour coaches set to barred 0700 – 2000hrs on key Edinburgh artery between its junction with South Charlotte Street and South St David Street

Tour coaches are set to be banned from Edinburgh’s Princes Street. Under Edinburgh City Council’s plans, the stretch from South Charlotte Street to South St David Street would be closed to touring and long-distance coaches between 0700 – 2000hrs daily. The proposals are expected to be approved by councillors this week – according to The Scotsman.

City Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said the move was aimed at cutting congestion: “We have a problem at the moment where we have coaches continuing to stop on Princes Street and blocking traffic for public transport services. By the time they load and unload passengers, you can have traffic backed up all the way up The Mound.

“We want to work with hotels, but I don’t think those coaches need to be on Princes Street really.”

However, George Mair, Director of CPT Scotland told CBW:  “We met with the city council, who raised concerns about indiscriminate parking on Princes Street. Our perception is perhaps that is the case on occasion when coach drivers stop to pick up and set down outside hotels, but we have told the council that walking distances for tourists with luggage must be considered.

“We’ve yet to hear back from the council. It’s work in progress.”

He added: “It’s hugely important that if changes are to be made, that the council comes up with suitable alternative arrangements.

“It’s a busy street but people need to be reminded that tourists come to Edinburgh to spend money.  It’s not a great first impression to drop off visitors at the bins at the rear – and that’s assuming coaches can negotiate their way down those streets.”

James Fraser, manager of the Mercure Hotel on Princes Street, said there was a problem with the thoroughfare being used as a ‘rat run’ by private long-distance coaches but insisted a complete ban would hit them hard.

He said: “The sense of arrival at the city is compromised when having to alight 100 metres from your accommodation.

“Guests who may not be familiar with Edinburgh are then faced with a very busy street and disorientation may cause undue stress which does not complement Edinburgh’s claim as a well connected and accessible city. Having to transport luggage the distance does present handling issues and additional cost for labour and equipment.”

He added: “My hotel welcomes around 20,000 guests each year who travel here by coach, and each and every one adds to Edinburgh’s economy.

“I feel that the hotel is unduly penalised just because of its location.”