Edinburgh to trial peak-time use only on 90% of bus lanes

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Changes to the majority of Edinburgh’s bus lanes will see them used during peak times only, the Scottish Herald has reported.

In a trial expected to last at least nine months, 90% of the lanes will be cut to peak time use, while motorcyclists will also be allowed to use them at all times.

The changes, which came into effect on Monday, follow a review of the Scottish capital’s 65km of bus lanes, 60% of which are currently peak period only, which took into account the views of a variety of organisations representing bus lane users.

Transport convener, Cllr Lesley Hinds, said: “The different operating hours that apply to bus lanes can cause confusion. We are therefore running a trial to have 90% of bus lanes operating at peak periods only.

“The purpose of this is to see if standardised operating hours will make it simpler for drivers, without impacting adversely on bus journey times or compromising the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

“By allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes, we will also be making their journeys both safer and quicker, with little or no impact on buses.

“Both trials will be closely monitored throughout to assess the impact on all road users.”

Bus lanes began being used heavily by Edinburgh City Council in the 1990s in a bid to improve journey reliability and save time for buses, as well as encouraging modal shift. However, following the introduction of bus lane camera enforcement in 2012, the council said it found that many drivers were confused about the operating hours of the lanes.

Under the trial, all day bus lanes which currently operate from 0730 to 1830hrs Monday to Friday and 0830 1830hrs on Saturdays will only be in use between 0730 and 0930hrs and 1600 and 1830hrs Monday to Friday.

Following the trial, an assessment will look at the impact of the changes and be reported back to the council before any decision is made to make them permanent.