Bus lanes fines increase? Let's have a rethink.

So Aberdeen City Council plans to increase fines for driving in bus lanes to £80. What is the justification? Where is the proof that by strangling traffic flow on our arterial routes we are providing benefit for anyone... the electorate?

It simply cannot make any sense to bunch all the traffic into a big long, time-losing, fuel-wasting, pollution-producing line, while the lane on the left sits empty and unused.

I remember a classic example, being the time I stupidly thought I would be before the rush hour at the Haudagain roundabout. Wrong. I sat there, in the company of hundreds of other road-tax and fuel-tax paying citizens for half an hour.

That is half an hour of my time. That is half an hour of wasted fuel, times however many people were stuck there. It is also half an hour of localised pollution, multiplied by how many people were in the queue.

Let's save time, save fuel, reduce pollution and make our city more vibrant again. Are our councillors listening?

Meanwhile, the bus lane on the left sat totally empty. For what?

For two buses and one taxi!

There simply can be no logic in that, other than some perverse political desire to punish the electorate – the very people who vote them into power.

It's to encourage people not to drive, say the politicians (clutching their car keys, or their mobile phones to summon a taxi or official car).

Let's get Aberdeen moving. Let's do the only sensible thing we can.

Scrap the bus lanes.

If we feel we absolutely have to do something, then it cannot be something that is so utterly wasteful of road space.

The only logical option would be to create 2+ lanes. Any vehicle with two or more occupants could use the re-designated bus lanes.

Experience in Leeds has shown that this increases public acceptance of the special lanes, improves the traffic across all traffic lanes (including buses).

So what are we waiting for?

Simple logic says it is wasteful to create traffic queues (because that is precisely what bus lanes do).

We all paid for the precious tarmac, let's share its use sensibly and get traffic moving –
  • saving us all time
  • saving fuel
  • reducing localised pollution
  • and boosting trade in our city centre.

What part of that logic do our politicians not understand?

The Association of British Drivers has unearthed what it claims is the first admission that Transport for London implemented policies to reduce road and junction capacity in central London. The BDA says this is admitted in the latest Transport for London report and that it shows "obstructing traffic was a deliberate policy".

There are many who believe that other cities, including Aberdeen have implemented similar policies to reduce road capacity and that bus lanes are among the methods. Visitors to the city have also commented that many of Aberdeen's traffic lights seem to have very lengthy red phases, resulting in further traffic delays.
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