If you’ve been to Edinburgh you may have noticed that we have a lot of buses and I mean a lot. Their routes criss-cross the city and the outlying areas pretty significantly. If you’ve been you may also have noticed that they take up a huge amount of the road with their bus lanes, prioritised traffic lights and other road restrictions, which car users have to abide by.
The buses used to belong to the old City Council and the current bus service is a separate legal entity although it is still really run by the council. The buses are very new and shiny, no rickety old crap for Edinburgh. We have some that are very environmentally friendly apparently, but more of that later.
We have various services which run every 5 minutes at certain times of the day and sometimes you see these buses running in a convoy of three. If you look along Princes Street you will see many, many buses. A riot of white, maroon and gold, which are the colours that the buses are painted in.
At some junctions it’s gets very interesting. A bus wants to come out and a bus is waiting to turn in, they juggle about, sometimes its more than two buses, and let each other out and in and so on. Meanwhile the rest of us in cars sit there with places to go using up our time, we the very and the majority second-class citizen car drivers paying through the nose for the privilege of driving our cars etc. The joys.
Don’t get me wrong the bus drivers are really good and they are considerate mostly. They are also the most patient drivers in the world. During the tourist season and the Festival in particular, a LOT of tourists use the buses. That doesn’t mean that they actually pay a fare and take a seat on an actual bus. The bus drivers are used to people getting on the buss and then asking for directions etc. The drivers go out of their way to help them get to where they are going.
I’ve also seen tourists get on a bus and give the driver the money to pay for their tickets. The trouble is that they don’t have the exact fare and the driver can’t give them change. The bus passengers then provide the correct money for the fares. Job done. Keep the tourists happy although it would be a good deal easier if they just stayed at home and sent us the money the would have spent if they’d come to Edinburgh.
Almost everyone who gets on a bus in Edinburgh thanks the driver when they get off. It’s all very polite. I often wonder if the jakeys who mug people that then and offer their apologies for taking up their time.
It’s just such a pity that the buses are given so much priority in traffic. They slow things down and cause jams and the bus lanes further reduce traffic flow and lengthen journeys.
Of course the recent report, which measured the pollution from vehicles in traffic, pointed to the greatest blame being that of diesel vehicle fumes. Given that some of the buses in Edinburgh have claims of operating at very low emissions levels and even claim to be carbon neutral (as if anything could be carbon neutral) it’s somewhat ironic that they are amongst the worst polluters.
Last thing. The bus fare has gone up from £1:20 to £1:50 in a very short timescale. Why? Well just one reason really. The extra money is being used to help pay for the trams, which were a complete steal at just £1 BILLION.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…