I’ve never been to Liverpool although I’ve seen it on TV, which is the best I can do. It may well be one of the best places in the world! I don’t know and I haven’t got an opinion about it.
I was interested however, when I saw an article in the press a few weeks ago. It was one of those headlines which grab your attention. It basically said that bus lanes in Liverpool were going to be suspended for a few months to find out if traffic would be better or worse without them.
That sounded like a great thing to do. As drivers, we all sit in traffic at times and it is very frustrating when a bus glides up the bus lane and gets preferential treatment. Well it’s the bus passengers who get the preferential treatment.
A certain Mr Begg used to work here in Edinburgh and introduced bus lanes. He’s long gone onto better things but his bus lanes still remain. The buses here also have transponders in them which over-ride traffic lights so the buses get through quicker yet again. Mr Begg didn’t like cars.
Taxis are also allowed in bus lanes and cyclists but not motorcyclists. A few months ago Edinburgh Council put up some new cameras to catch drivers using the bus lanes. It was the biggest fiasco that the council had carried out for probably at least 10 minutes. They are prone to continual fiascos, which would be funny if it were not for the fact that we have to pay for them at some point. The council doesn’t like cars.
Anyway, the cameras were installed. The number of drivers caught was HUGE. It wasn’t that they were using the bus lane it was more the fact that they had to cross the bus lane or get around a corner or even get into their own drive. They still got the paperwork with the fine of course but most of them complained and got the fines dropped.
The council then switched some of the cameras off and things are better but far from ideal. The council doesn’t like cars.
In Liverpool the bus lanes are now just a part of the road that everyone can use. The Mayor has been interestingly supportive of the removal of the bus lanes albeit that it’s just a trial at the moment.
There have been complaints. It takes longer for bus passengers to get to where they are going. The bus companies are complaining that it now takes their buses longer to get where they are going. Really? No brainer actually.
The majority of people on the road now get to their destinations a bit quicker. There’s another surprise. Who would have thunk that?
The bus companies have become grumpy. Their advantage over all the other road users has been eroded. They no longer get priority treatment. They are going to complain.
There is no good reason to expect road users to have to put up with some people getting preferential treatment. It will be wonderful if the lanes are dropped for good.
Down with bus lanes I say!