Labour’s answers to EBUG’s questions

1) Could you publish the delay minutes to Edinburgh bus services (pre- & post-pandemic)? And analysis of solutions?

If the data is available, yes.

2) Would you resurrect the bus-stop rationalisation proposal? If so, what consultation should take place? 

Absolutely not.

3) Why are gaps between bus stops so long?

Spacing varies greatly, but if there are specific problem areas we would be happy to look at this.

4) Do you agree that there should be no reduction in the number of bus stops?

Yes, unless the community has specific concerns about individual stops.

5) The need for quicker services resulted in several express services; for which Stagecoach has won awards. Do you support more on specific routes e.g. North Berwick/S Queensferry-Edinburgh?

Yes, particularly on commuter routes into Edinburgh.

6) What’s your view on re-regulating Edinburgh bus services i.e. Council sets the network, timetables, fares (instead of solely on commercial basis)?

Councillors certainly need to have more say over the operation of the LB services. Service reductions often appear to lack justification and purchasing buses which can’t simultaneously  carry a buggy and wheelchair did not reflect well on Edinburgh.

7) If you support bus re-regulation in Edinburgh (with something like TfL as a statutory body), how would you make it happen?

Such an organisation would have to be established in partnership with surrounding local authorities and have the specific aim of encouraging modal shift and thereby reducing the volume of cars  traveling into  Edinburgh. We would also like to give the public a greater say in how Lothian Buses operate.

8) Is a review of the bus network needed, with fewer buses through city centre but restored elsewhere? If so, how would you make it happen?

We need to work with the public on this to fully understand where and when people want to travel. These desire lines would form the basis of any revised network.

9) How can you make buses more appealing, if service length, frequency, & reliability has constantly gone down but fares up?

We support free public transport for all. Buses, however, need to be clean, punctual and operate at a frequency which encourages increased use. Bus stops also have to be safe and offer adequate protection from the weather.

10) What role do buses play in meeting council’s climate change agenda? Could the current bus system in Edinburgh help it? If not, what needs to be done?

If people are serious about reducing travel related emissions in Edinburgh, they need to accept that public transport will do the heavy lifting. Walking and cycling need to increase too, but only public transport offers the potential of a step change in the short/medium term.

11) Areas outside Edinburgh are rapidly developing, many having poor/no access to bus services, possibly increasing traffic. Should Edinburgh Council do anything to address this?

Developments without good access to public transport links should not be approved by the Planning Committee.

12) What’s your view on bus lane operating time and mileage extension? If you support it, how would you make it happen, especially against possible opposition?

This is much needed in some parts of the city, and we will work with communities to progress this.

13) What do you think about bus gates?

We are happy to work with communities to progress these where needed.

14) Why not a council policy where significant restrictions in width on a main road lead to a general traffic closure, so roadworks don’t delay buses?

We would be happy to consider this if more details can be provided.

15) Why not a council policy prioritising resurfacing work on bus routes, and specialist resurfacing at bus stops to withstand the additional load? 

In the past Labour did reinforce bus stops, and we have to do more of  his. Arterial routes should certainly be a priority for investment.  On bus routes we also need to avoid temporary repairs, and “get it right first time”.

16) Why not a council policy that no bus stops are placed outwith the main running lane on busy roads (on pavement blisters)

We agree that this practice should be stopped.

17) Bus shelters and real time information boards; should these be rolled out across the city, not just busy areas?

This should be our aim, particularly if increased passenger numbers justify the increased costs.

18) What do you think about interchanges, and what do they need?

We feel we need to work with the public on what we can gain from these and how we can improve the “place making” design around them.

19) In the ‘to not through’ approach, will any buses still go through the centre? Would shuttle buses across the city centre be environmentally better than normal buses doing the same?

The aim of this change is laudable, but we fear the shuttle bus will simply add long extensions to existing journey times. We have to think quite carefully before progressing with this or removing any bus stops from central Edinburgh.

20) What is, and should, CEC do about abuse of bus gates, especially on Princes St and South St David St?

We need to show zero tolerance to any abuse.

21) What is/should be done about the timing of traffic lights at the Waverley Br/Princes St junction?

We would be happy to consider this if more details can be provided.

22) What are your plans to make buses more attractive to passengers, in particular, to speed them up through congested traffic?

In Edinburgh we will see a further 55,000 homes built over the next 10 years, and many more will be built in surrounding local authority areas.  A key challenge will be to ensure new and existing developments are well connected to bus routes.

23) How should Transport Scotland’s £500 million bus priority fund be best used in Edinburgh?

We would like to see the modernisation of Lothian Buses’ fleet to continue, both in terms of emissions and accessibility. We also have to look at investing in bus lanes where needed, and also make joint bids with adjacent local authorities (e.g. Park & Ride facilities) to help reduce the number of cars coming in to Edinburgh.