A new bus lane in Dundee’s city centre has sparked confusion, with taxi drivers accused of taking longer routes as they try to avoid it.
Cars, motorbikes, HGVs and taxis have regularly been spotted using the Meadowside route, before connecting on to Victoria Road, in recent weeks.
Dundee City Council unveiled plans in February to make the route a “public transport priority” for buses and cyclists, with all other vehicles rerouted along Bell Street.
Since the lane system was created, many cars have continued to use it and taxi drivers say it is causing problems with customers.
In some other Scottish cities, such as Glasgow, taxi drivers are allowed to use bus lanes.
They are also permitted to use other bus lanes in the city centre.
But the council has confirmed that other traffic – including taxis – should not be using this lane, though they advised the changes are temporary.
Chris Elder, taxi secretary for Unite the Union, said the new road markings are posing problems for drivers who were being accused of taking “detours”.
“I have been in touch with the council in connection with this in recent weeks,” he said.
“We use the bus lanes turning into Bell Street from the court end and we are also allowed to come through from the Perth Road to the Nethergate.
“Based on recent conversations, we thought taxis were going to be included in those allowed access.”
He added: “Some drivers have been using the bus lane on Meadowside and others haven’t at the moment.
“That has been creating a lot of problems with passengers thinking we are taking them on a detour.
“I will be going back to the council in connection with this.”
‘Greener ways of getting around’
The council said it is the responsibility of Police Scotland to enforce bus lane rules.
A spokesman for the local authority said: “These temporary changes were introduced as part of the council’s continuing push to enhance cleaner, greener ways of getting around as the coronavirus restrictions ease and into the future.
“Public transport is still one of the most positive, sustainable options for journeys in and around the city and giving buses priority at this and other junctions will help to make bus travel an even more attractive option.”
He added: “Only cycles and buses should be accessing Victoria Road turning right from Meadowside, with other traffic, including taxis, going along Bell Street onto the inner ring road.
“Police Scotland is currently responsible for enforcement of the bus lanes but we work closely with them to achieve better levels of compliance among motorists.”
‘Making bus a better choice’
A spokeswoman for Xplore Dundee said they would “encourage” road users to observe the lanes to ensure they work for everyone.
She added: “Bus priority measures like this lane are one of the key ways we can speed up bus journeys, providing a better service for our customers and making bus a better choice than the car.
“Too frequently our vehicles are stuck in queues of traffic because so many people choose to travel by car, causing congestion for everyone.
“We’d encourage all road users to observe the lanes and use them correctly so that we can maximise the benefits for everyone.
“We’re continuing to work with Dundee City Council on these kinds of bus priority measures so that they can be implemented successfully, offering better choices for sustainable transport in the city and helping to tackle climate change.”