CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

The scandal of the 30mph buses

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  1. Dave

    Yesterday I tested Lothian Buses' claim that 20mph restrictions would cause their services to become commercially unviable.

    They say the number 38 "can only be operated with financial support from the council, therefore any increase in operating cost would have to be passed to the council for an increased subsidy."

    I rode the number 38 at 7pm (so outside rush hour) from the top of Esselmont Road west towards the canal and Slateford.

    Here's a sample of the heady speeds I was travelling at:

    25-26mph : 22s
    23-24mph : 36s
    20-22mph : 1 minute 45s
    <= 20mph : 7 minutes 52s

    22 seconds at 26mph would take 28.6 seconds at 20mph
    36 seconds at 24mph would take 43.2 seconds at 20mph
    105 seconds at 22mph would take 115.5 seconds at 20mph.

    The absolute worst case scenario would see an increased journey time of 24.3 seconds even if the 20 zone was extended to cover the route of the number 38 for three miles (far longer than is actually proposed).

    In reality of course, the bus often had to wait at traffic lights. If it got to the lights a couple of seconds later this would have no implication on journey time, it would merely have had to wait less time for them to change.

    The actual distance involved is well under a mile, so we might expect a "cost" of something like 8.4 seconds.

    Does the 20mph proposal really sound like something that would bring an entire bus service to its knees - or is it just a cynical knee-jerk reaction from Lothian buses without bothering to calculate the tiny effect the proposals they've scuppered would actually have?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. Dave

    "Dear Councillors,

    I am writing to refute Lothian Buses' submission on the compromised viability of bus routes in the south Edinburgh 20mph pilot zone.

    Yesterday I caught the number 38 from the top of Esselmont Road west to Slateford at the back of 7pm - so outside peak time - using a GPS system to measure exactly how long it travelled at any given speed.

    I find it almost impossible to believe that the scheme will not proceed on the basis of a delay which is less than a couple of extra people boarding at a stop! While I appreciate that you are unlikely to take my word for it, has anyone actually looked critically at the suggestion that our bus services would collapse? Based on yesterday's analysis, I suspect that the timetables for all affected Lothian bus services are based on speeds that are pretty close to 20mph already.

    In fact, should a 20mph limit be in place all the way from Cameron Toll to Slateford it would still only have "cost" the number 38 a paltry 24 seconds. It's even likely that the bus would have spent most of that 24 seconds getting to red lights later and spent 24 seconds less waiting at them.

    25-26mph : 22s (gain over 20mph: 6.6 seconds)
    23-24mph : 36s (gain over 20mph: 7.2 seconds)
    20-22mph : 1 minute 45s (gain over 20mph: 10.5 seconds)
    <= 20mph : 7 minutes 52s (no change)

    Only 1300m of the number 38's route will actually be effected making the relevant loss of time a trivial 7 seconds. I am hopeful that a group of like-minded citizens will be able to verify the losses on each route through a series of similar trials.

    I, like many others, strongly support the pilot scheme in altered form (that is, to include the larger roads we actually use to get around, not just the residential streets which are already quiet and slow). I am very disappointed that this bold and progressive proposal looks like being watered down due to such ill-informed fears.

    Please receive, Madam, Sir, the expression of my distinguished sentiments


    Posted 8 years ago #
  3. Good work Dave!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  4. chdot

    "Good work Dave!"

    Yes. I sent the data bit of Dave's post to TIC members and had several acknowledgements

    I have seen information like this of a similar journey. I will take these into account when we discuss this matter.
    Yours sincerely
    Cllr Stephen Hawkins


    Thanks for the info. we will discuss this at our pre meeting this morning. I appreciate you taking the time to write.
    Robert Aldridge

    Both those are in 'ruling' LibDems so...

    Posted 8 years ago #
  5. Dave

    I just wish I'd had time to ride on all the affected routes. Unfortunately the timescales are not so good (I had to get my wife to drive me back from Slateford because the returning #38's finish so early in the evening!)

    Posted 8 years ago #
  6. kaputnik

    the returning #38's finish so early in the evening

    clearly the council are not willing to subsidise return journeys in scientific data gathering!

    But great job Dave. If I had the time I think it would have been possible to prove similar using the timetables as well. I may still do that.

    Chapeau! (or whatever the bus-riding equivalent is? "Headsquare"?)

    Posted 8 years ago #
  7. LaidBack

    Nice to see that the bus kept within 30mph too.

    - they should offer you the job as part-time advisor to their operations!

    Other real delays to bus operations are people buying tickets (including day tickets) in the morning and random parking on bus lanes. In other cities people can buy 24 hour passes easily but not here. Because of this far more tickets are sold in the morning I reckon - just when everyone is scrambling to get to work. LRT will know this I assume.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  8. Dave

    An interesting response and one I'll need some time to think over:

    "Using the figures you quoted for additional journey times to bus services I calculate that the annual total bus schedule delay in the South Edinburgh area will exceed 200 days of bus service. This extra running of bus engines operating at inefficient speeds would add so much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere that polar bears would likely drown by the dozen if we had followed the advice offered by yourself and the cycle lobby

    Bus service Main Frequency Both directions? Journeys over 12 hour period
    2 15 Yes 96
    3/3A 10 Y 144
    5 15 Y 96
    7 15 Y 96
    8 15 Y 96
    11 10 Y 144
    14 15 Y 96
    15 30 Y 48
    16 10 Y 144
    23 10 Y 144
    24 30 Y 48
    30 10 Y 144
    31 10 Y 144
    33 15 Y 96
    36 20 Y 72
    37 15 Y 96
    38 20 Y 72
    41 15 Y 96
    42 30 Y 48
    45 30 Y 48
    47 30 Y 48
    48 60 Y 24
    49 15 Y 96
    67 60 Y 24
    86 First 20 Y 72

    Number of bus journeys delayed every day by your figure of 24.3 seconds = 2232 journeys.

    Total time added to journey times every day is therefore 54237.6 seconds, 903.96 minutes or over 15 hours (15.066)

    Five days a week 75.33 hours

    Fifty two weeks of the year 3917.16 hours or One Hundred and Sixty Three days added to the running of buses just on day time schedules alone.

    Add in evenings and weekends and I estimate the delays will exceed 200 bus journey days per year if we were to adopt your idea of a blanket 20mph across the experimental South area of Edinburgh. I am pleased that the Committee almost unanimously went for retaining 30mph on primary, bus routes and will review this experiment in 18 months time. By which time we will have been able to analyse the Portsmouth experiment which has thrown up some disturbing consequences of applying arbitrary speed limit reductions.

    I really cannot believe that anyone would advocate something for our city which would add to fuel consumption for our buses and increase pollution and CO2 emissions for everyone.

    Eric Barry
    Labour councillor for Colinton Fairmilehead "

    Posted 8 years ago #
  9. wingpig

    No personal insults.
    No swearing.

    Also, "...the experimental South area of Edinburgh..." isn't really the best phrasing, unless he knows something we don't about plans to return it all to wood and grassland if it doesn't work out.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  10. Ask him if he'd advocate buses stopping their engines if they are picking up more than 5 passengers, with calculations on how much CO2 this would save...

    Or a ban on city centre cars...

    Posted 8 years ago #
  11. Also "...and the cycle lobby"

    That speaks volumes. It's personal, he doesn't like the 'cycle lobby' (let's face it, it's termed in a derogatory manner) and that over-rides the safety and well-being of his constituents who he is supposedly elected to represent.

    Coucillor Barry, j'accuse!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  12. steveo

    Or a ban on city centre cars...

    Lets just take his reasoning to the extreme, think of the amount of polar bears drowned by the CO2 emitted by LRT over the course of the year. Lets just ban them!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  13. scotti

    What about the human cost? how many lives will not be saved? talk about completely missing the point.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  14. Reactionary sarcasm really is an odd political gambit.

    I can imagine him cackling to himself, stroking his white cat on his fat lap, pleased at his polar bear witty remark.

    Hmmmm, photoshop tonight methinks... :D

    Posted 8 years ago #
  15. chdot

    "he doesn't like the 'cycle lobby'"

    That'll be Spokes then(?)

    'WE' are just extraordinary members of the public who like to cycle for many reasons (including transport) - when we are not walking, driving, going by bus, taking kids to school, helping old ladies across the road etc.

    As someone said there's an election next year.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  16. Mwuhahahahahaha! The perfect picture to use!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  17. 'WE' are just extraordinary members of the public who like to cycle for many reasons (including transport)

    Indivisible from the 'cycle lobby' as soon as anyone becomes aware of any point being made by a cyclist. It's funny isn't it, and I guess another example of 'outgrouping'. As soon as you mention being a cyclist you're part of the 'cycle lobby'. There isn't really a 'motor lobby' that gets referred to - those who opposed the 20mph limits weren't the 'motor lobby', why not?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  18. wingpig

    Because the motor lobby is the establishment, innit.

    It's a shame that buses are apparently so hideously inefficient at speeds below 30mph, seeing as they spend most of their active lives beneath that speed, slowing down and speeding up all the time. Unless they're on a whizzy extra-urban route with some 40mph limit on it. Perhaps we need catapults or bus-door-synched turntables at bus stops so that passengers can embark without requiring buses to slow or stop.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  19. amir

    "inefficient speeds"


    Oh for evidence-based policy

    Posted 8 years ago #
  20. amir

    hot air and nonsense emitted by the hon councillor
    multiplied by the number of councillors in ECC
    multiplied by the number of councils in Scotland (or UK)

    Enough to heat our houses for 10000 years

    Posted 8 years ago #
  21. steveo

    Are you suggesting we just burn them?? Is he lighter than an duck?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  22. Made of wood! Wood! Made of wood! Floats!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  23. Kirst

    Polar bears can swim.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  24. So polar bears are ducks?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  25. steveo

    I'll stop now before we totally ruin this thread, don't want to make it a silly place... Sorry.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  26. cc

    No more Labour votes from me. I'm running out of not-so-anti-cycling parties to vote for.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  27. Kim

    Just the usual dribble from Politicians who don't want to face up to the real issue. The 20MPH speed limit will not increase CO2 emissions, unless you are using figure provided by an oil company. If Labour (or any of the other major parties) are really serious about reducing the CO2 foot print, they would restrict car use in the City. This can easily be done be reducing parking spaces and increasing charges for those that are left. Trouble is all the major parties are to cowardly to do it!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  28. crowriver

    Cllr Barry is a TAXI DRIVER. He is apparently the TGWU rep for Edinburgh's cabbies. 'Nuff said.

    More on Eric 'sudoku' Barry here, also here and here.

    'Fuel efficiency' Eric is not the only cabbie on the Cooncil. Steve 'last orders' Cardownie apparently owns a private hire car firm.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  29. Roibeard

    Council places polar bears before children
    "An unnamed Edinburgh councillor admitted today that road safety improvements were blocked due to fears that they would increase CO2 outputs thus risking the lives of polar bears in the Arctic. The councillor didn't wish to be drawn on why polar bears needed to be protected ahead of the capital's children."


    I'm pretty certain that email was ill considered!


    Posted 8 years ago #
  30. chdot

    "I'm pretty certain that email was ill considered!"

    I think so too...

    I got exactly the same one.

    Maybe a few months before I work out a suitable response.

    There's an election next year.

    Posted 8 years ago #

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