Businesses fear new bus gates make city centre 'less appealing place'

Business owners fear the new measures will reduce footfall in the city centre and impact their trade.

Businesses say they are worried that implementing three new bus only zones in Aberdeen in the coming weeks will impact their trade.

The “bus gates” are part of measures to reduce the number of cars, and to encourage people to use public transport.

But some fear that the move will reduce footfall in the city centre.

Brian Smith runs a shoe repair and key cut shop on Union Street.

He said: “Since the pandemic the streets have definitely been quieter so I don’t see how this will help reverse that.

“It’s not very appealing for people to come into town and it’s not easy to get around as things are at the moment, we’re not looking as far forward with our business as we used to.”

Sites at Bridge Street, Guild Street and between Market Street and Union Street will be implemented by September.

They will limit how vehicles other than public transport move through the city centre causing cars to take less direct routes around the city centre.

The North East Bus Alliance said it will have a “measurable positive impact” on transport services around Aberdeen.

Brian Smith fears it won't be 'appealing' for people to come into the city centre

It’s the latest stage of the council body’s City Centre Masterplan which is aimed at making Aberdeen a more attractive place to live, work, and visit.

Aberdeen City Council’s Deputy co-leader Ian Yuill said: “In order for businesses to succeed the city centre has to become a more attractive place to visit.

“This will create more space for pedestrians, for buses and cyclists which we hope will do that.”

“But people who do take their cars will still have full access to all the city centre car parks, there’s not a loss of parking spaces although how you get to these car parks may change.”

The new measures come after weeks of disruption across the city centre because of bridge closures at the River Dee.

Cars entering the zones could face a £60 fine and new restrictions will also come into force along Union Terrace Gardens which won’t allow drivers to make a right hand turn between the road and Rosemount Viaduct.

The new traffic plans are part of a Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, meaning the public will only be able to have their say after these sites are in place, hundreds of people have taken to social media to express their concerns over it’s implementation.

Aberdeen City Council says once the bus gates are in place, they will “listen and adapt” to the feedback given.

The local authority also said people will be given notice when they become active, and that there will be a four- week grace period for fines.

Bus gates are expected to go live early next week following work on gas lines in the city centre.

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