People living in Edinburgh have petitioned the British Airports Authority (BAA), asking for a new bus route between the city’s northwestern suburbs and Edinburgh Airport. The link, which would operate down Queensferry Road, would be paid for with some of the profits generated from the hub’s controversial £1 drop-off fee, implemented in October last year.
While the request may seem like retribution for forcing motorists to give up their hard-earned cash, the petition is only asking the BAA to comply with its own reasons for introducing the £1 levy. The operator implied that some of the money raised by the drop-off fee would be used to bolster the appeal of public transport, chiefly by encouraging car owners to leave their vehicles at home.
However, Alex Cole-Hamilton, local Liberal Democrat candidate, was unimpressed with the airport’s contribution, “it’s clear from what residents have told me that there are inadequate public transport links to the airport.” Mr. Cole-Hamilton noted that Edinburgh’s bus service, which is dominated by Lothian Buses, was insufficient for people travelling from the city’s northern areas, such as Newhaven and Muirhouse.
Exacerbating the problem is the news that a new tramline between Edinburgh Airport and the city’s waterfront has hit a £100m funding shortfall. Kenny MacAskill, candidate for the Scottish National Party, said that the cash-strapped project was a “mess entirely of the council’s own creation”, and refused to support pleas for additional funding from the Scottish government.
Whether the BAA can be encouraged to open its wallet for Edinburgh’s ailing transport network is debatable, but, given that the introduction of the £1 drop-off fee was a disaster for the airport’s reputation, the Turnhouse hub may find redemption in supporting community projects. Proponents of the new bus route say that the service would only need to operate once or twice an hour.
Scottish newspaper, the Scotsman, claims that around 1,000 people have signed the BAA petition.