Aberdeen banishes buses from main shopping street

An attempt to return buses to a pedestrianised section of Aberdeen’s Union Street has failed. In 2020, the Scottish government set up the £30million Spaces for People fund and arranged for cycling group Sustrans Scotland to administer it. It was to pay for pop-up infrastructure measures to assist social distancing during the pandemic. Lack of consultation on proposals was justified by the need for fast results, but it was stated that the measures being implemented would be temporary.

Aberdeen City Council was awarded £1.76million of the fund, but FirstGroup and Stagecoach both protested to the Scottish transport minister when the council decided to close the city’s main shopping street, Union Street between Bridge Street and Market Street, temporarily to all vehicles. They wanted two lanes retained for buses but with both pavements widened.

The closure went ahead in May 2020, and since then all buses have been diverted via Market Street, Guild Street and Bridge Street. The council, a Labour/Conservative coalition, said then that it had no ambition to make that section of Union Street permanently bus-free.

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