An 84-year-old man believes he would be “safer to drive to Dundee” for his shopping after being “trapped” in Aberdeen’s new bus gates.
John Sutton, from Strichen, was left “shaken” after experiencing finding himself entangled in the city bus gates.
He says he couldn’t find a clear “escape route” and felt as though he had been “trapped” in the bus gates.
Although he still can’t quite work out where he went wrong, the 84-year-old believes he went through the bus gates five times during his trip on August 24.
He says he spent 20 minutes and drove 3.5 miles trying to navigate the restrictions, but struggled to find a way out.
Instead of going shopping, he was too much of a “nervous wreck” so headed straight to Bridge of Don to refuel the car before heading home.
Mr Sutton later received a warning for breaking the new road rules.
While he wasn’t fined this time, he now says he will be avoiding the city in the future.
‘What do you do? How do you get out of it?’
Mr Sutton normally attends hospital appointments in Aberdeen and chauffeurs others who can’t drive to theirs.
However, he was unaware of all the new road restrictions and was surprised to be greeted with bus gates.
He said the bus gates on Market Street were hidden by traffic and he didn’t notice them until the other cars moved and it was too late.
In his panic, he then tried to get away from the bus gates but kept turning onto another one, circling back on himself before he eventually ended up on South College Street — with no idea how he got there.
The pensioner has accused Aberdeen City Council of not making the new bus gates clear enough.
He believes there should be signs directing people on how to avoid the bus gates, and existing signs should be more clear.
“There’s no warning that if you turn right or left you’ll be trapped in a bus gate,” he said. “What do you do? How do you get out of it?
“There’s no warning, there’s no escape route, there’s no apology, it’s a form of extraction — they want to catch you and claim £30, or £60 if you’re slow.”
‘Safer to drive to Dundee’
Mr Sutton and his wife would normally do their shopping on King Street as well as the Bon Accord centre — which is difficult to get to now there is no right turn on Union Terrace.
But, he told the Press and Journal while they will still come to the city for hospital appointments they will shop elsewhere and online.
“Why go to Aberdeen? It just isn’t worth it,” Mr Sutton said.
“I’m 84, I don’t want to be carrying bags up and down the street. I want to be able to drive there and park close by.
“It would be much easier now, to go shopping in Inverurie, or even Elgin, rather than going to Aberdeen.
“It would be a lot safer to drive to Dundee than go to Aberdeen.”
Aberdeen City Council only giving warnings during ‘grace period’
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman argued the new bus priority route has been publicised online.
The local authority has also put up temporary LED signs warning of the new bus gates across the city, as well as advanced direction signs.
She said: “Information about the new priority routes was displayed on the city’s variable messaging signs at various points of entry to the city and within the city and these continue to be used to remind drivers of the new priority routes.
“Advanced direction signs are in place ahead of the bus gates to advise drivers of the restrictions and routes available to them at the next junction.
“A grace period has been in place during the setup and settling-in period of the restrictions. During this time, warning letters will be issued, prior to penalty notices starting.”