You only have a few days left to make your voice officially heard in a council survey on the highly controversial Aberdeen bus gates.
On August 22 last year, the new bus gates on Bridge Street, Guild Street and Market street were switched on.
They have resulted in many months of confusion for drivers trying to navigate Aberdeen City Centre, with thousands caught out already.
As well as new bus gates, a raft of other new traffic measures have been implemented over the past year, like pedestrian zones and bans on certain turns on key roads.
When it comes to carrying out such major changes to city centre infrastructure, you might imagine a proper consultation with the wider public would be carried out before the new system goes live.
You would imagine wrong.
Why wasn’t there a consultation before the bus gates and other changes?
In this case, the city council decided to opt for what’s called an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, which Transport Scotland says is a “very rarely used” process which councils consider to offer “little benefit”.
This meant that before the new bus gates were installed, only certain groups like the emergency services, bus and taxi firms had to be officially consulted.
The city council only opened its official consultation to let the wider public have their say on July 24 last year, after work to implement the bus gates and other roads changes had already started.
These other changes include a ban on right-hand turns from Union Terrace onto Rosemount Viaduct for private cars, and the pedestrian and cyclist zone on Schoolhill.
That official consultation is coming to an end very shortly.
When does the bus gate consultation end, and how can I take part?
The consultation information can be found on the city councils website at this link here.
To take part, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, you can send letters to the following address:
Traffic Management and Road Safety
Operations and Protective Services
Aberdeen City Council
Business Hub 11, Second Floor Wet
Marischal College, Broad Street,
Responses to the bus gate consultation must be sent in writing and may be used in committee meetings and published online.
Anyone objecting to the bus priority route must explain why they disagree and the problems they have faced because of the new bus gates and road restrictions.
Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and signatures will be removed from the letters when shared online and with committee members.
Crucially, all feedback for the council must be sent by January 23, meaning if you want to make your voice heard by the council, you only have a few days left.
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The Council wants to hear as many people’s views as possible. There is still time for people to take part in the consultation and we hope people will take the time to take part.”
How many people have taken part so far?
The council says there have been “more than 200” responses so far.
In September when we asked the council the same question, they told us at that point fewer than 100 people have taken part.
While there have been only a few hundred official responses from the public so far, thousands of people have been caught out by the bus gates.
The ups and downs of the bus gates and other Aberdeen traffic measures
While the council’s consultation has attracted just over 200 responses, there has been other, unofficial analysis of the public’s attitudes to traffic changes in the city centre.
More than 800 people took part an unofficial poll, and 81% of respondents said they opposed the bus gate scheme.
The bus gates have also drawn the ire of those in the business community.
Haigs and Olive Alexanders, two city centre food businesses, have both shut in recent weeks, and both have pointed the finger at bus gates and other transport factors which they argue are driving people out of the city centre.
But for others, the bus gate changes have proven to be beneficial.
First and Stagecoach have been offering free weekend travel this month, as they are “reinvesting the savings” from the new system.
The bus operators say the new bus gates and associated bus priority routes are speeding up journey times for more than 600,000 people a month in Aberdeen city centre.
Last month, we revealed how PR experts have been hired to explain how the Aberdeen City Centre bus gates work, and promote their benefits.