Lord Provost Donald Wilson has been forced to issue an apology after his official limo parked illegally on zig zag lines.
The chauffeur-driven BMW with the distinctive S0 number plate was spotted by taxi driver Andy Taylor picking up the Capital’s First Citizen from the side entrance to Waverley station in Market Street as he returned from the service in Westminster Abbey to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.
Mr Taylor said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The car drew up and stopped on the zig zag lines and waited there. The driver got out after a couple of minutes and ushered two people into the car and sped off.
“They came out of the station entrance. I didn’t realise it was the Lord Provost at first, but I recognised the car.”
He said the police regularly patrolled that stretch of Market Street and were normally quick to pounce.
“This is an offence which carries a statutory £60 fine and three penalty points. You only have to have a wheel touching the zig zag and they’ll come after you. But it seems it’s one law for councillors and another law for everyone else.”
Mr Taylor said he had been sitting in his cab on the temporary taxi rank in Market Street – introduced while work is carried out inside the station – at around 8pm on Tuesday when he saw the limo.
“I was speaking to someone on the phone and I had to say I would ring them back. You don’t expect to see the Lord Provost’s car parking illegally.
“It was just fortunate for them there were no police patrolling at the time.
“It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the police had been there.”
An irate passer-by said: ”It’s ridiculous – I was parked there the other day and the police pounced on me. It’s one rule for the public and another for the provost.”
It is understood the other person who was picked up in the limo along with the Lord Provost was another member of the official party who had been to Westminster Abbey to represent the city at the coronation anniversary service.
In a statement issued by the council, the Lord Provost said: “After a long day I have to admit I was not really paying attention to where the car was parked and completely accept it was not in an appropriate position. There has never been any doubt that the civic car has to follow parking and waiting restrictions and I’m sorry we fell short of our usually high standards on this occasion.”
It is not the first time the Lord Provost’s limo has got the office holder and council into trouble.
In 2009, the famous S0 number plate had to be quickly changed after an eagle-eyed member of the public spotted that the two digits were too close together, making it illegal.
The Lord Provost is set to swap the BMW 7-series for a new eco-friendly civic car in a move which council officials claim could reduce emissions on official trips by 40 per cent.
Councillor Wilson was test driving several models earlier this year, including a £98,000 Lexus LS600h luxury hybrid which has a five-litre V8 engine and two electric motors.
He said at the time: “There’s no higher profile than that of being Lord Provost, the First Citizen, of Scotland’s capital city and choosing a hybrid car will encourage this technology across Edinburgh.”