the debate about transport in the Capital is often wrongly cast as a battle between motorists and users of other forms of transport.
The reality is that most of us have a foot in both camps, using different modes of transport at different times; some days driving or getting a lift, others walking, cycling, or catching the bus or train. And we all suffer when – as all too often happens – things go wrong on our transport network.
It is the turn of rail passengers to suffer particularly this week as disruption caused by electrification work on the Glasgow-to-Edinburgh line. Everyone understands that important improvements like this cannot be delivered without some inconvenience. There will have been weary sighs though from some after confusion among drivers drafted in from as far afield as London and traffic jams left them running up to an hour late.
Soon it is likely to be bus and taxi passengers and motorists who will feel the pain when part of a speed hump on Waverley Bridge is ripped up just a few months after it was installed. The frustration for everyone who will face lengthy detours will be compounded by the fact that the disruption is so needless. How many times have we heard this story, but if the work had only been done properly in the first place . . .
Where things are different for rail passengers and road users is that there is a half decent scheme in place to compensate train travellers when things go wrong. Everyone might not know about it, or how to take advantage of it, but details are on the ScotRail website. Passengers are entitled to some form of refund when trains are more than half-an-hour late.
There is no easy way to offer a similar deal to road users, but most would be satisfied to see another scheme that is available used more often. The Scottish Road Works Commissioner has the power to levy fines for botched works but doesn’t use them half often enough.