A MAN says he is considering stopping a service which helps bands with non-LEZ compliant vehicles because he finds driving in the city centre “almost impossible”.

Tony Gaughan, who owns London Road record store Blitzkrieg Shop, lends and delivers instruments to young bands who are performing in Glasgow city centre for free.

He also delivers instruments for bands whose vehicles are not LEZ compliant using his own electric vehicle, having started the service around a year ago.

To enter the LEZ, petrol cars must comply with Euro 4 standards, which are mostly cars registered after 2006, and diesel vehicles must be registered after 2015 to meet the Euro 6 rules, otherwise, drivers will face a £60 fine.

Glasgow Times:

Tony explained: "There were bands who couldn’t bring equipment into town because they had older cars and therefore they were stuck for getting equipment into gigs within the LEZ zone.

"Some young bands had been approaching and I knew some of these kids didn’t have drum kits or equipment to be able to do gigs so I came up with this idea.

"I don’t charge for delivery or pick-up."

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Tony says he runs the service at a loss for himself, with him often having to close his shop while he makes deliveries, but he was happy to do it because "it helps these young bands out" and he felt it was "a good community thing to do".

However, Tony, who has been driving for around 40 years, has accused Glasgow City Council of making it "harder and harder" to drive around the city centre which has led him to consider no longer offering the service.

The 60-year-old said: "I’m finding it more and more difficult getting around Glasgow and almost impossible to get into.

"I’ve never found it more stressful driving around Glasgow trying to avoid getting into a bus lane or a ticket for a street they’ve closed off.

"They’re absolutely wrecking it."

Glasgow Times:

Tony continued: "You don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what you’re doing because every day they seem to change another road, they’re putting cameras up everywhere.

"The way they’ve set the city up it’s almost like a one-way system, but if one road’s out it completely destroys everything.

"And your head’s scrambled because you don’t know where you’re going."

He added: "The driving in the city centre is almost impossible.

"I think I know the city but what’s it like for somebody that doesn’t?"

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While Tony has been frustrated driving in the city centre for some time, he has been left particularly “scunnered” after he was issued a charge notice for entering the bus gate on Cathedral Street when trying to get to Dows Bar on Dundas Street on March 21.

Tony believes there is not adequate signage informing drivers travelling along Cathedral Street where the bus gate starts and ends and "how to avoid it" and would like to see one placed further in advance of the bus gate. 

However, a spokesperson for the council has said the signage in place goes "goes beyond legal expectations". 

Tony, who lives in the Southside, said: "The only way you can get in there now is to take a detour to get into Dundas Street.

"I believe Dundas Street is a pretty strange anomaly because of where it’s positioned."

He added: "I’m not looking for a badge or anything else.

"What I’m looking for is being able to do this [service] without fear and they’re making it possible for me to continue that."

A spokesman for the council said: “The driver has accepted liability for his breach of bus lane regulations and has paid the fine.

“The bus gate on Cathedral Street has been in use for many years and the signage is fully compliant with statutory requirements.

“Additional, advance signage is already in place ahead of the junction before the Cathedral St bus gate, which goes beyond legal expectations.

“Sat navs and on-line mapping should take account of bus lanes and provide appropriate route planning.

“Bus priority measures such as bus gates are a crucial support for the most significant form of public transport in Glasgow.

“Bus gates improve the efficiency and reliability of bus services, which make bus travel more viable and attractive for people across the city,.

“Almost half of Glasgow’s householders do not have access to a private vehicle and we are focused on creating a transport network that is fairer for all road users, more sustainable, cleaner and safer.”

“Changes to the roads network in the city centre are subject to public consultation through the traffic regulation order process. “

“Glasgow’s LEZ was introduced to tackle decades-long, unacceptably high levels of air pollution in our city centre. 

“The scheme specifically targets the most polluting vehicles which disproportionately create the harmful concentrations of air pollution in the zone area.

“The vast majority of vehicles are entirely unaffected by the LEZ.”