A ONE mile stretch of Glasgow's flagship Fastlink busway has been closed indefinitely amid a safety probe into a string of pedestrian collisions.

Bus operators have been banned from using the segregated Fastlink lanes along the Broomielaw since October 16, when a second pedestrian in less than two weeks was knocked down.

City transport chiefs have ruled out re-opening the bus lane until pedestrian safety can be improved after operators voiced concerns that the area was becoming an accident blackspot due to high numbers of people walking into the busway while engrossed by smartphones.

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The area is home to the city's financial district and is busy with pedestrians during the morning and evening rush-hours and lunchtime.

Buses run adjacent to the pavement, in both directions, on segregated Fastlink lanes.

However, bus drivers are understood to have become increasingly concerned about the number of pedestrians stepping out while distracted by mobile phones.

One industry source said: "People are tuned into their phones, earphones on, maybe playing Pokémon Go and are not paying enough attention. It's perhaps an education issue to get people to appreciate that the bus way is a bus way and has to be treated as such."

The council is now considering various interventions to reduce the risk, such as road markings and railings to separate the pavement from the busway.

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It comes after a male pedestrian was rushed to hospital with leg injuries on October 16 after being struck by a Fastlink bus as he crossed the Broomielaw. Another man was knocked down in the same area on October 3, while a 28-year-old woman was seriously hurt after being hit by a bus on the Fastlink lane of the Broomielaw in April.

It is unknown whether smartphones were a factor in any of the collisions, but no action has been taken against the bus drivers involved.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: "Concerns have been raised about distracted pedestrians putting themselves at risk by wandering out onto the Fastlink without heeding the traffic.

"It is imperative that people pay attention to their surroundings and cross safely.

"Following a meeting between the council, Police Scotland and SPT, measures will be put in place to encourage people to use the official crossings.

"Breaks in the planting along the Broomielaw will be closed, either with by the installation of railings or additional planting.

"Arrows will be painted on the carriageway to highlight the fact that traffic travels in both directions and extra signs will be erected to alert people to the dangers posed by the traffic.”

Read more: Transport officers 'would rather quit' than work for Police Scotland, MSPs told

The danger of "distracted walking" has been increasingly highlighted in road safety research as smartphones have grown in popularity.

In 2013, a study by Ohio State University estimated that the number of pedestrians treated in emergency rooms for for injuries related to using mobile phones while walking had doubled in five years.

In Belgium, Antwerp has given smartphone users their own designated walking lanes.

The Broomielaw closure is the latest blow to the £40 million Fastlink corridor, a dedicated busway linking the city centre to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan.

In October 2015, operators pulled services from the route after faulty traffic lights slowed journey times.

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach, which uses the Fastlink route, said they were in talks with the council and SPT about pedestrian safety improvements.

She added: "In the meantime, our services are currently operating on the main road, rather than the busway, between Broomielaw and the Squinty Bridge. Passengers are still able to access our services as normal."

An SPT spokeswoman said: "We are currently working with our Fastlink partner Glasgow City Council, and Stagecoach to deal with the issues raised regarding Fastlink services along the Broomielaw.”