Councils go their separate ways on bus lanes


Coventry City Council is set to suspend a number of bus lanes in a six month trial while nearby Leicester is stepping up enforcement.

Cabinet members in Coventry will vote on Tuesday afternoon (29 November) on a proposal to undertake an ‘evidence based trial’ in which bus lanes will be suspended using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order.

The trial will take place in four phases, each containing about 2km of bus lane, with the first phase due to start in January 2017 and run for six months.

A bus by the Council House, Coventry

Council leader George Duggins said: ‘I'm delighted that we are getting this trial underway and that we have been able to agree it with bus operators. As a bus user I know how important public transport is. But also know how frustrating it can be to be stuck in a queue with an empty lane next to you.

‘We want to keep traffic moving around the city for everyone. So, we’re going to suspend a number of bus lanes and monitor whether traffic flow improves. We’ll also be checking bus times to see whether the changes have an impact on journey times.’

There are currently 22 bus lanes in Coventry, totalling 8km. In addition, there are bus priority measures at nine signalised junctions.

Jayne Innes, cabinet member for city services, said: ‘We've got lots of very good data for car and bus journey times so this trial will be really interesting. And it's good to know that our roads are busy because we are a growing and successful city. What we need to do is ensure we balance the needs of all road users and that's what this trial is all about.’

Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said the company would participate in the review, but added: ‘One full bus takes 50 cars off the road. Buses are the solution to the air quality problems that blight the West Midlands and damage vulnerable people's health.’

Separately, Leicester City Council said it was implementing enforcement ‘for real’ from Monday (28 November) on two bus lanes on the A426, having caught 3,200 motorists caught using the lanes in the first eight days of enforcement but only sent warning notices.

Enforcement was already taking place at four city centre bus gates.

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