TfL plans bus lane hour extension
TfL has set out plans to extend the hours of bus lanes on its roads in London. The alterations are intended to reflect a customer shift away from peak hours, which it says helps ensure London’s sustainable recovery from the pandemic.
According to TfL, extending bus lane operating hours will help guard against a car-led recovery by improving bus journey times and safety for Londoners making journeys by public transport and the increasing proportion travelling by bike. Before the pandemic, in 2018/19, 1.15 billion journeys were made on the bus routes that will now benefit from the proposed changes. The changes reflect a current customer shift away from travel at ‘normal’ peak hours with demand now spreading throughout the day. They follow recent extensions to bus lane hours that have seen improvements to reliability in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.
The trial will start in late summer and will make bus journeys quicker throughout the day as 24 hour bus lanes will reduce the impact of any congestion on buses. They should also be more consistent, with journeys taking a similar amount of time, irrespective of the time of day. This will make it easier for Londoners to follow the Government’s advice to travel outside peak times where possible. Existing access for bikes, taxis and motorcycles will be retained, while designated disabled parking bays, Blue Badge parking facilities and most loading bays will also be retained in the trial.
Claire Mann, Director of Bus Operations at TfL, said: “The proposed changes to the operational hours of bus lanes will have significant benefits for bus passengers and people cycling beyond the current hours of operation, many of which were introduced years ago in a very different situation. We will carefully consider all feedback to ensure the trial has the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people and supports London’s recovery from coronavirus.”
A decision on making the trial permanent will be subject to a review of its operation, data on bus journey times, the safety of people using the bus lanes and other road users, as well as impact on those protected under the Equality Act 2010.