Birmingham council rejects calls to suspend bus lanes

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Calls to suspend bus lanes in Birmingham have been rejected, the Birmngham Post has reported.

The call came from opposition Conservative councillors who said they were being inundated with complaints from commuters about the engineering which has caused major congestion on key routes throughout the city.

A number of road work schemes were launched in January, including closures of slip roads onto M6 junctions five and six at Erdington, the demolition of Paradise Circus in the city centre and lane closures on major routes Bristol Road and Chester Road.

Robert Alden, Conservative, said: “While we welcome transport improvements in the city, work must be planned in a way which doesn’t strangle our economy through congestion.

“Some junctions currently have bus lanes approaching them which are laying empty while large queues extend back blocking further junctions. We should ask the highways department to examine if congestion could be eased by temporarily removing the bus lane restrictions. We should put the residents and commuters of this city first.”

Labour cabinet member for transport, Tahir Ali, rejected the call, saying that bus lanes are vital in encouraging people to switch from cars to public transport.

He said: “In order to reduce the traffic impact of the current works in the city we are positively encouraging the use of public transport. The established advantage which bus lanes give to buses, in terms of improved journey times, is crucial in encouraging this shift in transport choices.

“I do not believe that the suggestion to remove restrictions from bus lanes would be beneficial.