As reported by The Coventry Telegraph, nine of Coventry’s bus lanes are to be suspended.
Last year a temporary suspension was put in place on a number of bus lanes after Coventry saw an increase of 20% in traffic in the last 15 years, according to a report by the Department for Transport.
Following the assessment and a recent trial, Coventry City Council has made a move to permanently suspend a number of the bus lanes.
A Cabinet member report by Councillor Jayne Innes, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Services, concluded that the existing bus lanes were not continuous or wide enough to safely accommodate buses and cyclists, thereby forcing buses and cyclist to merge with existing road traffic.
The removal of the bus lanes mitigated this problem by allowing buses and cyclists to jointly use the new carriageway layout and eliminate merging issues at the end of the bus lane.
The decision to go ahead with permanent closures was made by Cllr Innes at her Cabinet member meeting earlier this month – and the recommendation has been approved.
An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) to suspend a series of bus lanes has been in place for the past 18 months.
Now, following the report, councillors have agreed to plans that will permanently remove the first phase of the bus lanes.
Based on the journey time monitoring undertaken each month since March 2017, evidence shows the suspension of bus lanes under the ETRO has not had a detrimental effect on bus journey times when compared on a like for like basis with bus journey time for the same period in 2016.
After collecting this comparable data over a 12 month period (March 2017 to March 2018) and reviewing it on a monthly basis, further consultation with Transport for West Midlands and the bus operators was undertaken and it was agreed that the first Phase ETRO should be made permanent.
It was also agreed that Coventry City Council and Transport for West Midlands will work together to help promote and improve public transport in the city.
A spokesperson for National Express commented: “Local bus operators, Coventry City Council and Transport for West Midlands have worked really well together on an evidence-based approach to bus priority in Coventry.
“This showed us that some of the bus lanes which were put in years ago were no longer doing their job.
“So we’re now working with TfWM and the Council on more modern, targeted measures that will improve the punctuality and reliability of all Coventry buses.”
A second phase of temporary suspensions will be looked at in the future.