Liverpool bus lane removal costing Arriva £1m per year

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Arriva has revealed that the removal of bus lanes in Liverpool has cost the operator an extra £1m a year so far.

Speaking at a Transport Focus seminar on bus punctuality monitoring in Liverpool on Monday, June 29, Howard Farrall, Arriva Merseyside Area Managing Dirctor, said that the measures have increased journey times for bus passengers and have even increased journey times for car users, too.

He explained that lost mileage ‘increased massively’ when the bus lanes were temporarily suspended in October 2013.

Since the change was made permanent, instead of making traffic flow better, Howard claimed that additional road space created by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson’s decision to take out all but four Liverpool’s bus lanes has often been used by residents to park their cars.

“Prior to this we had worked through reliability issues by speaking to drivers and users,” Howard said. “We put an extra vehicle into the service, which made it very reliable until the bus lanes were taken away.

“We also find the lack of predictability very difficult to deal with.”

Car journey times have apparently increased by 1.5%, while overall bus journey times have increased by 1%, regardless of whether they used bus lanes.

Arriva has so far had to put in an additional nine buses to maintain the network, at a cost of around £1m.

Howard explained that not only have the overall journey times increased by 1% but reliability issues have also become more unpredictable as a result of the change. On one major route, the 79, which runs every five minutes to Wavertree and Netherley and every 10 minutes to Halewood, average journey times in peak hours increased by up to 13.4% and up to 5.6% off-peak. Arriva said it will have to put in an additional two buses to combat the problem.