Liverpool began a citywide nine-month trial suspension of all 24 bus lanes at midnight on Sunday aimed at improving traffic flow.
All bus lane cameras in the city will be immobilised and will remain off for the duration of the trial. Variable messaging signs will also be activated across the city to advise motorists that bus lane restrictions are no longer in force.
While works will be ongoing to remove signage and mask lane markings until 27 October, the suspension will be officially in place from 21 October, and from this date, motorists who enter bus lanes will not be subject to penalty notices.
Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Joe Anderson, said: "I have asked for this trial suspension so that we can explore what benefits, if any, bus lanes are bringing to our city. Keeping the city moving for our motorists, businesses, residents, commuters and visitors is absolutely vital, so it's important we take a proper look at this.
"While we don't have extensive data, the evidence we do have suggests that bus lanes are not benefiting the city as planned, that they are not leading to an increase in bus usage, and that they may actually be making congestion worse. This trial is about getting the data we need so we can make an informed decision over this important issue which we know is a major source of frustration for motorists.
"Buses remain hugely important to the city, and we will continue to invest in sustainable transport schemes such as our new car club and cycle hire schemes. However, we have a commitment to reduce congestion and the harmful emissions associated with this and to keep the city moving.
"Some people have suggested to me that we shouldn't do this because the bus lanes generate income of £700,000-a-year for the council. But in my view it would be immoral to treat motorists as a cash cow, and that is why my priority is making sure that we take a look at this properly.
"It's important to note that I am keeping an open mind on this. At the end of the trial, we will look at all the evidence before making a decision on which, if any, of the bus lanes will be reinstated."
During the first six months of the trial the city council will accept feedback from individuals and organisations during a formal consultation exercise.
The council is also considering alternatives to bus lanes, such as HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes to reduce traffic congestion; and Red Routes, on which vehicles are not permitted to stop, extending to stopping for loading or unloading, and to boarding or alighting from a vehicle except for licensed taxis and blue badge holders.