Liverpool bus lane experiment begins

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 Variable messaging signs will also be activated across the city to advise motorists that bus lane restrictions are no longer in force.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.

Your Comments

Thank goodness. Bus lanes are a major cause of traffic concern in Liverpool. I’d go as far as saying that the new one that links the Edge Lane access to the university and placed n the old road that used to be the way in (by the Vernon pub) is almost tantamount to entrapment. I drove on to it without realising and straight int the cameras. Just to give an indication of how this impacted me – I haven’t driven into Liverpool since as I have a choice and will go to towns and cities that dont penalise drivers in this way – so I will hold my hands up and say respect for taking this decision.

By Nick Taylor

At last, some sense from somebody ‘higher up’. The whole concept of bus lanes was never workable when applied to existing highways networks, i.e. virtually everywhere they have been implemented in English towns and cities. Repeat: NEVER WORKABLE. The clowns that gave the go ahead for these back in the day should be taken outside, stripped and beaten.

By Kea

…meanwhile, up the A580, work commences today on the Leigh Guided-Busway. A farce if ever there was one. Not needed, no-one wants it, a total shambles. Those clowns need to stop wasting money that is not theirs. Tools.

By Mersey Grit

The Leigh Guided Busway is an entirely different concept to on-street bus lanes. The whole basis of that scheme is to separate buses from other traffic wherever possible: that way you can achieve reliable quality bus service with a similar experience to light rail (but with lower cost), and with a minimal impact to general traffic. That said, bus lanes can play a valuable role as part of a quality bus strategy that ensures frequent services on modern vehicles, with good waiting facilities. I dare say the existing routes where these bus lanes are don’t have the other elements in place. If we only provided for cars, we’d all be sat in 10-lane gridlocked motorways every morning (think images of LA). We need good public transport to free up road space for those who do need to drive, and while bus lanes alone are not the answer, but should be part of the solution.

By mancboi

In a city where Air Quality is very poor reducing traffic movement paramount, studies have shown childhood asthma in L8 district has been exacerbated by commuter traffic – is this social justice? We have new cycle hire schemes introduced and have just seen bus lanes which serve as cycle lanes put on hold so will we see KSI [killed or seriously injured] for pedestrians and cyclists data already the highest in the country climb higher. Partial suspension I could understand but complete with no evidence to substantiate this decision. Oh well at least he will be able to stop outside his own house I hear.

By Don Thompson

Mancboi, the split for the Leigh Guided-Busway is 33.3% dedicated busway (7km) and 66.6% (14km) existing public highway, i.e. the East Lancashire Road and A6. The LGB is a half-baked, half-cocked, half-assed scheme rehashed from the 1980s and is being implemented by a bunch of clowns that are sqaundering other people’s money.

By Mersey Grit

I think it’s brilliant. I can’t see it fail. The pollution created by just standing in car lanes queuing. When lane next to you is empty. Thank you Mayor for helping the drivers of Liverpool and visitors.

By Barbara

…and another thing: there ain’t significant footfall from Leigh into Manchester to justify it. Leigh folk go to Warrington and Wigan and Leigh itself. It’s a folly and the whole idea should be flushed back where it came from.

By Mersey Grit

Barbara:- RealTalker Mancboi:- wallowing in feelgood hipster pablum

By Mersey Grit

Mersey Grit: "there ain’t significant footfall from Leigh into Manchester to justify it"… do you mean travel demand? What is your opinion based on – have you looked at a traffic demand model, or this just your own opinion? Notwithstanding this, I’m sure that, yes, a significant proportion of residents do currently travel to Warrington and Wigan. However, the purpose of the scheme is to provide better bus links to Greater Manchester: the region Leigh is a part of. Do you not think that with better access to jobs and education in Manchester that more Leigh residents will now choose to travel there? Re. wallowing in feelgood hipster "pablum" (you mean pabulum?) – that’s your opinion. Mine is based on evidence.

By mancboi

I think Leigh should have been one of the towns that the Economist recommended should be close down. That way we would save the heated discussion between Mersey Grit and Mancboi

By LeefromLeigh

What a backward step. Take your public transport back to a situation where it is unreliable and unusable for many. In other words push people into cars. The extra capacity by freeing up these lanes will be filled up with more cars soon enough. The only difference will then be that there will be one less viable alternative to sitting in traffic. How does LCC expect to be taken seriously when they are such short sighted decisions.

By Nick

Fair comments from Mancboi. However, I live quite close to Leigh and I knwo it’s a tired oold, 2nd rate scheme as poor compensation for Leigh not having a rail link, sort of an invisible town as regards logistics, and the LGB is a poor, poor offering. Cheers for the debate, Mancboi…bring on the next one…

By Mersey Grit

Thank you too! Happy to leave it there. I do agree that the Leigh scheme has its flaws: chiefly that it’s a poor substitute for rail (I’ve read Leigh is the biggest town in the UK without a rail service). Its a real shame that TfGM have been unable to justify a Metrolink line there.

By mancboi

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