Independent review says most bus lanes should go

An independent review of Liverpool’s bus lanes is recommending that the majority be removed, but four in the city centre will be retained.

The city’s 26 bus lanes were suspended in October 2013 to monitor and analyse the effects on congestion and traffic flow.

Transport consultants Mott MacDonald have carried out the review and their work was supported by groups of elected members, bus operators and the partners.

Their review recommends that the bus lanes be permanently removed with the exception of:

• Lime Street (inbound) between 12 – 6pm, Monday to Saturday
• St John’s Lane (inbound) between  4 – 6pm, Monday to Saturday
• Strand (right turn) 12 – 6pm, Monday to Saturday
• Stand Street (southbound) Full time operation

On a number of other routes, including Picton Road and Kensington, measures such as bus detector loops, are being recommended.

The data looked at issues such as changes in bus journey time, times of non-bus passenger numbers and accident statistics.

The bus lane review is part of a wider city transport plan which is to be concluded in February 2015. It aims to:

• Shape the future transport needs of the city

• Forecast future demand for all modes of travel

• Improve gateway routes, public realm and  pedestrianisation

• Improve all public transport infrastructure

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “I want to make sure that travelling through the city is a quick as possible for all road users. It’s vital for business, for residents, for visitors and I wasn’t convinced our routes were working as well as they could.

“Now for the first time we have robust data about the effects of bus lanes, rather than people’s opinions about how useful or otherwise they are. As a result of this thorough and independent review there a clear recommendations that the majority of bus lanes should be removed which I will honour.

“A number of issues that have emerged during the discussions include the level of indiscriminate parking on some of our key bus lane routes which disrupt traffic flow and we will take measures to prevent this including applying to the Department for Transport for permission to introduce red routes.

“There have also been discussions about how best we can provide facilities for cyclists. We are spending £80m on upgrading our main gateway routes over the next eight years and we will be looking at cycling measures as part of that.”

The review will be considered by Liverpool City Council’s cabinet on Friday 24 October. If approved Traffic Regulation Orders for the  bus lanes will be revoked with new orders introduced for the four remaining lanes.

• The bus lanes were suspended from 28 October 2013, initially for a nine –month period. This was extended for four months to 24 November 2014 to allow the completion of the analysis.