Transport for London (TfL) is to trial changes to the operating hours of more than 80 kilometres of bus lanes across London to help make bus journeys faster and more reliable, as part of its London Streetspace programme.
The bus lanes included in this proposal are on red routes (the Transport for London Road Network or TLRN) located in the boroughs of: Brent, Bromley, City of London, Camden, Croydon, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.
On some routes, says TfL car-parking will be suspended during the trial, and general traffic will be restricted from using the lane during the off-peak hours. On routes where cyclists, motorcyclists and taxis can use the bus lane during existing hours of operation, this will continue.
TfL said it was not proposing to remove any disabled parking bays or blue badge parking facilities as part of the trial.
“All loading facilities will initially be retained during the trial, so businesses can continue their delivery schedules as normal. We will however be monitoring when and how often the loading bays on these routes are used, as well as the type of loading that occurs to understand if they could be moved to other areas,” said TfL as part of its public consultation launch this week.
Currently, these bus lanes mostly operate in the busiest parts of the day. However, as the city starts moving again, people are changing the times that they choose to travel to avoid peak periods and risk overcrowding on the network, said TfL.
“We want to make sure that people choosing to travel on the bus network have the safest, quickest and most reliable journey at all times of the day. Our trial to extend bus lanes to 24/7 will mean your bus journey time is more likely to be the same regardless of the time you choose to travel.
“As we recover from coronavirus, there is an increasing need to provide more safe space for people to use active, sustainable and socially distant modes of travel. People cycling will also experience significant benefits during the trial; with an extra 80 kilometres of road space away from general traffic to use at all times of the day and night. The proposals will reduce the need for people cycling to weave in and out of the bus lanes, making it safer for everyone using these busy roads,” it added.
On some routes where car-parking is being suspended, the proposals will reduce the risk of people cycling and motorcycling being car-doored by parked cars.
Proposals follow recent extensions to bus lane hours that have seen improvements to speeds and reliability.
“We want to understand views on the proposals, whether we might need to make any adjustments to the proposals before we begin the trial and how we can most effectively monitor and evaluate the trial once it is underway,” TfL explained in its consultation paper.
The trial of 24/7 bus lanes is planned to be in place for at least six months to ensure TfL has enough time to properly monitor the effectiveness of the trial and any impacts, so you can share your views at any time.
“At the end of the trial, we’ll decide which bus lanes should be permanently changed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said TfL.