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TfL to permanently enforce 24/7 bus lanes on red route

TfL to permanently enforce 24/7 bus lanes on red route

Transport for London (TfL) recently announced that, following a pilot scheme in September 2020, more than 100 bus lanes on TfL’s red route, throughout 20 boroughs, will be operational 24/7. 

This means that anyone who enters these lanes could face a fine of up to £130 at any time of day, on any day of the week. 

The pilot scheme was undertaken after mass traffic began slowing down buses after the end of the first wave of the pandemic. 

Before the new variant of Covid-19 arrived at the end of last year, bus passenger numbers in the area had returned to about 75 per cent of ‘normal levels’, but bus speeds and reliability had reduced due to an increase in traffic levels. According to TfL’s latest Travel in London report, the average speed of a London bus is now 10.3mph.

TfL believe that the new 24/7 bus lanes will benefit cyclists too, as they will be able to use the lanes with less concern for other traffic around them. 

The move is also expected to boost TfL’s income. In 2020/21, TfL issued 15,451 bus lane PCNs, according to London Councils. It was reported by the Evening Standard that TfL have previously received between £1million and £2million annually in PCN payments from bus lane offences.

Deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander said, “It’s vital that buses remain a reliable, attractive option for travelling around the capital to help prevent increased congestion and worsening air quality.

“The extension of bus lane hours to 24 hours on London’s busiest roads received a lot of support, and these changes will reduce bus journey times and help service reliability, helping people get around the city easily and sustainably.”

Chair of London TravelWatch, the passenger watchdog, Arthur Leathley said, “No one likes sitting in a traffic jam on London’s congested roads and people travelling in the capital need a reliable bus service to get to work, school or see their families.

“We’ve recently published research showing that if roads are cleared for buses on London’s roads, by doing things like introducing more 24-hour bus lanes and increasing parking enforcement on bus routes, TfL would be able to run fewer vehicles and potentially save between £100-200m as journey times will get shorter, and more people will use them.

“Making the bus lanes trial permanent is a good first step and we hope that TfL and the boroughs will be able to go even further with measures to free the bus in 2022.”

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