Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tyburn Road bus lane - it's future

The Transportation and Street Services Scrutiny Committee will be discussing the future of the Tyburn Road bus lane on Tuesday 10am in the Council House. I would like to know your thoughts on this issue.

The meeting on Tuesday will be discussing whether or not we 'call in' a decision made by Cllr Len Gregory, Cabinet member for Transportation and Street Services last week.

Cllr Gregory has agreed to spend £50,000 to consult members of the public on the following three options:
1) reinstate the bus lane as was (ie for buses, taxis, cycles and motorcycles only
2) reinstate the bus lane as was, but allow HGV lorries to use it as well
3) permanently remove the bus lane.

The data for the journey times of cars and buses before and after the suspension of the bus lane in October 2004 is interesting.

Since suspension, the journey times of cars along this stretch of road have significantly improved - which one would expect. However, the journey times of the buses has hardly changed. At peak times it still takes buses about 15 minutes to travel the 2 and a half miles from Kingsbury Road to Salford Park.

This absence of change in bus journey times makes me wonder if the bus lanes were ever effective. For example, the bus lanes by The Jug of Ale pub, Alcester Road in Moseley are not very effective, since they are too narrow and buses are unable to squeeze past the cars - maybe this was the case with Tyburn Road. Or maybe the bus lanes stop short of congested traffic junctions.

My personal thoughts on the way forward:
1) I fam not happy about getting rid of bus lanes, since this sends out the message to the public and public transport operators that Birmingham is anti-public transport - I don't have a problem with trimming them where they are not needed or even reducing the hours to peak times only.
2) I feel uncomfortable about allowing HGV's to use bus lane, since they will merely clog up the bus lanes AND HGV's shouldn't be going round Birmingham in the peak times anyway! Peak times are very communters
3) I would rather the £50,000 was spent understanding why the bus lanes didn't work - recommend improvements. Look at junction improvements. Maybe include removing sections of the bus lanes that are well away from junctions, and reduce the time of operation to peak times only.


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