Birmingham’s controversial Heartlands Spine Road car share lane trial will be extended for another 12 months despite having made no impact on traffic congestion or journey times for commuters.
City transport chief Len Gregory decided the project, set up in November 2007 to encourage commuters to share journeys into the city centre during the morning rush hour, required further investigation before it is scrapped.
In another move he has decided to finally axe the A38 Tyburn Road bus lane, ending a temporary suspension which has lasted almost five years.
Motorists found riding alone in the lane on the A47 Heartlands Spine Road between 7am and 10am on weekdays face a £60 fine. From now on however black taxi cabs and heavy goods vehicles will be exempt from the fine.
Coun Gregory (Cons, Billesley) said that transport department surveys showed that more people were using the road in fewer cars which is thought to have reduced pollution.
He said: “A further 12-month trial will give us the opportunity to monitor longer term impacts.”
One of Coun Gregory’s first decisions when he became Cabinet Member for Transport in summer 2004 was to suspend the A38 Tyburn Road Bus Lane to speed up travel times for car commuters while extensive road works were going on the M6.
Now, almost five years later and following thorough investigation of the route, the suspension will become permanent.
He said that the introduction of the car share lane on the parallel A47, the creation of the Tyburn Road red route and various road works had prevented thorough and accurate analysis of the bus lane, hence the long wait for a conclusion.
Now official monitoring has shown that car journey times improved while there was no significant change in bus times.