Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, announced yesterday that he will be suspending the much maligned M4 bus lane. The move should free up an extra lane traffic on the often congested motorway that connects London to the West of England and Wales.
In a press release from the Department for Transport (DfT), they confirmed that motorists travelling towards the capital would be able to use the bus lane – not just motorbikes, licensed black taxis and buses.
The move follows analysis into car journey times at peak times on the motorway showed that opening the bus lane would significantly reduce the journey times for hauliers and other motorists, without causing a significant impact on the vehicles already allowed to use the lane.
The suspension due to start before Christmas and stay in place until the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, when the lane becomes part of the Olympic Route Network. Following the Olympics the plan is to make the suspension a permanent move, but there will a be a further assessment of the traffic during the next 18 months to help finalise the decision made by the Government.
Mr Hammond went on to say: “I want to keep traffic moving and improve journey time reliability through making the most of our existing roads.
“The M4 is a vital strategic route and therefore it is important that we do everything possible to reduce congestion on it.
“Once the Olympics are over my intention is to scrap the bus lane permanently as I believe excluding road users in this way is unfair and damaging to the economy.”
As it stands the suspension will help commuters and travellers from places located next to the motorway, such as Bristol and Cardiff, especially when driving to the centre of London or to Heathrow Airport.