24/7 bus lanes proposed for London’s busiest roads to support a sustainable recovery from the pandemic

21 Jul 2020 03:16 PM

Trial, planned for late summer, will mean bus journey times are more reliable throughout the day as demand patterns change.

Transport for London (TfL) yesterday set out plans to extend the hours of bus lanes on its roads in London to reflect a customer shift away from peak hours, helping ensure London's sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

As London recovers from coronavirus, there is an increasing need to provide more safe space for people to use active, sustainable and socially distanced modes of travel. Even with current capacity restrictions due to social distancing, a single decker bus can carry ten times the average occupancy of a car yet only uses twice the amount of road space. Extending bus lane operating hours will help guard against a damaging car-led recovery by improving bus journey times and safety for Londoners making journeys by public transport and the increasing proportion travelling by bike.

Before the pandemic, in 2018/19, 1.15 billion journeys were made on the bus routes that will now benefit from the proposed changes. The changes reflect a current customer shift away from travel at 'normal' peak hours with demand now spreading throughout the day, and follow recent extensions to bus lane hours that have seen improvements to reliability in line with the Mayor's Transport Strategy. 

The trial will start in late summer and will make bus journeys quicker throughout the day as 24 hour bus lanes will reduce the impact of any congestion on buses. They will also be more consistent, with journeys taking a similar amount of time, irrespective of the time of day. This will make it easier for Londoners to follow the Government's advice to travel outside peak times where possible. Customers will be able to more accurately plan their journeys, and greater service reliability will also prevent large queues forming at bus stops, making social distancing easier.

Existing access for bikes, taxis and motorcycles will be retained, while designated disabled parking bays, Blue Badge parking facilities and most loading bays will also be retained in the trial.

Extending bus lane hours will support the Mayor and TfL's world leading Streetspace for London programme, which is rapidly delivering more space for people to walk and cycle. The new 24-hour corridors will provide much needed new space for cyclists away from general traffic. Reducing bus congestion will also help make walking and cycling more attractive ways to get around our city as it will free up space and improve air quality.

Click here for the full press release