Bus lane 'pointless' due to cuts

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 25 May 2010

A £180,000 bus lane through a North Somerset village could be pointless - because not enough buses use the route, a councillor says.

A £180,000 bus lane through a North Somerset village could be pointless - because not enough buses use the route, a councillor says.

Congresbury member Tom Leimdorfer says services have been cut so much that only a few travel along the part of the southbound A370 that the lane will cover.

His claim came as North Somerset Council revealed the route will be restricted to other vehicles 24 hours a day.

Cllr Leimdorfer said: "Most of the time, this will make little difference to travelling.

"The latest timetable changes have diverted three or four of the peak time buses.

"On busy summer weekends it might be of use, but at the moment it is very hard to defend what is happening."

Due to cuts by operator First only the X1 service uses the carriageway between Kent Road and Smallway at the busy times when buses can skip jams.

Previously, other services had used the same route, but most of them have been diverted through Claverham, Cleeve and Yatton and miss out the lane.

The Green Party member added that the lane would become useful if more buses were introduced in the future.

Th 24-hour restriction policy is different to the lane at the M5 Junction 21 roundabout, which cars are only banned from using at commuting times.

Congresbury traffic campaigner John Haynes, of Park Road, said the measure would do nothing to help congestion in the village.

He said: "We suffer from terrible traffic problems and we need to allow cars to get through Congresbury quicker, not create more barriers for them."

But North Somerset Council's deputy leader and executive member for highways, Elfan Ap Rees, said the policy of a 24-hour restriction could be reviewed.

He said: "This is the standard way the lanes operate and I changed that for the lane at Junction 21.

"However, it can be reviewed and if it looks like it isn't working, we can make changes."

Funding for the bus lane has come from central Government via the Greater Bristol Bus Network.

Highways bosses have said they expect the work to be finished in January.

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