Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that it intends to make its trial of 24-hour bus lanes permanent, which includes access to London’s black cabs, after a trial found that extending bus lane hours on the capital‘s busiest roads cut journey times and helped reliability.
Improvements in bus journey times were said to be particularly noticeable in central and inner London, especially in both the mornings and evenings and throughout Sundays.
Before the pandemic 1.15 billion journeys were made each year on the bus routes that have benefited from the changes, out of a total of around 2.2 billion journeys. These improvements are also expected to benefit cyclists and licensed black cabs as they can ride in bus lanes without traffic.
The changes will be made permanent in the New Year subject to a final statutory consultation with emergency services, local authorities and other statutory consultees.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “It's vital that buses remain a reliable, attractive option for travelling around the capital to help prevent increased congestion and worsening air quality.
“The extension of bus lane hours to 24 hours on London's busiest roads received a lot of support, and these changes will reduce bus journey times and help service reliability, helping people get around the city easily and sustainably.”
The trial saw 85km of bus lanes on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) - comprising some of the capital's busiest roads - move to operating 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
General traffic was restricted from driving in the bus lanes, while Blue Badge parking facilities and permitted taxi access were retained.
Analysis of the trial also looked at the impact on other forms of traffic when giving the bus priority for longer periods, and found that the measure had no significant impact.
Extended bus lane hours were trialled to ensure buses remain an attractive option, creating a shift away from car use and preventing congestion.