A Welsh local authority is poised to open bus lanes to motorbikes and private hire vehicles under a six-month trial that could slash congestion.
Cardiff City Council will use new freedoms extended to Welsh town halls surrounding enforcement of Moving Traffic Offences to open up public transport lanes to other road users from 10 February.
It is hoped the move will raise local uptake of two wheeled powered vehicles that take up less space on the road, while reducing the cost of using private hire vehicles by offering a quicker journey. If the trial is judged to be a success, Bus Lane Orders will be permanently amended to accommodate the new classes of vehicles.
The local authority said the technology was now in place to support identification of permitted and unpermitted use of the lanes.
Motorcycle rights campaigners have voiced strong support for the trial, labelled Cardiff’s actions ‘enlightened’.
Cllr Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: ‘We are doing all we can to keep Cardiff moving and ensure traffic flows across the city. This trial will help us determine whether allowing access to private hire and two wheeled powered vehicles benefits the city as whole.
‘Environmentally there are potential benefits in allowing access to additional vehicles. Two wheeled powered vehicles for example cause less congestion than cars and require less parking space at their destinations. If we can encourage this as a form of transport, it will contribute to reducing congestion in the city.’
Commenting on the plans, The Motorcycle Action Group said: ‘MAG has long campaigned throughout the UK for local authorities to join the ever increasing number that permit the shared use of bus lanes.
‘Motorcycles and scooters are an environmentally friendly, alternative form of transport which contributes to reducing air pollution. Sharing bus lanes with motorcycles makes best use of the limited road space in urban areas and reduces conflict between vehicles, which contributes to improved road safety. We hope that all motorists will respect the right of Powered two wheelers to make progress using bus lanes and avoid unnecessary conflict.’