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New bus lanes along busy Belfast route 'will create traffic chaos'


David McNarry

David McNarry

David McNarry

New bus lanes on a busy commuter route will cause "utter chaos" for motorists, it has been claimed.

They have been added between the Grosvenor Road and Whiterock Road in west Belfast.

The lanes, which take effect from Monday, will operate city-bound and country-bound during the morning and evening rush-hours.

There are already more than 60 bus lanes across Belfast, snaking 30 miles around the city. The addition of a further lane will restrict traffic flow in west Belfast even further during busy periods.

Ukip MLA David McNarry, a member of Stormont's regional development committee, said it was time to scrap the controversial lanes.

"This is a fairly main arterial route and it's only going to cause chaos," he said. "We should be taking bus lanes out, rather than adding them."

The new bus lanes are part of the Belfast Rapid Transit scheme.

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They will operate Monday to Friday during peak hours, between 7.30am and 9.30am, and 3.30pm to 6.30pm.

The Department for Regional Development (DRD) said the lanes would provide "improved reliability for existing bus services".

"New measures which support our bus services help to promote public transport and provide an attractive option for those travelling along this route," a spokesperson said.

"These new bus lanes will help to provide a more reliable service which will benefit the large numbers of public transport passengers using this route." Bus lanes were introduced in September 2012 as part of the Belfast on the Move traffic plan.

Earlier this year, it was announced that motorists who drove in the lanes would face a £90 fine, reduced to £45 if paid in two weeks.

Last month the Belfast Telegraph reported that 270 motorists a day are being fined for driving in Belfast's bus lanes.

More than 15,000 penalties were issued in the first eight weeks of the crackdown, with one camera snapping 5,700 vehicles.

Mr McNarry said other areas, including Salford and Edinburgh, were considering cutting their bus lanes, and he urged Belfast to take notice.

"Let's do a review of all of this," he said.

"The department is driving a wedge between the motorist and the buses, and that is the road to nowhere. This is only going to lead to chaos."

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