Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: Number of Belfast motorists warned for using new bus lanes in two days

By Jonathan Bell

Twenty-three motorists have been warned for using Belfast's newest bus lanes in just two days.

On Monday new 12-hour bus lanes came into effect along the Falls Road ahead of the roll out of the new 'Belfast Rapid Transit' system.

It will see 'Glider' buses which can carry just over 100 people operate at between seven and eight minute intervals joining the east and west of the city from early September.

Ahead of the start of the new bus system, new 12-hour bus lanes began operation on Monday. Those motorists found to be in the wrong using them face getting a warning up until August 6.

On Monday and Tuesday 23 warnings were slapped on cars for either parking in or using the lanes by traffic attendants. Should they use a lane again they face a £90 fine. The same operation will take place when those lanes in the east of the city come into force.

The £90m flagship Belfast Rapid Transit scheme from the Department for Infrastructure will introduce a new system linking the east and west of the city, as well as the Titanic Quarter. Since its launch roads along the main routes have been reconfigured to accommodate the new service while the vehicles have been undergoing testing.

Translink said the service will offer a modern, efficient public transport service with shorter, more reliable journey times and high frequency services every seven-eight minutes during the working day and carrying up to 108 passengers on each bus - transforming transport in the city.

The Department of Infrastructure said the new routes will cut car capacity on those roads by between 15-20%. There have been proposals for a potential second scheme with routes linking the north and south of the city.

When the Glider system becomes operational on September 3, the route in west Belfast will run between McKinstry Road roundabout and the city centre, via Stewartstown Road, Colin Connect Transport Hub, Andersonstown Road, Falls Road and Divis Street.

It will continue from there through to Dundonald in east Belfast.

The bus lanes on the Stewartstown Road, Andersonstown Road, Falls Road and Divis Street will operate from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday.

This includes a loading/unloading window between 10am and 2pm and a facility for vehicles displaying a blue badge to stop for up to 10 minutes to drop-off or pick up a blue badge holder.

However, there has been criticism from businesses which line the routes. One deli owner said he was closing one of his shops for fears over loss of revenue.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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