Watch: Timelapse video of new east Belfast bus lanes - did anyone get a warning notice?
New bus lanes have come into force in east Belfast.
Those on the Upper Newtownards Road, Albertbridge Road and East Bridge Street will be open from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday.
A rapid transit system is due to begin using the lanes in just over a month.
A two-week, one-strike warning period will be in place until Monday August 13, during which motorists parking or driving illegally in the lanes will be issued with a warning notice instead of a penalty charge notice (PCN) for a first contravention.
An Infrastructure Department statement said: “The bus lanes will provide increased priority and a faster, more efficient service for existing bus services in the short term and, from 3 September, for Glider services on this key public transport route.
“Motorists will have the opportunity to get used to the new arrangements during the summer when traffic levels are traditionally lower.
“The department would ask road users in the area to take extra care until they are familiar with the new arrangements.”
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Retail NI supports the new Rapid Transit and we want to see shoppers and other city centre workers use the Gilder and make public transport their first option rather than their last”
“This will be a challenging implementation, but I hope it will be positive for the city in the long run”
“We would urge the Department for Infrastructure to reconsider enforcement of the bus lanes in the peak rush hour times in the morning and evening, rather than over the 12 hour period.
"The department should also extend the one strike warning for the first year of this scheme, to give motorists more time”
“This scheme is a long overdue investment for Belfast’s transport infrastructure and we want to see it succeed. With a little of flexibility, we can ensure no independent trader is negatively impacted”
When the city’s rapid transit system becomes operational on September 3 the route in east Belfast will run between Dundonald Park & Ride and the city centre.
It will continue through to McKinstry Road roundabout in west Belfast.
Similar bus lanes were introduced in west Belfast on July 23 and will be phased in in Belfast Harbour Estate, Sydenham Road, Queens Quay, Queens Bridge, Queen Elizabeth Bridge and Oxford Street on August 6.
Belfast Telegraph Digital