NEW vehicle restrictions and enforcement of one of Reading’s most important bus lanes come into effect from Monday July 1st.
The inbound (westbound) Kings Road bus lane, running between Cemetery Junction and its junction with Eldon Rd/Orts Road, is a key public transport route in Reading. It helps to speed up journey times for the Number 17 route – Reading’s busiest and best used bus. Over 4.8 million individual journeys are made along the ‘Purple 17’ bus route every year – more than 93,000 trips per week.
Following a review of the number of vehicles using the bus lane, an experimental traffic order will come into effect on July 1st, allowing authorised vehicles to use the bus lane alongside buses, bicycles and motorcycles. Authorised vehicles will include Reading Borough Council licensed Hackney Carriages and Reading Borough Council licensed Private Hire Vehicles only. In a change to previous restrictions, Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles licensed elsewhere will not be permitted to use the bus lane.
Warning notices will initially be sent to drivers affected by this change, and who continue to use the bus lane, for a period of two weeks, before penalties are issued from Monday 15th July.
It is the first time that the Council has restricted use of a bus lane to Reading licensed Hackney Carriages and Reading licensed private hire vehicles only. Depending on the success of the scheme, the change could be introduced in other bus lanes across Reading in the future.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“These changes, alongside the introduction of camera enforcement along the bus lane, are expected to result in a reduction in the number of vehicles using the Kings Road bus lane, speeding up journey times further for Number 17 bus passengers and passengers using Reading licensed black cabs and taxis.
“This is of course one of the key routes into the centre Reading from the east. Restricting the use of the bus lane to Council licensed Hackney Carriages and private taxis only will additionally result in a reduction in the number of out of borough vehicles coming into Reading, helping to improve air quality on what is one of the heaviest polluted roads in Reading.”
The experimental status of the traffic order allows the Council to consider the effectiveness of the restriction and its implications, particularly with enforcement, and to propose any amendments that may be necessary before the order is made permanent.
After the initial 6-months of the experimental order, the Council’s Traffic Management Sub-Committee will consider any objections received and decide whether or not to continue with the scheme. Any significant changes to the scheme that may be necessary will be reported to the Sub-Committee. Should it be decided to keep the new restriction, the experimental traffic order can run for a maximum of 18-months before being made permanent.