A two-mile bus and cycle lane, taking up half of a dual carriageway into Brighton, has been hailed a success by the city council who say bicycle and sustainable transport is significantly increased.
The road, which connects Brighton to towns and villages to the north east of the city, is a busy commuter route with frequent rush-hour traffic jams.
But the council says that since the new lane was built, the number of cars and lorries using the stretch between 7am and 7pm has decreased by 13 per cent, down from 18,377 to 16,035, as compared with the period October-November last year.
Brighton and Hove City Council spent £1.9 million and 10 months widening the bus and cycle lanes along the two mile stretch, with the work completed in September. The work saw half of the dual carriageway made into wide bus and bike lanes in each direction between the Vogue Gyratory and Falmer.
Cyclist numbers are up 14 per cent, with daily numbers of cyclists increased from 2085 to 2383.
Bus passenger numbers are up 7 per cent, but despite increased numbers, both operating companies in the city report better punctuality, and taxi use was up 40 per cent.
Despite a decrease in the amount of room for private cars on the road, the council says each car journey is only taking an average of a minute or so longer, although this has been disputed by a number of frustrated drivers.
Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said: “It is still early days but already the scheme appears to be delivering exactly what we promised.
“More people are using buses, taxis and bikes to travel along this key route because it’s now safer and more reliable. And for those people who need to drive there has been only a small average increase in rush hour journey times.
“As word gets around I would expect more people to make the switch to cycling, buses and taxis.
“I’m particularly pleased that taxi numbers on the route appear to be increasing. Bus lanes provide rapid travel for cabs too so hopefully that’s helping boost their business.”
Brighton & Hove bus company is selling a week’s travel on the buses for £9.99, rather than £12.50 to celebrate the success of the scheme.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.