Trials of 24-hour bus lanes will take place in London as more travellers choose to travel off peak in the wake of coronavirus lockdown, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.
The transport network will make lane restrictions a day and night feature this summer to test the impact on traffic and public transport journey times.
TfL controls London’s major roads – known as ‘red routes’ – and the 24-hour bus lanes will apply on these only.
More than a billion bus journeys were made on these roads last year, and TfL is extending the lane hours to reflect changing demand for transport in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Londoners are travelling at all hours of the day in the wake of pandemic lockdown, with less focus on the morning and evening peaks, the network said.
Bus lanes will be open to buses, taxis, bikes and motorbikes – and blue badge parking spaces and most loading bays will be retained throughout the trial.
But car and van drivers will need to watch out for the change – or face a penalty.
TfL wants to avoid traffic jams in the capital as coronavirus restrictions eases and commuters return to work.
London’s Deputy Mayor for the Environment Shirley Rodriquez said that a car-led recovery would “replace one puplic health crisis with another” by boosting toxic air pollution.
TfL bus director Claire Mann said the pandemic was forcing the network to “adapt” and “be flexible”.
“The proposed changes to the operational hours of bus lanes will have significant benefits for bus passengers and people cycling beyond the current hours of operation, many of which were introduced years ago in a very different situation,” she said.