New bus lane right on time

Central Drive, between New Bonny Street and Reads Avenue, Blackpool,where there is now a new bus lane.
Central Drive, between New Bonny Street and Reads Avenue, Blackpool,where there is now a new bus lane.
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A new bus lane will open on Sunday which it is hoped will cut down on delays to public transport.

Work has been underway since November to convert Central Drive between Reads Avenue and Albert Road from two lanes northbound to a contra-flow.

The move will shave an average of three minutes off bus journey times by enabling buses, along with hackney cabs and cyclists, to avoid the one-way system on Albert Road, Coronation Street and Reads Avenue to drive south down Central Drive, bosses say.

But it has been claimed it could increase congestion by reducing the northbound lanes from two to one.

Bob Mason, service delivery manager at Blackpool Transport, said: “It has been frustrating for passengers that they have to go all the way round a big loop to get to their destination. The new bus lane will mean southbound services can go straight down Central Drive.

“However service 10 will still go along Coronation Street because there were concerns about that road losing its bus route.

“We have been working on this for some time, on the back of the Punctuality Improvement Partnership set up recently.

“This is a positive step forward in hopefully improving the punctuality further of these services.”

From Sunday, the southbound services 5, 7, 14 and 17 will travel from the Promenade onto Bank Hey Street and Central Drive, and will no longer serve Albert Road and Coronation Street.

Service 10 southbound will go via Bank Hey Street, Albert Road and Coronation Street.

The £300,000 new bus lane has been funded by the Department of Transport as part of the council’s successful Better Bus Area bid to save time on bus journeys.

The council was granted £1.5m in total, with some funding also allocated to automated numberplate recognition technology to give buses priority.

John Donnellon, service director for the Built Environment at Blackpool Council, said: “The work has been completed on schedule and we anticipate it will reduce the bus journey by an average of three minutes.

“Myself and Coun John Jones, the cabinet member for highways, want to thank all road users for their patience while the work has been ongoing.”