“Bus Lanes” to be for walkers – Pedestrianization of Transport Policy

Apr 1st, 2014 | By | Category: Featured Articles

Under a new planning directive by the Department of Transport, Bus Lanes are to be phased out and will be converted to Walking Lanes in all cities in the UK with a population above 500,000.

The much welcomed and also much hated move – depending on who you talk to, will be phased in by the end of 2014 starting on April First.

Though controversial, it makes sense. Far fewer buses use bus lanes than will pedestrians. The speed achieved by buses in London, the capital city, is often not much greater than a weak jogging pace.

Pedestrians will be able to buy permits to use the bus lanes from any shop that sells lottery tickets. The cost is expected to be £3 a month or £25 a year. Applicants will have to specify which bus foot-route they wish to use, expected to be the same as the old bus routes, and add-ons, or extra foot-routes, will be available to annual permit holders only, for an additional £5 per year.

Revenue from the permits and the ticketing of those using bus routes without permits are expected to pay for the maintenance of the routes, their extension and creation of new ones.

Bus drivers will still be needed and valued for other routes, but some will be reassigned to foot-passenger patrol duties and walking advice centres which will be set up at the beginning and end of some routes.

Sponsorship has been announced by Nike, Adidas and RedHotFoot (an until now, unknown footwear startup). Permit holders will be issued with discount footwear coupons and invitations to foot-rally events. The mayor of London has announced that a Boris Foot Festival is planned for the late summer bank holiday.

Pavements will be reserved for shoppers, those pushing prams and baby carts. Tourists will have more pavement space to enjoy while shopping and sightseeing.

Cyclists’ organizations have protested. They claim the needs of cyclists should come first, and that the Foot-Lanes will slow down cyclists when cycle paths and lanes cross them.

The Pedestrianization of Transport policy, passed in both parliamentary houses unanimously in a late night vote during a parliamentary recess, was the brain child of a shoe shop employee in Neasden. The inventor of this scheme has taken many steps to avoid publicity and preserve his anonymity since he believes the shop he works in could be inundated with fans and crowds of shoe-buyers if his name is released.

The transport authorities of several countries and some individual cities, have asked for advice about introducing similar schemes. Probably the biggest surprise was vigorous interest from the City of Los Angeles, not known for its wish to help people walk in the city and surrounding counties.

The CEO’s of the UK’s Rail companies and those of major bus lines, announced a meeting to discuss the risks of the feverish speed of preparation of the Pedestrianization of Transport policy Clause 42 – which gives powers for better use of the nation’s rail infrastructure. They fear being left out in the cold (rather like the passengers waiting for the 07:43 from Norwich the other day!). Despite the enormous efforts of the rail companies to change the minds of politicians about the policy, they have failed. One spokesperson said “we seem to have had a signalling problem”.



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