A retail group has appealed to the authorities only to enforce the restrictions on who can and cannot use new Glider bus lanes at “peak times”.
Retail NI, which represents smaller independent traders, made the call today just as the west Belfast section of bus lanes for the new Glider vehicles came into operation.
However, whilst the bus lanes and their associated restrictions are now in place, it will not be until September 3 when the Glider buses actually start using the routes.
The bus lanes in east Belfast are due to come into effect next Monday, July 30.
According to Translink, the Gliders – new diesel-electric hybrid ‘bendy bus’ vehicles, which can carry 105 passengers – will operate every seven to eight minutes during the working day, linking the east and west and of the city (including the Titanic Quarter) to the city centre.
However, the buses appear to travel quite low to the ground, an one of the vehicles was seen to get stuck on a slightly raised piece of road in north Belfast. READ MORE HERE.
The newly-operational bus lanes are in effect from 7am to 7pm, barring regular private car users from being in them.
According to the Department for Infrastructure, this is to “get road users used to the new arrangements in advance of the launch of the Glider service”.
Bikes, motorbikes, emergency services, and some taxis – plus funeral corteges – can use them as well as buses.
Retail NI said the department should “keep the 12 hour time period under review”, and should “consider enforcement of the bus lanes at only peak times in the morning and evening”. This would “address the concerns of local traders in relation to parking”.
Its CEO Glyn Roberts said: “This scheme is a long overdue investment... With a little flexibility, we can ensure no independent trader is negatively impacted.”
An exception to the bus lane rules is that blue badge holders are permitted to stop in them for up to 10 minutes to pick up or drop off.