Commuter chaos: Glider bus lane suspended after traffic tailbacks

A new bus lane which has been blamed for serious travel delays in east Belfast has been suspended.

Commuters have complained of long delays and tailbacks on the Queen’s and Sydenham roads following the introduction of a new bus lane. It was phased in to facilitate the city’s new glider buses, which are operational from September 3.

The introduction of a bus lane for the new 'glider' created congestion

The introduction of a bus lane for the new 'glider' created congestion

The Department of Infrastructure issued a statement saying that as the increased traffic delays would also affect the operation of the new glider service, it has been decided to amend the bus services in the area.

“These changes involve suspending the city-bound bus lane on Sydenham Road opposite the SSE Arena from today (Tuesday) and introducing, in the coming days, an additional section of city-bound bus lane on Queen’s Road, north of the junction at the Titanic building.”

The Department and Belfast Harbour will continue to work with partners in Titanic Quarter to enable the Sydenham Road bus lane to be reintroduced, it said. Translink will also be engaging with local businesses to encourage greater use of public transport and of walking and cycling.

Ciarán De Búrca, from the department, told BBC Radio Ulster that it could be six to 12 months before the bus lane reopened.

Belfast Harbour Commissioners are proposing to add an extra lane in front of the SSE Arena, he said. This is currently going through the planning process and will eventually allow the reinstatement of the bus lane.

Belfast Harbour said an “interim relief road”, between Queen’s and Sydenham roads, will not open until at least today.