Portsmouth centre congestion: bus firm opposes plan to cut down park-and-ride lane

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THE firm which runs Portsmouth’s park-and-ride scheme has said it will oppose plans to remove part of a bus lane entering the city.

Portsmouth City Council has announced it wants to remove the bus lane between Havisham Road and Church Street at the end of the M275 entering the city.

Traffic on the M275 is one of Portsmouth's main talking points. Picture: Sarah Standing (150189-778)

Traffic on the M275 is one of Portsmouth's main talking points. Picture: Sarah Standing (150189-778)

Video courtesy of Portsmouth City Council

It comes after months of misery for motorists who claim the roads have been more congested since changes were put in following the construction of the nearby park-and-ride scheme.

But now First Group, which runs the park-and-ride buses, has said it will be making a case to the council to keep the lane as it is.

Dervla McKay, First Solent’s general manager, said: ‘We will be putting our case forward to keep the Mile End Road bus lane as it is and await the outcome of the meeting regarding the proposal with interest.

‘Travelling by bus can not only cut congestion but improve air quality for all.

‘Prioritising public transport through measures like bus lanes and park and ride, along with improvements in services, are key to making bus travel more attractive.’

First said the proposal may lead to increased journey times and that it would need to monitor the situation should the proposals go ahead.

But Councillor Donna Jones, the leader of the council, said: ‘The dedicated bus lane runs all the way from the park and ride to Gunwharf Quays so the bit we are talking about changing is only less than 10 per cent of it.

‘We have considered the effect it will have on the buses and we do not believe it will have a detrimental effect.

‘If it does, then the positive effect it will have on traffic flow around the city will justify it.’

The move would see the section of bus lane removed and used by general traffic, allowing drivers coming from both the M275 and Rudmore roundabout more time to get into the correct lane before reaching the Church Street roundabout. The hatched-off area between the lanes will also be reduced in size.

The plan will go before a council meeting for approval as an experimental traffic order will be required to make the changes.

The meeting is expected to be held during February or March and should the work go ahead it is expected to be implemented some time in the spring.

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