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Drivers illegally using new city bus lane could see 'enforcement measures' introduced

PUBLISHED: 10:40 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 20 June 2019

The new bus lane leading to Market Avenue in Norwich. The entrance to Castle Mall car park can be seen in the background. Photo: Luke Powell

The new bus lane leading to Market Avenue in Norwich. The entrance to Castle Mall car park can be seen in the background. Photo: Luke Powell

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Motorists illegally queuing on a newly-created Norwich bus lane could face enforcement measures, transport bosses have warned.

Cars queuing to get into Castle Mall car park in Norwich. Photo: Bill SmithCars queuing to get into Castle Mall car park in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

The new lane, near the Castle Mall car park entrance, was introduced as part of the latest phase of a £2.75m traffic shake-up around the Prince of Wales Road area.

The work, led by Transport for Norwich (TfN), saw changes to Rose Lane and Cattle Market Street, along with the creation of the bus lane leading to Market Avenue - a known area of congestion.

But weeks after the work was completed, TfN is now having to investigate how the lane is being used by drivers following complaints from the city's bus operators.

They claim cars are continuing to queue in the bus lane to access the Castle Mall car park on Saturdays, resulting in delays to their services.

Chris Speed, head of operations at bus operator First Eastern Counties, said: "Where the bus lane is now is where traffic used to queue for the car park. The problem is that traffic continues to queue there.

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"While it is has made our [bus driver's] lives better for most of the week, it has made them worse on a Saturday. Come December it will be like that every day."

His comments come after a bus driver posted on Twitter that he been unable to use the lane due to "fourteen idling cars" using it to queue for the car park.

A spokesperson for Transport for Norwich, which is a partnership between Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council, said it was investigating how traffic was using the revised junction layout.

The spokesperson said: "We are aware that some drivers are illegally using the bus lane, in part, due to drivers historically using this lane to access Castle Mall.

"A camera has been used to record footage of how vehicles are using the junction and we will consider whether enforcement measures could be appropriate in this location. A timescale for their introduction is not known at this stage."

The spokesperson said they were in discussions with Castle Mall's management in regard to vehicle access to the car park.

Jeremy Cooper, managing director of Go-East Anglia, which runs the Konectbus service, said: "We have noticed a small but significant number of motorists driving in the bus lane as this has caused many of our passengers delays on several recent Saturdays. We welcome any review of its layout and operation."

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