Published Tuesday, 30 October 2012
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Streets throughout the city centre were reconfigured in September and traffic chaos ensued. Motorists reported being caught in tailbacks as the Belfast on the Move scheme was initiated.
But six weeks after the extra bus lanes were put in place, Translink's Ciaran Rogan said the company is already seeing big benefits.
"We would measure the number of buses which we have to replace in services in the city centre because of traffic delays and that has reduced by almost one third since the bus lanes were introduced," explained Mr Rogan.
"That has knock-on effects in terms of reliability, punctuality a better service for all our customers."
Earlier this month a taskforce was set up to oversee the operation of the bus lanes, and to ensure they run smoothly.
The bus lanes have been in place for about six weeks now but I have to say that even at this early stage we are seeing big benefits in terms of reliability and punctuality in particular.
Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson said although Translink reported the scheme was already successful, the multi-agency group wanted to make sure the private lanes for motorists are also operating as they should
There were fears that the congestion could have resulted in a loss of business for city traders, but Belfast Chamber of Commerce's Joe Jordan said the traffic problems had settled down and there was no reported loss in takings.
Mr Rogan added, "It was clear to everyone that the situation has improved over the past numbers of weeks.
"It took a week or two for people to get used to the bus lanes but now the things really is bedded in our buses are getting through the city centre more quickly, they're more on time, more reliable and our customers are really seeing the benefits."
Belfast on the Move aims to entice people to walk, cycle or get public transport, while motorists passing through the city are urged to find another route.