New bus lanes on the Albertbridge Road, which are part of the Belfast Rapid Transit flagship project, will be operational from Monday 14 August.
The new lanes located between the Newtownards Road and Castlereagh Street will operate during peak hours only from 7.30 am to 9.30 am and from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
The new bus lanes replace and extend the previous bus lanes on the Albertbridge Road and will provide increased priority and a faster, more efficient service for buses on this key public transport route, helping to keep the city moving as people go about their daily business.
New bus lanes introduced in East Belfast between Knock Road and Holywood Arches have delivered significant improvements in journey times for the thousands of passengers using bus services on this route every day and passenger numbers have increased by around 4.5% on the Metro 4 corridor. These additional bus lanes aim to encourage more people to use public transport, ultimately helping to reduce congestion on this busy arterial route into the city in advance of Belfast Rapid Transit coming into operation.
A Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokesperson said: “This is another key step in the delivery of the Belfast Rapid Transit system. This vital infrastructure project will connect East Belfast, West Belfast and Titanic Quarter via the city centre and will help to increase the percentage of journeys which are made by public transport, a key target of the Programme for Government.
“The new bus lanes will support a faster, more reliable bus service for people travelling along the Albertbridge Road. We have already seen a growing number of people switching to the bus on this key route and a modern, safe, efficient and high quality public transport service will increase this further.
“In order that motorists will have the opportunity to get used to the new arrangements, we have introduced the bus lanes during the summer while traffic levels are traditionally lower.”
When the Belfast Rapid Transit system becomes operational in 2018, the route in East Belfast will run from Dundonald Park & Ride, via the Upper Newtownards Road and Albertbridge Road, to the city centre. It will continue from there through to the Colin area of West Belfast.
DfI would ask drivers to take extra care when travelling on this stretch of the Albertbridge Road until they are familiar with the new arrangements.