How has this idea come about?

    Transport for London oversees the operation of buses in London and has, for many years, used its bus priority programme to identify measures to improve the accessibility and reliability of buses. This aligns to the target within the Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2018 of seeing 80% of journeys in London made by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041.

    The strategy recognises that, against the backdrop of a rising regional population, the use of private cars is less space-efficient and more polluting than bus travel and does least to tackle high levels of obesity. Furthermore, a reliable and accessible bus network is vital for many families who do not own cars, which in Enfield is roughly one third of households. The bus network is essential, likewise, for individuals for whom health or financial limitations prevent them driving or owning cars.

    Making bus travel as attractive an option as possible for as many journeys as possible has long been a key component in the effort to prevent the network being overwhelmed by congestion. Pre-pandemic, bus travel in London has been measured at over 2 billion journeys per year and calculated to account for more than half of all annual bus journeys in England.

    TfL officers have, across previous years, highlighted to counterparts at Enfield Council the particular problem with bus delays on the streets of interest: i.e. on the sections of Green Lanes and Fore Street respectively, south of the North Circular Road.

    Enfield Council continues to undertake a range of project work to promote sustainable travel and healthier streets, which aligns with its own strategies and is underlined by the Council being one of many authorities to have declared, in 2019, a climate emergency. Much of this work is made possible via central funding, notably from TfL.

    From observations from the streets and from analysis of bus journey data it is clear that significant improvements in bus journey times can be gained by extending the bus lane hours in these streets.

    Are people still using buses after the pandemic?

    Although the pandemic did see a large reduction in travel and public transport usage, bus patronage has now returned to approximately 85% of pre pandemic levels.

    What will this achieve?

    Peak hour bus lanes are in place on Fore Street and Green Lanes as they head north towards the busy junction with the A406 North Circular Road. The volume of traffic using the junction, the need to provide separate stages to allow it to proceed safely, and the need to prioritise flows on the North Circular make it inevitable that queues will form on the northbound approaches. The bus lane serves the purpose of enabling buses to bypass most of the queuing during busy periods.

    However, the present restrictions allow drivers to occupy part-time parking and loading bays placed within the bus lane outside the bus lane hours. Even the light, intermittent usage typically seen of these bays prevents buses making use of the dedicated space across much of the day, slowing their progress and exacerbating queues for all drivers within the all-vehicle lane.

    Why do the bus lane hours need to be extended?

    Buses in Enfield are generally reliable, with latest TfL figures for the April-to-June ’21 quarter showing that there was on average an 83.4% chance of waiting fewer than ten minutes for a bus across all routes. However, recent studies for the Green Lanes and Fore Street bus routes have indicated that there are significant delays to bus times on these corridors.

    What evidence do you have that there are delays to bus times?

    Enfield Council has analysed bus journey times using ‘iBus’ data which is provided by Transport for London and records bus journeys automatically. Studies have shown that buses along both the Green Lanes and Fore Street routes, are operating with notable delay, particularly in the periods between 7am and 7pm where other vehicles may occupy the bays in the bus lane.

    What is being proposed?

    For Fore Street and Green Lanes alike we are proposing to increase the bus lane operational hours to 7am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday. This is to be taken forward under experimental powers, which will allow us to see over a period of at least 6 months the benefits that arise in bus journey times. Along with bus data, feedback on the trial from the public can also be considered before deciding whether to remove or amend the changes, or to make them permanent.

    Should we have been consulted before the scheme was introduced?

    It is planned that the scheme will be introduced experimentally so we can fully understand its actual benefits and drawbacks over an extended period of at least six months. During this time comments can be made and these will be taken into account when deciding whether or not to keep, modify or remove the scheme. There is also a benefit to having the arrangements in place at the earliest opportunity, to avoid congestion hindering the full return to bus use following the pandemic.

    How do I object to the Experimental Traffic Management Order?

    Any person wishing to object to the scheme or make representations about it may do during the six-month consultation period. Feedback received after a bedding in period is generally the most informative. Such representations should be submitted in writing, clearly stating the grounds on which on objection is being made and sent to the Head of Traffic and Transportation, Civic Centre, Silver Street, London EN1 3XD; or by emailing traffic@enfield.gov.uk.

    What will be the impact for loading bays?

    As the bus-lane times are being extended, this will mean a reduction in operating times for loading bays along the Green Lanes and Fore Street routes. Enfield Council is proposing to introduce additional loading facilities on side roads to replace loading facilities on both Fore Street and Green Lanes.

    How will this benefit my business?

    Travelling by bus is one of the most important ways of travelling to shops and services in high streets and creating a more reliable public transport system should encourage even more visitors to the area. Whilst parking and loading within the bus lane will be reduced at certain time, alternative provision will be made in side roads where possible.

    Will there be an increase to the cost of bus fares?

    No, there will be no increase to the cost of bus prices in the local area.  Increasing the reliability of bus journeys will reduce the cost of operating bus services and thus the cost to the public in general.

    I have another bus related issue; will this feedback be valid as part of this consultation?

    No, this consultation purely focuses on the trial bus lane hours for Green Lanes and Fore Street. If you have any additional comments on buses in the local area, please feel free to share your feedback by emailing us at traffic@enfield.gov.uk.