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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 15:02 GMT
City's first car share lane opens
New car sharing lane
The lane will operate during morning rush hour
The first designated "car share" lane in Birmingham has opened.

The lane, between Spitfire Island and Ashted Circus on the A47 Heartlands Spine Road, will operate during morning rush hour for a 12-month trial.

Only cars carrying at least two people and motorbikes with a passenger will be allowed to use the lane, to try and ease congestion into the city.

But some critics called the scheme ineffective because it is on one of the quietest roads into the city.

There has also been criticism that the new lane only goes in one direction, meaning car sharers will not be able to bypass the congestion on their journey home in the evening.

The lane, which will be marked and sign-posted, will operate between 0700 and 1000 on weekdays.

It can also be used by taxis, if they are carrying a passenger, buses and emergency vehicles, the council said.

Birmingham City Council has created a website for potential car sharers to link up with each other.

'Timid approach'

Chris Williams, of Friends of the Earth, said: "I think it's a timid approach to put it on this road initially.

"They've got to bite the bullet and get on with it - put it on a far busier road where congestion is a far more serious problem."

However, Chris Haynes, from Birmingham City Council said: "If you're doing a trial then the best thing to do is actually spend the minimum amount of money to test how it is working.

"In this case if we do it in the morning, that's when people choose how to get into work."

The council says aspects such as journey times and safety will be monitored and if considered successful more car share lanes may be introduced in the city.

People found using the lane who are not car sharing face a 60 fine.



SEE ALSO
First car-share lane to be built
20 Mar 06 |  Bradford

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