13 July 2004

Plans for US-style car-sharing lanes met a mixed response last week after the Government announced the potential sites for a trial. Only cars carrying at least two occupants would be allowed to use the lanes, with stiff penalties and fines for cars with no passengers. A small-scale pilot scheme is already underway in Leeds.

Now the scheme is likely to be extended to busy motorways, including the M63 (J25-27), M3 (J3-2), M1 (J13-7) and M62 (J6-3). In all but the last case, space for the car-share lane would come from a new lane or the hard shoulder. Cameras can’t snap one-up drivers using the lane, so the police would be relied upon to enforce the scheme.

Motoring groups gave a reserved welcome to the idea. ‘By all means have a pilot but it’s got to be fair,’ said the RAC Foundation’s Edmund King. ‘There is a big difference between us and the US. Our travel patterns are more diverse and the likelihood of success is limited. If it’s underused it should become an extra lane for all traffic.’

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