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UK'S LONGEST CAR-SHARING LANE TO OPEN

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The Highways Agency is to create Britain's longest car-sharing lane approaching the Blackwall Tunnel in east London...
The Highways Agency is to create Britain's longest car-sharing lane approaching the Blackwall Tunnel in east London, reported The Sunday Times (p8). Known as a 'high occupancy vehicle' (HOV) lane, it will be open to buses, taxis and cars carrying at least two people, they are

relatively common in America.

In east London, as the RAC has warned government, there are few public transport alternatives, and the approaches to the Victorian tunnel are notoriously overcrowded. The HOV lane will be 10 miles long on the southbound road and nine on the northbound. Motoring organisations are said to be predicting chaos. Paul Watters, head of transport policy for the AA, warned it could push traffic on to other local roads, and asked: 'How are you going to check how many people are in a

car without stopping it?'.

However, Leeds City Council claims that a similar scheme that has been running for a year, enforced by police patrols, has been a success. The council's highways and transportation chairman Eamonn McGee said it had encouraged car-sharing, cut journey times and reduced

traffic volumes by up to 10%.

In a survey carried out by the council, more than half the drivers using the lane said it had made their lives easier, while a quarter had formed car-sharing pools to use it. Meanwhile, bus

operators have reported a slight increase in passenger numbers, with one company reporting a reduction of six minutes on journey times.

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