Ambulances, police and fire vehicles are now permitted to access  bus lanes on London’s main arterial roads.

This remains the case even when the vehicles are not on blue lights. It follows a successful trial with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.

Better results

The trial was set up to help people travel to appointments smoothly.

More than 150 non-blue light patient transport vehicles were given access to over 25km of bus lanes in Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and Lewisham on the TfL road network (TLRN).

It included bus lanes managed by Lambeth Council and ran over 12 months.

NHS appointments missed fell by around 20% and saved money. There was also no negative impact on bus journey times.

Patients  benefitted from reduced journey times and delays, and smoother services.

Effective efficiency

More than 8,000 emergency service fleet vehicles use London’s roads. These will benefit from less congestion and faster journey times, improving such services for all Londoners.

Outpatients relying on patient transport services in the capital will now be less likely to miss appointments. Health trusts will save time, improve efficiency and should have improved health outcomes for many patients.

TfL has continued to improve reliability and enforcement of bus lanes, whilst aso making more of them 24 hour running.

It previously confirmed 85km of bus lanes on the capital’s busiest roads would be in operation 24-hours a day. As part of its Bus Action Plan TfL, there will be an additional 25km of bus lanes, increasing bus speeds by 10%.

“Bus lanes have a proven track record of speeding up journeys,” says  Christina Calderato, Director of Transport Strategy & Policy at TfL.”We’re delighted to see further benefits in this trial for Guy’s and St Thomas’ and thousands of its patients. We look forward now to more patients across the capital being able to get to their appointments on time and supporting the vital work of the other emergency services”.

Ian Abbs, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, states that the scheme “has reduced journey times by up to 16%”.

“It is brilliant that this initiative is being rolled out more widely, meaning even more patients will benefit.”

Spreading the word

Following the success of the trial, TfL is encouraging all London boroughs to adopt the same approach to bus lanes.

TfL wants to ensure Londoners can move around the capital as safely, sustainably and efficiently as possible.

It has invested in walking, cycling and public transport in an attempt it easier to choose sustainable ways of travelling. This will hopefully make more efficient use of road space, cut congestion and improve the environment.