18 Nov 2007.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Birmingham`s A47 'Car Share' Lane Criticised
Another road capacity reduction for Birmingham
The Association of British Drivers (ABD) has today criticised the imposition of a 'car share' lane by Birmingham City Council on the A47 Heartlands Spine Road into the city between Spitfire Island on the A452 Chester Road and Ashted Circus on the A4540 ring road. The plan comes in to force on Monday 19th November and will operate from 07:00 to 10:00. HGVs will also be banned from the car share lane, which is the left lane of two; this will force HGVs into the right hand lane, holding up traffic even more.
Birmingham, in common with other towns and cities, suffers from years of deliberate congestion causing measures such as loss of road space due to road closures, bus lanes, and obstructive traffic light sequences. Speaking on Smooth Radio on 25th October, a Birmingham City Council spokesman said that the reason this road had been chosen for the 'car share' lane was because it was not very congested and that there were a number of under-used bus lanes that the police could use for enforcement.
ABD Local Co-ordinator for Birmingham, Paul Biggs said:
"The scheme will prioritise journeys on the basis of vehicle occupancy rather than the importance of the journey itself. The council have openly stated that there is no need for any congestion reduction measures on this road, and that the only reason they've chosen it is that it will be easy for the police to prosecute drivers. This proposal is blatantly not about reducing congestion; it is about subjugation and persecution of the driving public. The police really should have more useful ways of occupying their precious time."
Birmingham City Council built the section of the Heartlands Spine Road between Chester Road and Saltley Viaduct in the late 1990s at a cost of £14 million. It is a two-lane dual carriageway. If the council really wanted to reduce congestion why didn't they make it three lanes? It runs through former industrial land and has no housing alongside it and consequently has few bus services. This would have made any proposal for bus lanes laughable, so the city council has dreamed up this nonsense instead.
Along with the car share lane, Birmingham City Council is introducing a car share scheme. Whilst the ABD praises the city council for this initiative, we note that it is only available to employees of companies who have signed up with the council, completely undermining its usefulness. The ABD asks why it is necessary to bully drivers into complying with yet another silly regulatory scheme, when innovative schemes that put car sharers in touch with each other are a far more positive way of reducing congestion, where it actually exists and is caused by traffic volumes, rather than being deliberately engineered in?