HAMPSHIRE County Council has agreed to review its controversial Farnborough bus lane scheme, which has enraged local motorists as well as causing traffic chaos during its construction.
Rushmoor highways boss Jim Pettitt told the Star that the borough had told county representatives last week that it was concerned about the fact that the new bus lanes will be applied 24 hours a day - despite the complete lack of buses during the night. It was also suggested that other public transport vehicles such as taxis and dial a ride buses should be allowed to use the pink lanes.
Mr Pettitt said that Hampshire had said it was about to review its bus lane policies, including the Farnborough scheme. But the county said on Tuesday that while taxis could not use the bus lanes, any vehicle that carried more than eight people plus the driver was classed as a bus and could use the lane.
"That includes dial-a-ride services, community services and works buses," a spokeswoman said.
She continued: "We're aware of calls to make the bus lanes peak hours only, but there is no traffic congestion to speak of during off-peak hours anyway so there wouldn't be any benefit."
The county argues that if all vehicles are allowed to use bus lanes, the risks of speeding are exacerbated.
Hampshire is also responsible for the large new signs that claim there have been 25 casualties in the 30 mph zone over the past year. That stretches from the Falcon Hotel in the south to Highgate Lane in the north.
Asked for details, Hampshire said these comprised three serious injuries and 22 slight ones.
"We consider all injury accidents important in terms of road safety, regardless of whether injuries are serious or slight," the spokeswoman said. "Even slight injuries can cause distress and inconvenience to motorists and their families -not to mention the financial cost."
But Star reader Mrs Ruth Bennett, of York Road, Farnborough, reflected local concerns when she said: "I am speechless about the decision to make the bus lanes 24 hours a day as it so stupid! I am quite prepared to accept that public transport should have priority at peak times, but not all the time."