CAPE TOWN — Western Cape provincial officials were confident their objectives with the N2 dedicated bus and minibus taxi (BMT) lane were being met, but there were still 1700 motorists who would be getting a R500 fines for illegally using the lane in the past two weeks.

Transport MEC Marius Fransman said yesterday that it appeared as if the lane was working and that buses using the lane recorded a saving of 15 minutes in travelling time, while taxis from Gugulethu saved 30 minutes a day.

Fransman said this indicated that the objectives of the new lane were being met. He said the time saved for commuters meant that buses could operate 31 extra trips into the city, while the number of taxi trips in morning peak hour had doubled from 200 to 400.

During the period, 24477 minibus taxis and 6945 buses used the BMT lane .

Fransman said the province was looking at extending the BMT concept to link the N2 and N1 highways cutting through the Epping industrial area up to the Paarden Island industrial area. While there were road markings available for such a lane, what was needed was enforcement.

He also said that consideration was being given to introduce a BMT lane along the N1 from Durbanville into the city. While the planning for this had been done, it was just a question of budget that still remained to be addressed.

“Our set objective of getting a more efficient and faster public transport system that can be the first choice of travel for the hundreds of thousands of workers in the city is steadily being achieved,” said Fransman.

The BMT lane was opened on August 8 and since then officials have had “good co-operation” from most motorists and law enforcement had been taking place during the prescribed hours of 5.30am and 9am. One of the concerns still remaining was the behavioural change that was needed in drivers, especially minibus taxi drivers.

He said that during the period of assessing the use of the lane, the highest speed recorded was more than 144km/h. Many other vehicles had travelled in excess of 120km/h and traffic authorities were considering bringing in a speed limit of 100km/h. He said an enforcement programme would be implemented to ensure the safety of all road users.

Fransman said a study would also be done to establish which trucks should use the roads during peak times, although he was “sensitive” to heavily laden vehicles transporting critical freight at that time of the day.