Eastnews Press Agency
Few motorists like bus lanes. The idea of sitting in traffic on the morning commute, as public transport users sail past on their reserved expressway is enough to make anyone frustrated. Drivers in Essex, however, have a real reason to gripe, after the installation of a bus lane that is less than 50ft long.
The bizarre dedicated lane in North Stifford isn't even long enough to accommodate an entire double-decker bus; leading to locals questioning why it was laid out in the first place.
The placement of the bus lane on the narrow stretch of road has forced thousands of car users to negotiate a tight chicane-style bend each week, despite the bus lane only being lightly used by scheduled public transport services.
The road layout, has caught out locals and motorists visiting the area alike. Driver Emma Taylor told the Daily Mail: "It really is bizarre. I drove through it on the way to my mum's house.
"I found it so strange that I actually had to turn back and have another look to make sure I was not seeing things.
"The bus lane is so short that it is pointless and I nearly bashed the alloys on my Audi when I went around the traffic islands."
"It's very narrow so I assume the highways bosses think it is slowing cars down but it's on a 30mph stretch of road here so it's not as if motorists are driving fast along here.
"I think it's more likely to cause accidents rather than prevent them."
A Thurrock Council spokesman told the Daily Mail that the strange bus lane was implemented in 2007 to limit access to North Stifford village for HGVs, which were using the road as a shortcut and causing problems for residents.
"The installation of a bus gate of this type has effectively reduced HGV traffic while still allowing public transport access to and through the village," he said.
"The council has received no complaints from villagers about this bus gate in recent years."