The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) UK has criticised the way in which Liverpool’s bus lane suspension trial is being conducted and called for the Mayor of Liverpool to terminate it.

While a review of the effectiveness of the city’s bus lanes is perfectly justifiable, admits the CILT, the evidence used in reaching the decision to suspend all the city’s bus lanes was, it claims, “rushed through and based on evidence that was flawed and suffered from a severe data deficit”.

Austin Birks, chairman of the CILT’s Bus and Coach Forum, said a clear rationale for the trial, which started in October and is scheduled to run for nine months, was “plainly lacking”.

He added: “We urge the city council and its mayor to terminate what appears to be an ill-considered experiment before any greater damage is done to the city’s reputation as a competent local highway authority; to the city’s economy; and to the ability of local bus operators to achieve the reliability required of them by their customers and the traffic commissioners.”

In its formal response to a consultation on the trial, the CILT criticised the review for being based upon traffic flow, rather than person flow, and said a paucity of sufficiently detailed base data on congestion levels along the various routes meant “the information on which to make the required judgements is lacking”.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of policy for the north of England, told the FTA still welcomed the trial and wanted to see it run its full course.

“We’re interested to see what the trial produces,” he said. “If you’re going to do a trial, you have to do it for the period you said you would – otherwise why set it?”