The new bus lane and park and ride system that began operating on Monday to ease traffic congestion into Nicosia is proving a great success, according to a Cyprus Public Transport (CPT) official.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, CPT business development manager Alexander Kamberos said the route’s initial test – its official opening is set for September 7 – was an absolute success, even though its first day coincided with the Cyprus-Greece-Israel trilateral meeting at the presidential palace that saw some of the capital’s roads closed.

“The route from Alambra to Solomou square took a total of 40 minutes,” Kamberos said.

“That means that the new bus lane shaved off a good 20 minutes from the time it normally took before the upgrade.”

The new bus lane covers a 1.8km stretch from the Strovolos roundabout. It entails a park and ride from the parking area of the GSP stadium, offering people the chance able to park and take buses into work.

GSP stadium parking spaces will be offered free of charge to drivers who wish to leave their private vehicle and use public transport, either in the direction of the city centre or to other cities.

This is where the highway becomes a two-lane road and the lane will stretch to the Kalispera traffic lights entering the capital at the intersection of Limassol and Athalassas avenues.

At the intersection priority will be given to buses, to pass the line of cars into the city.

Kamberos said that the route was unaffected by the congestion at Kalispera traffic lights, normally a sore point for bus riders and motorists alike.

“The full service is due to start on September 7, so the next few days will be useful to smooth out any issues that might arise,” he said, encouraging passengers to get in touch with the CPT to report any inconvenience they might have experienced.

The new bus lane and park and ride system will operate from Monday through to Friday, running from 7am until 4pm so it will prove of little use to those who work past then. Those who will benefit are mostly the public sector and bank workers.