LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The first phase of a plan to shorten bus commute times between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica on one of the busiest traffic corridors in Los Angeles County is underway.

Contractors Monday began to remove lane striping along Wilshire Boulevard from MacArthur Park to Western Avenue to create “bus only” lanes for a 1.8-mile stretch in both directions through Koreatown.

Once the new bus lanes take effect on June 5, only transit buses will be permitted to use the lanes during peak traffic hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Any commuters caught driving in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes could be ticketed during those hours. All vehicles are permitted to use bus lanes during off-peak hours and on weekends.

Some commuters were already predicting the new lanes could slow traffic even more along the busy corridor.

“You gotta be kidding me, man,” one man told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO. “That’s just gonna cause more traffic; it’s gonna be crazy.”

The Wilshire Boulevard BRT project, which is expected to be completed in late 2014, is designed to cut bus commute times by 15 minutes along 12.5 miles of road between downtown LA and Centinela Avenue in Santa Monica.

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