No more taxis in bus lanes

  • By LCC on at 3:09pm 28 September 2016
  • Posted in: Take action
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No more taxis in bus lanes


As part of his backing for London’s black cabs the Mayor has decided to allow them access to 20 additional bus lanes  and is encouraging London boroughs to open up a further 40 bus lanes to taxi traffic.

The Mayor appears to have forgotten that there are fragile refugees from road traffic in bus lanes: tens of thousands of pedestrians crossing them and thousands of people who cycle in them. Some bus lanes, for example the one Tooley St in Southwark, attract as many as a thousand cyclists per single hour.   These people aren’t there because they like mixing with buses but because the bus lane is the safest choice amidst the congestion of central London.  Adding black cabs to the mix will undoubtedly  create a more congested lane, inconvenience pedestrians  and discourage cycle use in a zone where two cycle routes (Stainer Street and Joiner Street) and have already been closed down.

In other parts of London bus lanes can provide a respite for cycle users from fast moving or congested motor traffic in outer lanes. Taxis frequently travel faster than buses and will add to road danger, and perceived road danger, for cycle users, if allowed into the bus lanes.

There have been other attempts to extend the usage of bus lanes - adding HGVs to the mix was proposed in Richmond; and the mini-cab industry wanted access on a par with black cabs. Both proposals were rejected.  The one extra entrant to bus lanes were motor cycles following a commitment made by Mayor Boris Johnson - a measure LCC opposed because of the increased hazard for cyclists and for the motor-cyclists themselves .

While LCC does not want yet more vehicles in bus lanes they should not be considered a suitable alternative to purpose designed cycle facilities like the E-W or N-S cycle superhighway. Transport for London’s London Cycle Design Standards specify that routes that attract 500 vehicles per hour and include more than 5% HGVs (and in this case buses are equivalent to HGVs) must have segregated cycle lanes.

 If the Mayor does want to share more bus lanes with taxis he needs to address the increased danger to cycle users and provide suitable segregated lanes on all roads where there are high motor traffic flows.