Allowing hackneys and limousines to use bus lanes would “undermine the purpose of prioritising bus-based public transport”, the Minister of State for transport said in response to a parliamentary question.
The first bus lane in Ireland was trialled in Dublin in 1971, and bus lanes were introduced a decade later in 1981. Then three years later in 1984, taxis were first allowed in bus lanes as an experiment — campaigners today maintain that this has proven to be a failed experiment because of the effect of taxis on both cycling safety and bus priority.
According to kildarestreet.com, Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly asked if the Minister for Transport has any “plans to allow small public service vehicles to utilise the bus lanes while working on their PSV licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Small public service vehicles include taxis, hackneys and limousines — the latter two are not allowed to use bus lanes.
Minister of State for transport, Hildegarde Naughton, said: “Bus lanes were created, with significant public investment, to provide on-street priority for bus-based public transport. Their goal is to make bus transport faster and more reliable, encouraging more people to switch from private cars to public transport, reducing both congestion and pollution.”
“In addition to buses, bus lanes may be used by cyclists who, as vulnerable road users, are safer in bus lanes than in general traffic. The lanes may also be used by emergency services. After the lanes were introduced, it was decided to allow only one category of small public service vehicle (SPSV) – taxis – to use them. This concession was based on the fact that taxis are a form of public transport available for on-street hire,” said Naughton.
She added: “Since bus lanes were introduced, there have been many requests to grant access to other classes of SPSV, including hackneys and chauffeured limousine services. To date, such proposals have not been progressed on the grounds that they would undermine the purpose of prioritising bus-based public transport.”
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