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28/06/2012

Bus Lanes Could Be Opened To Taxis

The Northern Ireland public will be able to hail private hire taxis on the street when new licensing laws come in.

The Department of the Environment has also launched a consultation on whether all taxis should be allowed to use bus lanes, which only some have access to at present.

At present the majority of taxis here cannot pick passengers up on the street – they have to be booked by telephone – and cannot use bus lanes.

The measures would remove what the Department called a "two tier" system of public and private hire taxis.

A forthcoming change in taxi licensing arrangements is being brought forward by the Department of the Environment. This will see the end of the current two tier system of public and private hire taxis to be replaced by a single tier arrangement.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: "The future operating plans for taxis has prompted my Department’s proposal to allow any taxi to use those bus lanes where currently only the 'permitted' public hire taxis have access. Taxis assist the public and need to be able operate by being able to pick up passengers on their routes."

The change will only impact those bus lanes where taxis are allowed access, indicated by signs, and will exclude motorway bus lanes.

To see the consultation go to www.drdni.gov.uk or call 028 9054 1135.

(NE)

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