Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Private hire drivers licensed by Birmingham City Council have launched a petition calling for access through the city’s new Bus Gate.
The council said the introduction of the new Bus Gate system is to avoid all the unnecessary traffic from the city roads. This route is only available for buses, hackney carriage drivers and cyclists.
Private hire drivers say their exclusion discriminates and prevents them from completing efficient journeys.
Umar Saleem has launched a petition through Change.org, saying: “On one hand we have Moor Street Station linked on this route. Majority of the work from the Birmingham City Centre comes from the well known shopping centre Bullring.
“Customers use Moor Street Station or close by location to get picked up or to get dropped off. On the other hand, other side of the city centre Bus Gate again stopping the private hire drivers from carrying on working on the most efficient route.
“In Birmingham City Centre most routes are only one way. It is very difficult in some circumstances to come back on the same street or road within few minutes. Some routes add between 1 to 3 extra miles on to journey.“
Saleem went on to say that the traffic in Birmingham was rapidly getting worse, and not having access through the Bus Gate was wasting drivers' time and money, and was also wasting passengers' time to get picked up within a reasonable timeframe.
He said in some circumstances drivers have had to offer free journeys to passengers to make up for the extra time it is taking to complete trips.
Saleem said: “By closing this route, it is going to have a negative impact on thousands of people's lives. For private hire drivers it is already a great struggle to survive in the trade. hackney carriage drivers been given this opportunity and advantage to use taxi and bus lane for decades and now allowing them to use Bus Gate and putting restrictions on private hire drivers is not helping the industry at all."
Saleem has pointed out that the current ‘Rule and Regulations’ for Birmingham’s hackney carriage and private hire licences are exactly the same.
He concluded: “We are making a request to Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Planning Committee and Birmingham Licensing team to take private hire driver’s difficulties and struggle into consideration and allow private hire drivers to freely use the Bus Gate.“