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KNOW THE RULES: When can taxis use bus lanes and can they stop to pick-up at bus stops?

In London, the iconic black cabs are a familiar sight, navigating through traffic to pick up and drop off passengers throughout the day.

However, confusion and frustration arise among some road users, including motorists and cyclists, over taxis stopping to perform their licensed duties, particularly when it comes to the use of bus lanes and stops.

The issue often escalates when it's not widely understood that taxis are permitted to utilise bus lanes and pull over at bus stops for pickups, leading to confrontations, even from bus drivers themselves, when cabs collect passengers who've grown tired of waiting.

Transport for London (TfL) clarifies the regulations surrounding the use of bus lanes and stops by taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs). While taxis and PHVs can both pick up or set down customers in bus lanes, PHVs are prohibited from driving in bus lanes.

Taxis are able to drive in most bus lanes, but controversially are not allowed access to all. Taxi drivers must heed the specific signs at the commencement of each bus lane to clarity whether they are able to use the lanes.

As for picking-up and dropping-off passengers:

  • PHV drivers must enter and exit bus lanes in a direct and safe manner when setting down or picking up.

  • Passengers should always be dropped off at the kerb, not in the middle of the road, regardless of traffic conditions.

  • PHVs are not permitted to stop in 'bus stop clearways,' which are marked by a wide yellow line.

  • On red routes, both taxis and PHVs are barred from stopping at bus stops indicated by a wide red line.


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