Portsmouth City Council's move to allow private hire vehicles access to select bus lanes has been hailed a triumph.
The council embarked on a 14-month exploratory trial granting Portsmouth-licensed private hire vehicles (PHV) the right to navigate through five specific bus lanes. This initiative aimed at enhancing the punctuality and reliability of their services.
The trial covered strategic locations including Cavell Drive, Mile End Road, Marketway, Bishop Crispian Way, and Queens Street. With positive outcomes from the experiment reported, there's now a push to cement the status of these lanes from trial to permanent fixtures. Moreover, there's momentum to broaden this initiative, with plans to evaluate an additional 14 bus lanes for their suitability in this expanded usage.
Traditionally, bus lanes are the domain of buses, coaches, hackney carriage taxis, emergency services, cyclists, and rental e-scooters. Observations during the trial period noted a marginal improvement in travel times for these vehicles, providing a basis for possibly extending the privilege.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Private hire vehicles provide essential transport in the city especially for those travelling in groups or for those that can’t catch the bus, walk or cycle. Developing and improving the reliability of public transport is essential for our residents and businesses in Portsmouth whilst also ensuring the safety of road users when making changes in the city. I look forward to considering the recommendations.”