Updated: Oct 5
Taxi and private hire drivers in Bedford could soon see their access to bus lanes denied if they don't meet Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) requirements.
In a council meeting held on 1 October, proposals were put forward for an experimental phase which would see a number of bus lanes made available for use only by buses, community transport, bicycles, motorbikes and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.
It is proposed that bus lanes at Ampthill Road, Bedford Road, Kempston and Kingsway are amended, removing the permissive use by taxi and private hire vehicles.
Currently, both hackney carriage taxis and private hire vehicles are permitted use of bus lanes in Bedford; this varies from other areas around the UK, such as London, who do not permit private hire vehicle access.
Councillors at the meeting heard only two out of 70 taxis in the town are currently classified as Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), which don’t emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from their exhausts.
There are also another 600 licensed private hire vehicles and the general licensing committee heard the trade has been suffering badly during the coronavirus pandemic.