Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cabbies Hit out at Council. Drivers Fined over Using New Bus Lane

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cabbies Hit out at Council. Drivers Fined over Using New Bus Lane

Article excerpt

TAXI drivers have hit out after being slapped with fines for using bus lanes.

Drivers with LA Taxis are furious after receiving PS60 fines from North Tyneside Council for using the new Balliol Bus Link - despite a sign saying the road can be used by buses, cyclists and taxis.

Company manager Stephen McGuinness claims around 30 of his drivers have been fined in the past eight days because the council said the road is for hackney carriages rather than private-hire taxis.

"North Tyneside Council have just decided in their eyes that taxi does not mean private hire," said Mr McGuinness.

"It's crazy because the bus lane does not run through a residential area, it is just linking business parks."

He added: "They are hammering local business once again. This is the first time we have received fines for this.

"Newcastle City Council allow all taxis of all boroughs to use their bus lanes."

But a spokesman for North Tyneside Council insisted it was common knowledge under legislation when signs indicate a taxi is permitted to use the road refers to hackney carriages only.

The spokesman said: "Under national legislation, wherever signage indicates that a taxi is permitted to use a bus lane this refers to hackney carriages only, not private-hire vehicles.

"Private-hire drivers should be aware of this.

"We regularly remind local companies at taxi forum meetings, the information is on the council's website and the same legislation prevents privatehire drivers from parking at taxi ranks.

"If anyone wishes to challenge their penalty charge notice there is an established appeals procedure in place." But LA Taxis has claimed the enforcement camera is targeting private-hire taxis and is simply a way for the council to make money.

Mr McGuinness, said: "It's just a money-spinning exercise. It is so annoying. It is not in the public interest for private-hire taxis not to use that road."

The road was funded by Nexus to improve bus access between Balliol Business Park and Gosforth Business Park.

The council has said where signs indicate taxis are eligible to use the bus lane it refers to a vehicle licensed under Section 37 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, a hackney carriage and not private-hire vehicles. …

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