Walsall backs ‘sensible’ move to allow private hire vehicles to use bus lanes

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Walsall Council has backed a call to allow private hire vehicles to use bus lanes in the town in a bid to reduce congestion. The move would bring it into line with neighbouring Wolverhampton, which allows PHVs into the bus lanes.

Walsall Council now plans to consult with the West Midlands Enhanced Bus Partnership about a change in rules which would give private hire vehicles the same rights as hackney carriages.

Councillors argued successfully that the amendment would help cut congestion, enhance services and reduce pollution. The cabinet unanimously agreed to engage with the partnership on whether it is likely to be agreed before moving ahead to a formal application.

Cllr Amo Hussain said: “There is a strength of feeling that would assist them in securing more passengers as they are constantly held up in traffic jams, much of which has been created by Transport for West Midlands in securing free movement for buses but to the detriment of all other road users.”

He added: “I know Wolverhampton allow private hire vehicles to use bus lanes and this was before the enhanced partnership arrangements were put in place. I trust the cabinet will agree to consult with the relevant partners to secure this change.”

Deputy leader Adrian Andrew said: “I think it’s fair to say it was a controversial issue. If we can get the approval of the enhanced partnership which we need to consult with then I think it would be a sensible move to allow this to happen.”