Stop Gateshead Council Restricting PHV Access To Bus Lanes
Gateshead Council are planning to enable camera monitoring of the bus lanes in Gateshead. By doing this they also plan to restrict access for Private Hire vehicles using the lane, This will result in Private Hire vehicles taking longer to reach a destination, increasing congestion on the roads, increasing emission levels in the environment and increasing the fare customers will pay.
The reasoning the council has given for this is that customers are boycotting buses as they are taking too long to arrive at each stop. By stopping vehicles from accessing the bus lanes the Council "claim" there will be an increase in people using the bus services. No evidence has been provided in the report to back this theory up.
We would appreciate any support in the below petition.
PETITION TO THE MAYOR OF GATESHEAD AND ALL THE COUNCIL
I, the undersigned, being convinced in my conscience that the proposed alterations to entitlement to access bus and taxi lanes within the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, would be disastrous to the material well-being of the licensed public hire, and private hire trades.
By subverting the ability of the entire licensed fleet to provide a comprehensive service to the fare paying members of the public, it would be destructive and perilous to the Council's declared intent to formulate a fully integrated transport system in the town. May I be permitted to remind you of the assurances given in Gateshead Council's Town Centre Planning Strategy, which was published in July 2007, together with other pledges made in the past concerning transport issues throughout the Borough.
I am given to understand that when the Gateshead Council takes over the responsibility for civil bus lane enforcement in the town later in the year, the intention will be to prosecute any unauthorised driver who may be detected in any of the proscribed sites. I am of the belief that if there was proper enforcement in the bus lanes it would generate large amounts of revenue from illegal drivers. It would be more beneficial to prosecute unlicensed offenders who currently break the law on an industrial scale, with very few repercussions.
I believe that the drastic alterations, which have recently been announced by the Gateshead Council, will not protect the interests of the private hire fraternity. I would go further, and say that the living and working standards of the majority of licensed drivers will decline, and the welfare of all who are engaged in the industry will be jeopardised because of the introduction of restrictive practices. I am convinced that the passengers who use private hire vehicles will witness a deterioration in service if their drivers are forced to negotiate the choke points that have been established throughout the Borough over recent years. Whereas the sensible thing to do would be to allow these "restricted taxis" to use the strategically placed clearways that were deliberately set up to allow essential vehicles to bypass the log-jams. By being able to use short cuts, it was envisaged that the shorter journeys on many trips, resulting in cheaper fares for passengers, would encourage large sections of the populace to use public transport, and in so doing would abandon their own vehicles and help ease the congestion on the roads, and help cut down on the pollution in the area.
I am of the belief that if there was proper enforcement in the bus lanes it would generate large amounts of revenue from illegal drivers. It would be more beneficial to prosecute unlicensed offenders who currently break the law on an industrial scale, with very few repercussions
Problems which currently do not exist, would be created by the proposed adoption of "no-go areas" together with a two tier policing policy. Frustration would result from a fragmented system instead of a combined service. If mixed messages were to be sent out by the council concerning access to certain bus routes by different kinds of taxis, cabs, PHV's, and minicabs, it would add to confusion in certain quarters.
In keeping with the highest standards of service to the general public, and with the purpose that each worker involved with the licensed public hire/private hire industry should be entitled to earn a deserved success within a fully integrated transport system, may I implore you to reconsider the Gateshead Council's proposed policy on bus and taxi lanes.
The City of Newcastle upon Tyne Council has adopted a quite different approach to bus lanes, by enacting the "Bus Lanes Traffic Regulation Order 2014" under Sections 1, 2, 4, 19, and Part IV of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as amended, and of all other powers, and after consultation with the Chief Officer of Police, have made it possible for licensed private hire drivers to be entitled to use bus lanes under the "Authorised Vehicle" assignation
Elsewhere in the Kingdom, a system of Class 1 and Class 2 Public Hire Vehicle Services will be introduced later this month. If the Council is still of the opinion that private hire vehicles will not be permitted to use any of the contentious lanes, I think that a solution to the problem can be found if the Licensing Section was to reclassify Private Hire Vehicles from now on as Class 2 Hackney Carriages, which could not sit on Taxi Stands, but would be eligible to operate in all other ways as licensed public hire vehicles.
I hereto subscribe my name.
A copy of the proposals Of the council
TITLE OF REPORT:
Civil Bus Lane Enforcement in Gateshead
Paul Dowling, Strategic Director, Communities & EnvironmentPurpose of the Report
REPORT TO CABINET
24 May 2016
- To seek Cabinet approval to introduce civil enforcement of bus lane traffic contraventions in Gateshead and to recommend to Council that it sets a charge level for the contraventions and nominates one of its Councillors to the Bus Lane Adjudication Joint Committee.
- A move to more sustainable modes of travel is a key focus of local, regional and national transport policy. Bus use per capita remains higher in North East England than in any other region of the country outside London. Although that figure has declined over the last decade, a significant factor in encouraging people to make sustainable travel choices is ensuring that services are able to run as efficiently as possible, especially on key routes. Effective enforcement will lead to service improvements and should in turn lead to increased bus use.
- The Council received the statutory power to undertake bus lane enforcement in 2007, at the same time as our civil parking enforcement powers were granted. These powers are in addition to those held by the Police. However, our bus lane enforcement powers have never been utilised and the power to enforce bus lanes within the Borough has fallen to the Police alone.
- Regulations enable traffic authorities to allow certain classes of vehicles other than buses to use bus lanes without the need for special authorisation. Councils introducing bus lane enforcement should therefore determine their general approach to such exceptions.
- A new Traffic Regulation Order will be required to re-designate the bus lanes and the classes of vehicle authorised to use them.
- 5. Prior to commencement, the Council must approve one of two options for the level of the penalty charge (either £60 or £40) and that decision must then be submitted to the Secretary of State for ratification. The Council must also formally appoint one of its members to the Bus Lane Adjudication Joint Committee, in the same way that it has to the PATROL Joint Committee in relation to Civil Parking Enforcement.
- 6. Enforcement would initially be by means of the Council’s existing approved mobile CCTV vehicle, but it is expected that a system of fixed CCTV cameras would be utilised once driver behaviours become clearer.
8 National guidance exists in relation to what exemptions should apply, and it is proposed to follow this guidance unless there are clear reasons to depart from it.
- 9. It is proposed that Gateshead Council commences bus lane enforcement with effect from 1 November 2016.
- It is recommended that Cabinet:
- Agrees to appoint the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport to the Bus Lane Adjudication Joint Committee;
- Recommends Council to approve the Code of Practice relating to the use of CCTV for Civil Parking and Bus Lane Enforcement and connected purposes, as set out in Appendix 4;
- Recommends Council to amend the Constitution to give delegated authority to the Service Director, Development, Public Protection and Transport Strategy to carry out the statutory procedure to introduce and operate civil bus lane enforcement and to make such technical amendments to the Council’s Code of Practice for CCTV Enforcement as may be required to comply with changes to national legislation or guidance, or decisions of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
- Recommends Council to set the level of Penalty Charge for bus lane contraventions at £60.
- (i) Agrees to the introduction of civil bus lane enforcement in Gateshead with effect from 1 November 2016 (or as soon thereafter as practicable, subject to completion of the statutory processes) on the basis of the key principles outlined in Appendix 2;
For the following reasons:
- To improve the reliability of local bus services, and thereby encourage greater use of buses;
- To comply with the relevant statutory and procedural requirements;
- To ensure enforcement can commence with effect from 1 November 2016;
- To improve consistency in enforcement.