Portsmouth City Council is considering allowing Private Hire Vehicles to use bus lanes. To use technical terminology, a Taxi is a Hackney Carriage, and a Minicab is a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV). A Hackney Carriage licence allows the driver to pick up fares on the street, and a few other perks, for example, in Portsmouth, Taxis may use bus lanes, but PHVs ay not. Recently it has been proposed that PHVs should be allowed to use Bus Lanes. In addition to buses and taxis, bicycles are also permitted to use bus lanes.
You may know that Portsmouth has more cycling accidents per capita than most other cities, but it may surprise you to learn that (according to PCC figures) Taxis and PHVs are responsible for a disproportionately large number of cycling accidents. Taxis and PHVs represent just under 0.9% of registered vehicles, but are involved in 8% of all reported cycle collisions: and whilst cyclists make up only 4.7% of traffic in Portsmouth, they account for 21% of Taxi/PHV related casualties. Disturbingly, the most common contributory factor is the “driver failing to look properly”.
Allowing PHVs into cycle lanes would result in more occasions when cyclists and PHVs are in close proximity, and thus increase the likelihood of cyclist casualties in the one place where they currently have some protection from general traffic. Portsmouth Cycle Forum therefore conclude that in its current form this proposal is a terrible idea.
You can read our full response here: PHVs in Bus Lanes - PCF Response.