Taxi ban sparks row over Fastlink route restrictions

TAXI drivers have hit out at plans for new bus-only lanes along the Fastlink bus route.

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Cameras will monitor the lanes across bridges in the city
Cameras will monitor the lanes across bridges in the city

Last week the Evening Times revealed how four new bus-lane cameras would be installed and there would be new road restrictions to ensure buses get priority on the route from the city centre to the new South Glasgow Hospitals.

The plan involved two new cameras on the 'Squinty' bridge and another two in Govan. Also included are some lanes which will be bus-only, with taxis, private hire cars and cycles banned from them.

Glasgow Taxis, which operates the city's black cabs said the move will cost customers and suggested it was a money-making venture. Taxi drivers who stray into the lanes could face fines and potentially other action from the taxi enforcement unit.

Stephen Flynn, vice chairman of Glasgow Taxis Ltd, said: "It's disappointing to see licensed taxis prohibited from sections of these lanes.

"If nothing else this will have an impact on the paying customer - be that a local resident or a visiting tourist - who may face being forced to wait in traffic and pay more.

"It could also see licensed taxis held up through no fault of their own and delayed in attending pick-ups at schools, shopping centres or businesses when that situation could be easily avoided.

"The high fines in place do suggest this is another money making exercise - we'd urge those behind the scheme to have a rethink."

A report to inform bus operators of the regulations of the scheme states: "Taxis, licensed private hire cars and bicycles will be able to use 'With-flow Bus Lanes' but will be prohibited from using 'With Flow Bus Only Lanes' and 'Bus Only Routes' as part of the council's commitment to the scheme."

It said taxi operations on the Fastlink route will be monitored and infringements reported to the Taxi and private hire enforcement unit.

Glasgow City Council said there had been a chance to object to the plans. A spokesman said: "Traffic Regulation Orders for the Fastlink route were published on 18 December 2013. During the six week consultation no objections were received from Glasgow Taxis."

Fastlink is due to be completed next year to coincide with the hospital opening.

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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