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BUS LANE BULLETIN


lanes daily to carry out Hampshire County Council and SCC school runs. This would cause even longer traffic queues and congestion, again adding to the pollution to which our children are exposed. Many of the children on these school runs are disabled or with challenging behaviour and increases in travel time causes unnecessary distress and anxiety.


4) Above Bar A particular area of congestion is the Above Bar region where the bus lanes play a key role in moving customers around this area. If EBC vehicles are prohibited from using the bus lanes a simple two-minute drop off would turn into a ten-minute pollution busting CAZ trip. Surely this does not make sense. On a positive note over the past three years EBC and SCC Licensing, Councillors, CAZ team and Trade Reps have agreed to new cleaner, greener standards for future taxi and PHVs within our two boroughs, resulting in a marked increase in the number of Euro6, Bi Fuel and EVs being used. Furthermore within the very near future both boroughs will only allow the new cleaner greener vehicles to be operated. As a trade we are committed to improving standards, unfor- tunately it’s clear to me, and those I represent, that this Bus Lane Order will not achieve any desired CAZ reduction in emissions but will in fact set such targets backwards. For the sake of emissions in the centre of Southampton, please do not make this mistake.


There are two other questions I would like to pose: Question 1: How can any CAZ person employed by SCC hope to get an accurate assessment of traffic queues, traffic pinch points, pollution levels and volume of vehicles from their data in the middle of a worldwide pandemic when most law abiding citizens are working at home? Any information collated surely is worthless and that doesn’t even include the non-existent Southampton cruise liner industry and the many vehicles that normally service this industry. Question 2: How does an afternoon traffic time of 4pm - 6:30pm help the hundreds of taxis and PH disability vehicles providing school transport? The usual travel period for this is 2pm - 4:30pm. The inability to use the bus lanes will only lead to increased journey time, increased pollution and more importantly increased stress levels of vulnerable children. It seems to me and many others that Cllr Leggett and Mr Guppy of SCC really haven’t addressed any possible reduc- tions in pollution levels on this subject. Once again if they try to put these next set of conditions through, all they will have achieved in pollution terms is the reverse. I also wanted to mention that Cllr Leggett and Mr Guppy gave a presentation to SCC and EBC taxi and PH Trade Reps to sell their vision of the future vehicles that they expected SCC and EBC drivers to buy to provide a cleaner air fleet as part of the CAZ scheme for our combined borough partner- ship. Since then many of our drivers, including myself have vastly increased the capital expenditure for these cleaner vehicles only to be possibly let down by double standards.


SEPTEMBER 2021


PERSONAL VIEW OF IAN HALL, CHAIR OF SOUTHAMPTON HC & PH ASSOC


Southampton City Council (SCC) was one of the first five local authorities in England, outside of London, to assess the need of a CAZ and required a plan to be submitted to the Secretary of State by 31/01/2019. New Forest District Council (NFDC) was identified as also needing to undertake the same assessment and has worked in partnership with SCC to ensure legal compliance can be delivered in both areas. In the SCC election results in May 2021, the Conservatives seized majority control from Labour who had controlled the council from 2012. One of the first things that the Conservative council undertook was to remove certain bus lanes which were causing severe congestion in the City. It was a promise they had made to the voters and many would agree with this action. From 1 September 2021 taxis and PHVs, not licensed by SCC, will only be permitted to use Southampton bus/taxi lanes within a certain time frame and as long as the vehicles comply with registration dates and emission standards. However, what seems to have been misconstrued by SCC Scientific Services (Clean Air Department) and Balfour Beatty Traffic Management is the important fact that some Southampton taxi/private hire companies have Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) and NFDC licensed drivers and vehicles working for their companies. Without getting too technical, under the Deregulation Act 2015 any licensed operator can sub-contract jobs to any other licensed private hire operator. See also Milton Keynes Council v Skyline Taxi and Private Hire 2017 court case. Under the City of Southampton (Bus Lanes, Bus Only Streets and Bus Gates) Order, vehicles licensed elsewhere but which work legally for Southampton companies, with respective company names on the two front doors, can only use the bus lanes at certain times (detected by CCTV) whereas vehicles in the same company licensed by SCC can use them 24 hours. I do not blame the local conservative council for this latest bus lane directive. I believe the damage had been done previously and it was the fault of others before they came to power.


In closing, the new order is at best, confusing, can you imagine any vehicle licensed outside of SCC, stopping at the start of the bus lane, ignition off, searching the SCC website to see what the restrictions are, what compliance means, before deciding whether or not to enter the lane? That’s not to mention the excellent point highlighting the blunder made by SCC regarding the school run time allowance. The clearly demonstrated lack of under- standing since the PM time is actually long after the school runs.


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