Monday, October 12, 2015

Derbyshire taxi firms vow 'we won't pay fines for using Derby bus lanes'

Chris Hillman has had eight fines from Derby City Council for using bus lanes in Victoria Street, Albert Street and Uttoxeter New Road, despite signs on the routes saying taxis can use them.

TAXI companies and cabbies have vowed not to pay scores of fines they have been issued for driving in Derby bus lanes they say they are allowed to use.

They spoke out after Belper cabbie Chris Hillman told the Derby Telegraph he had been issued with nine £60 fines since July for driving in bus lanes in Albert Street, Victoria Street and Uttoxeter New Road. That was despite signs saying taxis can use them, he said.

Now more taxi firms and cabbies have spoken out to say that, like Mr Hillman, they won't pay the city council's fines.

The council has said that rules, allowing taxis to use some of Derby's bus lanes only apply to licensed drivers of Hackney Carriages, something Mr Hillman said he was.

And the authority said that, if the carriages are – like Mr Hillman's – licensed outside the city, drivers must also be able to prove their journeys started or ended in the area they are based in if they use the lanes.

Mr Hillman said all of his jobs that led to fines had involved taking customers from Amber Valley to Derby.

But he said there was no record of this. He said that, if someone was picked up from a rank in Heanor and then taken to Derby, there would be no record of that as it wouldn't have been formally booked.

Mrs Sharpe said her firm had received more than 20 fines since August, the majority of which had affected the firm's Hackney cabs.

She said the Hackney trips involved taking customers from the Amber Valley area to Derby or vice versa. Mrs Sharpe said her firm now owed more than £400.

She added that, when she received fines for Hackney cabs using the bus lanes, she had been proving their journeys met the council's regulations so that the penalty notices were rescinded. But she said she was no longer prepared to do this.

Mark Knighton, a driver for Ilkeston-based A2B Taxis, said he also wouldn't pay his two bus lane fines.

He said: "The signs on the bus lanes say taxis are allowed."

The city council was asked which of its bus lanes taxis were able to use but did not answer the question. It did confirm that Victoria Street and Albert Street were among them.

A council spokeswoman said: "The bus lanes serve to protect some of our most sensitive roads from unnecessary traffic.

"These two bus lanes have an exemption for taxis but this exemption does not permit private hire and mini cabs to use the bus lanes. We are aware that the introduction of enforcement here has served to challenge the behaviour of taxi and private hire drivers and operators."

The fine for incorrectly driving in Derby bus lanes is £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 35 days.