Taxi drivers to be allowed to use certain bus lanes as restrictions are lifted

Taxi drivers will soon be able to use certain bus lanes in South Tyneside.
Taxi drivers will soon be able to use certain bus lanes in South Tyneside.

Taxi drivers in South Tyneside will soon be able to use bus lanes say council chiefs.

South Tyneside is one of just a few areas across the country which does not allow taxis to share bus lanes - despite requests from cabbies.

The issue was raised at a recent council Licensing and Regulatory Committee.

However, restrictions are soon set to be lifted which will enable hackney and private hire cabs to share specified lanes in South Shields.

This included bus lanes in King George Road, Sunderland Road and Imeary Street.

At the committee meeting, Coun Alan Smith, for Fellgate and Hedworth, asked why the borough does not allow taxis to use the routes.

Laurence Waldock, the council’s senior licensing officer, replied: “In Tyne and Wear I think we’re the only council who don’t, that would be a traffic management and highways authority issue.

“I think it’s a work in progress and I would like to see it personally.”

It’s hoped the new shared lanes will be running by Christmas.

A council spokeswoman said: “In response to requests from taxi drivers, restrictions will soon be lifted enabling Hackney and Private Hire taxis to use bus lanes in King George Road, Sunderland Road and Imeary Street, in South Shields.

“The council is currently in the process of preparing the new signage with a view to have them in place ahead of Christmas.

“In addition to this, it is proposed to remove bus gates in South Shields Town Centre as part of the 365 regeneration of the area. The remodelling of the town centre includes the ongoing construction of the new transport interchange and associated highway works which, once complete, will help to enhance accessibility for all visitors.

“Junction improvement work is also currently underway at Crossgate to help accommodate the new road layouts and changes to bus routes, with the junction opposite South Shields Town Hall being widened to include a bus lane, which taxis will also be permitted to use.”