Potential traffic delays on Thursday

Demo by private hire drivers may cause city centre problems.

A ‘go slow’ demonstration planned by some private hire drivers could cause some disruption around Birmingham city centre on Thursday afternoon.

Drivers are seeking to protest at the introduction of a traffic camera to enable enforcement of the existing bus lane on Broad Street. They may be congregating at Licensing’s offices at Crystal Court in Aston at 2pm, before moving onto council offices at Lancaster Circus at 3pm: this will, possibly be followed by a deliberately slow procession around the city, which may lead to delays on commuter routes in and out of the city during the evening rush hour.

People are therefore advised to plan their journeys accordingly to allow for any potential delays that result from this demonstration.

A council spokesman said, “Bus lanes were introduced on the city’s main arterial routes to maintain the flow of traffic in and out of Birmingham and improve the reliability of buses. The more traffic is allowed to use bus lanes, the more it will devalue the lanes’ purpose.

The issues surrounding the use of bus lanes by private hire vehicles are complex: Identifying PHVs on enforcement cameras can be problematic, motorists may think all private vehicles are allowed to use bus lanes, plus allowing PHVs into these lanes may negatively impact on journey times and bus use.”

In November 2007, the council began an 18-month trial to evaluate what impact allowing PHVs to use bus lanes would have on traffic flow and journey times. The results of this trial were found to be inconclusive, mainly due to a reduction in traffic flow, which stemmed from the economic downturn.

The council spokesman added, “It should be noted that this demonstration by private hire drivers is over more rigorous enforcement of an existing bus lane on Broad Street, and we are already in discussions with the private hire trade about this issue.”

Pic: (c) Alan Clawley