Bedford Labour councillors have welcomed a decision by the Borough Council to reverse its plan to prevent non-ULEZ taxis from using the bus lane on Ampthill Road.
Cllr Abu Sultan (Labour, Caldwell ward) and other Labour colleagues had made representations on behalf of taxi and private hire drivers regarding the council’s plan to reserve the bus lane exclusively for ULEZ vehicles.
However, at the Environment Committee meeting on 28 September, Cllr Jim Weir (Conservative, Great Denham ward), portfolio holder for environment, highways and transport, confirmed that the ban on taxis that were not ULEZ compliant would not be implemented.
“Many residents throughout the Borough had approached Labour councillors with grave concerns about how this would impact on taxi and private hire drivers,” said Cllr Sulton.
“Many drivers have recently invested in hybrid vehicles to lessen their environmental impact and would be unable to afford a ULEZ-compliant vehicle.
“We are pleased that our representations on their behalf have been listened to, and that the bus lanes can be used by taxis in future. This will help the flow of traffic, and, in doing so, mean fewer cars idling in a queue emitting pollutants.”
In a statement to the Bedford Independent, a spokesperson from Bedford Borough Council said: “It’s only non-ULE taxis that will not be banned from the ULE lane.”
“All remaining non-ULE vehicles will continue to be penalised should they use it.
“We are working with the taxi trade to determine a sensible pragmatic approach as we transition to zero or lower emission vehicles in the Borough.”