Allowing taxis in city's bus lanes is easing traffic congestion and should be adopted permanently
letter of the day: transport trial
On February 20, a 12-week trial started in Belfast, allowing taxis to drive in certain bus lanes. I've been a taxi driver for many years and I can tell you that allowing taxis in the bus lanes is helping to ease the city's traffic flow problems.
For years I've been just as frustrated with the morning congestion as other road users. The tailbacks in Belfast had become just part of normal life, but, with the new rules allowing me to drive in the bus lane, the queues are cut down significantly.
Is there still congestion in town? Yes. But are the queues as long? No, definitely not. Not only do taxi users have faster journeys, but other road users aren't stuck behind queues of taxis either.
There are many people in Belfast, including children, the elderly and the disabled, who rely on taxi drivers like me to get them out and about and to where they need to be.
One of my regular customers is an elderly lady who needs to go to the Falls Road entrance of the Royal Victoria Hospital from the east every week. For a long time she's had to leave her house ridiculously early to go to morning appointments, but now the journey time is significantly reduced. She is much happier with the commute time now that I can drive in the bus lanes.
Personally, I haven't noticed any disruption to the buses while I've been using the lanes. There are many short periods throughout the day when there are no buses even using the bus lane, and there's no reason why we can't respect each other and share the road.
In short, I can understand other drivers' frustrations with how slow-moving the traffic in Belfast can be, but since this trial started I have seen a big drop in waiting times at some of the city's busiest spots.
Surely extending the trial - or, even better, making it a permanent move - could only be a good thing for the hundreds of people who commute by their vehicle and taxi every day?