People ordering private hire vehicles such as Aqua Cars, Uber and Bolt which are licenced in Portsmouth will now be able to benefit from more efficient journeys in five key points of the city, as part of a trial by Portsmouth City Council.
From November 14, Portsmouth-licensed private hire vehicles – cars that can be booked using a phone or an app but can’t use taxi ranks – will be able to use five bus lanes in the city, in the same way that taxis, emergency vehicles on blue lights, pedal cycles and rental e-scooters already can.
The trial will last for at least three months and has been given the go ahead in response to requests from private hire vehicle drivers in the city. It is in line with the council’s vision to provide easy, faster travel options for everyone in the city 24 hours a day, including those who cannot easily walk, cycle, or take the bus.
As part of the trial the council has consulted with bus lane users in the city and has agreed to monitor the trial using a wide range of measurements including cycling near misses that can reported by using an online form.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, cabinet member for traffic and transportation in Portsmouth said: “This trial has been a long time in development because we want to get it right for every bus lane user. My number one requirement for this trial is that it be carried out safely, and that has been reflected in the lanes that we have chosen to use, and the number of conversations we have had with all bus lane users, from cyclists to taxi and private hire drivers, to the bus companies themselves.
“We have committed to try this for at least three months, but if we feel there is a serious safety concern, we can stop the trial at any time. I would ask the public to help keep everyone safe by following the highway code and reporting any cycling and walking near misses they see or experience as road users to the council, so we have all the information available to us.”
The council will continue to engage with bus lane users throughout the trial. Analysis of the trial data will be reported to a future traffic and transportation decision meeting and will help determine whether private hire vehicles can use these five bus lanes in future. Drivers of private hire vehicles are reminded to give other bus lane users space and always follow the Highway Code
The bus lanes that are included in the trial are:
- Cavell Drive which accesses QA hospital
- Marketway (westbound), which runs behind Cascades shopping centre allowing people to get to Portsea, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays among others
- Queen Street near HMS Nelson
- Bishop Crispian Way which runs past Victoria Park (Straight ahead into Queen Street only at the junction with Anglesea Road/Alfred Road)
- Mile End Road (southbound) which runs past the Ferry Port on the way into the city
Temporary yellow information signs will be in place along the five bus lanes at the beginning of the trial. These signs will be removed after several weeks. This will not mark the end of the trial.
You can report a cycling near miss on the council website www.portsmouth.gov.uk search ‘near miss’ or through Hampshire constabulary’s Hants SNAP.
More information on the trial is available on the Portsmouth City Council webpage.