Allowing private hire vehicles to use five bus lanes in Portsmouth to improve reliability has proved a success.

Portsmouth City Council carried out a successful 14-month trial of Portsmouth-licensed private hire vehicles – cars that can be booked using a phone or an app but can’t use taxi ranks – giving them permission to use five bus lanes to improve reliability of their journeys. This means recommendations are being put forward to make the trial locations permanent (Cavell Drive, Mile End Road, Marketway, Bishop Crispian Way and Queens Street) and to carry out road safety audits on an initial further 14 bus lanes for potential expansion in the future.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Private hire vehicles provide essential transport in the city especially for those travelling in groups or for those that can’t catch the bus, walk or cycle. Developing and improving the reliability of public transport is essential for our residents and businesses in Portsmouth whilst also ensuring the safety of road users when making changes in the city. I look forward to considering the recommendations.”

All bus lanes can be used by buses and coaches as well as “Hackney carriage” taxis, emergency vehicles, pedal cycles and rental e-scooters. This trial has taken a considered approach to expanding this to include private hire vehicles in some bus lanes, and monitoring carried out during the trial showed a slight improvement in journey times. If made permanent the sites will continue to be monitored.

More information on the trial is available on the Portsmouth City Council webpage.

The Transport decision meeting will take place on Tuesday 30 January.