More work needed before taxis can use King’s Lynn bus lane, committee told

Bus Route  Hardings Way  bollards left in the down position.'(The Boal Quay Entrance) ANL-141231-084353009
Bus Route Hardings Way bollards left in the down position.'(The Boal Quay Entrance) ANL-141231-084353009
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Residents will be able to comment again on proposals to allow taxis to use a Lynn bus lane, if environmental assessments show the move should be made.

A narrow majority of respondents to a survey published last month were in favour of extending the use of Hardings Way to taxis and private hire vehicles.

But county roads officials say conditions surrounding the use of the road would have to be reviewed before any such move is made.

And, during a cabinet scrutiny meeting on Thursday, West Norfolk council deputy leader Brian Long said the measure also depended on whether it would help to improve town air quality.

He said: “We wouldn’t introduce any measure unless modelling proved it would give us the reduction (in pollution levels) we needed.”

The proposal to widen use of the bus lane is one of 20 proposed action areas contained in an air quality plan for Lynn which committee members were examining.

Committee chairman Charles Joyce asked what the borough council would do if county Highways officials opposed the idea.

The meeting was told that Norfolk County Council had previously said the route was only safe for use by buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

A county spokesman told the Lynn News yesterday: “Because Hardings Way was designed and built specifically for buses to use, any potential changes would need to be reviewed in terms of road safety, design, and existing planning conditions and, of course, be subject to public consultation.”

But Mr Long suggested that additional investment could be found to overcome any highways concerns.

He said: “Money may have to be invested because at the end of the day it’s people’s health we’re talking about.”

Environmental health manager Dave Robson added that extra work would be needed to establish the extent of support for a change both among residents and taxi drivers themselves.

He said: “We have 282 licensed vehicles. Not all of them may want to use the road.

“Some have indicated they wish to but we need to see if those vehicles would have a significant impact. That means further work and further consultation.”

The meeting was told that one sticking point could be the need for taxi firms to pay for transponders which are designed to lower the bollards at each end of the road to enable authorised traffic to pass through.

The barriers have been down since before Christmas because of a problem securing the necessary equipment for the buses which use it.

And the county spokesman said a recent supply of equipment to enable the barriers to be used once again did not work.

She said: “We believe this is an issue with the coding programme and are working closely with our supplier to resolve the technical issues and get replacements as soon as possible so that we can get the barriers up and running again.”