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Bus Lanes

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 5th March 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford 9:30 am, 5th March 2015

What plans he has to review vehicular access rights to bus lanes.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Decisions on the use of bus lanes, including any exemptions or exceptions, are for local authorities.

Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

I am sure that the Minister will be aware that a number of local authorities still do not allow ambulances to drive in bus lanes unless they are responding to an emergency. Does he agree that if an empty taxi returning to a taxi rank can drive in a bus lane, an ambulance returning to a hospital should be able to do so?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Although an ambulance can use a bus lane when responding to an emergency, it is otherwise up to a local authority to use its discretion on that matter. Indeed, local authorities such as Labour-controlled Manchester and Sheffield do not allow ambulances in bus lanes. I have written to every local authority in the country to make that point and ask them to bear it in mind when they make their local decisions.

Photo of Gordon Marsden Gordon Marsden Shadow Minister (Transport)

The Minister has talked in detail about privatising buses and bus lanes, but the process needs more than warm words from the Government; it means bus lanes with strong local management and control of funding. Why will the Government not sign up to our franchising proposals to allow communities and councils to plan a network that includes the bus lanes they need? Why, instead of real localism, have this Government presided over a failed record, with bus fares up 25% and 2,000 routes cut, and a broken bus market, which lets users down, but which Labour will fix in government?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government have a very good record on buses. Bus companies, including the one in my constituency, have very full order books, because they are investing as never before in new buses on routes such the one north of Whitby in my constituency. We have a very good record to protect.