Hackney carriage drivers have hit out at Kirklees Council’s decision to ban them from bus lanes.
Unlike in many cities, taxis are barred from bus lanes on several of Huddersfield’s busiest roads, including Bradford Road, Manchester Road and Lockwood Road.
Drivers say the rules mean they spend hours extra each day sitting in queues and causing additional air pollution.
Manjit Singh, who has been driving taxis since 1976, said: “Most other towns and cities allow it, it only seems to be Kirklees that does this.
“We asked for it to be changed about five years ago but nothing happened.
“Every day we’re stuck in the traffic with customers complaining.
“On Lockwood Road or Manchester Road it can take 15 or 20 minutes longer in rush hour than if we could use the bus lane – that’s an extra £3 or £4 to the customer.”
The Kirklees Hackney Carriage Association has written to Kirklees Council’s chief executive, Adrian Lythgo, to appeal for a re-think.
The drivers say allowing dual use of the bus lanes would allow a more efficient service that would be of benefit to both the trade and the public.
And they say it would have a positive effect on air quality as fewer taxis would be sitting in traffic pumping out exhaust fumes.
Wayne Casey from the National Taxi Association, said the use of bus lanes by Hackney Carriage drivers varied depending on the local council.
He said: “The National Taxi Association’s position is that taxis are public transport and therefore should be given access to the lanes to allow us to progress.”
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “We are in the process of making plans to improve traffic flows in Huddersfield town centre and will consider authorised access for all different users as part of that planning.
“Once this is sorted and the necessary legal process commenced, we will consider other bus lanes in the district. If any alterations are thought appropriate a report would be submitted for the Cabinet to consider.”