Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Bus lanes were created to provide on-street priority for bus-based public transport. Their goal is to make bus transport faster and more reliable, thereby encouraging more people to switch from private cars to public transport. This will achieve the twin goals of reducing congestion and reducing pollution.
In addition to buses, bus lanes may also be used by cyclists who, as vulnerable road users, are safer in bus lanes than in general traffic. The lanes may also, of course, be used by the emergency services.
After the lanes were originally introduced it was decided to allow taxis to use them. This was a concession based on the fact that taxis are a form of public transport available for on-street hire, like buses, unlike private hire limousines.
Since bus lanes were first introduced, there have been many requests to allow other classes of traffic to use the lanes. These have included requests on behalf of motorcyclists, multi-occupancy vehicles, electric vehicles, hired limousines, hackneys, and animal ambulances, among others. My predecessors and I have always rejected these requests. Any addition to them would reduce the quality and level of service for the ordinary commuter travelling by bus. In addition, it would not enhance the safety of the cyclists using bus lanes.
1024. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures being taken to ensure that taxi drivers have a sufficient knowledge of the English language to undertake their work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6464/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1024 and 1025 together.
The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including language standards for SPSV drivers, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.
Accordingly, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.