Bus lane changes

One of the measures we’re delivering under our Local NO2 Plan is to provide Southampton City Council (SCC) taxis and private hire vehicle drivers greater access to our bus lanes. This involves restricting access to other taxis and private hire vehicles registered with other licensing authorities

What is happening?

Taxis and private hire vehicles licensed with Southampton City Council will have continued, unlimited access to the city’s bus lanes.

All taxis and private hire vehicles not licensed with Southampton City Council will only be allowed access to Southampton bus lanes during peak times*. Vehicles must also have been first registered on or after January 2006 if petrol, or September 2015 if diesel, to access bus lanes at these peak hours. These registration dates reflect the introduction of cleaner euro emission standards.

*Peak times are weekdays between 07:00 - 09:30 and 16:00 - 18:30.

When is it happening?

From 1 September 2021.

Why is it happening?

This change is one of several elements of our ‘Local NO2 Plan’ – an alternative to a charging Clean Air Zone which would have charged all older taxis and PHVs for accessing the city on a daily basis. The previous intention in the plan was to only allow Southampton City Council licensed taxis and PHVs access to our bus lanes, in recognition of the emission standards we have introduced for those vehicles. Through a consultation held in 2019, it was deemed that a total restriction for non-SCC vehicles would be inappropriate to implement – this alternative aims to support our own trade while still encouraging cleaner vehicles into the city from other licensing authorities.

Important information for non-SCC Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

If your vehicle is not registered with Southampton City Council as its licensing authority, and you meet the vehicle age requirements provided above, you can apply for peak time access. To do so you must provide a copy of your Private Hire Vehicle/ Hackney Carriage licence to Southampton City Council Parking Services. This will only be used to confirm your vehicle’s plate and registration number which will be used to check the vehicle’s age. This information will not be held longer than necessary.

Certain taxis and private hire vehicles licensed outside of Southampton which are registered to provide the ‘Home to School service’ with a local authority may also be valid for an exemption if their route includes Southampton. This only applies to specialist adapted wheelchair accessible vehicles - vehicles which are constructed or converted specifically so that they accommodate one or more persons seated in their wheelchairs when travelling on the road. This exemption only applies when providing the home to school service and aims to safeguard the access of particularly vulnerable children around the city. If your vehicle meets this criteria, please email the Southampton City Council Air Quality team to enquire.  

Vehicles using bus lanes are monitored. Following the 1 September, vehicles which are found to be non-compliant, or those which have not signed up for the peak time exemption, risk being issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). If you have been issued a PCN, but your vehicle meets the age conditions provided above, you can appeal with the evidence required and gain exemption to bus lanes during peak hours. Drivers who meet the requirements for the Home to School exemption can also apply through the appeals process.

This measure aims to support our taxi and private hire trade who have helped us meet our air quality commitments by meeting emissions-based licensing standards.

Note: This change was decided on as a result of a full Traffic Regulation Order consultation and implementation process.