TAXI drivers are up in arms over being banned from new Pennine Reach bus lanes in Blackburn with Darwen.

Borough hackney cab drivers association chairman Mohammed Younis is demanding a rethink claiming it costing his members and their passengers time and money.


He said existing bus lanes across the two towns allowed taxis to use them to speed their journeys but the new ones for the £40million Pennine Reach public transport scheme on Copy Nook and Furthergate, in Ewood and outside Blackburn railway station excluded them.

From October 1 motorists, including cab drivers, caught in the lanes on enforcement cameras will face a £60 fine.

Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, said new technology which used special ‘transponders’ on the front of local buses to trigger green lights to speed their travel made allowing taxis to use the lanes impossible.

Taxis travelling from Blackburn town centre out to Accrington Road and the M65 Junction Six at Whitebirk can use the bus lane up Eanam but have to move out before continuing along Copy Nook, Bottomgate and Furthergate.

Mr Younis said: “The 70 drivers in my association are very upset and very angry.

“They have always been allowed to use bus lanes in Blackburn with Darwen.

“It’s the same all over the country.

“Now they are being told they cannot use the new bus lanes in the Pennine Reach scheme including the one in front of Blackburn railway station.

“It’s ridiculous.

“It is costing them time and money as their journeys take longer so they take less fares.

“Passengers also lose out as the extra time on the meter costs them more money.

“The Pennine Reach scheme is to speed public transport and taxis are public transport.

“Cab drivers now risk fines for using the new bus lanes.

“We may take a test case to court.”

Cllr Riley said: “This is a consequence of new technology aimed at speeding local buses on the Pennine Reach scheme between Darwen, Blackburn and Hyndburn.

“These buses are fitted with special transponders which trigger a ‘virtual gate’ so turn lights green to speed them through.

“It doesn’t work with taxis or other buses. It would be far too complicated an expensive for the council and the drivers to fit all hackney cabs with this new equipment.”