Hackney carriage drivers are allowed to stop in the lanes to pick and drop off passengers, however the private hire drivers feel discriminated against as they are not allowed to do this even though they do the same job and have private hire insurance.
The Manchester City Council said it would affect bus services if the rules were changed, as the bus lanes were made to reduce congestion and speed up journey times. It said that letting private hire vehicles would encourage more motorists to use the lanes as well.
The council’s executive member for the environment, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said “[Opening the bus lanes] would affect the reliability of bus services, which huge numbers of people in Manchester depend upon to get access to work, education or healthcare.
“Today’s protest will do nothing but cause more congestion in the city, aggravating people who are trying to go about their business.”
A solicitor acting on behalf of the Private Hire Association, James Parry, said, “We now have something like 2,500 taxi drivers in Manchester and 1,500 Hackney carriage drivers.
“Anybody who can’t get a Hackney carriage, because they don’t happen to have one drive past their door, has to pre-book a vehicle and they are likely to have a private hire vehicle come to their door.
“They charge more because they can’t use the bus lanes so they can’t for example get to Victoria Station easily or as quickly as a Hackney carriage would.
“That is discriminatory, it is unnecessary and it doesn’t serve the city very well in the Private Hire Association’s view.”