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Ambulances in Bus Lanes

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Ambulances in Bus Lanes

Old 16th May 2019, 18:35
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Ambulances in Bus Lanes

May I ask m'learnerd judges about Ambulances in London (TFL) Bus Lanes

Now I am sure none of us would be concerned when the bus lane is used by any of the Emergency Services with Blue lights showing, however the issue is when the Ambulance is a Patient Transfer vehicle not using blue light

I have raised this with the private company and the response was that they are allowed to use the Bus Lane, even when not an emergency

From the TFL Website

Vehicles that can use a bus lane

=leftRead the bus lane signs to find out who can use it and when. Some signs may display the word 'local' indicating that only local bus services can use the bus lane.
  1. Buses which have a minimum of 10 seats (including the driver)
  2. Licensed London Taxis
  3. Motorcycles (without side cars)
  4. Mopeds
  5. Scooters
  6. Tricycles (non-motorised, motorised under 450kg, not with side cars)
  7. Bicycles
Thank you
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Old 16th May 2019, 19:10
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I would imagine they may come under the bus classification?
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Old 16th May 2019, 21:16
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I have raised this with the private company and the response was that they are allowed to use the Bus Lane, even when not an emergency
Not true, unless they are classed as a bus or taxi (which they well might me)..
A police, fire or ambulance vehicle may bypass road restrictions (lanes, lights speed etc.) in case of emergency, there is no requirement to use blues and twos.
The phrase "In an emergency" is key to this.

FF
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Old 16th May 2019, 21:52
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Emergency use, as far as I am aware.
I heard that there was/is discussion about allowing bus lane use by ambulances to allow quicker positioning at hospitals and standby locations.
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Old 16th May 2019, 21:58
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Depends on the local authority. Their train set, they set the rules.
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Old 16th May 2019, 22:14
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Originally Posted by Tashengurt View Post
Depends on the local authority. Their train set, they set the rules.
Mostly only if it's London, as they have vast swathes of private laws.

--------------------

On more than one occasion I observed an ambulance with blues and twos held up behind car traffic illegally using a particular bus lane.

Then bus lane cameras were put in.

Since then I have observed zero ambulances with blues and twos held up in the bus lane behind cars using it illegally.

And the response of the petrolheads? - to start a campaign to get the cameras removed, so that then can resume holding up ambulances.
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Old 17th May 2019, 10:54
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Allowing black cabs in bus lanes has never made sense to me; because they continue driving around even when they don't have a passenger, they're actually worse for the environment than private cars; even more so when you consider they're mostly old diesels but have an exemption from the ULEZ charge. Ditto the various tourist buses, on their way to/from the depot when they're off their tourist route and not carrying passengers; why do they need to be in the bus lane?
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Old 17th May 2019, 13:36
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Re: black cabs wuth no passengers and empty buses

I guess it would be near impossible/impractical to police given the numbers of cabs, and that buses may well appear empty when there are only a couple of people on board.
I would rather they were in the bus lanes than having even more traffic snarling up the road.
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Old 17th May 2019, 14:50
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I was really thinking all black cabs, rather than just empty ones. If someone driving their own car isn't allowed in the bus lane, why should it be any different if they pay someone else to drive them? There's nothing about the black cab that makes it intrinsically less impactful than the car; in fact it has a greater impact because it's exempt from ULEZ and because, between customers, it's also driven around the streets of London with no passengers on board. Cabs (Black and Mini) are the only vehicles that can average less than one passenger mile per vehicle mile.

Better for congestion and emissions to be encouraging people onto trains/tubes/buses.

Fair point about policing empty buses, but it's fairly obvious when you see a union-flag-liveried open top bus with "The Original Tour" on the side, driving round Wandsworth...
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Old 17th May 2019, 16:10
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Originally Posted by pasta View Post
Cabs (Black and Mini) are the only vehicles that can average less than one passenger mile per vehicle mile.
Apart from the majority of cars that in the rush hour aren't carrying a passenger either ...

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Old 17th May 2019, 16:46
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Apart from the majority of cars that in the rush hour aren't carrying a passenger either ...
Agreed, but their driver is the person needing to get somewhere, so in that sense I'm regarding them as a passenger. A cab with driver plus one passenger is equivalent, in terms of usefulness, to a private car with driver.
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Old 18th May 2019, 14:39
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Edinburgh bus lanes are open to all outside rush hours, but are generally unused by most car drivers. However, last night I was amazed to see that even the busses were avoiding the bus lane. Gosh, an empty lane all to myself, very kind of you all!
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Old 18th May 2019, 15:01
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Slightly off topic perhaps, for which I apologise I have been pondering this for a while, I have a small campervan which is registered as light goods, the one way system in my town is chaos during the rush hour, and has an often empty bus lane clearly marked as Busses, taxis and goods vehicles, am I justified in using it?
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Old 18th May 2019, 19:06
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Originally Posted by oldairphot View Post
goods vehicles, am I justified in using it?
Give it a try and let us know - I think we should be told . . .
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Old 18th May 2019, 19:10
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Ambulances need to do their job quickly, even if not urgent, so they are available for the next urgency
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Old 18th May 2019, 20:30
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So if I was a Emergency service driver going to work, not yet 'clocked on' but running late would I be allowed to use the Bus Lane so I could get to work and start my shift on time?
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Old 18th May 2019, 21:16
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No, because you're not at work yet and aren't therefore using your car for "ambulance/fire/police purposes". Late or not, you are just driving somewhere.
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Old 18th May 2019, 21:24
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Originally Posted by Kiltrash View Post
So if I was a Emergency service driver going to work, not yet 'clocked on' but running late would I be allowed to use the Bus Lane so I could get to work and start my shift on time?
Some years ago I needed to use the motorway to get to work (police pilot). One morning I was late for my shift due to a road traffic incident on my route (which I was actually required to attend). I was instructed by the powers that be "If it happens again please use the hard shoulder; if necessary ring us for an escort vehicle and if an "admin problem" occurs we'll sort out the necessary". For a while our car plates were officially blocked on the DVLA database but I understand a subsequent Chief Constable later rescinded that policy.

I never did risk it though!
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Old 18th May 2019, 21:47
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Originally Posted by Kiltrash View Post
May I ask m'learnerd judges about Ambulances in London (TFL) Bus Lanes

Now I am sure none of us would be concerned when the bus lane is used by any of the Emergency Services with Blue lights showing, however the issue is when the Ambulance is a Patient Transfer vehicle not using blue light

I have raised this with the private company and the response was that they are allowed to use the Bus Lane, even when not an emergency
Patient transfers - without blue lights - can involve people who are rather ill. Patient transfers don't just involve taking people to routine appointments. Do you really begrudge them saving a few minutes by using a bus lane?

However, many patient transfers are outsourced to minicab (private hire) companies - who can't use bus lanes. So you may see a sick child, perhaps with a feeding tube and a nurse escort, in the back of a Toyota Prius stuck in a traffic jam on the Marylebone Road being transferred between hospitals. Unable to use the bus lane. Is that preferable?
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Old 19th May 2019, 01:15
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When the government got serious about enforcing bus lane rules in Jakarta a few years ago, one of the well known businessmen simply bought himself a bus and kitted it out.

By comparison, a friend tells the tale of sitting behind an ambulance, with lights and horns, at a toll booth on the Cengkareng Expressway, diligently paying the lady in the booth.
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