Report of the Head of Decision to be Taken After: Highways and Transport 1 June 2006 NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORTATION CABINET MEMBER PROPOSED TRAFFIC ORDER FOR A CONTRA-FLOW BUS LANE FENTON STREET AND MANLEY STREET, SCUNTHORPE 1. OBJECT AND KEY POINTS IN THIS REPORT 1.1 To consider objections submitted by taxi operators to the proposal to introduce a Traffic Order for a Contra-flow Bus Only Lane in Fenton Street/Manley Street, Scunthorpe. 1.2 The key points in this report are as follows: • Objections to the proposed Traffic Order have been received • The council has a duty to develop policies for the promotion and encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities. • The Council is required, within the Local Transport Plan, to take measures to reduce delays to bus services and has currently formed a Punctuality Improvement Partnership with the Bus Operators. • The objections have been considered and responses are contained within the report 2. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 2.1 Bus Operators are experiencing frequent delays to their services caused by traffic queuing at entrances/exits to the Parishes Car Park in Lindum Street and Cole Street and have requested that the matter be addressed. 2.2 The Council is required within the Local Transport Plan to take measures to reduce delays to Bus Services and has currently formed a Punctuality Improvement Partnership with the Bus Operators. The proposed Bus Lane will reduce identified delays. 2.3 Fenton Street/Manley Street is currently a One-Way traffic system, with the entry to the bus station off Fenton Street and the exit off Manley Street. This means that the majority of bus services leaving the bus station have to pass both entrances/exits to the Parishes Car Park before starting on their route. 3. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION 3.1 Two options have been considered: • One-Way traffic, east to west in Lindum Street, between Manley Street and Cole Street. • Contra-flow Bus Only Lane in Fenton Street and Manley Street. 3.2 The first option maintains the existing bus route entering and leaving the Bus Station and does not resolve the queuing and possible congestion at the car park entrances/exits in Lindum Street and Cole Street. This option was not pursued any further. 3.3 The second option for the Bus Lane will allow all Bus Services to access and leave the bus station by the shortest route and avoid any delays that occur at the Parishes Car Park entrances/exits. 3.4 To enable the proposed Traffic Order to be implemented, it is necessary to widen the road at certain places to allow for two-way passage of buses. 3.5 It is necessary to utilise the existing taxi rank lay-by, situated immediately east of the bus station entrance, to carry out the widening at the sharp bend. There is no alternative other than to relocate the main taxi rank, if the Contra-flow Bus Only Lane is to be implemented. 3.6 A survey of taxi rank usage has been carried out, the results of which are incorporated as Appendix 1 3.7 The taxi feeder rank, situated immediately west of the entrance to the bus station, is underused. It is therefore appropriate to use this lay-by to relocate the main taxi rank. 3.8 Bus passengers are dropped off just inside the entrance to the bus station, on the same side of the road and almost adjacent to the proposed new taxi rank, which makes accessibility to taxis easier and safer. 3.9 Whilst it appears that the number of taxi bays has been reduced, the feeder rank, which is currently underused, will be able to accommodate the number of displaced taxis from the main rank and be fully utilised as a main taxi rank. 3.10 It is necessary to amend the Taxi Rank Orders to relocate the existing main taxi rank. 3.11 The attached plan shows the proposed changes necessary to introduce the proposed Traffic Order. The proposed Traffic Order was formally advertised in the local newspaper and on site by Public Notices allowing a 21 day period for any observations. 4. RESOURCE AND OTHER IMPLICATIONS 4.1 Financial 4.1.1 Estimated cost of £30,000, is to be met from capital allocation within the Local Transport Plan. 4.2 Staffing 4.2.1 From within existing establishment. 4.3 Statutory 4.3.1 There are no statutory implications associated with this report. 4.4 Environmental and Other 4.4.1 The proposal will assist bus drivers avoid congestion and delays, which will in turn avoid excessive pollution from fumes. It will also benefit bus passengers and make the buses a more attractive mode of transport for members of the public, in line with council and Government policies. 5. OUTCOMES OF CONSULTATION 5.1 Initial consultations have been carried out with bus companies, the Taxi Association, internal consultees within North Lincolnshire Council and other external consultees as required by the Regulations. Letters of objection have been received from the Taxi Association and, initially, the council’s Taxi Licensing Unit. The main points of objection and associated council responses/actions are listed in Appendix 2. Following the results of the taxi survey, the Taxi Licensing Unit see the benefits that the proposals will bring and have withdrawn their objection. 5.2 A meeting has been held with the objectors where it was agreed that the Taxi Association would approach Road Car to seek agreement to rank on the bus station. No such agreement has been reached however. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS 6.1 That the Cabinet Member considers the objections to the proposed Traffic Order and makes a decision on the basis of the information provided. 6.2 That the objectors be informed of the Cabinet Member decision within the statutory period of time. HEAD OF HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORT Church Square House Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire DN15 6XQ Author: A. E. Nash Date: 10 May 2006 Background Papers used in the preparation of this report: Council’s Local Transport Plan Letters of objection held in Project File No. TD0011 APPENDIX 1 Report Taxi Ranks Survey Fenton Street, Scunthorpe Thursday 16th March 2006 and Friday 17th March 2006 A survey has been carried out, of the usage of both the Main Taxi Rank and the Taxi Feeder Rank, in Fenton Street, Scunthorpe, on the above dates between the hours of 10.00am and 3.00pm. During the periods of observation, it was noted that the way in which the Main Taxi Rank was used, limited the number of Taxis ranking there, to a maximum of 4 at any one time. In general the Main Taxi Rank was reasonably well used, to the extent of occupying 77.7% of the spaces available, throughout the survey period on the Thursday and occupying 64.9% of the spaces available on the Friday. Not all taxis plying for hire actually picked up passengers while waiting at the Main Taxi Rank. I can only assume that those taxis that left the Rank without passengers were called away to other customers. The Feeder Rank is located approximately 30 metres west of the Main Taxi Rank and is the official waiting place for taxis when all spaces are occupied on the Main Taxi Rank. During the survey period, the usage of the Feeder Rank, which can accommodate 7 vehicles, was very low. A total of 46 vehicles, inclusive of 9 private vehicles, were recorded using the Feeder Rank on the Thursday, and 30 vehicles, inclusive of 10 private vehicles, on the Friday, which equates to 12.9% and 9.4%, respectively, of the spaces used. The private vehicles were using the Feeder Rank Illegally, generally for dropping off and picking up, but occasionally parking for up to 27 minutes The Taxis using the Feeder Rank did not appear to stay very long and some Taxi drivers chose to park illegally on the double yellow lines opposite the Bus Station Entrance instead of using the Feeder Rank. In summing up, the Feeder Taxi Rank can accommodate 7 vehicles and is hardly used, whilst the Main Taxi Rank is used by only 4 Taxis (maximum) at any one time. APPENDIX 1 (cont’d) Results of Taxi Ranks Survey Fenton Street, Scunthorpe. 16th and 17 th March 2006 10.00 –15.00 hours, each day Percentage of use in Main Rank and the Feeder Rank ( % ) indicates percentage of Rank with available spaces Thursday 16th March 2006 TIME MAIN RANK FEEDER RANK 10.00 – 11.00 60.4% (39.6%) 5% (95.0%) 11.00 – 12.00 76.7% (23.3%) 4.5% (95.5%) 12.00 – 13.00 74.6% (25.4%) 8.6% (91.4%) 13.00 – 14.00 89.6% (10.4%) 10.7% (89.3%) 14.00 – 15.00 87.1% (12.9%) 35.5% (64.5%) ……………………………………………………………………………………… AVERAGE % 77.7% (22.3%) 12.9% (87.14) ………………………………………………………………………………………. Friday 17th March 2006 TIME MAIN RANK FEEDER RANK 10.00 – 11.00 75% (25.0%) 13.3% (86.7%) 11.00 – 12.00 77.9% (22.1%) 7.6% (92.4%) 12.00 – 13.00 61.3% (38.7%) 14.5% (85.5%) 13.00 – 14.00 43.8% (56.2%) 0.0% (100.0%) 14.00 – 15.00 66.7% (33.3%) 11.7% (88.3%) ……………………………………………………………………………………… AVERAGE % 64.9% (35.1%) 9.4 % (90.6%) ……………………………………………………………………………………… APPENDIX 2 Following the initial consultations, objections to the proposed changes have been received. Responses to the objections, together with other related information, is listed below each objection: Objection 1: It moves away from an integrated transport infrastructure by reducing the number of available taxi bays. • Buses and Taxis both form part of the integrated transport infrastructure and whilst it is claimed that the proposed Bus Lane will reduce the number of Taxi Bays, statements from Taxi drivers/Proprietors have been made that the Taxi Feeder Rank is not used. This Feeder Rank can accommodate the number of Taxis being displaced and be fully utilised as a main Taxi Rank. • If at any time suitable locations for additional Taxi Ranks are identified then consideration will be given to increasing the number of taxi bays within the Authority. Objection 2: Passengers have further to walk and are not all able bodied. • The Taxis will only be moved from one side of the Bus Station entrance to the other and as bus passengers are dropped off just inside the entrance on the same side of the road and almost adjacent to the proposed main Taxi Rank, accessibility would appear to be easier and safer. Objection 3: The proposed taxi bays are not clearly visible for passengers alighting at the bus station stands. • With regard to the visibility of the proposed Taxi Rank, anyone entering the Bus Station can see where the Taxis are parked and within the Bus Station it has been agreed that additional signing will be provided. Objection 4: This is one of the main pick up points and the proposal will affect potential earnings. • It is claimed that the proposal will affect potential earnings, however, as Taxis will still be able to use the proposed Taxi Rank it would not appear to reduce the number of Taxis that would normally ply for hire from the existing main rank. Subsequent to the formal advertising of the proposed Traffic Order, further objections have been received from the council’s Taxi Licensing Unit, the Taxi Association, and a total of eleven Taxi proprietors/drivers, of which eight individuals signed and submitted a pre-written letter, reiterating the same objections as listed above.