Taxi drivers in Reading are celebrating after finally being given access to a busy bus lane after pleading for the rights for years.

In the town, taxis are divided into black cab Hackney Carriages, which can be hailed, and private hire cars, which must be booked in advance.

For years, private hire and cab drivers have been allowed to use the inbound King’s Road bus lane.

But for the outbound lane on the other side of the road, private hire drivers have been excluded, with access being only for buses, motorbikes, cyclists and cab drivers.

That is set to change after years of campaigning by drivers in the town.

Reading Chronicle: The outbound bus lane in Kings Road, Reading. Credit: Google MapsThe outbound bus lane in Kings Road, Reading. Credit: Google Maps

Private hire drivers attempted to get access to the outbound King’s Road bus lane back in November 2022, but that attempt was shot down.

After that decision, drivers set up the Reading Private Hire Association (RPHA) the following month to advocate for drivers and continue to push for access to the bus lane.

At a recent council meeting, it was decided that private hire drivers should be given access.

Kamran Saddiq, chairman of the RPHA said: “Our passengers, members of the public, their safety is our utmost, we are trained professional drivers and are always a high priority into consideration when we are travelling on the King’s Road.”

Mr Saddiq complained that out-of-town drivers, those who have licences from other authorities from as far away as Fareham, the New Forest and Portsmouth are incorrectly using the bus lane while Reading drivers follow the rules and stick in normal traffic lanes.

READ MORE: Taxi driver push to get access to bus lane heading out of Reading moves a step closer

He added: “We work for Reading, we represent Reading, I represent Reading, I am proud to be a Reading private hire driver.

“When we started our association, we could have called it something else, but we called it the RPHA because we are proud Reading drivers.”

Addressing concerns about taxis slowing down buses, Mr Saddiq suggested that ‘authorised vehicles only’ signage should be put up to deter rule breakers.

Reading Chronicle: A sign to the left showing which vehicles are allowed in the outbound Kings Road bus lane in Reading. Credit: Google MapsA sign to the left showing which vehicles are allowed in the outbound Kings Road bus lane in Reading. Credit: Google Maps

The same sign was installed at the inbound bus lane in July 2019, which Mr Saddiq argued had curbed unauthorised access.

A formal consultation was held with 849 responses received.

Of those 818 (96 per cent) supported the change, 33 objected with three responses neither supporting nor rejecting it.

John Ennis lead councillor for transport, called Mr Saddiq’s leadership ‘outstanding’ and said his campaign has been ‘hugely persuasive and responsible’.

Cllr Ennis (Labour, Southcote) then said that private hire drivers should be given access to the outbound lane permanently.

Agreeing, cllr James Moore (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) said: “I’ve always found it ludicrous that one side of the road does one thing and the other side does the other.”

He added that allowing private hire drivers access would reduce fares for customers as well.

The decision to allow those drivers access was agreed unanimously at the traffic management sub-committee on Wednesday, March 6.

New signage to enforce the change will require costs up to £15,000.