Prison Vans

MQT on 2009-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Is the safety of Londoners being compromised by TfL banning prison vehicles from using bus lanes?


Answer for Prison Vans

Answer for Prison Vans

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Traffic Signs regulations published by the DfT and which apply throughout England and Wales state that vehicles with more than eight seats (excluding the driver) are permitted to use bus lanes. TfL has considered a request from the High Sheriff of London and Serco (the operator of prison vehicles) for prison vans with fewer seats to be permitted to use TfL bus lanes. TfL was unable to agree to the request since this would be contrary to national regulations and thus any change would involve the DfT and have implications beyond London. Neither Serco nor the High Sheriff of London suggested to TfL that public safety was at risk with the current arrangements and, therefore, it is not the case that the safety of Londoners is compromised by this decision. It has been suggested that prisoners are delayed arriving at court when they travel in smaller vans; this is a scheduling issue for the Prison Service and Serco. TfL has offered assistance in this area in the past, but it has never been taken up.

Bus lanes are critical to the effective operation of a reliable bus service in London and to allow other vehicles, particularly large vehicles, to share facilities with public transport reduces their effectiveness.