Bristol disabled transport charity in bus lane row

A charity which transports disabled people around Bristol is calling on the city council to change the law on who can use the city's bus lanes.

The Disabled Travel Service (DTS) which offers 24-hour access to transport has been fined more than £300 since April for driving in bus lanes.

The council said bus lane laws were "very strict" and it could not make "ad hoc decisions on who uses them".

It said it would review the issue to see if there was any flexibility.

DTS, which is based in Fishponds, uses two large mini-buses which are registered as taxis and two specially adapted cars.

According to the council smaller cars do not qualify as taxis but Max Barton, chairman of the DTS, disagrees.

"We're transporting vulnerable disabled people, some with mental health problems, using drivers who understand their needs," he said.

"They can't manage public transport - we are their bus and taxi service so we need to be able to use the bus lanes."

Mr Barton said not being able to use the bus lanes had added about 12% to the charity's running costs, incurred in excess miles and extra driver hours.

"I'd like to think there will be a change but I'm not holding out much hope," he added.

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