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Taxi driver 'wrongly' ticketed by council
A DRIVER instrumental in campaigning for the right of cabbies to use bus lanes has received a ticket for travelling in one.
Richard Barlow, 59, from Kidlington, successfully campaigned for private hire drivers to be allowed to use the fast-track lanes in the city several years ago.
But on a routine trip across town to the station last week, Mr Barlow’s car was caught on camera, supposedly breaking the rules.
He said: “It’s a complete joke. I was the one who got them to let us use the bus lanes in the first place.”
Mr Barlow said his reaction when he received the ticket was one of disbelief.
He said: “My wife opened it initially and said ‘Richard, you’re not going to believe this’. I thought it was bad news or something, but then I saw the ticket and I went ballistic.
“The pictures show me in the distance going into the bus lane, and it has my number plate blown up. Someone clearly hasn’t done their job.”
Mr Barlow received the ticket on Wednesday after driving through the city centre on High Street at 11.40am on Friday, July 20.
He said if the council had run his registration number through its database, no ticket would have been issued.
He added: “I’ve got a badge and everything.”
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “We’ve checked our records and the vehicle in question is not in fact on our exemption list.
“If Mr Barlow sends us a copy of his PHV licence we will be happy to add his vehicle to our database for future reference and cancel his ticket.”
In 2008, Mr Barlow and other private hire drivers won their fight against rules which banned them from the lanes. It came after he presented a petition of more than 3,500 names to Oxfordshire County Council.
Transport bosses had initially been concerned about the effects of an increase in traffic within bus lanes on cyclists and buses.
But a traffic survey in November 2007 claimed there would be no harmful effects.
Mr Barlow added that the transport cabinet member at the time was current council leader Ian Hudspeth .
He said: “I know Ian very well. He was the one who made the change in the first place.”
But Mr Hudspeth said: “I was surprised we didn’t have his vehicle’s details. I think I’m disappointed his details aren’t up to date, because if they had been this wouldn’t have happened.
“It just shows that it’s important to have everything up to date.”