Noel Edmonds claimed on I’m A Celebrity that he has a tactic for beating traffic – driving in bus lanes.
The Deal or No Deal presenter said he originally drove a black cab to get to and from work more quickly, before upgrading to a bus after getting a ticket for using the wrong lane.
“Bristol traffic is chaotic,” he told the ITV1 show.
But Bristol Council has now said their bus lanes are only for licensed buses – “not celebrities”.
‘How the other half live’
Noel – who became the first contestant voted off the show on Friday night – said his wife Liz initially bought him a black cab and that, by driving in bus lanes, he shaved an hour off his commute.
While he said this was “totally legal”, he told campmates on the jungle-based reality show that after the council installed CCTV in bus lanes, he got a ticket.
“So having got the ticket, I didn’t take my cab in the bus lane,” he said. “I did what any sane person would do. I bought a bus. I’ve a Routemaster bus.”
“How the other half live,” commented fellow competitor Fleur East – echoing the thoughts of many others on social media who were surprised at his admission.
The 69-year-old added: “One of the extraordinary things about licensing in the UK is that you can drive it on a car licence, as long as there are no more than nine people on board.”
That’s correct – as confirmed by the DVLA. While they said they couldn’t advise specifically on an individual driver or vehicle, passenger-carrying vehicles can be driven by anyone using a category B car driving licence.
That’s as long as the vehicle is at least 30 years old, isn’t carrying more than eight passengers (as Noel said), and isn’t being used for reward or hire.
‘Not a touch on bushtucker trials’
However, if he’s using it in Bristol’s bus lanes as he insinuated, he may not be able to do so any longer.
A Bristol City Council spokesman told the BBC: “While the penalties we issue aren’t a touch on bushtucker trials, our bus lanes are just for licensed buses, taxis and cyclists, not celebrities.”
The council’s bus lanes are monitored by CCTV cameras, with any motorist using a bus lane illegally issued with a penalty charge notice.
The council said their bus lanes are “placed strategically to try and improve journey times around the city and we ask that people abide by the law”.
Noel may have more luck if he moves house however, because whether or not a bus is allowed in a bus lane (without paying passengers, that is) depends on where in the country that bus lane is – different areas have different rules.
Transport for London, for example, said normally all buses are allowed on the city’s roads as long as a bus has nine seats for passengers, plus the driver’s seat.
“There is no regulation on whether it’s a public/private bus or whether the passengers have paid,” a spokeswoman said.
Noel isn’t the first famous person to use an unusual mode of transport – the Duke of Edinburgh had his own black cab for many years, to allow him to travel inconspicuously.
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