01/13/2012 10:41 EST | Updated 03/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Vancouver taxis could get bus-lane access

Cab drivers in Vancouver could soon have a long-awaited wish come true as city council considers allowing taxis to use bus lanes.

Drivers have long pushed for the right to use the lanes which help keep buses moving along major routes, but usually sit empty while the cabbies are stuck in traffic.

The issue comes up at Vancouver City Council next week.

Allowing cabs in bus lanes will speed up the whole taxi network, said Amrik Mahil, who’s been driving a taxi in the city for more than a decade.

"So we can get A to B very quickly, which will enable us to be more efficient … over all during the peak times,” Mahil said. “We can cover more trips than you can without the bus lanes.

City engineers are recommending the lanes be opened to taxis on a trial basis.

During the trial, cabs would be allowed to travel — but not stop — in the bus lanes on Pender, Burrard, Granville and West Georgia streets as well as on Broadway.

City Hall and the transit authority, TransLink, would monitor to make sure buses aren't being delayed.

The cost of the experimental program is estimated at $15,000.