Important information for all Private Hire Drivers and Operators
Under current regulations it is illegal for London private hire vehicles (PHVs) to drive in Bus Lanes operated by Transport for London (TfL) and London Local Authorities except when picking up and setting down passengers.
On Saturday 14 April it came to our attention that a letter had been issued by a director of Addison Lee plc to its PHV drivers in which he stated (among other things) that they were “fully entitled to use the bus lanes” and that he would indemnify them in respect of fines and other liabilities incurred as a result of following his advice.
A company owned by Addison Lee has brought legal proceedings arguing that the current regulations are in breach of European Union law. TfL is contesting those proceedings. The proceedings have not been determined and there has been no order by the court suspending the effect of the regulations.
The court will make its decision in due course. As regulatory authority for taxis and PHVs in London, TfL considers the decision to issue this letter inciting drivers to break the law now is irresponsible.
It has called upon them to rescind it. It is urgently considering legal and regulatory action against Addison Lee and will revoke their licence to operate if necessary.
However, quite separately from this action, TfL hereby issues the following notice to all licensed PHV drivers in London:
Under current regulations, driving a PHV in a Bus Lane, during the hours when the Bus Lane is operative (and other than to pick up and set down passengers) is a criminal offence for which PHV drivers may be personally prosecuted.
Those regulations remain valid until and unless there is a court order suspending their effect. There has been no such court order. This means that, as a PHV driver, you must not drive in Bus Lanes other than to pick up and set down passengers.
If you do so, you will be committing a criminal offence and you will be personally liable to prosecution, irrespective of any indemnity which anyone else may purport to give.
TfL has power to suspend or revoke a PHV operator’s or driver’s licence if it is no longer satisfied that the licence holder is fit to hold such a licence.
Please take note that:
o drivers who repeatedly contravene traffic regulations,
including by intentionally driving in Bus Lanes, other than to pick up or set down passengers, may be considered unfit to hold a PHV driver’s licence; and
o operators who encourage such conduct may be considered unfit to hold a PHV operator’s licence.
TfL requests operators to bring this notice to the attention of all their PHV drivers.