Director – London Taxi & Private Hire
Director – London Taxi & Private Hire
TLF PRESS RELEASE
High Court rejects Addison Lee’s call for minicabs to use bus lanes
· Judicial Review dismissed as court finds in TfL’s favour
· Court orders Addison Lee to pay TfL’s costs of defending claim
The High Court today (Wednesday 11 July) dismissed Addison Lee’s claim for judicial review of the policy allowing black cabs, but not minicabs, to use the capital’s bus lanes.
Mr Justice Burton described the reasoning behind TfL’s policy as “obvious and compelling”.
TfL explained to the court that taxis are allowed to drive in bus lanes because they can ply for hire, whereas minicabs cannot. It would be more difficult to hail a taxi, especially on a busy road, if the vehicle concerned was not near to the kerb.
Mr Justice Burton agreed, noting in his judgment: “There is to my mind a clear distinction between the need of black cabs (and their passengers and the public) for them to be in the bus lanes, by way of visibility and availability of, and access to, black cabs for those hailing a cruising taxi”. He went on to note: “I consider it makes entire good sense for black cabs to be travelling in bus lanes. Minicabs just do not have the need to use the bus lane, and black cabs do”.
Mr Justice Burton said he was “wholly unpersuaded” by Addison Lee’s claim that TfL’s bus lane policy affected the freedom of EU nationals to establish themselves as minicab drivers and concluded that “this has simply been the attempt to mount a challenge to a London traffic regulation by turning it into a “Euro-point”.”
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “We are pleased that the court has recognised the important distinction between taxis and minicabs and the services they provide. Taxis will continue to use the capital’s bus lanes, enabling them to provide the unique and wheelchair accessible service so valued by many passengers.
“Londoners will doubtless also be pleased to know that the court has ordered Addison Lee to meet TfL’s costs in defending this claim.”
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Safer Transport Command (STC) funded by Transport for London (TfL) checked over 1,600 vehicles, seized 20 vehicles and made a total of 38 arrests last weekend for touting as part of Operation Condor, the second MPS operation this year which cracked down on unlicensed activity.
Operation Condor was active in all 32 London boroughs as part of a massive crack-down on licensing issues affecting all our communities. This time the activity was a co-ordinated 48 hour operation across London to combat those who flout licensing rules including shops, pubs, clubs, unlicensed mini cabs and others.
The MPS Safer Transport Command Cab Enforcement Unit and all 32 borough-based Safer Transport teams supported this operation and focused on minimising touting and other cab related offences working in partnership with compliance teams from TfL’s Taxi and Private Hire Directorate.
Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, Safer Transport Command, said: “Unbooked minicabs are uninsured for carrying passengers and not only do they undermine the legitimate cab trade, but are a danger to the capital’s night life.
“The Safer Transport Command, together with Transport for London is committed to tackling touting involving both licensed and unlicensed drivers and as part of our total policing approach are we will support Operations such as Condor, using lawful tactics to bring offenders to justice.
Steve Burton, Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing at TfL, said: “The results from this operation highlight the good work undertaken by the MPS Safer Transport Command and demonstrate the efforts undertaken to disrupt illegal activity. These drivers pose a significant risk to the travelling public as unbooked minicabs are uninsured to carry passengers. We are determined to protect the legitimate taxi and private hire trade operating correctly in London and will continue to work with our policing partners to make using these services even safer.”