Taxis in bus lanes row: TfL wins legal action

Bus Lane in London
Image caption TfL says minicabs in bus lanes could "seriously disrupt the bus network"

Transport for London (TfL) has won a High Court injunction to stop a minicab firm from illegally using bus lanes.

Addison Lee had instructed its drivers to use the lanes, saying allowing only licensed black taxis to use the lanes was "unfair discrimination".

But TfL said this would affect the reliability of buses.

Mr Justice Eder ruled the minicab company cannot encourage its drivers to use the lanes and must not say it will pay any fines incurred.

In his ruling , the judge said the indemnity given by Addison Lee to its drivers was void as it will have been incurred when an offence had been committed, however, it would be lawful for the company to reimburse any driver who had been fined.

He said the injunction was necessary to "prevent crime and protect the freedom of others".

Judicial review

The judge added if the injunction was not granted, this would "lead to confusion among other PHV (private hire vehicle) drivers and motorists as to the status of existing traffic regulations relating to bus lanes".

It would also lead to "congestion and traffic disruption on London's roads and that enforcement against all those committing contraventions will become very difficult or impossible" for TfL or the police to enforce and would divert staff from other activities.

However, he said that it was up to the drivers to decide whether or not they would break the law.

A judicial review on the use of taxis in bus lanes should be expedited, he added.

Addison Lee said it hoped to overturn the legislation before the Olympic Games and would be appealing against the judge's decision on the injunction.

Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said: "We maintain that Addison Lee's instruction to its drivers was irresponsible and at odds with its position as a private hire operator."

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