TfL supported in bus lane case
TfL has welcomed the opinion of the Advocate General, who advises the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, on a case that challenges the transport authority’s policy of allowing taxis, but not private hire vehicles, to use bus lanes in London. This policy was upheld by the High Court. The case was brought forward by Eventech, a subsidiary of Addison Lee, the capital’s largest minicab company. The decision of the European Court of Justice and Court of Appeal is pending. In the original Judicial Review proceedings in 2012, TfL explained to the court that taxis are allowed to drive in bus lanes because they can ply for hire, whereas minicabs cannot.
The proceedings arose from Penalty Charge Notices issued by Camden Council for illegal use of the Southampton Row bus lanes. The High Court upheld TfL’s bus lanes policy in 2012 and the Court of Appeal hearing took place in April 2013. The Court has decided to refer the issue of state aid to the ECJ.
TfL’s MD of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said, ‘Our policy on bus lanes was upheld by the High Court. We welcome the opinion from the Advocate General and now await the decision of the European Court of Justice and Court of Appeal. Taxis are allowed to drive in bus lanes in London 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. Unlike minicabs, taxis are required to be wheelchair accessible and their ability to use bus lanes is of great benefit to wheelchair users. Allowing tens of thousands of minicabs to drive in bus lanes would also impact on the reliability of bus services and risk inconveniencing the 6.5m passengers who travel on buses each day.’