Tribunal finds for TfL
TfL’s refusal to allow up to seven coaches to use an east London residential street during peak commuting hours was correct, a Transport Tribunal has ruled. In the first ever challenge to TfL’s London Service Permit system, which sets out which routes coaches may use in the Capital, Kent based Centaur Coaches wanted to use Abbott Road in Poplar as a way of avoiding peak time traffic congestion to gain quicker access to the Blackwall Tunnel. TfL refused the request on the grounds that it had a policy of reducing non-essential traffic in Abbott Road and allowing the coaches to use it would be against the interests of residents and the London public. The operator challenged this decision in the Transport Tribunal who dismissed the appeal, noting in its judgment that diverting coaches along this residential street would have had a ‘materially adverse affect upon the residents of Abbot Road’.
TfL’s Director of Surface Strategy and Planning, Ben Plowden, said, ‘The coach industry plays a vital role in London’s transport system, successfully serving commuters, tourists and other visitors. But we need to ensure it operates in a way that does not damage the quality of life for people living and working in the capital. This was the first challenge to a decision made under our London Service Permit system for coaches coming into the Capital which was put in place in 2000. We are pleased that the Transport Tribunal has seen fit to support our approach to reducing unnecessary traffic in residential areas.’
Coaching Manager for the CPT, Andy Warrender, said, ‘CPT supports efforts to reduce congestion, improve service reliability and ensure that coaches fulfil the obligations that customers expect. CPT appreciates that there will be occasions when wider interests prevail over those of the coaching industry, and we would like to reiterate our commitment to working closely with stakeholders to ensure that in such circumstances we endeavour to reach an acceptable outcome for all.’