Addison Lee Bus Lane Update
For those who are not aware Addison Lee instructed their drivers to use the bus lanes in London.
Following previous updates and E-alerts to LPHCA Members alongside dialogue with Addison Lee, we are issuing this information to the wider industry regarding the latest situation.
It is very important that licensed Operators and Drivers are aware of the current situation, as there are serious implications for those who do not know the state of play (Below).
Addison Lee have said:
London, April 26: Transport for London has been forced to abandon its application for a mandatory injunction requiring Addison Lee and its chairman John Griffin to withdraw their letter to drivers stating that they are entitled to drive in London bus lanes and to send out a further letter instructing them not to do so.
Mr Justice Eder, who handed down judgment today following a High Court hearing on Monday 23 April 2012, has instead confirmed that it is for drivers to choose whether or not they drive in bus lanes pending the resolution of Addison Lee’s legal challenge to the validity of the bus lane legislation.
The judge noted Addison Lee’s argument that the bus lane legislation as it stands constitutes “flagrant discrimination in favour of black cabs” and against private hire vehicles and that this “gave black cabs a significant unfair competitive advantage causing [private hire vehicle] drivers significant loss”. The Judge recognised the urgency of the problem by ordering that Addison Lee’s claim should be expedited so that it is determined by the High Court before the Olympic Games.
In the meantime, the Court has confirmed that it would be entirely lawful for Addison Lee to decide, after any fine has been imposed on a driver for driving in a bus lane, to reimburse that driver in respect of the fine should it wish to do so.
John Griffin, chairman of Addison Lee said: “This is a great start to our campaign to challenge the unfair bus lane legislation. We hope to fully overturn the legislation to offer faster journey times to our customers and to offer a competitive transport service during the Olympic Games.”
As with the advice the LPHCA provided to members regarding unsanctioned use of the old M4 bus lane, we continue to advise all LPHCA members and their drivers not to use any bus lanes in London.
The action by Addison Lee is now a matter for Addison Lee and the courts. Anyone who chooses to advise their drivers to use the Bus Lanes could find themselves with a hefty legal bill and sanctions against their company, so our advice stays in place.
TfL have issued the following:
TfL’s High Court injunction prevents Addison Lee from instructing its drivers to use bus lanes
- Court ruling also labels Addison Lee ‘indemnity’ as void and unenforceable
- Court rejects Addison Lee claim that an instruction had not been issued
- TfL urges private hire drivers to note the ruling and continue to obey the law
Following a ruling from the High Court today (Thursday 26 April) Addison Lee is prevented from instructing or encouraging its drivers to drive in bus lanes and must remove the statement on its website instructing drivers to do so.
The Court also declared that the ‘indemnity’ Addison Lee issued to its drivers on 14 April offering to pay for fines and other costs when they drove in bus lanes was “void and unenforceable“, and cannot be repeated.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:
“Today’s judgment prevents Addison Lee from instructing or encouraging its drivers to drive in bus lanes in London. The court felt compelled to grant an injunction because of the substantial risk of Addison Lee taking action that could result in the law being broken. We maintain that Addison Lee’s instruction to its drivers was irresponsible and at odds with its position as a private hire operator.
“Bus lanes enable buses to move around the capital efficiently carrying more than six million passengers a day. We maintain that allowing tens of thousands of Private Hire Vehicles to drive in bus lanes would impact on the reliability of our bus services, and risks inconveniencing our customers.”
The interim injunction will remain in place until judicial review proceedings, on the issues of private hire in bus lanes, conclude.
Despite the instruction from Addison Lee we are pleased to see that, last week the vast majority of private hire drivers continued to obey the law and not drive in bus lanes.