May 25 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Gover , Senior reporter
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Mini cab firm Addison Lee was defiant in the face of a court ruling today, vowing to continue protecting its cabbies who break rules by driving in London’s bus lanes.
Transport for London went to court to stop the firm’s drivers from using bus lanes in London.
Addison Lee owner John Griffin had said he would pay fines on behalf of drivers who were caught using off-limits bus lanes.
But Mr Justice Eder ruled today the firm must not encourage its drivers to use bus lanes in London.
That rules out indemnifying drivers by removing the sting of a cash penalty when they flout the rules.
Despite that, he firm refused to withdraw its promise to do this.
The judgement by the court capped a controversial few days for the mini-cab firm.
Cyclists staged a “die in” at its office in Camden in protest of comments by Mr Griffin against them.
An Addison Lee spokesman said: “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.”
Addison Lee insisted it broke the rules in order to force the issue up the court agenda.
Black taxis may use bus lanes to ferry customers more quickly to destinations than on often congested roads.
Addison Lee claims the rule is anti-competitive by handing black taxis an advantage,
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, welcome Justice Eder’s ban on Addison Lee from encouraging drivers to ride in bus lanes.
“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.
“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.”