March 16 2014 Latest news:
Monday, April 16, 2012
Minicab drivers with private hire company Addison Lee have been told they risk losing their licences after their employer told them to flout bus lane rules.
Licensed black taxis are allowed to use bus lane, but private hire vehicles are banned from doing so.
Addison Lee is challenging the legality of the legislation, with the firm’s chairman and founder John Griffin issuing a letter to his 3,500 minicab drivers instructing them to use the bus lanes.
The company has pledged to indemnify its drivers from any fines or payments that result from this action – potentially £1,000 per offence.
Mr Griffin said: “The current bus lane legislation is anti-competitive and unfairly discriminates against the millions of passengers that use Addison Lee.
“Minicabs perform the same function as black taxis and are licensed by the same authority, so there is no reason that they should be penalised due to outdated legislation.”
Transport for London has warned Addison Lee drivers they could face criminal prosecution for driving in bus lanes and could have their licences revoked if they do so repeatedly.
Drivers may be personally liable to prosecution, irrespective of any indemnity offered by their employer.
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport, said: “The letter from the management of Addison Lee is utterly irresponsible. By issuing it, Addison Lee risk regulatory action against themselves and leave their staff liable to criminal prosecution.
“We have asked Addison Lee to withdraw their letter immediately. We are also writing to all Addison Lee drivers reminding them that repeated breaches of traffic regulations could see their licence to operate withdrawn.
“London’s bus lanes are in place to ensure the efficient operation of the bus network, which carries more than six million passengers a day. Allowing tens of thousands of private hire vehicles to drive in bus lanes would seriously disrupt the bus network and our passengers’ ability to get around the capital.”