Transport for London (TfL) has welcomed the opinion of the Advocate General, who advises the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, on the case brought by Eventech, a subsidiary of Addison Lee, that challenges TfL’s policy of allowing taxis, but not private hire vehicles, to use bus lanes in the capital.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, 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. As this process continues we are maintaining our well-understood and effective policy that helps to keep London moving in the interest of everyone.
“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 six and a half million passengers who travel on buses each day.”
Mr Justice Burton agreed, noting in his judgment dated September 25: “It makes good sense for black cabs to be travelling in bus lanes. Minicabs do not have the need to use the bus lane, and black cabs do.”
The proceedings were brought against the Parking Adjudicator, which arose from Penalty Charge Notices issued by Camden Council for illegal use of the Southampton Row bus lanes. Both the London Borough of Camden and TfL were named as interested parties. 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.