Bike Biz alerted us to the fact that Addison Lee drivers have received a letter from the Chairman of the company, telling them to start using London bus lanes as of today.
The Chairman, John Griffin, wrote
Our legal advice is that bus lane regulations are currently being misinterpreted to exclude [private hire vehicles] from bus lanes. Such misinterpretation is unlawful.
What defines who is and who isn’t allowed in a London bus lane, is the Traffic Management Order for the bus lane. I’ve looked at several of these across several boroughs and they all have similar wording (obviously built from the same template). They state something along the lines of
In this Order- …. “bus”, “local bus”, “pedal cycle”, “taxi”, “traffic lane”, “contra-flow” and “with-flow
lane” have the meanings given in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General
Looking at the TSRGD Regulation 23, we can not determine what the definition of a taxi is. Is a minicab / private hire vehicle a taxi?
TFL state the following
Only licensed taxis (black cabs) can pick up passengers on the street. Any minicab driver who picks up customers without a booking is acting illegally. This includes minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs.
There are now around 3,200 licensed private hire operators, 60,000 licensed private hire drivers, and roughly 50,000 licensed private hire vehicles in London. In addition, there are approximately 22,000 licensed taxis (black cabs) and almost 25,000 licensed taxi drivers.
So TFL make it clear that there is a difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle.
So Private Hire Vehicles are NOT allowed to be advertised as a taxi or as taxis.
So are Addison Lee a Private Hire Vehicles Operator?
Please can I have all information relating to Private Hire
Vehicle access to Bus Lanes.
TFL’s response was
TfL does not currently permit private hire vehicles into bus lanes on the
Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). Therefore, no information is
Addison Lee are trying to challenge the definition of TAXI used on the signs and in the Traffic Management Orders for London Bus Lanes. Under The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1988 and by TFL’s own wording, a private hire vehicle may not be classed or advertised as a Taxi. As such, Private Hire Vehicles are not allowed in London Bus Lanes which allow TAXIS.
TFL released a statement yesterday that said the following
Private hire vehicle drivers could be liable to personal criminal prosecution if they break traffic regulations, including by driving in bus lanes.
At last, TFL will be receiving praise from cyclists all across London. Addison Lee drivers are known to be some of the worst in London.