Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'Cosy deal under Livingstone let black cabs use bus lanes'

John Griffin has again appeared in the Court of Appeal shouting that the legislation which allows Taxis to use bus lanes, was no more than a cosy deal cooked up by Ken Livingston and the Taxi trade.

It's quite simple really and easy to understand, that Taxis need access to the kerbside to ply for hire, pick up and set down. It would be highly dangerous for prospective passengers to have to cross a bus lane to board a Taxi stopped in the middle of he road.

To take Taxis out of bus lanes would literally mean taking away a huge part of the area they could safely ply for hire. Taxis also use a Taximeter to determine the fare, therefore it is financially advantageous to passengers for them to be allowed to use London's bus lane network.

On the other hand, minicabs are only available after first being pre-booked. A safe pick up and drop off location can be arranged at the initial booking call. As private hire operate on a fixed fare basis, time is not an issue in regards to price.

Below is a report of today's appeal.

Black cabs were granted permission to use London’s bus lanes under a “cosy deal” cooked up by Ken Livingstone and the taxi trade, the Court of Appeal was told today.

Nicholas Green QC, representing Europe’s largest minicab firm Addison Lee, said the arrangement breached European fair trade laws as it allowed black taxis an “accelerated course” through London that was unavailable to minicab passengers.

Three Appeal judges today began hearing Addison Lee’s bid to reverse a High Court ruling last July that maintained Transport for London’s ban on the capital’s 50,000 minicabs from using bus lanes.

TfL contests that only black cabs should be allowed to use bus lanes as they are unique in being able to “ply for hire” and it is easier for taxi drivers to be spotted and pick up passengers when using the lanes.

Opening the lanes to minicabs has sparked fears about buses being caught in congestion and a greater safety threat to cyclists.

Mr Green said: “My client has long taken the view that the initial decision to allow black cabs into bus lanes was a cosy deal between the then mayor, Mr Livingstone, and the black cab trade.”

He told the court he had just obtained previously undisclosed “dynamite” and “explosive” TfL research into bus lanes.

“It shows that the reasons TfL had worked on for 18 months to justify keeping private hire vehicles out of bus lanes would apply equally to black cabs,” he told the court.

But the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, who is hearing the case with Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice Patten, said: “I can’t see anything that is explosive or dynamite at all.”

Mr Green said there was a “wafer-thin distinction” in practice between the way black cabs and minicabs were used - though minicabs must be pre-booked and cannot be hailed in the street.

He said Addison Lee, which has 2,900 minicabs, took £30m a year in fares for journeys to and from airports and Eurostar services at St Pancras but was penalised by being unable to use bus lanes to speed up its passengers’ journeys.

The case continues.

Source: Evening Standard.


Anonymous said...

I, for one don't think the current law is strong enough as it stands. Buses also operate on a fixed fare system and are provided with specific pick up points or 'stops' which are the only locations they are permitted to pick up. Since they have been provided with pre-arranged pick up points and time isn't a factor in the calculation of fares, why are they permitted to block our taxi lanes?

...And don't say its to maintain their timetable, these can be reviewed easily to correspond with traffic conditions, and they will still end up hearding into groups of three!!

.....And speaking of herds, cyclists have no fare system or reason to stop (as demonstrated at every red light they come up against!) so what are they doing in our taxi lanes, eh?

It's a shambles from start to finish, and TFL have a moral obligation to clear these ridiculous obstructions from our rightful paths.


Anonymous said...

Could go into third day