Addison Lee's chairman tells drivers to defy bus lane law, adding pressure on cyclists
Cyclists in central London already have to deal with buses, black cabs and motorbikes when using bus lanes. On top of that, the biggest minicab company in the capital threatens to take the red lane too.
John Griffin, the chairman of Addison Lee, has asked for a judicial review of the traffic regulations - that establishes which vehicles can use bus lanes - for considering it unlawful.
But, going a step further, while waiting for the result of the judicial review Griffin has written to his drivers and told them to start using these lanes.
"As chairman, I can advise you that a lawful interpretation of the bus lane regulation entitles Addison Lee drivers with private hire identifiers to use all bus lanes in the same way as our competitors. Accordingly, you are fully entitled to use the bus lanes," he wrote.
The news was revealed by trade publication Bike Biz and has provoked a response from Transport For London (TfL). They have hit back and announced that Addison Lee cars could face criminal prosecution if they drive in bus lanes and that they could have their licences revoked if they do so repeatedly.
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all Addison Lee drivers reminding them that repeated breaches of traffic regulations could see their licence to operate withdrawn."
If Addison Lee and, by extension, the rest of private hire vehicles in London decide to take the bus lane, there will be 60,000 extra cars on these lanes. According to TfL, this "would have a negative impact on bus journey times, potentially creating delays for millions of passengers."
It would be a good idea to remind TfL that not also motorised commuters, but cyclists, who are perfectly entitled to use bus lanes, would be affected by this situation. In their case, the outcome of saturating these routes could be much worse than a delay.
Addison Lee drivers are frequently mentioned on cyclists forums in connection with incidents and the possibility of them using bus lanes - legally or not - has already been criticised by many the capital's leading cyclists groups.
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