London black cabs win bus lane court case

It’s a reasonably difficult time for London’s iconic black cabs at the moment, with taxi app Uber amongst others providing stiff competition for fares. But there was some good news for the black cab this week, as it was ruled that they are free to continue to operate by using the Capital’s bus lanes. Private taxi firms, however, don’t have this privilege.

In a case heard before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, private taxi firm Addison Lee claimed that use of bus lanes to bypass traffic and navigate London’s streets gave the black cab an unfair advantage over its competitors.
Black cab parked in London

But the court ruled in favour of the black cab, justifying its decision by claiming they are ‘not comparable’ to their cheaper rivals for a number of reasons. For example, only black cabs can pick up customers without pre-booking.

The ruling said: “Drivers of black cabs are subject to strict standards in relation to their vehicles, their fares and their knowledge of London, whereas those standards do not apply to minicabs.”
London black cab drivers have been up against it in recent months, staging protests against mobile ride-sharing services such as Uber and Hailo. But this ruling from the Court of Justice will go some way to protecting the black cab’s future, although Addison Lee may still choose to appeal the decision in British courts.