Minicab company Addison Lee lost its bid yesterday to overturn a ban on using London bus lanes.
The firm hit the headlines in April when chairman John Griffin instructed drivers to join black taxis in the bus lanes, pledging to pay their fines from Transport for London. Further controversy followed when Griffin made some rather ill-judged comments about cycling safety, prompting protests and calls for the company's licence to be revoked.
At Wednesday's judicial review, Mr Justice Burton said the reason behind TfL's policy restricting the use of the lanes was "obvious and compelling":
"There is to my mind a clear distinction between the need of black cabs (and their passengers and the public) for them to be in the bus lanes, by way of visibility and availability of, and access to, black cabs for those hailing a cruising taxi," he said. "I consider it makes entire good sense for black cabs to be travelling in bus lanes. Minicabs just do not have the need to use the bus lane, and black cabs do."
Besides losing the judicial review, Addison Lee has been ordered to pay TfL's legal costs in relation to the claim. Needless to say, it appears that the principle is strong in this one and even the prospect of losing large contracts isn't deterring Griffin — the company plans to seek leave to appeal.
Earlier this month, Addison Lee was also ordered to remove 3,000 cigarette bins with adverts for the company's services. Griffin wasn't too pleased about that either and said:
"All eyes will be on London with this summer's Olympics and the West End will be covered in dog-ends. The lunatics have taken over the asylum."
Photo by dartar in the Londonist Flickr pool.