The High Court has today (Wednesday 20 January 2021) ruled that the Mayor of
London and Transport for London (TfL) “acted unlawfully” in their treatment of licensed taxis, in the Streetspace for London Plan and associated Guidance and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order.
A judicial review brought by UTAG and the LTDA, challenging the Mayor and TfL’s Plan, associated Guidance issued to London Boroughs and the Order concerning a specific Streetspace scheme, the A10 Bishopsgate Corridor in the City of London, which removed taxi access to a key arterial route.
It has been reported that the case succeeded on four of the five grounds advanced on behalf of the taxi trade:
- In the Streetspace Plan and subsequent Guidance, the Mayor and TfL respectively failed to distinguish the special status of taxis from “general traffic”, neither taking into account the distinct status of taxis as a form of public transport nor the travel needs of those who rely on accessible taxis.
- The Mayor and TfL failed to have proper regard to their Public Sector Equality Duties under Section 149 of the Equalities Act 2010.
- The Plan, Guidance and the A10 Order unlawfully breached licensed taxi drivers’ “legitimate expectation” of being permitted to use bus lanes to ply for hire effectively as a vital part of London’s integrated public transport network.
- The treatment of taxis in the Plan, Guidance and the Order and the decisions to exclude them were “seriously flawed” and “irrational”.
In particular, the court noted that denying taxis access to London’s roads could have “severe consequences” for passengers who cannot walk, cycle, or use public transport and that “the needs of people with protected characteristics, including the elderly or disabled”, were “not considered”, before the Plan was announced or the Guidance published.
The Court also found taxi drivers had a legitimate expectation that they would be able to access bus lanes to ply for hire effectively, which had been unlawfully breached. This expectation was supported by TfL’s own Bus Lane Policy, which asserts that taxis “fulfil demands that cannot be met by the bus, train or tube”, and by previous Mayoral statements on the importance of taxi access to bus lanes.
The Court ordered the Streetspace Plan, Interim Guidance to Boroughs and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order be quashed.
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