Victory for London cab drivers in legal battle over some cycle zones
High Court rules extreme measures at Bishopsgate ‘unfair and irrational’
London’s cab drivers won a legal victory after the High Court ruled a cycle and bus zone in the capital was built unlawfully.
The temporary Streetspace scheme was implemented last May in response to the coronavirus pandemic and intended to cater for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as offering the UK capital cleaner air.
But a route through the Bishopsgate thoroughfare imposed restrictions on taxi drivers and reduced access to certain streets.
Delivering her verdict in the High Court, Justice Beverley Lang ruled that London mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London "took advantage of the pandemic" to implement "radical changes".
She said that TfL failed to distinguish licensed taxis from general traffic and did not recognise that cabs were a legitimate form of public transport. Justice Lang also said that the measures affected pedestrians and other road users who were physically impaired.
"It was both unfair and irrational to introduce such extreme measures, if it was not necessary to do so, when they impacted so adversely on certain sections of the public", she said.
As a result, the Streetspace Plan, Interim Guidance to Boroughs and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order will be quashed.
The taxi groups that brought the legal challenge, United Trade Action Group and the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, welcomed the decision.
“It’s fantastic to see the judge rightly recognising the key role licensed taxis play in our great city. This is an extremely important judgment for London’s hard-working taxi drivers and the passengers who rely on them,” said Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association.
A representative for the mayor's office said they were disappointed and would appeal.
“This route has long suffered with a poor safety record and slow bus speeds, and the scheme aimed to tackle these issues, reducing road danger for vulnerable road users and improving the flow of bus traffic.
“We mustn’t get through one public health crisis only to face another caused by congestion and toxic air pollution.”
Updated: January 22, 2021 12:21 PM