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Monday 16 April 2012 7.58pm
According to both The Standard and BBC news today, John Griffin, the CEO of Addison Lee, the soi disant "up market" mini cab firm, has advised his 3,500 drivers to ignore London's bus lane regulations and drive in them if they wish.
He allegedly stated that he would cover any fines that they may incur.
TFL has accused him of irresponsibility and stated that persistent offending could lead to individual drivers licences being revoked.
Whether they mean their DVLA licence or their TFL private hire licence was not clear, I would presume the latter.
TFL has also threatened that if this persists they could revoke Addison Lee's mini cab operators licence.
A TFL spokesperson said on BBC news, "If we allow this to go unchecked, thousands of commuters who have given up driving their cars into London, and now use buses, will be held static on said buses, by the additional vehicles blocking bus lanes."
To my way of thinking, this is tantamount to turning right, or left, where it is clearly signposted, NO RIGHT TURN, or NO LEFT TURN, just because I want to do it, and screw the fact that it is against the law.
I await the outcome with interest, but I think that it will go the same way as it did when Mr. Griffin advised his drivers to ignore the M4 bus lane.
An outbreak of mass myopia by those charged with upholding the law.
All that is really needed, is enforcement, but I seriously doubt that there will be any.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 12.45am
As you so rightly say DJ, enforcement is the key.
It probably won't happen though, enforcement I mean.
For whatever reason, the authorities are just not interested.
I don't have a dog in this hunt anymore.
As a lot of posters on here know, I was the resident "Black Cab" driver, who championed London's finest.
Not any more, the writing has been on the wall for a long time now, and I finally saw the light in early February, sold the cab, handed my licences, (we are issued with two), back to TFL in Blackfriars Road and now spend my days either walking around Southwark Park to try and stay between 11.7 and 11.10, or riding the Jubilee Line to St Johns Wood then walking through Regents Park to amble down Baker Street.
I'll buy the Independent, slide into a café, have a glass of Pinot Grigio and maybe a Greek salad, (more healthy lifestyle), then stroll to Bond St. station, or if I'm feeling energetic, keep going through Mayfair to Green Park station, then home.
I had a good run, I never refused a fare, I was always happy to go South of the river, especially if I was in going home mood.
My two pensions cover all my outgoings, I stashed enough that I can still jump on a plane and go wherever the mood takes me, just not as often, and I've had to resign myself to tourist class instead of business, but I'll never sink to using RyanAir or Easyjet, too much pride, I'd sooner stay at home in London than use them!
Tuesday 17 April 2012 7.35am
Good on you Tom nice to read your post, it's really encouraging that you're getting around London in a different way - and since you have The Knowledge, you'll never get lost whichever way you go. Terrific!
Tuesday 17 April 2012 7.38am
I can see why buses get their own priority lane. They're public transport. Black cabs, on the other hand, are so expensive that they're either for a treat or for people on expenses. Which makes me question whether black cabs should get to use bus lanes.

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 10.25am
Agree Ivanhoe. Although I must say the taxis get more business if they can go in the bus lanes and people REALLY will get to their destinations sooner..otherwise, if you're going to sit in a jam any how, why not go to the nearest Bus/Tube? I think the taxis are having a toughish time anyway these days, their prices are staggering.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 11.19am
and the point made by the chap at Addison Lee is that black cabs are not 'public transport' in the same way as busses, they are a profit making company(ies), and so if the legislation lets black cabs use the 'bus' lanes, then other taxi's (and private hire minicabs?) should be able to use them as well.

he's trying to suggest that it's an either all or nothing situation - in my opinion, it's ok as it is, black cabs should be allowed, and other private hire vehicles shouldn't.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 12.02pm
I've got a lot of sympathy for the AL bloke. When I first started working in London, a black cab from, say, St Martin's Lane to Borough at the end of an evening used to be the cost of a couple of pints, which made it an affordable occasional treat.

It's now nearer the cost of 5 pints. To me, this takes black cabs out of the realms of what ordinary people can afford, and so I see no reason why they should get any more priority than any other car or cab.

I accept the point that if all cabs used bus lanes, then bus traffic would be burgered up beyond all belief, but I don't see why black cabs should hold on to this historical anomalous privilege. Perhaps NO cabs should be able to use bus lanes. Wouldn't that bring the greatest amount of good to the most people?

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 2.10pm
If minicabs can use bus lanes, I suspect we'll see a lot of private drivers applying for psv licences; I recall this was one of the first congestion charge avoiding schemes.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 9.23pm
A contributor to the letters page of today's Standard had the right idea IMO.
He/she said that they would have no objection to Addison Lee's drivers using bus lanes, just as soon as they had completed "The Knowledge", had an enhanced Criminal Record Bureau check, and acquired a vehicle with a 25 feet turning circle which was equipped with a meter that could only be installed and regulated by an official government body.
I assumed that it had been penned by Tom Pepper, or one of his ex co- workers, but it was signed, "A disgruntled Tube Employee."
Wednesday 18 April 2012 9.55am
Hmm. But what relevance has The Knowledge, meters, etc to allowing black cabs in bus lanes?

One cab in a bus lane, with, perhaps two occupants in it....versus a bus half full of people. Why should the cab get special treatment?

...if you press it, they will come.
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