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Judges asked to order withdrawal of letter telling firm's drivers to break law by using bus lanes...

Transport for London has applied for a High Court injunction ordering minicab firm Addison Lee to withdraw a letter sent out to its drivers at the weekend in which it instructed its drivers to break the law by driving in bus lanes.

The business, which operates more than 3,500 private hire cars in London, has applied for a judicial review of regulations which permit licensed taxi cabs to use the capital’s bus lanes, but prevent minicabs, or private hire vehicles, from doing likewise, claiming that the rules are anti-competitive.

As reported here on road.cc earlier this week, the letter from the firm’s chairman, John Griffin, provoked an angry response from Transport for London (TfL) which, among other things, warned Addison Lee and its drivers, who largely work on a self-employed basis, that they faced having their licences revoked if they persistently broke the law.

BBC News reports that TfL has now sought a High Court injunction to order the letter sent out by Mr Griffin to be withdrawn, with its director of surface transport, Leon Daniels, saying: "We have applied to the High Court for an interim injunction that will require Addison Lee to withdraw the letter it sent to its drivers on 14 April advising them to drive in bus lanes and telling them they were indemnified against any fine or liability incurred.

"The case will be heard on Monday 23 April."

Cyclists, of course, are also allowed to use bus lanes and on Monday, London Cycling Campaign (LCC) not only criticised Addison Lee’s move but also encouraged TfL to follow the example of the City of London, which governs the historic Square Mile in the heart of the capital, to also ban licensed taxi cabs from bus lanes, as well as reconsidering its decision to let motorcycles use them.

"It's a measure of the poor quality of cycling provision in the capital that many cyclists see the bus lane network as a safe haven, even though it's shared with buses, black taxis and motorcycles,” explained LCC’s Mike Cavenett.

"Adding tens of thousands of extra motor vehicles to bus lanes will severely disadvantage bus passengers and cyclists.

"We urge Transport for London to look at the City of London, where both black taxis and private hire vehicles are banned from bus lanes, and to repeal its harmful motorbikes in bus lanes measure," he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.