The London taxi industry has had ‘positive conversations’ with local boroughs and councils with regard to future access plans, says one leading taxi representative.
The talks follow the landmark High Court ruling deeming Transport for London’s (TfL) and the Mayor’s Streetspace Plans as ‘unlawful’.
TfL are seeking to appeal the High Court outcome which ruled the Mayor of London and TfL “acted unlawfully” in their treatment of licensed taxis, in the Streetspace for London Plan and associated Guidance and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order.
The Court ordered that the Streetspace Plan, Interim Guidance to Boroughs and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order be quashed, following the judgement.
If TfL’s appeal is unsuccessful the decision could have a far reaching impact and the licensed taxi industry are keen to engage with councils to resolve licensed taxi access issues. All black cabs in the capital are wheelchair accessible and have a special status according to the High Court.
Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, said: “Whatever happens with this appeal, the Judgement has already had a real impact across London, and it is clear that the London Boroughs are looking closely at all their Streetspace schemes, considering the special status and importance of taxis and how they can ensure we have the access we need.
“Schemes have since been changed and new schemes announced allowing for taxi access in Croydon, Greenwich and Redbridge, for example.
“We have had positive conversations with a number of other individual boroughs and London Councils the body that represents all the London Boroughs. We have reassured them that we were forced to take this legal action because the Mayor and TfL would not engage and listen to us. We do not want to have to challenge every Streetspace scheme – we simply want them to find ways to ensure that taxis access is maintained and that taxis have the right to go where buses go, so that they can ply for hire effectively and provide the door-to-door, accessible service that many people rely on.
“Hopefully, this will deliver the change we need, and we will be making sure that officers in all the boroughs understand the significance of the Judgement and what we are asking for, over the next few weeks.”
Upon seeking an appeal, TfL told TaxiPoint: “We were very disappointed with the court’s decision and have applied for permission to appeal this judgment. Helping the capital to get through, and recover from, the coronavirus pandemic has always been at the heart of our plans for walking and cycling. Temporary schemes continue to enable safer essential journeys for thousands of Londoners who need to travel during this exceptionally challenging time.
“We recognise how important it is for our schemes to work for the communities they serve, including people who use taxis, and we will continue to deliver schemes to reflect the changing coronavirus situation.”
Until the appeal process is concluded, both the Bishopsgate scheme and TfL’s interim guidance to boroughs can remain in place.
The capital’s transport regulators do however suggest that no findings were made about the lawfulness of other borough schemes which they say can remain in place as boroughs consider appropriate.