Minicab firm that urged its drivers to flout law by using London bus lanes loses Department for Work and Pensions contract
Addison Lee, the minicab company that urged its drivers to break the law by using bus lanes, has lost its government contract, it has emerged.
The contract with the Department for Work and Pensions covered use by a number of Whitehall departments and will not be renewed when it expires on Monday.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The only existing cross-government contract with Addison Lee will expire at the end of this month and is not being renewed. The contract has come to its natural end. Departments are using taxis less and reducing travel expenditure, which means we no longer need this type of contract.”
The decision to part company with the firm emerged just a day after Transport for London was granted an injunction in the high court to prevent Addison Lee from instructing its drivers to use bus lanes marked for use by black taxis during the hours when restrictions apply.
Mr Justice Eder also instructed the private hire company not to repeat an offer to pay its drivers’ fines or other penalties. The company agreed to remove a statement from its website exhorting its drivers to disobey the law.
Eyebrows were raised when government ministers continued to use the luxury minicab firm, which has 3,500 vehicles in London, after it told its drivers in a letter on 16 April: “The current bus lane regulations which allow London’s black cabs to use the bus lanes but prohibit private hire from doing so is illegal as it discriminates against … drivers who offer a competing taxi service.”
John Griffin, the company’s chairman, wrote: “You are fully entitled to use the bus lanes,” and promised to “indemnify all Addison Lee drivers from any fines or other liabilities that may result from using the bus lanes”.
Griffin has donated £250,000 to the Conservative party and personally lobbied Philip Hammond, the former secretary of state for transport, to allow his cars to use bus lanes.