A judge was wrong to describe a scheme that created extra space for cyclists and pedestrians at the start of the pandemic as “extreme” and declare it illegal, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
According to the Evening Standard, three appeal justices said Mrs Justice Lang’s ruling that TfL’s Bishopgate scheme was “seriously flawed” was “misconceived” and must be overturned.
In a thumping victory, they also ordered the two organisations representing the black cab trade that brought the initial case to pay TfL’s legal costs in full, with an initial £50,000 due within a fortnight.
The Court of Appeal awarded victory to TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan last month after they appealed against the High Court defeat handed down by Mrs Justice Lang in January.
Now their full judgement has been published – and it delivers a comprehensive demolition of the arguments accepted by the judge to initially find in favour of the cab trade.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and United Trade Action Group had sought judicial review of the Bishopsgate scheme, and the wider “Streetspace” plan and guidance issued by TfL to the 33 boroughs, which included policies on low traffic neighbourhoods and school streets.
The three appeal justices, led by Lord Justice Bean, said it was “extraordinary and not right” to condemn the measures as “extreme or ill considered” and said there was “no proper basis” to consider the scheme as “irrational”.
They said: “Each was in accordance with the policy not only of the Mayor and TfL but also of the Secretary of State for Transport of encouraging walking and cycling rather than other means of travel.
“They were not universally popular, but we think it would be extraordinary and not right for a court to condemn them as extreme or ill-considered, especially during the pandemic.”
They said Mrs Justice Lang “seems to have given no or almost no weight” to the fact that TfL’s plans were being made eight weeks after the start of lockdown, at a time when the duration of the pandemic was “wholly unpredictable”.
The Bishopsgate scheme was introduced in July last year to only allow buses and cyclists to use two key sections of Bishopsgate on weekdays, though access to the Liverpool Street station taxi rank was maintained.
Pre-covid, black cabs accounted for 43 per cent of vehicles on Bishopsgate once buses were excluded.
About 6,000 cyclists used Bishopsgate in the daytime and TfL wanted to improve safety by using “bus gates” to prevent the road becoming more of a haven for black cabs.
At the time TfL hoped this would encourage more Londoners to walk or cycle and minimise the spread of covid – including reducing the risk to bus passengers by minimising the time they were stuck in traffic.
The Court of Appeal judgement said that TfL had taken a “sensible approach, and indeed a sufficient and lawful approach” and noted that taxis were permitted to use 93 per cent of all bus lanes in London.
The judges refused LTDA and UTAG, who claimed TfL had neglected the role of taxis in providing accessible transport for disabled people, permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Mr Khan, who described the victory as a vindication of TfL’s “bold policies”, plans to spend £135m this financial year on “healthy streets” initiatives such as more cycle routes and bus priority schemes.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA, said: “We are currently in the process of reviewing the Court of Appeal’s full judgement with our lawyers and considering next steps. We will keep the trade and other interested parties updated.”
A Devon taxi driver, who was hailed a hero after rescuing a customer from a burning building, has reported being assaulted by a passenger.
According to DevonLive, Cristian Dumitrescu, who works for Frankies Taxis in Tiverton, picked up a man in the town on 29 July but says he then had to stop in Sycamore Road when the passenger began being sick in the taxi.
When Mr Dumitrescu refused to continue their journey to Exeter due to his poorly state and believing he was intoxicated, he claims he was punched in the back of the head while he was in the driver's seat, and was then subjected to racial abuse.
He also alleges the passenger threatened to steal his taxi, but he activated an emergency button in the cab, which alerts the taxi company of a problem, and was able to call the police.
The next day Mr Dumitrescu was back at work and says it is the first time he has been assaulted.
He said: "Sometimes it's a dreadful job."
Mr Dumitrescu was praised for his heroic efforts in 2018 after spotting smoke coming from the home of one of his regular customers in New North Road.
He ran into the building to rescue him. The fire service said that the men escaped the building 'just in time'.
He has also previously come to the rescue of a man who fell off his mobility scooter in Stoke Canon."
Police have confirmed an investigation has been launched for the assault yesterday.
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Police were called at 6pm on Thursday, July 29, to Tiverton, following reports of an assault within a taxi.
"It was reported that the victim, a man in his 40s, had been assaulted to the head and subject to verbal abuse.
"A man in his 40s from Tiverton was arrested in connection to the incident and remains in police custody at this time."
Devastated taxi drivers have paid tribute to their “fallen colleague” after his recent tragic drowning.
The Glasgow Times reports that cabbies turned out at Linn Cemetery Extension in the south of Glasgow on 3 August to honour Muhammed Asim Riaz with a “driver’s salute” at his funeral – a guard of honour for their colleague and friend.
Riaz lost his life after getting into difficulty at Pulpit Rock, Ardlui, on 24 July. His friend Edina Olahova, 29, and her nine-year-old son Rana Haris Ali were also pronounced dead on the scene.
A small group of App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) committee members who knew the 41-year-old personally spoke fondly of his memory, with the grey day matching the solemn mood of the occasion.
Organiser of the “driver’s salute”, and member of the ADCU, Eddie Grice, knew Riaz and had only been working with him the week before the tragic incident.
He said: “He was a nice hard-working guy. He was respectful to everyone, and to be honest he was quite quiet. He didn’t give anyone any hassle.”
Those who arrived at the cemetery around 3pm, had also attended their local mosque beforehand to say their prayers.
Grice and several other drivers, including some who didn’t know him personally but wanted to pay their respects, waited just outside the cemetery for the funeral car to enter.
Once those who had made the journey from the mosque to the cemetery had all arrived, Grice and the rest of Riaz’s colleagues from the ADC Union followed closely behind.
Grice added: “We’re standing in solidarity with a fallen colleague. When we heard the news, a lot of us knew him personally, so it shook us. Today we stand together.
“We are here to support each other, and to hold each other up.
“In times like this, when the worst happens, we will try to support each other and his family, and we would like to offer his family our thoughts and prayers.”
A fundraiser has also been set up for Riaz’s family, which has surpassed its initial target of £2,500.
A Burton taxi firm owner is to open a new business offering tuition to youngsters needing help with learning after missing so much time at school during the covid pandemic.
StaffordshireLive reports that Faisal Rashid, owner of 43 Taxis, in Robinsons Walk, is setting up Heroes Centre Limited, in Burton, which will specialise in offering teaching in core subjects English, maths and science to children aged four to 18, he says.
He will also have specialists teaching others levels of education including EYFS, KS1, KS2, KS3, Maths and English, and also GCSE and A-Levels in maths, English and science, he has said.
The business will be based at the de Ferrers Sixth Form Campus, in Burton and will start off as a weekend centre. It is not connected with the school, but will rent a room there, he said.
It will be a private business, with annual fees for the service costing £1,300, which will include plenty of incentives such as trips to theme parks, exercise books and stationery and gift vouchers.
Mr Rashid, 26, said: "There has never been a tuition centre in Burton and I got the idea after seeing the amount of time children have missed out on education due to the pandemic.
"It has been nothing to do with the quality of education at schools. Unfortunately due to the severity of the virus, there was no option but to close the schools.
"It has been a very frustrating time for students and it has had a direct impact on their studies, which unfortunately they may not be able to get back.
"I am hoping to launch in a couple of weeks and I know there is a demand for something like this.
"I will be working with specialist teachers and look to work with schools in the area and hopefully once I have set up, look into setting up after-school sessions.
"Once we launch I am hoping to have some incentives for members, including offering four weeks tuition for the first 20 students for free.
"After speaking to some people I was made aware of people who live in Burton, but travel to places such as Derby to give their children tuition lessons.
"I am confident there will be a lot of interest shown, to have something like this on your doorstep is a huge bonus for those living in Burton."
A taxi driver has been cleared of killing a passenger who called him "specky".
Derek McClinton, 51, was accused of mowing down Craig Kearney (pictured) in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire on March 5, 2017.
GlasgowLive reports that the 24 year-old amateur footballer - who played for AFC Bonnyholm in Glasgow's Pollock - was found stricken on the road and never survived serious head injuries.
Prosecutors alleged McClinton, also of East Kilbride, had struck Mr Kearney before driving over him in his Skoda.
But, on Monday 2 August jurors returned a not proven verdict to a murder charge following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
Members of the cabbie's family sobbed in relief.
Lord Armstrong told McClinton: "The jury by their verdict have acquitted you - that being so, you are free to leave the dock."
The court heard how McClinton had picked up Mr Kearney and others in Glasgow city centre en-route to East Kilbride. Mr Kearney's girlfriend Olivia Geraghty was also with him.
She told the trial: "I remember me and my friends talking in the back and Craig being quite cheeky to the driver.
"I remember him saying 'specky'."
McClinton later told police Mr Kearney had been struggling with his seatbelt and when the cabbie went to help, the passenger shouted: "What the f*** are you doing?"
One of the women in the back ordered him to calm down.
McClinton said he was "quite frightened".
McClinton went on to describe Mr Kearney complaining about the route being taken and making threats.
After they stopped in East Kilbride, Mr Kearney allegedly damaged McClinton's car.
Miss Geraghty told jurors how both men each looked as if they wanted to "fight".
McClinton went on to claim he then spotted Mr Kearney with a brick or stone as the cabbie got back in his taxi.
The driver told police that Mr Kearney was in the middle of the road and he "clipped" him as he drove off fearful his window would be smashed.
McClinton insisted Mr Kearney, of Neilston, near Glasgow, was "animated" and "definitely conscious" when he left the normally quiet estate.
Mr Kearney was found badly hurt in a pool of blood. Attempts were made to save him, but he never recovered.
McClinton had denied murder.
His QC Donald Findlay had argued during the trial there had been "insufficient evidence" that there had been any sort of "homicide" committed and that McClinton had even been involved.