Below is the conclusion of the case currently going through the Europian Court, appertaining to private hire use of bus lanes.
It would seem that today, addison Lee have lost the first round.
It is now up to the licensing authorities in the membered states to show that Taxis and Private Hire do not have comparable need to use Bus Lanes.
In light of the foregoing, I propose that the Court respond to the questions referred by the Court of Appeal (England and Wales) (United Kingdom) as follows:
On a proper construction of Article 107(1) TFEU, where the authorities of a Member State make a bus lane on a public road available to taxis but not to private hire vehicles during the hours of operation of that bus lane:
– this does not involve a transfer of ‘State resources’, provided that access is granted on equal terms to all comparable undertakings; and
– this does not amount to ‘favouring certain undertakings’, provided that those authorities show
(i) that taxis and private hire vehicles are not legally and factually comparable, owing to objective considerations relating to the safety and efficiency of the transport system, and
(ii) that such a measure is suitable for achieving that objective and does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve it.
It is for the referring court to determine whether that is the case in the circumstances of the main proceedings. If that is not the case, the mere fact that the right to use the bus lanes is conferred in the context of a local traffic policy does not, in itself, exclude the possibility of trade between Member States being affected, which also falls to be determined by the referring court.