World

European court gives London taxis a break, says it's OK to bar private rivals from bus lanes

  • A London taxi driver uses a bus lane on a bridge over the river Thames in central London, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news _ they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes. Drivers of London's iconic _ but expensive _ black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing them _ but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs _ to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A London taxi driver uses a bus lane on a bridge over the river Thames in central London, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news _ they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes. Drivers of London's iconic _ but expensive _ black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing them _ but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs _ to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A London taxi driver uses a bus lane on a bridge over the river Thames in central London, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news _ they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes. Drivers of London's iconic _ but expensive _ black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing them _ but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs _ to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A London taxi driver uses a bus lane on a bridge over the river Thames in central London, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news _ they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes. Drivers of London's iconic _ but expensive _ black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing them _ but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs _ to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A London taxi driver uses a bus lane on a bridge over the river Thames in central London, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news _ they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes. Drivers of London's iconic _ but expensive _ black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing them _ but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs _ to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A London taxi driver uses a bus lane on a bridge over the river Thames in central London, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news _ they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes. Drivers of London's iconic _ but expensive _ black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing them _ but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs _ to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

A European Union court has handed London's embattled taxi drivers some good news — they can keep their right to drive in bus lanes.

Drivers of London's iconic — but expensive — black cabs face increasing competition from cheaper private cab firms and drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber. One advantage is a rule allowing the black cabs — but not Uber drivers or private taxis known as minicabs — to move around quickly by using lanes set aside for buses.

The private taxi firm Addison Lee argued that amounted to unlawful state support and gave the black cabs an unfair advantage.

But the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice court ruled Wednesday the bus-lane rule did not use state resources to confer "a selective economic advantage" on London cabs.