Taxi Protest To Jam Victoria On Tuesday

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 33 months ago
Taxi Protest To Jam Victoria On Tuesday

Photo by Tom Eversley from the Londonist Flickr pool

Taxi drivers are planning to block the streets around Victoria from 2pm on Tuesday 26 May. Why, and why Victoria? That's where Transport for London's headquarters is, and cabbies are very angry with them.

A dispute over what black cab drivers see as an unfair playing field between themselves and minicab drivers has been brewing for some time, and only got worse since Uber came to town. Cabbies say TfL is failing in its duty to stop illegal touting (you all know you should never get in a minicab that's not prebooked, right?), properly regulate mincab offices, insufficient background checks on minicab drivers compared to the length of time it takes to get a black taxi criminal records bureau check done, and the issue around whether Uber's smartphone pricing constitutes a meter or not.

A London Assembly report into taxi and private hire services, published last year, ripped into TfL, calling it "woefully inadequate". TfL's response is that 13 of the report's 19 recommendations were already under way or being planned, and last week City Hall announced that the Mayor is asking government for powers to cap the number of private hire vehicles in London, as well as pushing for the ability to regulate pedicabs.

Cabbies are still not happy, however, and made their feelings known during today's Mayor's Question Time. A group walked out of the public gallery after Boris Johnson showed reluctance to deal with Uber, citing the free market and suggesting Uber would find a way round any checks put in place. Evening Standard journalist Pippa Crerar described the Mayor as looking "visibly shaken" as drivers shouted "you're a joke" and "you've let us down" in disgust.

So is TfL really contributing to, as Assembly Member Val Shawcross has it, the death of the London taxi? Of course there's an argument to be made that technology changes and the industry evolves; but the way taxis are regulated — spending time and money doing the knowledge, having to buy a specific type of car — mean they're not allowed to take advantage. By preserving the tradition of the trade without offering protection, then yes, there's a possibility black cabs could be on the wane.

Last Updated 21 May 2015

CreshkoffWatercolour

given the pollution from the exhaust pipes of black cabs, their demise at least is a good thing for our lungs!

hostile_17

The irony is the last time they did a stunt was the first time I heard about Uber and I joined and started using them.

Jed Mousego

So for their demo black cabs will be getting in everyone's way, blocking the streets and doing what they bloody well like to every other road user's annoyance..... Situation normal then!!

They are overpriced dinosaurs who are trying to get TFL to protect their license to print money.... Good for boris for standing up to them... If people WANT to pay their rip off prices then let them, but equally if people WANT to pay more reasonable sums then let them use a different method too.... Let the market decide if what you get is worth the exorbitant extra fares! If they provide the wonderful value for money they think they do then they'll have nothing to fear from fare (geddit?!) competition...

Nick Griffin

Rachel Holdsworth, just a little update. since our first demo and just before this one TFL began Operation Neon. for 5 nights compliance officers wore hi-viz bibs and patrolled strategically selected venues moving minicab touts and checking their details. over the 5 nights they found 331 minicabs not complying with regs. yes 331 over five nights in isolated areas of london. the funny thing is they issued this information on the morning of our demo as if it was good PR.
both peter hendy and garrett emmerson went on record saying touting wasn't a problem in london. they even suggested it had been reduced by 77% on their watch. a FOI as to the numbers of people surveyed is laughable.

last night garrett emmerson, eddy nester (bbc) and two taxi union representatives joined the compliance team for another night of operation neon. i witnessed scores of minicabs (uber included) being told off and moved on from mayfair and charring x road. over 70 parking tickets were issued. though the standout moment was when garrett emmerson was approached and touted by a minicab and witnessed by the union reps. both reps incidentally were also touted.

for years the black cab trade has been called scaremongers by TFL and visible compliance missing from our streets. with operation neon, TFL have opened up pandora's box and although it was only meant as a short lived PR stunt it now means TFL cannot live in denial any longer.

after trying the city hall route and getting nowhere it seems the only progress gained is through demo. expect more to come.

Nick Griffin

just a little update. since our first demo and just before this one
TFL began Operation Neon. for 5 nights compliance officers wore hi-viz
bibs and patrolled strategically selected venues moving minicab touts
and checking their details. over the 5 nights they found 331 minicabs
not complying with regs. yes 331 over five nights in isolated areas of
london. the funny thing is they issued this information on the morning
of our demo as if it was good PR.
both peter hendy and garrett
emmerson went on record saying touting wasn't a problem in london. they
even suggested it had been reduced by 77% on their watch. a FOI as to
the numbers of people surveyed is laughable.

last night garrett emmerson, eddy nester (bbc) and two taxi union representatives joined the compliance team for another night of operation neon. i witnessed
scores of minicabs (uber included) being told off and moved on from
mayfair and charring x road. over 70 parking tickets were issued. though
the standout moment was when garrett emmerson was approached and touted
by a minicab and witnessed by the union reps. both reps incidentally
were also touted.

for years the black cab trade has been called
scaremongers by TFL and visible compliance missing from our streets.
with operation neon, TFL have opened up pandora's box and although it
was only meant as a short lived PR stunt it now means TFL cannot live in
denial any longer.

after trying the city hall route and getting nowhere it seems the only progress gained is through demo. expect more to come.