For the best part of a year now RMT along with other Taxi trade representatives have been in dialogue with City of London Corporation regarding the exclusion of Taxis from Bank Junction.
As has been well reported City of London made assurances that should there be any major road closures in the vicinity of Bank Junction they would reopen the junction during the course of the works. Once again, as was the case during the closure of Bishopsgate, City of London has reneged on this promise.
RMT ranks and highways officer Ray Alleeson has, again, this week written to City of London regarding this situation. We would like to share this with the trade and the subsequent reply.
We have noticed that there are planned closures on Moorgate during the run up to Christmas.
This is one of our busiest periods and this closure will have a devastating effect upon our trade. This closure will increase journey times and fares to an unacceptable level.
We would ask as to whether these planned works could not have been carried out after the busy Christmas period. Whilst they would still have a major impact on the Taxi trade it would limit the damage this closure will have over the Christmas period.
If it is not possible to delay these works we would ask for Taxis to be given access to Bank Junction. This would negate the impending chaos that this closure will cause. It would also give an opportunity for a multi layered trial instead of the one dimensional trial in place.
I look forward to your reply
RMT RANKS AND HIGHWAYS OFFICER
The southbound closure of Moorgate between South Place and Lothbury is programmed until Sunday 24 December. This closure is for a collaborative undertaking for both essential gas works and Crossrail. These works could have been carried out in two separate closures but that would have resulted in an extended closure period; so the City has proactively sought to reduce the impact through a combined closure.
Prior to the Bank on Safety experimental traffic order, similar closures on Moorgate have been in place for several months at a time; which have proven that when Moorgate is closed southbound, less vehicles travel through Bank Junction. With this in mind, there is no evidence to support the need to reduce the restriction at Bank during this time.
The diversion routes in place are:
Eldon Street, Blomfield Street, London Wall and then;
· East – London Wall, Old Broad Street or Bishopsgate
· West – London Wall, Rotunda, Aldersgate Street
This provides access to both Threadneedle Street/Cornhill/Lothbury and Gresham street from the north leaving vehicles with the same options as if they had arrived from Moorgate; negating the need to cross the junction at Bank.
Thank you for your reply.
If possible can you inform us as to whether there are any closures to Queen St planned for near future?
Whilst we welcome the City using a common sense approach in proactively combining utility works to prevent an additional closure, we would have expected that logic to extend to delaying works until after the festive period. These are planned utility works and opening notices should have been delayed in accordance with the Traffic Management Act 2004 sections 16 & 17.
The closures to Moorgate prior to the trial cannot be used in comparison with this closure.
Bank junction was open, enabling several other alternatives (Cornhill, Lombard Street, King William Street) including Bishopsgate.
To portray the current situation as similar to pre-trial conditions is disingenuous. We have already seen the devastating impact of recent road closures and lane reductions on Bishopsgate and Threadneedle St since Taxis were needlessly banned from Bank junction. This was despite yet more flimsy assurances from TFL that the aforementioned closures would have no impact.
We are now left in the situation where again our customers will bear the brunt of yet more closures.
I would again point towards assurances made by the City at a meeting earlier this year where we were assured that if any closures increased congestion we would be given access to Bank junction.
Minutes were taken at this meeting, yet despite numerous requests the trade representatives are still not in receipt of a copy. Integrity demands their publication.
We would again ask for access to Bank junction while this closure is in place. There is no reason not to allow access for Taxis during this period as there was no reason to prohibit Taxis in the first place. To the taxi trade this now feels like deliberate betrayal of assurances made in a meeting.
We hope that a sensible solution can be reached that allows the City to achieve their objectives without having the detrimental impact on Taxi customers that we are seeing currently.
We look forward to a positive reply.
London Taxi drivers have shown remarkable patience and restraint towards the City of London (CoL) since a series of demonstrations were held at the beginning of the year at Bank Junction. These protests led to negotiations with CoL to find a way for Taxis to gain access to Bank Junction.
RMT have been very much involved in this process. However CoL continually refuse to allow Taxis through the junction, either for a period of time as part of the experimental process or during the times when there are major road closures in the area.
We are fast approaching the time when all avenues in these negotiations have been exhausted and a return to some form of industrial action within the CoL is moving towards a point of almost certain inevitability.
Licensed Taxis are part of the public transport infrastructure in London and as such should be given proper access at all times through Bank Junction.
The ANPR surveys which have been carried out by LTDA and due for publication soon may well be the last throw of the dice for the Taxi trade in the battle with CoL for access to Bank Junction.
Should CoL ignore the findings of these surveys, in the same way that they ignored RMT data given to them earlier this year, and continue to exclude Taxis from Bank Junction then perhaps all avenues at that point will have been exhausted.