Yet again we are faced with another wave of road schemes that will drive up costs for the travelling public. These road schemes will come thick and fast over the next few years as TFL throw their network management duty out of the window. *On the surface this serves a growing middle class elitist cycle lobby that conveniently hides the cracks of an already buckling transport system. City Hall retains kudos with the Lycra utopians whilst alleviating the pressure on public transport.*
Make no bones about this. These schemes are designed to take passengers off the road network and out of taxis!
Local authorities have shunned working class Taxi Drivers who service the boroughs and their disabled and mobility-impaired passengers. Who due to the disruption are unable to receive door to door services. This comes as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) have announced a week of action highlighting the insufficiency of public transport for disabled passengers.
These schemes are implemented on the back of tokenistic consultations where contractors for the works already have the shovel in their hands before the consultation outcome.
There is no doubt that loss of roads and restrictions at junctions will see the end of the Taxi Trade. This was made clear at a recent live mayoral debate on LBC. When asked, Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross proudly announced that walking, cycling and public transport are the main goals in the Mayors transport strategy.
Whilst this gives TFL some protection for their duties in the Traffic Management Act 2004, they still have a duty to ensure the expeditious movement of all traffic on their roads. Something they seem to have overlooked.
However, the trade is likely to be collateral damage in the battle to rid vehicles from the centre of London. Sure, we may be thrown the odd Bus Lane and badly placed Taxi Rank (like at Bank Junction) but ultimately these schemes will render the KOL redundant!
As Taxi Drivers our purpose is to beat the traffic and get the passengers to their destinations in the quickest, shortest routes possible. With all the traffic squeezed into the same roads this will no longer be possible, ripping the very heart out of our whole being.
The devaluing of the KOL will not only be detrimental to ensuring an efficient understanding of London’s roads. It will also be detrimental to the safety of the travelling public. The process of the KOL ensures rigorous vetting of an individual and that those of a nefarious nature are detracted and weeded out, and so ensuring that passengers remain safe in a licensed taxi.
Perhaps all is not lost. We are coming to a tipping point with the traffic congestion. The inept policies of reducing road space whilst increasing vehicles on the road by *permitting PHVs to ply for hire via technological platforms* seems to be biting City Hall on the backside. It would be hard to claim you are taking pollution seriously while your policies completely undermine that position.
Maybe this will slow down the assault on our trade, but don’t hold your breath.
We need the truth. When a road is taken away we lose the ability to be hailed. When junctions are restricted it costs passengers money. When congestion is created purposely we lose passengers for ever.
It is time the Mayor is straight with the Licensed Taxi industry. Are we to be continually banned from large swathes of London, rendering us redundant?
Does the Mayor and Transport for London see us as part of the solution? Or do they see us as part of the problem?