by Tim Lezard Taxi drivers are this afternoon staging a drive-in protest in Trafalgar Square over Boris Johnson’s failure to protect the iconic black cab from unregulated competition. The cabbies, many of whom are Unite members, have described the Mayo …

black cab taxiby Tim Lezard

Taxi drivers are this afternoon staging a drive-in protest in Trafalgar Square over Boris Johnson’s failure to protect the iconic black cab from unregulated competition.

The cabbies, many of whom are Unite members, have described the Mayor as a ‘complete disaster for London taxi trade’. They are demanding Boris should go now so his successor can get on with the job of actually running London for Londoners.

Under Boris Johnson’s Transport for London (TfL) taxi drivers have suffered a regulatory authority that has outsourced many of its responsibilities to private agencies with the net result, being a deep fall in service levels and ever increasing costs to the trade. The Mayor’s policy of licence and forget satellite offices, rather than properly regulated taxi ranks, has seen the trade lose out on work that should have been available to London’s taxi drivers.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite London and Eastern regional secretary said: “Boris Johnson may have attempted to play the populist card with London cab drivers at election time, but he has failed to deliver anything to a trade that is widely regarded as the world’s finest. His time as Mayor has been a complete disaster for the London taxi trade.

“From failing to tackle the increasingly hazardous rickshaw brigade to shrugging his shoulders and allowing the Uber app, which doesn’t take bookings or even pay tax in this country, to be licensed as a private hire operator has showed his true colours.

“Confusion over emissions policy, congestion and pollution increasing with his scrapping of the Western Zone, privatisation and outsourcing of the regulatory functions within TfL are all a slap in the face for taxi drivers and their customers.

“Maybe it’s time for ‘two jobs Johnson’ to spend more time with his future potential constituents in Uxbridge, explaining his plans for decimating tens of thousands of jobs at Heathrow in place of one of his many fantasies – Boris Island.

“We need a Mayor that understands the need for an integrated, fully funded transport policy and who believes in quality, investment and regulation. We need a Mayor who understands that running a city like London is a full time job.”

* The protest begins at 2pm.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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