On the weekend of 25th/26th May London taxi drivers were banned from 'Plying for Hire' around the Twickenham Rugby Stadium area. Drivers were asked to move away from the East Stand area in Rugby Road. Twickenham RFU security staff have stated that London’s taxis are not wanted there on event days.
Local drivers warned Richmond Councils that their short sighted plans, not to let licensed Taxis rank or ply for hire in the vicinity of Twickenham Stadium would eventually cause chaos and put the publics safety at risk.
Well, we didn't have to wait long!
Saturday night, after an accident at Putney Station which resulted in the closure of the rail link, we saw 55,000 concert goers stranded. Some for over four hours.
The free shuttle bus service, which adheres to a set rout, became completely grid locked and nothing could move. The only releaf to the stranded masses were Taxis who, using their local knowledge safely found ways in and out of the area. Unfortunaly, some members of the public were seen putting their personal safety at risk as large numbers of unbooked minicabs openly touted in the area.
When it emerged just how bad the situation had turned, a call went out for Taxis to help out!!!
So much for TfLs Cabwise Safer Travel campaign.
The Putney jumper has handed Richmond drivers a brilliant scenario, to hit back at the authorities for being so blinkered in their approach to public safety and alternative modes of transport.
Local councillors and the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Team, have stated they are in favour of event day ranks in London road, junction with Whitton Road and also in Argon Road facing the Cabbage Patch. These two ranks which could accommodate at least 30 Taxis, would have been workable on Saturday night and would also taken care of most of the touts. The unbooked cars that infested the area just added to the congestion.
The proposed ranks would be highly beneficial to local suburban drivers who have seen their numbers reach almost unsustainable levels. SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM.
Richmond Council surprisingly say NO to any ranks in the area. (Follow the Money?)
It is believed that pressure is being exerted by Twickenham stadium via a police inspector who has so far failed to show up for 2 major planning meetings to try and find a way that will help the travelling public on event days. WHY? (Follow the Money?)
Security staff at Twickenham Stadium have harassed and threatened drivers plying for hire. (Follow th money?)
Private hire cars are being allowed to wait in the area for unbooked jobs. (Follow the Money?)
Can you see the pattern here?
Local drvers have ask for a meeting with Vince Cable local MP, to see if he can help.
This situation is far to common regarding the siting of Taxi ranks.
Another venue which has major problems with access to and from, is the O2 on the Greenwich Peninsular. A Taxi only lane leaving the venue, would mean that the public using cabs could be wisked away and would not have to endure the expense of being gridlocked with the meter running.
Unfortunately both TfL and Greenwich Council don't do common sense at planning meetings, they prefer to rely on computer modelling which, as we see night after night, results in utter chaos and gridlock.