With the help of the media, the recommendations from the consultation were all over the TV news, radio news and carried by almost every London paper. TfL spin doctors pulled out all the stops, to try to upstage the demo. But their plan fell at the first hurdle. The recent PH consultation is basically the list of regulations TfL have relaxed, in order to enable the illegal operation of Uber.....whereas the proposed demonstration, was solely about TfL's inadequate, bias and unfair enforcement (or lack of it) in regards to their administration of the Private Hire Act 1998.
TfL thought they'd done enough to disrupt the demo.
But Taxis came....they came in their thousands and they kept coming.
Police Conspiricy To Dispurse
The police shot themselves in the foot when acting under orders to disrupt our legal right to protest. As they did with the Blackfriars Demo, they tried to divert thousands of taxis away from the Aldwych, along Fleet Street and away.
But as room became available around Aldwych, it was soon filled by even more Taxis arriving from along the Strand, Waterloo Bridge, Kingsway, Catherine Street, Temple Place and up through Arundel Street.
So many vehicles turned up, the police didn't know what to do next. At one point, Taxis were being diverted, against the flow of traffic, along the Strand side of Aldwych. But, it had nowhere to go and just added to the complete chaos.
A police inspector admitted they had made the mistake of misjudging the situation as finally things ground to a halt.
The support from members of the public was huge. Many drivers were out of their vehicles explaining our grievances and the support shown was reassuring. In the ninety minutes duration, I only witnessed one dissenter, a wobbly cyclist who shouted obscenities at drivers until he was eventually chased off by a support officer.
Six O Clock Whistle.
As promised by the organisers and in order not to affect the theatre goers, on the stroke of 6 o/c, the cones and tapes were removed and the Taxis disperse in all directions.
One WPC commented it was unbelievable how quick the cabs dissolved back into the evening through traffic.
@UCGcampaigns next date for your diary is Monday 5th October, 2,00pm at Windsor House
With all the negativity coming from the leadership of other Taxi orgs and Unions, it was expected the demo would be a disappointment. But as is normal with other orgs, they failed to ballot the mood of their membership. Fed up meaningless talk, coupled with their own orgs inaction, drivers from all orgs turned out in their thousands.
The representative org leaders should now take notice that each demo is getting bigger, and it's their members who are swelling the ranks. Be part of the solution....not part of the problem. If you can't do what's best for your members, then stand aside and let someone else take the reins.