Word had been received that Theresa May and most of her cabinet would be attending a ball at National Histor a Museum.
Many drivers felt May's speech at Davos, showing Tory support for the unfit Uber company, was an insult to our 364 year old trade. A message was put out over social media, asking drivers to attend a mass “ply for hire” flash demo at the NHM to protest against Tory Chumocracy.
The idea was to get there just as they were all leaving around 11, and stop the Uber users from getting picked up. The uber cars already there, would also be blocked in.
The demo was very noisy but well behaved, with drivers outside circling the exits and beeping their horns.
Although no suspension had been posted, the official rank had been cordoned off by yellow plastic cones. But after just a few minutes, drivers ignored the cones forming a rolling rank. Police who were there in large numbers, stood back and didn't get involved.
Because of the lateness of the shout, it was believed that Taxi numbers attending would be low, so the idea was to slowly drive around in an oval outside the entrance. But well over 100 Taxis turned up, enough to cover 2 of the 3 exits. Drivers who took fares not going far, returned.
One of the party goers told London Taxi Radio live on Periscope, that Boris had been heckled loudly as he tried to leave in a car by a side entrance (so much for the famous Boris bike). But he was spotted by a driver whose voice just happened to be in very fine fettle.
Guests requiring Taxis as they left the £15,000 a table (10 settings) fundraiser, were politely shown to cabs by impromptu marshals but phone gazers were left to roast.
The demo was good natured and lasted for about an hour. Around midnight, the drivers melted back into the normal traffic.
Over a hundred Taxis turned up to protest. Not bad for an on the spur of the moment call out.
Well done to all the drivers who gave up their time.
Plus a big thank you, to presenter Joe Cartwright and cameraman John Cox of London Taxi Radio, who made a live broadcast of the whole demo on Periscope.
Also thanks to TAXIAPP for their support last night.