Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Taxi Drivers Protest Against Mike Browns Snub Of Trade Orgs.... By Jim Thomas

Protesting Taxi drivers brought Blackfriars Road (and most of London) to a standstill for almost three hours during Tuesday evening's rush hour, in a protest against Transport for London's commissioner Mike Brown, who has cancelled the last three scheduled Taxi Trade meetings. 

TfL's commissioner Mike Brown, London's Mayor Sadiq Khan and deputy Mayor Val Shawcross have all turned their backs on London's Black cabs. 

Cabbies complain that TfL bosses and the Mayors Office have failed to meet them to discuss threats to the trade such as the proliferation of minicabs using Uber and similar apps.

Last month Mayor of London Sadiq Khan Lied when he gave this answer to a question tabled by UKIP AM David Kurten: "In my Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan, I committed to review engagement arrangements with the taxi trade. 

"Key trade bodies were involved in discussions about the new arrangements and these have recently been put in place (there have been no all trade discussions for 8 months).

"As part of this new plan, the major trade representatives have the opportunity to meet with my Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, along with other senior representatives within TfL providing a direct route to the relevant operational teams". (Another lie as Mike Brown continues to cancel meetings with the trade giving no explanation)

This statement is completely untrue. Mike Brown has cancelled the last three trade meetings and given no explanation other than he was 'unavailable'.

Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, (who when a GLA councillors was a staunch Taxi trade supporter) suddenly became unavailable and stopped meeting trade representatives soon after her appointment.

The protest -called by the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) and supported by the Independant Taxi Alliance (ITA), Dads Defending Daughters, The Real LTDA and the Mayfair Mob- took the form of a large flash demo, organised and publicised on social media over night. 

Police estimate over four hundred Taxi drivers turned up and bought the area to a complete standstill. Many more Taxis were caught up in the surrounding gridlock.

The target was 230 Blackfriars House, nicknamed Rachael Grundy house by London's cabbies in honour of the £140 an hour prostitute, with whom former TfL commissioner Sir Peter Hendy had a widely publicised adulterous affair.

The protests started at 4pm and at first, police were slow to act. After 30 minutes, a motorcycle traffic unit turned up and to everyone's surprise drove along the lines of black cabs saying "if you move up, we can get more Taxis into the area of the protest. Drivers were told they could block the road between Stamford Street and Palestra. 

Unfortunately, because of the short notice, there were no placards, but these will be available at the next and subsequent demos (TBA)

Drivers were told they could park up and they did, which gave them opera unity to talk to the public who were very interested in why drivers felt the need to protest. Virtually all of the people spoken to appeared to support the drivers, even those waiting for buses which had been diverted. 

Again taxis drivers showed compassion as a disable boy and his mother were taken home by a volunteer cabby free of charge, when the found waiting at one of the bus stops close to Palestra.

All in all, the demo was continued without incident, except when a female compliance officer was found taking Taxi details. I approached the officer and asked to see her RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000). 

I told her if she carried on without the permit I would call over a police officer and have her arrested. She then called in and was told to return to Palestra. 

The overhaul behaviour from the drivers was impeccable and the police were helpful and very supportive. It was a great turnout for a flash demo, considering the timeframe, but make no mistake we will be back and next time, we will be given more notice.

It was great to see my old friend Tony making his own protest outside Palestra.



You really couldn't make this up. An Uber car, caught in the demo outside 230 Blackfriars Road, TfL's Taxi and Licensing department, decided to:
Mount the pavement almost knocking over protesting Taxi drivers
Drive along a segregated cycle lane, almost hitting a surprised cyclist coming towards him.
Remounts pavement and exits via Burrell Street. 

Nothing new here, he's had plenty of practise


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