The first day of action in this first series of five, got off to a great start being well attended, better than expected.
The protest kicked off on the stroke of 4pm. The bridge, which comes under the City of London Police (who were great, and seemed very supportive) quickly filled up and the whole area came to a complete halt.
The irony of the situation was exposed when the CoL decided to open up access to all vehicles at the bank Junction, to try and ease traffic flow which was gridlocked.
The CoL police inspector who appeared to be in charge, amazingly, said they had been caught by surprise as TfL told them the protest had been cancelled.
There was a short sharp interaction with two Met motorcycle police officers, who for some reason became aggressive and were threatening to arrest drivers for obstruction. But the CoL inspector ordered the two to carry on riding and leave the situation to the City police.
The public were handed excellent leaflets (designed by Sean Paul Day and supplied by the LCDC) which explained the situation in detail. On the whole the public seemed to be fully supportive....with the only anger shown to drivers coming from a couple of irate Lycra clad cyclists.
There were in fact a couple of incidents involving cyclists which to my eyes looked stage managed to try and cause trouble, but the behaviour of the cab drivers was impeccable and the two incidents I personally witnessed was dealt with rapidly by the CoL police.
The buses were being looked after by a number of TfL uniformed staff who gave me their word they were not compliance officers. To our amazement, the dozen or so buses standing stationary for the duration, had their engines running (unlike the cabbies who had switched everything off).
The senior CoL office asked if there would be any more protesting from the Taxi trade in the City this week and seemed to be taken by surprise when we explained that this was to be a week long daily protest.
Obviously, members of the ITA were in full attendance, but it was also very nice to see so many younger/newer drivers getting involved, some on their first ever protest.
The days militant action was fully supported by the LCDC and the RMT, with their chairman/general secretary and most of their committee members in attendance.
Strange through that a Taxi news platform, one who claims to be impartial and have the largest circulation on social media, decided not to post anything whatsoever about London Taxi driver's struggle for full access to the transport network.
Instead, they posted a story about a minor minicab demo in Milton Keynes, where drivers were protesting over an extra 20p commission on every job.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
The fight goes on, no more waiting and seeing!
The ITA announced after the days protest, it's more of the same again on Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Friday... And if the trades demand are not met in full, they will take stock of the situation and decide where to hit next week.