London cabbies kick off daily protest for access on Tottenham Court Road

London taxi drivers have blocked Tottenham Court Road protesting against plans to restrict access along the busy main road. The one-way street will be converted to a two-way system with full 24-hour access only available to buses and cycles. Between 8am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, no other vehicle will be able to use the road much to the dismay of motorists. The changes come as Camden Council plans to invest £35 million to transform the area highlighting the need to improve air quality and road safety. The decision to exclude taxis on the basis of safety and air quality, but not buses, has been met by anger within the industry. Ongoing daily demonstrations are set according to driver activist group the “ITA”. The black cab, a public transport vehicle, has been overlooked despite moving to zero emission vehicles and recent concerns over bus safety. Cabbies who use Tottenham Court Road will face a £130 fine if they pass through the restrictions. Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licenced Taxi Drivers’ Association, said “The major arteries of London are just that, they are the main method of London’s lifeblood moving around.” Camden Council’s Adam Harrison disagreed by saying “not having taxis in the daytime will lead to 25 percent less traffic, with all the benefits for air quality and congestion that go along with it”. The move to ban taxis has quickly sparked action amongst cabbies with demos planned to start 21st January and then each day after until access is assured.  

(Photo: @KJCByrne)
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