Cab drivers and taxi representatives have condemned the “unacceptable behaviour” shown towards the Mayor of London this week at City Hall.
In separate statements released by two of the taxi industry’s biggest representatives, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and United Cabbies Group (UCG), they condemn the action from a small section of cab drivers shouting foul language at the Mayor of London prior to a key transport meeting on Thursday.
In the United Cabbies Group (UCG) statement, it read: “The unacceptable behaviour at City Hall on Thursday by a few individuals was not organised or supported by UCG/UTAG. We totally condemn these actions and what happened, these are not the standards to which we hold ourselves to.
“This reflects badly upon our trade, especially at a time when we are fighting for survival. Those individuals purporting to represent out trade had no mandate for this protest from the majority of the drivers now being tarnished by the indefensible behaviour of the self elected few.
“Their abhorrent language and threatening behaviour may have seriously damaged our legitimate challenge through the correct channels via the court process alongside the LTDA.”
In a separate statement from Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), it reads: “The protest on Thursday was not organised or supported by the LTDA in any way. We do not condone the behaviour of a very small number of people, who were by no means speaking for the taxi trade and the majority of London’s black cab drivers.
“It is an extremely difficult time for the taxi trade in London, as it is for many sectors. Struggling drivers are understandably concerned about their livelihoods and frustrated that when they should be returning to work and starting to earn again.
“The Mayor of London and TfL’s policies are making it more difficult, with damaging road closures and taxi access to major roads, like Bishopsgate, being removed.
“Conversely, the LTDA has consistently sought to engage constructively with the Mayor, TfL and Government to ensure that the concerns of drivers are heard and to tackle these damaging schemes through the proper channels.
“We are currently focused on seeking to challenge them through the courts, along with the United Trade Action Group.”
A fortnight ago, the two taxi organisations urged cabbies to refrain from protesting against road access closures whilst legal action is lodged with the High Court.
Both the LTDA and UCG joined together to submit legal papers to the High Court, challenging not only the new Bishopsgate Bus Gate scheme that excludes licensed black cabs during peak times, but also a review of the entire London Streetspace plans.
However, a small section of frustrated cabbies on social media still called for the trade to undertake more direct action in the form of protests against the closures.
One taxi trade blogger from ‘Taxi Leaks’, was disappointed when official taxi associations “failed to support the trade” following the recent confrontation involving the Mayor of London. Taxi Leaks said via social media: “Disgraceful that a trade chairperson, instead of supporting the trade, should use an attack on the trade obviously contrived by Khan’s PR department, to attack hard working Taxi drivers.”
Only a small section of the 18,000 licensed taxi drivers in London attended the City Hall protest on Thursday. Individual taxi drivers were quick to distance themselves from the actions displayed by those attending and also condemned the actions of some cabbies present.
One driver said via social media: “Just seen a clip of a few Taxi drivers having a demo at City Hall. What an embarrassment and for any trade rep to get involved with this is a disgrace. The language used is unacceptable. There is a legal route being taken. Some just want to be in the limelight.”
Unite the Union, who represent a smaller section of the London taxi industry also jumped to defend the Mayor of London saying the “disgraceful behaviour must stop”.