“GIVE US BACK OUR STREETS”: Angry black taxi drivers heckle London Mayor ahead of transport meeting

Image credit: LEVC

The London Mayor faced angry calls from cab drivers shouting “give us back our streets” prior to a key transport meeting today.

On his way to facing questions put forward by the London Assembly on the topic of the capital’s transport, the Mayor of London ignored angry heckles from cabbies outside City Hall.

In a video shared online strong language can be heard directed at the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, as he entered City Hall, with one protester calling Khan the “destroyer of London” and another heard saying “give us back our streets”.

Khan and two other transport officials, Heidi Alexander (Deputy Mayor for Transport) and Simon Kilonback (TfL Chief Finance Officer), faced questions from the London Assembly on how Transport for London (TfL) will be able to effectively operate over the coming 12 months.

Frustration continues to grow within the industry as road space and access is removed. A small section of the industry vented their concerns by attending City Hall today.

During a speech outside CIty Hall to drivers in attendance, Grant Davis, Chairman of London Cab Drivers Club, said: “This is the end game. If this is successful, it ain’t ever going to go back if we don’t do anything. And these road closures are going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. This is going to be Khan’s legacy.”

A fortnight earlier, London taxi representatives urged cabbies to refrain from protesting against road access closures whilst legal action is lodged with the High Court.

Away from today’s protest, two taxi groups, not present today, have 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.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and United Trade Action Group (UTAG) have both taken the steps to challenge both the Mayor of London and TfL over its new Streetspace plans near Liverpool Street Station, which closes through road access to motorists and wheelchair accessible licensed taxis.

Taxi numbers in the capital have been dropping at an alarming rate, according to recent data released by TfL.

In April 2015 there were 22,500 taxis registered in Greater London. Since then there has been a steady decline in the number of taxis available to cabbies. In August there were only 17,126 taxis licensed in the capital, a total that represents a drop of nearly a quarter of all taxis since Spring 2015.

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