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Hundred’s of London black cab drivers demand fairer treatment and regulation reforms from TfL


Hundreds of independent London black cab drivers are uniting in protest against what they consider excessively stringent licensing regulations imposed by Transport for London (TfL).


Rallying under the collective ‘Taxi Drivers Unite', formed within a WhatsApp group, around 700 taxi professionals are taking their grievances to local MPs, seeking to cast a spotlight on policies they deem unjust and impractical for the realities of their profession.

Speaking to a ‘Taxi Drivers Unite’ spokesperson, the group are calling for a comprehensive review of TfL’s current regulations. Specifically, they criticise the policy that puts drivers at risk of licence suspension or revocation upon receiving 6 penalty points. According to the group, the taxi community is pushing for regulations that reflect the actual conditions of taxi driving and are consistent with standards applied to other professional drivers across London.


The group argues that taxi drivers are disproportionately targeted by current policies, making them susceptible to being unfairly judged as "not fit & proper" to hold a licence. They point out the disparity in treatment between taxi drivers and bus drivers, the latter of whom operate larger, potentially more hazardous vehicles but face less severe regulatory measures despite a notable number of recent incidents involving injuries and fatalities.


Moreover, the spokesperson highlighted the challenges posed by the blanket ban on driving over 20mph on certain London roads, including multi-lane carriageways. This restriction, they argue, is particularly burdensome for veteran cabbies accustomed to safely navigating these roads at slightly higher speeds, and who are now penalized for their familiarity with the city's traffic patterns.

Adding to their concerns is the perceived danger of e-bikes, e-scooters, distracted pedestrians, and inexperienced delivery riders. Taxi drivers feel that the current regulatory and enforcement environment places an unreasonable burden on them to avoid accidents, often holding them accountable in situations beyond their control. The group criticises the recent changes to the Highway Code as lacking in common sense and unfairly making larger vehicle drivers scapegoats for the actions of less responsible road users.


A spokesperson said: “There’s a strong desire within the taxi community for a reassessment of the current TfL regulations, particularly the rule where drivers face the risk of licence suspension or revocation upon receiving 6 penalty points. The community is advocating for a policy that is more aligned with the realities of taxi driving and the comparable standards set for other professional drivers in London. It has to be a level playing field for all, but it seems that Taxi drivers have been singled out as an easy target due to the ease in which TfL can class a driver as “not fit & proper” to hold a licence. Bus drivers are driving much more dangerous vehicles, but are not subject to the same draconian measures. Even though, as we have seen in recent months, the number of injuries and deaths caused by bus drivers is substantial.


“Our livelihoods are at stake with the blanket ban on driving over 20mph on London’s roads, including 3-4 lane carriageways, it is very easy to get caught out, especially when restrictions are changed without notice. Cabbies who have safely been driving at 30mph or less on these roads for many years are now facing hardship due to knowing the roads “too well”.


“The constant risk coming from all angles with the rise of e-bikes, e-scooters (most of which are illegal), phone gazing pedestrians and the inept riding ability of delivery riders; cabbies are constantly on the lookout for danger, and sometimes, through not fault of their own, they are on the receiving end of an incident, but are deemed responsible as they are driving the bigger vehicle.


“The new Highway Code rules are complete nonsense, seemingly devoid of any common sense, but undoubtedly are a way to make cabbies and drivers of bigger vehicles a scapegoat for lack of common sense among these other road users. With police failing to get on top of these riders running amok around London; but happy to plot up in easy target locations to catch drivers going at 23mph, it’s becoming harder for cabbies, and the wider hard working public, to take the Metropolitan Police seriously anymore.”


The call for change is seen as a plea for fairness, safety, and common sense in regulations affecting London's iconic black cab drivers. With police enforcement perceived as focusing on easy targets rather than addressing the root causes of road safety issues, the group are seeking to initiate a dialogue for reform that acknowledges the contributions of taxi drivers and the challenges they face in maintaining London's renowned public transport system.

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