Road closures and access restrictions to vital roads in the capital are being described as the ‘number one issue’ facing the taxi industry.
Despite the huge number of taxis in the capital making the move to zero-emission vehicles, councils have chosen to ban publicly hired cabs from accessing parts of London’s road network.
Paul Brennan, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) Executive, wrote in the latest ‘Taxi’ edition: 'There is no doubt in my mind that the number one issue for our trade currently is the shocking number of road closures or restrictions being implemented or considered.
'Unfortunately, the local greengrocer is no longer the local councillor and town halls have become overrun with councillors and officials with their own vested interests or an ideology that in their narrow mindset supersedes that of residents, businesses and well just about anyone else. We are just seeing some small signs of the worm turning, but it’s not quick enough and those with vested interests are well and truly imbedded in position.'
Central London’s busy Tottenham Court Road is set to block access to taxi drivers in Spring 2020. Some areas of the southbound lane on Tottenham Court Road will open to traffic and there will be sections of both the north and southbound lanes restricted to buses and cyclists only between 8am and 7pm Monday to Saturday.
There are also continuing concerns around the new Wapping Bus Gate, which has restricted access on weekdays from 5.30am to 10.30am and from 4pm to 7pm on Wapping High Street between the junctions of Sampson Street and Knighten Street.
The Bus Gate does not include exemptions for residents or taxis as it was determined that to do so would undermine the overall aims of the bus gate.
This is despite the majority of respondents voting to keep access open for residents and taxis in a Tower Hamlet’s Council led consultation.
Cab drivers are arguing that the restricted access is increasing journey times and pushing up prices for disabled and wheelchair users. London’s licensed taxis provide the only 100% wheelchair accessible service in the capital.