The London Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA), the biggest representative of the capital’s iconic taxi drivers, has vowed to pursue legal action against the decision to exclude cabs from a major section of one of the city’s busiest routes.
Work has begun on transforming streets between London Bridge Station and Shoreditch, East London, into a direct route for cyclists and those choosing to walk, with only buses being granted access the whole way through.
The new traffic restrictions are a key part of the Mayor of London and TfL’s world-leading Streetspace plans, which aims to radically reduce levels of cars in central London in a bold step towards becoming one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.
These traffic restrictions on Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street in the City of London – streets that connect major cultural and financial centres – will be in operation on weekdays between 07:00 and 19:00.
By creating more space for people to walk and cycle, TfL and the Mayor of London believe it will ensure that those who return to work in central London can do so as safely as possible. In addition to removing most traffic – which TfL say will make it “safer and nicer” to cycle, and improve bus journey times – the capital’s transport authority is widening footways along this part of the A10 corridor to provide more space for people walking. A number of banned turns, which will be in operation 24 hours a day, are also being introduced along the road. This is to reduce the level of motor traffic on the road around the clock, and reduce the risk of a car-based recovery. Access for emergency services and disabled people will be maintained and signage is being introduced on local roads to make the new restrictions clear, including no motor vehicle access between Middlesex Street to Liverpool Street, and Leadenhall Street to Fenchurch Street.
The exemption of other modes of public transport has sparked concerns within the taxi industry, with drivers stressing that the detour routes will add a significant amount of time and cost onto journeys.
Speaking to TaxiPoint, the LTDA have said the decision to exclude taxis is “clearly unacceptable” for drivers and passengers, especially those with disabilities who rely on a door to door service offered by taxis in London.
A spokesperson for the LTDA, said: “Working with, and jointly funding the challenge with UTAG, our lawyers will shortly be applying for a Statutory Hearing in an attempt to secure universal taxi access.“