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London taxi drivers urged to use vital rank space properly or potentially risk losing them

Taxi drivers in London are being warned to stop using vital rank space as parking spaces as life out of lockdown edges nearer.

Whilst action can be taken against private hire vehicles, cars and other vehicles parked on taxi ranks, action can also be taken against unattended taxis. The capital’s regulator actively encourages drivers to contact the relevant borough, or go to Transport for London (TfL) if the taxi rank is on a red route, so that action can be taken against the motorist blocking the rank.

Taxi drivers who receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) from a borough or TfL can appeal, but there is now a wider growing post-pandemic concern over the use of some key area ranks.

Work levels throughout the pandemic have been unsustainably low. Taxi ranks in areas where footfall was once high, like in once busy retail high streets or places of interest, were not being used as ranks by cab drivers during the pandemic. However, as footfall slowly returns, so will the cabbies working the vital transport pick up points.

Officials from London’s taxi association have warned drivers to start using the rank space properly again now that restrictions are easing.

Speaking on the subject, Anthony Street, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) Executive, said in TAXI newspaper: “With road space in increasingly short supply across London and segregated cycle lanes replacing parking spaces along our highways, in my opinion it’s only a matter of time before the boroughs start looking at ways to claw back some of their lost revenue, which could put problematic and/or underused taxi ranks at risk.

“Too often, drivers just leave their cabs on central London ranks while they wander off shopping. Whilst this would have certainly gone unnoticed years ago, I am sure you would all agree that London has changed in recent years. We are now getting more and more complaints from boroughs, train stations and others about over ranking at certain locations.

“I know from talking with TfL that some boroughs are thinking of conducting surveys at locations where there are problems and depending on the outcome, these could result in us losing precious taxi ranks and road space that we need to ply our trade effectively. I am not saying this will definitely be the case, but as I have mentioned boroughs do need to find revenue from somewhere at what continues to be a challenging time, so why give them a reason to even consider removing a rank?

“Moreover, as we come out of what has been an extremely difficult time for the trade thanks to the pandemic, in my opinion, parking your cab on a working rank shows a total disregard for other drivers, who are simply trying to earn a living and find a fare.”

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