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Three in four people requiring a taxi in Bank Junction area unable to get one, new data reveals

Startling new research has unveiled the struggles faced by individuals trying to secure a taxi in the Bank Junction area. The study reveals that a staggering three out of four people requesting a taxi in this area are unable to find one due to access difficulties.

To gather data on the demand for taxis in the Bank Junction area, TaxiPoint collaborated with popular mobility app FREENOW. The analysis covered several postcodes in the area which included prominent venues such as the Bank of England, The Ned, and the Royal Exchange. FREENOW disclosed that there was a significant demand for taxis, with 'thousands' of requests made during the analysed period.

However, out of all the taxi requests made via FREENOW from 1 July 2023 until 23 October 2023, a shocking 75% were unable to be completed. Many taxi drivers in the area face challenges reaching the pick-up location within a reasonable time frame or simply refuse to operate within the district due to the existing restrictions.

A survey conducted by the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) last year revealed that 65% of the capital's taxi drivers avoid some or all of the City of London due to the existing restrictions at places like Bank Junction and Bishopsgate.

The access problems also affected corporate taxi requests made by businesses in the area, with 48% of them unable to be fulfilled during the same time period.

As a result of the limited access to Bank Junction, only one in four people in the area who requested a taxi were able to secure a black cab. This is particularly concerning as the black taxi fleet in London is 100% wheelchair accessible and caters to all members of society, including the most vulnerable.

This research comes in the wake of a new campaign called Cabs Across Bank (CAB), led by Councillor James Thomson, which is advocating for the restoration of taxi access to Bank Junction. The campaign seeks to gather fresh evidence and aims to grant licensed Hackney Carriages unrestricted access to Bank Junction and other currently restricted streets in the City of London.

CAB also envisions the lifting of similar restrictions in other areas across the capital, emphasising the pivotal role that Black Cabs play in London's public transport system. The campaign highlights accessibility, safety, tourism and hospitality, and business support as key reasons for lifting the restrictions.

By lifting the restrictions, individuals with mobility challenges would have better access to transport, enhancing inclusivity in the city. Allowing Black Cabs to operate at all hours would also contribute to the safety of women and vulnerable users, who rely on the reliability and trustworthiness of Black Cabs.

The campaign further highlights the importance of Black Cabs in the tourism and hospitality sector, as they are relied upon by tourists visiting London. Additionally, their presence in the City of London and Central London attracts businesses to establish offices in the area.

It is worth noting that Black Cabs have made significant progress towards becoming environmentally friendly, with over half of the fleet now operating as zero-emission capable electric vehicles.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: "These important figures confirm what we have been saying since the restrictions at Bank Junction were first put in place in 2017. This damaging scheme is causing huge problems for taxi passengers, including wheelchair users and those with mobility issues, who rely on taxis to provide a door-to-door, accessible service, leading to longer, more expensive and more time-consuming journeys. It is also negatively impacting the many Londoners, tourists and business travellers, who travel by taxi and need access to areas in and around Bank or who are making a journey which previously would have taken them through this vital junction.

"The Corporation's own figures had already shown a significant decline in taxi availability in some areas. Whilst transport officers suggest this is a bigger issue than what's happening at Bank - the same availability issues are not being seen in areas like Mayfair and Westminster, where taxi drivers feel welcome and the streets are open for business.

"After a number of false starts, unless the Corporation takes clear and immediate steps to restore taxi access through Bank Junction, the Square Mile risks becoming a no-go zone for taxis and our passengers. This will further reduce accessibility, harm hospitality venues and other local businesses and undermine the City's efforts to become a 'destination'."

Mariusz Zabrocki, General Manager at FREENOW UK, said: "We see high demand for taxis in the Bank Junction area, but unfortunately, many of these requests can't be completed by drivers due to the traffic restrictions currently in force. This is disappointing for the many passengers who try to book a cab in the area, especially vulnerable ones who rely on black cabs to move safely around the city.

"Taxis play a key role in the fabric of the city, contributing to the local economy and, more importantly, helping people move around. With the festive season approaching quickly, it's crucial to find a long-term solution to fix this problem, which is impacting Londoners but also drivers' livelihoods."

James Thomson, Deputy Common Councilman for the Ward of Walbrook and Chair of City of London Police Authority Board, said: "I am pleased that Cheapside has been re-opened to black cabs. It is essential that other restrictions are also lifted especially the restrictions at Bank Junction. The restrictions are driving black cabs away from the City of London and the data shows that. Businesses across the Square Mile regularly complain about the lack of availability as do women at night.

“This is an issue that affects the competitiveness of the City versus the West End, women's safety at a time when we are trying to tackle violence against women and girls, an equality issue for those that have mobility issues including the disabled and the elderly and for the hospitality industry that depend on visitors and tourists.

“I would ask taxi users, and for cab drivers to ask taxi users, to respond to the call for evidence by Cab Across London to help provide the evidence to remove the restrictions at Bank. Cabs Across Bank believes that wherever buses go, black cabs should go."


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