Wapping locals start petition to maintain access for resident vehicles and taxis through bus gate

A petition has been set up to maintain access for residents' vehicles and licensed taxis through the planned Wapping Bus Gate.

Some local residents are angry, suggesting that the new gate severely restricts the movement and access of Wapping residents at peak times to and from work and schools.

The council currently propose only buses and bicycles will be able to travel through the gate during peak operating times (weekdays 5.30am - 10.30am and 4pm - 7pm).

However, in a Tower Hamlet’s Council led consultation the majority of respondents voted to keep access open for residents and taxis.

The report shows that 68.9% of respondents from the consultation area (1,528 respondents, 96% of whom are Wapping residents) voted that residents south of the Highway or south of the Ornamental canal SHOULD be given access through the bus gate during operating times.

Furthermore, 52.6% of ALL respondents (2,370) voted for residents south of the Highway or south of the Ornamental canal to be given access through the bus gate at operating times.

Only 22% of Wapping residents voted for buses and cyclists ONLY to be given access through the bus gate. This means that 2 out of 3 Wapping residents want their vehicles to be ALLOWED through the bus gate.

Nearly three in four (74%) of all respondents (2,370) voted that taxis SHOULD be allowed through the bus gate.

68% of Wapping residents (nearly 1,528) voted that taxis SHOULD be allowed through the bus gate.

Only 26% of all respondents voted that taxis should NOT be allowed through.

As it stands, 1,012 people have signed the petition demanding the council rethinks access plans for the bus gate.

Paul Barton, a resident in Wapping for 20 years, told TaxiPoint in July: "A very large proportion of us residents support the free movement of black cabs and local residents vehicles through this bus gate, should it go ahead.

"We suspect though, that, in true council tradition, we won’t be listened to and Tower Hamlets will block all vehicles except for buses.

"This will be an utter disgrace should this happen. We consider Black Cabs to be an intrinsic part of the TfL network and I would recommend that your members seek legal opinion on this, should the bus gate go ahead and end up being exclusive to buses."

“We have a number of disabled and physically limited residents who rely on taxis as well as residents who work in the city, who also rely on the instant flagging down of a black cab.

"Not only that, but it would also mean increased congestion on The Highway, as more taxis and vehicles that would normally use Wapping during the course of their business, would all be forced to remain on The Highway, which defeats the object of lowering congestion and pollution."

The petition closes on 15 December.

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