The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers (WCHCD) has urged its members and supporters of the taxi industry to take part in a consultation that could help secure vital access to licensed taxis in the capital.
The call to action comes after speaking directly with the City of London Corporation (COLC) on the topic of future access through and around the capital’s financial district. In an open letter to the industry, the WCHCD says the engagement with COLC had been received ‘very positively’ and that the dialogue is ‘helping to shape the Corporation’s view of our trade and its requirements’.
Further on in the letter from the WCHCD Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants it was also highlighted that the consultation was a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to shape City’s landscape in the ‘best interests’ of the licensed taxi trade.
Last month, the COLC launched a public consultation on proposed changes to Bank Junction which are scheduled to coincide with the re-opening of the improved Bank station. The proposals will see more roads closed to motor vehicles and giving additional space to pedestrians.
Transport for London (TfL) has been upgrading and expanding Bank and Monument stations since April 2016, with works scheduled to be complete by late 2022.
The proposed 'All Change at Bank' improvements include:
The closure of Threadneedle Street for motor vehicles between Bank Junction and Bartholomew Lane in both directions to create a walking and cycling only area.
The closure of Queen Victoria Street between Bucklersbury and Bank Junction for motor vehicles, except those vehicles exiting Walbrook in a westbound direction.
Keeping Princes Street open for only buses and cycles northbound, and in addition as a route for servicing to Cornhill in a southbound direction.
Widening pavements around the junction to accommodate the large number of people who walk through the area normally.
In an open letter posted on the WCHCD’s Instagram account, a spokesperson wrote: “It’s been over a year since the lockdown started and probably the worst year our trade has had to go through in living memory, with many drivers stepping back from the industry and more cabs being scrapped. But, together, we will come through this; though as a leaner trade, as keen as ever to serve the public. On 12 April the roadmap out of lockdown began and we can hopefully now get back to some sort of normality.
“All of us at the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers have been inspired by the way so many of our colleagues in the trade, from drivers to all the various support industries, have stepped forward to volunteer in so many different ways, and shown the resilience to either re-model their businesses to adapt to the changing landscape, or find work in other sectors where their skill sets have been put to good use.
“Over the past six months or so, our Past Masters and PR Committee have been in dialogue with the Corporation of London regarding street closures, cab ranks and electric charging points. Our engagement in this consultation has been received very positively and is helping to shape the Corporation’s view of our trade and its requirements. The group has also been in touch with other trade bodies including garages, insurance brokers, the LTDA, and we have added our support to London Taxi PR who, like us, are a non-political organisation, with the same aims of working to promote the taxi trade.
“An online consultation is now open as the City of London has posted a survey seeking feedback on their implemented experimental schemes before they are made permanent. The survey closes on 10 May and we are urging all our members, supporters, and their families to respond before that date and make their voices heard."
The letter continues: “This could be a once in a generation opportunity to shape the future of our City’s landscape in the best interests of the Hackney Carriage Trade and is surely one we must grasp with both hands.
“We have been proud to support the NHS Livery Kitchen Initiative, where livery halls were cooking meals Monday to Friday and taxi drivers were involved by bringing chefs back and forth, from their homes to the livery halls. There were around 3000 meals each day which were delivered to the Barts and NHS trust hospitals.
“With the easing of restrictions on the horizon and the reopening of non-essential retail part of the next phase, we hope to see London begin its return to the bustling metropolis upon which our trade relies.”