EVIDENCE SENT: Email sent to Cabs Across Bank explaining why taxis deserve access to Bank Junction
I want to share the letter I submitted to the Cabs Across Bank campaign, which I hope highlights the ongoing struggles faced by drivers and the public in accessing the City of London's Bank Junction.
The campaign, which aims to advocate for granting access to black cabs through Bank Junction, requires personal testimonies from thousands of individuals to quantify the importance of the issue.
Please submit you email by clicking the banner at the top of this page or replying directly to email@example.com
Once submitted, feel free to share with us and we’ll happily publish to encourage others to respond.
Dear Cabs Across Bank,
I have held a London taxi licence since 2009 and prior to the Bank Junction, Bishopsgate and other raft of changes around taxi access in the area, I would always provide my time servicing the demand in the City of London (CoL).
However, in recent years, I have chosen to service CoL taxi demand to levels I’d describe as the bare minimum and only when convenient. If I’m not hailed off the street then I won’t be heading to hotspots, not will I be ranking. Why? Because my electric wheelchair accessible taxi is not wanted in the CoL. Constant struggles with the City of London Corporation (CoLC) and Transport for London (TfL) have seen large and vital arterial roads closed off throughout peak hours. If we are not required or trusted during those hours of high demand why should I as a taxi driver help service any demand at all?
In a recent survey conducted by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) two in three taxi drivers feel the same way and will not service the Bank Junction area out of principle. Of course, we’ll drop passengers off at the nearest possible place, but I will not pick up in the area despite demand via apps for places like The NED, Bank of England and The Royal Exchange.
I often head south of the river rather than through the CoL to look for my next fare. Of course some then ask to be taken to the City of London. Anything north of Bank Junction takes twice as long to navigate due to restrictions on Gracechurch Street and Bank Junction itself. I take pride in the work I do and taking elongated routes does little to fulfil that pride. I feel guilty when taking passengers from more vulnerable communities, having to charge them more for a journey that could be cut short so very easily.
As a result I ply my trade in the West End, Hammersmith, Kensington, Westminster, Notting Hill and Paddington areas. The demand for black cabs means I don’t need to look in areas that don’t value the service I can offer. Low traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Islington and bus gates in Wapping mean I no longer bother round there either.
More than half of London taxis are now electric. Most of those drivers are full-time drivers meaning they are doing a bigger proportion of black cab fleet miles. We are doing our bit to help clean up the capital’s air by investing £100’s of millions in to cleaner state of the art taxis. Yet we’re not wanted in CoL.
We offer the city over 15,000 fully Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV) to help the mobility needs of CoL workers and residents. Yet we’re not wanted in the CoL.
We offer 16,000 best-in-class trained and vetted taxi drivers to help provide sufficient coverage to aid women’s safety concerns throughout London. Yet we are not wanted in the CoL.
Something has got to change. Cabbies will come back to the area, but the CoL are going to need to want us in all areas.
London taxi driver and TaxiPoint Founder and Editor