On Tuesday 17th July 2012 the United Cabbies Group staged the first in a series of demonstrations against the London Taxi trade’s exclusion from the Olympic Games lanes by Transport for London, LOCOG and the ODA.
At approximately 2pm thousands of Taxis converged on Parliament Square, Whitehall and Trafalgar Square, and within minutes the whole area was brought to a standstill.
Taxis appeared from every direction with angry drivers frustrated at being dumped from the Olympic Games by the organisers’ who have chosen not to allow Taxis to use the games lanes which effectively prohibits them from doing their job.
We certainly sent a clear message out to the world spelling out our grievance…
It wasn’t long before the whole of Central London was crippled by this action, with traffic being backed up to the Limehouse Link in the East, Kings Cross in the North, Elephant & Castle in the South and Hammersmith in the West.
Reports from John Mason Director of LTPH that there were only 100 – 200 cabs involved are complete nonsense, along with his claim that cabbies could collect the elusive Olympic Handbook from collection points in the city, none of which he could name, and it just goes to show the level of contempt TfL have for the Taxi trade and the people of London.
So much so that TfL were forced to send down the Director of Surface Transport Leon Daniels to speak to us. Mr Daniels has agreed to a meeting with the UCG which will take place as soon as possible, and hopefully he will listen to our concerns and address the issue.
Petrie Gives Taxi Chief A Roasting Over Olympic Lanes on LBC Radio…
As a Police Helicopter hovered above us they told us that this demonstration was far bigger than they had anticipated, and this just goes to show the feeling of outrage amongst London’s Taxi drivers who know that the next 2 months will undoubtedly cripple their ability to do their job.
The demonstration was planned to last until 4pm, but after just 1 hour the Police asked us if we could cut it short due to the amount of disruption it was causing throughout the city and the wrath they were receiving from the MPs who were trapped inside the Gasworks.
As a gesture of goodwill the UCG decided that we had made our point and had shown the authorites exactly how much disruption we are capable of causing, and if they have got any sense they will rethink their plans if they want to avoid any more of this type of action.
As Big Ben chimed 3pm the demo was called off and the thousands of cabs filtered away and went back to what they do best… Taking their passengers to their destinations.
We would like to thank the many drivers who turned up, and we would also like to thank the RMT London Taxi Branch for standing shoulder to shoulder with the UCG and giving us their support.
Over to you TfL.
The next in the series of demonstrations will be held on Monday 23rd July at 4pm on Tower Bridge, please follow us on Twitter @UnitedCabbies
This demonstration attracted fantastic coverage from the world’s media, and here’s a sample from just a few of the big names…