The reporting of the recent Taxi drivers demo’s regarding exclusion from the Olympic Lane Network has been reported by the mainstream media in quite a dismissive manner, all of the media seem to be stating that there are only a couple of hundred Taxis drivers who have been demonstrating in Central London on both last Friday but those within the trade know that there was at least 400-500 taxis on the main part of the demonstration and that is without all of the taxis who were trying to get into the area but were stuck in traffic in the gridlock that the demonstration had caused, there are also those taxis drivers who were turned away by the Police from getting anywhere near the main area of the Demo.
It appears that our mainstream media who all purport to be independent are bowing down to pressure from those within TfL and the Government to talk down the Taxi Trades demonstrations against the Olympic Lane Network, they seem to be listening to John Mason and Peter Hendy’s spin on things rather than listening to those off us who have to work and earn our living off the streets of London.
Peter Hendy stated a while ago that he thought “that cabbies who work during the Olympics would do Rather Well” well Mr Hendy prey tell me how Taxi drivers are supposed to even earn a living let alone do “rather well”, when we are being prevented from stopping in most of the areas where we earn our living, when we are prevented from using the Olympic lane network, when our ranks have been suspended, when we cannot turn right across Olympic lanes? Also the last 10 days or so the work for Taxi drivers has been absolutely dire with very little business to be had anywhere?
Mr Hendy has also dismissed our demonstrations stating that it is a minority of disgruntled Taxi drivers and he has also stated that it is an minority union, so Mr Hendy considers the RMT to be a small, insignificant and minority union!
Taxi drivers are not the only businesses that are being affected by the games, many firms who are around the Olympic route network are having restriction put upon when they can or cant have deliveries! It seems that during the planning of these games there was little of no consideration for those of us who have to live or work in London and total disregard for those who run small businesses in the London area, how many will go broke due to the Olympics?
The Olympic road network is going to affect the traffic on the streets of London for the entire duration of the games and then we have the problem of the road closures while everything is put back to how it should be which will obviously take another month, so this means that we are going to have to suffer this for at least 3 months, that’s 3 months of misery so that the rick and VIPs can bypass the traffic on route to Olympic venues and no one should forget that us Londoners have had to pay for this Olympics through our Council Tax for at least 10 years!
The only light that I can personally see is that we will never see the Olympics return to London in my lifetime, but the next threat of this type is obviously Bernie Ecclestone’s desire to run a Formula ! race around the streets of London which will see most major roads in Central London closed for at least 6 weeks which would be another blow to taxi drivers.
As Taxi drivers all we want is to be able to go about our business without hindrance, we are not asking for a bonus or fare increase, in fact we rejected the idea of a 20% fare increase as we did not want to penalise our regular customers who use taxis every week of the year as they are going to be subject to higher fares because the of the road chaos that the games will cause so adding a 20% increase in fares to that would have been totally unfair to our customers. We just want to be able to get our customers to where they want to go without it costing them an arm and a leg to get there.
Most of TfLs plans for traffic management during the games was based on more Londoners than usual going away on Holiday and leaving London, what they did not count on or make allowances for was that we are in a recession and many people cannot afford to go away on holiday so will be staying in London or the duration of the games, this will obviously put extra strain on London’s road network which was not planned for.
Our personal view is that taxi drivers earnings will be drastically reduced during these games, customers will get fed up of sitting in the back of a taxi in traffic watching the meter go up and will either get out or not use a taxi again until the games are over and things get back to normal, also of the work is really bad there are a lot fewer rank spaces available to taxi drivers as they have been hijacked to park Olympic BMW’s.
Please remember during these games that 100 Londoners lives will be inconvenienced for every 1 Olympic person who benefits from these games, that’s the contempt that those in power have for us ordinary working Londoners!