Here are some vehicles causing congestion in central London.
Great George Street, queuing to enter Parliament Square.
The Mall, queuing to enter Trafalgar Square.
I have a couple of questions.
Why should these congestion-causing vehicles be exempt from the congestion charge?
Equally, given that the purpose of a bus lane is to allow buses to negotiate congested streets, can someone explain to me why the capacity of these bus lanes should be greatly reduced by allowing vehicles that cause congestion to use them?
To answer your questions, you need to look at who the passengers are. Maybe a FoI request to find out the number of taxi journeys taken by Assembly members, would help to cast light on this issue…
I don’t think an FOI is needed — assuming that they claimed on expenses, the figure should be public already.
Consider our wonderful MLA, Mr Toad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Coleman#Taxi_fares
The drivers themselves make a powerful lobby — I think it was David Arditti (http://voleospeed.blogspot.com/) who explained at Street Talks that the taxi lobby were responsible for the compromises that spoil the Bloomsbury cycle route.
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There is a definite war going on between taxis and cyclists. Having worked previously at places such as the LDA and seen demos by the Taxi Drivers outside the offices I can confirm they are a very strong lobby. I personally have nothing against taxis as a mode of transport – from time to time I need them (out of my own pocket) – but I also have a real issue with their use of bus lanes. Sadly cyclist groups are too fragmented to take them on in the lobbying stakes.
The thing that has surprised me most since taking up cyclists is their outright aggression to cyclists. On more than one occasion they have taken what I can only assume are deliberately dangerous maneuvers, this goes all the way down to when they are stopping in a line of traffic being as far over to the left as possible to block cyclists.
Personally, they do not over worry me – if they give abuse I tend to find stopping besides them in the traffic and asking if they would like to step out and take their argument further they tend to sulk off – after all a pre-requisite of their job is to sit on their fat as*es all day and build a fat gut.
If I had a crap job like them with a crap wage I would be angry at life too.
I find submitting the video of the taxis actions to our local taxi enforcement bit of the council seems to help; little things like the purpose of ASLs, what a “No taxis” sign means, etc. That’s because our local council isn’t London; because the politicians aren’t so dependent on the taxis for their own transport. Every time an LDA member or an MP gets in a taxi, that’s half an hour of lobbying time. You don’t get that from rickshaw pedallers.