Sadiq Khan slammed by former London taxi driver
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Fed-up taxi driver Tony revealed he had to stop working as a black cabbie due to measures introduced by Sadiq Khan where London roads were made smaller to introduce more cycling and walking space. The caller gave the London mayor both barrels, arguing he was declaring “war” against black cabbies who have been hit by the decreased footfall in the Capital and competition from Uber. Tony also slammed the mayor for forcing taxi drivers to shell out thousands for new electric vehicles to operate in ULEZ zones.
Tony called into LBC and said to Mr Khan: “It just seems that you are at war with the London black cab trade, would you consider a buyout of our badges?
“You obviously don’t want us on the roads anymore and we’re the only 100 percent wheelchair accessible transport in London.
“(And you are) forcing us to pay for the new electric vehicle costing us £68,000.”
Mr Khan defended himself by saying he challenged Uber to operate in London but lost his court case, allowed cab drivers to use bus lanes and introduced more illegal taxi marshals and taxi ranks after being lobbied.
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Data from the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association reported only 20 percent of taxis are operating in London currently.
This led to some companies storing their fleet in fields near Epping Forest as cab drivers give up their trade.
Transport for London found a fifth of licenced cabbies have been taken off the street from 18,900 in June to 15,000 in November.
Tony was asked how bad things really were by host James O’Brien which the caller replied he had to quit his job two years ago.
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It was pointed out to Tony that some taxi drivers are still operating in London and making a living in which he replied it was possible to make a living but was becoming increasingly difficult.
He then made a jibe at Mr Khan for having good media training as his points are often wheeled out during phone-ins and other public appearances.
Mr Khan responded and said he was not the reason behind the closure of shops and other venues in London which black cabs find their customers.
It comes as the ULEZ continues to expand and the “Streetspace” scheme from City Hall wishes to turn areas of London into car-free zones.
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London cabbie Andy Biggs has also suffered during the pandemic and said he was lucky if he had three customers a day.
He added: “When we first went back after the initial lockdown, things started to get a little bit better very slowly, but now it’s as dead as it’s ever been.”
North London’s GB Taxi Services has seen the occupation rate of its fleet of 100 black cabs drop from 95% before the crisis to just 10%.
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