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LTDA has already said it plans to challenge Camden's Tottenham Court Road plans - is TfL's 'Crossrail for the Bike' next?...

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Assocation (LTDA), which represents thousands of London’s black cab drivers, is reportedly seeking a judicial review of Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision, announced today, to approve two Cycle Superhighways running across the centre of London.

News of the LTDA’s potential legal challenge was broken in a post on Twitter by BBC London transport correspondent Tom Edwards, with his tweet retweeted by the LTDA’s own account shortly afterwards.

Danny Williams of the Cyclists in the City blog wrote: “My understanding is that a judicial review could hold things up for many months. Worst case, it could even kill the scheme.”

“The LTDA would be seeking a review of the process behind the consultation. Bear in mind that this is the largest consultation TfL has ever held and you'd have thought that the taxi association is on very very weak ground on this. But let's see,” he added.

It’s the second time in less than a week that the LTDA has threatened to seek a judicial review of a major highways project in London.

Last Friday, BBC London News reported that Camden Council’s plans for a £41 million overhaul of Tottenham Court Road had been described as “madness” by LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara.

The council wants most motor vehicles, including taxis, banned from the street from 8am to 7pm on every day other than Sunday.

The street will be restricted during those hours to buses, cyclists and vehicles requiring local access, with the plans approved following a public consultation, as happened with the Cycle Superhighways given the green light by Mr Johnson today.

Camden Council says the works will improve safety and help local businesses ahead of the opening of the Crossrail Station at the Oxford Street end of the street in 2018

But Mr McNamara insisted: "To consider banning taxis from Tottenham Court Road could be described at best as farcical.

"No thought has been given to the hundreds of thousands of people that get picked up and set down by taxis in the metropolis every day."

Camden councillor Phil Jones maintained that by using side streets, other vehicles including taxis would have access to 60 per cent of the thoroughfare.

"A detailed assessment of the impacts of allowing taxis to use the full length of Tottenham Court Road has been undertaken,” he said. “The assessment has highlighted that allowing taxis to use the street would lead to more traffic congestion, worse air quality and increased road traffic collisions," he said.

A London Cycling Campaign spokesman said the proposals were a chance "to show how even the busiest London streets can begin to be reclaimed from motor traffic dominance."

Meanwhile the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says it still has concerns over the impact on its members of the two routes approved today, although it adds that “it isn’t opposed to Cycle Superhighways in principle.”

Its head of urban logistics, Christopher Snelling, said: “The information published on delay times still does not reflect how industry and private motorists actually use these roads. And yet the first road-works to build these superhighways will start in just a few weeks’ time. 

“By this April we will see works underway on all the proposed routes, affecting some key routes into the centre of London. It seems that the target pushing this is the aim to finish the routes by May 2016 – when the Mayor leaves office.”

The FTA believes that the works may result in a knock-on effect not only in London but also as far out as the M25, and Mr Snelling said: “Given the tight constraints of drivers’ hours rules, this could result in significantly increased costs to the logistics industry. And that means increased costs for the businesses and residents in London who rely on them.”

However, he added: “The improvements that have been announced today show how careful work can improve the situation to better reflect the balance of London’s transport needs, and the revised plans issued are an improvement on those previously put out – traffic delays have been reduced somewhat and more loading capacity has been added than was planned before.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

23 comments

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Must be Mad [610 posts] 2 years ago
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Does anybody on here use taxi's in London?
If so, perhaps a boycott while the legal challenge goes through?

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Initialised [314 posts] 2 years ago
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Some day soon all taxis will all be self driving, cyclist aware autonomous vehicles that can't break the rules, intimidate other road users or spout racist rhetoric at their customers, until then we'll have to put up with actual humans doing the driving.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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I already avoid London taxis as much as possible, they're a menace as a group.

There are lovely cabbies (one drove a friend of mine home after he got a puncture in the heavy rain, a 30 minute journey and he refused payment on a busy evening), many are superb drivers, and I've had several maneouver to ensure bad passes on me didn't happen. So, in principle, I have nothing against taxis.

Unfortunately, the LTDA is a self-serving psychopathic organisation that's set against improving London in any real way in regards to transport. It suits them for it to be crap.

So the sooner they go away, the happier I'll be.

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bikebot [2120 posts] 2 years ago
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The chances of them winning are negligible, I wouldn't rate their chances of even getting the judicial review. At the same time, the LTDA (or "The Mafia" as I understand they're sometimes known) will be doing more damage to their relationship with TfL.

Just a few months ago TfL were suggesting that all black cabs might soon be required to provide credit card payments. We all know why two thirds of them currently don't, they might as well have written "how do you like them apples" at the bottom of the proposal.

Completely agree with jacknorell above. Hopefully some of the LTDA members will be thinking about their leadership.

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ibike [164 posts] 2 years ago
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The LTDA are regarding London’s streets as their own private domain, which they are not. The roads are for everyone.

Personally, I’d like to see some of my taxes spent on decent cycle lanes so that my family and I have somewhere to ride a bike in London.

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surly_by_name [523 posts] 2 years ago
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Cabbies are feeling a bit squeezed at present, see the furore over Uber as an example of the difficulties facing the industry. The LTDA's current aim appears to be to take every opportunity to get the press to paint cabbies as victims and to pick fights with the mayor. I don't think they expect to succeed with their JR application, I think they hoped to generate press coverage.

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congokid [310 posts] 2 years ago
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surly_by_name wrote:

Cabbies are feeling a bit squeezed at present, see the furore over Uber as an example of the difficulties facing the industry.

There's an interesting view of the very possible not too distant future from the People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire about the future of car ownership and use, the 'driving experience', and the role of taxis in cities (essentially they're all on their way out).

A friend who runs a software house for the motor trade will be seeing big changes before long.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 2 years ago
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jacknorell wrote:

I already avoid London taxis as much as possible, they're a menace as a group.

There are lovely cabbies (one drove a friend of mine home after he got a puncture in the heavy rain, a 30 minute journey and he refused payment on a busy evening), many are superb drivers, and I've had several maneouver to ensure bad passes on me didn't happen. So, in principle, I have nothing against taxis.

Unfortunately, the LTDA is a self-serving psychopathic organisation that's set against improving London in any real way in regards to transport. It suits them for it to be crap.

So the sooner they go away, the happier I'll be.

Of course they are self serving, that's why they exist they are only like any other trade union, professional body, interest group, residents association. Their sole purpose is to look oout for the interests of their members. Since cabbies use the roads then changes to the use of roads seems a legitimate interest. The CTC and London Cycling Campaign and others do the same for cyclists' interests. This is normal healthy stuff. It's the way that democracy is supposed to work.

In the end we get decisions made after everyone concerned has had a chance to put their oar in and say their piece, make their points, show their workings and bring their evidence. People may not like the decision, one side might another not, none of them might like it at all or most of them only a bit. But the process is important because once the decision is made we expect people to abide by it and respect it.

I mention this because if you want to have better cycling infrastructure in the UK it's going to have to work for everyone or at least when it may affect other road users as a group at least let them have their say first.

There are two basic principals of what is called natural justice. The first one: Audi alteram partem (listen to all the parties) quite simply to make a just decision you need to hear from everyone involved.

The second is: Nemo judex in causa sua. - no man a judge in his own case.

Put them together and you get to the idea that someone independent listens to all the evidence.

Maybe instead of thinking that other parties are "psychopathic" it may be good to listen to what they have to say.

Frankly I'd rather ride on roads where all the users are reasonably content that their views and interests have been listened too rather than be a cyclist on roads where a whole group of people in vehicles feel they have been shafted and ridden over roughshod to benefit cyclists. Which do you think is more safe for us?

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Wolfshade [198 posts] 2 years ago
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I've never understood the priviliged role that taxicabs have.
Why are they allowed in bus lanes, when essentially during a trip they don't convey any more people than if they were a private car.
They don't ease congestion they just replace one private car for a car that has been rented for a journey, so they don't ease congestion.
They don't ease emission rates, I don't know about the fleets in London, certainly the majority I see on the road in my locality are belching deisel fumes at the rear end.

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ronin [279 posts] 2 years ago
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Initialised wrote:

Some day soon all taxis will all be self driving, cyclist aware autonomous vehicles that can't break the rules, intimidate other road users or spout racist rhetoric at their customers, until then we'll have to put up with actual humans doing the driving.

Indeed. It's a shame there are no forward thinkers with clout anymore. It's a shame there are no Isambard Kingdom Brunel's around, and then London could be sorted out for another 100 years.

We need personal transport pods like at Heathrow Airport.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

Frankly I'd rather ride on roads where all the users are reasonably content that their views and interests have been listened too rather than be a cyclist on roads where a whole group of people in vehicles feel they have been shafted and ridden over roughshod to benefit cyclists. Which do you think is more safe for us?

I'll start thinking of LTDA as not-quite sociopathic when they care about whether they defend horrible bad driving or not. Currently, the only times they care whether one of their drivers put lives at risk if:

- He manages to upset customers at the time, or
- Is convicted

Nothing else matters to them, so the bad cab drivers are free to ruin the impression we get of them.

They crash quite a lot... and bully even more.

Sure, we can listen to what they say, but they should have weight in accordance with how much responsibility they take over their impacts on others too.

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Another Road User [3 posts] 2 years ago
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Better cycling infrastructure leads to...
more cyclists on the road leads to...
less car ownership leads to...
more costumers for cabbies.

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surly_by_name [523 posts] 2 years ago
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Another Road User wrote:

Better cycling infrastructure leads to...
more cyclists on the road leads to...
less car ownership leads to...
more costumers for cabbies.

Fancy dress cabbies are definitely the future.

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2-4wheels [10 posts] 2 years ago
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Please people, try to be unbiased, as many of the comments end up sounding like those being spouted by facists and zealots.

Yes there are some moments of bad driving from a few of the 14000 Taxi drivers occasionally, but where is the evidence that these occurences are statically worst than any other road user group (cyclists included)?

At what point do we accept that accidents and near misses, which in reality is what the vast majority of cyclist actually experience, are simply a fact of the human condition,  we are all fallible. If this were not the case the insurance industry would not exist.

As for the near misses, could it not be agrued that in many cases, were it not for the car/van/taxi/bus driver not (eventually) seeing you and avoiding, it would be an accident not a near miss.

Also,  Taxis do assist to reduce car volumes, contrary to an earlier comment, as during the course of the day a single taxi may complete 20 to 30 journeys, carrying 1-5 passengers at a time. That potentially eliminates anywhere between 20 and 150 cars coming into London during the same period. Then multiply that by the factor of 14000 taxis and you are looking at a considerable reduction of traffic volume. 

Penultimately, be careful what you wish for.... if, in the utopian vision that some of the fanatical cyclists amongst us wish for, taxis are banned then the circa 1.2 million daily taxi passengers (30 journeys x 3 passengers x 14000 taxis) will deluge the tubes and buses and many may take to the road on bikes.... god forbid!!! All those newbies we'd constantly have to overtake and second guess!!

Finally, no one ever said Taxis were meant to be cheap.  They are a luxury travel option comparatively (personal space, door to door etc....).... were they ever intended for the masses?  We masses cant afford them..... but we can afford our Raphas, our carbon this and our titanium that, our Garmins and no doubt our iphone 72s  3

Be nice and most are nice back.... thats the way the world revolves.

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wycombewheeler [1073 posts] 2 years ago
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2-4wheels wrote:

At what point do we accept that accidents and near misses, which in reality is what the vast majority of cyclist actually experience, are simply a fact of the human condition,  we are all fallible. If this were not the case the insurance industry would not exist.

In industry and construction it is not accepted that accidents and near misses are inevitable and steps are taken to design out the problem. Why are the roads immune from this? In fact the very argument that near misses and accidents are inevitable is evidence in favour of segregation it is not acceptable that 1700 people die on the roads in a year.

2-4wheels wrote:

Also, Taxis do assist to reduce car volumes, contrary to an earlier comment, as during the course of the day a single taxi may complete 20 to 30 journeys, carrying 1-5 passengers at a time

that only reduces the number of different vehicles on the road (and the need for parking) it does not reduce the number of vehicle miles driven. Not to mention the times the taxi is driven about empty looking for a fare.

The only argument for taxis reducing traffic is people using train to the city centre and then taxi to final destination, but here the majority of traffic removed is on primary roads between towns, not in town centres

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes, let's encourage the people dying to be unbiased, while not addressing the current enormous built-in bias towards the ones doing the killing.

Yep, great, fantastic. That'll keep me alive, won't it?

At what point are organisations like LTDA being unbiased, exactly? Don't confused weasel words of support with their on-the-ground actions.

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2-4wheels [10 posts] 2 years ago
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Ok.

Wycombewheeler:

The point is that to a large degree the system does design out accidents as they are mitigated to what the cycling community call near misses by way of the intervention of one or other of the road users involved before the point of accident. As to whether these incidents are even near misses or not is a subjective matter. One mans "mole hill" is another's "mountain", is it not.  

I can see the benefit of segregation,  but on Tottenham Court Road were talking about the elimination of a road user group.

You have quoted a statistic of 1700 road deaths, you may well be right, but you quote in isolation in a very narrow context .... what is the analysis of this figure, are these pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, rural, urban, drink and or drug consumption cases.

London taxis service London, not the interconnection of cities by road. So yes, they can only be credited with traffic volume reduction in London. OK so they are not the panacea to national/global transport issues!

Jacknorell:

The LTDA is a trade orgonisation, it does what it says on the tin.... go figure!

I would say that they look to represent their patrons without overly emmotive language and attempts to smear an entire road user group as killers.

How many road deaths are attributed to London Taxis annually? 

Overall, I'd say that the genaral public ignores the person constantly shouting questionable facts and figures as with all the venom, froth and anger the message gets lost in the noise and is discounted as a rant.

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Skylark [181 posts] 2 years ago
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...

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farrell [1946 posts] 2 years ago
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Given that this challenge is looking like the LTDA are pissing in the wind, you can only hope that the law firm that takes the case on for them takes the longest, most meandering route possible and leaves the meter running.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 2 years ago
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jacknorell wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

Frankly I'd rather ride on roads where all the users are reasonably content that their views and interests have been listened too rather than be a cyclist on roads where a whole group of people in vehicles feel they have been shafted and ridden over roughshod to benefit cyclists. Which do you think is more safe for us?

I'll start thinking of LTDA as not-quite sociopathic when they care about whether they defend horrible bad driving or not. Currently, the only times they care whether one of their drivers put lives at risk if:

- He manages to upset customers at the time, or
- Is convicted

Nothing else matters to them, so the bad cab drivers are free to ruin the impression we get of them.

They crash quite a lot... and bully even more.

Sure, we can listen to what they say, but they should have weight in accordance with how much responsibility they take over their impacts on others too.

Yes like I said they are there to look out for their members. Just like any trade union. its also virtually impossible to get a teacher fired or a doctor struck off, Or a police in officer disciplined. Their union will back the to the hilt. That's what they pay their subs for.the LTDA is not impartial it's not supposed to be. You shouldn't expect them to be.

The point is that they are just one interest. Not psychopathic just partial.

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2-4wheels [10 posts] 2 years ago
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dogcc:

An interesting parrallel you've drawn there, hinting that cab drivers practice the deception and fraud of passengers by way of excessively long routes for a given journey.

I would just remind you that London Taxi drivers are actually one of the most pubically accountable trades in London, as they are legally obliged to display their badge numbers on their person and upon their windows. This is in addition to the Taxi licence plate and vehicle registration plate. 

Everybody and anybody can officially register a complaint about any aspect of a Taxi drivers conduct.

So, if dealing with parallels,  let's look at our accountability as cyclists. ..... ah, erm, well...?!

Lets quit with the pseudo facts, untruths  and lazy generalisms as it undermines the debate.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 2 years ago
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wycombewheeler wrote:
2-4wheels wrote:

At what point do we accept that accidents and near misses, which in reality is what the vast majority of cyclist actually experience, are simply a fact of the human condition,  we are all fallible. If this were not the case the insurance industry would not exist.

In industry and construction it is not accepted that accidents and near misses are inevitable and steps are taken to design out the problem. Why are the roads immune from this? In fact the very argument that near misses and accidents are inevitable is evidence in favour of segregation it is not acceptable that 1700 people die on the roads in a year.

2-4wheels wrote:

Also, Taxis do assist to reduce car volumes, contrary to an earlier comment, as during the course of the day a single taxi may complete 20 to 30 journeys, carrying 1-5 passengers at a time

that only reduces the number of different vehicles on the road (and the need for parking) it does not reduce the number of vehicle miles driven. Not to mention the times the taxi is driven about empty looking for a fare.

The only argument for taxis reducing traffic is people using train to the city centre and then taxi to final destination, but here the majority of traffic removed is on primary roads between towns, not in town centres

It's a bit unfair. you make it sound like the UK has done nothing to make roads safer. It has massively. There are more vehicles on the road than ever 35m at the moment covering many more miles and yet the lowest number of casualties.

When I started cycling in a club in 1973 8000 people were killed on the roads.there were only 17m vehicles. In 1940 there were far fewer vehicles and nearly 10,000 deaths.

And building sites are finite areas easier to regulate and manage. Not the same at all as a road system.

You know what, cycling isn't dangerous. Please stop saying that it is.

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bobinski [259 posts] 2 years ago
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I suspect the fall in casualties has more to do with safety improvements in vehicles, road restructuring that makes vehicle use safer as well as improvements in hospital care following an accident. Little has been done to improve cyclists or pedestrians safety in the meantime.
I would ban taxi cab use of bus lanes unless the cab is carrying a passenger.I am fed up with taxi drivers driving just behind me or undertaking a close pass as I cycle at roughly 18-20 mph in a bus lane, increasingly in 20 mph areas.
I would like to see bus lane hours extended and into the weekend. Shouldn't we be encouraging and making bike use safer at the weekend? Bus lanes, while we await cycle friendly infrastructure changes, provide relatively safe cycle lanes wide enough to accommodate lots of cyclists, even family friendly cycling at the weekend.
Here in London may boroughs are implementing 20 mph limits. Why not bring in 20 mph limits on licensed vehicle use such as buses, taxis to act as a brake on other vehicle speeds? GPS allows for easy monitoring.
I would also like to see all zebra crossings (at least) raised to the level of the pavement. It would be a hassle for cyclists but make these vital crossings safer for pedestrians and act as a brake on traffic speeds. It certainly works around Brockwell park in South London where I live.

I had better stop- I could go on forever!