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City of London confirms plans to ban vehicles from Bank junction

Angry reaction from taxi drivers

The City of London Corporation has confirmed plans to ban lorries, cars and taxis from Bank Junction between 7am and 7pm. The 18-month trial, which could begin in April, is an attempt to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists at what is one of the capital’s most dangerous junctions.

The busy six-way junction was the site of the death of cyclist Ying Tao last year and The London Evening Standard reports that 34 cyclists and 31 pedestrians were injured in the 7am-7pm period between 2011 and last year.

The proposed ban, which is to be decided by the policy and resources committee on December 15, would see only buses and cyclists permitted. Transgressors would receive a £130 fine after having their number plate read by roadside cameras.

City experts predict that the move could cut casualties by 50-60 per cent.

A City Corporation spokesman said the ban would be closely monitored with formal public consultation taking place next year. “A final decision on whether the scheme is to remain is likely to be taken between 12 and 18 months after the experiment starts.”

Taxi drivers have reacted angrily to the news. Modelling carried out by the City of London Corporation found that although taxis were not directly involved in many collisions, they significantly increased congestion at the junction and therefore made it more dangerous.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), told City AM:

"It's probably the craziest scheme anyone has suggested for some time. The reality is that taxis are driven by professional drivers, and they are easily accessible vehicles that drive at low speeds. Buses have more accidents than taxis... If it is based on the number of accidents, then buses should be excluded."

The United Cabbies Group has called for a demonstration at the junction on January 12.

More information on the traffic modelling will be published later this year, but it is thought that the impact on traffic speeds in the area would be “neutral” or “slightly positive”. This is due to the nature of the junction where the sheer number of roads means light phases are short and inefficient.

Earlier this year, City of London police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to bring criminal charges against the truck driver involved in the collision that resulted in Ying Tao’s death.

However, law firm Leigh Day have questioned their assertion that the evidence did not meet the necessary threshold and have asked that the decision be reviewed.

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