….power to the cabbies, right on. I think John Lennon would have been a good cabbie, having a sharp tongue and being a bit bolshie are essential cabbie traits in my book. I’m not going to bore you with the ins & outs of what it was all about but do want to have a bit of a say on the matter. Black cab drivers need to do the job they are trained to do, to the best of their ability and stop being picky about where they go. Mini cabs need to do their job as well and stop filling up taxi ranks and generally breaking the law by touting for business. And the PCO need to be in the middle to ensure that there is a clear definition between the 2 sides. It’s simple really, and if all sides co-operate demos like yesterday won’t be needed.
So, onto the demo. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and yes, I am aware that it inconvenienced a lot of people for a few hours. But we could have picked a worse time to do it. As London seems to have taken 4 days to recover from that snow stuff, Central London has been relatively quiet anyway. And from what I saw, cab drivers did their best to allow trapped vehicles out of the middle so that they could continue their journeys. Reports during the morning had been saying that 10,000 cabs were due to converge on Trafalgar Square, but it was never going to be that many. In reality, after I had driven around the Square about 4 times from 12:30pm with no sign of anything happening, it only took about 20 cabs to park by the King Charles I island to bring the traffic to a grinding halt. I wasn’t one of the 20 but was close behind and managed to double park next to another Dial-A-Cab driver right by King Charles. At that time cabs were arriving from all directions and Whitehall seemed to be full of them. The police moved us on from the middle of the square only for all of us to double back up Whitehall and completely block the road both ways. They seemed a bit slow on the uptake did our plod friends, but good natured with it. Eventually they worked out that they should put some cones down the middle of Whitehall and surrounding roads to stop the u-turns. But when they sent us down Cockspur St towards Pall Mall they had forgotten that you can double back around the Texas Embassy to get back on the Square. Only a few of us managed to do that and ended up on our own and unmolested for the rest of the demo. Parked right outside Canada House with no traffic coming through the square was a strange experience, I’ll expect my parking fine in the post.
And so we sat and chatted while LBC had blanket coverage of the demo and tried working themselves up into a frenzy. They even had people giving out car stickers and generally trying to persuade us that it isn’t a bit rubbish normally. We passed the time of day with bemused tourists and a few narked commuters, although most Londoners we spoke to had a bit of sympathy for us. And then coming from a westerly direction came Dougie Donnelley. Good naturedly he asked where he could find a cab and we had a bit of laugh and joke about not being able to see one anywhere. Trust me, it was hilarious. And then he was gone, off towards Northumberland Ave in the hope of finding a cab. No chance.
And finally at about 3:30pm the LTDA said we were done and off we went into the sunset. As you will from my Flickr feed to the right, I have posted a few more photos up there, none of which are any good.
And so, after going off piste this week, this blog will finally return to it’s more familiar territory of least used roads, useless bits of London and, of course, lampposts. Thank you for your patience.