Black cab drivers have called off plans to blockade parts of the Square Mile in protest of over plans to ban them from Bank Junction as of next month. The Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA) had promised a repeat of January’s widespread demonstrations that saw thousands of drivers blockade parts of the City after the Corporation refused to reconsider plans to exclude all vehicles from the junction on weekdays.
Only bikes and buses will be permitted between 7am and 7pm under the proposal, part of the Bank on Safety scheme aimed at reducing the number of collisions in the busy intersection. But the ITA called off the protests last Friday, vowing to let the scheme fail, after the Corporation reiterated a promise to reconsider the scheme if it proves to have a detrimental impact on congestion in the streets surrounding Bank Junction.
In a statement the ITA said that although the 18-month trial period would still be going ahead, organisers were confident the Corporation’s traffic modelling forecasts would be proven wrong and the scheme would bring roads to a standstill. “If there is an alarming rise in congestion, the City of London assured the [trade organisations] it will suspend the experimental scheme,” a spokesperson for the ITA said.
“In light of these recent meetings, and the unifying agreement of the [trade organisations], the ITA believes it would be detrimental to this cause to protest in March.”
The Corporation proposed the scheme as an interim measure for the development of the All Change At Bank project, which will see major changes to Bank Underground station. A spokesman for the authority said: “We have always said that our number one priority is to improve safety and reduce casualties at the City’s most dangerous hotspots. The expectation is that we deliver casualty reductions by some 50% to 60%.”
The ITA vowed to conduct independent analysis of traffic congestion in the area, warning “protests have only been put on hold”. “If, as we suspect, the City of London do not keep to their agreement, we will commence daily protests, for the whole of the 18-month trial period if need be.”