Cabbies protest over minicab ‘rank’

Cabbies protest over minicab 'rank'Hundreds of London taxi drivers have been demonstrating against   a council scheme which allows licensed minicabs to queue for passengers around Leicester Square.

Minicabs are normally only allowed to accept bookings via a licensed office, however a scheme endorsed by Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police allows cars to wait at a bus lane in Whitcomb Street, Leicester Square and accept rides booked in a nearby booth.

Today’s protest was organised by the London Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) and the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) and is expected to be the first of several.

Traffic around Trafalgar Square and Whitehall was disrupted as hundreds of cabs conducted a “drive-in” protest.

Westminster Council said the marshall scheme “is about getting people home safely at night”, adding: “there is no room for protectionist trade measures where this kind of safety is concerned.”


  1. David Wright says

    I see their point – the minicab office in Leicester Sq charges twice as much as a black cab would for the same journey. We should be proud of black cab drivers – they train for 3 years to know where they are going. Any mini cab driver I’ve used has used sat nav or a map and it’s taken ages and cost more. Why should they get to pick up off the street without training or buying a £30k black cab. That’s how much I was told a new taxi costs

  2. Don says

    as a ex taxi driver in the suburbs of Kent I can see their point and think private hire is an inferior serviceandif you as others say end up paying more the council is barking.Go cabbies go

  3. Steve says

    When will the public realise that Black Taxi drivers are professionals, mini cab drivers are not. Getting into a touts mini cab means you risk your life, they are not insured unless they are pre booked plus the majority of them come from Eastern Europe or Africa and NONE of them have had a CRB check, meaning they could be total criminals.

    They also charge way over what a Black cab charges yet the word on the street is mini cabs are cheaper. Thats a total myth and a joke! I’ll never use a mini cab just like I would never let an unqualified electrician rewire my house.

  4. david says

    the thing is the mimicab industry isnt licensed all they have to do is buy their licence and off they go tfl will never admit this as they set up the scheme its a sham and the black cabs are over regukated time to bring in a minicab test funded by the applicant just like the knowledge which costs about 10 thousand pounds to pay for bike college fees etc . boris get your finger out

  5. says

    Today was a mile stone in the cab trade history. The LTDA, LCDC, LTCPR and Unite (T&G) were united in there support for this demonstration against the unfair victimisation of the London Taxi drivers by TFL/PCO and Westminster city council.
    Both Ed Thompson head of the PCO and Martin Low transport manager of Westminster CC, refuse to agree that there is a problem with Licensed Private Hire touts forming ranks outside every club, pub and bar in the West End. We have even seen Private hire companies placing booking desks inside Hotels, charging exorbitant rates to unsuspecting tourists while outside the official rank is full of Licensed Taxi drivers wondering where the work has gone.
    There condescending attitude has led to this confrontation, an event the taxi trade has done all in its power to avoid, the last people we want to alienate is the travelling public.
    Even tonight on BBC radio London Cllr Low has made a statement, that has insulted the whole trade by misinforming the public about the true number of taxis that work at night in central London. Cllr Low puts this figure at 400 to try to shore up his argument for a mini cab rank in the vicinity of Leicester Square. The true figure being in the region of 8000.

    It shows poor judgement, when the people that license the London Taxi Trade base their opinions about us on the myths of the past, Like mini cabs are always cheaper or you cant get a cab after midnight and you cant get a cab to go south of the Thames.
    Westminster council have spent the past ten years removing taxi rank spaces from central London and now want to implement mini cab and rickshaw ranks in their place. The London License Taxi trade has said enough is enough.

  6. says

    Another example of Westminster council riding rough-shod over the rights of people working in their borough.
    As a commuter using a motorcycle & now having to pay to park my bike I applaud any action that causes Westminster Council a headache.

  7. Ian says

    The knowledge is pretty pointless these days given any cab can use a GPS. Indeed more and more black cabs seem to be using these devices themselves.

    I hope TFL goes further and allows any licenced minicab to pick up in the street. We londonders are fed up of not being able to get a taxi on the street late at night – no other major city in the world has this issue, and our black cabs must be one of the most expensive taxi services in the world.

    And to the commentators above, minicab firms these days are highly regulated.

  8. david says

    the sat nav doesnt work in london have you seen the road closures???? how many muppets have nearly crashed trying to use their sat nav whilst driving they are good for moterways and A roads thats all people dont live on the real world

  9. Patrick says

    To Thomas the taxi & Friends above you fear competition pure and simple.Sitting on a moped for 4 years does not guarantee you riches The Private Hire trade is Licensed. The drivers have the same CRB check as you.If a business decides to have a contract with Private Hire it’s none of your business. Whitcomb street is not a rank.Ed Thomson PCO director stated on LBC that your lying.Boris does not support you on this and said you argument is with Westminster. There are more Black Cabbies aged over 70 than under 30 your knowledge is pointless, your trade is dying and you’re dinosaurs of a bygone age.
    You will not prevail the march of the minicab cannot be stopped.