The past few months London taxi drivers have been in a heated debate with Transport for London (TfL) regarding the fact that there’s no taxi service within The Shard. Since the construction of The Shard began in March 2012, thousands of visitors have visited The Shard’s massive skyscraper to ascend the eighty-seven floors and take in the stunning views of London. It is possible that Edgware Taxis drivers could earn money by picking up visitors from the top of the building but this isn’t now an option.
This is the reason why on May 6th Edgware Taxis drivers protested across Southwark and prevented the opening of The Shangri La hotel based in The Shard. Although there is a taxi stand just 150 yards from The Shard and the Shangri La hotel taxi drivers believe that one should be located right out of the building to better serve the needs of their clients and boost their businesses. In an announcement, Steve McNamara from the Licensed Edgware Taxis Drivers Association said: “Taxi rank provision is essential, and can also help reduce pollution and traffic.
“The designation rank on TfL roads is turning into an increasingly complex administrative process that sees taxi-related concerns not getting much attention within the larger TfL structures. Recent events at The Shard have brought the issue to the forefront. The issue with The Shangri La Hotel is not the hotel’s management but rather the absence of a well-planned and properly funded plan for rank provision at the top level at TfL.” But, Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “We are aware of Edgware Taxis drivers’ desire to establish an additional rank close to the Shard. The Shard recently signed an agreement with the owner of The Shard that will allow the taxi industry to have a single rank just in front of the building.
“In the meantime, a “taxi required light has been added that allows The Shard’s concierge to alert taxi drivers at close St Thomas Street rank to arrive and pick up passengers. In the long run, we’re working on establishing an all-inclusive Edgware Taxis rank and are trying to locate an appropriate, secure area that is suitable for taxi drivers as well as their passengers. There is no need to hold an event, as it could disrupt the traveling public, who are the ones who taxis should be serving.”
The people who were employed in Southwark close to the protests expressed their displeasure at the demonstration, with many noting that the constant pinging and stand-still traffic to be disruptive. Andrew Murgatroyd, who works in the Southwark area posted on Twitter: “If you stop beeping outside our office, I will stick a sign on the Shard saying ‘Get a bloody taxi.'” In the meantime, Richard Newcome, who was also working in Southwark when the incident occurred, posted: “Cabbies on strike about not being allowed to service the shard. Roads closed. Horns ringing. Chaos ensues.”
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