The boss of e-hailing taxi app Mytaxi has written to the City of London Corporation calling for today’s closure of Bank junction to be reassessed amid concern over the disruption it will cause.
In the letter, seen by City A.M., Mytaxi general manager Andy Jones calls for a regular review of the trial period, which will mean the closure of Bank junction to vehicles for up to 18 months in an effort to improve safety in the area.
Mytaxi, recently rebranded after Daimler oversaw a merger of its Mytaxi subsidiary and Hailo in July last year, has offered to be part of the consultation process. It wants to use its bank of data to monitor the effect of the closure at Bank. Mytaxi said it will review pick up and drop off activity, as well as the average speed of traffic in the area.
The firm also wants a commitment from the City of London to shorten the trial at Bank if the impact is “substantially detrimental” to the ability of Londoners to travel freely through the city.
Mytaxi has over 17,000 black cab drivers signed up to its app and noted that its passengers “begin or end thousands of journeys in the Bank junction area each month”.
The changes to the area have been hotly contested by cab drivers, as the junction will still be open to buses, as well as cyclists.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of taxi drivers’ union the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), has said that buses have more accidents than taxis, which should mean they are excluded.
The City of London Corporation however, said that although cabs were not involved in a large number of accidents, they do ramp up congestion which in turn makes the junction more dangerous.
Mytaxi has now called on the City of London to allow black cabs to use the junction alongside buses and cyclists as “an integral part of London’s transport system”, with more regular reviews on the effects of the proposed closure.
"While the Corporation has committed to the trial closure, we want to make sure that the impact is properly assessed, and that it does not become permanent by default," Jones said.
A City of London Corporation spokesperson said:
Our number one priority for our experimental scheme at Bank junction is to improve safety. For too long Bank junction has been one of the capital’s dangerous hotspots and our scheme will address this issue.
We do however fully recognise the importance of the taxi trade for people travelling around the Square Mile and we have been engaging with representatives from industry. To help mitigate the impact on them we will be bringing in more taxi ranks and extending those already in the area.
They added: "Throughout the scheme we will be monitoring its impact on safety and traffic flow at the junction and surrounding area."
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