REUTERS

Upset over being excluded from the lanes, some 200 London cab drivers blocked traffic in Parliament Square.

Over 200 of London's iconic black cabs blocked traffic in Parliament Square for two hours Tuesday in protest over the controversial Olympic Route Network along the city's roadways. The lanes are intended for use only by Olympic athletes, officials, and sponsors. Anyone else who tries to use them will receive a $203 fine.

The special lanes have already contributed to traffic issues, and some cab drivers are claiming they will leave town during the Games altogether. One has already taken to converting his taxi into a makeshift hotel.

Olympics 2012 bug
London gets ready for the Summer Games See full coverage

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, which has a number of cab drivers in its membership, told the Telegraph that "cab drivers are now being kicked in the teeth by Olympics chiefs over the VIP lanes and the entire Olympics transport strategy.”

In a statement to local media, the director of London Taxi and Private Hire, John Mason, tried to reassure drivers and passengers alike that Transport for London has secured concessions for taxis, including the use of turns along the Olympic Route Network that were initially banned for all traffic except buses, as well as access to many curbside Games lanes for passenger pick-up .

In today's Telegraph, Mason made it clear that the organization is still on board with the arrangement, saying, "[w]e strongly urge taxi drivers to ignore calls to join these unnecessary protests and instead show why they are regularly voted the best in the world."

The Olympic Route Network will be fully operational two days before the July 27 Opening Ceremony.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The Presidio Terrace neighborhood
    POV

    The Problem of Progressive Cities and the Property Tax

    The news that a posh San Francisco street was sold for delinquent taxes exposes the deeper issue with America’s local revenue system.

  2. Times Square, 1970.
    Life

    The New York That Belonged to the City

    Hyper-gentrification turned renegade Manhattan into plasticine playground. Can the city find its soul again?

  3. Poverty

    L.A. County’s Latest Solution to Homelessness Is a Test of Compassion

    Residents can get up to $75,000 to build a “granny flat”—if they open it up to a homeless family.

  4. POV

    Grenfell Was No Ordinary Accident

    The catastrophic fire that killed at least 80 in London was the inevitable byproduct of an ideology that vilified the poor.

  5. "Gift Horse"—a skeletal sculpture of a horse by artist Hans Haacke—debuted on the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square in 2015.
    Design

    What To Do With Baltimore's Empty Confederate Statue Plinths?

    Put them to work, Trafalgar Square style.