Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Traffic Chaos Is Hitting Your Cab Fare

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Traffic Chaos Is Hitting Your Cab Fare

Article excerpt


MOTORISTS are not the only victims of the worst gridlock to choke London for years; thousands of black cab passengers are now paying a high price too.

Fares rose this month by 4.8 per cent - almost three times the rate of inflation and the third increase in two years. But the cost of journeys is going up even more as black cab drivers are forced off traditional fast routes and onto lengthy diversions to avoid interminable delays, long tailbacks and impassable roadworks.

Many routes enshrined in the famous "Knowledge" for generations of cab drivers are now barred by rows of cones, trafficcalming schemes and new cycle and bus lanes, as Transport for London and local councils smooth the way for Ken Livingstone's congestion charging scheme.

Here, cab driver Steve McNamara describes how four typical central London routes have fallen victim to roadworks. On many, fares have doubled as cab drivers are forced into tortuous diversions.

On eight out of 10 journeys, Steve has to take lengthy detours just to get his passengers to their destinations on time. The alternative would be to sit in stationary traffic on the direct route.

City to Victoria

Old route 20-25mins

pound sterling6-pound sterling8

New route 30-40mins

pound sterling10-pound sterling12

Old route: This is your typical cab ride and, before the current roadworks began, would have involved a journey along Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square and The Mall.

Alternatively, you could go along Victoria Embankment, Northumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square.

New route: Because of the roadworks at Trafalgar Square and the closure of Northumberland Avenue, neither route is an option most of the time and the only option is to go via Waterloo and south of the river. However, the chaotic new "gyratory" system at Westminster Bridge often blocks the south side.

City to West End

Old route 15-20mins

pound sterling6-pound sterling8

New route 40mins + pound sterling10-pound sterling15

Old route:

Another very typical ride that would have meant a route up through the Holborns to Oxford Street. …

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