Councillors recommend not letting black cabs back into Bank Junction on weekdays

The Bank Junction restrictions were introduced in May 2017 in a bid to improve safety
The Bank Junction restrictions were introduced in May 2017 in a bid to improve safety -Credit:Alexander Spatari via Getty Images

Calls for Bank Junction to be fully reopened to black cabs have taken a hit after a City of London committee recommended keeping the current restrictions in-place. The seven-lane junction has been shut to all but cyclists and buses on weekdays since May 2017, in a bid to improve safety.

The restrictions, which are operational between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday, were enforced following incidents including the death of 26-year-old Ying Tao in 2015, who was crushed by an HGV while riding to work. A review into the scheme was approved in April 2022, after a motion calling for a reassessment was passed by the City of London Corporation.

Since the traffic order was introduced, concerns have been raised by a number of members, as well as bodies such as the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), that it disproportionately impacts groups reliant on taxis, such as some disabled people.

READ MORE: Black cabs should not be allowed back into Bank Junction on weekdays, council recommended

An Equality Impact Assessment drawn up by the consultancy Steer, dated April 2024, concluded the traffic order “has not led to any extensive negative impacts on equality and the impacts on the restrictions outside of these hours is deemed to be negligible”. Steer did note though that it has not been without some impacts, with disabled people and pregnant women among those affected.

In their review, City of London officers recommended the restrictions be retained, with data showing a ‘significant’ reduction in collisions since they were enforced seven years ago.

At this morning’s Planning and Transportation Committee meeting (May 16), Chair Deputy Shravan Joshi began by suggesting the item be given the nod-through, with the officers’ recommendation, due to the forthcoming discussion and final decision at the Court of Common Council. Other members however requested the debate continue as planned, with Deputy Marianne Fredericks saying the public ‘expects’ to see the committee properly scrutinise the proposals before it goes to the Court.

Cyclists at Bank Junction
The junction is limited to access by cyclists and buses between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday -Credit:Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deputy Randall Anderson was among several members who spoke of the impact of the restrictions on the area since 2017. “It is just a remarkably more pleasant environment to walk, cycle, to do anything,” he said, later adding: “It’s a complex junction, with lots of potential turning points, and we all know those can be dangerous.”

The potential risks posed by providing black cabs full access were also raised by Deputy Chair Deputy Graham Packham, who said though he accepts taxis haven’t been directly involved in accidents in the area, “the very presence of more traffic and complexity makes the junction more dangerous”.

Deputy Joshi, while commending the officers’ report, asked about the findings included in the equalities review noting certain groups are impacted by the restrictions. “One of the conversations I’ve been having on this for a number of years now with other members and officers has been around this piece of not leaving a percentage behind," he said. "And it may be a small percentage of people that have those needs, but I think it’s important we don’t say oh it’s alright because the 99 per cent are okay.”

Officers responded by clarifying they did not believe anyone was being ‘left behind’ by the scheme, with all properties around Bank Junction still accessible if required.

Members voted with eight for retaining the restrictions, four against and two abstaining. The recommendation will now go to the Court of Common Council, where it will be further debated and a final decision will be made.

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