Cabbies to hike fares during Olympics

Anthony Devlin/PA

Londoners and visitors to the capital during the 2012 Olympics will be hit with extortionate taxi fares, if plans for black cabbies to hike prices by 20% get approved.

It is reported that drivers want the bonus in return for an agreement not to boycott the games.

Leaders of London's biggest cab association told Boris Johnson last week that the hike would act as compensation for having to drive in the capital's congested streets. Cabbies want to charge the peak-time evening fare throughout the day for a month while the Olympics and Paralympics take place.

The proposed move would see anyone travelling inside the M25 affected by the premium, meaning those living in London's suburbs would be charged extra despite receiving few of the games' benefits.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, which represents a third of the capital's cab drivers, said their members should get the same treatment as tube drivers during the games. The proposals have been put forward by the LTDA as part of a Transport for London consultation ending this month.

Unions have already negotiated a bonus of up to £1,200 for tube drivers and £500 for staff working on Network Rail.

If the bonus is approved, it could set a precedent for other similar events, including the 2017 track and field games, approved yesterday on Friday by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
LTDA leader Bob Oddy told The Evening Standard: "The chief issue is that a significant number of members have expressed concern that problems may arise in the Olympics. A lot have indicated they may take summer holidays during the games.

"There's going to be a high demand and we feel that one of the ways of encouraging drivers would be for TfL to consider providing an incentive to work by offering enhanced tariffs."

John Mason, TfL's director of taxi and private hire, said: "The consultation is ongoing and no decision has been made. It's for the TfL board to approve a proposal or changes to taxi fares."

Read Full Story