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City of London Corporation votes to end Bank Junction taxi ban

Deniz Huseyin
24 June 2024
City of London Corporation officers said the traffic ban at Bank Junction had reduced collisions to
City of London Corporation officers said the traffic ban at Bank Junction had reduced collisions to "virtually nil", with only one collision in the 11 months up to November 2023. PIC: London Cycling Campaign
 

Restrictions on when taxis can access Bank Junction in the City of London are due to be lifted. Since 2017 only buses and cycles have been allowed access to the junction from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday.

The City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council has voted to allow licensed taxis to return to Bank Junction. The 18-month trial, set to start in Spring 2025, would be allowed under an experimental traffic order, provided Transport for London (TfL) approve the proposal. All other traffic, including private hire vehicles, would still be restricted.

Members of the Court of Common Council who voted in favour of lifting the restrictions argued that most licensed taxis are now zero emission and have a “strong safety record”. Dropping the ban would mean those less able to walk, cycle and travel on public transport could have easier access to transportation, “without compromising the wider vision for Bank Junction”.

During the 18-month trial a monitoring exercise would be carried out to assess impacts on traffic, safety and access, along with public consultation.

Ending the ban on licensed taxis at Bank Junction forms part of a strategy to reduce casualties by simplifying the junction, said the City of London Corporation.

Other aims include reducing pedestrian crowding levels and turning Bank into a “place to spend time in rather than pass through”. 

The final phase of Bank Junction works is due to finish on 30 June, with footway widening, new paving, kerbs and wider pedestrian crossing points, said the corporation. There will also be more trees and in-ground planters, as part of the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy which aims to make the Square Mile net zero by 2040.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, Shravan Joshi, said: “The overall work programme at Bank Junction has meant that the junction is already a safer, more pleasant environment to travel through and we will carefully monitor the impact of re-introducing taxis into this vibrant area.

“For those unable to use modes of active travel, or who need transportation when public services aren’t available, black cabs have the potential to enhance this public space in line with our Destination City policy to make the Square Mile a desirable, safe and inclusive visitor destination, boosting economic growth.”

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, welcomed the Court of Common Council’s decision.

He said: “Over the years we have been campaigning for taxi access to be restored many have lost sight of the facts. This is about fixing the unintended consequences and addressing a specific problem whilst retaining the wider restrictions and benefits they have delivered.

“Restoring taxi access and a safe, pleasant Bank Junction are not mutually exclusive. This isn’t about picking between different modes of transport or taking a side, as some will have you believe.”

The transport network across the Square Mile should be “accessible for all and well-serviced by licensed taxis for those who rely on them, whether that’s local business and hospitality venues, tourists, disabled people including wheelchair users or those simply less able to cycle or walk,” said McNamara.

But Simon Munk, Head of Campaigns & Community Development at the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), described the decision to allow the return of taxis to Bank Junction as “a hugely retrograde step that risks derailing the City's own visionary transport strategy and City Plan 2040”. 

He told LTT: “This decision doesn’t appear to have been on the basis of amenity for disabled people, or taxi drivers even, according to the City’s own reports - and it risks significantly undermining not just safety but place-making gains at Bank. The City’s politicians appear in this case to have voted for a mode of transport they like rather than the evidence.”

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