A video shared on social media appears to show black cab drivers angrily shouting at the London Mayor in a foul-mouthed outburst as he walks ahead of them. But the clip sparked a mixed reaction on Twitter.
One Twitter user wrote: “They need supporting. London is dead how do they pay their bills! One guy I spoke with last week had only made 20 quid all day!!!”
Another said: “Language totally unnecessary but the point they are making is correct. Sadiq Khan is destroying London.”
A third added: “No excuse for that sort of abuse. But black cab drivers need to be heard.
“They invest heavily in their careers, and are now buying/renting electric cabs at high cost.
“The changes in roads have been done with no consultation and little thought for them and the service they offer.”
But others criticised the drivers for their “disgraceful” behaviour.
Another said: “Totally accept that Khan has destroyed London but cannot and will not accept language like that.
“I’m a black cab driver and agree with protests but that guy has besmirched our good reputation.”
Darryl Cox, secretary of the London Cab Drivers Club, told the Telegraph in July: “The traffic is gridlocked because Sadiq Khan has helped massively increase the amount of bike lanes being constructed around central locations.
“There is also restricted access to the roads which are being re-designed purely for cyclists, buses and pedestrians.
“It is now harder for us to drop and pick up passengers – especially disabled ones- at some stations as there are fewer spaces to pull over. The lunatic has taken over the asylum.”
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, added: “Any policy which deters people from coming into Central London and safely resuming their old routines, especially those who do not feel safe using public transport and for whom walking and cycling is simply not an option, will undermine London’s recovery and do further economic harm.”
Earlier this month, taxi driver Jim Ludlow told talkRADIO he was quitting the profession due to the spiralling costs for black cabs.
Mr Ludlow said: “At the beginning of October, my insurance runs out and I won’t be renewing it. I won’t be renewing my insurance. I am an owner driver, I’m freehold, and I still end up paying £200 a month insurance, plus fuel. It’s going to be too much to make any money. It’s a big decision.”
Host Kevin O’Sullivan replied: “During lockdown, the London Mayor saw fit to change the road system.
“He set up a load of cycle paths and great big bus lanes for empty buses and now London is impassable.
“Certain parts of this city, due to the mad cycle paths and mad bus lanes, there are just four inches left for cars to go through.
“They are just impassable aren’t they? If you’re a cab driver, you can’t get anywhere, can you?”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “Sadiq is determined that London’s recovery from this pandemic will not be car-led – as even a small increase in traffic would lead to gridlock across the city.
“The temporary emergency measures put in place to encourage Londoners to make as many journeys as possible by bike or on foot are promoting healthy lifestyles, enabling social distancing on public transport, and aim to prevent one public health crisis being replaced with another caused by toxic emissions.”