London Bridge will be blockaded this afternoon causing traffic misery, as a minicab protest against low emissions charges rumbles on.
Hundreds of minicab drivers are expected to block London Bridge with their cars from 4pm-6pm in the fifth week of protests against the new Ultra-Low Emissions Zone charge being introduced in April.
The IWGB union estimates that the move could cut the take home pay of private hire drivers by up to 25 per cent. The protest has been organised by its United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch.
The drivers will then march onto city hall in protest against “the Mayor’s tax on the poor.”
The £12.50 charge – which does not apply to black cabs – will apply to most vehicle types driving into the congestion zone which do not meet low emissions standards.
Blockading drivers will also likely put buses on diversion, as they will be unable to take passengers over the bridge.
Muhumed Ali, Secretary of the UPHD’s London Committee, said: “London minicab drivers often earn less than the minimum wage and the Mayor’s tax on the poor only risks pushing us and our families into even greater poverty, while highly profitable operators like Uber get off scot free.
“TfL and the Mayor have underestimated the strength of feeling amongst drivers if they think that they can continue to ignore our concerns.”]#
The direct action will continue until TfL backs down with its proposals, the drivers have vowed.
However, TfL has insisted the move is necessary to clean up the capital’s dirty air.
“The private hire trade, along with all road users, have a central role in reducing the filthy fumes circulating in our city,” said Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning last month.
“The changes to the Congestion Charge will contribute to fewer vehicles driving where pollution is most concentrated while ensuring the cleanest minicabs or those that are wheelchair accessible continue to enter the zone without paying a charge.”