Iqbal from Express Taxis in Newham has been driving cabs around East London for 20 years.
He is excited about the Olympics coming to his home borough.
But he fears that hugely increased congestion on the roads here will mean his business is just not commercially viable….
Iqbal from Express Taxis is concerned about the impact of congestion on the roads around the Olympic Site
The problem is Iqbal’s cab is not metered. He estimates that clogged up roads could mean that a journey that usually takes 5 minutes and costs £5, could take 4 or 5 times longer. And he doesn’t think that customers will be willing to pay £15 or £20 for the same distance. He is worried that fare rises of this magnitude could irreparably damage his firm’s reputation. But if he doesn’t charge more, he feels it could hardly be worthwhile turning up for work.
This week Transport for London (TfL) voted down a proposed 22% fare rise for black cabs during the Olympics. The Licensed Drivers Association responded by warning that 40% of its members would not work unless evening rates applied during the day. TfL has however approved a 20p increase to the £2.20 “flag fall” – which is the minimum fare applied to the meter when a passenger gets into the taxi.
But for cabbies like Iqbal who drive without a meter, the situation is even more difficult. He says he has no choice but to try to work during the Olympics. Ultimately though, he fears that he may lose out to the Games.