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Taxi drivers protest in St John's Wood
Taxi drivers joined forces to call for full access to London's Olympic Route Network during next summer's Games.
Members of the United Cabbies Group (UCG) staged a drive-in demonstration, clogging up the St John's Wood Road roundabout, as part of an ongoing campaign to allow them to drive on all parts of the route.
They were aiming to cause disruption during an Olympic archery test event which was being held at nearby Lord's cricket ground on Thursday evening.
Cab drivers will be allowed to use two-thirds of the Olympic Route Network (ORN), but will be denied access to the remaining one-third, made up of dedicated Games Lanes for athletes, officials and media.
Jonathan Myers, UCG spokesman, said: "There's no reason why we shouldn't be allowed to use 100 per cent of the route.
"Taxis are fully wheelchair accessible, and they're the only way disabled people will be able to get to the Games.
"We feel that London is going to come to a halt anyway during the Games, but it's going to be much more of an inconvenience if taxis are not allowed in the Games Lanes.
He added that if their demands were not listened to, London should be braced for more action.
"They will not listen to use, so the only way we can make our point is to demonstrate," he said.
"We're doing this to show people what London's going to be like when the Games are on.
"There will be 100 days of road access restrictions before, during and after the Games, and this will have a catastrophic effect on the licensed taxi trade, a trade that was used to help secure the staging of the Games."
At Lord's, the archery is scheduled to take place over the first eight days of the Olympic Games, after which the ORN in the area will no longer be needed.
A Transport for London spokesman said: "The fact of the matter is that black cabs, in common with all other road users, will be able to use the ORN - which itself will only represent one per cent of London's roads.
"A third of the ORN will have dedicated Games Lanes and it will be these that taxis cannot access.
"The Games Lanes will be used by athletes, officials and the media to ensure they get to their events on time."
* Do you think taxi drivers should be able to use the whole of the Olympic Route Network? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
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