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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Sami Quadri

Bank junction: Decision to be made on whether to lift controversial weekday taxi ban

A decision on whether taxis should be given full access to one of London’s busiest junctions is set to be made on Thursday afternoon.

Traffic restrictions were first imposed on Bank junction in May 2017 under a £1.7m scheme to address road safety concerns.

A weekday ban on cabs was introduced following the death of a cyclist and over 100 injuries. At the time, it was considered the most hazardous junction in the Square Mile.

The changes, which now allow only buses, cyclists and pedestrians full access to the junction, have reduced casualties to "virtually nil."

Currently, only buses and pedal cyclists are permitted to cross the junction or travel westbound on Cornhill from Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm.

As part of a review of the junction, external City of London officers reported that the 2017 changes have reduced collisions to "virtually nil," with only one collision recorded in the 11 months up to November 2023.

The document said there was "mixed anecdotal evidence on the economic impact" of the taxi restrictions. "There is a clear strength of feeling amongst taxi drivers and passengers for a change at Bank," it says. "The review of the traffic restrictions has found no strong transport grounds for making a change to the restrictions to allow taxis during restricted hours."

The officers suggested a change might be needed due to "equality concerns" for those who rely on taxis as essential mobility aids.

They also noted anecdotal evidence of the economic impacts of the Bank restrictions and their effect on the City's reputation as a business centre and visitor destination.

The officers said the arguments were "finely balanced," but as the law prioritises the "expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians," they recommended no changes be made.

In 2015, Ying Tao, a 26-year-old cyclist, was killed by a turning lorry at the junction. Her death prompted a protest and a petition signed by over 13,000 people calling for a ban on lorries during rush hour.

Ying Tao was killed at Bank junction (City of London Police Collect)

Lord Holmes of Richmond, who is blind, said taxis should be allowed to use all of the junction. "For blind people, for anyone who has access needs, if they want a point-to-point journey for leisure, for tourism, for work, they are effectively barred from this part of the City," he said. "That can't be right for equality, it can't be right for our economy."

Tom Fyans, from London Cycling Campaign, said he wanted the junction to stay as it was. "The whole area just feels a lot safer for pedestrians for everybody around," he said.

"It's a great place to hang out, to eat. Economically it has been beneficial and environmentally it's great. So we just don't want to see a backward step; we need to go forward in this city around green and active travel, not backwards."

The City of London Common Council is due to meet on Thursday afternoon.

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