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Is it all back to normal now? Well certainly things have picked up here in Sunny Brighton & Hove the last couple of weeks (early August). I’m driving the cab pretty much back to full time now and it has been very noticeable seeing the local restaurants packed with people, and even queues out- side at times, making the most of the new found freedom and good weather at the weekends.


BIKE LANES – RANKS - KEY SNATCHING BIKE LANES TO BE REMOVED


Like in many areas during the initial Covid-19 period the government in its wisdom allotted money to local councils to take measures for social distancing, walking and bike riding. Quite how bike riding would be considered within the context of the virus always puzzled me?


It’s still a little quiet during the week and late night com- muters getting off the trains could be a lot better than it is. I was speaking to a regular about this and she told me that in one way it was nice to be able to get a seat on the train - but in another way the lack of train travellers from London is an indication that people have either lost their jobs or are still working from home.


However with the increase of work for the local trade has the consequences of the ever increasing out of town cars from Lewes, Southampton, Portsmouth, Chichester and Havant working here and effectively sticking two fingers up at the local trade and local conditions of licensing.


We even had a Lewes hackney using one of our ranks who told a Brighton & Hove driver he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to! All caught on video which has been sent to Lewes Licensing.


And speaking of out of town hackneys and following on from my ramblings last month about London black cabs using our ranks for hours and hours of free park- ing along with photos of them - I have no hesitation in naming and shaming another one doing this on a busy seafront rank which only take two cabs. This is extremely selfish as it stops us from using it, but we have a ‘Parking Enforcement’ hotline which we are not afraid to use and I was told via the cab jungle news local WhatsApp group that this cab got a ticket.


So there is justice! We are trying to work and earn money whilst these ignorant drivers try to get free parking. I did post this on Twitter and had some good comments of support from London cab drivers and also a couple of nasty comments call- ing me a grass - but I’m too old to care and my mum still loves me. So to all you London cab colleagues - we will always wel- come you to our city, but please stay off our ranks.


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In fact the council has got a slogan running on the back of the local buses stating “Walk Bus Bike”. Note the council totally favouring the buses here, with no mention of suggesting getting a taxi.


The consequence of this pot of gold being handed out was that suddenly over night we lost a taxi rank outside a super- market to allow for a pavement to be widened for ‘social distancing’ and it was presumed the plan was to allow people to walk further apart. However our commandeered rank ended up with cafe tables on it. Of course I went into Hulk mode and I rolled up my sleeves and banged the table. This resulted in apologies (again) and the end result was that we got a rank reasonably nearby which pushed the out of town Uber cars away from that area where they ranked up... so a bonus to boot .


So... getting back to bike lanes. Down here we had two controversial ‘Temporary’ bike lanes (please note the word ‘Temporary’) put in on the main seafront road and the A27, known locally as the Old Shoreham Road. Both roads are main arteries through the city. These bikes lanes have caused a great split in the city with a few Facebook groups being formed to attack the council which is Green governed and supported by Labour.


But to cut a long story short the council conducted a city survey on the OSR bike lane and the nuts and bolts were that it was not supported - despite the twisting and turning of data that was used afterwards to justify this bike lane.


Additionally the council claimed that all stakeholders were invited to workshops, which was not the case for the local taxi trade, and I made this very clear at the main council meeting on the future of the OSR bike lane which the chair begrudgingly conceded. More about this chair further on.


The decision was taken to remove the OSR bike lane and this was only because the Labour and Conservative councillors voted together. Now this was a big surprise! But those coun- cillors had actually listened to the people whom they represent, and by putting national politics aside, this just shows that opposing parties can actually work together.


SEPTEMBER 2021


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