Does Paddick get it?

I’ve previously written about Brian Paddick’s bizarre haranguing of Ken Livingstone during an ITV debate for increasing the number of uniformed police officers on London’s streets. This doesn’t seem to be the only are where he just doesn’t seem to get it.

Last night Paddick got some publicity on BBC London News for signing some pledge to support taxi drivers. Apparently key demands included more favourable (to taxis) traffic light timings and a "consultation" on banning rickshaws. He got a soundbite in about how cabbies have worked hard to pass their the Knowledge and meet tough vehicle maintenance standards and should get something in return.

Surely cabbies do get something in return for the Knowledge and their other regulatory compliance? After all everyone knows that black cabs are much more expensive than mini cabs in London. They get a charge a regulated fare rate that is much higher than virtually all other mini cab firms (luxury limo hire excluded). Plus most cabbies are self employed not working for a company so they keep more of their fare as profit.

That’s all without considering that in the age of sat nav the benefit to the passenger of being driven around by someone who has passed the Knowledge is getting slimmer and slimmer. It’s increasingly an anachronism and, though I rarely take a taxi,  I’ve even seen the odd black cab  make use of GPS navigation.  Give sat nav technology a few more years to mature and I’d say there would be a compelling case to consign the Knowledge to the dustbin of history.

I fully understand that Paddick needs to chase after every vote he gets but he needs to recognise the big picture: Whilst black cabs are an important part of London’s transport infrastructure they are never going to be a solution to our congestion problems.

As for banning rickshaws… has he been smoking some of that stuff with which he made his name by being lenient on?

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