Boris seeks to build bridges with cabbies

Mayor of London Boris Johnson sits behind the wheel of a vintage taxi outside City Hall in London.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson sits behind the wheel of a vintage taxi outside City Hall in London.
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Boris Johnson bit his tongue as he met newly “badged” black cab drivers today, saying “I promise not to say anything rude”.

A week after his foul-mouthed encounter with a cabbie in a London street, the city’s mayor was full of praise for cab drivers at an event celebrating the 150th anniversary of The Knowledge, the stringent application process they have to go through.

“If I have a flat tyre on my bicycle or if I am so drenched that I do not dare cycle any more, a black cab driver will pick me up and then take my bike as well.

“They are the St Bernard dogs of today’s London. They do a fantastic service. They are one of the great, great parts of the London transport service.”

Last week, Mr Johnson was filmed exchanging abuse with a black cab driver.

In the video, he could be heard uttering a four-letter word at a cab driver who had ubraided him over the ongoing row over licences in the city.

Yesterday Mr Johnson dismissed accounts of the encounter, saying: “It has been much exaggerated.”

He added: “It was a minor exchange between two adults - no children or animals were involved. I was simply getting the ball back over the net.”

The mayor, who has come under fire for failing to protect the black cab sector, said he would not ban mobile car booking apps such as Uber but would look at introducing stricter regulations.

This could include English language tests and geographical knowledge tests.

Mr Johnson said: “It is a thing called consumer choice.

“What needs to happen now is the black cab trade need to make this their friend and adapt.

“Black cabs have always used technology in the past and this is a chance for them to use technology and extend their lead as the premier servce.”

Earlier in the day the London Mayor had backed a plan that would see every young person in the city should have at least 100 hours of careers advice or work experience by the age of 16.