UK

Olympics: London's cabbies

As people from around the world descend on London to experience the 2012 Olympics Games, what do the drivers of London's iconic back cabs make of the impact on the city that's their 'office'?

Here, some of London's cabbies share their views on the impact the Olympics have had on them.

Graham Long

At first I was looking forward to the Olympics, but as it got closer I grew more and more sceptical.

Before they started we heard numerous times from politicians and officials that this would be a great time for London's cabbies - it hasn't been. The work just doesn't seem to be there.

The ban on us driving in the Games Lanes means that customers' journeys are often longer because we need to take alternative routes. Fares are costing more than they should do because of this.

Luckily, passengers have been sympathetic. They think it's ridiculous that we can't use the lanes when they are mostly empty.

Money has been spent on expensive BMWs and drivers to take VIPs around, but the world's best taxi drivers - London's cabbies - are available to ferry people from place to place. Nobody knows the streets of London better than us.

The way the London cab driver has been treated is disgusting.

Douglas Griffin

I really wish we hadn't bothered hosting the Games. Trade has been terrible. It has just plummeted.

The streets of London are like our office in a way - they are where we work. So when all these extra people come in and cabbies get no benefit from it, it is infuriating.

People get in black cabs to get somewhere fast. At the minute it is quicker walking because of the restrictions of where we can go, especially near the Olympic Park.

No one sees the point in using taxis. I'm just grateful to anybody who needs a ride at the moment.

The Olympic Lanes have annoyed me - I've barely seen an official Olympic vehicle!

I try not to talk to customers too much about the Olympics. It's a sore point with me. It's appalling how this has been handled.

I wish the Olympics had been given to Paris.

Michael Gilmartin

My expectations were pretty low from the beginning. I thought the Olympics would be a difficult time for the London cabbie, and they have been.

The city has turned into a theme park. There seems to be a different event every week. It's not a working town anymore.

I've been out driving during the past few days, but there's barely any work. I've resigned myself to having two weeks off now.

Tourists have been scared away by high hotel prices and many professionals are working from home or simply avoiding taxis because they're afraid of getting stuck in traffic jams.

People that have tickets to Olympic events are given travel cards, so they aren't using black cabs either.

Traffic hasn't been too bad but the Games Lanes are confusing. You'd think after seven years we'd be able to get it right.

The Olympics has killed London.

Sean Farrell

I like the Olympics. I've been listening to the Games on the radio and have tickets to an event next week.

There is no doubt though that London cabbies have been badly affected. The biggest problem is the lack of work.

People have chosen to stay away from London - even many cabbies have gone on holiday because they knew business would be bad.

The traffic during the Olympics is the biggest conversation topic I have ever known in my job as a cabbie.

The traffic and the lanes have not caused too many problems though. Certain destinations are a nightmare to reach because of the lanes. Passengers sometimes end up getting charged more as I have to take a longer route. But some areas of London have less traffic than usual.