Labour councillors blast seafront cycle lane as ‘ideologically driven, poorly planned and totally unnecessary’

Posted On 25 Aug 2020 at 7:25 pm

Five Labour councillors have criticised the seafront cycle lane for causing an “unacceptably difficult time” for the local taxi trade with unnecessary “mayhem and gridlock”.

They said that putting in a cycle lane next to the existing one at the expense of a lane of traffic was “ideologically driven, poorly planned and totally unnecessary”.

Councillor Jackie O’Quinn, the former chair of the Licensing Committee on Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “I am writing on behalf of all the local taxi drivers who at present are having an unacceptably difficult time working in the city due to the mayhem and gridlock that has been created by the closure of two lanes of the seafront stretch of the A259.

“This was done to create a ‘temporary’ cycle lane which would purportedly make social distancing easier so comes under the covid-19 emergency banner.

“Although many wonder how it actually achieves that, as it is hardly used, with cyclists preferring to use the cycling lane that was already available along the seafront.

“There have been strong signs that the cycle lane will actually become permanent and be extended further along the seafront, causing even more havoc.

“I have been a member of the Licensing Committee for over five years and was chair for four years and am now opposition spokesperson.

“During that time, I have done my very best to stand up for the taxi trade with the assistance of other members of the Licensing Committee.

“We have stood up to Uber, we have fought to get a better deal over the train station for taxi drivers and recently we wrote to a government minister to ask that money was made available for taxi drivers for perspex screens and personal protection equipment, especially as many taxi drivers are of BAME origin and therefore very vulnerable to getting seriously ill from covid-19.

“We were met with a very disappointing and loud silence.

“During the covid emergency there were only 27 per cent of local taxi drivers working and, even then, the pickings were slim.

“Many taxi drivers were on the edge of despair as they fell through the holes in the net of many of the assistance schemes from the government.

“Finally, lockdown ended and taxi drivers hoped for recovery, which looked likely until the double whammy of the closure of two lanes on the A259, which many consider was ideologically driven, poorly planned and totally unnecessary.

“The A259 is a main arterial road from east to west and vice versa and as such it needs the traffic to run smoothly.

“Unfortunately, it does no such thing currently and is causing misery not only to taxi drivers but to countless other people trying to get across the city in cars and on buses as the impact of the closures affects many of the surrounding roads.

“Please don’t forget that our taxi drivers are a lifeline for the disabled and vulnerable and are also vital for the tourist trade.

“If we want the city to recover economically, we need to be a lot smarter than this and keep the city moving.

“By all means have cycle lanes but let’s use some common sense, consultation and compromise in order to establish where they can work best and without causing such conflict between drivers and cyclists and putting the city’s economic recovery at risk.”

The statement was also signed by three other Labour members of the Licensing Committee – councillors Chris Henry, Peter Atkinson and Carmen Appich – as well as their Labour colleague Les Hamilton.

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    5 labour councillors seem to be suffering from memory loss, wasn’t this the project you approved while running the council?

  2. Andrew Phillips Reply

    “Ideologically driven” – presumably Labour’s ideology as part of how we got the cycle lane. For an ex-chair of licensing Jackie O’Quinn doesn’t appear to understand taxi routes in the city very much. Most taxi journeys, as an ex-cabby myself, were to and from the station or across the north of the city. Almost no journeys within the city need to go along the A259, that’s mostly for private cars going between East and West Sussex and providing only pollution to the city not tourism.

    • Jen Murray Reply

      That’s rubbish. Many taxis go along the seafront. This ridiculous cycle lane is affecting buses too.

  3. Stuart Reply

    The taxi trade is hardly the hill to die on. Taxis are possibly the least egalitarian form of public transport. If all the modes to be concerned about, taxis must be close the bottom of the list.

    • Benny Reply

      “The hill to die on” ? How weird. Taxis are the closest thing to convenient travel. They are available where and when you want, they take you where and when you need. Public transport fails on those points. Unfortunately, taxis are expensive, unlees there are four of you but our incompetent council sets the prices, as well as making journies longer through congestion and thus making them more expensive.

    • Nathan Adler Reply

      Great to see these councillors make a stand and when the time comes they will need to show they beleive this and vote against the seafront cycle lane.

      • Valerie Reply

        Unless sitting on the relevant cttee dealing with transport, the Licensing cttee voices won’t count.

        Taxis licenced by the city need all the help they can get & the A259 has been compromised for patient transport ambulance use as well as taxis. Both are essential public service vehicles that use the A259 a LOT

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Why is the verb “blast” in the headline? The quoted remarks are more of a ramble by a member of the Party that brought in the cycle paths.

    I recall a survey of taxi drivers by an independent body. Most taxi drivers thought there were too many taxi drivers. I asked how many of the taxi drivers thought themselves superfluous to requirements. The answer was, er, none.

    My suspicion is that when taxi drivers make a final parking in the clouds, the first thing they do is to let loose a series of complaints to St. Peter.

  5. Clive Reply

    Brighton’s Green and Momentum labour councillors, put in power by the student vote, students who come from elsewhere, are in the city for a couple of years, who don’t pay council tax, who don’t have cares such as mortgage, running a business getting to their work etc! In short don’t live in the real world! And won’t till they grow up! Alone the tree huggers and Guardian reading lovelies wouldn’t have been able to elect these dicks!

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