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Chaos and Confusion': London Cab Drivers Protest Olympics Over VIP Lanes


"The iconic London black cab was a central part of the imagery that secured London the Games..."

London taxi drivers staged their third protest over exclusion from the VIP road lanes dedicated to Olympic traffic, with just hours to go before the games' opening ceremony.

Cabbies were due to start their protest at London's Hyde Park corner at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT; 12 p.m. EDT) on Friday, but moved their action up to 2 p.m. after police put restrictions on their demonstration. The BBC reported the traffic in the area being "stationary" around this time.

The Olympics opening ceremony is expected to start at 9 p.m. London time.

The drivers of London's iconic black cabs are miffed that they are not allowed into the "Games Lanes" reserved for Olympic athletes, officials and VIPs. Cabbies have held two other demonstrations, including one that jammed traffic at Parliament square.

The BBC reported the Vice Chairman of United Cabbies, Len Martin, saying they of course did not "want to disrupt Londoners" but simply "want [...] to bring to the public's attention the plight of the London cab driver who is unable to bring a service to the Olympic Games during the Games." Here are more thoughts on the situation reported by BBC:

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said: "It remains extraordinary that the licensed taxi drivers who are a key part of London's transport system are still banned from the VIP lanes on the eve of the Olympics.

"The iconic London black cab was a central part of the imagery that secured London the Games and, even at this late stage, Mayor Boris Johnson should step in and allow them to use the Olympics lanes to help keep the city moving."

Watch this CCTV report covering one of the protests:

Here is raw footage of one of the traffic jams caused by an earlier protest -- with much honking:

In addition to the cab drivers feeling "left out" overall, they have also express angst over how it makes their job ferrying customers from point A to point B with so many roads they can't use. London Loves Business reported Licensed Taxi Drivers Association general secretary Steve McNamara calling the situation "chaos and confusion" that was poorly designed and managed.

Traffic was a concern several years ago when London was still in the running to host this year's Olympic Games. TheBlaze reported earlier this year when committee officials were visiting the city, traffic controllers changed the lights to green to make sure gridlock that is often seen during rush hour was not experienced by decision makers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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