Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 09:31 UK

Taxi protest over toilet parking

Black cabs
Westminster claims it more than any other borough to help the taxi trade

London taxi drivers have staged a protest at parking charges they claim cost them £3 just to use the toilet.

Drivers said they have to pay a minimum of £3 to park and go to the toilet or risk a fine of £80, complaining there are not enough taxi-only bays.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union wants Westminster City Council to waive parking fees for 10 minutes for black cabs on bays close to public toilets.

The council said it is creating rest ranks where drivers can park for free.

London taxi drivers picketed Westminster City Council for an hour from 1430 BST.

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union's general secretary Bob Crow said: "Black taxi drivers provide an essential service for Londoners and Westminster should play fair and cut our members some slack with the parking enforcement to enable them to park up and do the necessary."

Westminster councillor Danny Chalkley said: "This particular group does not have the backing of the three main bodies which represent the taxi trade, including the London Taxi Drivers Association, and has not made contact with the council to raise its concerns.

"If they had they would realise that Westminster does more than any other borough to help the taxi trade and that we are currently working on the creation of the first ever designated rest ranks in the capital, where taxi drivers will be able to park for free."

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