It was easy to find a taxi this morning in the city, but more difficult to find a driver — or at least one who would take you anywhere.
Taxi drivers were protesting about driver safety, blocking the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets. Quite a few empty cabs were parked nearby.
Despite claims of massive traffic disruption, most people seemed to be working around it okay. The trams have a fairly-well established plan for this kind of thing. Buses too would have been diverted. The trains weren’t affected — in fact it made it easier to get out of the station and across the street.
Cars? Who cares. Only a minority of people drive into the city anyway, and usually it’s cars blocking other cars. Not that that stopped the radio traffic people from moaning about it.
Fair enough that the cabbies should protest. Everyone has a right to feel safe at work. Tram drivers have metal cages to lock them away. So do many bus drivers. The transparent protective screens proposed (and already used in Sydney and other cities) seem a good idea. And if my memory serves me correctly, the authorities have been talking about this for a decade or more.
In the end it seems the government has seen sense, with safety screens to be fitted, and other measures to be taken. By 2pm the blockade was disbanding. When I went past at 2:30, all the leaflets had been picked up, and it was like it had never happened.
(If you’re wondering, the PTUA does not normally get involved in taxi-related issues.)