Taxis hit rock bottomThe menace to the bike riding public posed by Melbourne's out-of-control taxi fleet was highlighted this week when a yellow cab came to grief attempting to navigate the Swanston Street bike route.
Tens of thousands of tram passengers were delayed for hours while police, Yarra Trams officials and emergency services attempted to remove the intruder, which was blocking north-bound trams.
The cab appeared to have attempted to perform a skateboard trick along the edge bike track / tram track interface, but ended up belly down.
No vehicles are allowed in the tram stop blocks which alternate along Swanston Street.
And no cabs are supposed to be in any part of Swanston Street, unless it is a disability specific cab in the act of picking up or setting down a disabled passenger. (A temporary exception is being made for the hotel in Little Bourke during construction of the new Myer development)
Yet taxis are openly flouting the rules and flooding the street, putting riders at risk.
On weekdays, evenings and weekends illegal cab ranks are regularly formed along the street right alongside the parking signs forbidding their presence.
It is not so long ago that riders fought the battle against against tourist buses that were parking in Swanston Street despite being forbidden. It took the death of a rider to get them out.
The threat has reached its peak just as the City of Melbourne has almost completed the re-building of the street, with the opening of the final section in the RMIT precinct.
Increasing numbers of riders will be using Swanston now that works are completed and the warmer, longer days emerge.