Black cab protest
Black cab drivers protest in central London (Getty Images)

Protesting black cab drivers brought parts of central London to a standstill today (21 April), as they accused Transport for London of failing to regulate unlicensed minicab drivers.

Hundreds of black cab drivers staged the 'go slow' protest through London's Oxford Street, as high street traffic ground to a halt.

They accuse TfL of trying to 'wipe them out', claiming that trade has dropped up to 30 per cent in recent years as a result of competition by unlicensed cab drivers and failure to regulate the industry.

Previous demonstrations have been focused against minicab app Uber, but organisers the United Cabbies Group said that today's demonstration was about the failure of London's transport bosses.

UGC chairman Len Martin told the Evening Standard: "TfL are desperately trying to deflect attention but this is about their woeful performance.

"Times are very hard for taxi drivers, it's causing health problems because they are having to work such long hours, and affecting their family life.

"If TfL enforced the law, there would be plenty of work on the streets."

Martin claimed that black drivers had in the past been violently threatened when they challenged illegal minicab drivers touting for business.

A UGC protest in central London last year against Uber last year drew 5,000 protesters.

TfL defended its record on upholding industry standards.

Garrett Emmerson, TfL's chief operating officer for surface transport said that the number of people picked up by illegal minicab drivers at night had fallen from 66 per cent in 2003, to 15 per cent this year, and the number of sexual assaults recorded in unlicensed cabs had fallen by 38 per cent over the same period.

"As the GLA's Transport Committee recently heard - the capital's taxi licensing and regulatory process is the envy of the world," he said.

"Customer satisfaction rates are high and our robust enforcement work with police colleagues continues to bear down on touting and bogus cabs."