There's been some predictable whataboutery following the release of Boris Johnson's extortionate taxi bills.
So just to clear all that up, here are the rules that the Mayor personally signed up to when he took the job.
TAXI CARDS5.1 Cards are available to the Mayor, Assembly Members, Directors and some other senior officers.Taxis should only be used when public transport is unavailable or impractical5.2 It is expected that the majority of journeys will be undertaken by public transport, and the majority of Assembly Members have now taken up the option to have an Annual Oystercard. However, the ability to use taxis has been provided where the use of public transport is impossible or inappropriate e.g. when carrying large or heavy packages.Taxis are to be used for official GLA business only5.3 Taxi cards should only be used for GLA business. If they are used for travel from home to work (ordinary commuting) or private journeys the Authority must be reimbursed for the costs of those journeys. (See Travel, Section 3, for more details). A tolerance of up to 20 minutes’ waiting time is permitted (noting that, for example, it is sometimes difficult to be absolutely precise as to when previous engagements will end) – with the Authority to be reimbursed by the individual concerned for any waiting time costs in excess of 20 minutes. The Chair and Deputy Chair of the London Assembly may, when undertaking consecutive engagements and carrying their badge of office, by exception incur reasonable waiting time costs in excess of 20 minutes.Taxi cards should only be used by the Cardholder5.4 You should not give your card to anyone else to use. You must quote the card number, cardholder name and PIN number when booking a taxi.5.5 If there is consistent contravention by cardholders of the Taxi card guidance, then the card will be removed from the authorised user.5.6 If you need to use a taxi and are not a card holder, a “central” corporate taxi card is held by the Head of Financial Services and can be used for exceptional journeys where urgency is required. Authorisation for the use of this card must be sought from the Head of Financial Services, telephone 020 7983 4204, prior to its use.Home to Work Travel3.12 The GLA will not normally reimburse you for travel to and from home and work. There are, however, some exceptions to this general rule and these are covered below.Late Night working3.13 You can claim the cost of using a taxi/personal car to or from home and work where all the following conditions are met:· you are occasionally required to work late, (after 9pm).· those occasions are neither frequent nor regular, (frequent means more than sixty times a year and regular means a predictable pattern), and· by the time you can go home public transport has stopped or it would not be reasonable to use public transport.
So is that clear enough?
Take a look through Boris's expenses yourself. Do you think he should have his own taxi card "cut into four pieces" now?
And rules aside, Boris promised Londoners that he would ensure tax-payer value at all times.
As commenter saifu03 put it:
"Where exactly does Boris cycle to? Is it just to and from photo shoots? The taxi receipts here would suggest so. I saw Boris at Waterloo station at the ticket barriers and he looked lost. As if it was a foreign land.This HAS to be seen in the context of his campaigning. This is directly contrary to his campaigning for lower cost travel and cycling. DIRECTLY contrary. 1st class train travel; short (walkable/cyclable) journeys by taxi; long journeys by taxi; accomodation for party politics; £400 on *low cost economy return* to zurich; expensed commutes and even more."
Perhaps the simple truth is that like his hero Maggie Thatcher, and his old pal Andrew Gilligan, traveling on "mainstream" public transport is something strictly for the plebs.