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London battles fire-breathing black cabs

TX4 uprising contained - for now

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RoTM Transport for London last week announced the temporary withdrawal of 500 black cabs following eight spontaneous combustion events in three months - the first incendiary transportation incidents in the capital since Red Ken Livingstone's removal from office apparently contained the fire-breathing vehicle menace.

Sadly not. TfL was moved to act on Wednesday hours after the last taxi bonfire claimed another TX4-type cab with a 56 registration. It ordered all similar Hackney carriages to "undergo safety checks" at manufacturer LTI in Coventry.

A TfL spokesman told the BBC: "This is not a step we take lightly, but we cannot take any chances with the lives of London's taxi drivers or their passengers. Licences will only be reinstated once LTI have certified that individual vehicles have received a safety check."

Bob Oddy, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, told the Beeb: "The drivers I've spoken to, who were personally involved, haven't had any passengers in their cabs. They had plenty of time to get out of their cabs before the vehicles flared up. Some of the reports have implied that they're flaring up very quickly. That's not really the case."

Those who you who might be thinking at this point that we at the neoLuddite Resistance Army have taken our eyes off the ball on this one, think again.

Two weeks ago, we were contacted by someone claiming to be a black cabbie with first-hand knowledge of a planned uprising by the TX4. Naturally, we were sceptical, but his answer to our challenge "What's the best way to take two American tourists from Trafalgar Square to The Strand?" - to which he replied: "Via Tower Hill, Bow, Romford, Dartford River Crossing, Greenwich", etc, etc - proved that he was indeed a master of The Knowledge and we awaited further information with bated breath.

None was forthcoming, as our informant then went silent. Fear, or an unscheduled ride in a satanic Renault? You decide.

Whatever the case, TfL has clearly moved with lightning speed to contain the threat. We'd like to believe that mayor Boris Johnson played no small part in this, since until now we had no evidence the Tory blond bombshell was a Lizard Alliance puppet controlled by an exploding cranial implant from the offworld mothership.

However, the BBC notes that, in the light of the TX4 terror, the London Assembly's Labour Group insists he should "now reconsider his proposals to reduce taxi inspections from twice to once a year". Ahem. NRA London cadres are hereby placed on Defcon Laguna* and asked to closely monitor Johnson for further "liberalisation" of vehicle safety regulations. ®

* Those Defcons in full

The Rise of the Machines™

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Humans taste of bacon, says gourmet robot (10 November 2006)
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The rise of the rat-brain controlled android (16 December 2004)
Boffins unleash robotic cockroach (15 November 2004)
Ukrainian teen fights the Rise of the Machines™ (13 October 2004)
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Killer cyberappliances: Satan implicated (28 June 2004)
US develops motorised robobollard (29 April 2004)
Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie (22 April 2004)
Fire-breathing buses threaten London (24 March 2004)
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