Formally The Anderson Shelter...An Around Midnight Publication ©2012-2014.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

In Her Own Words : Rebecca, 24, was brutally attacked on her way home, after a night out.

There's been a lot of talk about the price of a Taxi.
Many people say we are expensive and that they would rather use the cheap minicab touts. 

But what price do you put on your safety?

Below is a story sent to Taxi Leaks by a victim of a minicab predator. Just one of the alleged 21 minicab rapes from the last year. 
That's just the ones that were reported, the Met Police suggest 90% of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported. This factor would put the yearly figure closer to a staggering 200, or to put it another way, approximately 4 a week.  

The fact is, a safe Taxi home is not expensive,
ITS PRICELESS.


Rebecca's Story:

"I can still remember certain smells, that send me into a state of panic. The vanilla air freshener, his breath from the Red Bull he kept swigging and his cheap aftershave was pungent.

These smells always take me back to that moment he held me down and raped me in the back of his minicab.

I'd been out clubbing with my friend in Shoreditch and it was the early hours of the morning. We'd had a good drink and now ready for bed, we stood on the kerb looking for the orange light of a Taxi to take us home 

Just as we were about to phone for a taxi, a private hire minicab pulled up. The driver asked if we wanted a cab. He asked us where we were going, my friend Brenda lived on Garret Lane, then me onto Putney. He quoted a ridiculously cheap fare and 
even agreed to go via McDonald's Wandsworth drive through as Brenda was hungry.

We arrived at my friends house. 'Text me as soon as you're home' she said.

The minicab drove off again but stopped at a newsagents. 'I'm thirsty,' he said. 'Do you want anything?'

I asked for a Lucozade, thinking it might help sober me up. 

But when he handed it to me, I was aware that the seal had been broken. Halfway through drinking it, I realised it seemed to taste weird, so I stopped drinking. I never thought for one moment that he'd actually spiked my drink.

At some point, Brenda called my phone;
'Where are you?' she asked worriedly. 
But before I could answer, the driver snatched the phone and said "She wants to come home with me", then he laughed, which really freaked me out.

Things were becoming more blurry and I could hear Brenda going mad, shouting at him to take me straight home, but he just laughed. 

He slipped the phone back into my bag and I started to relax slightly as the area seemed familiar. But at the last minute, he didn't turn into my street. Instead, he pulled into a deserted side street. 

He got out and came round to my door and then roughly pulled me out. That's when I started to scream. 

He grabbed my neck in a head lock and said he would kill me if I screemed again. He opened the rear door and pushed me onto the back seat and climbed in on top of me, ripping at my clothing. My whole body froze, and I blacked out.

When I came round, he was still on top of me. I could hear him, I could smell him, but I couldn't feel him. It was like my body, my mind, my ability to talk, everything was paralysed. 

When he was done, he dragged me out on the pavement, almost naked and he drove off.

I lay there crying until a young couple in a passing car pulled up and called the police. Brenda had heard everything, as when he'd put the mobile in my bag, he failed to turn it off.

Through CCTV the driver was traced and arrested. Although the evidence against him was strong, he denied rape. When I stood up in court, his barrister called me a liar and said I'd offered sex in exchange for the fare. I felt isolated and frightened all over again.

But with the witness statements from my friend and the young couple, plus the police drug test result, the verdict came back guilty. I broke down, overwhelmed to know that people had believed me. The driver was sentenced to nine years.

It's been tough, but with counselling, I've finally realised that although the attack will always be a part of me, I won't let it take over my life."

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 
and  http://www.rapecrisislondon.org

Friday, April 24, 2015

Minicab driver jailed after picking up woman in Shoreditch and taking her to be raped.

A minicab driver and his friend have been jailed after the driver picked up a woman in Shoreditch, kidnaped her, then took her to a house in E17 where she was raped.

            Salam Mohammed.                          Mohammed Sallah

The minicab driver who was touting, accepted the fare to take a young woman home, but instead drove her to his friend’s house. Both men were given custodial sentences on Thursday, 23 April at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Salah Mohammed, 31 (03.05.1983) of Varley Road, E16 had been found guilty of kidnap and encouraging, or assisting the commission of a serious offence, namely rape and jailed for nine years.

His friend, Mohammed Sallah, 38 (01.01.1977) of Hylands Road, E17 had pleaded guilty to rape at an earlier hearing and was jailed for seven years two months.

The court heard how on the night of Friday, 7 March 2014 Salah Mohammed was touting and having his car cleaned at the carwash on Great Eastern Street, EC1. He was approached by the victim’s friend, who asked him to take the victim home. The victim had been drinking and felt unwell. 

He was given £10 for the fare and the victim’s friend took a photograph of the vehicle’s registration plate. The friend also called the victim’s family and said that the victim, a woman in her twenties, was on her way home.

When the victim did not arrive at her home address, her non-appearance was reported to police during the early hours of 8 March. It transpired that instead of taking her home, Mohammed had taken the victim to the home of his friend, Mohammed Sallah ,eight miles away in Walthamstow, where Sallah raped her in his house.

After the rape the victim was taken by Salah Mohammed to Wood Green where she was let out of the car and was able to contact her family and speak to police to report the offence.

Detective Constable Dele Bolude from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “This was a despicable crime. I would like to praise the victim’s courage in coming forward and reporting it to police. I hope that this sentence sends a clear message regarding the seriousness of this type of offending and gives other victims of sexual offences the courage to come forward.”

Detective Inspector Simon Giles from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “The Met Police is committed to prosecuting sex offenders and working with partners to support victims of crime. The events of March 8 last year have had a devastating effect on the victim but I hope that these convictions will give her some comfort and closure on her road to recovery.” 



Offending Taxi Sign Taken Down, But Nothing To Do With Compliance.

It's been bought to our attention that a long running dispute between Taxi drivers and a certain minicab operator in Victoria Road, Ruislip.

For over 6 years the company, Alfa Cars, has been displaying a sign advertising the companies service in their front window using the word Taxi. As we know this is not allowed under the London Cab Act and the Private Hire Act. 

Complaints have been made direct to TfL by Taxi drivers over the last 6 years which seem to regularly fall on deaf ears.

But we can now report that at last the sign has been taken down. 


Unfortunately this removal was not due to compliance checks or as a result of the numerous complaints. The sign was removed to make way for a new sign which advertises the fact that Alfa Cars now has its own SmartPhone app.


94 Year Old Woman Knocked Down By Minicab, Plus Letter To Editor.

A 94-year-old woman is fighting for her life and her husband is seriously injured after a crash involving a minicab in a busy north London road.

The collision at the junction of West Heath Drive and North End Road, Golders Green, happened at about 4pm. Roads in the area were shut until 7.30pm.

Police initially said the woman was in a serious condition but sadly this evening were forced to downgrade her condition to critical.




One of TfL's finest, taking out a motorcyclist in High Holborn.






            Another one of Hendy's Heroes 



Letter to the Editor:

Dave Davies makes a lot of powerful arguments, and most of his letter I could have written myself. I believe the way forward is to take legal action, against everyone.

The LTDA have a one million pound fighting fund, I am prepared to contribute to that on a regular basis. Let's get some heavyweight legal opinions.

Tfl will have legal obligations and duties which they are clearly failing to discharge. Uber are pursuing all kinds of questionable practices, and sound arguments have been made on this site about rickshaws. If these people are breaking the law,  we can't wait for the cavalry to come riding over the hill. We sue them,  now.

Demos only succeed in making us feel good about ourselves, tfl manipulate the media at these events to suit their own agenda and nothing changes.

We are running out of time.

Boris and his cronies aren't listening to us,  perhaps they'll listen to a judge.

Regards,  Brian Griffith.



A Must Listen From Sean And Iqbal.


Well done Sean and Iqbal 






Thursday, April 23, 2015

Letter To The Editor : St Thomas Street Lights Unacceptable.

This letter from a concerned Taxi driver was sent to Peter John of Southwark Council, CC'ed in were;  AM Valerie Shorcross, AM Caroline Pidgeon and AM Jenny Jones.

Dear Mr John 
I'm emailing you with regard to the curren traffic situation at St Thomas Street and the Shard. I'm a London Taxi Driver and use the Shard regularly to acquire work and also to drop off customers. The current situation in regards to exiting St Thomas St is becoming nothing short of embarrassing. 

For one of Europe's biggest landmarks and one of London's most popular social locations, the access to and from is nothing short of third world due to the incompetence of whoever is in charge of the traffic management orders in and out of St Thomas St.

On exiting St Thomas St the current traffic management order (TMO), is a very short phase, only allowing 2 to 3 vehicles out at a time. The light phase is also a forced left only. This means all vehicles exiting are forced left down Borough High St. Any vehicle needing to travel north has to turn left, then make a u-turn in very heavy traffic to be able to travel north. 

At the junction of St Thomas St, Borough high St and Bedale St, it would make perfect sense to implement a longer phase, have the ability to exit St Thomas St left (south bound), forward (west bound), and right (north bound), and finally to implement a yellow box junction to stop traffic travelling south bound along Borough High St from blocking the access to and from St Thomas St. 

Cars are allowed to park on a red route in bays that are given designated parking times. The trouble with this is that large vehicles such as buses (of which there are a large number that use Borough High St), are unable to move freely north and south. One lot of traffic has to give way to the other. 

Over a short space of time this causes the traffic to back up and become congested all the way back to Borough Station in the south and up to the south side of London Bridge itself in the north (this traffic stops of the exit of St Thomas St. 

There desperately needs to be some severe enforcement of the cars parked on Borough High St. Removing the bays and/or changing the times allowed to park there and also enforcing the area with wardens would keep traffic flowing freely, congestion to be reduced and pollution levels to drop.

The other issue we have as Taxi Drivers is that it's not uncommon for a large fare to be accrued before I've exited St Thomas St. 

Some nights the queue to exit is all the way back to the Shard itself. I find myself having to explain to customers that it will take time and money to even begin their journey. It's embarrassing and unnecessary. Just last night (28/03/15), I had £7.20 on the meter before I managed to exit St Thomas St. 

This is unacceptable to my customers. 
The flag fall when i start the meter is £2.40. 
If traffic was free flowing, I'd expect no more than £3.00 on the meter by the time I exited St Thomas St. I have heard of cabbies having £13+ before when it's really bad. 

There are also stories of customers getting out of cabs when queuing to exit. Again this is unacceptable to the cabbie when he or she has ranked for a long time only to then be left in static traffic with no fare on board.

Lastly, the Private Hire Vehicles (minicabs) that park along Borough High St at the bottle neck, are acting illegally and touting for work. This needs enforcing too. TfL have just allegedly acquired more members of their Compliance Officers team. Is it possible to liaise with TfL in order to address this problem. This does affect the Shard too when minicabs rank illegally for work outside. I know Addison Lee has an account at the Shard, I'm talking about any other PHV.

I appreciate you reading about these issues. Unfortunately they affect every vehicle that accesses the Shard. Europe's tallest building built on a dead end road with atrocious access. Not a very good advertisement. The guests are shown London traffic at it's worst. 

I'm not so sure this gives a very good impression? Transport for London are responsible mainly for these matters. Unfortunately, they hide in their Ivory tower on Blackfriars Road and won't be held accountable for their wholly inadequate way in which they run London's roads. This is why I'm contacting you all in a slim hope that someone can help.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your responses and some action. 

P Crane. 
 
Reply's:

Response from Peter John (Southwark Council)
 30/03/2015
Thanks for your email Peter. I have taken it up with our transport team and will see what progress we can make. I know that this is an issue which will (and has already) caused concern for the owners of the Shard. 
I will get back to you as soon as I have any further information. 

Regards,
Peter.

The letter was also forwarded on by the GLA members to TfL as St Thomas Street is a Red Rout and comes under the authority of TfL's Red Rout Network.

Response From: Hatch Andrew [mailto:AndrewHatch@tfl.gov.uk]
Sent: 14 April 2015 14:05
To: Valerie Shawcross
Cc: Members Correspondence; Keane Kate; Johnson Esther (Correspondence) Subject: REPLY: St Thomas Street and traffic management issues. 

Dear Val
Thank you for your email. 
As you may know, to accommodate the redevelopment at London Bridge station, St Thomas Street is currently closed in one direction at its junction with Borough High Street until 2018. 

The traffic signal timings at this junction have been set to give priority to traffic travelling north and southbound along Borough High Street and work in conjunction with surrounding signalised junctions to keep this key route flowing. The signal timings also have to be programmed to ensure that the bus services, which carry a significant number of people throughout the day, can run as effectively as possible. 

That said, we have reviewed the signal timings at the junction and have been able to increase the green time available to traffic exiting St Thomas Street very slightly (in the late evening period after 20:30) to accommodate the number of taxis dropping off and picking up customers from The Shard. Please be assured that due to the high number of works and developments, and associated changes to the road network (both temporary and permanent), our traffic engineers keep all the signal junctions in the London Bridge area under close review. 

Mr Crane suggests implementing an option for a right turn and straight ahead movement out of St Thomas Street. Unfortunately, this is not possible. To include this additional stage in the traffic signal cycle would require an increase in the cycle time. This would result in all traffic and pedestrian movements having to wait longer for their respective green signal, and creating significant delays on the north and southbound movements along Borough High Street. 

We have a scheme proposed to improve facilities for the high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists using this junction. A diagonal crossing across Borough High Street, and advanced stop lines for cyclists are expected to be introduced in the coming year. It would not be possible to install a yellow box junction alongside these improvements, but “Keep Clear” road markings may be possible and we have committed to look at this possibility within the scheme’s scope.

Mr Crane also refers to stopping and parking along Borough High Street. I can confirm that disabled parking and loading bays operate Monday to Saturday 13:00 to 16:00 (northbound) and 10:00 to 13:00 (southbound). CCTV enforces illegal parking between Queens Head Yard and Southwark Cathedral, and Marshalsea Road and Mermaid Court. These restrictions are actively enforced to minimise instances of illegal use, but as this on-street parking is used by local businesses and their customers, any amendments including removal or amendments to timings or positions would require public consultation and the revision of the Traffic Regulation Order. We have committed to considering increased on-street enforcement in due course. 

Finally, in terms of the matter raised about Private Hire vehicles in the area, we are aware of the touting and our Compliance Team will address this issue. We are also considering a change from single red lines to double red lines to attempt to address this issue. Please note however that this is subject to further investigation, public consultation and the making of a Traffic Regulation Order. 
I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards
Andrew Hatch 
Correspondence Officer Managing Director's Office 
Transport for London - Surface Transport 
11F - Zone R3 - Palestra - 197 Blackfriars Road - London - SE1 8NJ.