An Around Midnight Publication ©2012-2014. The truth needs to be free and we want to liberate it.

The views expressed on this blog may not be those of any trade Org or Union.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

GLA Inquiry Into TfL's Running Of The Taxi And Private Hire Trades. City Hall Meeting ... by Taxi Leaks Roving Reporter.

The GLA investigation meeting kicked off in City Hall, at 10 am this morning.

Michael Galvin, late of the LTDA and Com Cab and now working for Addison Lee gave an accurate representation of the Taxi and Private hire industries.

GLA member for Merton and Wandsworth Richard Tracey asked Steve a McNamara: 
"Does the Taxi trade have Union representation". 
Mr McNamara answered that the United trade Group (UTG)  is made up of the three larges orgs. 
Taxi Leaks would of course dispute this answer as the second biggest representative group, and the largest Union the RMT, are excluded by the leadership of the UTG, therefore prevented from inclusion with any meaningful negotiations with TfL.

Garrett Emerson told the panel that TfL's Taxi and Private Hire have bought forward the archaic administration of the Taxi trade. 
Another statement that Taxi Leaks would dispute.

Darren Johnson (AM) said that TfL needed to get basics of the trades in order by way of a consultation with trade Orgs. But look what happened with the last consultation, PH got virtually everything they asked for whilst the Taxi trade got nothing.

The panel were informed by Assembly Member Tom Copley, that with the onslaught of smart phone apps, Uber had blurred the lines between Taxis and private hire. Michael Galvin said that the registration of drivers using smart phone apps was open to fraudulent abuse. He also remarked that PH have no desire to pick up off the street and that the present two tiered system should remain.
(Really Mike, take a look at the touting hot spots around London and see the desire to pick up there!)

Tom Copley AM then added that TfL have failed to act on pedicabs/rickshaw bikes. He said this infringes Taxi drivers rights to ply for hire. Tom also accused TfL of failing to act over Hailo's minimum fare policy.
He added,"why do the knowledge if apps can blur the lines. 

An e-hail is akin to a manual hail, plying for hire by licensed Taxis must be protected at all cost.

Tom finished on the point that, if identity is important, why allow both industries to use the same vehicle (Mercedes Vito) and the same colour?"

Chairing the meeting, Isabel Dedring spoke about the Credit Card issue also stating she was in full support of the value of wheelchair accessibility. She said Taxis were the Gold standard. Dedring was often out of her comfort zone with comprehensive knowledge of the issues and when put on the spot by Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick she had to hand over to Garret Emerson.

Garret Emerson was asked why the ranks plan had been shelved and he replied it would be made available by the end of the year.

During a ministerial debate of the Private Hire Vehcles act 1998, it was stated that enforcement was not to become the poor relation to regulation. Many Taxi drivers would agree that this has now become the fact, as enforcement is almost invisible at night. Touts have little to no chance of being arrested. 

Inspector Julian Collinson of Cab Enforcement stated that of the last 1000 arrests made for touting, over 90% were convicted. He said that Enforcement is at a satisfactory level. In a bid to conceal TfL's disastrous record on minicab related sexual assaults and rapes, the inspector finished with a damning insult to the Taxi trade by saying that the sexual assault statistics are blurred due to the fact that victims are unable to remember if they were picked up in a Taxi or a minicab.

Taxi Leaks would take issue with the inspectors statistics on convictions as they vary greatly from the ones we have manage to acquire by Freedom of Information requests.

Assembly Member a John Briggs talked about enforcement and asked Steve McNamara his thoughts on the matter. Steve told the panel that touting was now out of control in Central London and had become an epidemic.

Westminster Transport Commissioner Martin Low was asked about the affect of Marshals on certain ranks. He stated that he thought TfL should be spending more money on providing new ranks and that Westminster would be more than willing to help.

Surprisingly Steve McNamara and Mike Galvin both left before the end of the meeting. 

Taxi leaks have been informed that other factions of the private hire industry have been invited to meet with the transport committee on the 17th of this month in regards to the inquiry. 

Breaking News: Uber National Ban In Germany By Frankfurt Court

A court in Frankfurt ruled that the firm lacked the necessary legal permits to operate under German law.

It has emerged that the firm was told last week that its "low-cost" UberPop service could no longer take passengers and faced a fine if it continued.

But an Uber spokesman said it had decided not to suspend the service, adding that the ban was not enforceable while an appeal process was ongoing.

"Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for Uber in Europe," he said.

"We will continue to operate in Germany and will appeal the recent lawsuit filed by Taxi Deutschland in Frankfurt.

"You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer UberPop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany."

A check of the firm's software confirms that drivers continue to offer UberPop pick-ups in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.

UberPop vehicles include the Volkswagen Golf, Audi A4 and BMW 3ER
UberPop was launched earlier this year and involves drivers - who are not directly employed by the company - over the age of 21 using their own cars to transport passengers.

Taxi Deutschland suggested that Uber could face up to a 250,000 euro ($327,840; £198,342) fine per trip if the American firm loses the case.

The body described its rival as a "form of locust share-economy" indulging in "anarchy capitalism" that could leave passengers exposed in the case of an accident.

"In Germany there's insurance that applies to private drivers," explained spokeswoman Anja Floetenmeyer.

"But if your insurer learns that you are driving for an app and you want to make money on that, they say this is a multiple risk and refuse to [pay] insurance on that.

"Uber doesn't care because security costs money. We don't believe it has the interests of [German] drivers and citizens at heart."

But Uber's spokesman in Germany, Fabien Nestmann, has previously blogged that safety is one of his firm's key concerns, adding that "all the rides - and thus all travellers - are insured by Uber".

European protests
The summary judgment follows a decision by London's transport authorities not to pursue a case against Uber in June this year.

The San Francisco-based firm allows passengers to summon cars using an app on their smartphones and calculates the fare en route. It is often significantly cheaper than rival taxi companies.

Taxi driver in Berlin held a protest against ride-sharing apps in June

But taxi drivers argue that Uber has fewer regulatory burdens placed upon it than they do, and poses unfair competition.

The company - which is backed by Google and the bank Goldman Sachs, among others - has been the subject of protests by taxi drivers in many European cities, including Berlin, Paris and London.

Only last week, Uber said it was planning to rapidly expand its German operation.

Shock Result: Air Pollution Highest In A Vehicle.

Ive been saying for some time that there will be a study which shows that taxi drivers are exposed to the highest levels of pollution in Central London.

Well here it is!

Dave Davies.

The results
If asked to think about the problem of air pollution in cities, you might picture pedestrians and cyclists wearing masks to protect themselves from breathing in harmful fumes. 

So you might be surprised that in our experiment the highest levels of air pollution were recorded by the person in the car, followed by the person travelling by bus. 

In fact, the car driver was exposed to more than twice the amount of air pollution as the person walking the same busy route, and almost eight times more pollution than the cyclist.

The reason for this is that the vehicles were travelling in a queue of traffic that produced a stream of air pollution from the vehicles directly in front. 

This air pollution was brought in through the ventilation systems and trapped within the vehicles, resulting in higher concentration levels.

Meanwhile, the pedestrian was walking to the side of the sources of air pollution and so was exposed to much lower concentration levels and, although taking longer, half the amount of air pollution as the person in the car. 

The cyclist sharing the same road as the car was most likely able to avoid the higher concentration levels of pollution by not always being directly behind the vehicle in front and because the air was able to circulate freely around them. 

The cyclist was 13 minutes quicker than the car, and was exposed to an eighth of the pollution.

The lowest pollution levels were experienced by the volunteers on the alternative quiet routes, away from busy road traffic. In particular, the person walking the quiet route was exposed to a third of the pollution as the person walking the busier route. 

For the cyclists, the difference was most noticeable in the average levels of pollution that were 30% lower for the quieter route.

Editorial Peter Conneely.

We need No Emissions Taxis, Buses and goods vehicles in next 10 years to be mandatory. London's buses currently recieve £150m a year. This type of investment from TfL would give each Taxi a £6,000 zero emission LPG engine conversion and would be a one off payment, unlike buses who get this money annually.

"Zero Emission" taxi engines already exist and should be subsidised, the same way buses recieve a subsidy. 

LPG engines are currently working in 2 models of LTC Taxis, TX1 and TX2, plus I believe there was also a MetroCab running around on LPG. These are custom built engines which have all been tested and passed by the PCO.

Conversions could also be financed partially by LPG company, with Ads on cabs. Perhaps there could be a new partnership - Boris Cabs- you never know!!!

    Source: with thanks to Dave Davies.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Nisson NV200: Is this the first fatality involving the "Taxi Of Tomorrow" ?


NEW YORK (WABC) -- One person was killed, and another was injured when a taxi crashed on the Upper East Side.

"It looked like she was OK," said Justin Havlik, a Good Samaritan.

When he woke up Friday morning, Justin Havlik couldn't have imagined he'd find himself shoulder to shoulder with strangers, trying to save a woman's life.

"We just did what we had to do," another Good Samaritan said.

The onlookers jumped into action just after 2 Friday afternoon, after a 58-year-old woman started to cross 79th Street at Madison. 

"Like a thud and then you heard screaming," said Paige Morrow, a witness.

The taxi plowed right into her, pinning her underneath.

"They couldn't actually pull her out," Havlik said.

"I got ahold of her hand; there wasn't much we could do until we got the car off her," the other Good Samaritan said.

"I grabbed the bottom of the car and I screamed and I lifted the car," Havlik said.

"What are you going to run the other way? Lady's under the cab?" the other Good Samaritan said.

"And then I rested the car on my knee, like braced on my thigh holding it," Havlik said.

The Good Samaritans lifted the taxi and rested it on its side, but the woman underneath was in very bad shape.

"She was moving her mouth, but I don't know," the other Good Samaritan said.

"She had a lot of head trauma, a lot of head trauma," Havlik said.

Paramedics rushed her to Lenox Hill Hospital, but it was too late.

As they worked to piece together the accident, police questioned the cab driver for hours.

Eyewitnesses say it looked like he was in shock.

So was Havlik when he found out that the woman didn't make it.

"I was praying to God that she was going to be OK," Havlik said.

The taxi driver, who is licensed, was not hurt. His passenger, a 32-year-old woman, was treated for pain at the scene but was not seriously hurt. 

No charges have been filed.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Driving A Taxi At Night, One Of The Most Dangerous Jobs In The Country. 65 Murders In 22 Years.

Taxi bosses are calling for more to be done to keep drivers safe after two were attacked within 48 hours

TAXI drivers in Hampshire have been urged to be vigilant after two drivers were allegedly attacked within 48 hours of each other

In the first incident a driver was reported to have been knocked unconscious in a late-night attack, while two days later a man was allegedly stabbed outside Southampton Central Railway Station.

Now, the head of the Southampton Hackney Association wants more focus on the safety of drivers in the city.

Chairman Ian Hall argued that not enough attention is paid to the difficulties taxi drivers face.

He has worked in the trade for 33 years and vividly remembers when a taxi driver in Southampton was murdered in 1986.

He said: “What concerns me, which I think concerns a lot of drivers, is that in the last 22 years there have been 65 drivers murdered in this country. It’s a particularly dangerous job at night.

“The majority of customers are absolutely fine and we do a good job at getting people home safely.

“It’s all sorts of different people we are picking up and anyone that’s getting into the car could be going through a marriage break-up or having a hard time at work, but that doesn’t give them the right to hit people.

“It can be a bit of a volatile job but this is a good city to live and work in.

“Drivers need to be a bit careful but they are anyway.”

In relation to the incident near the railway station, Nicholas Jeffrey, 27, of no fixed address, appeared in court facing charges of wounding with intent and possessing a knife in a public place.

Police investigating the Swaythling incident confirmed that they had identified a man they wanted to speak after a taxi driver was found unconscious by a colleague.

The 28-year-old victim was assaulted and left unconscious at the junction of Mansbridge Road and Howard Close.

He was found by a fellow taxi driver and taken to Southampton General Hospital, but was not seriously injured.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.

    Source: Southern Daily Echo.

Rememberance Sunday...10 Weeks To Go... By Mike Hughes

Here is the early warning for Remembrance Sunday which takes place on 9 November.

Those who have already attended in the past know the feelings that you get from this very special event and I need say nothing more to you.

For those who have not been before, we provide a free taxi service from all main line stations, Victory Service Club, Union Jack Club and Victoria Coach Station for the veterans going to and from the service and parade at the Cenotaph. To see the appreciation shown by the veterans for our expression of gratitude for all they have done for us is so deeply moving. Words, no mater how eloquent, cannot express what you feel - ask anyone who's already done it in the past 4 years.

This is one time when all thoughts of animosity, personal differences, heated discussions of preference of vehicle, or any of the other threads that can cause differences  on this forum are all put aside. Nothing detracts from helping the veterans. People who are otherwise at loggerheads on the forum stand shoulder to shoulder united in a common cause. It is so special. If only we could bottle it!

I'll put more details out over the next 10 weeks but at this stage I am looking for early volunteers to build up my database (used by me alone).

In addition to drivers I'm also looking for people to act as marshals in all the stations. The usual marshals always do a superb job, but, as we discovered last year, as our service has expanded we needed extra help getting to the veterans and getting them into the Poppy Cabs. Knowledge boys/girls, Family members (especially useful inside the stations to show veterans where to go), retired or non working taxi drivers - all are welcome and needed to help our stretched band of experienced marshals.

To register please send
Location (to match up with veterans)
Driver or Marshal
TX or Vito (drivers)
Knowledge boy/girl or family member (marshals) 
tel no:
email address

email messages to:
SMS message : 07973 430022
New for 2014 our own Twitter account @PoppyCabs2014

As I go through the various preparation stages I will update you all here with an absolute minimum of one message each week as our countdown continues. Please look out for them and see how you can help.