Friday, September 30, 2016

A Quickie Knowledge, Or A Two Tiered Knowledge System? Jim Thomas.

Over the last few months, while the trade has again been decided over the intended CC mandate, transaction charges and siting of the machine, TfL seem to have used the oppotunity to slip in the frame a new form of Knowledge of London. 

It's recently been reported all over social media, new drivers at Heathrow have been asking for post codes of well established points around central London, such as the Ritz Hotel, Kings Cross and Euston stations. 

There have always been allegations that certain suburban drivers have been sharing friends or relations badges and bills to work the airport. 
Most of these claims were felt by the majority of the trade to be exaggerated. 

But when TfL compliance recently made checks out west, there was a noticed absence of so called 'new drivers' from the feeder park. 

However, drivers sharing documents such as badge and bill, is not the only problem that's currently surfaced out west. Many drives are refusing what they feel are unprofitable journeys by refusing to take card payments, or asking for exorbitant cash fares.

At a recent meeting between trade reps, HAL and TfL compliance, it's been revealed that knowledge students are no longer going out on the bike -a system proved over many years to be the most effective way of learning the Knowledge. 

TfL told the meeting that learning the knowledge from a computer screen in a classroom is now quite acceptable. 

HADTU have released a statement saying that in their opinion, this is not just a quickie knowledge, but a two tiered knowledge system. 
They say they will now be consulting with other trade groups regarding this issue. 

The ongoing credit card saga...Letters from Tom Scullion and Dads Defending Daughters

Tfl in its infinite wisdom made a very hasty decision to make it compulsory to have fixed terminals in the back of London Taxis without consultation with the working Taxi drivers. 

Many of us have highlighted the dangers and the risk to helpful Cab drivers being lured into the back of our Taxis when the customer cannot process a card payment. 

Whilst we all agree that every Taxi should have means to take cards and the majority of us have a handheld devices, why would Tfl think that we should go to the expense of installing fixed units which are prone to 'Bugs" and system failures and if the unit doesn't work the driver is off the road until the equipment is functioning again.

Here are some other reasons why drivers should use hand held units:

In order to process an Amex card for example the driver is prompted to check the customers signature against the card, pretty difficult to do as the customers will process the transaction themselves in the back of the Cab, if the customer contacts their card company and say that's not my signature and request a refund the driver will loose the money.

Cards being left in the machines in the back of Cabs when the next passenger gets in and nicks the card they will have a field day with contactless transactions with purchases, goods or services below the £30 ceiling and guess who will get the blame for stealing the cards ? 
You guessed it the Cab driver.

Did you know you can use a stolen card for up to 5 months on contactless transactions even if the card has been reported as lost or stolen.

When a driver is trained on how to use their machine or device they are asked to check the name on the card so imagine the scenario, a Lady presents you with a card you check the name and its MR G Smith if the driver takes the payment and ignores this again there will be a charge back and once again the driver will be out of pocket and or accused of deliberately processing payments without the customer being present or taking fraudulent payments.

All of the above can not happen if the driver processes the payment with the customers card in the front of the Cab.

Be Lucky 

Tom Scullion

Comment From Dads Defending Daughters.

When Helen Chapman said there is no evidence of attacks on cabbies helping with CC machines, I answered that there isn't that many machines in the back of cabs yet, and half of them are not used (socks and bags covering them).

I pointed to the fire escape and said, no child has ever fallen from that fire escape, but would you allow a four year old out there unsupervised to play on it?
Not the greatest analogy, but it was off the cuff.
Do we have to wait for a rape or murder, before TfL deem it unsafe to get into the back of the cab with a stranger?

Uber waited until murder hit the headlines before they stopped Uberpool (although you can still put yourself in danger, if you're jumping in with strangers from the airport).
Khan said "One is one too many." when referring to TfL's PH rape record.
Obviously one is quite acceptable when it's Taxi drivers.
I have to get into the back with an unchecked stranger - sound familiar?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Request, To All Licensed Taxi And Private Hire Orgs... From Lee Ward-ALPHA.

I am formally requesting that a committee of Associations be set up from across the country.

This committee will be a steering group for the whole industry, therefore representatives from both tiers are to be included.

This committee will not be for kudos or anything along the lines of 'we did this' 'we got that' it will be purely and simply a group of knowledgeable people who already run Associations, I am sorry but Unions need not apply, you are as bad as the politicians for kudos and no results.

This group will be from across the land, with no borders involved, its purely for the benefit of the trade and the recognition that it requires with the hierarchy.

Together, as a combined and knowledgeable unit we can work to put to bed the growing and desecrating industry issues that are before and upon us.

Please email me at to show your interest in joining forces nation wide.

Time is now to unify and act, time tomorrow to reflect on what could have been achieved.

Thank you

Lee Ward

Greenbadge John's View On The Eventuality Of CC Rental Charges

TFL cannot prevent business owners (Taxi Drivers) from using equipment they already own so the equipment they are forcing into vehicles will eventually become redundant.

All the suppliers of this equipment know this very well, and it will be seen as a duplication of process and go down the same route as the mandated issues of emission abatement fittings and receipt printers..... straight into the dustbin of TFL ineptitude.

The costly route of 'free' fitting this equipment is bound to be clawed back eventually by the complicit companies creating a monthly levy charge which will be introduced as soon large enough numbers have been fitted and as projected profit costing and failings becomes patently clear to them and this will allow the drivers the complete opportunity to bring this un-welcomed TFL intervention to an unceremonious end.

If your Card processing company issues minimum "low usage fees" which may be linked to their own projected monthly fees AFTER you sign for free fitting and non usage quota linked usage basis you will undoubtedly have an immediate cost free contractual exit and cancellation due to a serious financial material fact alteration, so read your contract carefully before signing or ask what will happen if they suddenly introduce monthly fees to cover low usage cost because it will happen.

What will that mean to the TFL mandate who will try to coerce you to pay up by threatening to remove your plate because you no longer have rear card processing usage facilities?

TFL could never win that argument legally without examining the suppliers contract so the mandate would die just as the previous ones have.

Be Lucky

greenbadgejohn (on twitter) 

Carry On, Follow That Camel ! ... By Im Spartacus.

So folks in another travel bulletin, here's how the cab trade works in Dubai.

ALL cabs are owned by the Dubai version of TfL, they maintain the fleet, insure, put the fuel in etc etc bit like the old London General.

Drivers just drive, they sign up as a double team for 7x12 shifts and keep 25% of the clock which is GPS monitored and they all accept cards.

Dubai seemed a safe, clean and law abiding place.

Cabs are usually newish Toyotas or Mitsubishi and the occasional FX4R (joking!) one I rode in had 600,000km on the clock but was clean and well maintained. Fares are about par with ours, drivers pleasant but not that great with any knowledge of Dubai.

Any signs of the U mob you ask? not likely as I say cabs are owned by the transportation authority, why would they give anyone a look in?

The only comparison with U is some of the driving, car drivers will think nothing of reversing a mile or more down the hard shoulder if they miss a motorway turnoff, very relaxing!

The cab drivers respect and regard us as the standard by which all others are judged, they are amazed (as we are) that the authorities in London even allowed PH let alone the bin end Umob!

Interesting place and well worth a visit and by the way I never saw a camel which has given me the right 'ump.

Next reports from Bratislava and Prague soon.

I'm Spartacus 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#SaveTaxi Wheelchair fundraiser success for Canonbury cycle crash victim.

Cycle crash victim Alex Doodle will no longer have to “crawl” to and from the taxis they rely on get to hospital appointments after a #SaveTaxi crowdfunder hit its target of £3,000 within a week.

As reported in the Islington Gazette last week, Alex, who is gender neutral, was put on a lengthy waiting list for a wheelchair earlier this year.

The architecture graduate has relied on black cabs to get around since a crash in Essex Road seven years ago and was “lost for words” when told the news.

“I’m still in shock and so grateful,” she said. “Black cab drivers continue to be my lifeline while government policies and funding cuts hinder my ability to live independently and have my basic needs met. A group of people in a trade also threatened took the time and effort to help me. 

“They have given me more than a wheelchair – they have given me independence.”

Alex, who says she has been living off full fat milk because she spends all her money on cabs and mental health services, is looking forward to getting out and about again.

“I will be able to go to a hospital appointment, look around the shops or even go to an art gallery,” she said. “It’s been over seven years.”

The next target is wheelchair-accessible accommodation. Alex is currently in a first-floor flat in Englefield Road, Canonbury, waiting for an adapted home to become available – but just 28 have been let in the last two years. The council says it is doing all it can.

Alex, 44, continued: “When I eventually move, I will live with more dignity and feel less degraded as one of my conditions makes it look like I’m having a stroke so I’m basically on the floor for hours or days or trying to drag myself on one side to the bathroom.”

Cabbie Terry Vaus started the fundraiser. He said: “It’s fantastic news. I never thought when it started it would go so well.”

Editorial comment :

A big thank you to all contributors who have made Alex's dream come true and a very big thank you to all at Sherbet Taxis for their generous contribution. 

It's what Cabbies do