Friday, January 20, 2017

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Another Day, Another Demo, Another Success.


Again, yesterday afternoon, rank and file drivers answered the call and assembled at the Bank Junction, despite another section 14 being slapped on the peaceful protest, limiting a static demonstration to just 30 minutes. But at 3:30, organisers put plan B into action. 

The police tried to preempt the protesters and observers reported that groups of motorcycle traffic cops, with flashing blue lights, had been dispatched to both Tenison Way and The Old Street roundabouts....but again, they were out manoeuvred by the protest organisers. 


Apparently, plan B had been kept off social media. Drivers were instructed by word of mouth, to leave the junction and slowly make their way over to London Bridge

Southbound lanes soon ground to a halt and using the station forecourt, drivers doubled back around, causing the northbound lanes to become gridlocked. 
Drivers who chose to ignore their colleagues and look for work from the station, were caught up as the through road seized up, trapping Taxis on the rank. 

TfL's centre coms managers, frantically tried to re-phase the lights to empty traffic from the bridge, but in true TfL fashion, they just added to the chaos. Funny that, we've had months of congestion on this bridge, yet they just left commuters sitting there, as the bus lane was moving well.

They said it couldn't be done! 
But trade orgs who refused to support this week's demos have shot themselves in the foot as drivers are now looking at private legal cover (£8 a month) which could see their membership fall. It was their drivers who turned out every day, lanyards of all colours and even diaries on dashboards. 

Well done to those who turned out on these highly successful demos. On day 3, the trade out manoeuvred the Met, managing to get the Bank Junction closed, even though they never turned up and held their demo elsewhere. 

A spokesman for the ITA said:
"Tomorrow will be the last demo in this series for a couple of weeks, to enable our drivers who have taken a huge dip in takings this week, in order to fight for their trade. 

"But in the words of that great leader of men, General Douglas MacArthur, WE SHALL RETURN."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

HOLDING THE MAYOR TO ACCOUNT AND INVESTIGATING ISSUES THAT MATTER TO LONDONERS


Over a decade ago, London led the world by introducing a Congestion Charge in the centre of the city. The scheme has proven successful, keeping a lid on private motor traffic and creating new space for buses, cyclists and pedestrians on the busiest part of our road network. Congested cities around the globe looked to London as they considered how to tackle the gridlock on their own streets.

However, congestion has begun to increase sharply again, and not just in central London but across the capital. Traffic has slowed down and road users are spending longer stuck in delays. Buses have become so unreliable that usage has begun to fall, after many years of growth. The causes of this change are complex and multiple, as our investigation has identified.

What is clear is that the current Congestion Charge is no longer fit for purpose – it is a blunt instrument using old technology that covers a tiny part of London. Fundamentally, vehicles should be charged according to their impact on congestion. Charging a daily flat rate to enter a zone may discourage some people from using part of the road network, but

this approach is failing to target vehicles spending longer on the roads, at the most congested times, and travelling in other areas where congestion is high.

We recommend in this report that the Mayor should make plans now to introduce road pricing in London. This idea has long been discussed, but until now the political will to make it happen has been lacking. Delaying further is not an option. There are a number of options for how this happens, which TfL will need to work out, including the geographical scope, monitoring technology and integration with Vehicle Excise Duty and the Mayor’s emissions charges. In the interim, immediate reform of the existing Congestion Charge to target it at journeys causing congestion would be worthwhile.

There is a range of other measures that could also help to tackle congestion. The Mayor could do more to reduce the impact of roadworks, strengthen the on-street response to major traffic incidents, and encourage Londoners to receive personal deliveries in more sustainable ways. However these measures alone will not be enough to tackle London’s congestion problem

So what drives me? .... By Lee Ward.


I am sure that the regular readers of Taxi Leaks have noticed that I have supplied posts to this platform, but I have never explained why.


Let me give you a little background to myself first.

I have been in this industry for over 20 years, I started as a weekend telephonist to supplement my income as a new father, that went on to dispatching by voice (the good old fashioned way) and then by computer. This lead me to be a qualified Taxi/Private Hire driver and have held this badge with the Sheffield City Council ever since.

During this time, I have also been a part of the management team of two of the largest Private Hire companies in this are, Mercury and City (450 and 1000 cars respectively) and between these two posts I owned in partnership a company we called Phoenix (started with 4 cars and built it up to 180)

I am now back as a full time driver.

So why did I start this crusade that I find myself on morning noon and night?

Very simple, I found myself in a dark place, a very dark place....

The industry has been very good to me, it has provided for my family and myself, it has given me friends for life and it taught me a few good lessons in life, but it left me...

It left me when I could not make the living I was making.

It left me when I had to say NO to my wife and kids basic requests for simple things.

It left me when I worked on a day to day basis to pay bills and put food on the table...

It left me and I wanted to leave this world, thats how dark that place was that I was in.

I would have probably gone to that place too, if it was not for the ever present thought that my wife and kids would be distraught and with nothing at all coming in, not even what little I was providing, and the thought that if I went to that dark place and did what those little voices were saying to do.... my mother would have fooking killed me !!!!

So I looked at that dark place and stared at it and searched in that recess what it was that had done me in such a way to make me have these thoughts and feelings, and the more I looked, the deeper I searched, I found it... and it was not me that had brought me to this, or even made this dark place I looked into...no, it was this government, and all the authorities that continually shout out that they are their for public safety...

I understood that, I totally got it, but...but what about my family and myself? what about OUR safety?

What about us having food, having heating, having clothes?

Is that not safety also?

Is that not a part of why I pay my license, so they can police the industry that I am in?

I guess not...

So I decided that my dark place was going to be my driving force, and thats why I do what I do....

I do it because I am proud, I do it because I have responsibilities...

I do it because I love this industry...

And I do it for ME....

I may be a small fish in a big pond, but a lot of small fish together are a dangerous thing....Piranha spring to mind...

And as for the house brick through my family home's window, if you are reading this 'boy' thats not going to stop me moron...it just fuels me.

As Eminem said...

Yeah, it's been a ride
I guess I had to, go to that place, to get to this one
Now some of you, might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there......................

Love

Wardy


Blockade at the bank Day 4 : New Day, New Plan.... By Jim Thomas


After the police slapped a section 14 on the Demo at the Bank, organisers decided to throw a curve ball in retaliation to the 30 minute restriction and changed the venue for day 3 to Parliament Square. 


The Met Police had already put into operation restriction around the Bank Junction and were left red faced as no one turned up. At first they thought they had beaten the protesters but it soon became clear, the boot was on the other foot. 


Westminster was gridlocked for best part of an hour till the traffic police turned up. They then made a catastrophic mistake in funnelling the Taxis over Westminster Bridge which unbeknown to them added the procession of taxes to their preordained second target... the Waterloo IMAX round about. 


Waterloo bridge soon became gridlocked along with Westminster. York Road was proper engines off and north of the river the Aldwych tailed back into the City's square mile. 


Again traffic cops turned up and tried to disperse the protesters by waving them back across Waterloo bridge. 


The convoy then moved on to the third venue, again hitting the Rotunda at London Wall before the signal was given to disperse for the day. 


Then came the bully boy tactics. As they had been given the run around, some Met officers were telling drivers "you are being filmed, and if you are filmed in multiple locations tomorrow, TfL will prosecute you". 


This is a ridiculous statement as this is exactly what Taxi drivers do....they ply their trade in multiple locations every day... this scaremongering doesn't hold water, and (so I'm told) today, the fight goes on. 


 On the City Police Website last night, they said: 

"Conditions for the Taxi demos are in place to limit the disruption across London and to ensure emergency vehicles can access all routes." 


So far, they haven't issued a new section 14 limiting the time of assembly. 


The ITA Twitter account have broken their silence tonight to confirm Demo will take place at Bank Junction at 3pm on the dot. 



Tanni Grey Thompsom says sh will raise this issue on behalf of disabled passengers. 



Editorial Comment :

It is now widely believed that the proposed ban traffic at the Bank Junction has a hidden agenda and is not to make the junction safer. 

Safety has nothing to do with the restrictions, if that were the case, then Buses and Cyclist would have been banned. 


It's alleged this experiment is being forced on London to facilitate the movement of construction trucks and heavy plant, while work takes place as two massive skyscrapers are being erected. 


It's also alleged, heavy plant and lorries are to be issued permits, enabling them to use the Junction while other traffic apart from buses and bikes will be excluded. 


So far, the demos have been an overwhelming success. Taxi Leaks has been informed that further action is being planned to continue in to the next couple of weeks.    


WHATS IT ALL ABOUT ? WHY HAVE THE ITA CALLED FOR A DEMO ?


    

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bank Junction Blockade Day 3 : Plans Kept Off Social Media Leaves City Police In The Dark.

It gets worse!.... By Dave Davies.

The Planning and Transport Committee have given permission for two massive sky scrapers, just a couple of hundred metres away from Bank Junction.

 

Chair of the committee, Chris Haywood, claims Taxis are to be banned from  Bank Junction for safety reasons???


Giving Planning consent for these two new skyscrapers in the city, will create hundreds of construction vehicle movements for HGVs -the very vehicles, allegedly responsible for killing the most cyclists and pedestrians that he is claiming to protect.


There will also be 22k employees working in the two Skyscrapers plus additional visitors just 200m from Bank Junction.


Surely the City of London should be looking to create a safer Transport environment, not make it worse?

 

How is that Chris Hayward -who states he is not paid for the role as Chair of the Planning and Transport Committee but does it for ‘honour- is responsible for Planning decisions for hundreds of millions of pounds?


Surely there is something not quite right here when the decisions appear to be this unreasonable?


Yesterday's demo, a massive success even in the event of a section 14 limiting the "static protest" to just 30 minutes, drivers moved on to two other venues and held out for over 3 hours.




A rolling protest by black cab drivers brought large parts of the City of London to a standstill during rush hour.

Following a 3pm protest at Bank junction on Tuesday afternoon - as part of an ongoing row over its planned closure to cars - the taxis travelled to Old Street for an unplanned demonstration.

The busy Old Street junction was grindlocked until it reopened shortly after 5pm, when there were reportedly delays of up to an hour, with motorists advised to avoid the area if possible.

The protest then moved on to London Wall, where delays of up to 40 minutes were reported, before it came to an end.

Something's going on at Old Street Roundabout..... pic.twitter.com/4Tz3GvVMJL

Black cabs descended on Bank junction at 3pm as part of a five-day protest, with further protests planned for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

They are protesting against proposals being considered by the Corporation of the City of London to restrict vehicles, including licensed taxis, being granted access to the junction.  

Old Street Roundabout is busy... pic.twitter.com/O5fadI4iAw

Only cyclists and buses will be able to use the roads once the 18-month scheme starts in April.

Superintendant Helen Isaac of the City of London Police said: “Whilst we have not had any direct contact from the organisers, we are aware of plans posted on social media for a demonstration in Bank junction in January and plans are in place to facilitate such an event.

They're at it again outside Museum of London. Illustrating perfectly how too many taxis are clogging up our streets. pic.twitter.com/V1stDTDh5U

"We are keen to work with the organisers and would encourage them to get in touch with us.

“A robust policing plan is in place to ensure that timescales are adhered to and disruption is kept to a minimum

Source : The Evening Standard.