Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TfL Poor Performance: Bullet Points Part 6: Cloned Bills, Cloned IDs, Cloned Badges: What Next?...by Jim Thomas

Allegations have been circulating the ranks and shelters, that some drivers have received letters from LTPH, where an ID badge has been used to identify, in connection with a transgression quite unknown to the drivers.

This from the LTDF Taxi forum:
Mate of mine received a letter for not wearing his badge at a station one night.

He doesn't work nights and always wears his badge.

Phones PCO and asks for the reg of the cab which they only supplied him with the last three letters.

It wasn't his cab!

We have known for almost 3 years that high quality forgeries of Bills, IDs and even badges are out there. There is concern that they are now being produced and sold at an alarming rate. Allegedly, some of these forgeries are good enough to fool compliance teams.

The issue first came to light after a bad accident in Victoria between a TX2 and a Toyota minicab. Three elderly passengers were cut from the wreckage and hospitalised, as the driver of the Taxi did a runner. It later transpired that the vehicle had been hired from a Taxi garage, using a fake copy bill.

The second fake to show up was presented to a City of London Police station and although director of LTPH John Mason played down the incident saying it was just a cheap copy, even though it was good enough to fool a police officer dealing with the incident.

Initially it was thought that the counterfeit documents were in fact genuine and had been purloined by a corrupt member of staff, during the move from Penton Street to Palestra. In an email from the deputy director of LTPH, Helen Chapman, it has been claimed that the stock of blank bills have all been accounted for.

No Warranted Powers For Compliance Teams.
LTPH compliance teams have no power to stop vehicles. Their only available weapon under the present administration, is to perform Badge and Bill checks at major Taxi ranks. This procedure is woefully inadequate and is failing to net significant numbers of forgeries. At present, according to TfL's own statistics, just over 2 drivers a month are being caught. You don't have to be a criminal mastermind to work out, if you don't rank up at a station, you won't get checked.

After nearly 3 years of Badge and Bill checks, the problem has reached epidemic proportions. Last year saw just 27 drivers arrested for use of fraudulent documentation.

What happened to the so called unforgeable new digital license and IDs, which were supposed to be issued to all drivers by March 31st? Unfortunately, some would say the new Taxi drivers Bills are easier to clone than the old one!

This issue is serious and need to be dealt with some urgency!
Someone at TfL has to stand up and admit that the present administration's handling of this problem has been an embarrassing failure. How much longer do we have to put up with LTPH's poor performance, which would not be tolerated in any other form of business administration. Where does the buck finally stop.
Three years of failure is enough!
Surely the only way forward is with new direction from new leadership.

Simple Solutions?
Compliance teams must work in conjunction with uniformed warranted police (cab enforcement) officers and reassume the roadside checkpoints we had back in 2011.

It is also essential for compliance teams to visit all garages who rent vehicles and examine closely the copy bills left with Cab proprietors.

Tighter controls on the approval of License variations (Satellite Offices)
There has to be better observation of the working practises of satellite operations as many are abusing the terms and conditions of their license. The need for planning permission before any license can be issued, has to be reinstated.

It is alleged that last year, RD2.com managed to acquire 18 satellite office licenses, even though they'd only been in business for a few days. TfLTPH's regulations state a PH company must be in operation for minimum of one year, before they can apply for a license variation.
Although complaints have been made about the RD2.com issue, no statement has been made by LTPH.

Below are some of RD2.coms vehicles, clearly working from a Taxi rank in Gresham Street in the City.


Perry Mason said...

Jimmy, there can't be much left of the original Bill Gate post which you haven't backed up with evidence. You should consider re-posting it in full

Anonymous said...

Of course the easiest course of action.Is to get the compliance teams sworn in as constables,And it not as hard as it seems.Just look at some local parks police,They are not fully trained police officers.Just trained by the local councils.But they do have the power of arrest.

Anonymous said...

There really does need to be an investigation into the work being done by LTPH. There is too much going wrong now for it just to be a collection of mistakes. I suspect it is rotten at its core, corrupt.

Anonymous said...

This trade has survived for over 350 years
We will outlive Masons 3 1/2 years

He will be going soon

Gerald Coba said...

Jimmy have you heard from TPH's legal team over these bullet points.

These posts must be past on to GLA members to initiate an investigation

Anonymous said...

LTPH have created an incredible mess of the License variation issue.

They were told by a senior police officer 10 years ago that satellite offices were completely unenforceable and that if implemented would pose a clear danger to public safety.

But they didn't listen and just went ahead.

We now look towards the Law Com to give us distinction from private hire, this will not happen and eventually we will become a One tiered system, working for a major multi national transport company.

We have all the laws an acts we need that if enforced by a responsible authority could keep the public safe and protect the taxi trade's working practises.

Just because our laws are ancient, doesn't make them wrong. No one challenges the validity of "thou shalt not kill".

We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun
called harmonisation and its been carried around the corridors of Windsor House for more than 10 years.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thank god I only work in suburbans and not the centre it would drive me mad all what's going on ???