Thursday, April 25, 2013

Taxi Drivers Forum, Palestra: Unstructured and Unprofessional.

Before proceedings got underway, the trade was shown just how important our issues are to LTPH with the announcement by Chairperson Helen Chapman, the meeting would be cut short to facilitate the cleaners.

I wonder if Boris would ever inform a meeting of the board at TfL they have to conclude early as the man who washes up the tea and coffee cups has to get away early?

According to the LTDF today, many who attended felt there was no structure to the meeting which came across as very unprofessional. Important issues were fudged and time was wasted on minor issues.

Almost one third of the time allocated was initially spent discussing wether extras could be reintroduced. We were informed that although it was previously announced in a TfL press notice, the Christmas charges would be automatically activated after this Aprils fare increase meter change, this will not now be the case, as meter companies say they can not accommodate the request.

A representative of the Jewish Association of Cabbies (JAC) accused LTPH of being institutionally racist and anti-semitic, as the engagement policy which has terms and conditions they could never meet, excludes them as a group from regular and meaningful meetings, along with other small representative groups.

Another driver asked about compensation for loss of earnings, after having to answer false allegations from a member of the public. He was told that his situation had already been dealt with. Unfortunately the driver concerned, still feels the issue hasn't been concluded to his satisfaction.

The question of signage for private hire was bought up and the assembled drivers were told that the PH trade had made it clear in the private hire consultation they didn't want more/ better signage. One driver asked why the trade wasn't balloted over ID badges, to our amazement, we were told LTPH couldn't afford to write to every driver (although thats exactly what Leon Daniels did over the Cabbies Cabinet Scam).

There were no real answers about the volume or extent of the cloned Bill, IDs and Badge issue and the panel moved away from the subject rather sharpish.

LTPH were accused of inventing rules and regulations that they had no intention of backing up with enforcement. It was felt by the drivers that we need to see the rules against illegally plying for hire being enforced and the argument that LTPH are waiting for a water tight test case, no longer holds water as the situation outside many night venues is completely out of control.

It was stated from the floor that we desperately need more rank spaces. In just a few decades we have gone from one rank space for every taxi to 65 taxis vying over each rank space available. We will shortly be seeing new road schemes which will sweep away even more traditional ranks over the next few years.

It was explained to the assembled drivers, that although the self appointed quango known as the "Joint Ranks Committee" meet regularly on a monthly basis with LTPH, they do not have decision making powers. In other words, a waste of time and money.

LTPH tried to side step the ranks issue, stating they have no control over the situation regarding the appointment of ranks. It was politely pointed out, the Mayor as head of TfL does in fact have the power to do just this. Boris had no trouble finding road space for the Barclay Bank Bike scheme, even managing to replace a number of cab ranks with bike docking bays.

If the Mayor is serious about a cleaner, greener environment for Central London then it should be a priority to implement more rank spaces to take as many taxis as possible out of traffic congestion and negate their of constantly having to circulate to look for work.

Highlight of the evening was when Mike Bailey, chairman of the RMT London Taxi branch, fed up with constantly being ignored by the Chair, decided to interject and was threatened with eviction from the meeting by security which didn't go down very well with the drivers. He then went on to make one of the best speeches I have heard for a long time, that laid out the dangers we are facing, concerning our exclusive right to ply for hire, from the Law Commission.

Also a great short speech from RMT Vice Chair Paul Bond talking about illegal practise at Satellite offices

The meeting was bought to conclusion 30 minutes early at 7o/c. Quite a few drivers remained speaking on a one to one basis with panel members. When I left the room, just after 7:30, there were no signs whatsoever of any cleaners.

Before I personally attend another forum at Palestra, the length of the meeting will have to be extended, the format would have to have a radical shake up and the meeting would have to be chaired by an independent Chairperson. Until then, I believe this type of forum is a complete waste of time.


Jerry Swift said...

Maybe that's just what they want!

Low attendances leading to closing up the forums, they can then just meet with the nodding dogs.

I thought the other big chap spoke well especially about the as he said the fiction of Pre booking by clipboard men ignored by TfL.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I couldn't believe the look on their faces when you bought up the corrupt issue of nearly 40 satellite office licenses to a man who had illegally Phoenixed his company.
No one at the top table wanted to take you up on the subject. They all looked away.

Don't drop this, you must push for answers
Someone is guilty of corruption, you've shown that on here
And not a single word from the UTG

Vaclav Haldady said...

Yes plenty of questions just either ignored or fudged, these people should run for parliament they have the skills!

Anyhow it's all now on evidence quality tape, lets have it sent to every GLA member and London MP who as we know already have serious misgivings about TFL and its openness that the law demands.

Then they will know as we do the evasive, noncommittal methods of doing business that TfL seem to thing adequate.

Proof if any more was needed was another falsehood by telling us the meeting was curtailed by half an hour due to the cleaner needing access, many drivers and TfL staff stayed on for at least that time with no signs of any cleaners.

Still someone did say John Mason was busy on other duties, maybe he is actually using that much needed new broom?

Seriously though we need an independent chair, verbatim minutes by a third party etc. all of course ridiculous but we have now got to stage where if Palestra said the suns out, we have to go outside to check!

A examining indictment of how far things have fallen especially under Peter Hendy Knight of the Realm and use folks Baron Boris of Bullingdon.

Anonymous said...

This needs to be sent to every London MP, assembly member

Anonymous said...

All the time I was there, and i stayed till the end, I never saw one member of the panel make notes.
Helen was typing on her iPad but could have been checking her emails.

Why were minutes not taken

Daft not stupid! said...

Minutes, your having a laugh!

Its called Plausible deniability,
@we never said that', 'You misunderstood the answer' etc. etc.

Why do you think they cant or won't publish any minutes or meetings with us, its to stir the pot of division and mistrust that suits Lord Hendy's agenda.

We need these people up before the Transport Committee in Parliament under oath.

As the bard said:
'The Truth will out'

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about it being a waste of time, the agenda is not tight enough, the chair allows trivial matters to run but moves on when any relevant discussion begins. Next time I'll bring a duster!

Anonymous said...

HAILO = private hire driver don't you all see what's happening here they want to merge taxis and ph to form one look at belfast within a couple of years green badges will be given out as easy as a ph badgeis now ranks will go the success of hailo will kill the trade as we know it