Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Westminster's Lies, As American Former First Lady Gets A Ticket.

Last week, in a high profile news bulletin on BBC London News , Westminster City Councils cabinet member Daniel Astaire, explained the reason behind the ticket issued to Hillary Clinton's Mercedes in St James Square.

"We need to manage our streets and it doesn't matter who you are, if you don't park properly, we've got to enforce", he said with a big smile on his face.

This statement came as a complete shock to bewildered Taxi Drivers who have been pressing Westminster Councils parking agents for many years to enforce parking restriction outside major WestEnd night venues.

Perhaps Daniel Astaire would now like to take the opportunity of explaining to the Licensed Taxi trade, why his parking wardens, or "Parking Marshals" as he calls them, refuse to issue parking tickets (PCNs) to a certain group of minicabs who regularly park, unlawfully in Regent Street by Swallow Street Arch. The actions of these private hire drivers goes completely unhindered by traffic wardens.

We know TfL compliance officers and the Met police give this venue a wide birth as well.

Not only do these vehicles park on the double yellow lines, causing congestion, but during the evening hours leading up to midnight they are also parked in a Bus a Lane. But then many in the Taxi trade believe that minicab operators have some sort of "Golden Ticket" which allows them to do what ever they like. 

Hendy, Daniels and Chapman consistently avoid all questions concerning this operator, as did John Mason before his removal.

At the lastest (and apparently final) Taxi forum held by LTPH at Palestra, when the question of RD2's ease of acquiring licences was bought up,  no one on the panel spoke, no one even made eye contact with the driver who bought it up.

While licensed Taxis are victimised for over ranking at some major transport termini, due in the main to a lack of sufficient working rank spaces, a complete blind eye approach is taken by all agencies regarding illegally plying for hire and unlawful parking by minicabs.

Below minicabs illegally plying for hire, illegally ranking and unlawfully parked at Swallow Street.


Taxi Leaks in partnership with members of the RMT London Taxi Branch contacted Westminster Council some time ago about the non-enforcement of unlawful parking at Swallow Street.

We were passed from department to department with no one actually able to answer our questions comprehensively.

We have been told the main reason NSL wardens won't enforce parking regulations at this venue, is because of aggressive threats and violent assaults. 

So we then applied (under a number of freedom of information requests) for a list of assaults, dates times and locations. 

But, Westminster were adamant they didn't have these statistics and our request was denied.

After making a complaint to the Information Commissioners, it transpired Westminster were lying and the commissioners instructed Westminster to give us the information asked for. 

Low and behold, we found no assaults had taken place at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street W1, between the dates and times we had requested.

The only five assaults on wardens between the time and dates:

Date   Location

2010   Harrow road Junction with Ashmore Road

2010   South Wharf Road

2011   Shouldham St

2011   Leicester street

2012   Randolph Avenue

2012   Junction of Coventry Street/Oxenden Street.

Why would these assaults have any impact, on the actions of wardens enforcing parking regulations in a completely different sector?

The present situation at Swallow and Regent concerning illegally plying for hire and touting needs to be investigated.


TfL, LTPH, Westminster City Council and the a Met police are all turning a blind eye to what's going on. 

Drivers should write to their MP and assembly members, expressing their concerns and demand this situation is investigated, as soon as possible.

The present situation is scandalous in light of the escalating serious sexual assaults including rapes, which police estimates say, are running at 25 per week.

Because of a high profile double rape case that originated when unlicensed minicab drivers illegally plying for hire, picked up a young lady at Heddon Street, Westminster have seen sense and appointed an eight vehicle Taxi rank at the junction of Regent and Heddon Street. The rank comes into operation at midnight, as the bus lane restrictions finish.

There have been calls for a similar kerbside rank, at Swallow Street and it has been agreed, but in principle only.

Must we wait for another violent rape before this appointment is approved and implemented? 

Taxi Leaks will continue to put pressure on TfL, Westminster and the Met to resolve this unacceptable situation. But we now believe that only direct action, taken on a regular basis, will move this issue forward.


Concerned taxi driver said...

Now on sale T Shirts with Rides 2 on them.

These make you exempt from any law of the land!

What the hell is going on?

Why the hell are not the LTDA and their increasingly irrelevant sidekicks at the LCDC & UNITE asking these questions?

Why are not the TfL board asking these questions?

Why this silence? Why? Why?

Anonymous said...

It's a cover up, phv' s have been given a by tfl, it's illegal and dangerous...why don 't the RMT take TFL to court....you can talk, but can you walk, prove yourselves.

Anonymous said...

RMT haven't got the know how to take someone like TFL to court, putting on a demo and blaming everyone is as far as they can go.
All talk with no trousers.

Anonymous said...

Great work by the Taxileaks team,is there any chance or angle that the RMT or Taxilleaks team can show these facts and figures to the American embassy,at least they have the money and power to take TfL to court for malfeasance.

I'm Spartacus said...

These matters need investigating by the proper authorities as they are likely criminal matters, it's not appropriate for someone else to do so,

No need to lecture about the capabilities of the RMT to take TfL to courts (or anyone else), the record of success in tribunals, overturning bans etc. Is second to none as well as ongoing legal matters at LAP.

But as I say it's not a civil matter here but a police one! what we need is the other trade groups assist in publicising the issues!

We have been shafted over the Olympics now it seems TfL have in interests at all in our issues and seem to be breaking up LTPH into separate functions that no doubt will be hived off to the private sector.

We need an all trades campaign to have us licensed by someone such as the BTP who would not be so overtly political as TfL.

Less sure then US Embassy will dabble in a local matter except if it's directly affecting them such as the congestion tax.

Sorry you seem so aggrieved about lack of action, if your a member of an organisation that has a system of member led prposals that are voted on then use that, if you don't get support then that's democracy.

You can of course consider joining something where others think for you.

orangecounty limo said...

Fantastic work with the Taxileaks group, perhaps there is any chance or angle that this RMT or Taxilleaks group can show these facts and figures for the American embassy, at least they have the money and power to look at TfL to the courtroom for malfeasance.

Anonymous said...

It's only this site that publish the issues and well done for all those involved, let's wait and see what the democratic UTG do about the illegal activities of the PH industry and wait and wait and wait......any reply yet from Dame Helen Chapman?