Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Licence Renewals: Just When You Thought It Can't Get Any JimThomas

A friend of mine has now been waiting 90 days for his CRB check to come back. His licence has now run out and he is effectively out of work. I spoke to him last night and his last words to me was:

"How much worst can it get Jim?"

Then I received this press release this afternoon from TPH enquiries:

TPH notice 02/14 - Disclosure and Barring Service - Service Availability 7-12 March 2014
Please find attached a copy of TPH Notices 02/14 Disclosure and Barring Service - Service Availability 7-12 March 2014
Transport for London – London Taxi and Private Hire  

Disclosure and Barring Service Service availability between 7 - 12 March 2014

Important information regarding the Disclosure and Barring Service this weekend

We have been notified by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) that they are making changes to their IT systems and infrastructure and this will temporarily affect their ability to receive and process DBS applications from 7 March to 12 March inclusive.

This is part of wider changes they are making in order to modernise their service.

While you will still be able to make an application via the Post Office the following services will be affected: 

  E-numbers may not be available within 3 working days

  Online use of the Update Service and online tracking of applications using the DBS tracking service will not be possible between 17:00 on Friday 7 March and 08:00 on Wednesday 12 March

  Some disclosures may take a few extra days to be issued

We have been notified that the DBS call centre will remain open for general enquiries only during this period. Should you wish to contact them by telephone the number is 0870 90 90 811 but they have advised that they will not be able to answer enquiries about the progress of an application or to discuss the content of a disclosure.

Further information can be found here DBS Website
TfL has highlighted our concerns relating to this change and the DBS has

assured us that any impact will be kept to a minimum.

Potential further delays due to industrial action 

We have also been notified by the DBS that there may be further disruption due to industrial action by their suppliers on 6 and 7 March. The DBS has assured us they will do everything possible to minimise the disruption if the industrial action goes ahead as planned.

Helen Chapman
05 March 2014 Interim General Manager

Why are Taxi drivers having to suffer being put out of work, just to facilitate the modernisation of a system that used to work like clockwork and now doesn't. 

Temporary licenses are issued in every other licensing authority in the country, except for TfL where on the insistence of Commissioner Peter Hendy, they have been withdrawn.

How much more bias and incompetence has our trade got to endure from the hands of TfL, before the people who take money from us, who purport to represent our interest, finally start to earn their wages. 

We need action...and we need it now 

Our orgs must demand the issue of temporary licenses be reinstated. 

Don't wait till this puts you out of work

Phone up your respective org/union today and insist on immediate action.


Anonymous said...

The one person that hates negative publicity is Boris Johnson... he has the authority to override Hendy - Hit Johnson with everything, including the kitchen sink and change will happen. Until then, Hendy will carry on with personal vendetta to inflict as much damage to the London Taxi trade as he possibly can.

Anonymous said...

Helen Chapman is good putting out statements as she has been away off holiday since last week. So the people in TPH say !!

Well done !

Mellow Yellow man. said...

A most important post and look, only 2 comments
You should have stuck something in about yellow badges and you would have got 20-30.

Joe Average said...

This is currently not affecting me so I don't care.The Taxi age limit was the same. I work the airport, so mini cab ranks and satellite offices don't affect me either. I don't go to demo's because I lose too much wedge. I strongly believe the trade org's are on top of all the problems. How do I know ? I read Taxi newspaper; it's a great comfort to know the UTG negotiate all the best deals for working cab drivers !

Anonymous said...

Nothing seems to bother anyone apart from the sacred "knowledge" or yellows working in town. Im alright jack.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2.40 The knowledge is sacred alright, lose that and we are gone. Just mini cab drivers.

Anonymous said...

Why is the knowledge sacred?
I'm genuinely baffled by this attitude. It's just an examination process to ascertain a quality service to drive people around! All other cities have taxi services that still function despite having a lesser system, and in some cases, no system at all!
To hear some drivers bang on about it anyone would think they were life saving scientists who were literally the last defence against the total anihalation of the human race.
It takes three years to do the knowledge. Big deal! It takes three years to do most degrees and that is just the beginning of the education process for a many genuine life changing or saving professions.

The individual taxi driver is irrelevant as far as Tfl are concerned, because there are 20,000+ other drivers to keep the city going in their place, so they don't give a damn how long it takes for Tom, Dick or Harry's licence to come through because it's only a few drivers bleating about it, and not the public or anyone who will affect their jobs, so why worry?

Same with ph, yellow badges and every other outrageous liberty they are taking, but the only reason they can do it and drivers can't do anything about it is power!!!

They are powerful. They hold the ability to revoke your licence.

Drivers are not.

The sooner drivers wrap their heads around this fact instead of getting outraged in an inflated self-important bubble because they completed a difficult education course for their licence.

Who hasn't?

If it's worth having you have to work for it...and that WAS true of the Taxi trade, but it's over!!

This profession has been a Dead Man Walking for the fourteen years since Tfl took over, and if anyone can't see that then I can only wonder how they got through the knowledge in the first place.

Coglans law:

Bury the dead; they stink up the place.


Anonymous said...

anon 11.38, you are right of course. Everywhere else in the world, taxi driving pays peanuts, it is a job for the lowest of the low. But here in London we have the knowledge, and you can get a reasonable living taxi driving, yes I know any idiot with a sat nav can do the same job. Thats why we bang on about the knowledge, and thats why we are worried. We are fighting for our jobs.

Anonymous said...

Good post anon 11.38.Pre sat navs and smartphones the Kol was more relevant than it is today. The only advantage i see we have for passengers over ph is buslanes. Lets be honest even after 3 years of studying your kol isnt even on par with a basic sat nav now days, and everyone has a sat nav equivalent on their phone so they know the route you should be on while sitting in the back. The kol only exists in its current form to generate money for licencing and restrict numbers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:53. You are obviously not a cab driver. The KoL is exactly that.

Example:Victoria Station to Euston Station.the sat nav will almost definitely go close to the blue book line. However no cab driver worth his salt would drive it that way... a proper knowledge trained London Taxi driver knows multilple variations of routes to use in different traffic situations.

Can a sat nav, mini cab or suburban driver offer the same service to the paying public within the KoL area?

Many people think they can do our job. Unfortunately non of them have done the KoL. You either got it or you ain't !

Anonymous said...

Ground control to Major Tom.....

The knowledge requires you to call the shortest possible route regardless of the time of day or traffic. The rest you pick up with experience as you you do an ability to deal with the public, also.

There are far more drivers who have completed the knowledge but damage the trades reputation with their ignorance and inability to communicate, than there are who make mistakes, apologise and knock a bit off or in complete mental breakdown waive the fare.

You can't please all the people all the time, and that goes for when you are on top form as well, with some of the punters, but show me a driver who says they haven't ever gone blank and started blagging for hints to help them remember, when the punters gone don't worry I'll show you - and I'll show you a liar!!!

We all know there's a lot more to this job than the knowledge and a good cabby can work anywhere that they speak your language(s) for our bilingual brethren) regardless of knowledge coz it's in our nature after a few years!!
Are you saying you couldn't get on a plane to New York jump in a yellow cab and do as well as a NYcabbie with a bit of bluster?

If you don't see this, you're probably one of the guys doing us the most harm!!

Anonymous said...

Any local mini cab driver, or pizza delivery boy can do a suburban sector badge in six to eight months - which is probably part of the reason the sectors are over subscribed. The KoL however is a different level completely. We are talking about a basic standard of driver and a criteria that must be met before licence. My point being:The only people that want a lower standard of driver are those that have something to gain from it. As has been said before - many think they are good enough to be an all London cab driver, but none of them have, or are willing to do the KoL. I bieve 100% of all London drivers would agree that if you want to hold a green work in central London you should stop staring in the sweet shop window snd do the knowledge!!!

Anonymous said...

How embarrassing!

You clearly think you know what you're talking about, but your facts are as muddled as your spelling.

The entire KOL system is exactly the same whether you have decided to acquire the knowledge of the Central London area, or one of the Suburban areas.

The reason it takes longer to learn the 6 mile radius is purely due to the fact that there is a much more concentrated amount of information to absorb and therefore a greater number of runs are needed to cover the skeletal framework for the body of information an applicant needs to cover to hang their actual knowledge on.

Other than the area to be learned there is absolutely no difference in the examination process other than on completion of the Central London Knowledge you are issued with an All London licence to ply for hire within the whole Metropolitan Police District but with the Suburban London Knowledge you are issued with an All London licence that is limited to the area you have passed the knowledge for.

An interesting paradox in all of this is that the issue of an All London Licence is actually contrary to the London Cab Order of 1934 which states that a driver must demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the area they are licensed for. This means that Central London drivers should only legally be entitled to ply for hire in Central London.

Breaking this down there are 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation that make up the Metropolitan police district. 7 boroughs and the City Corp fall entirely within the six mile radius. 14 fall partially within the six mile radius and 11 fall entirely outside the six mile radius.

This means that if the London Cab Order of 1934 were enforced properly for Central London and within the same stringent guidelines that are forced upon Suburban Drivers, the Central London Licence would only permit a green badge to ply for hire within the 7 boroughs and City Corp.

What about the 14 boroughs they are partially licence for? Well in 2000 all suburban drivers lost areas they had completed the knowledge for if it didn't comprise a full borough within a new sector on the technicality that that they could not be licensed for the area of the sector they hadn't completed the knowledge for. So, if the full letter of the Law were to be applied, the green badge driver would only be able to ply for hire within less than a quarter of the London Boroughs, and all of those boroughs are small in comparison to the Outer London boroughs.

All of a sudden the All London area looks a lot smaller, doesn't it. It's amazing how the ones who are screaming the loudest about how unfair everything is are the ones who have been given the most.

Now that's in perspective, tell us again how this is two different levels.....

Anonymous said...

....both also face the same licensing issues from the same bunch of incompetents, which is what this post is actually about.

There has to be a legal point somewhere that states that if Tfl take your money for licence renewal, they are accepting that you are eligible to work and therefore must issue you with a temporary licence to cover you.

No where that I've seen is this payment described as a deposit, so it must be regarded as payment for a licence and once payment is taken Tfl is under legal obligation to issue a temporary licence, to cover the driver until such time as full licence is issued or the driver is found to be unfit to hold a licence.

Otherwise this is taking money under false pretences; surely!!

If the money taken was described as a deposit, I understand that the legal standpoint would be different, however, the issue of a receipt should still be enough to allow drivers to continue working!!

The amazing thing about Tfl isn't its one rule for them and one for's actually one for you, and one for you, and one for you....regardless of if any of them are legal!!

Anonymous said...

A great piece of verbosity you have produced to make your pointless. After nearly 300 words you get round to "if" and "but" and who's been given the most. We all had a choice when we walked through the door - now you're not happy that you came out of the sweet shop with a gob stopper and I have a jamboree bag full of choices.

Would you go back to the bookies and ask for your money back when the horse you backed falls at the last fence ?

Johnny Wight said...

Another post hijacked by Green Badge/ Yellow Badge agenda activists. Boring the pants off everyone.
Not content with taking over the forum, and now you've let them do the same on this blog

It's an mainly the same person posting as both trying to stop normal drivers from finding out what's happening from each other by reading each other's relive not comments.

Most now read the article and dont bother with the comment as you know it's going to be all the same shit.

Editorial said...

Johnny, your absolutely right.

A meeting was held Thursday night by drivers who contribute to and moderate this blog.
The problem of comments not relevant to the post was high on the agenda.

We can track the IP address of most comments and have found the majority of off subject posts come from just the same couple of computers.

It was decided that from 9th March only posts that are relevant to the subject article will be posted.

I has also been decided any post will feel is an unjustified personal attack will also be deleted.

Chris Payne.

Anonymous said...

We'll done editor.

Don't let those with an agenda stop the news getting out to the trade.

Real news about real issues, not the 'look how good we are' tosh you read in the trade org rags.

Without TaxiLeaks no one would know what really happening.

LCY Len said...

Editor said
We can track the IP address of most comments and have found the majority of off subject posts come from just the same couple of computers.

Can you not somehow block those people from commenting if you know who they are?
All comments are checked before being published aren't they?
How do they get through if this is the case?

It seems to me that some of the moderators are happy to fan the flames by letting the anti yellow badge posts get published.

I'm a fair minded man as you can tell from my previous comments, but the anti yellow agenda does seem to be the only thing that concerns most of the contributors to this blog and it's becoming tedious.

Relating to the subject at hand though, it seems you have to get online and down the post office as soon as you get your renewal pack in order to stand the minimum amount of down time. My brother did this and has been told he should get his bill back before the old one runs out.Watch this space and I'll let you know if he does.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. keep blogging! :)