While confrontation with violent touts raged outside Central London's Tiger Tiger, the scene of the 2007 car bomb attack, LTPH's ace trouble shooter, ex police officer of 30 years and now compliance officer, single handedly took on the mighty challenge of a couple of suburban Taxi drivers (one of whom is over 70), outside Morden Station.
Apparently there had been a complaint from a LT bus driver about cabs being on the forecourt. This seems to be purely a bus problem, as local drivers have spoken to LUL station master, who is quite happy to have Taxis outside waiting for passengers from the trains late at night.
Amazingly, after many years of complaints from Taxi drivers, over the illegal lines of minicab touts outside virtually ever club/bar in Central London, our heroes chose not to visit the violent touts at Tiger Tiger, who were threatening to stab Taxi drivers, but instead they made the brave decision to drive down to Morden and tackle a couple of licensed Taxi Drivers doing no more than waiting for late night passengers alighting from the late evening trains
A Carriage Officer who boasted of being a copper for over 30 years, told the errant drivers:
"Anyone caught over on the station front will be suspended. You have been warned".
One of the drivers reminded him London Transport and PCO are obsolete and unless it was a written notification then his orders were unprecedented. This remark seemed to hit a nerve and the CO kicked off big time, becoming rude and very aggressive speaking to one of the Green Badged drivers, who incidentally is in his 70s.
One driver told our roving reporter:
"He tried proper bully boy tactics shouting wildly at myself, my friend and old Roy. When we tried to questioned him, he kept walking away back to his white Prius. Eventually he told us that was it and we'd been told. He then said if we think we've got problems we should see what's in store for the Shard guys".
He also said:
"The CO said he was a copper for 30 yrs, I told him, well your not now and theres no need to be so rude and aggressive".
"At one point I thought he was going to punch Rich (one of the drivers). We only got to see his ID because the 3 of us asked, even then his collegue shouted at him to leave it and get back in the car."
"When we mentioned about the minicab touts blocking our licensed Taxi rank, placed ridiculously hundreds of yards away from the station forecourt, plus the driver being threatened with stabbing at the Haymarket incident, he told us he nicks 30+ touts a week".
As TfL's records show, just one single conviction over the last 14 years for illegal plying for hire. Think we can safely assume super-cops comments are slightly inaccurate."
After the TfL Prius left, the drivers carried on as normal. One driver went and spoke to station master who said he welcomes the licensed Taxi drivers at The kerb of the station.
20 mins after the confrontation, a London busses inspector turned up and on observing the Taxi drivers, spoke to them on the level.
He told them a few bus drivers had complained because lots of taxis (mainly when RTG are waiting for LUL staff) come into the forecourt and park anywhere, blocking bus standings, The bus drivers have all been told by TfL that ANY CAB coming into the forecourt should have their plate and id number taken and reported to LTPH. This has come direct from LTPH he said.
When asked if he was willing to compromise they said yes, but it needs to be official ie.
* a member of LUL Busses
* local drivers representatives
* and LTPH
The Local driver said "We have tried to get a rank here in a reasonable position, but have had no help or response and the one they have put in is miles away and used by local minicabs. The CO's attitude and bully tactics were disgusting and disgraceful. He told us this was LT land and up to them. When I spoke to the london busses inspector he told me it was in fact TFLs land and their call not his.
TfL see lincensed Taxis waiting outside a station to pick up passengers from late night trains, in a fashion they have done for many years, as a priority for a visit from their compliance team.
The are incensed that licensed Taxis have parked on a bus stand. Yet every night for many years now, they have said not one word to minicabs from Diamond Chauffeurs Ltd parked on the bus strand in the Haymarket. Not one word to minicabs from RD2.com regularly parked in the bus lane in Regent Street by Swallow Street. Not one word to the minicabs on Charing Cross Road parked in the bus stand and loading bays.
In Central London, illegal plying for hire from touts has reached epidemic proportion. A nightly free-for-all where licensed Taxi drivers personal safety is regularly threatened by illegal touts. Incidents of sexual assaults including rapes, personal attacks and robberies on passengers picked up illegally outside clubs and bars.
The Met Police, Local Authorities and TfL have adopted a policy of turning a blind eye.
Must we wait for another car bomb to go off?
Must we wait till they are picking body parts off the street?
Even after an MP's daughter suffered a sexusl attack in a touts minicab, we still have no effective enforcement in the Clapham area.
Who has to be raped before the police and TfL sit up, see sense, get their priorities in order and step up enforcement?
Do we have to wait till this appears on the 6o/c news, before they get their priorities right?