Full unity doesn't appear to be on the cards just yet, but spurred on by the success achieved by the RMT ranks team in obtaining a GLA Transport Committee review into the running of TfL, some of our other representative orgs have become more active towards the major problems of illegal plying for hire and touting. Problems which have now reached epic proportion.
The LTDA AdVan has, over a number of days, been seen parked outside certain venues where touting has been most rampant.
One of the places the AdVan has been seen, is the loading bay outside the Shard in St Thomas Street, where heavy touting can be openly observed, nightly.
The only enforcement that has taken place at this site has been in the form of compliance officers who have bullied and intimidated licence Taxi drivers, picking up from the loading bay area, in front of the Shard entrance.
Taxi drivers have been working the Shard for sometime, where a busy stream of customers can by found leaving the buildings restaurants and bars, till the early hours.
As St Thomas Street in part of TfL's red route network, a request for a rank was made and accepted. But to everyone's amazement, the rank was placed a considerable distance down St Thomas Street. In fact, it appears to be closer to Borough Market than the Shard.
Complaints were made on serval occasions, but to everyone's surprise, a senior manager from TfL (Leon Daniels) became personally involved, insisting the rank should stay exactly where it's been placed.
Many in the trade feel TfLs involvement is another attempt to facilitate a PH company, something that appears to be happening far to frequently.
The satellite office's drivers, are alleged to be touting outside and inside the Shard on nightly basis. It's alleged the licence holders are London Executive, who have just been taken over by Addison Lee.
Yesterday a meeting was convened with the Taxi trades joint ranks committee (LTDA, LCDC and Unite), TfL and the Shard management.
Talks broke down when the property management team back by TfL insisted the Taxi rank should remain where it is. The Joint ranks committee left the meeting with a promises of a mass drive in on the 6th of May. (Date set for the buildings Hotel public opening)
Unfortunately as we were putting this article together, reports have come in from our twitter feed, allegedly, the LTDA are likely to distance themselves from any protest to take place and consequently the AdVan driver has now been relieved from duty.
Is this a price LTDA members are willing to pay?
The LTDA's vice gen sec Bob Oddy, is on the board of TfL, but has always stated, he does not represent the LTDA or the trade on the board. He says he is just a paid advisor on transport to the Mayor.
I once received a letter from his personal solicitor explaining his position.
If this really is Oddy's position....then why are the LTDA seemingly bottling it at the Shard?
Seems to be an amnesty for this company's cars, frequently parked with two wheels on the pavement.
Any one else could expect a PCN from the red-route network.