Tiger Tiger has now reverted back to a free for all at weekends. Drivers from Diamond Chauffeurs Ltd, who have the licence variation to operate the satellite office at the Nightclub/bar, are parking their vehicles in the 24 hour bus lane, both on the Bus Stand and also on the licensed Taxi rank.
Diamond Chauffeurs also use the Taxi rank on the corner of Jermaine Street and Haymarket, as well as parking on the double yellow lines and loading bay opposite the club.
Private hire vehicles are not allowed, by law, to illegally park and wait to become hired. This constitutes illegal plying for hire. It carries the same penalty as Touting, plus if a fare is achieved in this manner, the vehicles insurance is void and the passengers are not legally covered by the drivers policy.
(As seen with Birmingham Taxi police's twitter postings. In Birmingham the driver is arrested and the vehicle impounded).
Unfortunately our licensing authority take no action against these new breed of operating centres, concentrating their efforts only on over-ranking of licensed Taxis at certain stations, plus badge & bill checks on Taxi ranks. PH are left to do what ever they like, regardless of the law.
Good Friday night, PHVs from Diamond were parked both sides of the Haymarket. I decided to park up and flag down a passing police car. The first car told me it was not a priority and sped off before I could answer. The second was a van. The driver explained they were carrying a prisoner on board so couldn't help.
The third was a minibus with a half-dozen officers onboard. After speaking to the female driver, she told me "it's not police business".
I then explained it was a police matter as the cars were In fact committing a number of criminal acts, namely illegally plying for hire, criminal obstruction on a bus stand and Taxi rank. By the time I got half way through explaining about insurance contraventions, she gave in and said she would get them moved.
The officers were extremely polite to the minicab drivers who were reluctant to move but did eventually go. When I tried to speak to an officer to tell him the cars on the right hand side were also breaking the law he shot me a look and said "we've already heard from you sir, we don't need to be told our job".
I also spoke with Diamond Chauffeurs booking agent, who was standing outside the club, illegally taking bookings on the pavement and he told me this:
"We need to park outside as touts are nicking our work".
As I walked back towards my Taxi, aware that the police were about to leave, I was approached by a group of touts who were shouting obscenities at me and one said if you return again I will stab you.
So there you have it.
Even after a car bomb was placed outside
Even though the rate of minicab related serious sexual assaults are running at an all time high of 25 per week (Met a Police Statistics)
The Met Police, Local Council and the Licensing Authority are all turning a blind eye and facilitating these PHV operators to break the law.
The publics safety is being compromised on a nightly basis.
This cannot be right.
We need a parliamentary review of the way TfL administer Taxis and Private Hire.
And we need it now.