Tuesday, September 02, 2014

GLA Inquiry Into TfL's Running Of The Taxi And Private Hire Trades. City Hall Meeting ... by Taxi Leaks Roving Reporter.

The GLA investigation meeting kicked off in City Hall, at 10 am this morning.

Michael Galvin, late of the LTDA and Com Cab and now working for Addison Lee gave an accurate representation of the Taxi and Private hire industries.

GLA member for Merton and Wandsworth Richard Tracey asked Steve a McNamara: 
"Does the Taxi trade have Union representation". 
Mr McNamara answered that the United trade Group (UTG)  is made up of the three larges orgs. 
Taxi Leaks would of course dispute this answer as the second biggest representative group, and the largest Union the RMT, are excluded by the leadership of the UTG, therefore prevented from inclusion with any meaningful negotiations with TfL.

Garrett Emmerson told the panel that TfL's Taxi and Private Hire have bought forward the archaic administration of the Taxi trade. 
Another statement that Taxi Leaks would dispute.

Darren Johnson (AM) said that TfL needed to get basics of the trades in order by way of a consultation with trade Orgs. But look what happened with the last consultation, PH got virtually everything they asked for whilst the Taxi trade got nothing.

The panel were informed by Assembly Member Tom Copley, that with the onslaught of smart phone apps, Uber had blurred the lines between Taxis and private hire. Michael Galvin said that the registration of drivers using smart phone apps was open to fraudulent abuse. He also remarked that PH have no desire to pick up off the street and that the present two tiered system should remain.

Tom Copley AM then added that TfL have failed to act on pedicabs/rickshaw bikes. He said this infringes Taxi drivers rights to ply for hire. Tom also accused TfL of failing to act over Hailo's minimum fare policy.
He added,"why do the knowledge if apps can blur the lines. 

An e-hail is akin to a manual hail, plying for hire by licensed Taxis must be protected at all cost.

Tom finished on the point that, if identity is important, why allow both industries to use the same vehicle (Mercedes Vito) and the same colour?"

Chairing the meeting, Isabel Dedring spoke about the Credit Card issue also stating she was in full support of the value of wheelchair accessibility. She said Taxis were the Gold standard. Dedring was often out of her comfort zone with comprehensive knowledge of the issues and when put on the spot by Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick she had to hand over to Garret Emerson.

Garret Emmerson was asked why the ranks plan had been shelved and he replied it would be made available by the end of the year.

During a ministerial debate of the Private Hire Vehcles act 1998, it was stated that enforcement was not to become the poor relation to regulation. Many Taxi drivers would agree that this has now become the fact, as enforcement is almost invisible at night. Touts have little to no chance of being arrested. 

Inspector Julian Collinson of Cab Enforcement stated that of the last 1000 arrests made for touting, over 90% were convicted. He said that Enforcement is at a satisfactory level. In a bid to conceal TfL's disastrous record on minicab related sexual assaults and rapes, the inspector finished with a damning insult to the Taxi trade by saying that the sexual assault statistics are blurred due to the fact that victims are unable to remember if they were picked up in a Taxi or a minicab. This statement needs to be submitted to the IPCC.

Taxi Leaks would take issue with the inspectors statistics on convictions as they vary greatly from the ones we have manage to acquire by Freedom of Information requests.
We will of course be publishing our statistics on conviction rates in another post. 

Assembly Member a John Briggs talked about enforcement and asked Steve McNamara his thoughts on the matter. Steve told the panel that touting was now out of control in Central London and had become an epidemic.

Westminster Transport Commissioner Martin Low was asked about the affect of Marshals on certain ranks. He stated that he thought TfL should be spending more money on providing new ranks and that Westminster would be more than willing to help. 

Taxi leaks have been informed that other factions of the private hire industry such as the GMB, have been invited to meet with the transport committee on the 17th of this month in regards to this inquiry. 

Comment by Jamie Owens: 

It appears that everyone can see the problems that Apps are causing the Taxi & private Hire trades in London, LTDA, LPCHA, Westminster Council and various others who were giving evidence today agree that TFL are failing both trades, they have failed to appoint enough ranks even though Westminster Council say that they would welcome more ranks.

Everyone accept TFL can see the problems that illegal touting cause our trade and the innocent travelling public, everyone accept TFL and the Metropolitan Police who try to divert the heat away from themselves by putting there blame on the London Taxi Trade.

Inspector Julian Collinson stated that many victims did not know if they got in a touts car or a London Taxi which is an outrageous statement.

Garret Emerson commented on the Inside Out program last night that the travelling public did not know the difference between a taxi and private hire car and to cite that as the reason that touting is so rife in London is pathetic, Garrett, the problem is LACK OF ENFORCEMENT, enforcement which is TFL's responsibility.

The whole problem is that TFL are not only Total Failing London, but they are also failing both the Taxi and Private Hire trades, trades that they charge a fortune for licensing.


Editorial Comment

Well said Jamie. It seems thousands of drivers from both tiers of the industry can see exactly what the problem is and where the faults are. 

But a handful of overpaid civil servants, can't see the problem let alone the solution.



2 comments:

Rev. (Unordained) Vaclav P Haldady said...

It's the Rotherham and Rochdale Syndrome.

A box ticking culture allied to political correctness and an organisation now stuffed with 'management trainees done well' that have little or no practical experience of the world.

They come into Palestra (or wherever) on their buckshee here Oyster card, send each other e mails and attend strategy meetings and issue press releases.

Reality means nothing, perception everything.

Mike Galvin said...

Just to correct the record - the comments attributed to me (above) were not quite correct - what I said was that the LPHCA has a policy of strongly supporting the two tier (taxis and private hire) system (evidence; Law Commission response, Steve Wright's recent open letter).

I went on to say that touting adversely affects the legitimate Taxi and PH trades which lose revenue and importantly that it is a serious public safety issue. Thank you for the opportunity to correct this slight error, Kind regards Mike Galvin