Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Operation Neon...Three Months In And Zero Convictions.

We are now three months into Operation Neon and the TfL has just released its compliance statistics.

As of 24th August this year,
a) 3,021 licensed minicabs openly plying for hire have been "advised" to move on (no action taken).
b) 324 will receive a letter "advising them, in future, not to park on a Taxi rank.
c) 1,829 PH drivers will receive a letter "advising them to always wear their photo ID cards.

Would you see this as value for money?

This particular operation hasn't seen one conviction for touting!
Not one conviction for illegally plying for hire !

On the other hand, The Westminster Marshals team issued 758 parking tickets.....well done the Westminster Marshals.

Three months into Operation Neon and still the appointed Taxi ranks in Mayfair are awash with park private hire vehicles, night after night.

Some even forming illegal rolling ranks, obstructing working Taxis from accessing the rank space. 
And yet, compliance teams regularly turn up and report licensed Taxis for over ranking or forming unauthorised ranks.
One compliance officer who told me I should not be over ranking but circulating, turned to her colleague and said,
"These bloody cabbies want it all their own way".

Operation Neon (we were informed by Steve Burton) was initially set up to deter illegally plying for hire and touting, but it would appear, by their actions, compliance teams are now actively facilitating the touts.

In March of this year, Taxi Leaks posted the news that TfL employee John Strutton, had taken over compliance as Interim Head.

We said at that time, it appeared John had all the necessary experience to do the job, if only he would be allowed to do so.But it appears John's interim job didn't transform into a full time posting.

We have now been informed (by the new online TfL Taxi and Private hire magazine) that ex Chief Superintendent Matt Bell MBE, has taken over as head of Compliance.

Chief Superintendent Matt Bell joined the Met in 1985 as a PC in Southwark before joining Woolwich with a promotion. Following spells at Peckham and Bromley, Matt became borough commander for Barking & Dagenham and later Lambeth, before becoming the OCU Commander of the new Roads and Transport Policing Command.

He was awarded an MBE in 2012 for Services to Policing. 

After joining TfL as head of compliance, new boy Matt made this public statement:
"We want touts on the street to be in constant fear of being arrested and dealt with through the justice system" 

For that to happen Matt, first you have to start nicking a few and convicting them! 
Something hasn't been happening !
Up to now, TfL have been woefully inadequate in this department, with only one conviction for illegally plying for hire in the last decade. 

Taking into consideration the statistics released online, a minicab driver, licensed or unlicensed, statistically has more chance of winning the lottery than being convicted of touting or illegally plying for hire in Westminster.

Extra Comment :
We have today been informed that TfL have had 4 convictions in the past three months...2 in Charterhouse Street (City of London), 1 in Clapham High Street (Wandsworth) and 1 at Paddington.

All drivers have been convicted of touting and not having the correct insurance. All have had their DVLA licence suspended for 3 months. 

The brief we received did not mention if these convictions were connected in any way to "Operation Neon" and there has also been no mention of their PH licenses being revoked. 

Anyone in any doubt about how important Wednesday is, watch this video...



Anonymous said...

Deplorable Jim, isn't it ? Its more than incompetence I fear. The teams just can't be THAT useless ! My guess is that they are under the cosh from higher command. For some reason, "they" don't want the touts nicked. I wonder why? My guess is that Tubby Isaac is back ! Either that, or Billingsgate has relocated to Mayfair !
What I would give to do that job ! I would love to see "them" try to put the brakes on me for rounding the touts up! And after 8 written requests and 1 official application to do the job, perhaps that's why "they" wont let me have it !
Lets hope Matt Bell has still got it in him. He cant be worse than the current lot, that's for sure. Lets wait and see.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock...............

Anonymous said...

Shocking state of affairs Jim
Compliance are helping the touts and reporting taxis
I've seen this nightly when I help out the Mayfair zombie who are fighting to take back our ranks, our work from the scabs

Anonymous said...

Worrying thing is that when you read the TFL on line rag the quoted figures are made to look great!!! And the trouble is if Joe Public , committee members, MP's etc etc read this they will think - 'what a great job, money well spent!!'. Unfortunately if your in the trade you know what a load of cod this is. Tricky thing is convincing the outsiders that this isn't good enough!!! This also highlights a point I have made many times that an enforcement unit without the power of arrest is a chocolate teapot. Clearly this lot have been wandering about telling mini cabs off with no police back up- useless!!! Scabs must be laughing their heads off when these clowns show up. Meanwhile its yes sir no sir from us lot because they can take licences away. Yet again a slightly uneven playing field with licensed taxis the easy target!!!

Anonymous said...

They won't stop these guys from working illegally, but can't wait to stop us working legally.

Saw this on the what do they know website today, I can't wait to see what their reply will be!!!


Dear Transport for London,

Having researched taxi laws I cannot find anything which would
prevent a taxi driver from working whilst awaiting his licence

The transport act of 1985 section 17 subsection 7 states that a
taxi licence continues to be valid until a renewal is issued as
long as the application is recieved before the licence expires.

This licensing authority may still suspend or revoke that licence
before the renewal licence is granted, but the abstract laws
section 18 subsections 2 and 3 state that this can only be if they
discover the driver to be unfit and they must then inform them
personally and the driver must then surrender their badge within a
number of days.

I have also been told by an ex carriage officer that the cover
notes that the Met used to issue were not an extension of a drivers
licence but merely a proof of the receipt of a renewal application
to show the authorities that you were working under the
circumstances allowed for by the laws stated above.

Since a DBS check has no expiry date it remains valid and so once
approved cannot, in itself, be a reason to contradict the above

Please can you provide the laws which over ride all of this and
allows TFL to state that a taxi licence expires on the date stated
on it regardless of the renewal status.


1) which law states that a taxi licence becomes invalid during the
renewal process after the date printed on it for its 'unrenewed'

2) which law invalidates any previous DBS check before a renewed
check is received by TFL.

3) Which law excuses Tfl from informing drivers of suspension of
their licence during the renewal process and requesting the return
of the drivers badge within the stated timeframe until the new
licence is issued as required by law.

4) Any laws or policies which contradict any of these laws:

A) Transport act 1985 section 17 subsection 7.

B) Abstacts of law relating to London Taxis section 18 subsections
2 & 3

C) any law that invalidates a current DBS check.

D) any policy which states that a driver cannot legally work whilst
his current licence is being renewed.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Mulligan


Let's hope they actually take responsibility and start compensating the drivers forced into financial hardship!!