Lighting up the night-time with an incredible parade of almost 20,000 walkers, who adorn themselves with glowsticks, bright clothes and lights, Shine is an inspiring fundraising walk for the wonderful charity Cancer Research UK.
The walk which features both half and full Marathon walks symbolises the light their work can bring to the darkness of cancer, which affects so many lives.
Each participant pays a £39.99 fee which goes towards the staging costs, with marshals along the rout ensuring their safety. Final destination is Old Billingsgate from where they have to make their own way home.
We were informed that 500 minicabs had been pre booked. But it's alleged these bookings were never checked by TfL compliance.
The PH operator who holds a dynamic licence variation for this venue, just happens to be the same one that, against TfLs own regulations, received 18 licence variations the very same week they were originally licensed, instead of having to wait the required 12 month period.
Back in 2012, when complaints were made to the directorate of John Mason and Helen Chapman at LTPH, three dodgy excuses were offered in succession, all of which were proved to be untrue. Finally we were informed that the PHV act licensing regulations, are just guidelines and not legally binding.
This company is just one of a number who have been allowed by TfL to bend licensing regulations to suit their own agenda.
Pre Bookings, my arse!
PH clipboard johnnies, were shepherding customers to waiting minicabs. These vehicles were being allowed to form an illegal rank in Lower Thames Street, with the help of both TfL compliance and City of London police.
Provision for a temporary Taxi rank was granted, but although in plain sight, was placed over 300 yards away down the slip road towards the Tower of London.
Shades of WinterWonderland perhaps?
While no restriction was placed on PHVs forming an illegal rank, TfL compliance officers were giving drivers plenty of stick and waving overflow Taxis on. Only 8 taxis at a time were being allowed on the slip road.
It soon became apparent that all was not well.
The walkers were being told taxis were unavailable plus exaggerated information was being given out about our prices. Potential customers were being held in a queue by PH marshals inside Old Billingsgate, some waiting for up to 90 minutes.
This whole deception was made possible by TfL COs who refused to let the Taxi marshals approach waiting customers at the venue.
As the night wore on the word started to get to the walkers who then slowly started to use the Taxi rank. Horror stories were coming out of inflated fares as Minicab drivers tried to marry up passengers with fixed individual prices on shared journeys.
Ironically, many of the "Gold Standard" licensed Taxi drivers, from the "best Taxi service in the world", had unselfishly turned their lights off and made their way to the venue to offer reduced metered fares, with some drivers refusing payment completely. Many Taxi drivers also made donations to the charity workers.
In spite of the harassment from TfL compliance, using The Twitter accounts of @UCGup and @Flash_Demo, a steady stream of Taxis managed to keep the rank pretty much full, using Trinity Square as a feeder.
Special thanks to "the Mayfair Mob" who were again at the forefront of the operation, putting out dozens of requests to their members to help out.
This biased behaviour from TfL reflects badly on the driver orgs who have attended previous Joint Ranks Committee and LCE meetings.
Another year, another chaotic performance.
Will we see even more last minute inadequate solutions, as we approach WinterWonderland and another News Years Eve fiasco.
Not forgetting, the UTG trade who attend these meetings have had a year to sort it out!
Just some of the Tweets from Sunday morning at Shine.
STOP PRESS NOTICE FROM UCG: