Saturday, December 12, 2015

The History Of The Taxi Hit Squad : I'm Not Ready To Sling The Towel In Jim Thomas

We've all seen and heard the plans, the Tory Group on the GLA have for the iconic London Taxi Trade and the historic Knowledge of London process. No need for me to reiterate. 

But what these people don't realise, the spirit that drove us on through the knowledge, is still there, burning inside. 

And now the London Taxi Trade, the "best Taxi trade in the world", has had enough of the corrupt, politicians and public officials who bend over backwards to support what is basically;

• An illegal app!
• A company that rides roughshod over regulation, stating its easier to ask forgiveness than permission!
• A foreign owned, multi billion dollar company who allegedly go out of their way, to avoid paying full tax in the Uk!
• A company that employs dubious drivers, with incomplete record checks!
• A company that allows uninsured journeys, putting the public at risk!

How can public official and leading politicians support this company....could be the huge amounts of cash available for the purpose of lobbying?

Many commentators have told us " we're finished, washed's all over bar the singing....the games dead".

Trouble is, I'm not ready to sling the towel in just yet. 
The spirit that saw me complete one of the hardest exams in the world, is still burning away inside me.

But to go forward, we must first look to the past.

The Hit Squad:
We have to go back well over twenty years to see where the idea of an "overt hit" first emerged. Jim Wells chairman of the LCDC led nightly hits on the Sports bar, Hombres, Stringfellows, Hippodrome  and Mr Ali's in Cranbourne street. 

These well executed manoeuvres, gave work back to night drivers which was being stolen wholesale by then unlicensed touts.

A few years later, after persistent protest, we saw a rank appointed outside the Dover Street Wine bar. Although this developed into a rank not to be too proud of, with the recent closure of the bar the rank itself has become hugely popular with night revellers leaving the Arts club. This will be a substantial source of work soon when Novikov's new restaurant opens, which will also utilise the rank (mainly unused) in front of Mahiki as a feed.

The Forum Hit Squad (FHS), sprang up out of "the battle for Hanover square", which saw nightly protests at Jalouse. The concerted actions from likeminded drivers, produced a new rank right outside the bar's entrance, supported by a feeder rank forcibly taken back by evicting the touts who were illegally parking on the shelter rank. 

Next target was Nobu where a young lady Cabby had been given grief by touts and door staff. After enlisting support massive support from all radio circuits, we got an extended rank outside Nobu. 


The FHS was closely followed by;
The Twitter Action Group (TaG) Hit Squad, which used military style, planned manoeuvres.

The TaG hit squad was facilitated by its own Twitter account and it's success saw ranks appointed outside, Tiger Tiger, Abacus, CXR, Swallow and Heddon Street . 

We did a bit of time outside these venues and on rare occasions there were minor altercations, but the look of defeat on the touts faces made it all worth while.

March this year, saw the formation of the Mayfair Mob which has seen even more results, with ranks appointed outside Hakkasan, Novikov's and an extension at the Forge, with more to come soon!

In January 2016, the UCG, will be meeting to discuss the reintroduction of regular direct action. This time it will be the fight of our lives, possibly our last hope.

If we fight, we may win, we don't fight, we will definitely die, it's that simple. 

The  GLA Tory group may have played their hand...But remember this!

The best-laid plains of mice and men, often go awry



simco said...

Strongly recommend you read it in full to understand where our problems lay!

An analogy to being part owner. Spot the Shering Economy!

"An America worker gets up, fries two eggs, eats them, gets in his Cadillac and goes to work for a capitalist owner - where he is being exploited.

German worker gets up, boils two eggs, eats them, gets in his Mercedes and goes to work for capitalist owner - where he is being exploited.

Socialist worker gets up, puts two eggs on a bicycle saddle and goes to work -where he is part owner. "

Anonymous said...

Jim, remember when we stood shoulder to shoulder trading punches with Ali's slags. Saw you take on two scabs, putting both down on their arses. All that training in Lambeth came in handy son.

Geoff W said...

I also kneejerked in horror at Richard Traceys proposal. Those damn Tories again, I thought. Yes Cameron and Osborne ARE in the pockets of Uber. They’ve been hoodwinked by Uber with promises of providing mass employment for unskilled workers, albeit we know at the cost of scores of road traffic collisions, thousands of traffic violations, sexual assaults, residential streets used by drivers as their toilets, hacked customer accounts, links with terrorism and even more congestion to London’s streets.

As for the Knowledge? I travel in to London via the A3. In the 6 years I have been a GB I have been to places like Tottenham, Wood Green, Alexander Palace, Crystal Palace, Catford, Park Royal, probably about half a dozen times with Fares. The other day I actually had a fare to Brockley from the city and the route took me via that run, Pomeroy, Drakeworth etc. and that was probably only the third time in 6 years that I had done that run. And why do we have to spend time learning ¼ mile radius maps for such areas. One of my questions on my appearances 6 years ago, was a run from Catford over Blackheath into Greenwich. I got it, but when have I since had a fare remotely along that route? Why did we have to learn all the City Farms?

60% of our work is in the City/West End and yes we must know that like a rabbit warren. E14? Yes we must know Canary Wharf and the routes in/out in all directions and prominent points and Westferry Road/Manchester/Preston Roads, but points beyond that in E14, No. Beyond the City/West End most of our work is within a 3 - 4 mile radius and yes we should know all the classic back runs e.g. Islington to Camden, Hammersmith to Highgate etc. It is for all these reasons in particular, why punters get in our cabs as opposed to an Uber slave machine/bumper car.

Like all of us I sweated and toiled endlessly to get that green badge. I am so proud to be a London Cabbie. On a personal note, however, it also finished my 32yr marriage off!!!

There are 30% less applicants for the knowledge which means in about 3 years time and with the new electric cabs coming in our numbers will nose dive if we don’t act.

Yes the knowledge should be revised for all the above reasons including the personal strain on domestic life and finances, but the standard must never, never never be lowered!!!!!

We have to modernise and wake up to the 21st Century, which in case you haven't noticed has already been with us for 15 years already!! BTW Where's your app??, wheres your CC machine(no choice come Oct 2016).

Londoners, visitors and tourists DO still need us. Uber want complete domination of the TPH industry. We are better than them but we must continue to be the thorn in their side by modernising ourselves.

Demo’s? Naaaah!! We’re better than that.

Anonymous said...

Thomo don't let the weak wankers put their "let's not upset the public" posts on here keep em off. It's time to fight, time to fight dirty, we've tried every way, talking, lobbying, waiting nothing works. Everyone records they support us, till it comes to the crunch.

We now have to bring London to its knees. We now need to fight with the only tool we got left.
No capitulation, no giving in, no more waiting. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT.

I'll be at the meeting on the 11th and I'll be voting to shut the place down, nothing moves day or night.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading an article about Hailo 2 years ago when some drivers were Woking hailo and boasting they took so much money working hailo only ,,,, the article said these drivers were getting people to get out of the habit of hailing a cab ,,, I remember punters saying when I stopped am I hailo , and I would say no and miss out on good job , and see the smug hailo pull up ,, THE ARTICLE SAID WE ARE KILLING OUR HAIL,, THE PUBLIC WILL FORGET WHAT HAILING WAS , and a Large COMPANY wil buy out all the apps and sell us down the river ... So well done to all the pioneer hailo drivers ,, I had a regular punter saying he was sick of getting into a taxi and the driver trying to get him sign up to hailo or. Gett , MY FRIEND IS STILL AT IT. CONVERTING THE LAST FEW HAILS GO GETT OR HAILO , we are our own worst enemy .. :::::::We face are biggest battle since the battle of Belgrave Sq in 1961 we done them there and we will do them again :::OUT OF AMMUNITION GOD SAVE KING :::::::Horrice Morris

Anonymous said...

Is this me being a Drama Queen or Over Dramatic again ?!!



Editorial said...

A quick message to the Yank Travis

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should make it easer to become an MP

Anonymous said...

In New York their cabs driver's are crap compared to our Taxi's drivers and Ubend has not wiped us of the face of the earth ( London ) because we offer a far superior service than a bloke with a Satnav.You get what you pay for.Keep positive.

Anonymous said...

January we need to have a good Gimmick , all cabs should offer credit card machines and we should take the 10% on the chin, we don't want any fare increases maybe scrap rate 2 and 3 , and fixed fares for certain jobs there will be a lot of cabs on the ranks , and we need to get the public to use us again . At the moment the public are scared of us and the meter ,, uber may charge more on surge but they don't see it no credit card no money just put it on phone and they think it's Free , let's hope January they get some nasty big surge bills ,,, let people no we can do cheaper fares of the meter , with all the grid lock at the moment at night on rate 3 it's embarising , even if your retiring in a year or so and don't give a toss , you had 30 good years , think of new drivers like the old ones did for you , it's up to us now on the ground to win our work back ,, we want charge 3 Credit card and rid of rate 2,3 starting 1 December ,,, and knowledge needs to be more welcoming , 12/15 months , MR NICE