Before the Taxi trade takes to the streets, over how long the knowledge should take, surely we should be making sure these KoL students have a job to fit into, once they've earned their badges.
Again an issue of seemingly great importance, has been thrown at us, in a hope to split and divide the trade. They have done this in the past with identifiers, over-ranking, the GLA report, Credit Card acceptance etc....to make us take our eye off the real problems facing our future.
A future that could soon disappear before the next generation of cabbies pass out.
While Taxi drivers have been held up, falsely told they couldn't work, while waiting unacceptably long periods for licence renewals....PH applicants have been fast tracked...yes for an extra £277, applicants can be FAST TRACKED through the process. (According to London "pcolicence" The a Fast Track Solution)
Who at TfL is responsible for allowing this?
In just 10 years, TfL have expanded the PH fleet by 74,000 extra licenses. Our licensing authority is currently issuing over 2200 new PH licenses a month to facilitate Uber's quest to swamp and crush the existing Taxi and Private Hire trades.
Uber, Allowed To Ply For Immediate Hire:
TfL are allegedly allowing Uber to ply for hire with their phone app and on their Twitter account, TfL have regularly lied to facilitate a cover up, over the pre-booking only regulation!
This is a lie.....
Try and book an Uber ride to Heathrow 5 hours in advance.....you get a reply, sorry we don't do pre-bookings, please open the app when you want the car. We have asked Dan on the Twitter account to explain this and so far he has ignored the question time and time again.
Ranks And Road Space Dissapearing:
Rank spaces have been drastically cut back. Now Westminster and Islington councils are planning bus and cycle only areas such as, Tottenham Court Road, Baker Street, Fitzrovia, Oxford Street, Bank Junction...and there seems to be talk from certain circles about removing us from bus lanes altogether.
Make no mistake, we are in trouble and we need to fight. But we have to concentrate on the real issue and not be distracted.
This last year saw more demonstrations from the trade than ever before. We even saw two successful demos from friends and family members of Taxi drivers.
With very little support from the UTG orgs, and total silence from "our man" on the board of TfL, to their astonishment, TfL had to sit back and watche as the momentum of anger felt by rank and file drivers escalated and grew beyond all expectations.
Completely overwhelmed but the strength of support and number of protestors joining the actions, organised by the United Cabbies Group, TfL and the Met were at a loss what to do next!
They tried underhanded dispersant tactics, tried to kettle Cabs, provoked peaceful attendance of the Mayors Q&A, provided bus inspectors who took photos of drivers, plate and registration numbers, sent out warning letters over demo ephemera and finally threatened to arrest demo organisers.
In their inadequacy to police peaceful protest they finally introduce a sector 12 public order notice, which included a 30 minute time restriction, something the trade has never seen before, while rioters and illegal terrorist organisations marching on Whitehall were given Carte Blanche.
As threats hadn't worked, a meeting between the UCG organisers, the Met and TfL senior officers was arranged where certain promises of improved engagement, compliance and enforcement were made. In return they asked for a suspension of regular direct action.
An agreement of action suspension was reached but the organisers from the UCG let it be known that if things didn't improve substantially, the trade would again be forced to take to the streets.
Unfortunately, TfL and The Met have failed to keep up their end of the bargain. All the talking, lobbying, negotiating, waiting has all achieve zero results.
There is to be a meeting in early January to discuss the reintroduction of direct action on a regular basis.
No more excuses, no more bullshit from TfL or the Met.
It will be a fight to the finish this time.
Before we even think about saving the knowledge or who pays the CC surcharge, we have to save our trade from extinction.