Mrs Pat Bissett's Letter To Private Eye's Ian Hislop
Dear Mr Hislop,
I am the wife of a Black Taxi driver and I am writing to you because I believe that you are one of the few people left who are not afraid to question the government and opposition in equal measure.
On Wednesday 10 February 2016, 10,000 Black Taxis demonstrated in Central London against the interference of the Government in the regulation of Black Taxis and Private Hire services in London. This demonstration brought Central London to a standstill, but you would never know it unless you were there! There was a complete news blackout as far as the BBC was concerned; there was nothing on BBC London and nothing on BBC radio, not even the local news.
Now it is believed that something called a Section D was imposed, something that is only used in times of war and terror attacks!! Now I have no proof of this but it is hard to explain why there was no TV coverage and nothing in any of the national newspapers. The whole of Central London was brought to a halt for 2 hours and that is not even worth a mention, is it bad journalism or is it something else? I might add that the story made the evening news all over Europe and even as far as Thailand!
The 25,000 Black Taxi drivers in London feel they are being unfairly treated. They have to abide by such strict regulations or risk losing their badges and the Government is interfering in decisions that are nothing to do with them. George Osborne lobbied Boris and told him to “leave Uber alone” this is a fact admitted by Boris. Why?
Is it because Rachel Whetstone (Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Policy for Uber Technologies Inc) is a close personal friend of David Cameron? Boris claims that he had never met any of Uber’s representatives, this is not true, and there is picture evidence to prove this, see attached.
Meetings took place between the deputy leader of TFL, Isobel Dedring and Uber before the consultation with Black Taxi representatives, and other private hire representatives, when Tom Watson contacted TFL and requested a copy of the minutes from the meeting he was told that no minutes were taken.
If this meeting was above board, I find it very hard to believe that in this day and age when so many public figures are scrutinised by the media, why there were no minutes. Having said that, I also find it hard to believe that Tom Watson has just accepted this. He was so tenacious over the phone hacking!
TFL are issuing 600 private hire licences a week! TFL have asked the government to change legislation so they can cut the number of licences they issue. The government refuses. Why? If the government can interfere regarding Uber which is nothing to do with them, then why can’t they interfere regarding the change in legislation for private hire licences?
Uber made £866,000 profit in the UK last year and yet only paid £22,000 Corporation Tax because the are permitted to legally transfer their profits to its sister company in the Netherlands. So it is even harder to understand why the government is backing Uber, the Treasury is not earning anything from them.
Uber trades as a technology company and therefore is not responsible for making sure that every driver has the correct insurance for the vehicle they are driving to be used as a private hire.
Now I come to the background checks for Black Taxi and private hire drivers; Private hire drivers do have background checks but where the system falls down is if a person hasn’t been in the country for more that 3 years all they need is a note of good conduct from whichever country they originated from.
Some countries are exempt from background checks and if you are a refugee no checks can be run! Now this above all the things that are wrong, is the worst in my opinion. The reason that private hire drivers were licenced and had background checks in the first place was because of the campaign started by Suzy Lamplugh’s mother to ensure that it was safe for young women to use private hire cars.
Now we find out that the checks are not worth the paper they are printed on and in many cases not done at all. Black Taxi drivers are monitored rigorously every three years and the drivers have to pay for the checks themselves! If they don’t they lose their badges! Ask yourself, would you want a friend or loved one to get into a vehicle that may or may not have incorrect insurance (not hire and reward), that may or may not have a sex pest as a driver!
The amount of complaints of sexual assault by private hire drivers is on the rise and TFL are keeping the figures hidden because they don’t want to scare the public.
Total allegations 180,
Arrests 115 – 68 PHV Licenced 44 Unlicensed.
When I tell people this they are very quick to remind me about John Worboys, and I agree, background checks don’t always keep us safe, but John Worboys is one Black Taxi driver, and that dates back to 2009!
Uber think its all about technology and apps, well Black Taxis had apps for booking long before Uber came on the scene, there is Hailo and Get Taxi, both very well subscribed to by Black Taxi drivers.
The misconception is that Uber is cheaper, not true; many tests have been done to prove this. Uber have price surges according to any given situation, Christmas, New Year, bank holidays, tube strike, bus strike, snow, rain, R in the month!; a black cab has their meter set by TFL, there are no double or triple fares ever!
Uber want to make the Knowledge easier and use SatNav technology. The reason that the London Black Taxi is the best in the world is because of the high standard set by having to do the Knowledge.
There is something rotten going on, many think its corruption, it’s hard to disagree. I don’t understand why journalists are not asking more questions, every licenced taxi driver in Europe is fighting Uber and is covered on TV news and in print but not in the UK why?
I have requested your help in the past (Sam Hallam) and thankfully you gave it, please help again the Black Taxis, are part of London and have been since 1654, don’t let them disappear.
Thank you for any help you can give us
Mrs Pat Bissett
Info regarding the photo attached: Clockwise:
Etonian buddies, Cameron and Osborne with very close friend Steven Hilton, who also worked for the PM as Director of Policy Strategy
Steven Hilton is married to Rachel Whetstone, seen here when she was an advisor to tory MP Michael Howard. David Cameron is so close to the couple he is Godparent to one of their children. Rachel Whetstone is also godparent to one of DC children (Ivan RIP). Rachel Whetstone is Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Policy for Uber Technologies Inc
Boris Claims he has never met any of Uber’s representatives. Seen here in convivial mood with Rachel Whetstone!
And finally, a picture of Boris with his brother who works for Goldman Sachs, one time, main investor of Uber Tech Inc -reports now are that Goldman are trying to distance themselves from Uber because of the bad publicity world wide!