Thursday, March 10, 2016
An open letter to the TfL Board .... By Will Grozier.
Sir John Armitt CBE
Sir Brendan Barber
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE
Dear Transport for London Board Members
On 17th March you will be asked to adopt a set of proposals from TfLTPH to place additional controls on the activities of the Private Hire Sector
These regulations contain no safeguards to check the recent massive increase in minicab numbers on London's streets nor do they contain any meaningful brake on the total eclipse of the Black Cab industry.
If you, the board, do not vote these proposals down and insist that TfLTPH 'think again' your names will be forever remembered as the men and women who had the opportunity to save the London taxi but failed to act.
This is not a little taxi boy crying 'Wolf', it is a whole industry under attack from a predatory and ruthless wolf pack called 'Uber'
Please do the right thing and say 'No' to Brown, Daniels & Emmersons's attempt to impose a pro Uber lobbyist's anti-regulatory agenda and rubber stamp the existing status quo.
Do not accept the free market apologists argument that a mechanism to prevent drivers who respond to App sourced demand effectively plying for hire would be an unreasonable imposition.
Such an instrument based on zoning limits of access and visibility could be easily implemented via the very technology that has led us to this sorry state of affairs and is a crucial first step in preventing the London Taxi being consigned to the scrap heap.
Ignore the siren calls of those who would have you believe that the plight of the London Cab is a function of it's inability to adapt to a new technological landscape - that is just plain wrong - taxis equipped with CC payment systems and Apps such as Gett & Hailo simply can't compete with a rival empowered to ply for hire (illegally we would maintain)
by virtue of legalistic sophistry - a device operating as a meter and referred to by Uber as a 'meter' is apparently not a meter - and the creation of the oxymoronic and hitherto unheard of entity 'an immediate booking'.
In addition to your explicit statuary duties of regulating such an historic and revered world icon, the London black cab, there exists a concomitant implicit responsibility to behave as 'good stewards' toward a 350 year old tradition.
In that capacity your primary function is to ensure it's continuity which is now under threat as never before.
Failure to grasp this nettle now will simply repeat the old bad habits of national self denigration - The British Disease - tearing down to the detriment of society at large that which we edify and excel at.
Recent events such as the LBC expose have led many observers outside the taxi business to concur with us that TfLTPH is no longer an agency fit for purpose and that administration of the taxi industry should be removed from it's jurisdiction as soon as possible.
If you are in any doubt as to the veracity of that statement I urge you to visit Pancras Road between King's Cross and St Pancras Stations any time when a Eurostar train is due and witness for yourself the rugby scrum of PHV's double and at times triple banked jockeying for advantage in the wait for a ping on the iPhone, causing traffic mayhem in the process, whilst a line of idle taxis yellow 'for hire' signs ablaze snake away on the Kings Cross taxi rank as far as the eye can see.
These disgraceful scenes are your handiwork and you now have the opportunity of taking a first step in turning the tide, already one of Tsunami proportions, to ensure a continuity of supply of the best taxi service in the world to residents of and visitors to the greatest city in the world.
As I write we learn that a 1 year old child has died, mown down by one of your Google gawping gimps in Sw7 >on Monday night<
All 18 members of the board bear an individual and collective responsibilty for that tragedy and I urge you on behalf of all Londoners including my fellow taxi drivers to take that first bold step and say 'No' enough is enough
Licensed London Taxi Driver of 39 years service - but maybe not 40!
Posted by Editorial at 1:07 AM