Yesterday myself and Artemis met with Silka Kennedy Todd (Head of Taxi and PHV Stakeholder Relations) and Edgerton Rodgers (TPH Compliance Delivery Manager) and had a positive meeting discussing a number of trade issues.
Rather than delay these minutes we have decided to post the points discussed however please note we are awaiting some clarification on a couple of bits of information and will advise asap when the details have been received.
We discussed the following:
We'll start on a positive - Recruitment has started on an additional 250 compliance officers promised which is very welcomed.
They will have CSAS powers to do checks and take drivers off the road for non compliance (an explanation about what CSAS actually is will be posted later). They will work with the police, use Intel and follow up on intelligence collated from TPH division.
They will continue to support the Globe and Neon Operations which uses high visibility enforcement to disrupt and deter illegal touting, plying for hire, obstruction/congestion/waiting around venues and blocking of taxi ranks.
We raised the recent issue of PHV roundels being removed or tampered with and asked how would vehicles be identified to be stopped and checked in these instances. It was confirmed ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) will and already is being used.
In addition, compliance teams are already working closely with the police on Operation CUBO which specifically targets illegal driver activity including that of no insurance. The police are using a new hand held device which identifies any culprits!
For reference, the number of Taxis v's PHV vehicles being stopped and checked is now pro rota'd for fairness ie. far fewer taxis are pulled in comparison to the number of PHV's due to the fact that there are far more PHV's vehicles on the road. The % of each sector stopped is comparable.
For info, one of the biggest area's of non-compliance is not wearing s badge for both PHV and Taxis drivers.
We have been asked to remind everybody of the requirement to wear your badge. Wear it with pride after all you worked so hard to get it! If nothing else it helps customers to have confidence in the trade that they are being driven by a professional licensed London Taxi Driver.
The new compliance officers will be rolled out between now and next Spring.
TFL would like to really encourage more women to the role and pointed out that there are part time positions so could benefit many parents!
They have clarified that should any taxi driver wish to apply they would have to give up their licence as it would be a conflict of interest!
They are going to send the link to apply so we can post it should anyone in the group be interested! We will post shortly.
The City of London police are running their own operation targeting the use of fog lights for illegal touting. We will try and get some stats to share at a later date.
Uber v's TFL
We asked for clarification on exactly what did the judge rule at the recent hearing as there was much confusion and conflicting reports.
Basically the legal teams are working on this at the moment and TFL will issue a statement clarifying this and their position next week w/c 12th Sept. We will post this as soon as it has been issued.
What is clear however that the requirement to have H&R insurance in place from when the PHV licence is issued and for the duration of the licence has been upheld. In fact all new PHV applicants are already required to have this since June this year and all existing PHV drivers from 11th July. This is already effective and does not come into force from 1st Oct as with some of the other regulations.
PHV drivers must have their insurance certificate on them in the vehicle (not necessarily on display) should they be asked to present it by either a passenger, compliance or the police.
6 more TFL admin assurance officers have been employed to receive calls from compliance officers to check valid insurance and follow up with the MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau).
We asked what action is taken against drivers if they 1. are stopped but do not have their insurance docs on them and 2. are stopped but found to not be insured. TFL are going to advise specifically on the start to end process of a couple of different examples and we will post once received.
Another real positive piece of news is the move to report Taxis and PHV's separately. The Met Police are introducing a new system called 'Copa' which will differentiate between the two going forwards. We expect this to launch approx end Oct (not 100% confirmed) however it is unlikely we will be able to analyse and draw any conclusions from the data collated until next Spring as it will take time to build.
Edgerton thanked everyone that sends through non-compliance reports of any kind of illegal activity and assured us that it all does get reviewed.
He did ask however for us to remind everybody to please be mindful about the information sent in so that you do not break the law and incriminate yourselves. For instance, you may be reporting somebody genuinely touting or stopped on a taxi rank however on many occasions, the evidence presented is often a video recording on a mobile phone while driving. If this is given to the police to follow up you could end up being prosecuted yourself for holding a hand held device while driving.
Please remember that if you see an incident that needs reporting, ALWAYS get out of your vehicle to record any video evidence or take photo's.
Nobody is trying to deter anyone from reporting anything and all the information received is very welcome but please put your own safety and licence first!
To be able to investigate or take action TFL ideally need the number plate, roundel details if possible and date, time & location! Obviously photo's or video's are really helpful but only if you follow the advice above!
Here is a reminder of the touting links:
CREDIT CARD REGULATION
I have collated a list of drivers understanding of what is required so that TFL can directly confirm and clarify if each point is correct. For instance she said they have not issued any instructions that drivers should get into the back of the cab to assist a passenger if the fixed CC machine fails as this had been raised as a real safety issue for drivers recently. She was surprised we thought this had been advised. I explained it is contradictory from the advise given when you get your badge!
She was keen to understand in what instances we thought this would be necessary and how us supposedly getting into the back would help. She asked what sort of problems we have now with hand helds!
She said they would be taking a common sense approach to the CC requirements. I explained that is too vague as drivers fear getting stopped and reported by compliance which adds to the stress of the job. We can't work thinking will a particular officer be lenient and take a common sense approach or will they be the one to report by the book!
I will post everything I receive back in a bid to help clarify our position and resolve any confusion as soon as it is received.
We raised the GQ Awards taxi rank suspension and the anger felt by the taxi trade. We explained that it would of been much fairer and easier to have kept the taxi rank and have a separate PHV area in the car park that the taxis were moved to. I reminded them that the ranks were ours and that we had worked hard to have the right to use them and pay for them out of our license fees!
I think it is clear to say TFL have listened to the feedback and lessons will be learnt for the future.
I think we have to take them at their word unless something like this should ever happen again.
Silka confirmed that Helen Chapman is now soley responsible for the taxi and PHV division and works directly with the Deputy Mayor and Mike Brown the Transport Commissioner.
Not new news we know, but she confirmed Leon Daniels and Garret are still at TFL but very hands off and not directly involved in the Taxi and PHV trade.
NIGHT TUBE ADVERT
We asked were they aware of the ad and for
clarification if it had anything to do with TFL.
She categorically confirmed that TFL had not endorsed it or had any involvement in it.
The ad appeared in The Sun on Sunday Magazine called Fabulous on Sunday 4th Sept.
CROSS BORDER HIRING
We asked why a system called Geo Fencing was not made a requirement for Uber to install so that a driver can only receive jobs for the area they are licensed in. Surely this would help the number of out of town PHV's working in London and adding to our congestion!
We were shocked to learn that this is a massive issue for TFL and compliance but unfortunately PHV legislation which is set by the government and not TFL, states that a PHV driver can work anywhere in the country and it is not illegal to work outside of the town they are licensed in.
Another issue for TFL is that is they do pull a PHV driver for non-compliance it is also very complicated to enforce our London regulations as they are registered in another town with different rules and compliance! This is a major issue for all of us and one we feel must be addressed with the Government.
We also need to lobby the Government regarding capping PHV numbers as again this ruling is not set by TFL and out of their control.
Regarding PHV's having to pay Congestion charge & extending the operational hours of the CC zone, they are waiting on a steer and decision from Sadiq. They did reiterate that Sadiq is committed to protecting and supporting the taxi trade and that he will be issuing a statement of his plans very soon. We are hoping it will come this side of Christmas but the actual timing could not be confirmed. Changes are beginning to happen and there really are many things being worked on in the background so we must just be patient for a little while longer!
We asked if they would they be open to a TFL/cabbies Q&A meeting at City Hall to engage with drivers and listen/address their concerns - numbers could be managed by balloting tickets. They already hold suburb forums/surgeries so were not opposed to the idea. They are going to look into the logistics and get back to us as apparently something similar had happened in the past. We will let you know the outcome.
Neon Endorcement Results regarding Drive Offs. We ran out of time but they are going to email to clarify exactly what drive offs mean and what is done to follow this up. Do drivers just get away with it?
Feedback regarding King's Cross - we were asked how we thought the new Enforcement was going that was introduced last week ie.double yellow lines.
I also raised the point about the line of the rank and explained it would be much more logical to have the feeder rank in Camley Street to join the main rank.
This is going to be passed on to the relevant department for review.
Regarding the recent conviction of the PHV driver Mohammad Dalim, a statement from the legal team has been requested and will be forwarded on as they were unable to discuss personal circumstances yesterday due to confidentiality.
To finish on a positive note, they confirmed that TFL planned to increase taxi ranks by 20% by 2020 as part of the rank action plan!
We have agreed to meet again at the end of January'17.
We hope you are agree that there are many positives to be drawn from the information shared with us. While we know there are still many issues, frustrations and wrongs within the trade, things do feel like they are beginning to happen. Regardless of what happens inbetween, we will continue the fight to protect and save our trade and look forward to the next meeting in the New Year to continue our dialogue.
#SaveTaxi ... Stronger together ❤️