Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Broken Promises And The Final Straw.....by Tom Scullion

I recently read that PHV drivers are removing their Tfl badges from their cars to avoid detection from the police and Tfl, these drivers are never going to have H&R insurance and we all know that they can get away with it due to the lack of interest from Tfl and plod. Tfl are very quiet over the ANPR controls...

The PHV industry know they can get away with murder due to the complete lack of enforcement from Tfl, case in point , PHV drivers and company's "pass themselves off" as Taxi companies type in a search on google for taxis at Heathrow airport you will not find one single Taxi company

Tfl  are supposed to police the Internet to prevent false advertising from unscrupulous company's but they just can't be bothered,  no wonder the PHV industry cut every corner in terms of CRB checks and proper H&R insurance.

I still can't get my head around the amnesty period for PHV drivers to comply with the law in terms of hire and reward insurance Tfl know that most of the 110,000 PHV drivers in London are not properly insured and are let loose on the general public.

These drivers do not have to adhere to the law of the land until October 1st 2016, in the interim, Tfl are guilty of allowing the general public to be placed at risk under their watch, fully in the knowledge that a large percentage of mincabs licensed by Tfl are uninsured.

Fleet control and compliance:

Tfl's new enforcement squad should write to every mini cab driver and request current photos of vehicles with badges, a copy of their hire and reward insurance, MOT expiry dates  CRB etc Tfl could create an electronic form to allow the drivers to upload the documents and photo's and any driver who does not comply with this request should have their license revoked with immediate effect and if a driver is caught driving without validation from Tfl should have their car impounded then sold at auction and a life time ban from holding a PHV license.

Question :

When are Tfl and the Mayor going to invoke the congestion charge for PHV drivers in London the reason I ask is that the Mayor has not stuck to his word in regards to a "Renaissance for the Taxi trade" 

We as a trade, are furious with false promises and no actions from the Mayor or Tfl instead, we have over aggressive Tfl plastic enforcement offices hassling Taxi drivers for not having the requisite amount of No smoking stickers, why the sudden purge has there been complaints by the public seeing punters smoking in the back of cabs ? No... not a one,  its just Tfl's way to retaliate to the voice of the trade who have highlighted Tfl's woeful management of the Taxi and private hire product.

We were promised :

Full access to every bus lane 

An expansion of operation Neon and other enforcement initiatives 
More Taxi ranks and rest areas across London
Control over Uber drivers at Heathrow airport and the surrounding areas to stop the disgusting behavior by Uber drivers, an update from Tfl and HAL regarding the Uber feeder park would be welcome but not forthcoming in the very near future
Please share the stats on Uber park movements and the amount of visits of Tfl inspection officers week on week. 

A Green finance package to purchase or lease "New technology, environmentally  friendly Taxis" there was talk of Tfl bulk purchasing from the manufacturers and passing the discounts onto the cab drivers
A request to government for VAT exemption for "Green Taxis".

And what did we get so far:

No congestion charges levied on PHV
No restrictions on the boundaries where London PHV drivers can operate it should work like a suburban drivers license, but no, TfL allows their PHV drivers to operate out side the M25 and all around the country some reports as far as Bristol we see them plotting up at Gatwick, Luton and Stansted  airports emblazoned with their Tfl Licence giving the public the impression that they are legal and above board, nothing could be further from the truth, where do Tfl draw the boundary line?

The latest fiasco is the credit card acceptance in London Taxis, we all accept and agree with 100% acceptance but Tfl have railroaded these project forcing drivers to pay hundred of pounds to a cartel of company's who can supply a fixed unit in the back of our Taxis without any risk assessment of the dangers to the Taxi drivers who will be enticed into the back of the cab by the criminals who will, I can assure you,  rob and attack Taxi divers. There is a reason for a partition window in a Taxi it's there to separate the passengers from the drivers to protect both parties. 

The trade have had enough of words and false dawns and have now voted on mass to  demonstrate on the streets of our Capital city to make the public aware of the dangers of the PHV industry and the recent FOI report that Tfl did not want to be published, why did Tfl want to hide the facts from the public? We don't want to do this,  but if Tfl want to kill our trade their will be ramifications.


Tfl have a "special relationship with Uber" un minuted cozy meetings, coaching from senior Tfl management, super tolerance over the operators license in three buildings none of which complied with the rules in terms of insurance and call center requirements, they still don't have a land line ffs. 

Surprise, surprise Uber are taking Tfl to court over the Mayors cast iron decision to level the playing field with a compulsory English language test. I hope Mayor Khan will defend his promise and take Uber to task through the courts.

This will test the metal.

Road management or lack thereof: 

We as a trade have endured months of unnecessary hardship and financial loss due to Tfl's stupid SCH which has not improved safety, congestion or air Quality, in fact,  it has proved to be a complete unworkable, ill conceived disaster from start to finish.

We need to STOP this lunacy now, Tavistock Place needs to restored to its former glory, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street need to have full inclusion of Taxis as we our part of the surface transport infrastructure as important if not more than any empty bus clogging the streets of our Capital.

Tfl have forced our hand, all acts of diplomacy has been  has been met with a slap in the face, every straw has a breaking point.

Be lucky

Tom Scullion