Monday, January 21, 2019

Press Statement from The ITA ... Re: Camden Council & Taxis


On the 27th Dec 2018, the ITA decided to uphold the motion to call direct action over the decision made by the Camden Council to restrict access to licensed taxis using Tottenham Court Road between 07h – 19h. 
 
The static protest will commence at 16:00, week beginning 21St January 2019. The time and location of the protest is subject to change and will be ongoing
 
The decision is in response to concerns by  officials that the security risk could rise if the area became ‘over populated’, The point must be emphasised that whilst the ITA considersstatements that pertain to a compromise in safety, we will always question and research the legitimacy of  that statement. 

The ITA has it’s own thorough checks and balances set in place before direct action is announced publicly. More-so, the propensity for local authorities to ‘scare monger’ is a tried and tested one, and we will not succumb to disingenuous rhetoric to justify unjust policies
 
There is at the moment there is an agenda to scale up cab drivers contribution to pollution and congestion in London despite the fleet having fewer than 20’500 vehicles that work variable hours and shift patterns. The compulsory vehicle has to conform to stringent conditions of fitness in order to be licensed as a taxi and also has to pass two MOT’s per year which include an emissions test. No taxi is licensed unless it meets European Standards. Newlicences are no longer granted to diesel taxis. Zero Emission ZEC taxis with petrol engines need to meet the latest emissions standard (currently Euro 6)
 
Flawed congestion zone data is used that does not differentiate between unique “one off” entries and multiple entries which in the course of a single shift we do numerous times. There are 87’466 private hire vehicles licensed in London, and Camden Council plan to displace 22,500 public service vehicles into existing traffic. We should remind Camden that Taxi customers are pedestrians at all other times. 
 
London’s road transport also negatively impacts the capital’s economy through rising congestion. We assume that Camden has no policies in place to manage increased impact on other routes. This is the rational counter argument, but the truth is, only 8 seconds per sixty minutes would be added to bus journey times if taxis were to be allowed unrestricted access. 
 
Average car speeds (7 -19h) average 8 mph with speeds in central London significantly lower still. Slower speeds mean greater delays and unpredictability in journey times, leading to higher economic costs and an increase in carbon emissions from an estimated £5 billion in 2013 to over £10 billion in 2030 (CEBR 2014). Significantly, London’s hybrid buses operate for the majority of the time from the diesel tank. 

As a result, drivers are being forced to buy an electric £60,000 cab in order to “clear up London” blaming increased pollution on a cab fleet that has remained static over 2 decades is ridiculous. Where then is the incentive for the trade to shift over to being fully electric. Camden will argue once again that it is not their responsibility to ensure taxis convert to electric but reality is, the displacement of motor traffic is presenting itself as a real issue but rest assured, on paper, the Traffic An alarming increase in bus crashes in London over the past four years is revealed today.
 
There were 28,035 collisions in the capital last year, according to new figures — about 5,000 more than in 2013.
 
Nearly 14,000 collisions have been recorded in the first six months of this year. Twenty-seven people have been killed in what are described as “collision incidents” from January 2015 to June this year.Order for TCR will not concern itself with increased NOX readouts on peripheral routes. 
 
Camden knowing the dissonance that exists between taxis and PH should have sought to draw or at least address the distinction between the two in these respects. It is a timely reminder that the restriction imposed on licensed taxis using TCR as a ‘through route’ is, in part, implemented under the banner of safety. The service provided by London’s Licensed taxi trade (black cabs) is- according to TfL and the CofL’s own verifiable data- the safest transport service option available. However, concerning collisions Camden conflated taxis and minicabs and considered it permissible to have regard for such data. Collated data combining taxi & PH  collision statistics was subsequently used to inform recommendations restricting taxi access
 
Further, Tottenham Court Road (TCR) and road traffic restrictions implemented at Tavistock Place. 
The TCR /Gower Street location is listed by Camden as one of the worst locations in the borough for collisions, with 259 casualties in the three year period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2014. Both the Met and Camden Council referenced data that did not identify Taxis separately from PH even though subsequent data shows that no licensed taxi was involved in a serious collision during that time. 

We refuse to wilfully accept that London's highly trained licensed taxi drivers should suffer the consequences brought about by 87,000 untrained PHV drivers? 
Camden might consider it permissible, and if so, their decision to restrict taxis has little, if anything at all, to do with safety. 
 
It is unjust that official record books do not distinguish London's licensed taxi trade from an industry with an unprecedented number of revocation orders, and TfL should make this information freely available as opposed to having to submit an FOI to gain information. The licensing process of a taxi driver is vastly different from a PHD. Someone who has invested time and money developing a skill via  a mandatory licensing process should not be burdened by the consequences of those who have chosen NOT to invest in any such training.
 
Further, having regard to the characteristics of Black Cabs, the competent authorities could reasonably conclude that taxi access of to bus lanes is liable to enhance the efficiency of the London road transport system.  If Camden think this is inconsequential, they should consider the report commissioned by The New Scientist in 2017  Researchers at Lancaster ran a three-day experiment taking 29 journeys from different locations around London. One researcher hailed a car via a well known an app based service while another took a traditional black cab to the same destination, with the route left up to the driver.
 
At the end of their trial, black cabs worked out faster, taking on average 80 per cent of the time. When you multiply that time saving by hundreds of 1000’s of journeys every single day, that amounts to huge efficiency savings.
 
It’s ironic also, that at a time when the monopolisation of TfL’s franchise service is being rolled out there has been an alarming increase in bus crashes in London over the past four years. There were 28,035 collisions in the capital last year, according to new figures — about 5,000 more than in 2013.

Nearly 14,000 collisions have been recorded in the first six months of this year. Twenty-seven people have been killed in what’s described as “collision incidents” from January 2015 to June this year.
 
Assuming an observant position, we urge the Camden to lead to lead the way and resume negotiations with relevant trade groups. It is not the mark of a progressive or democratic process to dismiss trade representatives who’s advocacy to serve their members is far higher than that enjoyed by the policy makers.  
 
Neither TfL or Camden Council have provided satisfactory reasons why the public should be denied access – or ease of access- to the only door-to-door public service option available. The fleet also supplies the majority of the 2% of vehicles that are wheelchair accessible. Camden will argue -and have done – that few  visitors to the area who are wheelchair dependent use taxis, but that is not the point, the purpose built vehicle is such to account for safety and liberty, both attributes that were important not too long ago. Again, what provision has Camden provided for the infirm in society? 

We are not against the West End Project per-se, but considering all aspects, including Camden’s own consultation where the restriction on taxis wasn’t well supported, we call upon Camden to lift restriction on taxis forthwith. 
 

        

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Taxi Trade Asks Sadiq And TfL, ‘Where’s The Missing £3m?’

Having allegedly misappropriated £22m of funding, supposedly ring-fenced and set aside for payments towards the decommissioning of diesel Licensed Taxis.....there appears to be another problem with the residual funding, as figures published do not add up to the expected renaming £18m. 

Let's look at the figures posted on TFL's Website :-

250 x £10,000...2,500,000

250 x £9,000. ...2,250,000

250 x £8,000. ...2,000,000

250 x £7,000. ...1,750,000

250 x £6,000. ...1,500,000

250 x £5,000. ...1,250,000

250 x £4,000. ...1,000,000

250 x £3,000. ...750,000

500 x £2,000. ...1,000,000

1000 x £1000. ...1,000,000

Total decommissioning allowance £15,m

So where's the missing  £3m. Who’s been doing Sadiq Khans Accounting... is it Dianne Abbott ?

That's another £3m on top of the £22m Khan has already taken off the Taxi Trade.

After all the grants are paid to drivers decommissioning their Taxi’s that no one in their right mind wants to buy, the figures published on TfL’s website show a missing deficit of £3,000,000. 

Is this a genuine mistake or is this Tax payers money that Khan intends to promote his Brexit campaign with ?

If so, surely this is illegal and should be reported immediately to the serious fraud office. 

Weekend Apprentice Special : Before Charging For Pollution ... You Have To Create It :


Lady Karren Brady Speaks Out About London's Most Important East-West Carriageway 

“East to West, Embankment best.” That’s what taxi drivers used to say about driving across London. Ask them about the Embankment today and the response is unprintable.

The stretch between Westminster Bridge and Tower Hill is London’s most important east-west carriageway. It links the fast-growing Docklands area with central London. It’s one of the main routes out from the centre towards the Blackwall Tunnel, Kent and the Channel ports. Jobs in places such as the City, Canary Wharf and London City Airport all depend on it.

Never the most free-flowing of London’s roads, since 2016 the congestion has grown even worse, affecting construction workers, hauliers, freight drivers and white-van drivers, people who don’t get a say in London’s bitterly contested transport politics but who keep our city working and growing.   
In 2016 TfL removed one of the two eastbound traffic lanes on the Embankment to make way for a cycle superhighway. At a stroke, this reduced one of London’s busiest A-roads to the capacity of a village high street. Everyone knows this was a mistake but TfL and the Mayor won’t say so for fear of upsetting the powerful cycling lobby.

Yes, we need to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes. But roads aren’t just for moving people, they’re also about shifting stuff, and east London is poorly served in this way.

It’s why Victoria Embankment and Upper and Lower Thames streets have an outsized importance in connecting the east and centre of the capital. One recent study found that up to 18,000 east London businesses are no longer within a 30-minute drive of Westminster because of delays on this route. This is damaging for business. With Brexit looming we should be making our city more productive and better connected, yet this road does the exact opposite.

Also, data suggests the cycle superhighway has delivered limited safety benefits to cyclists. This is not surprising. The Embankment wasn’t chosen for a cycle superhighway because it was an accident blackspot but because TfL owns the road and could grant itself planning permission. 

I’m not suggesting we rip up the superhighway. Far from it. What we need to do is look at how to improve its traffic flow. One option originally considered by TfL was to route the cycle lane through the City of London at Blackfriars Bridge.

Moving it into the City would restore the original purpose of Upper and Lower Thames streets: as the main through-route for essential traffic wanting to cross the City. It would also mean cyclists could avoid the dangerous levels of air pollution caused by the high buildings and traffic around Blackfriars.   
Sadiq Khan said he’d be the most pro-business Mayor that London has ever seen. If he wants to live up to that title he cannot allow another year of blockage on one of the capital’s most important roads.

Source : Evening Standard.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : From Jim Thomas
Following on from Lady Brady's article, where she said "Sadiq Khan said he'd be the most pro-business Mayor London has ever seen".....he also said he would be the renaissance of the best Taxi service in the world.

Obviously, Khan's definition of the world 'Renaissance' is completely different to our interpretation. 

This from Katie Hopkins on Twitter....it really is a must watch video:
Please be upstanding for 
@Councillorsuzie
 reminding our nipple height mayor of Londonistan to stop trying to overturn Brexit and start doing his job. Well done Suzie. X

See this short video :

  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Great News From Spain : Uber Pre Booking To Be Mandatory 6 Hours In Advance !


Great news from Spain (article in French) : 
* Mandatory pre-booking in advance (6 to 12 hours) for PHVs/Uber 
New Law voted before 25th January & promulgated before 05th April 2019 
* Lawmakers drafted the Law in such a way that it'll be impossible to invalidate 
Article below from ‘Le Petit Journal’ translation from French to English uncensored.

If you thought the Uber and Cabify conflict had been resolved, it's far from being the case. The Generalitat will adopt in the coming days two decrees of laws sharply limiting Uber and Cabify in Catalonia. This new regulation could lead to their permanent closure.
The Generalitat is in the process of bringing the hardest blow of recent years to the companies VTC Uber and Cabify. According to the documents to which Teknautas - the technological magazine of the daily newspaper El Confidencial - had access, the government will approve in the coming days two new decrees that will modify the Catalan transport law and impose a new limitation on the activity of the VTC companies. It will be necessary to reserve your Uber or Cabify vehicle between 6 and 12 hours in advance. The measure promoted by the Transport Advisor, Damià Calvet, could announce the final closure of both applications in Catalonia. As acknowledged by a manager of VTC El Confidencial, "no matter they require 6, 12 or 24 hours of pre-contract, they ask for one, we are dead."
Two new decrees of laws
This is the biggest taxi victory in Spain since the closure of UberPop in 2014. The Generalitat finalizes the approval of two new decrees of laws that will be approved before January 25. One of these decrees authorizes all municipal councils of the autonomous community to regulate the VTC; the other authorizes the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), an organization with its own regulations. The AMB technicians, under the auspices of Ada Colau, have finalized with the Generalitat the strategy to follow to prevent the new measures from being legally rejected.
In an internal document of the AMB dated January, the organization recognizes that there is a "commitment of the Generalitat of Catalonia to approve a decree-law transposing as quickly as possible to the Catalan legislation the new standards in transport passengers and passenger vehicles ".

AMB internal document on new VTC restrictions
The main obstacle imposed by the Generalitat is the need to contact an Uber or Cabify at least 6 hours in advance. The final number of hours is not yet confirmed, but it will not be less than six and probably not more than 12 hours, even if taxis claimed 24 hours. But that's not all. Cars and services provided by each car must include an electronic device with which they will send their movements and services at any time.
New restrictions in anticipation
The AMB will also include new restrictions on VTCs (which remain to be defined) for environmental reasons, as well as requirements for employment contracts and social security. "It will be necessary to determine other conditions of service: the setting up of weekly days of rest, the schedules, the recording of the services, the preconditions to the outsourcing and the transparency of the applied rates", indicates the document.
VTC threatens the MWC
Given the imminent regulation of the Generalitat, the VTC sector recognizes that this measure would mark the end of its operations in Catalonia. "It's infinitely worse than the October decree, so far we've had at least four years' margin, so we've died in Catalonia, and we need to see how we're going to react, but for everything the world one thing is clear: the World Mobile Congress can be paralyzed by 1,000 taxis but also by 3,000 VTC cars.If the only answer of the administrations is the blackmail, we do not exclude this way either ", explains a person in charge of the sector who asks for anonymity.
With these measures, the Generalitat would become the first political organization to get its hands on the most sensitive problem of the "taxi war". And she does it with a major legal asset. Because it would be very difficult to overturn this regulation in court. "By doing this by law-decree, they are changing the new requirements to the status of law and there is only one possibility to challenge them: to refer them to the Constitutional Court, which eliminates the possibility of precautionary measures, and could try to challenge the number of hours, not the law itself.In other words, as soon as they come into effect, they kill Uber and Cabify, "says a lawyer in the sector.
Everything seems ready. The government plans to approve the two new decree-laws in the coming days. AMB, for its part, expects to have drafted its own by-law with all the details by January 25th. It will be the subject of a public consultation during the month of March, after which it will be definitively approved in April. If after the 'decretazo' of Ábalos last October, there remained four years of life at the VTC, they have only three months left in Catalonia. And the question is: what will the other regions do, especially the Community of Madrid, Andalusia and the Valencian Community? If the "Colau regulation" set the sector on fire in 2018, the Generalitat has just lit another, with far more serious consequences.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Watch LTR Video. 

  

London Taxi Trade Robbed Of 22 Million Pounds Ring-Fenced Funding By Skint TfL.


Last January,  Daniel Jones and three other men were ordered to pay a combined £6,396,273 between them, after it was found they benefitted from an estimated £13.69m worth of stolen cash, gold and gems, taken from a vault in Hatton Garden. 

But just a year down the road, we see another heist worth almost double the Hatton Garden job, but this time with the perpetrators getting off scot-free with the loot.


There was a time that to pull off a heist worth millions of pounds you’d need a team of tough guys, desperadoes, a gang, a team, a firm.....but not any more....this is the face of modern robbers 



But now we see one of the biggest heists in the history of London where a couple of untrustworthy, public servants have taken the Taxi Trade for £22m without any effort, where balaclavas and sawn off shot guns have been replaced by a simple a pen and a lot of hotspur.   

The London Taxi Trade were given £40 million pounds to help drivers switch to an electric powered purpose built Taxi.

This money was ring-fenced to protect the trade against anyone dipping their fingers in the jam pot and helping themselves. 

Then along comes a Mayor, head honcho of a public body which as a result of their woeful mismanagement inadequacies, has found itself in dept to the tune of almost a billion pounds. So selfie Sid decides to help himself to our cash.

It appears that all bets are off and £22 million has gone the same way as the missing millions from the failed Garden Bridge project. 

Worst of all, a number of alleged incompetent ex Director’s and deputy Mayors have been weighed off by the almost bankrupt TfL, with the purloined millions supposedly ring-fenced for Taxi drivers. 

Corporate language such as ‘performance related bonuses’ and ‘loss of employment compensation’ ...replacement for terms like daylight robbery and miss appropriation of public funds. 

  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

LCDC Chairman Grant Davis On TfL’s 12year Age Limit CON And Meeting With UTAG Legal Team.

TfL have stolen £23m of our money that was supposed to be ring-fenced....because they are 'a bit skint'!

They wasn't that skint when they paid off Leon 'the liar' Daniels, or Garrett 'Rett Russell' Emerson, with a golden handshake, and gold plated pensions.

THINK WE'RE NOT IN BIG TROUBLE...THINK AGAIN!

Not only have tfL stolen our money, they are currently planning to ban us from major streets. Streets where we exercise our right of 360 years to ply for hire. That is the same right that gives TFL's buses the right to ply for trade. We 'are' London's public transport.... and this mayor is bent on taking away our status, our right to ply for trade. But it doesn't stop there.

New TXe 15 years age limit (for now)....But what happens when TfL say “This TXe uses dirty petrol most of the time, we have to replace it with fully electric vehicle”

LPG conversion Cabs (£10k) will get the same age limit as diesel. No longer the extra 5 years for the investment of £10k

Older cabs (euro 3-4-5) 12 years ....for now. But how long befor that’s reduced to 10...8...6. 

Is our largest org fighting this? .....  OR IS THIS ANOTHER DONE DEAL?

Thought this would never happen? Think again, it's happening and it's happening now.

As the cab trade representatives left Monday's meeting with TfL, this comment was made: "Well, that's the Garages fucked! ". Not a comment you'd expect from our largest org, but don't worry you'll still get a free diary and M&S vouchers!

THIS IS A MUST WATCH : Don't take my word for what's happened, listen to what Grant Davis, chair of the London Cab Drivers Club had to say. Click this link below:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1mrxmYeLnygxy

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO.???

As regards to our right to ply for hire on and use all London's streets, the ITA will be instigating demos from next Monday 21st, to run daily, indefinitely.

As for our concerns about our future, there is only one course of action the trade can take....A last stand, and it's already been started by the Pump Court legal team. A team who started this action before there was any money in the pot, because in their words "this will be the case of the century" and they believe strongly that they can win. 

Grant gave almost the same speech last night to an invited audience of trade stakeholders (Proprietors, garage owners, meter suppliers, credit card equipment suppliers etc, people who generally make a living out of the trade). These stake holders have made extremely generous donations to the UTAG action, but now it's your turn.

Don't be an ostrich, don't bury your head in the sand, this isn't going away....it's about to get much worse. 

Sign up and support the UTAG action now!

https://www.unitedtradeactiongroup.com/contact

The JR will be heard next month. DONT LET THIS OPPOTUNITY SLIDE BY.


        JR FIRST....THEN ONTO TfL.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : What they said on Twitter