Sunday, June 16, 2019

With TfL Designing Consultations To Get The Result They Want, Should Orgs Be Issuing Templates For Drivers?

In another letter to Taxi Leaks, Greenbadgejohn asks the representative orgs and union:
Why are you letting this happen???

Its a great pity this meeting wasn't held before the taxi age limit consultation, because there were a couple of questions on that consultation that could attract an agreement without causing any dissent and maybe those questions were deliberately inserted to get a common agreement, to bag people into a whole 100% agreement assumption as the RBK&C councillor warned the congregation at the cycle lane meeting mentioned.

This comes as a severe warning to us all, regarding the low integrity and total bias, in the way TFL conducts itself on so called consultations. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea themselves have called TFL consultatns out with warnings on individual completions... So it must now be highlighted to all of the cabtrade (if they did not know it already by now) that it really is them verses us.... So do your duty when replying to all consultations and complete without giving any leeway.

The question must now be asked...why the representative orgs and Unions haven't in the passed, create a prior template to be followed to the letter by drivers???
Because The Councillor in the previous article warned of tricks ahead by TFL to effctively get their way against RBK&C
So, because of the situation between 'them and us', we must always expect the worse ourselves.

Let's face it, the cycle lobby have been doing this for a while now and this is one reason they seem to always get what they asked for....simply because they know exactly how to ask!!!

Be Lucky... And but be warned.


This is something we've covered before, but since the RBK&C meeting....there's more.

Why haven't senior reps bought up this issue of bias consultation questions at the trade's meetings with TfL?
Or if they have... why haven't we heard about it?

What is it they talk about?
Do they get to talk?
Or are they just given messages to report back to the rank and file?

This is why its imperative that all meetings must be minuted, so we can all find out what is and isn't being talked about.

Why did our largest org and Unite the Union vote against minuted meetings?
What are the frightened of?
Are they frightened we will find out what they are actually saying to TfL?

The UCG, LCDC and the RMT have all asked for minutes to be taken at all meetings, but so far this request has been refused...again the important question here is WHY ???

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Press Release: June 2019 : Annual Day Trip to Worthing for WWII Veterans

Every year since 1948, the Taxi Charity has been bringing veterans to Worthing for the day, to spend time with their friends and enjoy seaside favourites, fish and chips and ice cream.
This year’s outing is only a week after many of the veterans spent a week in Normandy with The Taxi Charity for D Day 75, remembering the friends they lost.
Over 60 Kind-hearted volunteer London cabbies will pick up nearly 200 veterans and their carers from their homes across the South East on Tuesday 18 June and take them for a much-loved day trip to Worthing.
After a pit stop at South Holmwood Village near Dorking in Surrey, for home-made sandwiches, cakes and refreshments the taxis will travel in convoy along the A24 to Worthing. Once in Worthing, the veterans will enjoy a fish and chip lunch with the Mayor of Worthing, Councillor Hazel Thorpe on Worthing Pier. The Mayor, veterans, cabbies and invited guests will hear from guest speaker Paul Raison. National Secretary of the Parachute Regiment Association and enjoy musical entertainment, as well as having the opportunity to catch up with old friends, take in the sea views and grab an ice cream.
WWII Veteran, Bill Gladden, 6th Armoured Recce Regiment RAC, says,
“I have been going on outings with the Taxi Charity for many years. The recent trip to Normandy for D Day was particularly poignant as I laid a wreath at the memorial service in Ranville and then met a comrade from my old regiment who I had not seen since June 1944. We both thought we were the only one left! The Worthing outing is a money can’t buy experience where I can meet up with an amazing group of old boys and be taken door to door by one of the volunteer London black cab drivers.”
Graham Pike, one of the London cabbies taking part, and a committee member of the Taxi Charity, said: “Our annual Worthing trip is something we look forward to all year. It’s a pleasure to treat these ladies and gents to a trip to the seaside as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for all they’ve done for us.”
Date - Tuesday 18 June 2019
The cabs will drive through the High Street in Worthing to reach the pier and are due to arrive between 12.00 and 12.30pm (dependent on traffic)
This will offer a superb photo opportunity.
Interviews can be arranged with a veteran, a taxi driver or Taxi Charity Chairman Ian Parsons
About the Taxi Charity
The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans was formed in Fulham in 1948, to work for the benefit, comfort and enjoyment of military veterans and arranges many trips every year for veterans from all conflicts.
The charity offers international trips to Holland, Belgium and France, day trips to concerts or museums, transport to attend fundraising events, as well as special days out to catch up with friends and comrades.

To fund and facilitate these outings, the charity is wholly reliant on generous donations from members of the public, businesses and trusts and the amazing group of London licensed taxi drivers who offer their time and vehicles for free.
To find out more about the charity or to donate visit the website
Twitter @TaxiCharity
Christina Bowden
Bowden PR

Friday, June 14, 2019

Fears As Uber 'Takes Stranglehold Of Basildon Cab Trade'.

FEARS have emerged that Uber are beginning to take a strangle hold on the cab trade in Basildon.

Independent councillor Derrick Fellowes, who represents the Nethermayne ward, is demanding action.

He was amazed by the vast number of Ubers after being shown the controversial app by a taxi driver.

He said: “There were literally five sitting about waiting for jobs.

“I have many concerns. The first being is local taxi drivers are registered and are licensed by the borough council to work here, whereas the Ubers aren’t, they operate here when they’re licensed to operate in London.

“Local taxi drivers go through a number of checks which ensure passengers are safe and they’re driving lawfully, it takes months before they’re licensed. I’m told Ubers can get licensed in a day, which means there’s no guarantee of the same security.

“Taxis are patrolled by the council so provide that safety which Ubers don’t. They’re pinching trade from legit operators which is unfair.”

Mr Fellowes has now raised concerns with the chair of the licensing committee councillor Imelda Clancy, who address the issue with officers. He added: “I hope this will be a step forward in stomping out the issue, protecting residents and taxi businesses.”

Last March, the Uber app was “geo-fenced” from Southend, Chelmsford and Rayleigh, which prevents the driver from operating in the locations. Taxi drivers believe this has caused Ubers to zone in on Basildon.

Martin Taylor, a taxi driver at Direct Cars, Basildon, said: “Having Ubers here has impacted us massively. Our businesses and income has been affected, money has dropped and I’m doing more hours.

“They’re all over the place, at Basildon station, Billericay High Street, everywhere.

“Before we’re licensed, we take multiple tests, CRB checks, medical checks, and a variety of courses, but I don’t think Uber drivers have the same thing.

“They just show their car, driving licence and get a sticker, that’s it, it’s quite worrying.”

Asa Oddy, 43, co-owner of Ace Taxis Limited and WickfordTaxis, said: “The issue is, they’re licensed to operate in London not here, but work here anyway.

“Nobody is stopping this from happening and they’re not being regulated properly.”


Cabbies: ‘We’re Losing Out Since Council Scrapped Patch Knowledge Test!'

FRUSTRATED taxi drivers have accused Castle Point Council of damaging their trade and have launched a petition.

A large portion of hackney carriage drivers in the Castle Point area claim private hire taxis are taking their business, mostly due to the fact they are no longer required to take a local knowledge test before being issued with a license from the council.

The Castle Point website states all hackney carriage and private hire taxis are required to take a local knowledge test to be issued with a license.

However, it has since come to light that two years ago, following a council meeting, a local knowledge test is no longer a requirement.

Dave Wood, a Castle Point taxi driver of 30 years, feels not only are they losing trade because of the number of private hire taxis now working the same circuit, but their lack of local knowledge is reflecting badly on independent hackney carriage drivers like Dave.

The 55-year-old said: “We are independent hackney carriage drivers who work through ABC or Steve’s Radio Cars but we also do pick ups from the station.

“The circuit is now flooded by private hire taxis who also go through ABC and Steve’s to the point we are now getting [fewer] jobs because of it.

“A load of us started doing more station pick ups to get more work, but then private hires were turning up too.

“The fact they are able to get their licenses issued so easily is causing a problem.

“Without a local knowledge test, most of them don’t even know where they’re going, they all use SatNavs. We have started getting public complaints and even customers getting in our cabs and asking ‘do you know where you’re going?’

“We all feel so aggrieved by it all - we have all had to take knowledge tests.”

A petition launched by Dave was rejected on the grounds that no complaints had ever been made since the new regulations came into play two years ago - despite a petition of 94 signatures - and because their was no support from members of the public.

Dave and around 15 of his colleagues headed to the council offices yesterday to demand a right to appeal and get some answers to be told no one was available.

He added: “It’s always been difficult for us drivers to stand together on something - this is probably the first time we have. The feeling is so strong out there because of how we are suffering financially.

“During the last year and a half that this has been going on for I have noticed a decline in my earnings by around 20 to 30 per cent.”

Steve Flint, 59, from Canvey, has been a driver for 24 years in Castle Point.

He claims not a week goes by without a customer complaining about the lack of local knowledge the private hire drivers have.

He said: “I’m not just speaking up for us drivers, but for the general public, and I think that’s the point the council are missing.

“I took my knowledge test to get my license and it took my three months to learn it all before I sat the test.

“A lot of these private hire drivers are breaking the rules by overcharging customers because they have driven the wrong way or taken the longer route, and not a week goes by where I don’t have a customer say that that has happened to them.

“The council says we should respect and treat the general public with honesty and not overcharge, but some of these private hires are not doing that, therefore, they are breaking the rules and the council are contradicting themselves.”

Craig Watts, head of communities at Castle Point Council, said: “The council decision to withdraw the knowledge test was made over two years ago.

"The decision has been subject to examination by the local government ombudsman and no defect has been found in the council’s decision to withdraw the requirement for a knowledge test on first application for a private hire driver’s licence.

“Private hire is a pre-booked service and drivers have the ability to check routes beforehand and given the use of Sat-Nav and other technologies, the requirement for a knowledge test is no longer a key requirement to be satisfied before a licence is issued.

CityMapper To Exit The OnDemand Bus And RideShare Minicab Business.

Transport app Citymapper was said to be, a reliable, even admirably inventive, but not all its experiments work out. Today, the company announced it’s shutting down its hybrid bus and minicab service, previously known as Smartbus, then SmartRide, and then, simply, Ride. 

Ride was always a confusing experiment, available only in Citymapper’s home city of London. It started with a pair of buses in 2017, which serviced routes that the company’s data said were underserved by public transit. Then in 2018, it became SmartRide, with buses replaced by eight-seater vans that allowed them to be registered as private hire vehicles rather than buses. Eventually, the company added shared minicabs to its roster. 

But Citymapper Ride never made it out of London....shape of things to come perhaps for ViaVan???
In a blog post, Citymapper said it would find these drivers “good places to work,” but that regulatory constraints and a desire to focus on other projects meant Ride has had to end. 

The other projects in this case are just one: Citymapper Pass. This lets Londoners pay a weekly subscription to access a range of services including trains, buses, and bikes. Pass was launched earlier this year, and Citymapper says it will soon hopes be adding London's black cabs and minicabs to the service’s top tier (perhaps they should have thought to ask us first if we wanted to be added) to make up for the loss of Rideshared Minicabs.

Of course, Citymapper isn’t the only transport company that’s attempted to reinvent the bus. Lyft and Uber have launched similar services with shared vehicles on fixed (or semi-fixed) routes, without great success. Even Elon Musk used to envision his grand Hyperloop project as a sort of public transport carrying shuttles full of pedestrians. That was before he narrowed his plans — both literally and figuratively — to simply putting cars in tunnels

When it comes to disrupting city infrastructure, Citymapper’s plans, too, have diminished in scope. The last day of operations for Ride will be on July 14th

Khans Cycling Commissioner And TfL Told "On a Your Bike" By Royal Borough Of Kensington And Chelsea.

At yesterday's heavily attended meeting between the Kensington Society and TfL, to discuss the proposal for the radicle cycle lanes scheme along Holland Park Avenue, attendees were ask to raise their hand if they were against the scheme...It appeared that virtual all except for the team from TfL and a small group from the cycle lobby, raised their hands.

The Mayor's Cycle Commissioner (Will Norman) starting the ball rolling by trying to convince the audience that it was a complete 'Myth' that cycle lanes caused congestion and pollution, but he was almost laughed off the stage.

Councillor after Councillor received standing ovations...some for over three minutes, as they told the residents that they and the council would in no-way be supporting the scheme.

GLA Councillor Tony Devenish told the audience to be vigilant, as TfL do not normally listen to residents. He said it was extremely important that residents from all over should respond to consultations...and also to be very careful, as if you support any part of it....TfL will put you down as supporting a scheme 100%.

Cllr Devenish went on to say "the scheme being proposed here, is a bad scheme" to loud cheers and applause from audience.

The small group from the militant cycling lobby were heavily outnumbered by residents, local businesses and transport groups, who spoke out against the scheme.

After the meeting Will Norman and the TfL contingent said they were disappointed that the council appear to have already made up its mind, even though the consultation isn't complete.

The good news is that as these proposed cycle lanes would be on a road that comes under the authority of Kensington and Chelsea, the council have confirmed, they will not be supporting the scheme. 

So, it seems that the outcome of this meeting, is that the Mayor's Cycling Commissioner and TfL were told by the residents and council members of the a Royal Borough, "on you bike, we ain't having it".

Rapturous applause as Councillor and planning officer @jthalassites states he is hugely supportive of cycling, but @RBKC are unable to support @TfL @willnorman plans for Holland Pk/NHG due to impact on trees, congestion, bus stops; 
"presenting enormous problems for residents...just not the right proposal"