Monday, September 24, 2018

The Task And Finish Report We've All Been Waiting And Seeing For....Read It Here For Yourself.


Below is the independent report re: 
Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing... 
Recommendations for a safer and more robust system

This report is said to set out the Task and Finish Group's recommendations on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing.

Click on this link below to download the report:

This report presents the views and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group’s Chair on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
This weeks Staristics from TfL :

Taxi and Private Hire
Information about the number and type of licence issued will be updated regularly. The following figures cover the week ending Sunday 23 September 2018:

Taxi driver licences - 23,493: a decrease of 8 on the previous week, 13 licences are new. Of those taxi drivers, 20,559 hold All London licences, and 2,934 hold Suburban licences.

Taxi vehicle licences - 20,519: a decrease of 11 on the previous week, 28 licences are new.

Private hire driver licences - 109,042: a decrease of 150 on the previous week, 101 licences are new.

Private hire vehicle licences - 87,576: an increase of 91 on the previous week, 480 licences are new.

Private hire operator licences - 2,315: an increase of 2 on the previous week, 6 licences are new.

Knowledge of London 
The number of candidates studying the Knowledge of London is currently;
1,349 at Stage 3 (down 4 from last week).
410 at Stage 4 (down 5 from last week).
281 at Stage 5 (down 3 from last week).

In addition, as of August 2018, there were 4,252 candidates that had not yet reached Stage 3 (this figure may include inactive candidates).


Fantastic News As High Court Judge Blocks TfL Appeal Over Westminster Council Blockage Of CS11


High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.

The judge has also ordered TfL pay Westminster Council’s legal fees. They must agree a figure or pay £50,000 within 14 days of the order, which was made today.

Campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who was a named party in the judicial review proceedings, told the Ham&High: "Have TfL learned nothing – rather than reading and absorbing the comprehensive defeat from last week, reviewing their processes and learning from the judge’s criticisms, TfL just went for an appeal. How clear does the judge have to be about his decision?"

A TfL spokesperson called the judge’s decision "procedural". They said: "We can still apply to appeal at the Court of Appeal, and we remain in discussions with Westminster regarding payment of legal fees."

Source : http://www.hamhigh.co.uk

Saturday, September 22, 2018

London Taxi Caught In A Hail Of Bullets Sitting In Traffic On Essex Road Islington.


A London Taxi Driver has been left shaken, after being shot at multiple times in Essex Road, Islington.

London Taxi driver Mike White, was left shaken after being caught by a hail of bullets, as he sat in traffic  on Essex Road.

Mike White posted these shocking images on Twitter of the incident which showed bullet holes which shattered his rear window and punctured his tyre. 

He was sat in traffic on Essex Road when the shocking incident happened, a parked car was also hit and a young lady was seen running screaming along the road with blood pouring from an arm injury.

"I was adjacent to this parked car when it went off. Apparently the bullet is still on the front seat. Thought i was made of strong stuff but i feel like throwing up" said Mike



He posted on social media: “Lovely, sitting in traffic, suddenly 4 or 5 gunshots very close behind me.”

“One shattered back window, one flat tyre and a very lucky passenger. Police here in force.”
No more work for me tonight.”



Mike hit out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter and said: “Thank-you for failing on this city Mr. Mayor.”

An hour ago my taxi was in the wrong place at the wrong time when gunshots rang out just behind me in Islington.”

Mike said both he and his passenger were injured but was unable to comment further on the incident due to Police advice. 

London totally out of control, more akin to the Wild West....
    Is it time for these two to be replaced 


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :  by Jim Thomas.
It's not pleasant being caught up in this type of incident. I can speak from personal experience. 
It's only after that the horror of the situation can suddenly hits you for six.

It was just befor Christmas 1978, I picked up a smartly dressed Irish man in Edgware Road. On the journey to Southgate, he produced a revolver from his coat and held it close to my head. He said don't look at me just drive. I truly  thought I was never going to see my wife and children again and had come to terms with the fact that this would be my lot. 

We got to Bourn Hill Southgate and he directed down towards Green Lanes. Approaching the lights, I what the hell.... and decided to take the chance to jump ship. I ran off as fast as I could along Green Lanes leaving the chap in the cab rolling over the lights down the hill. 

It's a long story and I won't go into detail, but the man escaped and the police weren't happy with my actions. But I know I did the right thing for my, because I'm here today to talk about it...

The incident affected my confidence quite a bit and took me a good few weeks before I got my nerve back again and was able to pick up passengers late at night. 

Taxi Leaks would like to take this opportunity to wish Mike all the best and hope he's back at work soon. 

How to be 1960s London Taxi Driver : Chats with my Dad oral history.


Came across this amazing set of videos recently. Neil Mossey sits and chats with his dad Ian, who explains to him in detail, what it was like to do the knowledge and become a cabby, back in the early 60s. 

The story is told in 6 parts but if you have the time, there is a final video of the whole interview. It really is an eye opener to see who the Knowledge of London has changed over the years, well worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtZM4-pHDwPm3NS3PpFmraEqOHUeZhhpT

These interviews are now available on Amazon.
HOW TO BE A 1960S LONDON TAXI DRIVER: Chats with my Dad about doing The Knowledge and driving a black cab eBook: Neil Mossey, Ian Mossey: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

My Dad’s a London taxi driver. A cabbie. Licensed Owner/Driver of a black taxi. Except he’s stopped driving now.

But Taxi drivers don’t retire, they just stop driving, and hand in their precious Green Badge.

You don’t get a leaving gift and goodbye card, even after serving Londoners for over 50 years. But he pounded the streets of London for money, I knew it was hard getting that licence, that Green Badge.

When he stopped driving, I suddenly realised that I had no idea exactly how hard, or how he got there, or why!

I’ve got kids and I know they will ask me about him or look him up in the future.
So in the Summer of 2018, I set up a camera and we had a chat. 

I know there are questions in here I’ll kick myself for not asking, or answers where I didn’t follow up... But this book is what he did tell me. Maybe now it’s in print, I’ll think of other questions and things to add to later editions.

Ian covers what it was like to pass "The Knowledge" - the toughest road test in the world: to memorise every street, building and place of interest in London; Getting the Green Badge; Hiring and buying a London black taxi cab; How London's licensed taxi radio circuits worked and how to join them; plus the tricky odd and weird customers he's faced over the years.

I hope this helps anyone in the future researching the London Licensed Taxi Cab Trade, Black Taxis and private hire cabs in general or even public transport in London.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

This is the action we have all been waiting for.....this IS the big one we must all support.
Regardless of what org or union you belong to, this action transcends trade group loyalties. 


This is action by the trade, for the trade and is probably our last chance to make a stand.

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

TFL accused by top QC of an “appalling failure” to uphold the law on taxis 
The regulator faces High Court action for allowing Uber to ignore the law
Uber’s entire UK taxi operation could be brought to a halt by an injunction
Westminster Chief Magistrate faces criticism for a conflict of interest

One of the UK’s top QCs is about to launch a High Court action against Transport for London for failing to uphold the law on taxis. It gives traditional taxis the exclusive right to display their availability for hire in return for higher standards.  

Robert Griffiths QC, whom The Times described as “one of the biggest names at the bar”, is preparing pre-action protocols for a High Court case which could lead to all of Uber’s UK operations being shut down for failing to comply. 

The case gives the High Court its first opportunity to examine the core legal issue in an action bought by an alliance of London taxi drivers and industry suppliers.

“In this case I will chart the appalling failure of TFL to apply a law designed to ensure the safety of passengers. That purpose has not changed. Nor has this law been superseded by either technology or the scale of Uber’s illegal activities,” said Mr Griffiths of 6 Pump Court Chambers who is seeking an injunction to stop Uber’s UK operations.

The view that Uber is also not "fit and proper” to hold a licence was put forward by Clifford Chance in 2015 when it called for TFL to shut it down with “immediate effect” for multiple failures. [1] TFL acknowledged earlier this year that it had allowed Uber to operate despite it not meeting the standard. [2] 

The High Court case will argue that Uber continues to fail to be “fit and proper” for reasons including its avoidance of almost all tax on its UK profits. It portrays them as being the tax-free royalties of a Dutch company which has no employees.  

“Uber is a corporate vulture. It does not pay for the roads it drives on. Even if it became the perfect company tomorrow the damage it has done through its illegal operations have still caused actionable harm. Uber has long thought itself bigger than the law of this land. Our High Court judges will have a different view,” said Mr Griffiths, who is pursuing substantial damages for traditional taxi drivers against Uber.

The legal action will additionally contend that Westminster Magistrates Court failed to uphold the law in a case in June. In that the court’s Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, gave Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform with the law. [3] 

The taxi alliance behind the High Court case was further outraged when it was later revealed that the magistrate’s husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The uproar over that led to Ms Arbuthnot ruling herself out from hearing future cases involving Uber. [4]

“By admitting it was a big enough conflict to stop her sitting in future cases it shows that she had no right to sit on the case in which she gave Uber a green light,” said Angie Clarkson of the London Taxi Action Group which is fighting the case. [5]

Speaking about the action Trevor Merralls, General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group, said “TFL have repeatedly said ‘we know your views about what we are doing, if you don’t like it take us to court.’ Well we don’t and we are."  

Notes
[2] TFL says Uber “not fit and proper”: https://www.ft.com/content/c3b58f51-6daa-371a-b8cf-97618a3accbc
[5] London Taxi Action Group: consists of UCG and five key suppliers to the London taxi trade


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : AND SO IT STARTS...

 

Listen from 27:48 to Sean Paul Days interview with Trevor Merrals on London Taxi Radio



Monday, September 17, 2018

John Farrell's Resignation Letter To The Corp of London Over Bank Junction Ban.


With his permission, this is John Farrell’s resignation letter to the Corp of London:

Dear Sir,
Following the decision of the Corporation of London to permanently ban taxis from Bank Junction between the hours of 7am and 7pm, I hereby return my Freedom of the City of London certificate.

I do so with a heavy heart but you leave me no other option. London taxis, in one form or another, having been serving the City of London since 1600 and now it appears we are being kicked in the teeth. Since the implementation of the ban there has been a marked drop-off in journeys within the City of London. After all, who wants to pay for sitting in a queue of traffic, especially one artificially created. Several London boroughs have refused to implement cycle schemes etc through their streets because of the chaos that would ensue. 

Not content with witnessing the daily queue of traffic on Upper and Lower Thames streets, successive Lord Mayors have kowtowed to successive Mayors of London. It seems the upstarts of twenty-odd years have tossed the 800 plus years of the Lord Mayor onto the scrap heap.
I have no doubt that the decision to ban taxis will be reversed in the future but by then it may be too late. 

Already there has been a sudden decrease in the number of people on the Knowledge. Why spend years learning to be one of the best taxi drivers in the world only to find that you are excluded from streets that you had to learn. Without exaggeration I put it to you that traffic management decisions implemented by the Corporation of the City of London and TfL are killing the trade.

When I was “on the Knowledge” back in the 1980’s I fell in love with the City. Before then I knew nothing of its rich history but reading all the various plaques I became so enraptured that I later went to University and studied history - a subject I had hated at school. This new-found love of history also led myself and another cab driver to start up the Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers in 1990 where I was the founding Clerk. 

The Fellowship went on to receive Livery status and is now a Worshipful Company. But what of their future. I hold no position at all within the present-day Company and so it is up to their Master, Wardens and Court to decide on that. This is just as well. Were I still Clerk I don’t think I could sit idly by and watch as we become the laughing stock of the trade.

Yours, regretfully
John Farrell
Proud London taxi driver and ex-freeman of the City of London.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

It seems the custodians of the Cabmen’s Shelter Group on Facebook have been offended by a post showing Sean taking down and ripping up his freeman of the city certificate. 


They have removed the post for two reasons;
A) There are no Cabmen’s Shelters in the CoL
B) Sean was not a regular Shelter user ???

They have completely missed the fact that this was a selfless act in support of his fellow Taxi drivers. 

As the group is mainly frequented by members of the WCHCD, we can probably assume that this elitist group, won’t be supporting the trade or its drivers, come the Lord Mayor’s Show. 

Meanwhile, the trades largest org is waiting and seeing !!!

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT :

As a founder member of the FHCD I fully support John's protest re the COL attitude towards the Taxi trade. 

Even when I was the Master of the FHCD and asked a question at a meeting of the COL  re the use of Arthur Street we were laughed at in a very derided way. 

I hope others support John and do not participate in the Lord Mayors Show. They have no respect for us so why should we support them.

Gerry Dunn