Sunday, June 24, 2018

Glasgow Shows The Way Forward Again By Investigating A Cap On Private Hire Vehicles

GLASGOW is driving ahead with plans to potentially cap the number of private hire cars in the city.

The Licensing and Regulatory Committee at Glasgow City Council agreed to commission an independent expert to research the “drdprovision, use and demand for the services of private hire cars” across the city.

Changes to the law by the Scottish Government make council’s free to cap the number of private hire vehicles operating within their boundaries.

Councillor Alex Wilson, convener of the committee, said: “I welcome the fact that the Scottish Government is looking into guidance for local authorities to cap private hire car numbers and to give us a robust policy where we can actually take this forward.”

Last May, amendments to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 made by the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 came into effect.

They allowed licensing authorities to refuse to grant an application for a private hire car licence on grounds of over provision.

Councillors were told there are 4,820 private hire cars registered and 3,527 licenses in Glasgow at the committee meeting on Thursday.

Unite’s cab section is in favour of the legislation and has in the past demanded the council put its foot down on bringing forward the appointment of an independent expert.

The black hackney drivers claim that supply is outstripping demand in the taxi trade, meaning full-time drivers are having to work longer hours just to get by.

The move to appoint an independent expert was actually agreed last November but the council was waiting on “legislative guidence” from the Scottish Government, but that guidence has not yet been published.

Now, councillors have decided to wait no longer and push ahead to procure an independent expert to carry out the substantial audit.

“I do think this would allow an opportunity for Glasgow to lead the way in terms of licensing policy yet again,” said Councillor Rhiannon Spear.

Councillor Robert Connelly supported the council pushing ahead, saying: “As no time scale was given by the Scottish Government, it could take quite a long time.”

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Red Sun group is helping to bring the MetroCab back to London’s taxis fleet

Zhejiang Geely is not the only Chinese company that has backed a plant in Coventry to tap opportunities from the electrification of London’s taxis.

Red Sun Group, a privately-controlled conglomerate based in Nanjing that has more than 10,000 staff and annual turnover of £2.6 billion (US$3.46 billion), announced a tie-up three months ago with British company Ecotive to supply an alternative electric-petrol hybrid taxi.

“Red Sun wishes to invest in facilities for the new breed of commercial vehicles powered by the tried and tested, highly efficient hybrid Ecotive vehicle platform, starting with the production of the MetroCab,” it said in a statement in March.

Red Sun said it would commit more than £100 million for a new plant to be built by CAD CAM Automotive (CCA), in which it has a significant shareholding.

CCA, based in Coventry, is a provider of lightweight aluminium vehicle bodies for the “special vehicles operations” of Jaguar Land Rover.

Two years ago CCA and Red Sun said they were finalising a merger involving £300 million of investment over five years.

The plan, which would “create up to 1,000 jobs”, would start with a £50 million “new energy” vehicle research and development centre, CCA said in a statement at the time.

Red Sun’s chairman Yang Shouhai, a former county-level agriculture and rural affairs cadre, announced in March that the new factory would have an annual output capacity of 300,000 vehicles.

CCA has a product design and engineering heritage that stretches back for more that a century. The company supplied bodies to British car marques MG and Aston Martin from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, as well as the first 200 bodies for London’s black cab.

The MetroCab is a British brand of taxicabs first introduced in the mid-1980s and was produced until 2006.

Its ownership had changed hands several times, and has since the early 2000s been owned by Ecotive, a unit of electric cars to monorail projects developer Kamkorp Group, which is owned by UK-based businessman Kamal Siddiqi.

Kamkorp has been developing a hybrid Metrocab since the mid-2000s and has built multiple prototypes.

Red Sun, which started its automobile operations three years ago, will also form a joint venture with a mainland Chinese company to build a separate “green, smart automotive base” capable of producing 500,000 units a year, Yang added.

Late last year, the UK Court of Appeal upheld a 2016 verdict by the London High Court to dismiss a claim by Geely’s London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) that the Metrocab’s design was a copy of its TX4 product and earlier models of the London black cabs.

The court threw out LEVC’s attempt to trademark the shape of London's traditional black cabs, on grounds that the shape of the vehicles lacked “distinctive character” and was not a “valid registered trademark”.

LEVC chief executive Chris Gubbey said the appearance of rival car makers would not affect their strategic plans.

“I don’t see the competition changing our forecasts or what we want to do over the long term,” Gubbey said. “There are moves to emulate what we’ve done, which is an endorsement in a way … monopoly is never a good position.”

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lisson Grove Muggers Nicked, Plus 4 Men Stripped Naked By Machete Wielding Muggers

We finally have some good news....yesterday, the Lisson Grove thieving muggers, picked on the wrong Taxi driver and not only got the hell knocked out of them by a cabby (former ex-army bodyguard), but the police managed to arrest 4 of these despicable lowlifes. 

Great news...and leads nicely into this story from Cabby Ray McGarry: 

       Ray elaborating on the night's event

Around 1:30 am on Thursday morning, Ray dropped a lady passenger off at South End Green in Hampstead. As he cleared his meter, his attention was drawn to four fully naked men frantically waving (their arms) at him, screaming for help. 

Ray's first thought was to lock his doors, but the four pleaded with him to let them in the Taxi, saying they had been attacked by a pack of machete wielding muggers. 

The muggers had threatened the four men (all in their 20's) telling them to hand over phones, watches, wallets car keys and unbelievably, all their clothing.

Ray let the four into his cab and pulled away to a safe location, where he phoned the police on 999. 
Amazingly, it took the police well over 15 minutes to arrive (which, when you're in this predicament....would seem like eternity). Unfortunately, by the time the police arrived, the attackers were probably at home, sorting out who was having what phone, who was getting the Rolex and who wanted Nikes. 

Ray said:
"When the police van arrived, the police jumped out and surrounded the cab like something out of Starsky and Hutch, and I could see them really struggling to keep a straight face".

The victims were escorted out of the cab and into the van, to be taken to the station. Ray's details were recorded and he was allowed to go on his way.

It's getting serious out there, with Cabbies being robbed, mugged, attacked....cabs being broken into and even stolen. So with this in mind, it's even more important to keep yourself secure.

There's an old Cabby saying, if in doubt....keep them out.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Councillor Blames Neighbouring Cities For Black Cab And Uber Tensions

Neighbouring cities have been slammed by a leading Coventry councillor amid rising tensions between the city's black cab drivers and private hire drivers from Uber.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of conflict between drivers, with the taxi rank outside Coventry Railway Station the most recent battleground. 

West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police have been called to separate instances of altercations in and around Station Square as the city's black cab drivers take umbrage with the presence of Uber drivers in the city. 

Two weeks ago a man was arrested on suspicion of assault after an incident which allegedly saw a black cab driver stuck by an Uber vehicle. 

The man arrested was eventually released, but tension remains as Ubers, which are unlicensed in the city, continue to pick up fares.

The questions beg to be asked, if Uber lose their licence to operate in London
A) Will they still operated under cross boarder hiring
B) Will TfL do anything to stop them.....???

Private hire firm Uber does not have a license to operate in Coventry, yet tens of vehicles adorned with the Uber logo are regularly spotted in the city.

Neighbouring cities in the West Midlands are licensing drivers from the American firm and many of these are going on to operate out of other locations, such as Coventry.

Across the nation there has been opposition from black cab drivers to Uber and in Coventry it is no different.

The way that Uber operates is vastly different to black cabs and, though the fares may often be cheaper with Uber, those who are opposed to it would argue that the safety and regulation of the drivers are of an inferior standard. 

Despite having no licence, a number of Uber cabs can be found in Coventry
Why Coventry Railway Station?

With no airport, the railway station essentially acts as the gateway into Coventry.

Trains arrive from London, Birmingham and the North, bringing heavy footfall to the area, but many of these people will then be looking for a connection for their onward journey.

Very rarely is the taxi rank outside the station empty, as black cabs have had to pay station operators Virgin a fee to be able to use it. 

But Uber drivers, who cannot use the rank, park up around Station Square, waiting for customers in the nearby area to book a ride using their app.

Though they are not on the rank, the Uber vehicles are doing the same thing that the black cabs are doing - without paying for it.

Cllr Jayne Innes, the Cabinet Member for City Services, has long been championing Coventry's black cab industry. She said: "Our city has a strong black cab fleet. We want people to feel safe, so we have drivers trained in how to spot things such as child explotation.

"Our drivers know the road, and can have proper conversations with customers.

"Uber aren't licensed in Coventry, and they've never even applied."

She added Uber cars were parking outside the railway station saying: "what they are doing is really unfair, and it isn't a level playing field.

"Last Friday (June 8), there was an incident outside the station."

"We are doing all we can to calm things down, but it would help if other councils thought, and behaved more responsibly.

"They are ultimately responsible for altercations such as these."

Cllr Innes stressed that one solution would be that customers should simply choose black cabs over Ubers. But in a message to the city's black cab drivers, she said: "We continue to do everything that we can to solve the problem.

"We are lobbying the government for change, as we feel strongly that the city should be able to decide who can operate here.

"They know that we are trying."

TfL Must Revoke Uber's Licence, Plus All Apps Must Be Lenny Etheridge

Uber cannot possibly win their appeal.

Either way it will be the same outcome  - they'll carry on regardless.

Uber must have their license revoked. If not, they must be regulated to the full extent of existing rules, which so far TfL have refused to enforce.

Running Uber out of town or forcing TfL to apply existing regulations and police them, will have much the same effect.

If Uber lose their final appeal against the UPHD employment case in October, they'll be dead in the water anyway.

After Uber is put down, we still have to ensure all Apps (including our own) are regulated.
At this moment in time there is no regulator for Apps.
Either TfL or the DfT must step up to the plate, accept responsibility and take control of these lawless, unaccountable Apps.
Otherwise our whole trade will become Uberesque; totally reliant upon an App master, as our street hail is hoovered up by App companies with no regard for the driver.

Uber is the beginning of our struggle, not the end.

The reason we are in the shit today is because of past mistakes - we were advised to have 'Ply for Hire' legally defined decades ago when there was no opposition to the definition.
Today we're paying the price of previous apathy.

Don't sell all your tomorrows for today's takings.


Met Police Service, roads and transport constabulary. 

Picking up on Zig Zags. 

Turned out driver was unlicensed and had taken family members car out and App details, whilst Licence Holder was out of UK. 

Driver and Licence holder are now under police investigation for various offences.

Before you use Uber, ask yourself this...

With so many of their drivers sharing their cars and phones.... who’s driving you home tonight ?

LTDA Informs Members Of Central Branch Suspension By Marc Turner.

During the summer of 2016 after the debacle of the LTDA branch election in Harlesdon, general secretary, Steve McNamara freely admitted the discrepancies of that night 'hadn't been LTDA's finest hour, and wouldn't happen again.

Yet yesterday (20/06/18) Chairman Richard Massett announced,(by email) to the chagrin of committed members that the central branch had been temporarily suspended, therefore next Wednesdays branch election  (27/06/18) is postponed due to intimidation and threats to candidates.

During the last forty plus years, branch elections have gone by unheralded/unpubicised. Because that's how the LTDA wanted it. They've always been happy to accept our subs and deal with us at the end of a phone line or across a desk. But woe betide anyone who trys to encroach their inner circle.

During the good times we were all guilty of not paying enough attention to the machinations of our trades biggest org. Yet if we've got anything to thank TfL/government/ Uber for, suppose they've necessitated us to 'naval gaze', by paying more attention on our representation. Needless to say, many were not much impressed with what was on offer. Or they, with members insistance on transparency  and accountability.

Yes, Steve McNamara is an effective, efficient flag waver on behalf of the trade. But he's at the helm of the 'Mary Celeste'. The dead wood, otherwise known as the COM (Committee of Management). Most of them out of the LTDA 'old boys network'. Devoid of enegy, ideas, motivation. They can't even be bothered to show members respect by occasionally  attending  branch meetings. Most probably committee meetings behind closed doors pay better.

Regards intimidation and threats. The 2018 campaign had up to now been  fought impeccably by all four candidates Martin Franks, Russell Smith for Chairman. Sam Houston, Chris Allen, for Secretary.

I'll put my cards on the table and admit to supporting Russell and Chris. I'll reiterate, up until Harlesden, LTDA had chosen their own. Bit like the Vatican, but with out the smoke. Unfortunately, Martin and Sam are 'all our yesterdays'. Whereas Chris and Russell are totally devoted to improving the trade by improving the LTDA.

So if the impending election does materialise. Whether a show of hands, or secret ballot ( more 'mirrors' then smoke on that one) 
For the future of our beloved trade.