Sunday, September 30, 2012

Remembrance Sunday 6 weeks left


A post from Mike Hughes:

This is an 'early warning' about the free taxi service for Remembrance Sunday which this year falls on the 11th of November.

The UCG have honoured my by asking me to once again act as taxi co-ordinator in the run up to the day, when their marshals will no doubt continue with their excellent organisation at the various pickup points.

I will be posting more details as we get closer to the day but they are briefly,
Victory Services Club,
Union Jack Club
All main line stations
Victoria Coach Station
plus various locations for wheelchair pickups

I know I can rely upon you to help provide the service.-

I'm already getting requests from the veterans including one wheelchair user (one of only 4 living survivors of Japanese camps) in West Wickham plus a 40 strong group who will be in one of the travel lodges in Kings Cross Road. I'll add detail to that next week.

In the meantime here's a copy of a message I've received and shows just what this means to the veterans.


Dear Mike,

I have recieved the letter from the United Cabbies Group, via the Royal British Legion, and would like to inform you that my oppo and myself hope to use the free taxi service from Liverpool Street Station to the Cenotaph, on Sunday 11th November 2012.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those involved in providing this excellent service. I find it both very genorous and moving that the Cabbies are prepared to do this.

"The British Spirit" never ceases to amaze me!

Many Thanks,

Kind Regards,

Nick Page.

P.S. This will be our first year to be Marching Past at the Cenotaph, and the United Cabbies Group are making us feel special even before our arrival in London! It wiil be a very emotional time.

Thanks again, Nick.


The requests are starting to come in. Last year's event was big for us, I'm getting the impression that this year's one could be even bigger so please tell your friends and colleagues.

Here's a couple of examples of the thing I mean

I've got a request for 40 people from the Kings Cross Royal Scot Hotel (Travelodge) who are marching together for the first time. I'll ask for more help closer to the day but if you live that neck of the woods please keep it in mind.

But this next one really shows what it means to the veterans

We are travelling from Yorkshire and staying at the Millennium Gloucester for Julie's 91 year old father to take part in the parade, he is one of 4 ex Japanese POWs taking part. He can walk a little but uses a wheelchair and will be on parade in his chair.

It's all very humbling. Let's show them how proud we are of them.

Remembrance Sunday
6 weeks left

Please mark it in your diaries.
There's more requests coming in. I'd like to fulfill them all but can't without your help.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

London cab maker Manganese stalls in race with rival Eco City Vehicles

Follow the money!
Was the Mayors 15 year age limit on Taxis really about air quality in London.
Why did Tim Yeo suddenly have to resign his £3k a month job at ECV?

London cab maker Manganese Bronze saw rival Eco City Vehicles poised to overtake in its wing mirrors as its losses widened.
Manganese (down 0.25p to 11p) said pre-tax losses hit £3.6million compared to £2.4million last year as UK sales tumbled 23 per cent and it lost £4.25million due to accounting errors revealed last month.
It warned that without improved sales, it might not break even next year. But ECV narrowed its losses from £1.2million last year to £582,000 as revenues surged by 40 per cent to hit £16.4million.

The relative newcomer has been boosted by a diktat from London Mayor Boris Johnson that all black cabs must be less than 15 years old, to reduce carbon emissions.

Its greener Mercedes Vito Euro V models fall well within the age limit, helping the company increase its share of new licensed taxis to 38 per cent from 21 per cent last year.

ECV has now sold nearly as many licensed cabs at the halfway stage as it did during 2011.
ECV (up 0.02p to 2.05p) is seeking a chief executive, with boss Peter DaCosta due to take a non-executive role for the next phase in the company’s expansion.
Growth will be partly funded by a £1.75million share placing announced earlier this month, which will also contribute to paying down debt.

Harrows Paralympic Legacy: Cuts Disabled Travel

Cuts to Harrow's Taxicard scheme will leave the disabled 'trapped in their homes'

Disabled elderly people say they will “be left to lie down and die” after cuts to a scheme which provides subsidised taxi journeys for those with severe mobility problems.

The Taxicard service, which has 90,000 members across London, gives disabled people who have complex problems and struggle to use public transport a lifeline by paying for door-to-door taxi trips.

But under pressure for cuts from the Mayor of London, funding for the scheme was cut drastically by London Councils last year, and from April, Harrow Council decided to limit the amount of journeys that could be claimed by users to 104 per financial year, and set a passenger contribution of £2.50 per journey.

And for those who also hold a Freedom Pass for public transport, or a disabled blue badge, councillors decided to limit the number of journeys to 52 – and some pensioners say they have already run out.

Every council in the capital had to choose how it dealt with the loss of funding, with some, such as Hillingdon and Tower Hamlets, choosing to protect the scheme.

Richmond upon Thames Council took a similar approach to Harrow last year, but after an uproar from campaigners and research that showed that disabled people were leaving home less as a result of the changes, they reversed the limit of 54 journeys on those with a Freedom Pass or blue badge and reinstated it to 104.

Councillor Husain Akhtar, who represents the two women’s ward, is calling for the council to rethink its policy, using the example of Richmond.

He said: “I know the council is looking for cuts but perhaps it can learn from Richmond upon Thames in this case.

“I have unsuccessfully tried to reason with the collections and housing benefits team to consider individual circumstances but was told there can’t be any exceptions – I’m disappointed by a straight jacket approach.”

“This change has caused serious problems for many elderly residents in my ward who now go out less often with obvious implications, including isolation.”

The cuts are also a double whammy to the local yellow badge drivers, many of whom rely on the Taxi Card Scheme to supplement their income.

Roy, a local Yellow Badge Driver for over 25 years said " I work the Station mainly, but a great percentage of my jobs are Taxicard work. Harrow, over the last few years have taken away many Taxi spaces in the area that were busy ranks with shoppers. The rank opposite Debenhams has gone so have the ones in Kimberley Road and Havelock Place.

If we don't get the Taxicard work from Northwick Park Hospital then the rank will not be serviced and eventually it will be over run by touting minicab drivers

Source: Harrow Times

Friday, September 28, 2012

Victoria Station Taxi Arrangements

From Sunday 30 September 2012 until May 2017 there will be significant changes to the taxi rank arrangements at Victoria Station.

The planned changes are partly as a result of the ongoing Victoria Station Upgrade (VSU) works and we have worked closely with colleagues in other parts of Transport for London (TfL) plus Network Rail and Westminster City Council to ensure that taxis can continue to serve Victoria Station.

The new arrangements are as follows:
• The entire station forecourt, including the taxi rank and set down area, will be closed
• The taxi ranks in Wilton Road and Neathouse Place will be removed
• The new head of the taxi rank will be in Hudson’s Place on the east side
of Victoria Station
• A new taxi feeder rank will be appointed in Bridge Place
• Taxis will be able to set down passengers on the east side of Wilton
• There will be a designated space in front of the rank in Hudson’s Place
for taxis to drop off disabled passengers
• The taxi rank in Gillingham Street will be converted into a rest rank
• The taxi rank in Vauxhall Bridge Road will be extended to the Queen
Mother Sports Centre

The ‘Air Deck’ taxi rank at the station will continue to operate as normal.

Taxi marshals will be working at the new taxi rank during the first two weeks of operation to assist passengers and drivers.

The signage inside Victoria Station will be changed with additional signage installed to advise passengers where the new taxi rank is.

Extending the taxi rank in Vauxhall Bridge Road helps ensure that taxis can continue to serve the station but retaining this space is dependant upon the following conditions:
• Taxis do not over-rank
• Taxis do not stop on the zigzag lines behind the rank
• Traffic flows along Vauxhall Bridge Road are not disrupted
• The safety of pedestrians and other road users in the area is not
• Parking and loading bays in the area are not used as illegal taxi ranks.

It is essential therefore that taxis do not over-rank or obstruct the highway or put other road users and pedestrians at risk.

Source: TfL Website 14/12

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sex offender could be working as minicab driver in Wembley

On the 31 of August we posted a story about Mohammed Hirsi who had breached his licensing conditions and that police were searching for him in the Wembly area were it is believed he is working as a minicab driver.

It has now emerged that Hirsi has breached his bail conditions by not turning up for trial where he is accused of raping a female passenger.

According to a report in the Harrow Times, Hirsi is already a convicted sex offender.

How is it then that this animal is working as a minicab driver in Wembly.
While TfL compliance officers are out checking Licensed Taxi drivers for badge and bills, animals like Hirsi are out there raping passengers.

I have complained many times about the unreasonable number of B&Bs checks while real problems like this are overlooked.

Compliance teams should be out every night at known tout hot spots in Wembly actively looking for Hirsi

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

RIP Kevin Fitzpatrick

On Wednesday friends and colleagues of London Taxi driver Kevin Fitzpatrick black out their Twitter avatars after hearing of his death

Our deepest condolences go out to all Kevin's family and friends

Déjà vu 2, Louis Armstrong Goes On Strike.

New Orleans, Tuesday:
1,600 taxi drivers parked up their Taxis and staged an informal strike to protest new city regulations that will cost them thousands of dollars each.

The strike involved mainly the independently owned cabs and small companies who pick up passengers mainly at Louis Armstrong International Airport and the city's major hotels.

Drivers for United Cabs Inc., the city's largest taxi company, remained at work, and picked up most of the extra work. (Ring any bells?)

Because the striking cabbies chose a relatively slow Tuesday for their work stoppage, the overall effects appeared to be small, even though hundreds of cabs apparently took part. The strike was not announced in advance, and it was not clear when or whether the drivers intend to repeat the action.

At the request of the Landrieu administration and the city's tourism industry, the City Council recently passed a host of new regulations for the taxi industry.

A federal judge issued an injunction blocking the city from enforcing ordinances declaring cab owners' permits, known as certificates of public necessity and convenience, or CPNCs, to be privileges and not rights, and making their transfer discretionary.
Much the same as if the Law Commission declared the fact that London Taxi drivers exemption from the congestion charge as a privilege and not a right!

However, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon allowed the city to implement new regulations setting maximum ages for vehicles used as cabs and requiring installation of

  • Credit card machines
  • GPS devices
  • Security cameras.

The city will be enforcing these rules as cabs come in for their regular semiannual inspections. Many owners say they cannot afford the extra costs, especially the $20-30,000 they say they must spend to get a vehicle young enough to meet the city's new rules.

More than half the cabs in the city are already too old to meet the new age guidelines, which states that vehicles used as cabs, mustn't be older than 11 years. But starting in 2014, the maximum age will be reduced to seven years. In addition, starting in January, cabs can be no more than five years old when first put into service.

Notice the way an age limit once implemented is then reduced. Many fear that Boris's 15 year age limit is set to be reduced in the near future to 10 years, as three major London council leaders, have written to the mayor demanding a reduction.

Striking Taxis at Louis Armstrong International airport

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Is this déjà vu

Another company that imports Taxis from China has reported a huge loss over the Olympic and Paralympic period.

In a parody of the real life Taxi manufactures, the makers of Olympic toy Taxis Hornby have issued a profit warning following disappointing sales of London 2012 merchandise.

The Olympic legacy for Hornby amounts to a £1m loss as opposed to profits that were forecast to be around £2m.

The group had been hoping that merchandise sales would allow it to bounce back into profit, however, demand for models was significantly lower than expected.

The Hornby 2012 range includes models of London buses, taxis, 2012 branded train sets and a Scalextric velodrome cycling set.

The company has been hit hard by the recession and weak consumer spending. It has seen profits fall from £4.5m to £3.4m in the year to March 31.

The company has also faced major disruption to one of its suppliers in China and is now expected to break even in the financial year. A Chinese company that supplied more than a third of Hornby's purchases has announced it is rationalising its facilities.

Shares in the company fell by over a third following today's warning.
In June the company had said that sales of Olympic merchandise were 'gaining momentum'.

However, deep discounting by retailers along with poor sales overall has led to a reduction in the profit forecast. The company also said that substantial quantities of other London 2012 goods meant sales had failed to deliver.
“Retailers lost confidence in many categories of London 2012 merchandise and repeat orders for our products were cancelled,” it added.
The group said it would be “constrained significantly” in the current financial year, but would keep a tight lid on costs and had “redoubled efforts” in product development and innovation in order to turn sales around.

The company, which is based in Margate, Kent, is now offering up to 85% off its Olympic and Paralympic ranges.

Lets hope the parody continues with M&Os offering huge discounts to get back in the game.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Minicab drugs courier caught at M4 services is jailed

Police intercepted a haul of more than £100,000 worth of drugs at the Leigh Delamere service station.

Officers concerned about the insurance of a London licensed private hire driver at the westbound motorway stop spotted what they believed were drugs paraphernalia in the car.

When they took a closer look they found ten large packages of former legal high mephedrone hidden under the seats.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how police spotted 43-year-old Vazrik Nazarian’s car on Thursday May 10.

She said they found two packages, each weighing one kilogram, and eight half kilo bags making a total weight just short of six kilos.

They also found a tin containing not only a small amount of a white crystalline substance but Nazarian’s library card as well.

Miss Squire said mephedrone, also known by the street name miaow miaow, retailed at £20 a gram making the haul worth £119,000.

She said the wholesale price would be between £12,000 and £30,000 meaning the profit margin for it was higher than heroin, cocaine or crack.

When the driver was questioned he said he had been given £400 by a man in London called Louis to take the drugs to a town on the edge of Cardiff.

He told officers he had made the trip on four or five previous occasions getting details from a second mobile phone seized from him.

Nazarian, of Shepherd’s Bush, west London, pleaded guilty to possessing a class B drug with intent to supply.

Ashley Hendron, defending, said his client was simply acting as a courier trying to earn a bit more money and as a "taxi driver" was used to ferrying packages about.

Someone definitely needs to point out to Ashley Hendron, the difference between a minicab drug courier and a Taxi driver.

Nazarian only admitted doing it before after it was pointed out that the cameras on the Severn Bridge would have previously spotted his car.
He also said he was a family man who had been a minicab driver for 22.

Jailing him for two years Judge Douglas Field said: “You were carrying the drug to Wales: you were doing so for a fee.You knew the amount that had been stowed underneath the seat, you knew it was drugs, you knew it was wrong, you had done it before: on each occasion you had been paid £400.”

Latest News from New York

New York Will Get Its Fancy Future Taxis
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission today approved the Nissan NV200-based "Taxi of Tomorrow" as the Big Apple's next cab.

So long, Crown Vics, and thanks for all the rides to the airport. New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to approve the rules that will make Nissan's "Taxi of Tomorrow" the next-gen cab of the Big Apple.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Taxi! Oh, Never Mind. I'll Use My Smartphone.

That's the promise from Smart phone apps. The apps all work slightly differently, but in general they allow smartphone users to see where available cabs are, alert drivers that they need a ride, and store credit-card or debit-card information so they can pay for the trip without exchanging money or swiping a card.
The act of physically hailing a cab on the street could be a rarity "in maybe as soon as five years".
To most night drivers, these apps are a way of fighting back against the system, where our licensing authority seem to be working their way to bring in a one tier system by stealth.

Many drivers have become disenchanted with their current Taxi Radio Circuits, who seem to have lost their way, getting themselves entwined with Private Hire. The disgruntled drivers are looking for a new deal with cash, account and pre booked jobs, looking instead to a completely new way of offering a Taxi only service.

Many drivers believe, the new apps will eventually take over from current radio circuits as they reach out to become global. Soon an app subscriber will be able to book a Taxi to the airport and also arrange to be picked up their destination with a couple of click on their smart phone.

London is seen to be the jewel in the crown for these apps and now they have secured a large slice of the market, their sights are now set in cracking the jewel in the states, New York, where at the moment apps are forbidden.

Below is part of an article from the Wall Street Journal by Ted Mann.

These apps are big in London
In London, more than 400,000 people have downloaded the free cab-hailing app from Hailo since it was introduced last November, says Jay Bregman, one of the company's founders. Hailo users tap their iPhone or Android smartphone screen to alert participating drivers that they need a ride, and then tap again to book an available cab.
Get Taxi
Get Taxi's New York prototype shows nearby cabs...
Hailo says it has signed up 2,500 prospective users among cabdrivers in New York City and more than 800 drivers in Chicago. But before Hailo and similar apps can take off in those cities and elsewhere in the U.S., they need to iron out some issues with regulators.
For instance, Hailo and Get Taxi Inc., which offers a similar service, have reconfigured their apps in an effort to gain approval to enter the most highly regulated taxi markets, notably New York, which bars its 13,000 yellow cabs from using dispatch systems to connect riders and drivers. The rejiggered versions alert drivers to the presence of potential customers but don't allow the two parties to contact each other, which would violate the dispatch ban.
Which Way?
Meanwhile, regulators across the country are in the early stages of examining rules written, for the most part, long before smartphones were widely available to see if there are ways to make the adoption of hailing apps easier. New York officials announced this month that they would revise their rules by February.
Get Taxi
…And then confirms a booking.
On a national level, the National Institute of Standards and Technology—a federal agency based in Gaithersburg, Md., whose standards for taxi meters are commonly used by regulators—has gotten involved in the discussion. It has convened a task force of regulators and industry and consumer representatives to examine, among other things, whether Global Positioning System technology can be accurately used in calculating time and distance for cab fares, a feature that could readily be incorporated into hailing apps.
"Technology is moving at lightning speed," and the regulatory process is not, says Matthew Daus, a former New York City taxi commissioner whose law firm, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP, is advising regulators about new technologies. "We're at a regulatory fork in the road," Mr. Daus adds. The crafting of new rules "has the opportunity to be the greatest potential achievement if it's done right," he says. "Or it could be the biggest disaster ever" if it fails to let the industry benefit fully from the latest technologies.
Mr. Mann is a staff reporter in The Wall Street Journal's New York bureau. He can be reached at
Corrections & Amplifications 
More than 400,000 people have downloaded Hailo's free cab-hailing app for London since it was introduced in November. An earlier version of this article incorrectly put the number at more than 100,000.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The World's Most Expensive Cabs?

This month new cab fares went into effect in New York. Fares will rise an estimated 17 percent under a new cost structure approved by the Taxi and Limousine Commission this summer.

For each fifth of a mile, or each minute in traffic, the fare goes up 50 cents, instead of 40, in the new system. It's the first across-the-board increase in about eight years, and cabbies say it's essential to keep up with rising fuel costs, but New Yorkers still aren't happy. One Christopher Keating, 42, told Reuters:

"A 17 percent hike all at once is a little hard to swallow," Keating said. "They may deserve a raise, but it seems like it would make more sense in smaller increments, year to year."

C. Keating might check out a new report from the Swiss bank UBS for some global perspective. On a list of cab fares in 72 cities around the world, New York fares are in the middle of the pack. UBS calculates the price of a typical 3-mile cab ride in the city at $8.50.
That's just above Dubai ($8.17) and just below Istanbul ($8.94). It's also considerably less than the other three American cities on the list:
Chicago ($12.50)
Miami ($15.32)
Los Angeles ($25.06).
It's even less than the global average, which UBS puts at roughly $10.

Angelinos have a lot more reason to be sore. Their fare ranks third overall — losing out only to the Swiss cities at the top of the list:
Zurich ($28.93)
Geneva ($27.78)
Stockholm ($24.64)
Oslo ($23.22).
London ($23.03)
Tokyo ($21.42)
These are all places that top the twenty-dollar mark.

A few others come pretty close:
Luxembourg ($19.43)
Munich ($18.04)
Copenhagen ($17.33)
Vienna ($17.27).

As a general rule, if you're in Europe, you're paying a lot for taxis.

At the other end of the spectrum is Cairo, where 3 miles in a cab costs you $1.49.
Mumbai ($1.76)
Delhi ($1.95)
Sofia ($2.00)
Kuala Lumpur ($2.44)
These cities round out the bottom five.
Bangkok ($2.47)
Bogota ($2.81)
Manila ($2.88)
Jakarta ($2.93) are the others below three bucks.

New Yorkers like can at least rest assured that the recent fare hike will go to struggling cab drivers and not fleet owners.

While the fare increased 17 percent, the rate of leasing cabs from medallion owners seems to have stayed about the same, (but may go up slightly soon).

As taxi expert Bruce Schaller pointed out many years back, fare increases do raise industry revenue, but not quite as much as the percentage fare increase itself. That means if cities raise lease rates as much as fares — well, they may be asking for another fare-hike debate sooner than their residents would like.

Different cities, but same problems.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Protests Over Rape Victim Insults.

Semi-naked SlutWalk protest took place outside Downing Street today.

A group of women in their underwear as part of the SlutWalk movement have protested outside Downing Street to urge David Cameron to do more to help rape victims prosecute their attackers.

They urged the prime minister to ensure the criminal justice system treated rape and sexual assault cases with the seriousness they deserve.

A so-called SlutWalk march is due to take place in London to further raise awareness of the issue on this Saturday the 22nd.

'All the failings of the police and courts, they are only allowed to happen because there is not proper supervision at the top, because rape is not being made a priority within the justice system,' said 18 year old protester, Anastasia Richardson.

She also stated "only seven per cent of reported rapes in the UK resulted in a successful prosecution, which amounted to making rape 'essentially legal".

"We want the police to take more care when they investigate cases because what we are seeing at the moment is evidence lost and police not looking at CCTV footage before it's destroyed".

The SlutWalk movement began in 2011 when a Toronto policeman told students that women could avoid being sexually assaulted by dressing less provocatively.

Thousands of women consequently joined marches protesting against rape in Canada, the US and UK.

The Anderson Shelter has pointed out on many occasions that in London, confidence in the Met police in regards to reporting rape has fallen to an all time low. Virtually 90% of victims are failing to report attacks.

It's time the "Men" at TfL/GLA and the Mayor stood up and admitted there is a problem, instead of constantly denying the figures.

The main cause of these attacks is the lines of illegally plying for hire minicabs outside satellite offices.

TfL always state that the predators are unlicensed. But what they omit to say is the reason they are "Unlicensed" is only in the sense that they are not pre booked and fully recorded by the licensed provider. In essence, this makes any vehicle with or without a TfL roundel used in this manner unlicensed and uninsured.

I think we will see more from the Slut Walk movement in the near future.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson challenged to access Stanmore Station using wheelchair

By David Hardiman,

A volunteer who spent 32 years helping with the Paralympics has issued a challenge to Boris Johnson to improve disabled access at Stanmore Station.

Gordon Infield, 83, of Glebe Road, wants the Mayor of London to try using a wheelchair on the steep ramp into the station in London Road for himself to see the difficulty of accessing the platform.

Locals have spent three years campaigning for lifts to be installed to improve access, and Mr Infield believes part of the legacy of the Paralympics should be that Transport for London (TfL) spends money helping disabled people get around more easily.

The campaigner was present at the first ever wheelchair basketball match at the International Wheelchair Games in Stoke Mandeville in 1952 and volunteered as the Paralympics developed until 1984.

He said: “I’ve been having an ongoing row with TfL for years that they should stop saying that the station is disabled friendly – it isn’t.

“With Aspire and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital just up the road they have a duty to make it disabled friendly.

“If I’d have had someone come and stay with me during the Paralympics in London this summer they could have sued them because they wouldn’t have been able to get out of the station.”

Mr Infield, who struggled to get the media interested when he was in charge of press for the 1984 Paralympics, said he believed the success of 11-time gold medallist Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson had boosted the profile of disabled sport.

The retired charity manager added: “I’ve issued a challenge to Boris Johnson to come here and try and push Tanni Grey-Thompson in her wheelchair out the station – I’d like to see him try.”

Campaigners have long argued that the station is dangerous for disabled people because they have to share the ramp with cars accessing the car park, and the Stanmore Society even considered taking legal action against TfL two years ago to try and prompt improvements.

London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, Navin Shah, has also backed the campaign and raised the issue repeatedly with Mr Johnson, but said in June he had been given “evasive and unsatisfactory” answers.

The Harrow Times has extended Mr Infield’s challenge to Boris Johnson’s office but has received no reply.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Justice, Or Just Can't be Bothered?

Excerpts from a day inside the Westminster Magistrate's Court, first two cases.

Hearings are listed to begin at 10am but nothing happens for first 40 minutes. “This is dead time.” says Sir Paul Stephenson, the former Met Commissioner.

10.40am: Fabian Leal, 29, from Kennington in south London. Leal, a Colombian national, pleaded guilty to obstructing a West End street by stopping his rickshaw in the road on August 25. He had no previous convictions and had only started working as a rickshaw driver in time for the Olympics.

Sentence: conditional discharge and £85 costs.

Sir Paul Stephenson’s verdict: “What is he doing here? This is a victimless crime and suitable to be dealt with outside of a court.”

Thomas the Taxi's verdict: Why has this man not been given a fixed penalty ticket for obstructing the queens highway. If this was a Taxi he would have been given a £130 fixed penalty. 

10.50am: Stuart London, 29, a father-of-four from Deptford, south east London. London, who has a history of violent offending including a two-and-a-half year jail term for wounding, terrified a black cab driver by jumping on his bonnet, thumping his windscreen with his fists and ripping a wing mirror off after claiming the taxi had tried to run him down. London was tazered by an armed police officer who had raced to the scene from the nearby American embassy. London pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

Sentence: To remain under curfew from 9pm to 5am for the next six months and to pay £400 compensation.

London, who is on benefits, agrees to pay £20 a fortnight.

Sir Paul’s verdict: “How depressing that this man is paying a fine to the state out of money from the state. He has committed a violent thuggish offence which is consistent with his history. He has so many convictions, it is depressing.”

Thomas the Taxi's verdict: How is it that this thug, with many similar conviction for violence is allowed to stay at large and present a danger to the general public. Are they waiting for him to kill some one before they finally bang him up?

Photo: left, Fabian Leal Right, Stuart London

Passenger who bi Taxi driver in attack, is jailed

A PASSENGER who bit a taxi driver in the face during a frenzied attack has been jailed today (Friday).

James Pilgrim, 43, of Newgate Road, St Leonards, left Leigh Curtis with injuries including cuts and bruises to his face, a broken nose, broken ribs and requiring stitches to his finger.
At a court hearing at Lewes Crown Court this morning, Judge Charles Kemp described the unprovoked attack as ‘appalling’, before jailing Pilgrim for 30 months.
The assault was captured in its entirety by CCTV cameras installed in the Mr Curtis’s vehicle, which was instrumental in the prosecution of Pilgrim. The footage was played in today’s sentencing.
Mr Curtis, who has more than 30 years experience driving a taxi, has been unable to work since the attack on Tuesday, July 17 and continues to suffer flashbacks.
Just after midnight on that day, he picked Pilgrim up from the Lord Warden pub in Manor Road and drove him home to Newgate Road.
Pilgrim said he did not have the fare on him, so after confirming that he was known to the radio operator, Mr Curtis agreed that he could pay in a few days time.
As he was getting out of the taxi, Pilgrim broke a bottle of wine he was carrying, which appeared to be the trigger for him to turn nasty.
The violence escalated to the point where Pilgrim had Mr Curtis in a headlock and proceeded to bite him on the face.
It only came to an end when the handbrake was released in the struggle causing the car to roll backwards colliding with parked vehicles. The impact caused Pilgrim to release his grip.
He was arrested at the scene by police, and Mr Curtis was taken by ambulance to the Conquest for treatment.
Pilgrim pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm when he appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court on August 2. He also admitted possession of cannabis.
After today’s hearing, Mr Curtis said: “I am glad he (Pilgrim) got a prison sentence but I think it should have been double. Since the attack everything has gone wrong, both financially and emotionally. I still get flashbacks and now I don’t trust anybody. It’s horrible.”
Source: Hastings Observer

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hillsborough apology 'a breakthrough', says Trevor Hicks, father of killed Hatch End sisters

A Hillsborough campaigner who lost his two Hatch End daughters in the 1989 tragedy has welcomed the Prime Minister’s apology for police failures.

Trevor Hicks, whose daughters Sarah, 19, and Victoria, 15, were crushed to death in the stadium along with 94 other fans in the disaster on April 15, 1989, said that David Cameron’s apology in the House of Commons earlier this afternoon was “a breakthrough”.

Mr Hicks, 65, who is part of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, has campaigned for justice for 23 years on behalf of those who died in the crush in the Leppings Lane Terrace at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Sarah was a student at Liverpool University, and her sister, Victoria, was a pupil at Haberdashers' Aske's Girls' School in Elstree.

A damning independent report into the disaster released today found that there was a failure by authorities to protect people, revealed that police and the ambulance service tried to cover up their shortcomings and decided “conclusively” that fans did not cause or contribute to the deaths.

Speaking at a press conference inside Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Mr Hicks said the families of the dead "knew nothing about the incompetencies of the ambulance service until today”, but that he did not blame “the guys on the shop floor”.

He added: “There were two disasters – one that happened on the day and what happened afterwards.

“We feel a breakthrough has been made. The truth is out today and the justice starts tomorrow.

“What we got was an unequivocal and unreserved apology and I was staggered by that, I have to say, because I hold politicians by pretty low regard.

“It’s not going to be put right overnight. I can’t use the term ‘it’s a day for rejoicing’, because it’s not. But at least the truth is out.”

The campaigner added that those involved in cover-ups must “resign and stand up and apologise”, but rejected the apology of Kelvin Mackenzie, the former editor of The Sun who ran an infamous ‘The Truth’ headline the day after the disaster, calling him “a clever lowlife”.

Mr Hicks lived in both Rayners Lane and Hatch End, but moved to Yorkshire in 1990 to work as managing director of an engineering and wholesale distribution business.

Speaking in Parliament earlier, Mr Cameron apologised on behalf of the Government for the failures that led to the deaths and the action taken afterwards.

He said: “The new evidence that we are presented with today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice.

“The injustice of the appalling events – the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth.

“And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased – that they were somehow at fault for their own deaths.

“On behalf of the government – and indeed our country – I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long.”

Source: The Harrow Times.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Compulsory Credit Card Acceptance In All Taxis?

Just back from vacation, the director of Licensed Taxis and Private Hire John Mason has again put himself in the spotlight by making a statement via a social media network that he believes it should be compulsory that all Taxis, accept Credit Cards. He them spent most of the afternoon multi-tasking, trying to defend his stance to the hoards of angry Taxi drivers who feel he was overstepping his remit.

Personally I believe that Mr Mason is living in "cloud cuckoo land" if he thinks LTPH can make this compulsory.
LTPH could make installation of a CC machine part of the conditions of fitness, we saw this with the receipt printers that added a financial burden upon many drivers only to find that most passengers still prefer hand written receipts.

As we are all independent sole traders, Mason and LTPH have no authority to insist that we give our customers credit. Their job, as they keep insisting, is as a licensing authority, they have no say in the running of our business financially. This idea is solely a pipe dream of the Director of LTPH who prefers not to carry cash.

Also, for this to happen, every driver would need to have a bank or building society account. (Most do, but there are still a many who don't). Mason has no authority to compel drivers to open bank or building society accounts.

It stands to reason that every Taxi driver who wants to take CC and DD cards already has this facility. Those who don't accept cards think cash is king and will always find a way of refusing. But even most of the ones who take cards, are against a compulsory trade wide order.

Perhaps this is just another ploy to get the trade fighting amongst themselves again while the bigger, more threatening issues slip by unnoticed.

Question: What's in the offering over the next few months that we should be concentrating our efforts on?

Answer: The Law Commission consultation. (Men are still coming to kill us)

Divide and conquer
We have seen this tactic before from John Mason.
When he first came to the throne he immediately split the trade representative bodies by introducing an unfair and biased engagement policy. This caused widespread infighting and efforts to respond to the infamous Private Hire Consultation were diluted.
The result was PH got everything they asked for and we got nothing.

Then we had the issue of the games lanes which hit our attention about the same time as the cheap pieces of card "ID badges" were introduced. This had the trade tearing strips off each other and caused almost civil war as drivers started to argue and fight amongst themselves.
The result of this infighting would be, any campaign against exclusion to the Olympic Zil lanes was always going to be too late.

Even if LTPH was given the power to make CC acceptence compulsory, what business person in their right mind, is going to finance installation of these machines into an extra ten thousand Taxis, most of whom will just stick a plastic bag over them and not use. Much in the same manner as receipt printers.
It is clearly noticeable the amount of rented taxis which have bags covering their CC machines and have disconnected the annoying advertising screens.

Mason can bleat all he likes about Credit Cards, we should just ignore him and carry on with the important stuff. Compulsory acceptance of Credit and Debit Cards really is just a non starter and I believe John Mason well knows it (or is his advisory team really that bad?)

A man who holds such an important office, should not put himself in a position to be constantly attacked on twitter by drivers, its inappropriate, demeaning and damaging to his authority as Director. Could you ever imagine Roy Ellis on Twitter?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Response to the Law Commission from Carlise TOA

Carlisle Taxi Owners Association

Veronica Wadley was the only candidate for £95,000 job

Boris Johnson gave the former editor of the Evening Standard a £95,000 job without interviewing a single other candidate, his office admitted today.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said there was no requirement under the law to advertise for Mayoral appointments.

The mayor’s office insist that Veronica Wadley, who is a former colleague and close ally of Boris’s, was appointed on merit.

Wadley campaigned vigorously against cronyism at City Hall in 2008. She was interviewed by a panel chaired by Boris himself.

The Mayor’s office have been keen to point out that Wadley is not taking a salary in her first year.

However, her total pay over four years will be broadly the same as other Mayoral advisers, suggesting that this is simply a crude attempt to deflect criticism of her appointment.

Amazingly though, even after four days, her old paper still haven't found any room for this story!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Amnesty for Olympic Zil lane drivers

Thousands of motorists who strayed into Olympic “Zil” lanes will escape £120 fines under an amnesty announced today.

Transport chiefs issued 6,900 penalty notices during the Olympic and Paralympics but none for illegally driving along the 100-mile Olympic VIP lane network.

Instead the fines will be enforced for breaching traffic regulations along the routes, such as parking on the lanes or making a banned turn.

TfL issued 32,000 warning letters during the Olympics and Paralympics. They said they had 98 per cent compliance with the Olympic route network, meaning only two out of 100 vehicles committed an offence.

TfL commissioner Peter Hendy said today: “There will be no fines for driving in the Games lanes but there will be fines for ignoring the regulations, such as ignoring banned turns. The good news is that if you drove in a Games lane you will not be fined.”

Mr Hendy said manual boarding ramps added to 16 train stations during the Olympics and Paralympics would remain, and committed to keeping them for several months.

Source Evening Standard

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Council Drops Request For Single Colour Taxis and PHVs

Tendring District Council wanted all Taxis to carry a universal green and white livery in a bid to boost tourism and the image of the area.

But this was met with opposition from the cabbies, who said insisting on white cars with corporate green flashings would hit drivers financially and make earning a living even more difficult.

TDC’s licensing committee has now decided not to push ahead with the bid and instead consult further with taxi drivers. Although this would have made the distinction between Hackney carriage and private hire much better and would aid enforcement against touting and illegal plying for hire, the Taxi drivers were concerned with the financial aspect and couldn't see the long term benefit of the proposal.

Thought by many in London to be an answer to the problem of Private Hire forming illegal ranks and touting outside London's many night venues, in the recent PH consultation the idea of all London Taxis being black and all PHVs a single colour such as silver or white, was thrown out by TfL. TfL also rejected the idea of a pre booked sticker to be displayed on the side of all PHVs, while ID badges on Taxis were seen as essential.

The move by Tending District Council has been welcomed by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association who said it was an unnecessary cost burden at a very difficult economic time.

A spokesman for the association said: “We have got a double-dip recession and the economy is in its worst state since the 1980s, or arguably the 1970s and anything that increases the cost burden on taxi drivers we would question.

“We’d also question the need for a universal colouring scheme and the methods by which they have come to that idea.

“It’s not been proven to work; cabs are all shapes and sizes. You look for a taxi light – the fact the taxi is green, yellow or red is irrelevant.”

A report that went before committee members said if councillors had decided to proceed with the proposal – and taxi drivers ask for a judicial review – there could be significant costs to the authority.

It said a judicial review could delay the matter by up to two years and cost the council “tens of thousands” of pounds in legal fees.

The National Private Hire Association lodged an appeal against the initial decision to ask newly-registered minicabs to carry the standardised design. The trade body, acting on behalf of a Tendring minicab operator, had an initial hearing at North East Essex Magistrates Court on August 24. It has been adjourned until October 26.

Tendring District Council was asked to comment on the matter but did not respond in time.

Source: EADT24 on line.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Warning over unlicensed taxis

REPORTS of unlicensed taxis operating this weekend are being investigated by police and the Isle of Wight Council.

A police spokesman said: "One Volkswagen van was seized by police because the vehicle did not have the correct insurance to carry fare paying passengers.

"A number of people in the van confirmed to officers that they had paid the driver to take them from Newport town centre to the Bestival music festival.

"Police and Isle of Wight Council are warning other unlicensed taxi drivers that action will be taken against them if they accept money from passengers without the necessary insurance or licence issued by the local authority.
"Officers are also advising members of the public not to put themselves at risk by paying an unlicensed driver."

Anyone with information can contact police by phoning 101.

Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Isle of Wight Council's Licensing team can be contacted by phoning 01983 823159.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Is This The Legacy Of The Paralympics?

School taxis for Medway's special needs kids axed.

Special needs children are saying goodbye to the days of free taxi rides under sweeping new rules on how they get to school.

Councillors approved changes designed to help shave almost £1million off the school transport budget.

Chiefs have long said giving children daily taxi rides to school was too generous, too costly and children should be more independent.

But they had to scale back the cuts they originally proposed after comments from 136 parents.

They had planned to make pupils attend pick-up points a mile from their homes but this was slashed to half a mile after an outcry.

And a clause which would only allow pupils to go to one address was criticised by divorced parents.

Cllr Mike O’Brien (Con), pictured below, said: "The previous policy was written in 2003 and is quite frankly out of date."

Medway Parents and Carers Forum chairman Keith Clear said: "We had a very, very good response and organised question and answer sessions with council officers.

"They have clearly listened to some of the arguments that have been put across."

However, Mr Clear said he would still be challenging pick-up points, adding: "There are some ongoing issues with parents whose children have mobility issues and struggle to walk 200 yards, let alone half a mile."

Under the new policy, due to take effect fully by January, taxi rides will still be allowed but only for the most desperately needy children.

Source: Medway Messenger

Saturday, September 08, 2012

LTC to Close 11Days Over Christmas

Coventry cab maker LTC may shut over Christmas after the Cab company revealed a £4m IT error

A Coventry-based manufacturer of London black cabs says it may shut down its factory over Christmas to save money.

LTC said it was proposing to shut the Holyhead Road plant for 11-and-a-half days.

Its parent company Manganese Bronze said last month an accounting mistake meant losses dating back several years had been understated by £3.9m.

LTC said it had negotiated a deal with unions to ensure staff would still get paid during the shutdown.

The Unite union, which represents the staff, said many were angry that they had not received a pay rise for four years.

However, it urged them to vote in favour of the company's proposals in a ballot next week.

In a statement, LTC said it "recognises the commitment and dedication of all its employees over a number of difficult years".

It added that while it had had to "reduce production volumes during the year", it was "committed to maintaining full pay and salaries for the remainder of the year".

Source: BBC News

Private hire vehicles found committing offences

In the early hours morning, during an operation in Aylesbury, local police stopped 26 private hire vehicles. Amazingly 11 of them were found committing licensing offences.

Three of these were found to be in a dangerous condition and taken off the road with immediate effect, while the others were required to comply immediately or face further action.

The offences included drivers not wearing ID badges and not displaying the correct signs.

One driver was was given a fixed penalty ticket of £60 and got three points on his licence for having a bald tyre and another was fined £60 for not wearing his seatbelt.

Five prohibitions were applied for serious mechanical defects, with all of them removed from the road until they have been repaired and had a full MoT.

Police stopped 26 private hire vehicles in the town centre on September 5 and checked for defects, while Aylesbury Vale District Council licensing officers checked they had the correct documents.

Sgt Daniel Collett described the operation as a success.

Perhaps LTPH should get intouch with Sgt Collet, who I'm sure would be adle to give them advice on how to set up this type of successful operation.

At the moment LTHP only seem to be interested in checking licensed Taxi drivers Badges and Bills. It has been alleged that 1000's of drivers licenses were stolen during the move from Penton Street to Palestra, prompting a new design to be introduced. It is hoped that the fakes will have disappear after a period of three years as by then, every drivers Bill should have been renewed.

The cloned/fake Bills first came to light after a Taxi that was hired by some one using a fake Bill was involved in a horrendous accident outside Victoria Station. The Driver of the Taxi ran off and so far has never been traced.

A few weeks after the Victoria incident, the RMT had a meeting with LTPH director John Mason, to discuss how one of their drivers complete details had shown up on a fake bill presented at Bishopsgate Police Station.

It now seems that all driver stops and checks on PHVs have been abandoned as LTPH concentrate on Licensed Taxis, ranking at stations.

Officially, LTPH are keeping tight lipped on this matter and have denied any theft took place.

Source: Bucks Herald.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Don't Fall Foul Of False Accusations.

Other the past decade there's been a steep rise in the the heinous crime of minicab related rape (Based on statistics given by Rape Crisis Centres). Unfortunately over the past few years, the police have shown little appetite to investigate many of the attempted rapes which, can be just as life shattering.

Word gets around and victims lose confidence in the police, therefore the current statistics do not reflect the full picture, with just 8% of attempted sexual assaults actually being reported.

Another reason the statists don't truly reflect the number of attacks, is that if the predator is not arrested (and that's most) the attack gets listed as an ordinary car crime, which means it is not recorded as a cab related attack.

The main cause behind the rise in the frequency of these attacks is TfL/LTPH's refusal to enforce against the lines of illegal, plying for hire minicabs, touting outside satellite offices (operating centres), a known source of victims for predators.

However, one of the biggest fears held by many drivers of Taxis, is a false allegation of serious sexual assault or rape. It seems that allegations made against Taxi drivers are given the full treatment in a bid to try and even out the massive gap between minicab and Taxi incidents.

There are many taxis in London with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) signs and if you’ve ever wondered why drivers would want these systems, you get a potential answer from Ireland where it has became a worrying trend for young ladies (and I use that term very loosely) telling drivers "if you don't let me off the fare I will scream rape".

Jarlath Malone, owner of the Derry cab company Foyle Delta said, "I know a lot of drivers who will not work at night because of fears of being attacked or robbed, but the biggest fear they have is being falsely accused of rape".

A friend of mine once chased a female bilker in Paddenswick Road and caught her by the gates to Ravenscourt Park. He held her there and called the police. When they arrived she told them he had tried to rape her in the cab and that she had tried to run away from him. Eventually she changed her story, paid the fare and dropped the allegation. He went back to work and thought no more about it.

But a record must have been taken of the allegation because six weeks later the police arrived at his home and in front of his wife and children, asked if they could come in and interview him about a rape in Hampstead. His wife who he had told about the previous incident asked why they had chosen to interview him in particular. When they said he had form and bought up the incident in Acton she hit the roof and screamed at them to leave. A complaint was made via a solicitor and he later received a written apology from an assistant commissioner of the Met.

He has heard no more about the incident or any other since, but it just goes to show how mud can stick.

Video courtesy of Steve the Parrot

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Another Saturday night! Another Rape.

A 22-year-old woman was sexually assaulted as she was driven home by a man pretending to be a minicab driver.

Police say the victim was approached by a man next to a group of genuine minicab drivers who were illegal plying for hire outside Spearmint Rhino in Tottenham Court Road, at around 5am on Saturday (September 1).

As the man drove the woman to her home in Walthamstow he assaulted her.

Police are investigating the exact location but believe it could have happened close to the end of the journey in Waltham Forest.

A minicab driver from  Bexleyheath, has been charged with sexual assault in connection with the incident.

He was arrested on Saturday within hours of the assault happening.

Source: the Guardian series

By Thomas the Taxi.

Another shattered life, another shattered family...

What is LTPH's answer

Why not Text a minicab and pay us 35p.....

How about stopping the illegal lines of Touts outside every night club and bar!

How about telling people to use proper taxis!

How about scraping the satellite offices which are leading to these assaults!

How about arresting the touting clipboard johnnies who are putting these young people in the cars of sexual predators

How about doing your job, the one you get handsomely paid to do, properly and enforce the law that's already there!

How about stopping illegal plying for hire by minicabs!

Hendy, Daniel and Mason, how about resigning, en masse!

TfL/LTPH fail.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

New Yellow Cabs, 17% Fare Hike

Yellow taxis may begin charging more on Tuesday, ushering in an approved fare increase for riders, whose rates have remained virtually unchanged since 2006.

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission announced late Monday that operators of yellow taxis would be allowed to put the new fares — which increase rates by about 17 percent — into effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, once they have recalibrated their meters and updated external markings.

Operators will not be required to institute the fares until their first scheduled inspections after Sept. 30, meaning that the city’s taxi fleet will most likely include a mixture of old and new rates for the next several weeks.

“We anticipate that many taxicab operators will implement the new fare structure as of Sept. 4, so it is extremely important that taxi riders know and understand it,” David S. Yassky, the chairman of the taxi commission, said in a statement. “The taxi industry appears to be experiencing a smooth transition to the new structure, and we want passengers to experience a smooth transition as well.”

The commission approved the increase in July. Under the new price structure, the base fee charged before a ride begins will remain unchanged. But the cost for each fifth of a mile traveled, or each 60 seconds in stopped or slow traffic, will rise to 50 cents, from 40 cents, placing an added burden on passengers who take long rides.

Trips between Kennedy International Airport and Manhattan will rise by $7, to $52 plus tolls. The surcharge on rides to Newark Liberty International Airport will also rise, to $17.50, from $15.

The last across-the-board fare increase occurred in 2004, when metered rates rose about 26 percent. In 2006, the city increased the rate charged for each minute a cab was stopped or moving slowly. In 2009, a 50-cent surcharge was added to help support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Source: New York Times

Consultation on licensing of hackney cabs in Chichester district

Consultations are taking place across the Chichester district with residents and members of the taxi trade on proposed changes to the way hackney carriages are licensed.

Since 1987, licensed London-style cabs, commonly known as hackney carriages in the district have had to conform to the London conditions of fitness.

There are currently 57 hackney carriages operating in the Chichester District.

Chichester District Council is one of only a minority of local authorities which continue to retain this policy.

A Chichester district spokesperson, said: “Government advice, recent legislation and case law required the council to review this policy.

“As a result, a decision was taken by the licensing and enforcement committee to move away from the London conditions of fitness.”

The principal objective for the council was the protection of the general public who used licensed hackney carriage and private hire vehicles while still ensuring they are accessible to everyone.

The revised policy outlined a number of new proposals on how the council dealt with licensed drivers, vehicle proprietors and operators.

The new proposals outline that any licensed vehicle must continue to be clearly identifiable as a taxi, with the illuminated sign clearly displayed.

Local residents could provide their views until Tuesday, November 6, and the committee would consider the feedback in November.

Committee vice-chairman Cllr Henry Potter said: “We want to hear from local residents and members of the taxi trade. We will rely on this information to help us make our final decisions.”

The revised document is available to view at and comments should be submitted in writing to the Licensing Manager, Health Protection and Environmental Management no later than November 6.

Source: the Observer

Monday, September 03, 2012

Green Taxis From Nissan, A Reality.

Nissan rolls out the first of its electric Taxis in Mexico City.

The three new electric cabs are the first phase of a pilot program that will see 100 electric Taxis join the cities fleet. This is the first wave of a green initiative which hopes to ease pollution in this City of 20 million.

The Nissan leaf Taxi runs entirely on electric power and has a range of 160 km. The batteries can be charged in 30 minutes from special stations powered by solar energy.

Set to revolutionise the fight against inner-city pollution, the zero emission Taxis entered the fleet in Mexico city last week.

The leaf is slightly smaller than the NV200 which is to replace New Yorks Yellow cab fleet over the next few years.

After a further intensive redesign program, the NV200 will be launched in London early next year with both a manual and automatic choice. Nissan plans to eventually replace the frugal 1.5 Renault diesel engine with the fully electric version in the very near future.

Good news for the Greens!

Source: Reuters

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Embargo, minicab controllers openly touting.

A few months ago, I was informed that an undercover team from LTPH compliance visited the night venue on the corner of Kings Road and Lots Road called Embargo.

Believe it or not, the team could find no evidence of any illegal activity.

So, I decided to go back there and see for myself. How easy could it be to catch the orange jacketed minicab controllers at it. Within just a few minutes of arriving, I found this minicab outfit;

1)...Illegally plying for hire

2)...Clipboard Johnny taking booking outside on pavement

3)...And open touting taking place.

Unfortunately I was recognised and had to depart a bit lively. But in the short time I was there I witnessed two reportable offences and a number of arrestable offences. It's not hard, they don't even try to be discreet.

So, if I can do it... Why can't trained compliance officers with specialised filming equipment do it?