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

EDITORIAL COMMENT:
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 www.chichester.gov.uk 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?