Saturday, November 03, 2012

Remembrance Day: Free Taxi Shuttle Service, Call for Volunteers.

For the third year running the United Cabbies Group are organising the Remembrance Day Free Taxi Shuttle Service to take our war veterans and their families & helpers to the Cenotaph for the memorial service.

The past 2 years have been fantastic with many drivers saying what a proud and humble experience the morning has been, and how great it has made them feel giving something back to those who sacrificed so much for us.

This year will be even bigger and better with this service advertised through all Royal British Legion branches, and once again it will be a great opportunity to show why London Taxi drivers are the best in the world.

We would like to ask as many drivers as possible to volunteer their services for a few hours to help transport those who fought for our freedom.

If you would like to participate in this free shuttle service and show your appreciation to our heroes, please turn up at any of the following venues from 8.30am - 10am on Sunday 11th November 2012.

Victory Services Club, Seymour St W2
Union Jack Club, Sandell St SE1
Travelodge Royal Scot, Kings X Rd

And the following Stations...
Kings X
Liverpool Street
Victoria Coach Station

After all the veterans have reached their destination we will be congregating on Westminster Bridge to observe the 2 minutes silence and prepare for the return journeys.

We look forward to seeing you there and we hope as many of you as possible will participate.
Please dress smartly and ensure you cab is clean inside & out.

Want To Have Your Say In The Taxi Fare Consultation

TfL's Consultation on Taxi Fares:
When they consider changes to the law that may affect your business they need to find out our views. They do this through a consultation.

Why Are they Consulting?

Taxi fares are reviewed on an annual basis and you can view the proposals for 2013 in the Taxi tariff consultation 2013 by clicking here.

The closing date for commenting on proposals is 23 November 2012.

If you would like to comment you can email

Alternatively, you can comment by post to:

Taxi Fares Regulations Consultation

London Taxi and Private Hire, TfL

4th Floor Yellow Zone

Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Bridge Road

London SE1 8NJ

If you are responding by post, please submit two copies

If you are responding as a representative organisation, please include some background information about your organisation and the people that you represent.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Could The MV1 Be London's New Iconic Cab?

New wheelchair-accessible taxis in city among first in Canada

The MV-1, made by Vehicle Production Group (VPG) was introduced at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in April this year. Dignity Transportation, a Winnipeg-owned company, has introduced five of the wheelchair-accessible taxis into the Winnipeg market

Those over-sized station-wagons now on the streets in Winnipeg represent the city’s first new taxi licences in many years and are among the first of the new MV-1 vehicles on Canadian streets.

Dignity Transportation, a Winnipeg-owned company that currently operates 10 vans and five cars for Handi-Transit, has introduced five of the wheelchair-accessible taxis into the Winnipeg market.

In addition to the unusual look of the MV-1 vehicles — which are large enough to carry two people in wheelchairs and four other passengers — Dignity Transportation cars will also be the first taxis in Winnipeg with equipment to allow patrons to pay with debit cards.

Possibly the first new Taxi we have seen that actually looks like a Taxi and not a minicab.
Latest on the LTC issue
GetTaxi’s Fleet & Customer Service Manager Daniel Sunley-Smith discussing the current situation with iconic black cab, BBC CW interview

Taxi Stolen In Burglary:

A London cab was stolen from a home in Chigwell along with jewellery and cash

A LONDON cab was stolen after a raid where cash and jewellery were also taken.

Burglars took the silver taxi, which has the registration number LM60 YNZ from the home in Stevens Way, Chigwell, between 6pm and 9.30pm on Wednesday.

A Zenith watch, a gold bracelet and £640 was also stolen.

Anyone with information on the raid should call the Met Police burglary squad at Ilford on 020 8345 2680.

Source: Epping Guardian

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Taxi maker: Unions meet administrators over redundancies

Latest news after workers lock-in

Unions are meeting the administrators of Coventry-based taxi maker Manganese Bronze to see if redundancies can be suspended.

Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has made 156 people redundant, including 99 of the 176 in Coventry.

Unite national union officer for the automotive industry Roger Maddison said they would try to find a way forward that does not cost as many jobs.

The city council fears Coventry will lose its last major car manufacturer.

The Coventry firm trades as the London Taxi Company. The remaining redundancies are at its dealerships.

Mr Maddison said workers were "shell-shocked" following the announced job losses on Wednesday afternoon, saying they were "fully prepared to talk to the company about any sort of saviour package".

'Devastating news'

He said if the company was to be sold, it "needs those highly skilled people still employed by the company, otherwise people are just buying bricks and mortar."

Labour councillor Lynette Kelly, cabinet member for development at Coventry City Council said she was angry with the way the workforce had been treated.

Ms Kelly said: "There were things we were told by the chief executive on Friday who reassured us, the unions, that there was a future for the factory, that they were confident this firm was going to continue.

"They were confident that people were going to continue in their jobs.

"Whatever was said on Friday obviously did not really reflect the true situation of this factory and it is devastating news for everybody that works here because the ones that aren't made redundant, they must be really concerned about their future.

"But every single job they take, is a job that somebody else can't take and it's not good news for the city."

She said the council was going to talk to those being made redundant to see if their skills could be taken to other manufacturers as there is "demand for skilled workforce in the West Midlands".

Ms Kelly also urged the administrators to find somebody to take over the company as she feared Coventry was going to lose its last major car manufacturer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Workers Protest by Locking Themselves In Factory

Workers at the troubled Coventry-based maker of London black cabs are believed to have locked themselves inside their factory after being told of job losses.

Manganese Bronze had to call in administrator PWC after failing to gain new funding.

Unite expressed “outrage” that 156 workers were to be made redundant and called on the Government to step in to save the manufacturer of the famous vehicle.

National officer Roger Maddison said: “Only last night PWC were telling us there were significant interested parties. Now the administrators are ruthlessly sacking over 150 highly-skilled workers.

“The black cabs are world-famous and we believe this company has a future. How can PWC treat this company as a going concern with virtually no staff?

“The black cab is part of Britain’s car manufacturing heritage. The Government must now be on standby to save this historic company from being left to the vultures.”

Today's Update From Manganese Bronze.

The administrators have today met with staff to explain that, regrettably, there will be 156 redundancies with immediate effect.

Matthew Hammond, joint administrator and PwC partner, said:

"Regretfully, without financial support to overcome the Group's operational issues we have had to make staff redundancies. While the steering box recall remains, there is a voluntary suspension on vehicle sales, and we are now concentrating all resources on testing the solution to the steering fault. We have retained sufficient numbers of staff across the dealership, head office and production network to address the operational, technical and financial circumstances that the business faces."

In total 108 staff have been retained or laid off. The 12 that have been laid off have been sent home on partial pay and will be called back into work should vehicle production start up again.

Of the 176 employees based at the Group's head office and manufacturing site in Coventry, 99 have been made redundant and of the 98 employees based at the dealerships in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coventry, 57 have been made redundant.

The retained staff based in Coventry will continue to focus on finding a solution for the steering fault alongside head office resource to keep the business running. The remaining staff based in the dealerships across the UK will continue to service taxis and will be involved in the steering box refit once a solution has been found.

Blind Woman Dumped Miles From Home, By Laughing Minicab Driver.

A blind woman who also suffers from epilepsy was stranded two miles from home by a minicab driver who mocked her disability.
The callous cabbie laughed at Lisa Medgett after she told him she could not see various local landmarks.
Lisa, from Lee in South London, ordered a mini cab from Sure Cars in nearby Hither Green to take her to Bromley some four miles away in order to do some shopping.
But after getting into the cab, Lisa, 42, was ‘horrified’ at the attitude of the driver, who laughed at her disability and ‘goaded’ her for not being able see where she was going.

The driver then marooned her at a petrol station in Downham - two miles from her home and still another two miles from Bromley town centre - telling her she was ‘at her destination’.
Miss Medgett only found out what had happened when a passer-by told her she was not in Bromley and helped her order another taxi to take her home.
She told reporters; “He was really abusive - he was making fun and mocking me.

“He said ‘you should be able to point things out,,,, you should know where you are - it is your fault you can’t see’.
“Then he dumped me by a petrol station in Downham instead of Bromley - it was very frightening.”

Miss Medgett also said the driver tried to charge her £50 for the two-mile trip despite being quoted £9 by the minicab firm last week.
Michael Ellis, speaking for Sure Cars, says the incident was a misunderstanding and that Miss Medgett had been reimbursed for the trip.
Mr Ellis added: "The whole situation has been resolved satisfactorily. "Miscommunication is the only conclusion that can be drawn.
"There are three sides to every story, her story, the driver’s story and the truth."
He went on to say the driver was satisfied that he had dropped Ms Medgett at the correct destination and speculated that 'language barrier issues' may have been at the root of the misunderstanding.

Source: Daily Mail On-Line

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel? Or is that another train coming head on?

It is though more than 50 interested parties have expressed interest in buying Manganese Bronze

Buyers are queuing up to salvage a future for embattled black cab maker Manganese Bronze, its administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers has claimed.

PwC said it is in talks with “a number” of potential suitors which have approached the company. The talks come after Manganese shares were suspended earlier this month after it revealed it was in the midst of a funding crisis following its urgent recall of 400 cabs after a steering fault was detected.

It is thought that PwC has received more than 50 expressions of interest.

“We have one of the world’s most recognisable cars. We have had hugely encouraging interest already from the UK, Europe and internationally, and from motor manufacturers and financial buyers,” said Matthew Hammond, who is leading the process for PwC.

He added that any further interested parties should contact PwC “as a matter of urgency”.

Mr Hammond said the immediate priority was to correct the engineering fault that initially triggered the recall of the Tx4 taxis, enabling the taxi drivers affected to get back to work.

“We are working tremendously hard with the management team, and with UK and Chinese suppliers to reach a solution,” Mr Hammond said. “We are acutely conscious of the needs of London’s taxi drivers.”

It is thought that the process of correcting the fault could take a number of weeks, because once a solution has been found changes will have to be made to around 1,000 vehicles, including those that have already been sold and those waiting to be sold.

If PwC cannot secure sufficient funding to restructure the business it will seek to sell the company and its assets. Assets include a manufacturing facility in Coventry, where Manganese is based, as well as a dealer network across the UK. It employs 280 people in the UK.

The company has been plagued by a series of troubles and losses over the past four years, and chief executive John Russell said on Tuesday that the recall had proved the “fatal blow”.

“We’ve had a tough old four years, with lots of problems with the economy, and some of them self-inflicted. You think you’re getting through it and then something like this comes along and it was a fatal blow really,” he said.

Mr Russell said there was “inherent value” in the company. “I remain confident we will come out of this with a future. We go into this with a tremendous amount of goodwill.”

The faulty steering boxes were supplied by a Chinese company, introduced to Manganese by Geely, which has a 20pc stake in the London cab maker.

Manganese last month revealed a £3.6m pre-tax loss for the first half of the year.

Source The Telegraph

Press Releases: Manganese Bronze Holdings pl

Manganese Bronze Holdings plc, LTI Limited, MBH Services Limited and MBH Property Services Limited – in administration

30th October 2012

Matthew Hammond, Tony Barrell, Ian Green and Mike Jervis were appointed joint administrators of Manganese Bronze Holdings plc, LTI Limited, MBH Services Limited and MBH Property Services Limited (“the Group”) on 30 October 2012.

The Group is the manufacturer and retailer of the iconic London taxi, sold in the UK and abroad. It provides a retail and maintenance service through its wholly-owned dealerships throughout the UK, under the trading name The London Taxi Company. It has a turnover of £75m and 277 employees in total including three overseas employees. 175 employees are based at the Group’s head office and manufacturing site located in Coventry with the remaining employees spread across dealerships in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coventry.

The culmination of several issues led to the Group being placed into administration. The Group has been making losses for four years due to a combination of poor UK sales, supply chain issues, and high warranty costs. These issues were further impacted by the discovery of material accounting errors in the first half of 2012 which increased the extent of the Group’s losses. More recently, the discovery of a steering fault resulted in the recall of circa 400 vehicles and a suspension of sales which had an immediate detrimental impact on the Group’s cash flows.

Following a suspension of its shares earlier this month, the Group has been unable to secure sufficient funding. Without financial support to overcome these operational issues, the Group came to the conclusion that it could not continue to trade as a going concern. As a result the directors placed the Group into administration. LTI Limited is concentrating all its resources on fixing the steering fault. The administrators have entered into discussions with key stakeholders to secure funding to support the business through this period whilst the administrators seek a sale of the business and assets as a going concern

Matthew Hammond, joint administrator and PwC partner, said:

"Our immediate priority is to secure funding in order to explore the options rapidly developed by the Management team and key suppliers to resolve the steering box recall. We are reviewing the existing financial position to develop a range of options to rescue the business or alternatively dispose of it to an investor that can continue the business to a secure future for the iconic London Black Cab. We have immediately commenced discussions with an encouraging list of UK and International interested parties and would encourage any further interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency."

Julian Alison, Should be Offered Mason's Job: Part 2 comment by David Clegg.

Oxford City Council must be applauded for this stand against illegal activity from the Licensed Private Hire racket. It is to the eternal shame of TfL that they do not practice the same thing here in London. In fact the opposite seems to be the case.

In the STaN Report TfL even made suggestions that LPH vehicles actually should break the existing Hackney Carriage Acts by being able to wait outside 300 city and west end clubs (specially identified by them) and other venues contrary to High Court case Law that expressly makes it illegal for such vehicles to be in public view.

TfL (John Mason) said that they had taken 'advice' from their legal team over this and then claimed that such vehicles were not breaking the law. This 'legal' advice has never been disclosed to prove that John Mason really had taken advice, in fact serious doubt has been cast over whether he really did take legal advice or exists at all.

If the stand taken by Oxford City Council's leader Julian Alison is in fact the right legal approach then John Mason has misled every one in London and misrepresented his position and defied the High Court precedents and acted against the very laws that govern our industry - The Hackney Carriage Acts. Such contempt for Acts of Parliament from someone in his High Office does not bode well for any law-abiding taxi driver but must give succour to the nefarious activities of the LPH racket.

His conduct, in my view, is clearly wrong and his position is untenable. We sorely need a man like Julian Alison to take over the helm as Director of LTPH and take on the task of righting all the wrongs John Mason has done since taking up this position he has shown to be totally unsuitable for.

We could be forgiven for thinking that he is actively encouraging some of the LPH racket to break the law due to ignorance of the law on his part. This is legally known as incitement and is little different to the situation where John Griffin was openly asking his drivers on Addison Lee to ignore the Bus Lane on the M4 approach into London. In our trade we feel that Mr Griffin should have been prosecuted for this and Mr Mason should be no different.

We need better and more qualified people at the helm and especially those who wish to maintain the Acts of Parliament and protect the travelling public. We can hardly say this under Mr Mason's time in office

Monday, October 29, 2012

Julian Alison, Should be Offered Mason's Job

A CLAMPDOWN on cab companies forcing their drivers to break licensing rules has been launched by Oxford City Council.

The council’s licensing team leader Julian Alison said the local authority would prosecute private hire firms that make employees ply for trade.

Private hire vehicles must be booked in advance and are not allowed to ‘ply for hire’, which means they can’t queue in a rank or be flagged down in the street.

But Mr Alison said he believed many firms were telling their drivers to flout the rules.

He said: “We have a number of licence-holders who will listen to what the operators say because they want to keep their jobs.

“All the operators want is bums on seats, they don’t care about the individual drivers.

“We have seen examples of private hire drivers turning up at hotels, having removed their stickers and pretending to be exempt vehicles.”

Mr Alison told a meeting of the council’s general purposes licensing committee that enforcement officers would target companies on the wrong side of the law.

He said: “You should expect to see the operators up in front of you in future.”

Committee chairman Colin Cook, praised officers and said the council’s tougher new policy on law-breakers had been successful.

He said: “My feeling is we have said ‘cheerio’ to far more people than we used to. I think it’s working.”

Green group leader David Williams also expressed concerns about unsafe vehicles being used and people with poor eyesight being drivers.

He said: “We just can’t have the situation of death traps being driven around and we can’t have the situation of drivers who can only see 25 metres in front of them. This committee and the officers are the guardians of public safety.”

Ever Taxi representative group, every Taxi driver in London, should be lobbying the Mayor for this man to be given the position of Director of LTPH. The present administration under John Mason does not appear to have the backbone to take on private hire, when it comes to illegal plying for hire. Even the Green Party in Oxford are supporting this clampdown.

Hope On The Horizon For LTI

BLACK cab maker LTI has a bright future, a leading city councillor believes.

City development chief Coun Lynette was among a delegation of politicians and trade unions to meet with chief executive John Russell on Friday.

LTI went into administration last week after efforts to secure more funding from investors.

And during that meeting they pledged to do all they could to secure the company which employs 300 people at its factory on Holyhead Road.

Further talks are planned with the administrators later this week.

Coun Kelly told us: "It's clear that although the company has financial problems the basic company is sound, and their product, the classic London taxi, is still in demand worldwide.

"It's good to see local and national politicians and trade unionists working positively with the company to support jobs in the city.

"It was important for us to talk directly to LTI as soon as possible to understand the latest position and to see if there was anything we could usefully do at this stage.

"I definitely feel more positive now about the future of the factory and the future for the workforce."

Also in Friday's meeting was city council leader John Mutton, city development chief Lynnette Kelly, MPs Bob Ainsworth and Geoffrey Robinson, and Peter Coulson and Roger Maddison from Unite as well as senior shop stewards at the factory.

Coun Mutton added: "We will do everything we can to support LTI and the workforce at this difficult time, but it seems clear there is a future for the firm and we hope that taxi production in Coventry will resume as soon as possible.

"I will meet with the administrators as soon as I can to get that message across to protect the future for staff here and to make sure this iconic Coventry brand has a future."

Source: Coventry Observer

One of the first motorised London taxis were built by Scottish company Beardmore. These were used for several decades but eventually faded from popularity.