Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shades Of The Olympic Legacy As Victoria Revamp Sees Taxi Drivers Shoved Out Of Sight

TfL/LTPH in league with Network Rail have let the Taxi trade down big time.

It would appear preferential treatment has been given to the buses (now there's a surprise) and the bus station remains intact in Terminus Place. Taxis however, just like during the Olympics, have been hidden away around the back of the station, completely out of sight. To add insult to injury, the exit door leading from the station to the rank in Hudson Place is closed between 12:30 and 4:30am by direction of Network Rail.

TfL/LTPH have been tweeting that marshals are informing passengers as to where they can find a Taxi. After hearing complaints from drivers that they are not receiving work at the rank between these times, I decided to go down to the station and check it out.

I got to the station main entrance around 12:30 and tried to find out what the reported marshals were doing. Once inside the station, which could only be accessed by the front entrance in Terminus Place, it took me 5 minutes to find a station assistant who simply did not understand the concept of the words Taxi Rank. It appeared that the only direction I could get from inside the station, was how to leave by the entrance I had just arrived at. This left me back outside in Terminus Place.

I eventually came across another station assistant standing by the the point of old taxi rank.

"Could you direct me to the Taxi rank please" I inquired.
"It's closed" he said "but there is a minicab place just round to the right"
"No I want a black cab" I replied
"You'll have to go out in the road then and flag one down, there's loads of people out there though".

THIS IS THE QUALITY OF THEIR MARSHALS ???

Allegedly, Peter Hendy has made a field trip to Victoria and believes that the rank is suitably sited for the next 5 years.

THIS IS WHAT TfL THINK OF THE BEST TAXI SERVICE IN THE WORLD???

I then went around to the rank to see if the drivers were aware of the situation.



We asked the LTDA for a statement about this situation and they said:

"Prob at Vic is, Network Rail insist on locking access door to rank at night. Only solution is new rank but where? UTG considering boycot of Vic".

Friday, November 23, 2012

More Bullshit From TfL After Mayor Meets With selected Trade Groups:

This notice is issued further to TPH Notices 19/12, 20/12 and 22/12 and is intended to provide taxi drivers with an update on the TX4 taxi steering box recall. The notice also outlines further assistance TfL is providing the taxi trade by temporarily suspending the minimal requirement that all taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 standard introduced on 1 April 2012.

This suspension is being implemented to further assist drivers experiencing difficulties in purchasing or renting taxis during the current exceptional circumstances following the TX4 recall and LTC entering administration.

As was outlined in the previous Notices issued on this matter, following the recall of a total of 325 London taxis by the London Taxi Company (LTC) TfL took immediate steps to suspend the licences of all impacted taxis on the advice of LTC and VOSA. Since the recall LTC and it’s holding company Manganese Bronze have entered administration and the administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP have been seeking a resolution to the steering box fault while seeking to secure the long term future of the company.

Despite TfL taking steps to allow LTC to licence Euro 4 taxis and waive the vehicle licensing fee in order that drivers impacted by the recall could be provided with replacement taxis by LTC / the administrator, very few drivers were assisted in this manner.

TfL and the Mayor have been in daily contact with the administrator and are pleased that they have finally identified and tested a fix and are in the process of rectifying the steering box fault and getting those taxis and drivers impacted by the recall back on the road. The administrator has informed TfL that they expect this process to be completed by 14 December and TfL is having daily meetings with them to track progress and provide assistance wherever we can.

Despite the progress now being made to rectify the steering box fault it is clear that there is significant increased demand for taxis in London in the current climate, especially for taxis to rent. While TfL has been assured by the suppliers of the Mercedes Vito taxi that they are able to meet any demand for new taxis, TfL and the Mayor are aware that the lack of new and used TX taxis in London is causing some drivers difficulty in sourcing taxis especially on a part-time rental basis.

As a result, following discussions with the Mayor it has been agreed that it is appropriate to implement a temporary relaxation of the requirement that all taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 compliant.

Therefore, with immediate effect:
The requirement that taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 standard is suspended until further notice
TfL will now allow taxis new to licensing (and those previously licensed by TfL but which have not been licensed for some time) to be a minimum of Euro 4 standard for up to 5 years but only within the maximum age of the taxi of 15 years.

No taxi in scope will be allowed to exceed the 15 year age limit
The 15 year age limit for taxis and all other licensing requirements in terms of vehicle conditions and licensing requirements remain unchanged.

In summary; these changes mean that individual drivers and garages can now source Euro 4 taxis that would have otherwise not been licensed by TfL and can present these taxis to meet the licensing inspection standards in the normal manner. However any Euro 4 taxi new to licensing will only be licensed for a maximum of 5 years and will not be allowed to exceed the maximum age of the vehicle of 15 years.

TfL will review the impact of this suspension on a regular basis and will end it once it is satisfied that there is improved stability and availability of taxis.

Individual drivers and garages who source Euro 4 taxis which they wish to licence in London can now proceed and do so by following the standard taxi licensing and inspection process.

TX4 Warranty: Where You Stand.

Source: The National Archives, MG Rover Warranty Issues Fact Sheet
Main Points:

Owners with manufacturer warranties who believe they have a claim under the warranty should in the first instance take up the issue with the dealer or supplier from whom they bought their car.

Warranty or no warranty, consumers have their normal rights under sale of goods legislation to expect that any goods they buy (including cars) are satisfactory quality. Responsibility in relation to these rights rests with the retailer, not the manufacturer.

If goods or services have been bought via a connected finance agreement, the finance company may also be jointly liable (with the supplier) under the contract of sale. Consumers may be able to look to the finance company to put matters right where the supplier has failed or is unable to do so. This might also apply where the provision of a warranty formed part of a transaction paid for or part paid for with a connected finance agreement.

Consumers can obtain free advice on their own concerns from:
- their local Citizens Advice Bureaux
- Consumer Direct
Note: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is not able to intervene in individual disputes and cannot give detailed advice on the circumstances of individual claims or disputes. The following represents the views of BERR only and should in no way be taken to be legal advice or to be in any way definitive. Only the courts can decide on the application of the law in any individual case.

More detail:
WARRANTY/GUARANTEE
1. Where a warranty has been provided by a manufacturer, or a third party provider, it is a separate agreement (aside from the agreement between retailer and consumer for the sale of goods) between the manufacturer or third party provider and the consumer.

The warranty is usually only enforceable against the manufacturer or third party provider (even though in the case of new car warranties it is usually the retailer network which actually provides the work and parts, the manufacturer or third party provider pays for that work).

2. The ability to enforce the agreement will depend on whether the party providing the warranty or guarantee is in a position to honour the agreement.

3. In the event that the manufacturer is no longer in a position to honour the warranty agreement, the retailer is unlikely to be under any obligation to provide any service under that warranty (there would be little or no prospect of that work being paid for by the manufacturer).

However, independent of any warranty, consumers still have their normal rights under sale of goods legislation to expect that any goods they buy (including cars) be of satisfactory quality. These rights are enforceable against the retailer, not the manufacturer (see below).

4. It is important therefore to establish exactly who the warranty agreement is with. For example, second and third year warranties for cars are sometimes referred to as dealer warranties and it may be the case that the dealer or retailer, or a third party warranty provider, has obligations under those agreements, rather than the manufacturer.

5. If a warranty has been provided by a company which goes into liquidation, and the warranty is not backed by independent insurance, and the company is not in a position to honour the warranty, any claim by the consumer will be considered an unsecured, non-preferential debt (the consumer would need to make their claim known to the liquidators and would join the queue of creditors).

SALE OF GOODS LAW
6. The law relating to the sale of goods is set out principally in the Sale of Goods Act 1979. The Act applies to all buyers, but consumers are entitled to a greater range of remedies. ‘Consumers’ are defined as people who do not deal or hold themselves out to be dealing in the course of a business.

7. When goods are faulty and there is no separate warranty agreement or manufacturers guarantee, buyers can generally only obtain a remedy against the retailer. Buyers may also have additional rights against a credit card company or finance house if the goods are purchased, or part purchased by means of credit and cost more than £100 (see below).

8. Buyers are entitled to goods of satisfactory quality, taking account of any description, the price and other relevant circumstances. If an item has a fault that is present at the time of the sale (which may be a ‘latent’ or ‘inherent’ fault), the consumer can take the issue up with the retailer once it is discovered.

9. If a product that was not of satisfactory quality at the time of the sale is returned to the retailer, the buyer is entitled to a full refund (if it is within a reasonable time of the sale), or, if a “reasonable time “ has elapsed, to a reasonable amount of compensation. Any legal proceedings to enforce a claim must be started within 6 years of the date of sale.

10. Alternatively, consumers can choose to request a repair or replacement (the retailer can decline either of these if he can show that they are disproportionately costly in comparison with the alternative). If neither repair nor replacement is realistically possible, consumers can request a partial refund.

11. Generally, the consumer needs to demonstrate the goods were not of satisfactory quality at the time of sale. This is so if the consumer chooses to request an immediate refund or compensation. It is also the case for any product returned more than six months after the date of sale.

There is one exception – this is where the consumer returns the goods in the first six months from the date of sale and requests a repair or replacement or a partial refund. In that case, the consumer does not have to prove the goods were faulty at the time of sale. It is assumed that they were. If the retailer does not agree, it is for the retailer to prove that the goods were satisfactory at the time of sale.

FINANCE AGREEMENTS AND CREDIT
12. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, a consumer may have the ability to enforce the contractual rights that he would have had against the supplier of goods or services, against the provider of the credit that financed the purchase of those goods and services.

13. Essentially, where there has been a breach of contractual obligations (for example, the goods are faulty or a service has not been provided) and where the supplier of the goods or services is not able to rectify the failure, the provider of the credit may be asked to assume joint liability with the supplier for the loss to the purchaser.

14. There are conditions:
– The transaction must be a debtor–creditor–supplier arrangement – i.e. the purchase must be financed by credit provided by a lender who has a relationship with the supplier. This will include where part of the purchase price has been paid by credit card.

– The transaction must be for an amount between £100 and £30,000. But the amount of finance does not have to cover the full amount of the purchase price – for example, the use of a credit card to pay a deposit.

Consumers who believe that they may have such a claim should contact their credit provider.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Another Licensing Authority Shows How It Should Be Done.

Illegal taxis are being driven out of borough

Taxi drivers have been celebrating a court case victory that will put the wheels in motion to drive out operators that have been illegally touting for business on their patch.

On Monday Omar Ashfaq, who owns Ash Travels, was convicted at Watford Magistrates Court on eight charges of operating in Dacorum without a licence for the area.

The business owner was giving the impression he was local by using a telephone number for his home in Berkhamsted.

He was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

The ruling will be a warning for other drivers touting illegally in the area.

Dacorum Borough Council spokesman Madeleine Taggart-Smith said: “This was the first prosecution for operating a private hire taxi illegally within Dacorum.

“Further action may be pursued against other illegal private hire operators and drivers where the council has sufficient evidence to place before the courts.”

The conviction came after months of protests by taxi drivers in the borough whose livelihoods are being affected by taxis from other areas taking their business.

Driver Luke McIvaney said: “It was an ecstatic day for Dacorum taxi drivers. We can now work without fear of losing big chunks of business to drivers from other areas.

“We are looking forward to our licensing authority pursuing more cases and we will do further protest action if other illegal drivers don’t go in reasonable time.”

Dacorum drivers have been campaigning against illegal drivers stealing business for more than three years.

Mr McIvaney estimates there are about 20 to 30 cars still operating in the area.

He said: “From a public safety point of view people will be able to trust they are being picked up by taxis licenced by Dacorum Borough Council, which adhere to the council’s high safety standards.”

Source: Hemel Today

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

John Mason, Just Incase You Forgot!

TfL/LTPH Notice 25/10

Advertising - Private Hire Services

Despite repeated reminders and clear guidance and advice issued by Transport for London (TfL) we continue to receive a high level of complaints, information and evidence showing that some licensed London private hire operators continue to advertise their services using words ‘taxi’ or ‘cab’.

Again we would like to inform all operators that the advertising of their services in this manner is clearly not permitted under the conditions set out in section 31 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998.

This section clearly states that no private hire advertising can use the words ‘taxi’, ‘taxis’, ‘cab’ or ‘cabs’, or words closely resembling any of those words, and that any person who contravenes this is guilty of an offence.

TfL will always take appropriate action against those licensed operators who commit such an offence but such activity is very time consuming, is not a cost effective use of our resources and has a direct adverse impact on the private hire licence fee.
( This statement is just so week, LTPH are telling Operators that although they know they are doing wrong, LTPH can't afford to chase them. If these firms continue to break the law, double their license fee and do the enforcement job properly. Grow some balls.)

Operators are therefore reminded that they are not permitted under any circumstances to use the terms ‘cab(s)’, ‘taxi(s)’ or any words closely resembling these terms in advertisements and that they must comply with section 31 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998.

Failure to do so can result in the revocation of your operator license and / or legal action. (that's if they can scrape the money to get her to pay their legal team)

I thank you for your co-operation with this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries regardings the above.


John Mason
7 September 2010 Director, Taxi and Private Hire


Dear John Mason
Either these notices actually mean something, or they are not worth the Internet space they are posted on

By your continued reluctance to deal with matters of this ilk, should we take it that these TfL notices are all worthless?




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Is It A Constant Uphill Struggle Against LTPH?

Just seen this interesting article on the National Taxi Association website.
Click here to read. 

It explains why the city of San Francisco have issued unlicensed Taxi services offered by Uber, Lyft and SideCar with $20,000 fines.

These companies state in their defence, that because jobs are dispatched by smart phone, they are not Taxis services and as such don't have to play by the rules that licensed Taxis do.

Last week, Lyft, SideCar and Uber were each cited $20,000 by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) (which is a similar set up to our own LTPH) for running unlicensed taxi services. The services have 20 days to pay the fine or appeal.

Making matters worse for Uber, two drivers for San Francisco-based Luxor Cab have filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming the high-end livery service is unfairly taking money from the pockets of traditional cabbies by not playing by the same rules.

The state regulators have said, if a business dispatches a motorist to pickup a passenger, then the company is a taxi service that has to be licensed and meet insurance requirements. Drivers need permits requiring clean driving records.

Well, what has this got to do with us?
This is exactly the service that the unlicensed minicab provider UBI cars is offering with their Hospital Taxi service, Hospital free phone direct line, Paddington Taxi app and UBI Taxi and minicab app.
This company is acting as a minicab company it supplies smart phone apps which carry the company's name. But they have not bothered to get a license. The private hire act of 1998 prohibits any company from offering a taxi or minicab service without first obtaining a license from TfL. So this company is breaking the law.



Why are the UTG not shouting from the roof tops about this issue?
Are they scared they won't get a seat on the "Cabbies Cabinet" if they rock the boat?


So why is John Mason saying there is nothing he can do, because this firm is not licensed by TfL/LTPH?
Why is it a constant uphill struggle to get Mason to do anything that protects licensed Taxi drivers and their livelihood?

Earlier this year we saw Mason refuse to do anything about a number of private hire companies, which set up free taxi rank services as part of advertising promotions.
Surely that was the idea of the Private hire act, to stop these back street fly by nights pitching up and putting the publics safety at risk?

But then again, protecting the publics safety hasn't been one of LTPH's strong points, over the last 3 years. We've seen the escalation of satellite offices to a state where they are now completely unenforceable, the Killer on the knowledge leading to the licensing of a minicab driver wanted for mass murder and Genocide.

Soon we will be bombarded with the seasonal announcements from The Safer Travel division, stating;
"An unbooked minicab is just a stranger with a car".
It's just a pity that senior staff at Palestra and Windsor House don't read their own propaganda.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

To Comply Or Not Comply? That Is The Question.

THE TIME HAS COME TO FIGHT BACK HARD

This weekend saw Regent Street become a massive illegal private hire rank!
PHVs were parked on both sides and in the middle of the road by Swallow Street, including the Taxi rank spaces. Heddon Street was awash with scabs on foot openly touting with their abandoned vehicles illegally parked in the bus lane. Westminster Parking Wardens have been threatened and intimidated and are now walking by the illegally parked PHVs and saying nothing.

The Met police refuse to get involved and of course the LTPH teams are too busy doing Badge & Bill checks at station ranks.

Are they still looking for the stollen bills which disappeared when the PCO moved from Penton Street to Palestra?
How do we get this ineffective licensing authority to do what we pay them to do?


SHOULD WE ADOPT A POLICY OF NON COMPLIANCE.
There is currently nothing in the TfL version of the Abstract of Law that says you have to legally comply with compliance officers from LTPH. We have been told on numerous occasions, they have no powers. The Old COs from the Met had the power to stop you and order a cab off the road.

In a four week period in March this year LTPH carried out just 90 checks on PHV drivers while checking the Badge & Bills of nearly 400 licensed Taxi drivers. This action in itself shows the bias towards our trade and the lack of appetite to tackle the rout problem of the high number of serious sexual assaults and rapes frequently occurring in un-booked minicabs.

Their action in checking the documents of 90 PHV drivers shows it can be done. Lets tell them we will not comply until we see them checking PHVs for documentation and proof of booking as they form illegal ranks. Lets see some action on the touts in Regent Street, Dover Street, The Kings Road, Fabrics and the City, the list is endless.

We must insist that compliance officers check to see if the illegally ranking PHVs have genuine booked jobs. If not they should be reported for illegal plying for hire. If they are illegally plying for hire then they have no valid insurance. By forming an illegal rank they are also acting as a licensed Taxi driver without Badge & Bill.

Illegally plying for hire carries the same level 3 penalty as touting. In fact its easier to prosecute as you do not have to prove solicitation. It's reportable not arrestable, so a non warranted officer can report for a case to be bought against the driver.

It's already being successfully done up and down the country by other licensing authorities such as Manchester, Reading, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford, St Albans, Milton Keynes and many others.

In Cambridge recently, PHVs illegally plying for hire, have been given £120 fines, £150 +6 penalty points for no insurance, then ordered to pay £2000 court costs. They can't afford to get caught more than once, after that it's a non driving holiday.

FOLLOW THE MONEY
We have shown in the past that LTPH are only interested in the money they make from a private hire. A prime example being the 39 new satellite office licenses issued to a company that had only been trading for 12 days, contrary to TfL's policy that a company has to be trading as a private hire company for at least one year before it can be considered for license variation (Satellite office status)

We have seen TfL/LTPH's complete lack of appetite to address issues appertaining to the London cab act 1968, where PH companies openly offer "Taxi" services. People are currently being put at risk by a company called UBI Cars, offering a Hospital Taxi Service to and from many National Health Hospitals. They have a smart phone app and also advertise as a Paddington Station Taxi service.
After a recent complaint to Director of LTPH John Mason, he said "there's nothing we can do as this firm is a third party and as such not licensed as a private hire company". You couldn't make this stuff up.





ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
If we get no result from non compliance and LTPH still refuse to do the job, then we should hit TfL were it hurts them the most, their beloved buses. Block the most lucrative bus routs. The run up to Christmas is their busiest time. A series of well executed Demos could block the whole of central London using localised hit squads at strategic points.

At present, the Police turn a blind eye to serious sexual assaults and even rapes just to get the streets cleared. Why would they worry about a few parked cars.

This must be bought to the attention of the media (Dispatches, Panorama and the like, as well as the press)

Has anyone wondered why the rape and assault figures for 2011 haven't been published yet?
Let Hendy explain that on the Eddie Nester show!

The tout squads of both the Met and city police are heavenly subsidised by TfL grants. Lets insist that if their performances don't significantly improve, then these generous grants are stopped.

Nearly 2 years ago, I reported to the police and PCO the gang of unlicensed touts that work Piccadilly Circus into Regent Street. I repeated this complaint 6 months ago.
Friday night they were still there.

On Thursday night, last week, it was reported on Twitter that the City of London Police were ticketing licensed Taxis parked outside the Piccolo cafe in Gresham Street, while mini cab touts were being left alone to form illegal ranks outside the many night bars in the area.

This situation is disgusting. We have seen from the CPOP report, the police are only interested in clearing the streets regardless of people's safety.

Enough is enough, it's time to get tough.

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