Thursday, May 23, 2013

Churchill Rank To Be Used By Champions League Final, Official Cars And Mike Holder.

After the shambles at the Hilton Park Lane Taxi rank which, as you may remember, was suspended by LTPH in order for a commercial company to display a raffle prize, an official from the RMT phoned the new LTPH General Manager Helen Chapman to lodge a protest and ask why no provision had been made for a temporary rank. Having no answer to give and showing the same commitment to the trade exhibited at the recent Taxi trade forum held at Polestra, she abruptly hung up.

Drivers blocked all roads around the Hilton, till the organisers agreed to remove the vehicle. Later a representative from the hotel apologised to organisers of the flash mob demonstration.

Last week, we saw a similar suspension of a working rank in New Bond Street in favour of another commercial promotion and now it definitely looks like history is repeating itself.

Just like a recurring nightmare from last summers Olympics, this weekend will see the suspension of the whole of the Licensed Taxi rank in Portman Square, outside the Churchill Hotel. The suspension will run from 8am till 10 PM on Friday and Saturday. Unconfirmed reports from our man on Westminster Council say the rank will be authorised for exclusive use by a Private Company. Cars from this company will be using the rank's 6 spaces as part of a rolling rank, to ferry dignitaries, officials and their guests (in London for the Champions League finals at Wembley), whenever and wherever they wish to go.

   *What will happen if the cars refused to leave the rank at 10 pm and carry on ranking?
   *Are they fair game to block in? 
   *Will wardens descend and give our PCNs code 45?

Hundreds of these Ford Tourneo Minibuses, carrying "Official Vehicle " livery, can currently be seen parked up in a special holding area beside Wembly Arena.

Again, there has been no provision made for a temporary rank at the Churchill Hotel. 
Again the Taxi trade, the best Taxi trade in the world, is to be sidelined as one of our working ranks is given over to a commercial private hire company. 

It seems this type of revocation and suspension is happening at an alarming rate. The self appointed, unelected quango known as the joint ranks committee are again seen to by powerless in stopping this type of attack on our rights to ply for hire.

Seems funny that in the recent ranks and highways update email, sent out to inform interested parties of rank suspensions and up and coming events, LTPH felt it necessary to leave this one off the list.

In a precursor to this special event, Tuesday night saw Addison Lee drivers chancing their arm by using the rank into the early hours of Wednesday morning.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a protest on site is needed. Just call it on boys and girls!

Mugged Off said...

Is this true TfL, will The LCDC do anything?

Maybe a picture of Grant Davis with his arm round Sepp Blatter is about it!

Anonymous said...

This action is not and cannot be right.
LTPH have a legal responsibility to the cab trade which it continually breaks
What is Dicky MASSETT (LTDA) and the rest of the mob from the Ranks Committee doing to protect us - answer on a postage stamp!!
Direct action is called for

Anonymous said...

Any comment from Helen Chapman over this debacle?

Anonymous said...

They're not waiting till tomorrow, they are ranking on the Churchill today

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Helen Chapman has to go. The contempt she holds for the licensed taxi trade is disgraceful.the Olympic debacle, Hilton hotel and the persistent touting by private hire in town and the suburbs are just the tip of the iceberg. We should not have to put up with her and her cronies. Weekly demonstrations until we get what we want, a safe environment to work and the laws upheld.

Editorial said...

Breaking news.

Been told by our roving reporter that a representative from the RMT met with the management of the Churchill and Cumberland hotels and explained about the action taken at the Hilton recently by a flash mob from the RMT and UCG.

The Managements stated they were not in favour of the suspension and would be contacting Martin Low personally to complain.

Also been told (on twitter so can't confirm) that the LCDC made a complaint to Westminster council.