Friday, October 04, 2013

Good News, Rank to Go Kerbside At Swallow Street... But is Someone Telling Porkies... By Jim Thomas

In the April edition of the Badge page 17, there was a small story at the very bottom of the page headed  Regent St.... Touts......NO ENFORCEMENT!!! 
FOLLOWING, complaint after complaint about the touts on Regent St and Swallow St, we seem to be at a standstill with regards to who’s supposed to be issuing tickets to the illegally parked vehicles on double yellow lines and a Bus Lane that is operational from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The RMT placed a Freedom of Information request to TfL as to the number of complaints made about the illegally plying for hire and Touting at the junction of Swallow and Regent between Feb 2012-August 2013. 

We were eventually told TfL/LTPH received just the one complaint regarding Private Hire vehicles parked at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street.

The LCDC claimed to have made complaint after complaint. I am left wondering where and how these complaints were made and why they were not formally recorded. 
Surely LCDC wouldn't exaggerate?

This week we've been told, that owning to the number of complaints about touting at Swallow Street, a new kerbside rank is to be appointed.

What number of complaints would this be? 
In our FOI request, TfL said there had only been the one and that was on the 11 July 2013.

Someone is telling porkies...either complaints are being made...or they are not.

Both the RMT and LCDC have placed Freedom of Information Requests as to how many tickets have been issued to illegally parked cars during the hours of 21:00 to 24:00hrs.

TFL told us both, “we only enforce Bus Lane parking restrictions on red routes (a play on words) which make up the Transport For London Road Network (TLRN), as Regent Street is not part of the TLRN , TFL haven't issued any penalty charge notices on this road. 
Any such penalties would be issued by the Highway Authority, or The City Of Westminster". 

Westminster said “under the criteria requested, there are no PCNs issued by the city council to vehicles parked in the Transport for London Bus Lanes. Not a surprise really as if tickets were being issued, the touts wouldn't keep returning, night after night.

At Last, Common Sense And The TaG Hit Squad.
Yes at last, we are about to see common sense prevail. 
It is yet to be announced by LTPH but we are told by an impecable source, a kerbside rank for Swallow Street has been agreed in principle (in the same fashion as the new Heddon Street Rank) and will be marked out when that part of the street is refurbished.
After years of non enforcement from TfL, LTPH compliance and Westminster City Council, the ordinary drivers in the a Taxi trade, took it upon themselves to organise the TaG Hit Squad on twitter and with over 500 members, have proceeded to take the work back from the scabs. 

Nobus, Heddon Street and now Swallow Street, are the direct result of ordinary driver action. 
Well done to all those who put themselves out. It just goes to show what can be done when you don't give up and keep fighting.

Slight Set Back
Unfortunately we are told that the rank will operate outside the times of the bus lane, which means after midnight. Upto now, no tickets have been issue to Private Hire Vehicles parked in the bus will be interesting to see if Taxis who use the rank early will be penalised or in fact, if the PHVs will continue to own this space till midnight.


Anonymous said...

So we will have the shocking spectacle of us having to go to a car and say 'Please Mr Tout can you move your car as it's now midnight and the rank is open! please mister please?'

Grant Davis has some awkward questions to answer on what he did in fact actually do!

If this is how the LCDC defends it's members why does it not affiliate to the private hire organisation?

Fed Up said...

Or will it just be used by Scabs to try to make their presence even more legit ?

Do we really think they are gonna go just because a rank is painted ... as soon as its moving and the moment its clear they will move back.

No Good without marshalls or enforcement me thinks.

Sorry for being so D+G but thats how you get in this game.

Gerald Coba said...

Well done jimmy
Your devotion to this project has been an inspiration to many other drivers.

You put out tweets night after night and were often sitting there on your own.

You've put yourself in danger and were assaulted by touts on occasions as leading members of other orgs constantly slagged you off on twitter.

You were even chucked off Cabup just for warning other drivers of the dangers from the touts. They accused you of wanting to be a hero.

You've rattled their feathers but now they will all be queueing up to take the praise.

Old Bill said...

The UTG will be out in force claiming the kudos for this when it goes live. But we know who fought their socks off for this and we won't forget.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic news Jim, you worked so hard on this. While the joint trade ranks committee were tucked up in bed, you and the drivers in the hit squad put yourselves in the front line.

Well done to all involved

TRY ONE AND SEE>>>>> said...

The activists in the trade know who made these ranks happen. Yes, the UTG will use their papers to pilfer and mislead their members and there isn't much you do about that...

What TfL and the UTG fear is direct action. The UTG lose members every time a demo is organised by others outside of their control... Small demo's 30 to 50 cabs or more cause an impact and direct action speaks far more than a few lines of propaganda...

Jim, you and your friends need to keep the fight in the place LTPH and the UTG don't want it...


Anonymous said...

Jim, lets have direct action now.

Let the drivers vote on where and when to have a demo.

Give us 3 choices of location for the demo Jim and we will vote.

Call the demo Jim, and they will come.