Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TfL Article in Badge

TfL on a collision course with London Cab Drivers.

Is the LCDC now demanding that all meetings with TfL are formally minuted and a matter of public record?

Bob Oddy is the deputy Gen. Sec. of the LTDA, are you stating that he met privately with TfL without the knowledge of the LTDA?

You report that Bob Oddy denies he knew the full implications of the restructure at TfL, Garrett Emerson of TfL says he did, it's unclear from the article whose version you believe, can you tell us?

Many have warned time and time again that TfL's agenda is against the best interests of the cab trade, but some seemingly have been more interested in excluding others rather than holding TfL to account. 
Is it now time for a rethink?

If the LCDC really wants to effect change at TfL, the ONLY route is
to have all the trade orgs. together, it's a necessity not a choice.

You know who to contact, I am sure they look forward to hearing from you.

Editorial Comment:
TfL are not now shunning the trade, they've been doing that for 13 years. They are now just shunning the group they've been leading round like donkeys : Poetic justice?

After spending the passed 5 years excluding representation to two thirds of the trade and surrounding themselves with their own self importance, history has repeated itself as the UTG are now put back in the box after being strung along like sheep on their way to be fleeced.

Funny how it seemed perfectly OK to the UTG not to have their regular meetings with LTPH minuted 
Funny how it seemed perfectly OK to the JTC not to have their regular meetings minuted.

Chapman and Mason did a job on the UTG much in the same way they did a job on the rest of the trades representative Orgs. 

Now we are being kicked into touch, there is no more engagement policy. TfL have announced they are not required to engage. 

The tables have been turned and the folding table has now been put away.


Former LCDC member said...

This morning there are many in the trade who sadly nod and recall advising the LCDC and others exactly what TfL's tactics are.

We all know that Alan Fleming would not have fallen for it.

As for Mr Oddy, a message:

Bob, it seems that TfL are disputing your version of a meeting, surely you can no longer remain on the TfL board and remain DGS of the LTDA.

Resign from TfL, remember your days driving a cab and come and join the fight to save the trade, saving the KOL is not enough, we need proper enforcement from a competent organisation, we need every soldier to join the front.

Enough is Enough.

Gerald Coba said...

Who will call the mass united trade demo
Has Grant got the bottle

Will trade support
Will drivers take Steve Mac seriously.

Pot, Kettle, Piss Up, Brewery all come to mind

Anonymous said...

Oddy and Davis won't call a demo
Too scared of not being included in the gang

Notice Unite ain't saying nothing.
Kelly, Hedges and Rose made to look like cling ons.

Anonymous said...

As Yellow badge we have been fighting to sit at the same table as the utg but we were not allowed as they said if we do they get up and walk out the LTDA have been taking money from yellow badge holders for years and not represented them once at the meetings with mason and Chapman ( Mason said at a meeting that every time he brings up the plight of the suburban drivers they went mental ?? and he wanted to know why (FACT)There is only one man to lead this trade and get it back to how it should be But he has had a heart attack through the stress of fighting for the trade BUT He would tell you the best way to bring the trade together and we must come together to win .
the former chairman of the united cabbies group .

Realistic said...


Forget the history, UCG was shafted over the Olympics by TfL it also ignored caution from its allies stating the UCG had the inside track at LTPH. It's a shame for its members, many committed to the trade.

It also learnt the hard way about TfL, like it or lump it, there is only one trade organisation with clean hands on this and it's the RMT.

They took on TfL about Pedicabs without any support elsewhere and stopped the registration scheme, it took action at the airport over HALTS. Exposed the hooky bill fiasco etc.

They won't claim to win every battle but they are trying and that includes inviting the other trade orgs to 'talk Turkey' over and over again.

The tactics of TfL trying to stop LTPH meeting with them tells you all you need to know.

Forget who said what to whom, this is a battle fro survival as taxi numbers decrease and PH multiplies,.

Forget the bad blood now and all join up to take on TfL.


Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear TFL want to dilute us into nothing, it's looks like they have shafted the trade without any formal consultation, the meeting in April with Bob Oddy was an outline of what the meeting on the 2nd sept with the trade was about, no agreement was made at this meeting, yet TFL went ahead with their plans.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy, I really do sympathise with you
Why is everyone so surprised about what's happened with TfL, after all you've been predicting it for nearly 10 years.

I really don't understand why you bothered to carry on in the face of such adversely, but I take my hat off to you and your dogged determination to fight on, alone if necessary.

Others shunned you because they were scared you would expose them for what they really are. Shysters!

Anonymous said...

Didn't think anyone predicted TFL getting rid of LTPH which is where most of the anger was aimed at on here.

LC Vichi.... said...

So the UTG are using their publications to wipe the vasaline off of their rear ends endeavouring to reconstruct themselves as TfL victims-when in actial fact likes of Davis and his "LC Vichi" have held the trades legs open while our livelihoods have been raped. It beggars belief why anyone would look to him to lead a fightback !

Anonymous said...

The angers aimed at those who have met with TfL who were perfectly happy to not have minutes that the trade or even their own membership could read and hold them to account for. When however TfL used the same tactic they are now screaming like stuck pigs!

What's in a name? Cabbies cabinet, Forum, LTPH, stakeholders all ignored, al because those that met with TfL were only interested in excluding others.

The editor has asked the LCDC some searching questions, let them respond!

We wait with fascination.

LC Vichy said...

LC Vichy says it all about Davis and his collection of clowns eh.
The Bodge is only fit for wiping the vasaline off their rear ends !

Anonymous said...

I like the picture Grant Davis has used in his article... he appears to be holding something close to his
mouth. Every picture tells s story and he's a natural !

Anonymous said...

bring back Jim Wells,he too had bottle

Anonymous said...

Ha wasn't a grass,or a collaborator !

Blast from the Past said...

What happened to men of this calibre

It has been a hot night, and Jim Wells is still in his T-shirt as dawn breaks over southLondon. "Good turn-out, given the time of day." he says. "We've won the lion's share of the work tonight. Normally, we. don't..." Around him. the narrow tangle of streets just up from the Elephant and Castle is gridlocked by about 60 black cabs, their For Hire lights blazing in the gloom. They inch past the entrance to the Ministry of Sound, the club regarded by trance-dance rovers as one of the capital's hottest tickets
Other cars try to weave through the melee -- Sierras, Carltons and Cavaliers, with magnetic radio aerials waving on their roofs. These are minicabs — unlicensed, unregulated private cars. They cut in front of the black cabs, and the black cabs cut in front of them, trying to box them in. As girls in long black skirts and platform shoes leave the club, there are shouts of "Take a licensed cab, love." A girl in a lethal-looking miniskirt chooses a black cab, to a round of applause from other drivers. "The minicab drivers feel threatened when there's a build-up of men like this," Wells says. "I think they've got the message."

As leader of the London Cab Drivers Club, Wells organised tonight's protest. He calls it a "drive-in". The idea is simple — pick a club or street where minicabs operate, put the word about, swamp the area with black taxis, and drive the minicabs out. This is the latest strategy in an increasingly savage feud between black cabs and minicabs which has broken out on the capital's streets in the past six weeks. With takings slashed by the recession and the possible licensing of minicabs now a keenly fought topic after the latest in a series of rapes, tempers have flared as both sides battle to keep control of their share of a multi-million pound business. There have been riots, threatening phone calls, and reports that baseball bats, hammers and catapults have been used.

Blast from the Past (cont) said...

Back at the Ministry of Sound, Dave Jessep is waiting for his passengers. He drives for Tower Bridge Cars, the minicab firm which has an account with the club. He says black-cab drivers have provoked him and his mates. "They've tried to entice us into a punch-up, but we're not cowboys. They've said things to women passengers like: 'Watch it. he might be a rapist.'" The dispatcher at the club for Tower Bridge Cars is Michael Loftus. He wears a leather jacket and a radio headset.

"In my words, this is total bollox." he says, surveying the log jam of black cabs. "They're just driving round and round, wasting diesel. and not letting our cars in. They park outside, and if you ask them to move, they're right rude about it." A moment later, there is a blizzard of abuse from a passing cab driver. "I just laugh at all this — it cracks me up," Loftus says. 'There's not way they'll drive us out of here."

Over on the opposite pavement. Wells and the cab drivers are giving no ground either. They insist that the presence of a minicab representative at a club constitutes illegal touting. It remains a murky and, as yet. untested legal area. "When there was plenty of work around, this kind of thing was left to go unchallenged," Wells says. "Now things are desperate, it's different. We're looking at every possible way to hassle them."

Wells and the drivers have staged "drive-ins" at other clubs, restaurants and minicab offices in the West End, the main battleground between the two groups. "If we can't win the West End, we might as well emigrate." Wells says. He maintains that, eventually, the bad blood is certain to boil over. "If you're not making a living and you see people stealing work from you in front of your face, it can only lead to violence."

In some cases it already has. In one incident outside a night-club, an African minicab driver is said to have been "chucked down the stairs because he wouldn't go away". In early July at Charing Cross, a minicab was reportedly boxed in by black cabs and repeatedly whacked with a baseball bat. The driver is said to have escaped by driving away on the pavement, further smashing up his car by ramming it through a narrow gap between a wall and some bollards.

(Cont) said...

Allan Kelly, the secretary of the London Cab Drivers Club, says he received threats after a sheet of the club's notepaper — which carried his address and telephone number — was allegedly obtained by a third party, photocopied, and sent anonymously to a string of minicab offices. "I got some nasty calls," Kelly says. "I was at home at about 10.30 one night, when the phone rang and a guy said he was going to come round and cut me up. A minute later he called back and said he was going to blow up my cab."

Meanwhile, in taxi shelters across London, among the mugs of tea and bacon sandwiches, there is usually a "scab box". On forms produced by the London Cab Drivers Club, hundreds of drivers have been logging the registration numbers of cars that they believe are being used as minicabs.

"On average we've been taking 40.000 numbers a week." Wells says. "We pass the details on to the Inland Revenue and Department of Social Security — many of these drivers are claiming dole."

Up against London's 16.500 black cabs, there are now said to be 40,000 minicabs. They are an unlicensed and often wildcat operation for the simple reason that no licensing system exists in the capital — unlike the rest of the country. To start up quite legally, all anyone needs is a car, a driving license, an MoT, and hire and reward insurance to cover fare-paying passengers. There is no vetting system whatever, and few rules. Minicabs are prohibited by law from touting passers-by for business, nor can they ply for hire (cruise the streets looking for fares). They cannot carry any markings indicating that they operate as a taxi, nor can they park together to form a taxi rank. The only legal ways to pick up a passenger are via a telephone booking or if the passenger turns up personally at the minicab office. Apart from these restrictions, minicabs have the run of the city.

Alongside the reputable outfits are the touts. Anyone who goes out late in London knows the form: leave a club at any time past midnight, hear the murmured "Cab, sir?" from among a knot of people on the pavement and walk round the corner to a battle-scarred Datsun, with sticky fake-fur seat covers and a Magic Tree air-freshener swinging from the rear-view mirror. Most established minicab firms are property run but. with such a lack of controls, black-cab drivers like to cite their extremely hypothetical (but just possible) "worst-case" situation: a man, they claim, could be released from prison in the morning, steal a car, and be driving for a cowboy minicab outfit by noon. Against this. London's 20,000 licensed black-cab drivers claim to be among the best-trained and best-regulated of any large city. Anything from 18 months to three years will be spent on the "knowledge", learning London's infernal street layout. There is police vetting, a driving test and health checks. Standards of driver behaviour and vehicle maintenance and cleanliness are enforced — ruthlessly, drivers complain — by the Public Carriage Office. Only the official black cab (which costs about £22.000) may be driven. All this, black-cab drivers say, is the reason minicabs can undercut their fares. Fare comparisons are tricky and depend not only on the state of the traffic but also on the passenger's bargaining skills at the minicab office. Notting Hill to Heathrow would be about £23 in a black cab, whereas a minicab firm does the trip for £16.50. The other great minicab selling point is their willingness to venture to the most obscure suburbs at any hour of the night.

(Cont) said...

Now the prospect of some form of licensing for London's minicab business has inflamed the situation even further. A recent department of Transport working party report recommends that some form of regulation should be introduced, but does not specify what this should be. Westminster City Council has also stepped in, proposing a license for the operators of minicab firms. An earlier plan to license individual drivers was dropped after an uproarious meeting last month at Marylebone town hall. "It just fell short of anybody getting arrested," one minicab driver said.
Both the Licensed Taxi Driver's Association (LTDA) and the breakaway groups are campaigning against a separate licensing system for minicabs, and insist that all drivers should be compelled to undergo training and vetting to black-cab standards. "It does not make sense to have two standards for people doing exactly the same job," says Harry Feigen, general secretary of the LTDA. The minicab trade, meanwhile, is naturally keen to be legitimised by a less rigorous licensing system, and maintains that the black-cab campaign is little more than protectionism.

"The taxi trade resists any changes because they see it as a dilution of their license and their historical rights. They're paranoid about it," says John Griffin, chairman of the Private Hire Car Association. It proposes an operator's license, issued by an independent authority which would scrutinise every driver's credentials and pass them on for vetting by the police.

Riyaz Hussain Ali is in the thick of the action. With clipboard and turban, he runs Swift and Safe Mini Cars in flamboyant style from the doorway of his office beside Leicester Square. AH night, from 8pm to 6am, there are greetings from passers-by, handshakes, shouts of "Hallo, boss" and "Maida Vale? About a fiver, mate." The customers come in all shapes and conditions — waitresses, theatre people, businessmen drunk and sober, sweat-soaked clubbers with shirts open to the waist and ties awry. His drivers, mostly African or Pakistani, include a Nigerian author, an electrical engineer, a businessman with an MBA, and an accountant. Their cars — Toyotas, Nissans, a Volvo with a clipped wing — are shoehomed into tiny spaces in the clogged streets nearby. Black cabs sit on a new rank opposite. Ali says there have already been three "drive-ins" outside his office.

"The black cabs are out of order," he says. "I find them quite aggressive. They drive past and call me w**ker and say, 'Go back to your country.' " He says there has been attempted fare-poaching, and alleges that one black-cab driver shoved him during an altercation, and that another threatened to put him through the plate-glass window next door."

At 2am, one of Ali's drivers took me home. "It's not any good any more," he said. "There's more expenses, and not enough work. If you go full-time, you go bankrupt — like me. But if you work in a shop or something, you're getting orders from people all day, and I can't stand that. The best thing about this job is it gives you freedom. It's like a poison, or a drug. Once you get into it, you never get away."

Anonymous said...

Read it and hang your head in shame Davis.

Anonymous said...

That's when the club had balls and was feared,not like now 4 years of crawling and a rank at the bank,GUTLESS , and CLUELESS.

Anonymous said...

So black cabbies bullied and were racists back in the day and did any of that do any good no look at the trade its finished PH got regulated and we just moaned everyone is knicking the business rather than getting on with it and providing a decent service and don't give me best taxi in the world bollocks have you ever travelled and seen how bad the competion is ffs I'm just glad after 30 years I WORKED hard and did my job nights days the lot always smart and helpful not the sort of bitter drivers I see today dressed like a bunch of chavs this won't get published I know but gets it of my chest

Anonymous said...

Anon, 9:54
Please remember punctuation is our friend. Very hard to read without.

The trouble is that too many cabbies like yourself just put their head down and just carried on working while the few, very few actually, tried to make a difference. We failed mainly because orpf people like you who couldn't see further than the next pound note

Sorry sir but you have nothing to be proud of by selling out your fellow cab drivers in the cause of monetary gain.

It was always going to catch up with you and now it has and it's the fault of greedy bastards like you

Anonymous said...

I organised the Cabbies Against Boris demonstrations at City Hall because it was obvious the Mayor and TFL were acting improperly on many issues. I tried to explain to people that this was a perfect time to challenge Boris Johnson and force change before a Mayoral election. It was not about who was going to be the next Mayor, it was about taking the right action at the right time.If it could be proven that TFL had made an unlawful decision their house of cards would fall.
The UCG/RMT refused to support it as did everyone else. They said 'we don't want Ken to get in' but if they supported it and forced change it would not matter who got in. Those that did support it helped us to get an immediate meeting with the Deputy Mayor. Unfortunately because of the lack of support there was no further progress. During those protests many drivers had the attitude of 'I'm alright Jack' and 'the age limit wont affect me'.
What those ignorant drivers failed to realize was that it was not about the age limit it was about the principal of TFL acting improperly.
I have campaigned for several years following improper treatment by TFL. I had support of a few very good men and no support from the majority of taxi drivers.
I faced criticism from many small minded people who were too lazy to think through what was taking place and what I was trying to achieve.
I have managed to get several articles published in national newspapers, including the Sunday Times exposure of MP Tim Yeo who had initiated the Taxi Age limit for his own benefit (he was Ceo of Eco City Vehicles)and more recently the Mail on Sunday exposure that the Mercedes Vitos cause more pollution than the cabs that were scrapped.
The taxi trade in London is doomed. I speak with taxi organisations and local authorities throughout the country.
Everywhere else except London there is a proper local authority taxi licensing department (which have to comply with Public Law)and proper united trade representation who challenge any improper action.
In London there is neither and this is something drivers themselves have caused by only thinking of their own self interest instead of what is the decent and proper thing to do for the continuation of their business. TFL are corrupt and improper as proven by those cases which have been exposed and reported on this site(cash for badges etc) You might ask yourself why the corruption that has been exposed by this site has not been reported by any of the trade organisations or the main stream media. You might ask yourself why John Mason is no longer in office or why LTPH has continued to operate with absolutely no accountability.
You might ask yourself why ALL or your so called trade organisations have failed to represent those who pay them tens of thousands of pounds each year. You might ask yourself why Bob Oddy who is in a paid position to represent his members and challenge TFL on behalf of those members is paid £30k a year by TFL, which is a clear unarguable conflict of interest.
The London Taxi trade is doomed. You have allowed corrupt politicians, individuals and authorities to destroy your trade and have left it too late to do anything.
The Carlisle Group , a multi billion dollar multi national organisation has bought Addison Lee. They have the power to control the whole situation from here on in. They will have the power to influence the law commission to create policies which favour them. Why do you think they bought Adddison Lee? (or am I asking too much of taxi drivers to think a situation through strategically?)
Boris Johnson, the man that taxi drivers have chosen to support, has overseen the destruction of the London Taxi Trade, perhaps because of his improper connection with people like Yeo and Addison Lee or perhaps for other reasons that are not yet apparent.
In the few years that I have been campaigning I have realised that the death of the London Taxi Trade is a direct result of the small minded, self centred apathetic London taxi drivers themselves; You have yourselves to blame and no one else.