Friday, March 08, 2013

London taxi driver takes on Mumbai traffic



Mason McQueen is the archetypal London cab driver. He lives in a comfortable home in Essex with his wife and daughter, knows the capital's streets like the back of his hand, and never stops talking.

But he was almost lost for words when he went to India to share the life of taxi driver Pradeep Sharma, who lives in a tiny shack with his extended family and drives a cab without air conditioning in the stifling heat of Mumbai's legendary traffic jams.

In the first part of a new BBC documentary series, Mr McQueen had a go at driving a cab in Mumbai, where he had to take on the heat, the traffic and the fierce competition from auto-rickshaws.

Watch Toughest Place To Be A….Taxi Driver, Sunday, 10 March, 21:00 GMT, BBC Two and for seven days afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

GetTaxi vows to ensure the safety of female passengers

We are living in very dangerous times. The public are not safe traveling home at night in Minicabs found standing outside clubs and bars. Sexual predators hide in the lines of illegally plying for hire minicabs, waiting for their next victim.

Statistics given by the Met and TfL can't be trusted, as officers have put pressure on victims not to report sexual assaults and rapes, to keep numbers low.
Women against Rape say only 5% of such attacks are being reported

Amazingly, the Met/City Police, local Authorities and TfLTPH turn a blind eye to the problem they have created and helped foster. More resources are used penalising Taxi drivers for over ranking, than trying to improve the safety of women traveling alone at night in unbooked minicabs.

We have in the past shown how dangerous operating centres at venues are... LTPH's answer to our concerns, was to issue more licenses which encouraged the predators to come and fill their boots.

At great expense, TfLTPH have been heavily publicising the CabWise smart phone app. But we found it biased and fails to work properly on the iPad. Four months after reporting the fault, you still can't book a licensed Taxi with it using an iPad.

Get Taxi, have vowed to put an effort into getting women home safely and affordably.

This is exactly what Leon Daniels asked for in a recent interview in the Badge. He said that the Taxi Trade should looked after "vulnerable people". Lets now see how much effort he puts in to promoting this service.

Get Taxi announces new initiative ahead of International Women's Day.

Black cab-booking app GetTaxi has issued a new company-wide 'Closed Door Policy' to all of its drivers, which will provide increased safety to females using the mobile service.

The scheme will ensure that all drivers wait in position once they've taken a woman to her destination, remaining there until they actively see the passenger enter the venue and close the door behind her.

Closed Door comes ahead of tomorrow's International Women's Day, and is designed to ease fears that female passengers may have about using taxis. It will be rolled out to drivers globally, including the 2,000 based in the UK.

Roy Manor, CEO of GetTaxi UK, said: "Customer service is very important to GetTaxi, and we are always trying to improve our passenger's experience.

The new Closed Door Policy we have introduced will help to ensure people's safety, especially when being dropped off on a late night cab ride."

Felicity Terry, 25, GetTaxi user, added: "I'm in full support of the Closed Door Policy as it will help alleviate the worry for me and my friends when we travel home alone after a night out.

Unfortunately most of us know someone who's had a bad experience whilst trying to make their way home, and it's brilliant that an app like GetTaxi is taking measures to help ensure that a good night out doesn't end badly."

A recent GetTaxi development saw the company team with BlackBerry to offer users free journeys.

Celebrity taxi to be sold in Northamptonshire auction

A London taxi which has been used by Tony Blair, Shirley Bassey and Roger Moore is being sold by a Northamptonshire auction firm.

Towcester-based JP Humbert auctioneers will sell the taxi on March 21.

Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert, said: “The taxi is part of an estate from North London. The person whose taxi it was had it running around London for about 15 years and made a list of all the celebrities he picked up,”

Celebrities also on the list of passengers also include television star Paul O’Grady and actor Ian McKellen.

The taxi has covered about 112,000 miles during its life and is expected to fetch between £1,200 and £1,800.


Encouragement For Trade Unity As All Representative Bodies Get Together At Heathrow Meeting.

On Tuesday 6th of February 2013, representatives from all the trade orgs who represent members working out of Heathrow Airport, attended a meeting at the Unite office to discuss the retention of taxi desks inside the airport terminals.

All trade reps sat down with each other and came to the same conclusion. It was agreed that the Taxi desks should be kept, but for information only and not for the purpose of processing credit cards or taking pre bookings.

Mick Rose from the LCDC has been elected to draft a letter to BAA, stating our intentions. A draft of the document will be sent to all trade orgs to check before it is finally sent to BAA.

Those in attendance at the meeting were Ucg , rmt , ltda, hatdu, Lcdc, unite.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

City Council members suing to stop 'e-hail' taxis have received money from livery cab companies (Minicab) that oppose plan.

FOLLOW THE MONEY !!!

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) has joined a suit opposing 'e-hailing' taxis, stating it violates law preventing pre-arranged rides. Rodriguez has had financial backing from livery companies who oppose the plan.
Two City Council members who joined a lawsuit Wednesday to stop the city’s “e-hail” plan for yellow cabs have received campaign contributions from the industry behind the suit.


Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) each have received several campaign contributions from livery cab companies that filed suit to block e-hails.

RELATED: LIVERY CAR COMPANIES FILE SUIT TO STOP TAXIS FROM SCHEDULING RIDES

The companies argue that letting passengers use an app like Uber or GetTaxi to book cab rides violates a law that bans yellow cabs from pre-arranging rides.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has received campaign contributions from lobbyists representing livery cab companies that oppose 'e-hail' taxis. Crowley has joined a lawsuit to block electronic hailing on apps like Uber and GetTaxi.



Crowley and Rodriguez said they joined the suit to protect livery drivers but a political operative working for one of the app-makers noted the campaign contributions

RELATED: CAR SERVICES SAY TAXI 'E-HAILS' WILL BE DEATH KNELL
Rodriguez received $3,000 from Carmel Car Service and Dial 7 Car and Limo over the last four years, while Crowley accepted more than $2,000 from lobbyists who represent those two companies, according to records.
A News review found several other members who got money from the same sources. Both members insisted the money had nothing to do with their support.


Source: http://www.nydailynews.com

NEWS FLASH

NEW YORK — A state Supreme Court judge has ordered a temporary halt to New York City's plans to start a program that would let passengers hail cabs via their smartphones.

Judge Carol Huff issued the temporary restraining order on Thursday. It's in effect pending a hearing over a lawsuit.

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission in December had approved a pilot program allowing riders to "e-hail" yellow cabs. Livery cab owners had filed suit against the program in February, saying it would violate a law that bans yellow-cab drivers from prearranging rides with passengers.

THIS FROM BLOOMBERG

N.Y. Livery Car Groups Win Bid to Halt Taxi Hail Program

Livery car groups in New York won a court order temporarily stopping a pilot program that would allow riders to hail the city’s 13,000 yellow taxis for the first time using location-based smartphone applications.

The temporary restraining order against the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, whose drivers compete with livery cars for fares, was issued yesterday by Judge Carol Huff in state court in Manhattan. The pilot had been scheduled to start today.

“They’re supposed to pick up the next street hail” instead of arranging fares in advance, Randy Mastro, a lawyer for the livery groups, said of the taxis. “Only black cars with licensed dispatchers can do that.”

The Livery Roundtable, Black Car Assistance Corp. and several car-service firms sued the TLC in February alleging the program violates city codes and may allow taxi drivers to discriminate against racial minorities, based on their names or locations, as well as the elderly, who are less likely to own smartphones.

Full arguments in the case will be heard on March 18, Huff said.
“Passengers can wait 10 days to enjoy the latest technology,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said in a statement.

Nearby Taxis
The livery groups also claim the use of smartphone apps will distract taxi drivers and cut into the business of livery car companies that are only allowed to pick up passengers who pre-arrange rides and are banned from responding to hails.

Under the planned yearlong program, riders could use downloadable smartphone apps to summon nearby taxis to their location. App providers would have to demonstrate compliance with commission guidelines and ensure that services are only provided by properly licensed drivers, according to the TLC,

Michelle Goldberg-Cahn, senior counsel for the New York City Law Department, said at yesterday’s hearing that the TLC is required under its charter to explore new technologies and test new services. The pilot would be optional for the city’s 47,000 drivers, she said.
“We understand why the court would want time to consider this issue after first receiving voluminous legal filings from all sides earlier this afternoon,” Goldberg-Cahn said in a statement. “We remain confident that when the judge has had sufficient time to consider everything, the pilot will be found completely lawful.”

Track Drivers
Elizabeth Saylor, a lawyer for a taxi group challenging the lawsuit, said the apps wouldn’t display riders’ personal information, other than their location, and that the program could track drivers who refuse electronic hails and thus improve efforts to stop discrimination.
The program would allow taxis to respond to smartphone hails within half a mile if riders are in Manhattan below 59th Street. App users outside that area could hail taxis within 1.5 miles using their phones.

“We are highly confident that the court will dismiss the petitioner’s claims and allow our passengers to start using new technology that can potentially make hailing yellow taxis more modern and more efficient,” the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade said in a statement.
The case is Black Car Assistance Corp. v. The City of New York, 100327-2013, Supreme Court for the State of New York, County of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

Just When You Thought The Insults Couldn't Get Any Worse.

Every time there's a "do" on at the Grosvenor House Hotel, we find lines of private hire vehicles, most illegally parked, some with booked jobs but most chancing their arm with a bit of blagging.

These lines of PHVs, touts and sometimes sexual predators, cause dangerous traffic congestion and in extreme cases stop license Taxis from ranking legally.

So, as this is a red rout, under the umbrella of TfL's Red Rout Network, with state of the art surveillance cameras linked directly to the control centre in Palestra, the trade turned to director of LTPH to sort out this issue. Unfortunately the director of LTPH has better things to do with his time, than sort out Taxi trade issues.

Even the CCTV camera on the junction at Mount Street is turned in the opposite direction whenever there's a "do" on.

Now we find that licensed Taxis who form a rolling rank are being picked off with PCNs issued by a covert camera.

The majority of PHVs, touts and sexual predators are left alone, in the same manner as the ones who infest the bus lane in Regent Street by Swallow Street.



SOME MORE SHOCKING FACTS FROM THE TfL FUNDED SAFER TRAVEL COMMAND CAB ENFORCEMENT:

In the 15 months between 1st April 2010 till 20th June 2011 there were 196 arrests for touting. That's roughly 3 arrests pre cab enforcement officer. Of the 196 arrests only 88 were actually charged. We haven't been given the statistic for actual conviction.
Wonder why?

This work was funded by TfL, using £1m taken from license fees.

Value for money?


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Age Limit and Rule changes will finish us off, claim Cheshire taxi drivers

DISGRUNTLED taxi drivers fear they will be forced off the road and put out of business should controversial regulation and licensing changes go ahead.

Plans to impose an age limit on vehicles, introduce new driving tests and lift restrictions on the number of taxis operating in some areas have been put forward.

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) said the changes were based on public feedback and designed to raise standards and improve the environment.

New licences would only be issued to vehicles aged under 12 months and licences would expire when vehicles reached 10 years old.

But taxi drivers – already struggling to cope with rising fuel prices and falling trade – believe the proposals could be the ‘final nail in the coffin’.

Mark Williams, joint director of Abbey Taxis, warned the changes could spell the end for many of his drivers.

He said: “We are lobbying against the council’s proposals. There is a solidarity within the trade among ourselves and rivals from directorship level.

“None of us want what the council are proposing. We are calling upon the council to take a sensible approach to the issue.

“Of course, our firms are mindful of the importance of safety and quality vehicles for passengers and we do our utmost to ensure that is the case at all times.

“The council also carry out regular vehicle safety and quality checks so the council already have some control over that.

“We are united as a trade that the council must make a sensible decision to ensure livelihoods are not detrimentally affected.”

Mr Williams, whose firm has about 150 drivers in Chester, said passengers could see an increase in fares and a drop in the number of taxis on the road.

He said: “There will be no option for increases in business running costs, resulting in increases for drivers and in turn substantially increased fares for passengers, costs would be passed on to the fare paying public.

“Drivers would be unlikely be able to meet raised costs and that would result in a loss of drivers.”

One private hire driver, who asked not to be named, believes the number of taxis could fall by as much as 50 per cent.

He said: “If the 12 month policy is agreed, then this would mean nothing less than livelihood suicide.

“Drivers are already facing all the odds to scrape a living under the current climate and to force further financial implications for us would hammer the final nail in the coffin.

“Many drivers will just not be able to meet the cost and will have no option to leave the trade.

“Some drivers are lucky to make between £4 or £5 per hour under the present climate.”

Council spokeswoman Shirley Wingfield said a three-month consultation with taxi drivers was now drawing to a close.

She said: “This has been supplemented with meetings with taxi and private hire drivers across the borough.

“All interested parties will also be given an opportunity to address the licensing committee.

“In the Chester zone new licences will only be granted to hackney carriage applicants who propose to licence a new vehicle.

“The consultation document proposes to introduce an entry and exit age policy for all licensed vehicles.

“The entry and exit date has yet to be determined but the consultation proposes no more than one year old on entry and exiting the system after reaching 10 years of age on comfort, reliability and environmental grounds.

“Drivers are also asked questions about colour of the vehicles, carrying permitted advertising and quantity restrictions on hackney vehicles in the Ellesmere Port and Neston zone.

“The outcome of the consultation will be considered by the licensing committee on April 16.”

Source: Chester First

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Unbelievably Light Sentence for Fake Taxi Driver With Stolen Badge, Fake ID and Stolen Taxi.

A 46-year-old who was caught masquerading as a black cab driver in a stolen taxi was given a 20-week suspended jail term last week.
Paul Sheppard, 46, was arrested after he pulled up at a rank in Tooley Street wearing a stolen badge.

Southwark’s Safer Transport Team were checking the details of the all the cabs in the area at the time on November 24 last year.
Camberwell Magistrates’ Court heard that he owned up to being a fake black cab driver as soon as he was caught with the dodgy badges.

Police later found that the motor he was driving was stolen as well.
Himself a former minicab driver and ex-con, Sheppard pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation, taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, and possession of a taxi badge for use in the course of fraud.

The court heard that he already had a “substantial and bad record”.
The elements of this offence are serious in the way that you took a black taxi, a Hackney carriage, and you then used it as an instrument in fraud in a pre-planned and premeditated series of events which undoubtedly has an impact on public safety,” said the chair of the panel.

“You put yourself out there as a black taxi driver. You were no such thing,” he added.

The chair of the panel then jailed him for 20 weeks, but suspended the sentence because of Sheppard’s early guilty plea.
“You’ve had your chance,” he said.

Sheppard, of Wick Lane in Hackney, was fined £80, told to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, and disqualified from driving for six months.

His sentence was suspended for eighteen months.


IN THE PASSED YEAR:
Two dozen arrests have been made, but only six licences revoked in connection with forged identifiers, according to Transport for London.
Out of the 25 people investigated, 16 were drivers licensed to work in suburban areas but have used fake All London identifiers. The other 9 were unlicensed drivers.

104 written warnings have been issued to drivers found by the TPH Compliance team not to be displaying both identifiers while working.
Eight drivers have so far had their licence suspended for a minimum period of one month for subsequent incidents.

JUST A REMINDER FROM LTPH:
All drivers are reminded that Suburban drivers can legitimately ply for hire in parts of central London if: the driver is licensed for one of the two extension areas; the driver is plying for hire at a designated ‘island rank’. Island ranks are located in inner London boroughs but all drivers licensed for the specified suburban borough(s) are allowed to ply for hire on these ranks. There are currently six designated island ranks:
1) Finsbury Park Bus Station – Haringey drivers
2) Garratt Lane (Arndale), Wandsworth – Merton and Sutton drivers
3) Garrett Lane (Sainsbury’s), Wandsworth – Merton and Sutton drivers
4) Mitcham Road (Tooting Broadway Station) – Merton and Sutton drivers without the Clapham extension
5) Wimbledon Park Road (Southfields Station) – Merton and Sutton drivers
6) High Street, Putney - Richmond upon Thames drivers

Driver are also reminded that they should not, under any circumstances, challenge another driver over the validity of their ID badges. If you have any concerns, you should report using TfLs report tool on the TfL web site at www.tfl.gov.uk/cabenforcement.







Minicab driver given 140 hours of unpaid work for causing death of father of three.

A minicab driver who caused the death of a motorcyclist – and left three children without a father – when he suddenly pulled across his path has been ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work.

Judge John Plumstead told Habib Sherzai it had been a piece of “absurd driving” when he cut across the path of motorcyclist Terry Smith.

But the judge pointed out that because of the time the defendant had spent in custody on remand and then on a tagged curfew, it meant that any sentence he was given would mean he would be set free in a very short time.

Sherzai, 22, of Athelstone Road, Harrow, who was a self-employed licenced private hire driver, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving on March 20 last year.

Prosecutor Sally Mealing McLeod told the court Sherzai did not have a fare on board as he drove his silver blue VW Passat car along Station Road in Borehamwood at 4.35pm that day.

Coming in the opposite direction was Mr Smith on his black Honda CBR900 motorcycle.
Mr Smith was a mechanic working at Elstree Film Studios and an experienced motorcyclist.

The court was told that as Sherzai reached the right turn into Academy Court, he made a right turn into the path of the oncoming motorcyclist, causing a collision.

Mr Smith, a father of two teenage sons and a four-year-old daughter, sustained multiple injuries and despite being rushed to hospital, died a short time later.

A witness later told police the defendant’s car had turned right without signaling.
Miss McLeod said Mr Smith was thrown through the air after his motorbike collided with the passenger door of the car and he landed on his back.

Judge Plumstead said it was an act of carelessness on behalf of Sherzai that had changed the lives of an entire family.

He said Mr Smith had been in the prime of his life and was “a father to be proud of and a highly skilled and decent man”.

In addition, Sherzai was disqualified from driving for two years.

The judge pointed out the defendant had not tried to “escape justice” and up until that day had been a law abiding young man.

The judge told him: “This was a piece of absurd driving.”

source: http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/



Myths And Rumours

There have been a spate of unfounded rumours concerning fixed penalty notices and fines of £300 being issued to drivers who have been found working while not wear a badge, or not being in possession of a valid Taxi drivers License or Identifiers.
The rumours are false. Compliance teams can only report and have no power to issue such fines.
Also compliance officers do not have power to order drivers off ranks or to tell them to stop working and go home.

Below is an excerpt from LTPH staff manual which clearly defines these contravention of the Hackney Carriage Act 1843 and London Cab Order 1934 and also similar for Private Hire Drivers

4.3.3 Failing to wear taxi driver’s badge
Taxi drivers who fail to wear their badge whilst working are committing an offence under Section 17 of the London Hackney Carriage Act 1843.

A written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.
If the driver is not wearing his badge because it has been lost or stolen and he has informed TPH, no further action is necessary. However, if the driver fails to inform TPH action as above should be considered.

4.3.4 Failing to carry copy of taxi driver’s licence
Taxi drivers who fail to carry their copy licence whilst working are committing an offence under paragraph 28 of the London Cab Order 1934.

A written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.
If the driver is not carrying his licence because it has been lost or stolen and he has informed TPH, no further action is necessary. However, if the driver fails to inform TPH action as above should be considered.

4.3.5 Failing to display taxi driver identifiers
As of 1 March 2012, all taxi drivers, when plying for hire, must display identifiers in the front and rear windows of the taxi they are driving.

Failure to display identifiers in the form prescribed by TfL or displaying identifiers that bear a different number to the driver’s badge, is a breach of paragraph 28A of the London Cab Order 1934.

Action should be taken in accordance with the following guidelines:

i) Not displaying identifiers: A written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.

ii) If the driver is not displaying identifiers because they have been lost or stolen and he has informed TPH, no further action is necessary. However, if the driver fails to inform TPH action as at (i) above should be considered.

iii) Displaying identifiers in the wrong place: A Compliance Officer should resolve on the spot either by issuing an additional wallet to affix in the correct location or making a note to send an additional wallet to licensee’s address.

iv) Displaying identifiers with the wrong badge number: Each case will be judged on its own merits although if there is evidence of fraudulent activity consideration must be given to suspending or revoking the driver’s licence (see also (v) below).

v) If a driver is found displaying forged, fake or stolen identifiers, consideration must be given to suspending his licence pending further investigation. On completion of the investigation the driver’s fitness to remain licensed must be reviewed.

vi) Drivers displaying photocopies of their identifiers, and storing their original elsewhere in their taxi: The driver should be given a verbal warning and advised to display the correct identifiers. A record of the warning must be made and should the driver repeat the offence it should be dealt with as at (i) above.

The next section deals with Private Hire Drivers.

4.3.6 PHV offences

The following are specific offences identified under PHV law:
* failure to wear badge (unless exempt)
* failure to produce licence for inspection (within six days of request)

Guidelines for these offences can be found in the following paragraphs.

4.3.7 Failing to wear PHV driver’s badge
PHV drivers who fail to wear their badge whilst working are committing an offence under Section 14 of the PHV (London) Act 1998.

A written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.
If the driver is not wearing his badge because it has been lost or stolen and he has informed TPH, no further action is necessary. However, if the driver fails to inform TPH action as above should be considered.

4.3.8 Failing to produce PHV driver’s licence
Unlike taxi drivers, PHV drivers are not required to carry their copy licence whilst working, however, a driver is required to produce it for inspection when requested to do so by a police or authorised officer such as a TPH Compliance Officer. If the driver cannot produce it immediately he has six days to do so. Failure to do so is an offence under section 21 of the PHV (London) Act 1998.

A written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.

If the driver cannot produce his licence because it has been lost or stolen and he has informed TPH, no further action is necessary. However, if the driver fails to inform TPH action as above should be considered.

4.4 Complaints

4.4.1 Taxi drivers

There are a number of different types of complaint and depending within which category they fit results in them being investigated in different ways.

4.4.2 Private Hire
PHV regulations require PHV operators to record details of complaints made by customers in respect of service, vehicles and drivers, action taken and the outcome. In the first instance complainants are advised to make their complaint to the operator if they have not already done so.


Source: London Taxi and Private Hire, Staff Manual.
Advice and guidance on the consideration of taxi and private hire licence applications
in London



Monday, March 04, 2013

Regent Street, Repairs Could Take Over A Week.

Repairs to Regent Street could take up to ten days, say Westminster City Council
Attempts will be made to partially open the street by the end of the week.

Cllr Astaire:"Our officers have been working around the clock with Thames Water to ensure the situation is resolved as quickly as possible."



The water main burst on Saturday afternoon
Part of one of London's busiest shopping streets is expected to stay closed for most of the week after a large water main burst.

Regent Street was closed between Conduit Street and Piccadilly Circus at lunchtime on Saturday.


Fifteen shops were blocked off by a cordon set up by firefighters, following the rupture near Vigo Street.

Thames Water says the broken section of pipe must be replaced before the road can be resurfaced.

The water company has apologised for the disruption.


A spokesman for New West End Company, which represents businesses in Regent Street, said some shops were able to re-open later on Saturday after pavements were cleared.

In January last year, a section of nearby Oxford Street had to be closed when a burst main flooded several shops resulting in damage of an estimated £1m.

Taxi Drivers Paying For Bus Ticket Checks? Surely Not

There has been much talk in the trade over the last few weeks about the excessive amount currently being charged to drivers paying in advance for their taxis to be re-licensed at the new NSL test centres. By law LTPH can only charge what it actually costs to provide this service. Until 1st of April, when a new lower price is to be introduced, drivers will be overcharged by LTPH and NSL by 33%.

When questioned about the overpayment, director of LTPH John Mason stated no refunds would be issued as the fee was calculated as part of the 2012 fare rise consultation, which runs until April 2013. So that's approx 2,000 Taxi drivers and 5,500 Private Hire drivers, who will be overcharged by approx £50.

That's a staggering £375,000. No wonder TfLTPH want to hang on to it.

But this isn't the only example of drivers being overcharged.
As previously stated, license fee can only reflect the the true cost of administration by a licensing authority. The Judge in a recent court case, involving Sex Shop owners and Westminster City Council, made it clear, it is unlawful for a licensing authority to make a charge for enforcement as part of license fees. Enforcement is funded by direct taxation.

This ruling also appertains to Taxi and Private Hire license fees.

But we already know this, because TfLTPH have been telling us for years.
This is the reason there is so little enforcement against touting and illegally plying for hire and the reason we have compliance officers instead of enforcement officers. Funding for enforcement has to come direct from TfL's budget.

So its illegal to charge licensee's for enforcement, that's been made perfectly clear.

How come none of the UTG representative orgs, the ones that LTPH are so keen to engage with, picked up on the statement in the recent fare rise announcement from TfL's board, that £1m is regularly set aside from licensing fees to help finance the Cab Enforcement Unit, Safer Travel Command (STC)
This in itself, is an insult to the Taxi trade, as STC officers spend most of their time protecting revenue of Bus and Tube services.

When was the last time (or the first for that matter) you saw STC officers turn up at a night venue, to disburse lines of illegally plying for hire, openly touting minicabs?

Here it is again for those who may have missed it.
6. CRIME AND DISORDER.
6.1 There would be Crime and Disorder impacts if the Cab Enforcement Unit is not adequately funded. The ongoing £1m contribution from moneys collected as licence fees will help ensure that the Cab Enforcement Unit can continue to carry out its valuable work.