Saturday, May 04, 2013

Hammersmith A4 tunnel 'could replace flyover'



A group of London architects who call Hammersmith Flyover a "terrible act of vandalism" have proposed replacing it with an underpass.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council supports the plan following concerns about the flyover's long term cost and viability.

The council said it was drafting plans to show Transport for London (TfL) the benefits of the idea.

TfL said any scheme would have to be fully justified and in line with the redevelopment of the area.

'Concrete monster'
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The flyover was a terrible act of vandalism”

Tom Ryland
Architect
Councillor Nicholas Botterill said: "The Hammersmith Flyover is a hangover from another era that should never be repeated.

"This elevated concrete monster has divided our town centre for decades - magnifying traffic noise and polluting our air in the process.

"Residents need to be at the heart of the debate about the long-term replacement of this ugly and out-dated structure and there is clearly a desire to think boldly."

The flyover, which is used by about 90,000 vehicles each day, was closed in 2011 for five months while repairs were carried out to cables which had been eroded by salt water, causing widespread traffic congestion.

Architect group, West London Link, said its plans involved landscaping the land above the tunnel as well as using it to build new homes.

Architect Tom Ryland said: "The flyover was a terrible act of vandalism. It has been patched up at huge expense and that will only last around 20 years and then it will have to be taken down.

"You could dig a tunnel without major disruption, unlike rebuilding the flyover and diverting all the traffic for two years."

The council has invited residents to comment on its website.

Source: BBC London News

Remembering James Marshal

James Marshal, sadly lost his lifetime battle with an inoperable brain tumour on 29 May 2012 just a few days before his 11th birthday.

Back in September 2006 James was chosen to go on a trip of a lifetime... a very special and magical trip to Disneyland Paris. His Mum and his Dad were privileged to be able to go with him. He was chosen by 1 of the police officers who escorted the trip after he saw James in the Gazette newspaper raising money for research into childhood cancers and for his bravery throughout his own illness and treatments.

This trip was called the Magical Taxi Tour.

We (and another family) were driven from Middlesbrough Police HQ by 2 black cab taxi's from Edinburgh that were driven by Neil McCulloch, his Dad Bob, and Jim down to London's Canary Wharf ready for the BIG Breakfast launch the morning after.

What followed was truly magical.

My aim is to raise £1250 to sponsor a taxi to take 2 more terminally ill children to Disneyland Paris later this year for these kids to have what could be the time of their lives. The taxi will have James' name on the side, as he loved his toy cars so much what could be better than to have a real car in his memory?

It is yet to be confirmed, but we are hoping that it can be arranged for Neil McCulloch, who was our driver, will drive the taxi too. He has said it will be a great honour for him.

My challenge is to complete 100 miles of events. We have places in the Great North Run. I also intend to run from home to Redcar lifeboat station which is approx 12 miles on 26 May (as close to his anniversary as possible), run the 10k Great Trail Challenge in Keswick on 9 June (the day before his birthday), run the Middlesbrough 10k, and also run the RAF Spadeadam Border Reivers Half Marathon in October. I also plan to walk from Whitby to Saltburn along the coast which is over 20 miles. To complete my challenge there will be more events.

My husband Dave Welby will be accompanying me on these events too. Unfortunately due to serving in the RAF and being posted to the Falkland Islands over the summer he will miss a number of the events, but we will look into him doing alternative events whilst he is out there, or when he returns if need be.

Last year the support we received was unbelievable and we raised over £3000. Please, we ask you again for you support in memory of my truly amazing and inspirational little boy.

For those who don't know James' story... he battled with a massive brain tumour since before he was born. He was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour that had invaded a third of his brain when he was just a baby of 6 months old. Since that day, 20 December 2001, he had to endure 4 long years of chemotherapy and a 6 week course of daily radiotherapy as the tumour kept regrowing after each course of treatment, and had to spend much of his life in hospital or in isolation due to his lack of immune system. The tumour and treatment had left James registered blind and disabled along with a range of what the medical teams called 'complex needs'. Back in September 2010 we were told there were no more options for treatment and with the tumour growing again his condition was terminal.

James was a precious and very popular boy who melted the hearts of everyone he met. There was close to 300 people at his funeral service! He never once complained, even through all of his years of treatment, and was always polite. After each of his traumatic procedures he would say "Thankyou" to all the nurses. He was never naughty. He always had a smile and a giggle. He could recite the alphabet backwards faster than I can say it forwards! He could read and type braille. He was a pleasure. He was clever, he was amazing, and he was funny. He was my son. And now I have a gaping hole where he once was.

Text JAME92 £1-10 to 70070.

Or you can donate through my JustGiving page.click here

Thankyou. x

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.


Friday, May 03, 2013

TfL reveals cost of New Bus for London fleet

Transport for London is to spend £212m buying 600 of the Mayor’s New Bus for London vehicles.

In September the TfL board agreed to purchase the buses, deviating from the standard practice of bus operators supplying their own vehicles.

Board members were advised that TfL’s mandated use of the buses and the inability to deploy them outside London meant accounting rules would require them to be considered TfL assets even if operators purchased them directly.
The average cost of each bus over the life of the contract, which runs until 2016, is £354,500.

TfL today claimed that the decision to bulk purchase the buses had allowed it “to get a lower unit price” than if operators had bought them directly.
However the announced price contradicts previous statements by Mayor Boris Johnson.

In October 2012, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon questioned the Mayor over industry speculation that the bus was “going to cost £330,000 each.”

In response Mr Johnson said: “the deal that we are able to do with Wrightbus will actually be considerably cheaper and better value for Londoners”.

In September 2009 the Mayor told Green party AM Jenny Jones: “If you look at the current cost of a bus, £250,000, roughly speaking, buys you a new bendy bus. We think that we can get a wonderful new bus for London which will be considerably cleaner, greener, lighter and exactly what this city needs for much less than that”.

TfL says the cost “includes inflation, technical upgrades and mandatory changes including the legal requirement to fit Euro 6 engines to all new vehicles from 2014.”.

However it excludes TfL’s estimated £37m bill for underwriting the cost of the second crew member needed to supervise use of the vehicle’s open rear platform.

In a statement TfL claimed the buses would produce “around four times less” PM and NOx emissions that “the fleet average hybrid bus, and 20 per cent less CO2”, but failed to provide specific emissions figures.

The first production buses will enter service later this year on route 24.
Each vehicle will remain in London for its entire working life, expected to be “at least” 14 years.

Announcing the purchase price, the Mayor said: “We will ensure these buses more than earn their keep over the next few years. By keeping them in harness in the capital for the entirety of their useful life, we will be extracting every last drop of value out of them.”

Commenting on the announcement, Assembly Member Darren Johnson said: “The New Bus for London is an expensive vanity project which the next Mayor will abandon as an outdated and polluting waste of money. Londoners’ simply can’t afford the higher fares that will come from paying £37m a year to bus assistants whose only real job is to stop people falling off the rear platform when it is open.

“The reason why these buses will spend their entire life in London is because no one else wants them. That is also the reason why TfL have had to buy the buses themselves, at a premium rate, rather than let the operators have all the upfront costs and risks.

On the issue of emissions, Mr Johnson said: “The Mayor has boasted about the green credentials of these new buses, but they will all have to be retrofitted at the end of next year and made less polluting in order to keep up with the higher standards for all new buses being produced throughout Europe. The Mayor has also refused to come clean on the fuel consumption of the bus by publishing the on the road data they have.”



MSource: MayorWatch.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

And just when we thought it was all over bar the shouting....

After the ground breaking announcement, from the New York Taxi and Limousine commission on the Wednesday 2nd of May, comes this statement this morning;

Judge Puts Brakes On E-hail Taxi Apps As Livery Cabs Cry Foul

NEW YORK -- An appellate court judge is slamming the brakes on the city's controversial e-hail pilot program that allows New Yorkers to request yellow cabs using their smartphones.

State Supreme Court Justice Helen Freedman issued an emergency injunction Wednesday, blocking the one-year pilot program that launched Tuesday night with a yellow cab option on the Uber smartphone app.

Source: LCT mag online.

Great News For Hailo In New York.

New Yorkers will be able to pay for taxis via e-hailing apps within 60 days

A deputy commissioner at the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission also says the Hailo hailing app should be approved this week and join just-approved rival app Uber.

NEW YORK
New Yorkers will be able to hail and pay for taxis via smartphone apps within 60 days, a New York Taxi & Limousine Commission executive said Wednesday.

Taxi-hailing apps help potential passengers locate a ride in real time.

They simply put their location into an app, which is then sent to a designated cab nearby.

In many locations, users can also pay for their ride using the app, but New Yorkers currently have to pay for their ride in the traditional manner, either with cash or credit card in the car.

Source: Cnet online

Below
From left, Ashwini Chahabra of the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, Jay Bregman of Hailo, and Sunil Paul of Sidecar debate on taxi technology, Wednesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York.



Ashwini Chahabra, deputy commissioner of policy and programs at the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, said Wednesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference here that payment methods should expand within the next couple months, enabling people to book and pay for a ride all using their phone.

Taxi-hailing apps, such as Uber, received approval to operate in New York only a few days ago. Uber on Tuesday became the first such app to return to the streets. Chahabra said Uber rival Hailo also will have approval ""within hours or a day."

Companies like Uber and Hailo have been working to bring taxi apps to New York over the past year but faced many setbacks early on. Uber launched support for taxi service in New York last September. But after just one month, the company pulled out due to obstacles and roadblocks by groups opposed to the service. Last week, a New York judge gave Uber and other taxi-hailing apps approval to operate in the city.

While New Yorkers can now hail a cab with their smartphones, ride-sharing apps are still being debated. Sunil Paul, CEO of ride-sharing app maker Sidecar, argued Wednesday during the TechCrunch conference that such technology should be allowed in New York. He said it's not already available because the Taxi & Limousine Commission "protects the taxi industry."
But Chahabra said the commission is not opposed to ride sharing per se but is against ride sharing that acts as taxi service without proper background checks, permits, and other regulations.

"There probably is a place where ride sharing can operate in New York," but it has to be in a specific way, Chahabra said.

Source: Cnet: Updated at 7:50 a.m. PT with additional information and background.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How To Make An iPhone App For London Taxi Radio.

Below is the web link for the groundbreaking London Taxi Radio.

Watch the video first. We show you how to put this program on your iPhone as a stand-alone app.

Takes just seconds to set up.





Now click on the web link and set up your iPhone app.
And your ready to go!

click here for Web Link

Why Do We Keep On About The Lines Of Illegally Plying For Hire Minicabs?

Last August: A brutal sexual assault on an 18-year-old woman, who believed door staff were putting her into a vetted, licensed, safe form of transport home. Sadly, in real life, this is not the case.

The incident on Sunday, August 19, happened after the victim was shepherded into what she believed to be a LTPH licensed minicab outside Egg nightclub in York Way, King’s Cross, at around 3am. She asked the driver to take her to her home in Paddington.

It is believed that the minicab driver then drove her to the Euston area in a silver vehicle where he violently sexually assaulted her. Following the attack, as she lay semi conscious, he took her to Gloucester Place in Westminster where he pushed her from his vehicle and drove away at around 3.55am leaving her lying in the gutter.

Her life and the lives of her close family members have been shattered.
She is one of only 10% of rape and serious sexual assault victims who have the courage to come forward and report this heinous crime

The suspect has been described as dark European, possibly Turkish, aged around 50, of a large build with stubble and dark thinning greying hair that was gelled back.

Anyone with information should call Det Sgt Brian Richards of Sapphire on 020 7421 0203 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In the much acclaimed POP Wandsworth report, the Met stated that in their opinion, minicab related serious sexual assaults, including rapes, reported and unreported are running at approx 22 a week in London.

***********************************************


Ellie Feghaly was a minicab driver targeting vulnerable women by illegally plying for hire outside clubs and bars in Central London.

A modus operandi that, just recently on the 08/11/2012, district Judge Fanning referred to as "an important part of Londons public transport system".

Feghaly was found guilty on Monday 4 February of rape at Woolwich Crown Court following a successful investigation by officers from the Metropolitan Police Services (MPS) Sapphire Command.

Ellie Feghaly, 44 of Ealing Park Lodge, Horsden Lane South, Perivale, Middlesex, was sentenced to nine years for the rape of a 33-year-old woman in August last year.

The court heard how on the 23 August 2012 the victim, who was in London on business, had been enjoying a night out in central London before wishing to return to her hotel. After leaving a bar just off Leicester Square, she and a male companion got into a minicab driven by Ellie Feghaly. Just one in a line of minicabs waiting outside the bar.

As the victim and her friend were headed in the same direction they decided to share the cab. However it soon became apparent to them, Feghaly did not know where he was going and was becoming increasingly aggressive towards them.

It was at this point, Feghaly suggested to them that the male occupant get out of the car at a Texaco petrol station in Shadwell, east London and ask for directions. Once the man got out of the car, Feghaly seized the opportunity to drive off with the victim, locking all of the doors to preventing her escaping. He drove to a car park a short distance away and raped the victim on the backseat.

***********************************************


Now lets remind ourselves, how easy it is for the predators, as enforcement from LTPH and the MPS Safer Travel command unit is woefully inadequate.


TfL chief officers spend more than £1,000 on taxis in three months

Transport for London bosses spent an average of £13 a day on work-related taxi journeys around the capital during the first three months of the year.

Over the 90 days of January, February and March, TfL chief officers caught 84 taxis paid for out of the public purse, racking up a bill of £1,185.


Spending a similar amount in each quarter of the year would add to nearly £5,000, over twice the cost of an annual zones 1-6 Travelcard. And the daily average of £13 could buy daily unlimited travel in zones 1 and 2 nearly two times over.

Almost all the journeys were claimed for by transport commissioner Peter Hendy, according to a document of chief officers’ expenses, published for the first time today.

But TfL said this did not mean the journeys were all made exclusively by him.

“It is practice for the most senior member of staff present at functions, often the transport commissioner, to generally meet the expense on those occasions when it is appropriate for the expenditure to be reclaimed in accordance with the business expenses policy,” a statement said.

A spokeswoman for TfL defended the taxi claims - which range in value from £5 to £25 with an average cost of £14 - and said TfL chiefs use public transport “whenever they can”.

She added: “Sir Peter Hendy travels to and from work by public transport he also regularly uses public transport when travelling in the capital on business.

“He is overseeing the delivery of a ten-year multi-billion pound budget to deliver the upgrade of the Tube and Crossrail and there are occasions when his full schedule and late hours necessitate the use of taxis.”

TfL also announced today they plan to publish an account of chief officers’ expenses quarterly from now on. Today’s release was the first time such information had been published.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat chair of the London Assembly’s transport committee, said: “Transport for London is a publicly funded body which should be accountable to Londoners.

“It is long overdue that the expenses of its chief officers are published.”

http://www.london24.com/news/politics/tfl_chief_officers_spend_more_than_1_000_on_taxis_in_three_months_1_2174851

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

RMT London Taxi Driver Branch Sets Out Demands On Law Commission Review



We note the interim statement from the Law Commission on its consideration of taxi and private hire
legislation.

We welcome the indication that the Commission will recommend retaining the distinction between taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).

We are concerned, however, that the replacement of the concept of ‘plying for hire’ with the concept of ‘pre-booking’ may dilute this distinction and allow private hire vehicles to encroach on taxi drivers’ work. (paragraph 5)

We welcome the Commission’s withdrawal of its previous recommendation to abolish quantity controls, which explicitly recognises that the ‘market’ ie. unfettered competition between drivers, is not appropriate. (paragraph 6)

We do not accept the discrimination inherent in the proposal that local authorities should be able to impose local standards additional to national standards on taxis but not on private hire services. (paragraphs 11 and 12)

We are concerned about the Commission’s support for ‘freeing up cross-border working for private hire
services’. (paragraph 13)

We support our London Taxi Drivers branch’s demands for:

Plying for hire to be defined both in our favour and in statute.

PHVs to not be permitted to wait in advance of bookings or form ranks outside venues.

Taxi Ranks overhaul and a fit-for-purpose strategy developed throughout London
STaN initiative planning permission for satellite offices - No rank = No satellite office.

Vehicle distinction to be paramount: the ‘black cab’ is our unique selling point.
A PHV should always be a PHV and should only be driven by a PHV driver whether working or not.

Pedicabs and alike not to have the right to ply for hire or operate on the highway.
Crime statistics and plying for hire offences to be broken down into categories such as Taxi, PHV and
Unlicensed.

Robust enforcement of plying for hire legislation: funding to be set at a level capable of dealing with the size of both the taxi and private hire trades.

A managed growth of BOTH taxi and private hire trades in the interest of maintaining standards.

We instruct the General Secretary to ensure the prompt publication of a good-quality RMT newsletter for London Taxi Drivers reporting our stance on these and other issues and including a membership form; and a similar newsletter for other areas should the lead officer request it.

Nissan Set To Unveil Final Design For New London Taxi

Nissan will unveil its final design for a new London taxi in the next month, with the firm's executive vice president Andy Palmer confirming he signed off the final production model this week.


The car will sit in the same platform as the New York taxi developed by Nissan, but has been substantially restyled to retain the hallmarks of the classic black cab. The design work has also been conducted with substantial input from current drivers.

It will initially be sold with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, but longer term Palmer hopes the fast-charging infrastructure in London will evolve to make electric versions of the car viable.

"Running costs for an electric vehicle are about a tenth of a diesel, so the business case is there, so long as charging times can be reduced," said Palmer.

Palmer conceeded the project is unlikely to make Nissan much profit, with just 20,000 London taxis in operation at the moment. However, in time he sees the project as invaluable for promoting electric cars.

"The best way to answer concerns about electric cars is to get people into them," said Palmer. "If you think of the millions who ride in black cabs each day, then you get a feel for what these vehicles could achieve in terms of changing perceptions."

A dear John Letter. Bullet point no 8. Still putting up.

Dear John
Hope you are settling into your new job at Congestion Charging. Just a little question for you.
A little while ago, through your legal team officer Abbey Ameen, you sent Taxi Leaks a request to take down a blog post that you claimed misleading.

We have since spent the last few weeks backing up the statements you questioned as misleading.
Next on our list is the matter of NSLs new licensing contract.

In the article in question, we made the statement;
"The awarding of the licensing contract to a company who's wardens refuse to enforce traffic restrictions against Private Hire drivers in Central London".

You said this allegation was "wholly unfounded, inappropriate and denied by our client."

Not only are we in possession of an email from NSL explaining why NSL wardens are not issuing tickets at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street, but we also noticed similar allegations were made in the April issue of the badge, page 17...click here
We don't believe your legal team sent the badge the same or similar letter that they sent Taxi Leaks and we are curious to find out, why it's ok for them (The LCDC) to publish this in the Badge, but not ok for us to post on Taxi leaks blog.

Below, CEO from NSL, Parking Services Excepting Cash From Motorist. Published in the Daily Mail on the 04/12/2013



Jim Thomas.

Source:

Excepts from email train to Westminster City Council and Parking services from a London taxi driver:
Emails run from 05/03/2012 to 31/12/2012

The Cab driver wrote:
Every night there are Private Hire Vehicles parked on double yellow lines on Regent Street, at the junction of Swallow Street. I reported this to one of your passing Civil Enforcement Officers who informed me that they had been instructed to ignore them and let them do whatever they like.

The reply came back:

Thank you for contacting Westminster City Council.
I have forwarded you correspondence to Parking Services' Customer Relations Department for review, who will respond to you in due course.

Followed by:

Thank you for your email. I note your comments and have contacted the City Council's contractors for on-street services, NSL Limited, with your complaint about mini cabs parking at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street.

I have been advised that a joint operation between the Police and NSL took place on 29 January 2012, regarding this problem. The location is being closely monitored at the moment, to ascertain whether special enforcement is requiired in the area.

I acknowledge that you feel aggrieved; however, I trust my comments have been helpful and the action taken has resolved this situation to your satisfaction.
Linda Fraser
Customer Relations Officer
Customer Relations
Westminster City Council

The driver then wrote back:

The 'action taken' hasn't resolved this situation to my satisfaction at all. No action has been taken. Why did the Civil Enforcement Officer refuse to give a PCN to vehicles who were parked on Double Yellow lines? This is still happening every night. They are not slow to give tickets to ordinary members of the public for parking offences. Are they taking some form of monetary payment from the Private Hire drivers in return for not enforcing the law?

Linda Fraser then answered:

Thank you for your email, below. I am concerned to note that you are unhappy with my previous response, and have forwarded your complaint to NSL, for their attention.

I have been advised that, upon sighting Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) approaching the area, mini cab drivers move their vehicles on before PCNs can be issued. PCNs will be issued to any vehicles that are parked in contravention, on yellow lines. NSL and the City Council are taking the situation in this area very seriously and are sending as many available CEOs as possible to the area, in order to enforce appropriately.

I can assure you that CEOs are not taking any form of monetary payment from the private hire drivers in return for not issuing PCNs to vehicles parked in contravention.

Thank you for again bringing this matter to my attention. I trust I have clarified the City Council's position and I would like to assure you that this situation is being closely monitored.

Still not satisfied the driver went on:

Dear Ms Fraser,
I told you that this practice is rife, but obviously Westminster City Council turn a blind eye to it. Why else would you turn down the revenue that could be issued in fines? Can you explain why there are still minicabs parked up every night on Double red and yellow lines all over theWest End, right under the noses of 'Enforcement Officers'? Everyone knows that minicab drivers pay them cash for the privilege of being left alone.

Please see article published in Daily Mail.
click here

Also could you give me the name of the Police station that you claim mounted the operation on at Regent Street and Swallow Street on January 29th.

Many thanks,


Answers come back from customer relations at Parking services:


Thank you for your further email dated 5 November 2012 regarding the above enforcement areas. I am concerned that you have found it necessary to contact Customer Relations in Westminster City Council about this matter again.

You state that minicabs are still parking on double yellow and double red lines without enforcement action being taken. I have to advise that the City of Westminster does not enforce red lines; these are enforced by Transport for London.

However, I have noted your comments and have again contacted the City Council’s contractor for on-street parking enforcement, NSL Limited (NSL) to obtain details of the current situation.

I have been informed that a supervisor and several CEOs patrol the area during peak hours but have reported hostility, not only from the minicab drivers but also from the customers of the restaurants and night clubs. I am sure you will appreciate the difficulties involved in enforcing this area; hence, the need for a police presence.

The operation mounted on Regent Street and Swallow Street in January 2012 was operated by West End Police Station.

NSL has advised that it has requested a further operation with the police but since the time of the Olympics, the police have had limited numbers of officers available at night. NSL has confirmed that it is continuing to monitor the situation and will take enforcement action as necessary until the police are able to release officers to mount another operation.

With regard to your reference to the article published by the Daily Mail, I have to advise that NSL is conducting its own internal investigation. The City Council is aware of the allegations made but confirms that neither the Council not NSL tolerate such occurrences and are dealing with the situation appropriately.

I acknowledge you may feel aggrieved about this matter; however, I trust the information I have provided has been helpful.


Yours sincerely

Mhairi Hunte
Customer Relations Officer
Customer Relations
Parking Services

To which the driver replied:

Dear Ms Hunte,
Thanks for your reply. Can you tell me what hostility your CEOs have experienced that results in them not issuing parking tickets to minicab drivers, please? Also, can anyone use the same tactics to avoid fines?
Many thanks,

And again the answer came back:

Thank you for your response to my email in which you questioned what type of hostility is encountered by the Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) which prevents them from issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to minicab drivers. You also wanted to know if anyone could use the same tactics to avoid paying PCNs.

I have contacted the City Council’s contractor for on-street parking enforcement, NSL Limited (NSL) for further clarification regarding the requirement of a police presence.

I am informed that the CEOs are subject to physical assault, many serious, by the club goers whenever a CEO tries to issue a PCN to the waiting minicabs or chauffeur driven vehicles.

Although PCNs are issued under civil law, when an assault takes place, this is a criminal offence and therefore the police have to be involved. Since this has become a frequent occurrence, for safety reasons, CEOs are not permitted to patrol the area at night without a police presence. However, CCTV cameras continue to operate.

With regard to your second point, it is a criminal offence to assault another person in order to avoid paying a PCN.

I trust that you will appreciate that an employer has a duty of care towards its employees and their safety is of paramount concern. In this case, appropriate action has been taken to ensure the safety of the CEOs in a high risk area and in order for them to carry out their duties, they are accompanied by police officers.

Alternatively please visit our website http://www.westminster.gov.uk/parking which may be of assistance with your enquiry.

Yours sincerely

Mhairi Hunte
Customer Relations Officer
Customer Relations
Parking Services



Monday, April 29, 2013

£1m payback to victims of Drayton Park road layout bungle

THE Town Hall will have to find up to £1m to repay almost 10,000 illegal fines handed out at a bungled traffic scheme which has caused countless accidents.

Calls have now been made to scrap the road-narrowing lorry restriction in Drayton Park, Holloway, which Lib Dem opposition councillors say has caused nothing but “mayhem” since its introduction last May.

Pedestrians and cyclists have been critical of the layout, which they argue is dangerous.

So far, the entire scheme has cost about £110,000 to introduce and then modify twice. At least three cars have flipped over trying to negotiate the narrowing and there has been constant criticism by drivers of the number of fines they were receiving.

They argued that signs at the junction were not clear. At a full council meeting earlier this year Labour councillor James Murray said the number of fines was tailing off as drivers learned the layout.

But one driver who challenged his fine has won his case at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service. Adjudicators ruled that signs were not clear and that the fine was illegal.

This means that every fine issued between November and February could have to be repaid.

The council says 10,974 fines were issued in that period. Fines are £130, reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days. It is likely that most drivers would pay the lesser fee, bringing the total cost to the Town Hall to around £800,000.

Lib Dem ward councillor Julie Horton has now called for the road scheme to be scrapped, saying it had inspired a huge number of complaints.

“They have got this scheme wrong right from the beginning,” she said. “They should admit it, rip it up and go back to the drawing board.

“This Labour council just don’t seem to be listening to people. If they had they wouldn’t have redesigned the scheme twice and still got it wrong. A couple of weeks ago a car landed on its roof.”

Cllr Horton said that if all the parking fines were wrong then people should be refunded.

“I know they can appeal and I hope people do,” she added. “But perhaps as a gesture the council should consider returning people’s fines rather than waiting for them to appeal.”

A council spokesman said: “The lorry-ban width restriction in Drayton Park was put in at residents’ request for safer streets.

“When the width restriction was modified late last year, a technical mistake was made and the Traffic Management Order was not changed as it should have been.

“The order is now being changed. We’re very sorry for the confusion and disruption.

“If drivers believe they have been issued with an incorrect penalty charge notice, they should get in touch with us and we will refund any incorrect tickets.”

Source: Islington Tribune

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Bill-Gate"...TfL Poor Performance Part 7. Palestra Staff Member Found Guilty.

In February, after months of rumours about a possible fraud being carried out at the Palestra building. Taxi Leaks published an article, based on information received from a highly respected member of the RMT Taxi Branch. The Post received much attention from LTPH stakeholders who asked director of LTPH John Mason, "if there's no truth in the article, why it hadn't been removed?

John Mason then contacted the editorial staff of the blog by means of a series of emails from himself and Abbey Ameen, with threats of legal action from TfLs legal department.

In an email to his legal team Mason claimed;
"No arrest has been made of any individual at Palestra, there has been no “breach of security” there is an allegation of fraud and an individual has been dismissed from TfL and is subject to Police action."
He also said:-
"None of this is true and they should “put up” or shut up” when making such allegations in print. Surely this is slander?"

Not only have we proved the arrest of a corrupt staff member took place, we can now announce that on the 17th of April 2013, Brazilian national and ex member of staff at Palestra, Marcos Gurgel was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining £249 from Taxi Driver Stanley Marut.

This email from Stan Marut:
The scam was that drivers who did not use the Post Office verification system and pay at the post office counter and who sent in cheques to TfL did not get their licences until Mr Gurgel telephoned them to say that he had their "bills" ready and they could be picked up but payment would have to be in cash. We used to pay cash at Penton Street so it seemed feasible.

He was arrested and cautioned and I gave evidence to TfL fraud department at Windsor House last January.

The CPS took him to Magistrates Court at Camberwell Green and he was found guilty of Theft.

The sentence:
Community Order - Defendant to comply with the requirement to carry out 300 hours community work within the next 12 months (17/04/2014).
To pay compensation of £250
To pay £70 per month commencing 01/05/2013
Information received from the Criminal Justice System at Sidcup

Complaints not followed up at LTPH
We have, on numerous occasions challenge the issue of 18 brand new satellite office licenses to a newly registered company, which had a new registered address, new company director, which had not been licensed as a private hire operator for the required period of one full year. In our opinion this is malfeasance.

Of all the complaints made about this issue, we have only received one reply, from Deputy Director of LTPH Helen Chapman stating;
"You are correct that it is now our policy that operators must have been licensed as a standard operator for at least one year before we will consider a variation to operate from a late night venue. In this specific case the company name had changed but the director had been associated with the same business for a considerable period longer than a year"

This statement is not correct as shown in the post "TfL Poor Performance: Bullet point 1" read post click here

We also asked for an investigation into the 19 satellite office licenses currently issued to a company that has been liquidated.
So far we've had nothing back.

Perhaps Abbey Ameen could find better use of highly paid TfL legal time by thoroughly investigating this issue, Instead of harassing Taxi Leaks editorial Staff members.

At the recent Taxi Drivers Forum, I personally bought up both these issues to a panel of heads of departments. My statement was met by blank expressions, from which I managed to draw no response.

This public body operates like a private company, who are far from open and transparent. They are not our employers, it is our license fees that pay their inflated wages.



THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT LISTENING TO US.



We have now been told, it is highly unlikely, there will be anymore Taxi Driver Forums at Palestra.