Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bus driver arrested after two elderly men killed by double decker in Western Road, Romford

Police are appealing for information after the men, believed to be in their 60s, were hit in Western Road, Romford.

They died at the scene.

The driver of the 252 double decker bus has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

He is currently in custody at an unnamed east London police station.

London Ambulance Service paramedics were called to Western Road at 2.20pm.

Two single responders, a duty officer and an ambulance crew were sent to the scene of the accident, at the road’s junction with Chandlers Way.

The 252 travels from Collier Row Library to Hornchurch town centre.

Eyewitness Patrica Kluxem, 49, of Collier Row, who was on the bus at the time, said: “There were two bangs and a big cry. I was in so much shock, everybody got off the bus and there was lots of shopping on the floor.

“I was crying, I called my pastor after to tell him what happened.”

It is believed the Liberty Shopping Centre closed its doors after the collision.

Another passenger said he heard a “bang” and felt a “thud”, adding: “everybody started panicking, saying ‘someone has been hurt.’”

Police believe there were a large number of witnesses at the scene, including those on the bus involved and another one that was passing at the time of the incident – understood to have been a 103.

Detectives want those people to come forward with any information they may have.

Source Romford Recorder.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Westminster council to refund 5,000 parking tickets over ‘confusing’ signs

More than 5,000 motorists will be refunded parking fines worth £278,000 after Westminster council admitted some of their street signs were ‘confusing’.

It led to motorists parking in bays meant for taxis along Oxendon Street, Jermyn Street and Conduit Street in central London.

The signs said charges applied between 08:30 and 18:30, implying that motorists could park there for free outside that time.

But motorists were fined as the dual bays were dedicated to taxis only after 18:30.

Councillor Nickie Aiken, cabinet member for parking, said the refund is a ‘one-off exception’.

‘Dual-use bays are all about maximising the space at the kerbside in the city to enable fair and easy parking for everyone,’ she said.

‘However, we accept that the parking signs in these streets could have given rise to confusion among motorists and so we are making a one-off exception – it is the right thing to do.

‘We have now also replaced signs as a result.’

Drivers who were charged will be sent a letter on how to claim the refund.

Source The Metro.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One person a day has been killed or injured in incidents involving London buses in the past five years

 Transport for London's figures show, one person a day has been killed or seriously injured in incidents involving London buses in the past five years


They were released to Greater London Authority Conservatives in response to a Freedom of Information request.

TfL's figures show, from 2008 to 2013, 1,889 people have been seriously injured or killed. 

In contrast, statistics from the safer Oxford Street Blog show 2026 pedestrians and cyclists killed of seriously injured involving buses since Boris Joynson became Mayor. 

Richard Tracey, Greater London Authority Conservative transport spokesman and London Assembly Member for Wandsworth and Merton said: "These figures are alarming and they remain stubbornly high.
TfL said only 6% of accidents involving buses resulted in injury. The number was "actually very small and falling", TfL's head of surface transport said.

Accident hotspots

"Transport bosses need to urgently become more transparent around safety figures.

"Despite persistent questioning for several months, they have not yet been able to provide borough-by-borough breakdowns for recent serious incidents involving their own buses."

The figure of 1,889 people seriously injured or killed in five years translates as 378 a year or 1.03 a day. It is not broken down into how many died and how many were hurt.

In a report, Mr Tracey calls for TfL to publish statistics on the number of fatal and major incidents involving buses on a quarterly basis and for the worst-performing bus companies to be identified.

He also wants accident hotspots to be identified.

Leon Daniels, head of surface transport at TfL, said from next year statistics would be published by borough and route.

He said: "Although bus trips account for over 25% of road journeys in London, only 6% of road collisions resulting in an injury involve London buses, and this is falling.

"Collisions with pedestrians have fallen by around 40% since 2008/09 and fatal collisions have been reduced by around 60%."

But one victim, Tom Kearney, who was seriously injured by a bus in Oxford Street in December 2009, said TfL had a "systemic problem" and was "in denial".

Darren Johnson, Green Party London Assembly Member, said: "The scale of cycling and pedestrian casualties from bus collisions has been a neglected problem for too long.

"London relies on its buses and there are simple and easy steps that Transport for London could take to make them safer, starting by writing safety requirements into the bus company contracts."

Just a few decades ago, it wold take months of intensive training, culminating in the skidpad test, before a bus driver became qualified. Nowdays, it only takes a couple of weeks and the Skid pan has been made redundant.

TfL...Totally Failing London.

News flash: Thursday 14th November 2013

A man died in hospital at about 04:00 GMT following a collision with a double decker bus in Whitechapel Road near Aldgate East Station. 

Part sourced: BBC News.

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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sundays Free Shuttle Service, For Veterans And Their Families.

Reading the TFL website, one would believe that the free Taxis supplied for veterans and their families was their doing. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. 

A couple of years ago, TfL decided to close many central London Underground stations, virtually stranding veterans (many of whom are disabled) wishing to attend the rememberance services. TfL never even thought to offer a replacement bus service.

London Cabby, Mike Hughes took up the baton and in league with the Royal British Legion and members of the United Cabbies Group, sent out a plea to the wider Taxi community.
Adverts appeared in the United Cabbies News and on certain Taxi websites which touched the hearts of London's finest.
The initial event was so well attended, it was decided the service would be extended and had now become a regular service.
Many drivers work overnight and stay out just to be part of Remembrance Day and help provide this free Taxi service.

 From Royal Dragoons guards and their families a big thank you to you all.
The veterans staying at Royal Scott hotel have shown their appreciation by presenting event marshal Andrzej Simco with their regiment emblem Royal Dragoons Guards, which he accepted on behalf of all the drivers.


Also on display were a number of vintage Taxis, kept in immaculate working order.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Lytham salutes the almost-forgotten soldier

As millions marked Armistice Day across the world, members of the public, old soldiers and serving servicemen and women stood in silence for the arrival of Harold Percival's funeral cortege at the crematorium in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.

The funeral began at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Roads were blocked with traffic around Lytham, such was the size of the crowd. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Hundreds attended the service after a public appeal for the Second World War veteran. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Source ITV News and Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Want to be a London Taxi Driver? Don't want to do the Knowledge?... By Jim Thomas

Again we see another All London Green Badge for sale on EBay.

With the proliferation of older vehicles currently available after the introduction of the Mayor's age limit on Taxis, for just a few pounds, anyone could be out there driving a Taxi. 

Just a few weeks ago (20th October 2013), this 23 year old Taxi was spotted in NW1 by one of our readers, plying for hire, with a PCO plate a year out of date.

We have been informed that due to our readers emails to LTPH, this matter has now been resolved.

With no word from LTPH on counterfeiting teams like the one in Surry, it does raise the question:

With hundreds of fake badges and bills in circulation, an the availability of cheap old Taxis, just how many of these snide vehicles are out there working?

The vehicle above was also reported by Taxi Leaks nearly a year ago, working in Camden High Street. 

Parked on the Taxi rank, it was being used as a booking office, for a company based in Seven Sisters Road, who's cars were parked along the High Street.

This was reported at the time, but to this day, we have heard nothing back.

Just goes to prove how ineffective the current Badge and Bill compliance initiative really is.

Taxi Leaks strongly believes, the current compliance teams from LTPH, are not fit for purpose and need a complete overhaul plus new leadership.

If this was an allegation of Bus or Tube ticket fraud, more manpower (warranted officers) would be made available, emediatly.
Yet again, when it comes to the licensed Taxi trade, "The Best Taxi Service in The World", public safety is pushed to the back burner.

Photos: thanks to Glen Alutto.

E7, A Taxi For Boris: Iconic Taxi's, Are Their Days Numbered?

In a small upstairs office of a building on a sprawling industrial estate in the north of Glasgow, Paul Nelson is contemplating battle with the Mayor of London. Nelson is managing director of Allied Vehicles, a company built by two brothers from their father’s garage into Britain’s largest manufacturer of taxis and mobility vehicles. Their taxis are a common sight pretty much everywhere, except in the UK capital.

Boris Johnson is known for his love of tradition – he oversaw the re-introduction of the Routemaster bus in London, evoking a bygone era of ‘hop-on, hop-off” commuting – and is a stout defender of the iconic black cab. Transport for London, which licenses taxis in the city, insist that only this vehicle, made by the London Taxi Company, can operate – because of its ability to turn in narrow streets.

“Look at that,” Nelson says, pointing to a map of central London with streets marked in blue, “that’s the one-way system. There really is no need for the 25ft turning circle rule. And it’s an inherently dangerous manoeuvre anyway. What it’s really about is wanting to be different, to have its own distinct-looking taxi.”

Allied is pondering whether to take London to court on the grounds that it is in breach of competition rules and disability legislation. It did in the case of Liverpool, and won. But negotiation has also proved successful in other UK city hold-outs. London is not its only barrier to expansion; Coventry, where the London Taxi is assembled, retains the 25ft requirement.

But London would be a significant breakthrough. There are around 25,000 black cabs in the city with between 2000 and 3000 sold a year. The market outside London is almost as large and Allied has around 90 per cent of those sales. Nelson believes that if Allied was allowed to compete in the capital it could add at least 500 vehicles a year to its production line and create around 100 jobs.

After weathering the recession’s storm – Nelson joined in 2007 – turnover has grown from £45m to near £80m this year. Output at its Possilpark factory is on the rise, to as many as 4000 vehicles a year: “We’re trying to get consistently above 85 a week,” he said. 

As basic Peugot vehicles come in, they are virtually stripped back to their shell before being rebuilt and emerging at the other end as taxis or private hire vehicles.
Nelson points out the thoroughness of the rebuild; how it offers able and disabled people a modern mode of transport and their drivers a safe, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective vehicle. 


At the end of the process, Allied’s name joins Peugeot’s as a joint-manufacturer under European Community ‘whole vehicle type approval’ regulations. Nelson believes that theirs is simply a better product than the London Taxi Company’s, which is based on a 1940s design.

Adding weight to his argument is that while Boris Johnson might appear to be flying the flag for Britain, the London Taxi Company is now wholly a Chinese company, having been bought out of administration last year by the Hangzhou-based Geely Group. The latter would no doubt argue that its assembly of Chinese parts in Coventry is just as important a contributor to the UK economy as Allied’s rebuilding of a French car in Glasgow.

And Nelson is not interested in waving flags: “We are a UK company, selling throughout the UK. We sponsored UK Trade and Industry during the Olympics and were delighted to see our vehicles on London streets. We just want to be able to compete, for drivers in London to be given a choice. The bottom line is – if he [Johnson] digs his heels in, we may have to take him to court.”

Although its taxis – based on the Peugeot Expert – have played a significant part in the company’s fortunes, its wheelchair adapted five-seater – based on the Peugeot Partner – is its biggest seller, finding favour among private-hire drivers, councils and care-homes. “We changed the face of the hackney market,” said Nelson, “now we are changing the face of the private-hire market as well.”

Nelson pays tribute to the company’s co-chairmen, brothers Gerry and Michael Facenna: “Their aim is to produce the best products in the markets they enter.” Allied recently took on an international development manager to explore options for expansion in Europe. In the nearer-term, it is planning a UK-wide roll-out of its mobility shop concept, based on a recently opened 750,000 square foot showroom nearby offering aids ranging from walking sticks to cars. It also offers a mobility vehicle hire service.

It has also experimented with electric vehicles, building around 200 so far but the cost of batteries puts a question mark over their long-term viability for a company of Allied’s size. Big car-makers effectively subsidise the true cost of their electric models through their marketing departments, the publicity burnishing their green credentials.

That’s not an option for Allied, whose electric car is roughly twice the cost of a recent Peugeot model. But it wants to be a low-carbon business and is exploring options with manufacturers based on hybrid engines and the use of engine ‘stop-start’ technology. “If a vehicle has lower emissions, is more cost-effective to run and is competitively priced then it will sell. Again, it comes down to our chairmen’s view that we should offer the best product possible in the markets we enter.”

The company has the wherewithal to continue its expansion – a night-shift was trialled over the summer – but it depends on getting the people. To this end it is actively engaged in employment initiatives from engineering lessons for primary school children to taking on school-leavers and modern apprentices and retaining skilled workers.

Allied is a UK success-story that surely Boris Johnson should be happy to hail.

Source: Holyrood Magazine

Read more here:

Helen Chapman, LTPH Interim general manager, said: 

“Currently there are two taxi manufacturers, the London Taxi Company and Mercedes Vitos adapted by One80 Ltd, which have a variety of vehicle models that are licensed.

“Some older models of taxis from other manufacturers, which meet the Conditions of Fitness and are approved for use in London, are the Metrocab and Asquith taxi models.

“TfL is also aware of, and working closely with, a number of other vehicle manufacturers 
that are developing new zero emission capable taxis which will also fully meet the Conditions of Fitness.”

Sunday, November 10, 2013

War Veteran's Funeral Appeal Goes Viral

Harold Percival, a 99 year old veteran from Bomber Command, who was part of the team that supported the Damnbusters raid in WW11, passed away a single man with no close family or friends and was set to be laid to rest on Monday, the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month. 

The funeral directors were fearful that no one would be there at Harold's final laying to rest and so contacted the local paper. A last minute appeal, was put out which has touched the hearts of hundreds of people.  

Fantastic News
We have now been informed that hundreds of people have arranged to attend Harold's service. 

Janet Wareing, a matron at the care home in Lytham, paid tribute to the veteran:"Harold was a lovely character, very strong-willed and independent.

"He was quite a private man, and he loved reading his Daily Telegraph every morning.

"We have already been contacted by military veterans who are intending to come, even though they have never met him. We've been told one group is looking to bring around 200 people to the service, which would be fantastic."

From the ITV news Website

Appeal for guests at war veteran's funeral goes viral

The funeral of a war veteran who died with no close friends or relatives is expected to be attended by service personnel and military supporters after an appeal went viral online.

Harold Jellicoe Percival, 99, who helped with the Dambusters raids during WWII, died last month in a nursing home.

After the appeal by funeral directors for people to "show support for a war hero" many people took to Twitter and Facebook to share Mr Percival's story.