Friday, December 27, 2013

Cambridge Council Plan To End Taxi Over-Ranking, Not with Threats, But With A Feeder Rank.

An end to taxi congestion in central Cambridge could be in sight as a new trial gets under way.



New signs have been installed which allow the rank in Drummer Street to be used as a feeder for the main rank in St Andrew’s Street – where there have long been complaints about cabs causing obstructions by queuing beyond the approved bay.


At first, closing the St Andrew’s Street rank to ease disruption was suggested but more than 600 people signed a petition opposing this, amid fears elderly shoppers could not walk to Drummer Street.


Following this, the feeder plan was drawn up and, while it has been welcomed by hackney carriage drivers, they have warned there is still a need to provide more space for taxis in the city centre – warning that ‘over-ranking’ in Drummer Street could be the next problem.


Cllr Ian Bates, the county council’s cabinet member for planning, said using Drummer Street was a good solution.

He said: “For a long time people have told us they want improvements to the traffic flow and safety on St Andrew’s Street.

“It is one of the busiest streets in Cambridge and is really important to our local economy. Many people visit the city to use the shops and facilities around this area.


“We have listened to what the people here want, and I am pleased we have been able to provide a system that is beneficial for all.”

The £30,000 project, which was supported by 78 per cent of people in a consultation, was funded by the Government.


Taxis will still be available directly from the Drummer Street rank, which can offer a cheaper trip for passengers heading south.



David Wratten, chairman of Cambridge City Licensed Taxis, which represents the trade, said the changes were much-needed – although he cautioned more still needed to be done.


He said: “I’m delighted to see this idea come to life. For a long time we’ve wanted to get a solution to the bottle-necking of traffic in this incredibly busy area.”


At first, the feeder rank is operating on a month-long trial, from 9am to 9pm.

After this, the council and drivers will agree how it should work permanently.


Cllr Ed Cearns, who represents Market, said: “We will need to closely monitor the trial, but the scheme has the potential to make the city centre a better experience for all.”



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Message to The Best Taxi Service In The World, From Sir Peter Hendy.

By now, everyone who used our template to email Hendy and Co will have recieved this reply, posted below.

Not only has Leon Daniels failed to answer any of the questions, he has made a statement which shows just what our licensing authority think of us.

Daniels said "We have in fact identified a small number of cases where, had we issued temporary licences in the absence of DBS checks, it would have resulted in TfL licensing drivers with the types of criminal records that would have prevented them from holding a licence."

Temporary licences are just that Leon, temporary.
Your belligerent stance is causing great hardship to too many drivers, can you not see this?
We are talking about given every driver the chance to carry on working while the checks are made. A system that has always worked well in the past.
It is not the trade's fault that the subcontractors chosen to carry out these checks are woefully incompetent. 

No system is 100% fool proof. If a driver is found to have committed any offence that would prevent him/her being relicensed, then he/she could be denied a renewal. 
Surely common sense?
Innocent until proven guilty, the basis of British law.

Apparently, in Hendy's eyes we are all possible of committing heinous crimes while waiting for licence renewals, not worthy of having our previous good character being taken into account and are all guilty until we categorically prove ourselves innocent.

It seems quite ok for the TfL Commissioner to surf adult websites and dabble with highly paid sextrade workers, yet should a Taxi driver become involved with any form of prostitution, they would have their licence revoked as not being a fit and proper person.

TfL have shown no mercy to drivers and their families who at present, are off work and experiencing serious financial difficulty. 

The man who last year earned more than the President of United States, says he cannot issue you a temporary licence, incase while waiting for the CRB check, drivers commit heinous acts of raping and pillaging. 
This is Hendy's opinion of London's Licensed Taxi Trade?


Merry Christmas Sir Peter. Hope you and Sue can pay your mortgage in January 2014.



Below is Hendy's reply, penned (allegedly) by Leon Daniels. 

Dear Mr Thomas,

 

Thank you for your email to the Commissioner, Sir Peter has asked that I respond on his behalf.

 

I am aware of the impact that the delays in the Home Office’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checking system are having on taxi drivers and understand the difficulties faced by drivers unable to work.

 

TfL and the Mayor have made strenuous efforts at Ministerial level to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. We also took the decision to start issuing license renewal packs to drivers four months in advance of drivers' licenses expiring. Since October, the number of outstanding disclosure applications from London taxi drivers renewing their licences has significantly decreased. The DBS now reports that the number of such applications that have been with them for more than 45 days has reduced by 60 per cent. We will continue to work with the Home Office and the DBS to reduce all the backlogs further and eliminate the risk of taxi drivers not being able to work.  

 

TfL has made the decision that we must be fully aware of a driver’s criminal history before issuing a license, on the grounds of public safety. We have in fact identified a small number of cases where, had we issued temporary licences in the absence of DBS checks, it would have resulted in TfL licensing drivers with the types of criminal records that would have prevented them from holding a licence.

 

I hope you find this helpful.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Leon Daniels

Managing Director – Surface Transport

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Thomas [mailto:thomasthetaxi@googlemail.com
Sent: 19 December 2013 01:06
To: Hendy Peter (TfL)
Cc: Daniels Leon; Gareth Thomas; Navin Shah;Caroline.Pidgeon@london.gov.uk
Subject: Drivers renewals delays, causing financial hardship.




Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Real Dangers Of Cross Boarder Hirings.

Liverpool taxi drivers blast council over out-of-town firms

Cabbies say out-of-town firms are stealing trade from Liverpool drivers and are planning a no confidence vote in licensing bosses.


 Liverpool cabbies are to take a vote of no confidence in council taxi licensing bosses over the amount of trade they’re losing to out-of-town firms.

Hackney and private hire drivers said they were losing up to 70% of their business to firms licensed outside the city boundary, but that the council was not doing enough to crack down on out-of-town cab companies which they said should not be operating in Liverpool.

But the council claimed it was doing its best to enforce against drivers and firms breaking the rules, and Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he wanted customers to use city firms instead of out-of-town firms like Delta.

The council said the law made it difficult to stop firms like Sefton-based Delta from doing business in the city.

On a petition being distributed among the city’s 6,000 hackney and private drivers, the Liverpool Taxi Alliance states: “Our trade morale has now arrived at its lowest, taxi and private hire drivers have lost all quality of family life, some are depressed and suffer stress related illnesses, sometimes up to 80 hours a week to make ends meet.

“It is about time that Liverpool City Council viewed all those taxi and private hire drivers who pay fees ... as honourable custodians of the trade, who deserve help in safeguarding the trade and our jobs.”

Spokesman for the Liverpool Taxi Alliance Jimmy Bradley told the ECHO: “Most taxi drivers are now relying on working tax credits, drivers who are going out of their way to work 50 to 80 hours a week need the government to help them pay the bills.”

He added there were times drivers themselves were having to point out to  enforcement officers what the rules were, and that “the rules seem to be being made up as they  go along.”

A council spokesman said the authority was putting more resources into enforcement in order to protect the trade of legitimate, licensed drivers.

He added: “We are working closely with taxi driver representatives and UNITE to tackle the issues they are concerned about. We have doubled the size of our enforcement team over the  last year and they now work overnight to deal with issues when pubs and clubs close.

"Over the  past two months alone we have issued a total of 78 summons, written cautions and fixed  penalties tickets to drivers found to be flouting the law and carried out enforcement operations in  partnership with Merseyside Police every single weekend in the city centre and at football  matches. 

“The number of hackney ranks in the city centre has been increased, including a double lane  super-rank on Victoria Street which is marshalled at weekends, and we have also improved signage.”

Mayor Joe Anderson added: “We are restricted and constrained by the law in what we can do  but, as far as I’m concerned I want everyone in Liverpool to use Liverpool registered taxis and  private hire companies.”

Paul McLoughlin, boss of Sefton-registered Delta Taxis, said the rules meant that as long as  the driver, vehicle and operator were all licensed in the same borough, they could operate anywhere in the UK.

The firm this year is on target to have taken 10m bookings, double the nearest competitor in the UK and second only to a firm in Singapore.

He added: “As far as we are concerned, the council’s doing a fantastic job, everything the law requires, but it’s the city taxi drivers who want to take the law back 100 years.

“If other firms invested the same in technology and training as we do then they might have the same success.”

Source: the Liverpool Echo.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Press Release : Hyde Park Winter Wonderland will be closed on Monday 23/12/2013 Due to possible extreme weather conditions.


Due to the forecasted severe weather conditions of high winds and extreme rain predicted for London tomorrow, PWR Events and The Royal Parks have taken the decision to close Hyde Park Winter Wonderland on Monday the 23 December for the whole day.


All ticket holders for the Lycamobile Ice Rink, Zippos Circus, Magical Ice Kingdom and the Giant Observation Wheel will be refunded for Monday.


PWR Events are  very sorry for the inconvenience caused, but Hyde Park Winter Wonderland will be open as usual again on Tuesday 24thDecember at 10am .


Posted by Peter Reeves, City of Westminster, Contingency Planning Team

Message sent at December 22, 2013 20:49