Friday, August 01, 2014

More Harassment From TfL. Letter To The Editor.

Dear Jim,
I was totally dismayed to read the article on Taxileaks concerning the driver who was 'detained' in Victoria by a 'Compliance Officer' and subsequently told in writing that he had committed the offence of 'Plying for Hire'!
The letter to the driver from TfL is completely illogical.  Firstly, there is no such offence.  Secondly, he has been found guilty of committing the non-existent offence without an opportunity to provide his version of events.  He has been warned about any 'repetiton' of the offence so therefore, in their opinion, an offence was committed.  To add insult to injury this 'offence' has been recorded on his file.
I find this totally unacceptable and I am pleased to see that the driver concerned is going to take this issue further.  TfL are again making the rules up as they go along and are setting themselves up as Judge, Jury and Executioner.  This goes against all principles of natural justice where anyone is innocent of any offence until proven guilty.
I had a similar, though less serious, incident with TfL recently.  We operate a fleet of 100 plus licensed taxis and from time to time we are contacted by TfL to nominate the driver of a certain vehicle on a specified date, usually as a result of TfL receiving a complaint from a member of the public.  TfL then take up the matter with the driver concerned and rightly so.
I received a letter addressed to me personally concerning a complaint about the driving of one of our licensed taxis.  The letter said that, since I am shown as the licensee of the vehicle (which I am for all of our vehicles) then TfL 'ASSUME' that I was the driver concerned.  I was warned as to my future conduct but no record was placed on my file (I am a licensed taxi driver).  Naturally I wrote back to TfL saying that they had no right whatsoever to 'assume' that I am the driver concerned and this applies to any licensed taxi.  I advised that their proper course of action was to contact the licensee to asertain the identity of the driver first.  

My letter was sent to Palestra recorded delivery so that I could confirm that it had been received.  I believe that Royal Mail did in fact deliver the letter but, funnily enough, it was not signed for so TfL can deny ever having received it and remain unaccountable for their actions.  Needless to say I have never received a response.  I suspect that this is standard practice at TfL with recorded delivery although obviously I have no proof.
I agree with your recommendation that all licensed taxi drivers should join a Trade Organisation that provides legal cover.  In the past this was done to protect drivers from all sorts of 'incidents' that could take place out on the road but now it is essential to protect drivers from persecution by their own licensing authority!  What a sorry state of affairs.

    Name and address withheld 


Anonymous said...

Yet another matter for the GLA enquiry to consider.

For information to those who have received a letter about 'plying for hire'.

1. You only 'ply for hire' when you wait on a rank (a place designated for the purpose) OR if you respond to a hail (found standing the in street).

2. The 'For Hire' light whether on or off is meaningless as you do not have to accept a hiring whilst caught at traffics lights etc. That has been clearly examined in the courts and TfL must know that.

Therefore TfL are incorrect and you MUST write to them recorded delivery stating 'the allegation outlined in your letter dated XX did not occur and I require you either to:

A) remove the letter from my file and confirm in writing that you have done so.

B) place the matter before a magistrate in order that it may be examined.

You therefore have given them the opportunity to correct their mistake or be prepared to prove it.

If they as I suspect do neither then contact your union who will look into taking up an harassment compliant or perhaps even an action for defamation.

If you are not in any association e mail the editor and he will pass on your details in confidence.

Don't be bullied, don't allow false and unlawful information remain on your file.

This is not some kind of Orwellian state where authorities can make allegations and act as judge and jury without challenge.

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LTDA gold member said...
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Editorial said...

All comments appertaining to the post are welcome.

Political propaganda and personal insults should be aired elsewhere, not by anonymous comments on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Now this I don't get!!!

If you are only plying for hire if you are on a rank or stop for a hail, and this driver stopped for a street hail ( the passenger from the coach) then what was the illegal part of the scenario? .....and furthermore what do the law commission aim to accomplish by abolishing plying for hire if taxi drivers are still to be allowed to wait on ranks and stop for street hails (as long as compliance don't witness it) ?

This officer should be facing disciplinary action or retraining since she is clearly unqualified or incapable of completing her required duties satisfactorily.

If we failed to meet the required standard in our duties Tfl wouldn't hesitate to haul us over the coals....and rightly so!!

Would this be answerable in a Foi request?