Friday, January 24, 2014

Licensing Fiasco Part 2: Pursuit of the Innocent, Ignoring the Guilty!!! Paul Bond.

Last week a response was received from Leon Daniels on behalf of Peter Hendy further to the issue (or non issue) of temporary licences whilst drivers await DBS clearance or in many cases the arrival of the licence weeks after the DBS (CRB) 'clearance' is received.

See previous post for Leon Daniels reply:

As you can see TfL are having none of it with little justification despite the temporary licence solution working very well in many towns and cities elsewhere.

The reply raises yet again the following issues:

1. Is it innocent drivers fault the police have failed to notify TfL of offences that have ALREADY been committed by a very small number of drivers?

2. The offenders were already licenced when the offences were committed so where is the public protection element of denying everyone else a licence?
Surely anyone can reason that these very few individuals would hardly care about driving a cab whether licenced or not knowing their misdemeanours were coming to light anyhow?
Again only the innocent are suffering.

3.Many TfL staff require DBS (CRB)  clearance, are they sent home (on full pay?) pending arrival of the 'clearance'?

4. There are delays in DBS (CRB), TfL has sub contracted this process out, many other sub contractors are promising and delivering far faster results.
Have TfL gone for the cheapest quote and is it another Cable Car or signalling contract cost fiasco?

5. Even when the DBS arrives, there are still delays in the licence coming out (another sub contractor?), TfL CANNOT BLAME ANYONE ELSE and has again cost cutting led to this?

6. Many innocent, long serving Taxi drivers are officially out of work yet nightly touts and PH vehicle openly flout the law often with the bogus alibi of the Satellite Office with little in the way of enforcement.

7. Birmingham hammer these criminals, impound cars and nick them for no insurance but TfL seem powerless, anyone would think TfL don't want to address the issue in any proper fashion?

The LTDA ad van pursued the Home Secretary on this but seems unwilling to mount a similar campaign over TfL's failings, Why?

Taxileaks can only advise drivers to apply for renewal on receipt of the paperwork, badger their GLA member and MP on this matter and join us for the call for an enquiry by the Transport Committee at Westminster into this and many other issues.

Natural Justice, Innocent until proven Guilty,Human Rights, Respect, Dignity.
All the absolute right of every British citizen.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Licensing Fiasco Goes On...And On...And Jim Thomas

The licence renewal debacle is still ongoing and unresolved.

Telephone calls are not getting through, emails are not be answered and drivers are being denied the right to work. At present, it is almost impossible to contact TfL for licensing queries.

TfL commissioner Peter Hendy, is still refusing to issue affected drivers, some of whom have been off work for many weeks, with temporary licenses as is the practise throughout the rest of the UK.

In a recent message posted on the London Taxi Drivers Forum, United Cabbies Group vice chairman Len a Martin said: 
"If any of our members (who were members when the initial paperwork was submitted) and who have lost earnings due to this mess would email with the details I will compile a list and submit it to our barrister."
It appeares the UCG are looking to take out a class action against TfL.

He also said
 "If any other trade org has members affected and wish to pick up part of the legal costs contact me please and we'll share the cost to go for them. 
This isn't about points scoring, this is about Taxi Drivers Not Being Able To Work Through No Fault Of Their Own."

In a follow up message today Len Martin stated:

I have just left a message on Helen Chapman's mobile and she has offered to assist in my particular drivers case.

BUT this is not going to deal with the issue in general. Stopping drivers working through no fault of their own is unfair

The issue is suspected to be motivational where the people on behalf of TPH, processing this paperwork are disillusioned and demotivated to get the new process right. 
This is not our problem, we never asked for this, we never caused this, we were never consulted. 

This lays fair and square with TfL/TPH to resource this properly.

If it's a motivational thing, thats for TPH management to deal with. If it's resources, then the threat (and indeed implementation of) a class action should focus their attention. 

They simply must ensure they have enough bums on seats to deal with the systems and processes they implement. If not.... DON'T change it.

Taking legal action will help both us and TPH as Mr Daniels will have to find Helen the resources to deal with this. The buck stops with Mr Hendy.

Boris Johnson is just a politician, who will soon be gone, but Hendy/Daniels will not.

We don't want all the grief of having to do this and I'm sure TfL don't want all the grief of whats about to unfold. Lets hope common sense prevails and they draft in some people from other areas of TPHTfL who are capable of processing these documents.

TPH is the hold up, not the D&BS (Disclosure and Barring service). The UCG member informs me all documentation was confirmed correct on 5th Dec 2013 by telephone with TPH.

Below is the reply to the email published on Taxi leaks 2nd Jan 2014. 

Dear Mr Thomas

Thank you for your email to Sir Peter Hendy CBE. I am responding directly to the further issues you have raised.

We fully appreciate the difficult personal circumstances a number of drivers are faced with because of the changes in the DBS Disclosure process and associated delays, and are aware that some licensing authorities in other parts of the country have chosen to issue temporary licences. However, TfL's first and foremost concern has to be the safety of the travelling public and the continued good reputation of the taxi and private hire trades in London and we will maintain our position of not issuing temporary licences.

During the lifetime of a licence, drivers are obliged to inform us of any charges, cautions or convictions. Furthermore, through the Notifiable Occupations Scheme, the police also provide us with relevant information. This provides the safeguard that, in the majority of cases, we can address these matters as we become aware of them and suspend or revoke licences as appropriate.

However, there are occasions when we do not receive this information and which justify our decision not to issue temporary licences in London. Since April 2013, we have identified three taxi drivers who have been refused licences (when renewing) for criminal history issues: two for violence and one because of benefit fraud. All three went to a personal hearing and the decision to refuse was maintained. A further six PHV drivers have been refused licenses: two for taxi touting, one for battery, one for being involved in producing a class B drug and one for driving while disqualified.

Whilst the majority of taxi and PHV drivers that apply for a licence are honest and present no risk to the public, a small number may at any time through the duration of their licence commit offences and fail to inform us. I hope you will understand from the cases outlined above why we are not prepared to take the risk of issuing new licences to drivers, even for a short period, until we are fully aware of their criminal history.

I hope you find this helpful.

Yours sincerely

Leon Daniels
Managing Director – Surface Transport

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Black Cab Blown Up In East End......Video

A London Taxi was blown up today on the junction of Cobb Street and MIddlesex Street in the east end as part of filming for the new series of 24. 

Naturally, a red telephone box and pillar box are in shot alongside the Union Jack bedecked taxi. 

Watch TV magic in action:

   Death of FX4 Fairway N886DMM

   Born Carbodies 04/07/1996...

   Died On a The Streets OfLondon 22/01/2014.

   What a way to go.


TfL threatened to block critical new book that alleges, Green New Buses for London "falling short in their fuel consumption and emission figures, in some cases worryingly"

Boris bus manufacturers threatened to block critical new book

The manufacturers of Boris Johnson's multimillion pound new London bus threatened to prevent publication of a book criticising the design and construction of the vehicles.

Wrightbus complained that photos in the book of loose ceiling panels and broken light fittings, as well as criticisms of the bus's green credentials were "defamatory" and risked "serious reputational damage" to the company.

They ordered publishers Capital Transport Publishing to remove the excerpts from their book Boris's Bus or face "injunctive proceedings to prevent publication of the book."

Solicitors acting on behalf of Wright Bus complained that the book "suggests that there are problems with the design and manufacture of the vehicles."

They took particular issue with one excerpt in the book claiming the buses were "reported to be falling short in their fuel consumption and emission figures, in some cases worryingly."

The excerpts are believed to have been kept in the book, which was written by a number of authors including transport commentator and mayoral hopeful Christian Wolmar.

Transport for London have denied any involvement in trying to prevent the publication of the book.

"At no point has TfL sought to stop the publication of Capital Transport’s book," a spokesperson said.

"Some time ago we were approached by an author, who was keen to write a book on the New Bus for London project, whom we introduced to specialist publisher, Capital Transport.  We also gave the author access to official documents, photographs and designs as well as interviews with officials and other parties involved in the project.

"Unfortunately there were disagreements between the author and publisher and their partnership was terminated. The dissolution of the agreement involved correspondence between solicitors."

Boris Johnson first promised to introduce a new Routemaster-style bus in his first Mayoral election campaign in 2008.

However, the buses have been beset with problems, including breakdowns and oppressively hot conditions.

Earlier this month Johnson joked to journalists that conditions on the buses were akin to a "bikram yoga style sauna".

At least four people have so far also been taken to hospital after falling from the open rear platforms of the bus, according to TfL figures.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

London Taxi Company Announce Their Future Zero Emissions Capable Taxi

The London Taxi Company finally reveals its vision of the future London Taxi; a plug-in range extended electric Black Cab, destined to hits the streets of London in 2018.

The company, part of global automotive group Geely Automobile Holdings, is confident that it has the technology, experience and investment to manufacture and retail a globally-dominant and iconic Black Cab, which meets Mayor Boris Johnson’s air quality ambitions for London.

Vice-President of UK Operations, Peter Johansen said: “Given Geely’s green credentials and their commitment to invest £200m in green taxi technology over the next 5 years, coupled with our own extensive experience and enviable heritage, we feel comfortable that we will provide London with an environmentally-sound Black Cab, which can meet the future air quality demands of our capital city, whilst also delivering a vehicle which is recognised by the general public as a taxi.

“Geely’s investment has allowed us to do what we do best; create purpose-built vehicles. It’s not a van conversion; it’s designed from the ground up to be a London Taxi and will be robust and durable in order to survive the demanding taxi duty cycle.

“It responds to Mayor Boris Johnson's vision for improving London's air quality and the future global environmental challenges. It also delivers against the needs and expectation of the taxi trade and is an evolution of the iconic, instantly recognisable London Taxi that is loved, admired and respected the world over.

“Geely’s investment means that we have the funds and the capabilities required to further improve the eco-credentials of our existing vehicle. It also means that we will be able to fulfil our aspiration to relocate from our Coventry factory to another UK production facility, invest in state-of-the art tooling and further bolster the domestic manufacturing industry and economy through recruitment and global export opportunities.”

Although many details of the exciting new icon are being kept firmly under wraps, the following specification information for the future London Taxi has been released:

    •    A plug-in range extended electric London Taxi
    •    A no compromise, zero-emissions capable Black Cab
    •    Purpose-built to be a taxi (eg not a car/van conversion)
    •    A European Whole Vehicle Type Approved Black Cab
           which meets the London Conditions of Fitness
    •    Front-wheel steer 25ft turning circle
    •    Fully accessible including front-facing wheelchair seating position
    •    New lightweight body structure
    •    Exceptional fuel economy
    •    Lower overall cost of ownership
    •    Outstanding driver comfort and ergonomics
    •    Six passenger seats in rear
    •    Advanced technological driver and passenger features
    •    Evolution of the iconic London Taxi shape
    •    NCAP 5 Safety-rated

The London Taxi manufacturer, based in Coventry, already retails its Euro 5-compliant TX4 across the UK. This vehicle represented a major milestone for the UK firm, as engineers have reduced harmful Diesel Particulates emitted from the TX4 tailpipe to a negligible 0.0005g/km and NOx to just 0.28g/km; representing a reduction of 99% and 80% respectively versus the iconic Fairway London Taxi.

The next version of the TX4 is being developed in tandem with the company’s engine supplier VM Motori. It will be Euro 6-compliant, deliver further emissions reductions and will be available from 2015.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Transport For London Forget Twitter Handle On Social MediaAdvert...#TfLfail.

An innocent observation by a London commuter referring to a slight social media fail by Transport For London has snowballed on Facebook.

Earlier this week Chris Hewitt, news editor for film magazine Empire, noted that TfL's latest poster campaign advertising its presence on Twitter, had left out one vital piece of information.

Following a Facebook share by UK satirical news site The Poke, the tweet has gone viral.

Responses on Facebook to the ill-advised poster range from "Bunch of overpaid idiots!" to "They obviously got lost being caught in the moment forgetting to put on their twitter handle."

And as one irritated Facebook user points out: "It's especially handy when you're underground but can't actually receive twitter alerts until your entire journey has been messed up."

In the same week, TfL announced a public consultation on the Congestion Charge......and published the wrong phone number!
These mistakes must be costing a fortune for the taxpayer in leaflets etc.

Source the Huffington Post.