Saturday, April 05, 2014

Minicabs Take Over New Taxi Rank In Clapham. By Jim Thomas.

Friday the 4th of April 2014, 7pm: 
The new licensed Taxi rank in Clapham High Street went live.
The rank has now been painted out and runs from 7 pm to 7 am. 

But just minutes after the rank went live, it was full of minicabs belonging to the TfL favoured, Greyhound Cars.




As predicted the rank was full of minicab touts for most of the evening, with no visible compliance enforcement from either TfL or the Police. 
West London minicab firm Greyhound cars blocked the new rank and carried on in their usual manner. 

Over the past year or so, compliance officers have been a regular occurrence, checking badge and bills of licensed Taxi drivers using the rank outside Clapham Common Station. Funny, they were nowhere to be found in Clapham last night.


We predicted that this would happen as TfL have shown in the past they have no appetite to take on this company who openly tout outside Embargo's on the Kings Road and have been doing so for many years. 

In the past, successive undercover compliance teams from TfL, have been regularly touted outside. Two years ago licensed Taxi drivers held a demostation outside this venue and violence was used against several drivers. The secretary of the UCG, was held by security staff and assaulted by the clip board Johnny, but no action was ever taken by either TfL or the Police.


Some time ago, former deputy director of TPH, Helen Chapman went to Embargo's with a small delegation from the Law Commission Committee. As they left the club, they were approached by door staff outside in the street and illegally offered minicabs. 

As with other instances of touting regarding officers from TPH, nothing came of this visit and Greyhound Cars can still be found most evenings, openly touting on the Corner of Kings Road and Lotts Road.

Back to Clapham 
After being ushered into a minicab by door staff at Inferno, the daughter of Chris Huhne head-butted the driver in an attempt to fight him off, as he tried to sexually assault her.

Actress Lydia Huhne, 24, was terrified when the man locked the car doors, climbed into the back and began touching her.

She managed to fight him off and screamed at him that she had a knife until he let her out of the car. 

She said she was left ‘retching from shock’ afterwards.
 

How many rapes have to take place before the Police step in to protect the public.
Must we wait till an MP's Daughter in murdered?

Police and TfL are still turning their backs on the safety of the public and are allowing these unlawful practises of illegal plying for hire and touting to continue. Rapes and sexual assaults are seen as just collateral damage.

Last night, Prescott place, completely blocked by minicabs illegally plying for hire and touting at the Two Brewers pub. 

It's time operators had their licenses revoke when drivers who work for them break the terms and conditions of the licence variation. There should be zero tolerance to help stamp out these sexual attacks.

It would seem in TfLs eyes, certain PH operators are:
 * Above the law
 * Get special treatment regarding licence variations
 * Never have compliance contraventions enforced. 

Greyhound cars appear to be just one of these companies.

Photos by StockyCabbie.







Friday, April 04, 2014

John Sheen To Frame Charles £10 Tip For 'Jolly Trip'


The Prince of Wales took a "jolly trip" in a London cab today and the driver described his royal passenger as "a good lad".

Charles tipped cabbie John Sheen, 75, with a £10 note as he pulled up at his final destination.

He was at St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, to celebrate the presentation of the Royal Charter to the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.

So while the Queen is in Rome to meet the Pope in the splendour of the Vatican, Charles spent his morning in the 12th century church with London cab drivers.

As he made his way in, Charles said he had a "jolly trip in the taxi".

Mr Sheen, who has been a cab driver for 45 years, drove Charles from Clarence House and at the end of the journey, he was handed a tenner - the third £10 note he has received from the prince.

He drove a taxi with Charles in the back seat in 2004 on two trips, and was tipped £10 for each journey - and he has the notes framed, he said.

When asked what Charles was like as a passenger, Mr Sheen said: "Fantastic as always."

Adding: "He's a good lad."

Talking about his conversation with Charles as they arrived at their final destination, he recalled: "He said 'John, that was an excellent ride. You did a wonderful job. This is for you'.

"He gave me a tenner."

Mr Sheen said he would get the note framed alongside the other banknotes Charles gave him.

Charles met members of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers who are all professionals who earn their living through the Hackney Carriage trade and include some of London's black cab drivers.

Speaking at the service, Charles praised the cab drivers for their "sound common sense" and the quality of service they provide.

Singling them out as one of the great service providers in the country, he said: "You are an institution. You are one of its great traditions."

Charles also commented on the "extraordinary selflessness" involved in the Company's annual Children's Magical Taxi Tour.

A convoy of over 100 taxis transports chronically sick children and their families to Disneyland Paris for the weekend.

James Cannon, a nine-year-old, who was on the trip last year presented Charles with a picture of Mickey Mouse for his grandson Prince George.

James, who is currently in remission but suffered from eye cancer, said making the presentation was "very exciting".

His mother said she found the event very emotional.

Claire Cannon, from Hullbridge in Essex, said: "I was crying my eyes out. We're very proud of him.

"I didn't think we'd be standing here. He's a lovely boy."

In 2013 The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers were granted a Royal Charter.

The Company is the 104th Livery Company of the City of London, having received Grant of Livery in February 2004.

In 2004 Charles gave a reception for London cab drivers to pay tribute to the charity work that many of the drivers do, including their work helping underprivileged children.

Prince Charles Speach to the Worshipful Company of a Hackney Carriage Drivers.

 
Source: MSN news on line.
With thanks to Glen.

First step first: GLA investigation is on, it's official....by Jim Thomas

From: Jenny Jones 
Sent: 26 February 2014 08:39
To: 'James Thomas'
Subject: RE: Offer of help with illegal cabs.

Hi Jim
Thanks for getting in touch. There's a lot to think about here and funding is probably key to some of it, but political will from the top is probably the main problem ...
Our team is going to sit down and think about a way forward. We'll get back to you asap.
I've copied in Darren, who is our lead on Transport.

               *****************
From: Rachel Carlill 
Sent: 1April 2015 15:19.
To: 'James Thomas'


Dear Jim

I am writing to you on behalf of Darren Johnson AM. 
Darren sits on the transport committee at the London Assembly and has asked me to pass on details of the City Hall contact for an investigation which the committee are going to soon be starting on the private hire trade.

I have asked Laura Warren, Transport Scrutiny Manager at the London Assembly to feed your comments into the transport committee's upcoming investigation into the private hire trade. The investigation is likely to take place this summer with the committee potentially using its July and September meetings to cover issues raised.

Best wishes,

Rachel

Here are also a couple of questions which Darren asked on this issue in 2012.


Illegal Minicabs - Regent Street 
Meeting: Mayor's Question Time 
Date: Wednesday, 19 December 2012 
Reference: Question 2012/4013 

Main question 

Darren Johnson 
What measures are being taken to combat illegal minicabs touting for custom on both sides of Regent Street, opposite Swallow Street, W1B 4QR? 

The Mayor 
Transport for London (TfL) and the TfL-funded Safer Transport Command (STC) in the Metropolitan Police Service are aware of touting on Regent and Swallow Streets. As a result the area receives regular attention from the Cab Enforcement Unit and the Westminster Safer Transport Team in the STC and from TfL's enforcement officers as part of their activity in the West End to deter, detect and disrupt illegal cab activity. The West End is the predominant hotspot for touting. Both plain clothes and uniformed officers are regularly deployed to the area. While TfL and the STC are unable to enforce parking restrictions, as the bus lane on Regent Street as well as Swallow Street are Borough roads (double yellow lines) and are the responsibility of the local authority, they liaise with Westminster about the illegal parking by touts in the area. Westminster Council is aware of the issues in the area and deploy appropriately to deal with this. The location has been incorporated into their intelligence led enforcement which increases the number of visits to the area. Westminster enforce the area through a combination of on-street enforcement officers, mobile CCTV cameras and Automatic Number Plate Recognition.

Illegal Minicab - penalties 
Meeting: Mayor's Question Time 
Date: Wednesday, 19 December 2012 
Reference: Question 2012/4014 

Main question 

Darren Johnson 
Will you encourage TFL to follow the example set by other licensing authorities throughout the UK, such as Cambridge, where last month an illegal minicab driver was fined £110 for illegally plying for hire, and fined £150 and given six penalty points for driving without insurance? 

The Mayor 
TfL itself has not routinely prosecuted or collated information on illegal plying for hire offences given the reasons set out in MQT4012/2012. In London, touting and associated problems are addressed by intelligence led enforcement activities involving the 68 TfL funded police officers in the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Command (STC) and City of London Police. This forms part of the Safer Travel at Night (STAN) initiative which involves a programme of activities including industry regulation and licensing, enforcement and education. Sanctions are kept under regular review to determine what is the most effective and appropriate action and/or sanction in given situations. TfL is currently reviewing its approach to illegal plying for hire offences as part of the joint TfL/MPS cab enforcement strategy.



Thursday, April 03, 2014

Notice 04/14


Taxi fares and tariff update 2014
The Transport for London (TfL) Board met on Wednesday 5 February 2014 and approved a number of changes to taxi fares and tariffs in London.

The changes to the taxi fares and tariffs come into effect this Saturday - 5 April 2014 so you need to have your taximeter updated on this date or as close to this date as possible.
At its meeting the Board approved an increase to taxi fares of 0.7%. 

The Board also approved:

 • An extension of the fuel price extra which would see a 40 pence additional charge for all taxi journeys implemented if London retail diesel prices (as measured by the AA fuel price report) reach the threshold figure of 175.48 pence per litre
 • A charge of £2 for taxis booked using mobile applications, any application software or the internet (an extension of the already existing telephone booking fee)
 • Changes to the card payment surcharge when passengers pay by credit or debit card so that there is a maximum surcharge of £1 or 10% of the fare (previously 12.5%). In addition, in order to ensure compliance with the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 drivers must not charge passengers more than it costs them to accept credit or debit card payments.
 • A reduction of the Heathrow Airport passenger extra from £3.20 to £2.80
 • Approved revised fares for fixed-fare, shared-taxi trips from the
Wimbledon Tennis Championships to different areas of London
 • Delegated to the Managing Director of Surface Transport the authority to approve new, and amend existing, fixed-fare, shared-taxi schemes with a maximum limit of £20.00 for the fares that can be approved
 • The Christmas and New Year extra being automatically added to the taximeter from December 2016

The Board also:

 • Endorsed a review of card acceptance in taxis and supported card acceptance being mandated so that passengers can pay for taxi journeys by credit or debit card in all licensed taxis
 • Requested a review of the Heathrow Airport Passenger Extra and asked for fixed-fares for taxi trips from Heathrow Airport to central London to be further explored
 • Endorsed a review of the date when taxi fares and tariffs are increased and this date being aligned with bus and rail fare increases (January)

Card payment surcharges and card acceptance in taxis

In order to ensure compliance with the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, taxi drivers must not charge passengers who wish to pay for a taxi journey by debit or credit card more than it costs the driver to accept credit or debit card payments.

The regulations cover taxi passengers who pay by debit or credit card and have been introduced following a consultation by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. A copy of the consultation outcome, the regulations and guidance on the regulations are available on the Inside Government website here and more information is available in TPH Notice 15/13.

The maximum charge that can be passed onto the passengers who pay by debit or credit card will now be £1.00 or 10% of the metered fare, whichever is greater. Even if it costs a driver more than £1.00 or 10% of the metered fare to accept credit or debit card payments they cannot charge passengers more than this.

Where it costs drivers less than £1.00 or 10% of the metered fare to accept credit or debit card payments then the amount it costs the driver is the maximum charge that can be passed on to the passenger.

For example if it costs a driver 50 pence to accept credit or debit card payments then the maximum charge that can be passed onto the passengers who pay by debit or credit card is 50 pence.

Fares at Heathrow Airport and London City Airport

The Board considered a request for a new extra charge for passengers taking a taxi from London City Airport to be introduced however, they did not support this and so no extra charges for taxi passengers at London City Airport are being introduced.

In addition to the Heathrow Airport extra being reduced the Board also asked for this extra charge to be reviewed and recommended that it be removed

completely. A review of this extra charge will be conducted in 2014 with the intention that any further changes are submitted to the Board for consideration at its meeting in September 2014.
Christmas and New Year extra

From December 2016 the Christmas and New Year extra must be added to the fare automatically by the taximeter. The reason for choosing this date and not making the change sooner is that from October 2016 there is a statutory requirement that all taximeters must be certified to be compliant with the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID). This requirement will involve changes being made to some taximeters and, in some cases, additional testing being conducted and new approval from TfL or BSI being required.

As there is a statutory requirement that all taximeters must certified to be compliant with the MID from October 2016, it was felt appropriate that both changes should be introduced at the same time to avoid increased costs as a result of making changes at different times and also avoid higher costs being passed on to drivers and then ultimately passengers.



Helen Chapman
03 April 2014 Interim General Manager
For previous TPH Notices visit tfl.gov.uk/tph London Taxi and Private Hire


Just As Trade Looks Like Uniting Over The Rank At The Shard, LTDA Seemingly Pull The Plug On The Ad Van...by Jim Thomas

Full unity doesn't appear to be on the cards just yet, but spurred on by the success achieved by the RMT ranks team in obtaining a GLA Transport Committee review into the running of TfL, some of our other representative orgs have become more active towards the major problems of illegal plying for hire and touting. Problems which have now reached epic proportion.

The LTDA AdVan has, over a number of days, been seen parked outside certain venues where touting has been most rampant. 
One of the places the AdVan has been seen, is the loading bay outside the Shard in St Thomas Street, where heavy touting can be openly observed, nightly.


The only enforcement that has taken place at this site has been in the form of compliance officers who have bullied and intimidated licence Taxi drivers, picking up from the loading bay area, in front of the Shard entrance.

Taxi drivers have been working the Shard for sometime, where a busy stream of customers can by found leaving the buildings restaurants and bars, till the early hours. 

As St Thomas Street in part of TfL's red route network, a request for a rank was made and accepted. But to everyone's amazement, the rank was placed a considerable distance down St Thomas Street. In fact, it appears to be closer to Borough Market than the Shard.

Complaints were made on serval occasions, but to everyone's surprise, a senior manager from TfL (Leon Daniels) became personally involved, insisting the rank should stay exactly where it's been placed.



Many in the trade feel TfLs involvement is another attempt to facilitate a PH company, something that appears to be happening far to frequently. 

The satellite office's drivers, are alleged to be touting outside and inside the Shard on nightly basis. It's alleged the licence holders are London Executive, who have just been taken over by Addison Lee.


Yesterday a meeting was convened with the Taxi trades joint ranks committee (LTDA, LCDC and Unite), TfL and the Shard management. 

Talks broke down when the property management team back by TfL insisted the Taxi rank should remain where it is. The Joint ranks committee left the meeting with a promises of a mass drive in on the 6th of May. (Date set for the buildings Hotel public opening)


Unfortunately as we were putting this article together, reports have come in from our twitter feed, allegedly, the LTDA are likely to distance themselves from any protest to take place and consequently the AdVan driver has now been relieved from duty.


Is this a price LTDA members are willing to pay?

The LTDA's vice gen sec Bob Oddy, is on the board of TfL, but has always stated, he does not represent the LTDA or the trade on the board. He says he is just a paid advisor on transport to the Mayor. 
I once received a letter from his personal solicitor explaining his position.

If this really is Oddy's position....then why are the LTDA seemingly bottling it at the Shard?

Seems to be an amnesty for this company's cars, frequently parked with two wheels on the pavement.
Any one else could expect a PCN from the red-route network.


STOP PRESS, BREAKING NEWS: 

AND THE STORY GOES ON!!!


But one day after meeting with TfL and Shard, Oddy puts the Advan behind bars


Again, is this what LTDA members pay their subs for?




Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MetroCab To Be Trialled In London During Summer 2014...by Chris The Cabby

It's amazing how quickly some people can change their mind. In just a few weeks we see opinions go from: 
"A complete green dream these politicians have, that don't live in the real world"

And

"They haven't ask one Taxi driver. They've turn up here today and said this is what you want, well no ones asked me"



 


Then low and behold, six weeks later, after being invited to a day out and a jolly up with the "lads", opinions completely changed to...
"I'm a great fan of electric vehicles, I think it's the future."
And
"It's like nothing that I've experienced before and I was just so impressed."
And
"I think with the MetroCab it gives the trade in London, a future".



 
Least We Forget:
These vehicles have absolutely no durability testing as of now. How good will the electric power train be after 2 years or 5 years?
Who is going to gamble £50k and find out?

Leading OEMs like Toyota have spent 20 years or more and billions of pounds developing their electric vehicle technology and experienced huge problems along the way, some of which have resulted in serious problems and massive recalls.

Fancy a gamble with your entire livelihood?
Guess who picks up the bill if it does go wrong?
You can guarantee it wont be Boris; he’ll be long gone.

With thanks to Dave Davies.


Editorial Comment
Yes, the MetroCab was always going to be a quieter drive, you don't need an NVQ in engineering to work that one out. It was also going to be smoother ride than a TX4. But then so would a ride in a Toyota Prius.

At around 50k with a huge question mark over the reliability of the battery pack modules, this could be the biggest gamble you could make.

The range quoted by Fraser Nash sounds fantastic but, batteries do not run at optimum performance for the duration if their life. Batteries only have a finite recharging life span.  Just think about a new mobile phone and how you get less charge as the months go buy. 

Surprisingly, the first ever mechanical Taxis in London were electric. 
The Bersey was known as the “Hummingbird” from the sound of the Taxi and the yellow and black livery. 

The electric Taxi was launched at a South Kensington motor show in 1896 and first appeared on the streets in 1897. As a publicity stunt, they took part in the London to Brighton race. But because of their limited range, spent most of the 60 miles on board a train and only appeared at the start and the end of the race.

On the streets of London, the vehicle would work until the batteries became low, then return to the re-charging stationBatteries were then replaced using a hydraulic lifting system that took just 2-3 minutes.

 Electricity was expensive to generate so the company started producing their own at great expense.

However, after 6 months of use, the noise and vibration escalated. Vibrations damaged the delicate glass plates, the tyres wore out incredibly quickly given the 2 tonne weight of the cab. Breakdowns were frequent. Horse drawn cabs were often faster as well.

Two years after their debut the Bersey taxis disappeared from the roads. Taxis were not the only vehicles Walter Bersey designed. He designed a range of private electric vehicles but none are know to have survived.


In our opinion, the technology as it stands today, is not suitable for a modern Taxi trade. 

Other Green News: 
By transport correspondent Glen Alutto.

Boris has announced funding for new police vehicles.
The design is said to be a consequence of the all new Ultra Low Emissions Zone.


Plus TfL compliance officers are to get new zero emission vehicles.


Also before purchasing an electric vehicle, Taxi drivers should first consider the health risks associated with sitting on top of a battery power pack, emitting an electro magnetic force field for 8 to 10 hours at a time.

What you let your family live under an electricity pylon? 
Of course there will be reports that these power packs are safe, just as many years ago, we were told smoking is good for you.

But do you want to gamble with your health?




Tuesday, April 01, 2014

High Court rejects driver’s claim that U-turn sign flawed


A driver who argued he should not have been fined for a prohibited U-turn because he actually performed a three-point turn has lost his case at High Court. Alexis Alexander’s initial appeal was rejected by adjudicator Anthony Chan at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS).

Alexander went on to challenge the decision, but it was upheld by the reviewing adjudicator Andrew Harman. Alexander then gained permission to seek a judicial review, which was heard on 7 March. The case centred on the penalty charge notice (PCN) issued to Alexander by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham after he was filmed on CCTV carrying out a three-point turn in Gliddon Road.

Alexander said that ‘No U-turn’ signs in the area were poorly positioned, making them hard to see. He also contested that, in any case, the ‘No U-turn’ street sign (above) indicated that a continuous sweeping manoeuvre was prohibited whereas he had driven across the road, reversed then moved forward again in the opposite direction.

The judicial review was heard by Judge Keyser QC, who dismissed the claimant’s view that the ‘No U-turn’ sign did not apply to three-point turns. The judge said that Alexander’s “reliance” on the single forward movement of the black directional line on the sign “seems to me to take pictorial literalism to an absurd length”.

Judge Keyser doubted that a “motorist interpreting the sign reasonably” would think it applied only to a “paradigmatic” U-turn and not to a three-point turn.

The judge said he hoped Hammersmith & Fulham council would consider if there was any way it could improve its signage. “Even if information given to motorists is adequate, that is not to say it might not be improved,” said Judge Keyser.

The decision sets a precedent, and in future adjudicators will be bound by Judge Keyser’s findings.

Source: TransportExtra.

AquaCabs...By Transport Correspondence Glen Alutto.


Addison Lee, the UK’s biggest minicab company, and certainly a popular choice for London travel, has commissioned a team of automotive experts to design and develop a new amphibious minicab – the AquaCab – for use on the River Thames. 

Engineers at UVuLab, the University of Venice’s Urban Transportation Laboratory, have been testing a number of prototype vehicles on the Venetian lagoon since January. Their fully-fledged ‘Addphibious’ concept car will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show later this year, with production models scheduled to enter service in summer 2015.

The AquaCab will dramatically cut east-west journey times across London during rush hour, and is expected to be popular among Addison Lee’s corporate customers, many of whom need to travel regularly between central London, Canary Wharf and City Airport. It is estimated that the AquaCab will be able to link Westminster with South Quay in just nine minutes – a trip that can take up to 35 minutes by road.

The new vehicles will be fitted with custom-designed nautical navigation satnav, an advanced gyroscope system for smooth travel on rough waters and will be partially solar powered. As well as expanding its Driver Diploma with a new Seafarer’s Qualification, Addison Lee will also be producing a special waterproof version of its Add Lib magazine for use in the vehicle.

The project was inspired by London Mayor Boris Johnson’s desire to promote use of the Thames for a wider range of commercial and leisure purposes. “The River Thames plays an integral role as both a key artery for commuters and a wonderful avenue for tourists too. We are… looking to the future with plans to build further new piers and to expand existing facilities, remaining on course to reach 12 million passengers travelling on the Thames by 2020,” he said.

Liam Griffin, CEO of Addison Lee said; “The AquaCab is the latest in a long line of innovations from Addison Lee – from SMS booking confirmations to iPhone apps; we always aim to be first to bring Londoners the latest technologies.

“Throughout history, the Thames has played an important role in helping Londoners move around the City, so developing an ‘Addphibious Vehicle’ was a logical evolution of the Addison Lee success story.”

Monday, March 31, 2014

'Heathrow City' plan if airport moves from west London

Some Heathrow terminals could be turned into shopping centres

A new city with 190,000 homes and thousands of jobs could be created if the hub airport moves from Heathrow in west London, Mayor Boris Johnson said.

The Heathrow City plan envisions the future if the Airports Commission rejects plans for a third runway and opts for a new hub at Thames Estuary.

Labour say the plans would "wreck west London's economy" and the Greens warned about the estuary's environment.

The Airports Commission will rule on the estuary option later this year.

Global real estate advisers Jones Lang LaSalle created the options for the report, unveiled by the mayor, looking at the Heathrow site after the hub moves by 2030.

'More misery'
The plan envisages a new residential quarter which could be created given the transport facilities and says some of the terminal buildings could be used for retail and community use.

Two new large campus universities created at the Heathrow site is another option.


The Greens are worried about the environmental impact on the Thames Estuary
Saying Heathrow's expansion will lead to "more misery", the mayor added: "I believe there is no question that the best option for increasing our aviation capacity is now to the east of London, just as there is no question that Heathrow would then present a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a new town within the capital that would supply thousands more homes and jobs.

"Londoners should be in no doubt, if Heathrow is allowed a third runway, it will be rapidly followed by a fourth, as airlines move out of Gatwick to take up the new capacity."

Dr Onkar Sahota, Labour London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon, said: "His plan would wreck west London's economy and create economic chaos for my constituents.

"We do need to make sure that Heathrow works for local residents, this means no 'mixed-mode', no additional night flights and different flight paths to reduce noise," adding that local pollution also needed to be tackled.

London Assembly Green Party Member Darren Johnson said: "The only credible solution is to reduce the total number of flights and not build new airports or new runways.

"What is the point of building a huge airport in the Thames Estuary flood plain and expanding the total number of flights and climate change emissions?"

The Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, will make its final recommendation on airport expansion in summer 2015.

Source: BBC News

End of tax discs will make it harder for councils to challenge appeals...by Deniz Huseyin


The scrapping of road tax discs on 1 October will make it harder for parking authorities to confirm that a penalty charge notice was issued to the right vehicle, according to Helen Crozier, Oxfordshire’s civil enforcement manager.

She warns that without the paper discs it will be hard to check whether or not a vehicle has been cloned. At present the unique code on the tax disc offers evidence of the vehicle’s identity.

“This could have a big impact at the appeals stage if appellants claim that their car has nothing to do with the PCN,” said Crozier. “In those cases the ticket might be cancelled by us before it goes to appeal or by the adjudicator if we cannot get definite proof.”

As an alternative to photographing the tax disc, civil enforcement officers might be able to check the VIN (vehicle identification number) by scanning the barcode on the windscreen, suggests Crozier. “But due to data protection issues, we might not be able to do this. Besides which, if a windscreen is replaced it will have a different barcode.”

Also, the cost of reprogramming handhelds to scan barcodes might be prohibitively high, said Crozier, who is president of the British Parking Association (BPA). She said the most likely way of dealing with the change was for CEOs to take more photos of a vehicle, to capture identifying marks and any permits or stickers on windows.

Crozier’s concerns were echoed by Mandy Ainsworth, Worthing & Adur’s parking services manager, who said: “I think the biggest problem for us is not being able to identify some disabled motorists through their tax exempt discs. This could roll on to bailiff enforcement where disabled motorists could be clamped and the car removed when the exempt tax disc would have alerted bailiffs to the motorist’s disability.

“It will also lead to an increase in complaints about CEOs issuing PCNs from around the corner or behind a bush. At the moment, the fact that they record the tax disc details eradicates this accusation.”

A DVLA spokesman said: “We understand the barcode [on the windscreen] relates only to the VIN and not to any information held by DVLA. I can confirm that over the coming months we will work closely with parking authorities to understand how this change affects working processes.”

Kelvin Reynolds, the BPA’s director of policy and public affairs, said: “We understand entirely why the DVLA wants to scrap the paper tax discs, with all its costs and distribution issues but the government must understand that it can’t make these kinds of announcements arbitrarily and without thinking about the wider implications.

“Parking people use the unique references on a tax disc for a variety of reasons including: reporting potentially cloned vehicles; ensuring that vehicles are properly registered when drivers apply for residents parking permits; helping to identify untaxed vehicles; and it helps with fairer parking enforcement. We have asked the  government to work with us to resolve these concerns and ensure that the withdrawal of the tax disc doesn’t have unintended consequences.”



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Not Happy With The Way TfL Are Running Taxis And Private Hire


Not happy with the ease that operators receive satellite office licences, even after impropriety has been proven?

Unhappy with senior TfL managers getting involved with the placement of new Taxi ranks?

Disgusted at with the way TfL treat your trade with bias. A trade with over 370 years of history and tradition? 

Unhappy with the new system of licence renewals where drivers are placed in a position which sees them out of work for weeks and sometimes months on end?

Unhappy that a smartphone app has been given a PH operators licence, even though it is under investigation for illegal practises, while licensed Taxi drivers are refused temporary licences while waiting for renewals?

Not happy about the wholesale subcontracting out of licensing responsibility from TfL to private companies?

Are you extremely worried about TfL's attitude, regarding enforcement of PH's compliance to licensing terms and conditions?.....

We had a great set of questions as a comment on the previous post, regarding the sub-contracting out of work previously undertaken by LTPH staff.  I will just reiterate:

Questions That Demand Answers 

*  Do LTPH have an audit and compliance manager. 

*  How are records kept and stored, securely ? 

*  Are they being monitered correctly. 

*  Are the existing and new telephone staff trained in data protection requirements and protocols ? 

*  Who in TFL checks what they are doing ? 


Would you like a parliamentary review of the way TfL is run?

Here are the email addresses of the Transport Select Committee. Why not email them and ask for their help. 

Transport Select Committee:
 Louise Ellman (Chair) louise.ellman.mp@parliament.uk
Sarah Champion sarah.champion.mp@parliament.uk
Jim Dobbin dobbinj@parliament.uk
Jim Fitzpatrick jim.fitzpatrick.mp@parliament.uk
Karen Lumley karen.lumley.mp@parliament.uk
Jason McCartney jason.mccartney.mp@parliament.uk
Karl McCartney karl.mccartney.mp@parliament.uk
Adrian Sanders sandersa@parliament.uk
Chloe Smith chloe@chloesmith.org.uk
Graham Stringer stringerg@parliament.uk 
Martin Vickers martin.vickers.mp@parliament.uk


These members of the Transport Select Committee,  are elected to serve their constituents as well as anyone who their government posts effect. 

They are public servants and its their job to see that others within the transport industry (or the running of it) are doing their jobs correctly .

With thanks to Les Hoath.