Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association's Vice General Secretary Speaks Out Against TfL's Refusal To Deal With Über


Click on Steve's Shoulder (not the writing) above and hear Steve McNamara put forward our case against Über.


Steve has obviously spoken to his legal team who are currently preparing legal action against the illegal operation of minicab app Über. 

Again, the real problem facing the trade has emerged and it's coming from our own licensing authority.
TfL are refusing to take enforcement action against Uber. In Steve's words, they are too scared to take on such a big player.

The problem of an impotent government body has to be addressed by the Mayor. But apparently, Mayor Boris Johnson has recently changed his mind and suddenly become a supporter of this billion dollar global company, who will not be paying a single penny in taxi to this country. 

A Mass Demonstration Has Been Officially Announced by LTDA
The LTDA have announced that they will be leading, on behalf of the trade, a mass demonstration designed to bring Central London to a complete halt. 

The action is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, June 11th. 
Time and place to be announced later.
This is the day before the trade is due to meet with the Mayor at City a Hall.

Editorial Comment:
Steve spoke well and seems to be in possession of most of the relevant facts. We need an articulate, knowledgeable spokesperson who can speak for the trade as a whole. The LTDA seem to have finally woke up, but will they really do what's needed to take on TfL.

The big questions on every bodies lips is:
After the national unification of Taxi unions, fighting together against the government deregulation bill, will we see the UTG finally invite the RMT and UCG to join a truely United Trade Group?
Or will these orgs still be excluded?

We need to know before the 11th of June.

Source:





Hendy states live on TV that St. Thomas Street is the councils responsibility not TfL's.



Peter, Oh what a tangled web we weave.

Hendy stated live on @LondonLive powerlunch (sky channel 117, Virgin 159 and Freeveiw 8) that St. Thomas Street is the councils responsibility not theirs...Wrong of course, as it's managed entirely by TfL as a Red Route.


Hendy also try's to give the impression he's just found out about the license renewal delays. "I said to Leon this isn't good enough, if you've paid your money you should get your licence".
Well Peter all you have to do is reintroduce temporary  licences that you personally withdrew!
  
Still it deflects the story and as TfL are concerned, its job done. Let's not forget, this is the man who appeared on LBC saying the reported increase in sexual assaults were the product of a militant drivers blog, even though they were published on TfLs own website.

So let's look back at the last week or so in the cab trade.

The Shard demo went ahead and caused disruption, well done to all who took part or if not able to attend, gave messages of support, with some good sound bites and articles in the papers.

Über (endorsed by Boris) now embedded on Google maps that's on billions of smartphones worldwide. PH are also on the hook here ,no wonder they are asking for our support (after years of undermining us). Imagine the scenario with a certain large minicab operator.

His drivers lease their vehicles from a leasing company and are fitted out with a mobile device for accepting
work, offered by the company. But as far as the company are concerned the drivers are not employees. 

Nothing stopping them then from having Über on their phones and accepting work paid at a higher rate than the company pay. 

Soon the company could have trouble covering some of the accounts they do at a dramatically cut rate.

Now, if they instruct their drivers only to accept company work, would this make them employees... which has big implications.

The taxi apps are also under the same threat. We the working drivers however, can go back to doing what we completed the KOL to do and that is Ply for Hire. 
But to do our job efficiently, what we need most of all are Ranks (100's of them, not just a handful, plus real enforcement).

Virtual Taxi Meters:
Don't lose sleep about the virtual meter issue, the trade could spend many thousands on a court case and the day before Über could just decide to go to another pricing model, what's needed here is the TfL board to instruct Hendy to suspend Über's operating licence until this and many other grey ares are resolved. You don't get your licence until all the boxes are ticked, neither should anyone else.

We need to accept as a trade, that TfL and the Mayor have no interest in our wellbeing. 

We know it must be galling for those trade Orgs that engaged with TfL to realise it was all a carefullyn constructed plan to keep us divided and give us nothing. 

Let's now accept that the UTG negotiated in good faith, but we're let down big time.

It's no good dwelling in the past, we all need to move on, TOGETHER.

So what's to do?

More drive-ins.

More flash mobs.

Picket TfL. 

Picket the Mayor.

Leaflet GLA, TfL Board and Surface panel meetings.

Promote locally, nationally and internationally, a campaign to halt the race to the bottom that is Über.

Use every tool we have to ensure the GLA bring TfL to account, expose the untruths, the inadequate oversight from the TfL board.

Campaign for a stand alone taxi licence authority, well away form the incompetence at TfL.

Talk to your Councillor, MP, MEP and government minister.

Explain to your passengers the dangers for them and their families.

But as the song goes:

"More, than this"....much more than this

UNITE or DIE.

Together we are unbeatable

I'm Spartacus 


Friday, May 09, 2014

The RMT, Unite and GMB issue Joint Leaflet and Petition Campaign Against Deregulation Bill

The RMT, Unite and GMB are making you aware of the serious dangers of three amendments affecting the Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle trade, which the Department for Transport (DfT) have added to the Deregulation Bill at the last minute, with no proper consultation with stakeholders having ever taken place.

Amendment 8 – Allowing anyone with an ordinary driver’s licence to drive a private hire vehicle (PHV) when it is “off-duty”.

• This proposal will make members of the public vulnerable to illegal pickups when the (licensed) vehicle is being driven by an unlicensed driver.

• Enforcement against illegal use would be much more difficult with the local authority having to first prove that the vehicle was being used for hire and reward rather than social and domestic purposes.
• It also increases the potential for a member of the public to be picked up by an unscrupulous individual purporting to be a legitimate driver in a licensed vehicle.

• The DfT quotes London as an example of how Amendment 8 would work. However Police figures show that 214 women were sexually assaulted and 54 raped in the capital last year after getting into illegal minicabs.

• Amendment 8 makes the possibility for illegal pickups, sexual assaults and rape more likely and more difficult to police.

Amendment 9 – Making the standard duration for all taxi and PHV driver licences three years and five years for all PHV operator licences.
• Whilst the vast majority of Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle drivers and Private Hire Vehicle operators are persons of high integrity, it is unfortunately the case that the industry does attract a small percentage of unsuitable persons.

• Although most local authorities impose conditions on Private Hire drivers licences and Private Hire operators licences requiring them to report criminal convictions and changes to medical status within a specified period of time, this is often ignored.

• As a consequence, it is only the annual renewal process which enables the local authority to ensure that licensees have remained fit and proper for the duration of their licence.

• If this was extended to 3 years (or 5 years in the case of operators) a great many unsuitable and potentially dangerous persons would remain licensed for longer, putting the public at greater risk.

Amendment 10 – Allowing private hire operators to sub-contract bookings to operators licensed in a different district.
• The public will lose their right to choose, which operator they wish to travel with because they call operator A who is their preferred choice and operator B turns up.

• The customer may have experienced a whole number of problems with operator B previously. Surely if a member of the public calls a specific operator because they feel that operator is both reliable and safe to travel with then they should get who they ask for. If they wanted to travel with another operator then they would call them in the first place.

• Also by being able to pass jobs from one operator to another, the role of the local licensing enforcement would become impossible because currently only the licensing officers from a licensing authority area have the power to take enforcement action against the vehicle and driver.

• This proposal would result in vehicles and drivers working literally hundreds of miles from their licensing authority, with no controls putting the public’s safety at risk.

What You Can Do To Prevent This!
The RMT, Unite and GMB are asking you to support our National Campaign by asking your MP to remove amendments 8, 9 and 10 from the Deregulation Bill at the Report Stage for the safety and confidence of the travelling public and for the reputation and livelihoods of the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle trade.

A number of MP’s have already pledged their support for our national campaign. I support the RMT, Unite and GMB National Campaign Petition and the lobbying of my MP in this cause.

Uber Drivers, No Criminal Record Checks, No Vehicle Inspection and No Vehicle Insurance: Problem Now Going Global.

Victoria Australia's Taxi Directorate has begun a crackdown on Melbourne Uber drivers, fining them $1700 each for operating a taxi service illegally, with total fines apparently equalling over $50000. 

In response, Uber has shut down its Melbourne service, and has refused to comment on whether its drivers will be compensated.

Uber told them they were providing a legal service.
(Fined Uber drivers could take the company to the state's consumer tribunal: stay tuned!) 

Uber is set to meet with the Directorate next week but it is likely the demands the Directorate will place on Uber drivers, such as mandatory criminal record checks, vehicle inspections and insurance, will make the service in Melbourne unviable. 

Meanwhile, the New South Wales government is awaiting a report to determine if Uber drivers operating in that state are doing so illegally, warning that drivers could face substantial fines if they are found to have been operating in breach of the law. 

In South Australia, it doesn't even appear Uber will get off the ground — the state has made it clear that those who operate as an Uber driver will be driving without being covered by the state's mandatory insurance coverage, essentially de-registering their vehicle and making them liable for fines and license suspension.

And This From The Australian:
 

About 50 Uber drivers have been fined $1700 in crackdown by the Taxi Services Commission

DRIVERS taking part in a controversial ride-sharing service are being hit with fines of more than $1700 in a government crackdown.

The Taxi Services Commission claims Uber, a popular mobile phone app, is flouting the law by putting unqualified drivers on the road.

Commissioner Graeme Samuel said about 50 motorists hired by Uber to taxi strangers around Melbourne had already been stung by inspectors posing as passengers.

“Our principle is going to be that we’ll impose on-the-spot fines to drivers for a limited amount of time and then we’ll go to court and prosecute,” Mr Samuel said.

Customers are able to book a ride through the app and the journey is then charged to their bank account at a rate cheaper than a conventional cab fare.

There has been strong demand for the service during its ongoing Melbourne trial.



Thursday, May 08, 2014

TfL Staff Withdrawal Of Labour, Friday 9th May. Strikers Told Not To Use Their Staff Travel Cards.

Just to prove it's not just Taxi drivers that think TfL aren't fit to administer their trade, TfL's own staff, members of trade unions, will be withdrawing their labour tomorrow.

This is the statement put out by the three unions, Unite, TSSA and RMT  informing there members of the industrial action for Friday 9th May 2014

Colleagues
 Please find attached the notice from Unite of strike action on Friday 9th May 2014.
 
Tomorrow (Friday), there will be pickets at each building hub which are; Windsor House, Pier Walk and Palestra.  

Pickets are to get together by 7am at each building that is nearest or easiest for you to get to from your home.
 

There is a branch meeting tonight Thursday, held at Palestra to commence at 5pm on the 8th floor in the London Bridge Room 8GC1, where there will be banners, armbands, placards unite vests and leaflets.  

If staff plan to attend a picket, they can pick up most of the stuff tonight and take it with them to the building of their choice.  We need all hands on deck so the more that volunteer to go on the picket line the better the turnout of support for the strike.  Everyone will be welcome to attend the branch meeting tonight so please turn up in your droves.
 
If there are too many pickets at the hub buildings they will be asked to picket TfL buildings nearby.  Officers from the RMT, Unite and TSSA will be at sites to assist. 
 
This strike is a joint action taken by Unite, TSSA and the RMT and is official and legal.  You are under no obligation whatsoever to inform your manager that you are taking action to withdraw your labour.  You will be required however to inform your employer that you have taken action following your return to work.
 
If you require further information please log onto tflunionstogether.org
 
My last piece of advice is please consider this action as helping you as your company are presently not cooperating and listening and hence there was no other alternative than to take strike action and action short of a strike.  We did not take having to make this decision lightly and used it as a last resort as have all the other unions.
 
if you choose to use the Tube or buses whilst on strike, please do not use your staff pass and use the transport network as a normal paying passenger.
 
Yours in Solidarity
 
 
Following the pickets which should last no later than 11am there will be a gathering of pickets at Windsor House as this is known as the headquarters of TfL.

London's Taxi Drivers Plan To Cause Gridlock In The City To Protest Against Car Service Über.

Two years ago, Taxi Leaks warned that TfL were not playing the game by the rules. They were acting more like a private corporation, than a government body. 

We posted stories about TfL going against Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Acts when issuing satellite office licenses. They had allowed oversized window adverts on PHVs, operators were being licensed without being in business for the minimum period of one year (former TfL policy), landlines were no long a necessity and more recently, operators were told job destinations were no longer required to be recorded and available for inspection by compliance teams. We also showed time and time again that TfL had stopped enforcing PHV regulations.

We said "Men are coming to kill us" and we advised trade groups to unite to fight a massive offensive from this new form of venture capitalist based opposition.

But, no one listened.
These men are now here and treating London's Taxi trade as their killing field.

TfL have recently dismantled TfLTPH, plus they have also cut ties with the trade by ending their controversial engagement policy.

It is now up to every member of the trade, not just the privileged few, but the whole trade, to unite firmly and take these big guns head on, in a battle for survival.

The apathy and elitism must end as we face stormy water and troubled times ahead.

Too little too late?
The LTDA has recently announce that it will seek a judicial review and take out private prosecutions. Plus the representative groups are planning direct action whic will result in London regularly being bought to gridlock.


Is the Vice General Secretary of the LTDA Bob Oddy's position as a paid employee of TfL's Board compromised?
Should he be asked to choose between the LTDA and TfL?

BELOW, POSTED TODAY ON THE BBC WEBSITE.

London black-cab drivers are planning to cause gridlock in the city to protest against car service Uber.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association complains that Uber's drivers are using a smartphone app to calculate fares despite it being illegal for private vehicles to be fitted with taximeters.


Transport for London has declined to intervene, because it disagrees that there has been a breach of the law.

LTDA now plans to force the issue by holding the action in early June.

"Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners," Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, told the BBC.

"I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL's handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis."

TfL told the association last month that it believed Uber's vehicles were not strictly "equipped" with taximeters since there was not "some sort of connection between the device and the vehicle".

Rather, the app was merely making use of data about the distance travelled and time taken, which was not illegal in itself.


The LTDA says it expects many thousand black cab drivers to take part in the protest
LTDA rejects this distinction and is now threatening to seek a judicial review.

"We have seen no evidence to suggest that Uber London Ltd are not fit and proper to hold a London private hire vehicle operator's licence, but no final decisions have been made whilst Uber's operating model is still under investigation," TfL told the BBC.

The dispute marks the latest in a series of clashes between Uber and the established taxi trade.

The firm is also facing restrictions on its operations in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Sydney and a number of US cities.

Disruptive drive

San Francisco-based Uber describes itself as a "pick-up" service that connects those needing a ride with a background-checked private driver, and takes a cut - typically 20% - of the fee.

It now operates in more than 100 cities across 30 countries, including Manchester where it launched this week.

The firm markets its service as offering "cutting-edge safety measures":

allowing customers to see the name and photo of the driver before they arrive
emailing the route the car should take in advance
letting approved friends follow the journey on a live map

The Uber app allows customers to see how many available drivers are nearby
Fees are based upon data gathered by the driver's app and whether "surge pricing" is in effect because of heavy demand.


The five-year-old firm acknowledges that it can prove a disruptive force.

"Competition in my view is always good for the customer because it makes all of us up our game in terms of quality and service," Uber's general manager in London, Jo Bertram, said.

"On the driver side, we offer a much more flexible model that is very different from the old-school private hire industry, that allows them to work as independent business operators however and whenever they choose."

The LTDA said while the taximeter was the focus of its complaint, it had wider objections to the firm.

"Uber, funded by Google, Goldman Sachs and others, has a stated aim of challenging legislation that is not compatible with its business model," said Mr McNamara.

"This is not some philanthropic friendly society, it's an American monster that has no qualms about breaching any and all laws in the pursuit of profit, most of which will never see a penny of tax paid in the UK."

A spokeswoman for Uber said it rejected this characterisation of its business,

European battles

Other traditional taxi associations are also taking a stand against the firm in Europe:

In Brussels a complaint resulted in a court setting a 10,000 euro ($13,920; £8,205) fine as the penalty for Uber drivers who continued to pick up customers without the necessary licences
Berlin's taxi association has won a temporary injunction against the firm, but has chosen not to enforce the action to avoid the risk of having to cover lost fees if the ruling is later overturned
French operators have convinced their government to propose banning the use of GPS-enabled apps by private car services including Uber. The government had previously made such companies wait 15 minutes before picking up a booking, but the country's Supreme Court ruled the move anti-competitive

French taxi drivers have opposed Uber's service in Paris
Uber does, however, have support from the European Commission.

Vice-president Neelie Kroes has said her staff used the service to "stay safe and save taxpayers money", adding that European authorities should help the firm comply with standards rather than trying to ban it.

"We very much welcome her support and her comments," said Ms Bertram.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Google Maps app upgrade integrates minicab app Uber: TfL Refusing To Act Over Illegal Operation.

The latest Google Maps app update, released yesterday, has integrated minicab app Uber into its functions and features.

The link-up between Google and Uber comes as no surprise considering Google Ventures invested $US257.79 million into the rapidly expanding ride-sharing service last year.

Google outlined the new features on the Maps update, including the integration with Uber, in a statement released on the Google Maps official blog.

“If you have the Uber app installed, you can now compare your ride with transit and walking directions right from Google Maps in some cities. And if you choose the Uber option, you’ll jump right into the Uber app with just one click,” the statement says.

Uber was founded in 2009 and now operates in about 70 cities across the world, including Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia, with plans to launch the app in Perth soon as well.

It has a history of courting controversy in new markets because the taxi industry sees it as a service that operates outside the rules and regulations that bound entrenched operators.

The Uber X app was recently banned by the NSW Transport Department because it did not fully comply with the state’s Passenger Transport Act.

These are the other updates Google has made to its Maps app:

Lane guidance
Offline maps
Business hours information
Public transport schedules
Location saver
Location viewer

London Taxi Trade Take To The Street To Protest Over TfL: Totally Failing London.

Yesterday the taxi trade showed TfL they would no longer be pushed aside. Thousands of united taxi drivers turned up in SE1 to show there utter disgust at the way the trade is being treated.

The day started with Mayor Boris Johnson showing total contempt for Taxi Trade by refering to an illegal minicab company as Uber Taxis. Then Made his way down to the Shard for the opening ceremony. 

Both the police and TfL were caught napping.
Having made our intentions clear over the Shard, they thought they could just block off entry to St Thomas Street and we would just drive off after a few minutes. But it soon became apparent that this would not be the case.
 
Great to see the knowledge students getting involved again.

Plan B went into action and the drive-in destination was changed without warning to London Bridge Station. This completely took the police by surprise and the whole station soon flooded with protesting vehicles, overspilling on to Borough High Street bringing the whole area to complete grid lock.


Police numbers suddenly increased as it became clear they didn't have a clue what to do. They soon made it clear they had received orders to victimise drivers and as we have seen on previous occasions drivers were threatened in an unreasonable manner. Tickets were issued to cabs stuck in traffic and stop notes were handed out. One driver was arrested but subsequently released without charge.


Plan C swung into operation and drivers who had been unable to get to the London Bridge area were directed via social media to make their way to TfL's offices in Blackfriars. It wasn't long before the whole block was surrounded.

Staff are Palestra were surprised when the cavalcade of taxis sudden turned up horns blasting in an unbelievable cacophony of sound. One member of staff from Palestra we spoke to outside said:

Oh Dear Tfl have been caught with their knickers down today. Hundreds of police and Tfl Staff, yet no one had a clue the protest was coming here.

Tfl Bosses must be red-faced. 
As far back as London Bridge there's gridlocked, while cab enforcement police are sitting in the canteen...3 o'clock before they managed to get their lazy arses out on the streets. It was on all radio stations inc BBC
Question of the day "What do TFL's Intelligence unit actually do all day?"

Teachers students religious zealots and foreign nationals have all been allowed to hold demonstrations in Central London, but for some reason taxi drivers are looked upon by the authorities as the bad guys.

TfL's publicity machine went into full swing and TV news reports were either dumbed down or in the case of the BBC, pulled completely.

Spokes person for the UCG Jonathan Myers put it in a nutshell, later last night on LBC's Duncan Barkes show:
TfL are completely out of control. They are acting like a private corporation instead of a public company.
The problem is they have more staff on over £100,000 salary than Barclays Bank. The recent slimming down of the company, which has resulted in redundancies and mass outsourcing of work, is all about saving money, so big bonuses can be paid out the the privileged few.
It's all about the money Duncan.


Personally I was total shocked at the treatment dished out on the street, by an overly vicious police contingent.  This is 2014 Central London and it resembled the streets of Nazi Germany. 

Today after tributes have poured in, both the LCDC and LTDA have announced that more demos, both flash mob and mass drive-ins are being planned.

Yesterday, I was proud to call myself a London Taxi Driver and stood shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues.  

See Stormcabs video on YouTube
Click link below

More photos here:
Click on links.


 

Stop Press:
Latest from the LTDA and LCDC.



Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Latest Shard Taxi Demo News

This is the real reason, they won't give us suitable ranking facilities. Customers are being charged as much as £155 for a £40 Taxi ride.


ITV London news:
Tue 6 May 2014
Cabbies plan Shard protest

The opening of a new hotel at the Shard today is to be marked by a protest by taxi drivers.

The Cab section of Unite the Union says Transport for London is refusing to put a taxi rank near to the building's entrance on St Thomas Street.

The union claims Boris Johnson is not giving taxi services enough consideration as part of the capital's transport network.
Ends.

Editorial Comment:

Mayor Boris insults London's Iconic Taxi Trade:
After insulting the whole of London's Taxi trade by referring to Uber cars as Uber Taxis, on LBC radio, Boris made his way with Seb Coe, to the opening ceremony at the Shard.


SE1 News

Fiona Bruce compered the opening ceremony for the Shangri-La hotel at the Shard this morning.



Tfl statement re: The demo

TfL not happy at trades demonstration and seem to have missed the point. 

Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “We are disappointed that some taxi drivers intend to stage a demonstration today.  

We are aware of the taxis trade’s desire to have a rank closer to The Shard and have recently reached an agreement with the owners of 

The Shard that will enable a single taxi to rank directly outside the building.  In addition a ‘taxi required’ light has been installed enabling The Shard’s concierge to signal taxi drivers on the nearby St Thomas Street rank to come forward and collect passengers.
 
“In the longer term we are working to provide a full taxi rank, and are seeking to identify a suitable, safe location that is convenient for both taxi drivers and their passengers.
 
“There is no need to stage a demonstration and doing so will only disrupt the travelling public, the very people that the taxi trade are supposed to serve. 
 
“I would urge taxi drivers not to take part in this protest and instead use their unique knowledge and skills to help keep London moving.”

Knowledge boys and girls, on their way to join Demo at the Shard.



TFL NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.




Monday, May 05, 2014

Shard Demo: Statements from the UCG and The RMT.

Statement from the  UCG re demonstration at the Shard14:00Hrs 6th May 

      

Dear colleague

Following numerous meetings involving representatives from the United Trade Group (UTG), TfL and the Shard management it has become clear that despite the UTG and Shard management agreeing on a proposed location for a Taxi rank outside the entrance of the hotel, TfL have rejected the proposals and are refusing to allow rank to be sited where the current Minicab drop off/pick up bay is located.

The Shangri La Hotel located inside the shard building is due to open on the day of the demonstration and have recently signed an agreement with Addison Lee. It was recently discovered that they plan to charge passengers up to 4 or 5 times the cost of a journey in a Licensed London Taxi.

This is unacceptable.

Therefore the United Cabbies Group (UCG) fully support the call for a drive in demonstration at 2pm on Tuesday 6th May at the Shard building in St Thomas Street SE1.

We suggest that all drivers that wish to attend the demonstration should head either for the Shard or to TfL's Palestra building on the corner of Blackfriars Road and Union Street.

Furthermore we are delighted 
to announce that all Taxi trade organisations have united to support this action which was called for by working drivers who were repeatedly intimidated by members of staff at the Shard which is Europe's tallest building.

Last Friday following an altercation between drivers and Shard staff members an impromptu flash demonstration was called for on Twitter. The response was phenomenal and within minutes hundreds of angry Taxi drivers converged on St Thomas Street which resulted in the surrounding area coming to a complete standstill.

The Police were called and after liaising with drivers an agreement was reached to temporarily allow drivers to rank outside the building.

This is the power we as a trade hold when stand together, the authorities clearly fear a trade that are united and pursuing a common goal.

However, TfL are stubbornly refusing to grant the Taxi trade a permanent rank outside the building on the red route, despite the fact that St Thomas Street is currently a dead end and will remain so for at least the next 3 years whilst construction work is carried out.

The decision to place the existing rank some 430 yards away from the front entrance of the Shard building is unacceptable, we are disgusted that TfL expect disabled passengers to walk such long distances to get into a Taxi.

The UCG call on its members and all Taxi drivers to support the demonstration and to let TfL know we will not be treated as 2nd class citizens in favour of the PH trade, they are clearly unfit for purpose and we have had enough.

This demonstration against TfL has been long overdue and we hope this is just the start of ALL trade organisations joining forces on regular basis to protect our trade when we need it most.

Please remember to turn on your hire light, wear your seatbelt, remain in your Taxi and follow any instructions from Police officers.

Sherbert Radio, an internet based radio station (part funded by the UCG and operated by one of our new committee members), dedicated to London Taxi drivers will be broadcasting live information from the demonstration so you can receive real time updates. This is a great radio station with some great music, Jamie Owens is a very talented Radio DJ.

See below for information on how to get access to the station.

We Recommend an "App" called Tunein Radio.

iPhone Users go here
itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tunein-radio/id418987775?mt=8

Android users go here
play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tunein.player

How to get Sherbet Radio (These instruction were compiled using Android, As it is the Same App the instruction should be near identical for iPhone users, apologies I do not have access to an iPhone at the time of releasing this email to confirm)

Download and install.

Start the "App"
Press the "Magnifying Glass" at the top right hand side of your screen to search
type in "sherbet radio" (without the quotes) and search
scroll all the way to the bottom of the list (the very bottom of the list)
select Other results: Sherbet radio
a small selection of results are found (in my case it was the first result found) it resembles a Taxi Light.
Select Sherbet Radio
OPTIONS
If you have limited mobile data you can reduce the data use by adjusting the stream you select. The higher the kbps rate the better the quality, the more bandwidth you use. Select what is acceptable for your needs. do this....
Options > Choose stream > (select your bandwidth useage)


You can also follow us on twitter @unitedcabbies

We hope to see you all at 2pm on the 6th May.

Regards

United Cabbies Group.

AND FROM THE RMT:

The RMT London taxi driver’ branch supports any individual that seeks to highlight the hostility and incompetence of Transport for London toward the London Taxi Trade.

However the RMT LTDB propose that any action needs to have the input of all trade unions and other taxi groups to maximise effectiveness and has sought and will continue to seek dialogue with all trade orgs.

It is clear that the current method of engagement with the trade and TfL is ineffectual as rank spaces continue to disappear and when reluctantly appointed are unfit for purpose.

The London Taxi trade is under threat from many quarters and the licensing authority (TfL) appears to be complicit by its inaction, therefore the need for coordination of campaigning by us all is more vital than ever.

UNITY is STRENGTH!