Saturday, July 05, 2014

No More Mr Nice Guy, Time To Fight Fire With Fire.

So Emmerson wants to play the wide boy using the 1934 Cab Act, yet refuse to use the PHV Act of 1998 to curtail the illegal activities of rogue operators and drivers.
TfL's priority is political, licensing is a secondary function.

The idea of receipt pads pointing out our general grievances has been talked about on the forum and also on social media for some time. 

This could be self-financing and can be arranged very easily. Once printed, the pads could be made available from the usual outlets such as shelters, canteens, taxi ranks centres and garages.

We would need to have several different topics:


Sack Boris: We could even start up an online campaign like the one he financed back in 2008. 

Minicab related Sexual assaults 
Back in 2010, on LBC, Peter Hendy refused to acknowledge a 54% rise in the number of minicab related sexual assaults and rapes, even though the figures were taken from TfL's own website. He wrongly said the figures were the result of a militant Taxi Blog

Both the police and TfL see these attacks, presently running at 25 per week, as collateral damage and refuse to enforce the PHV Act 1998.
Illegal plying for hire and touting, are now commonplace and completely out of control.

TfL a criminally incompetent government funded body.


Sir Peter Hendy, who orders up prostitutes on line, l
ast year took home over £600,000. 
That's over four times the Prime Ministers £142,500 yearly salary. Currently, over 300 staff at TfL earn over £100,000 annually. 

Married Bus Boss Hendy bedded hooker during the Olympics run up then got knighthood.
The £140 an hour hooker claimed Boris Johnson's transport chief paid her for sex behind his wife's back during a nine month fling. Rachel Grundy said she had weekly sessions with Sir Peter Hendy. She said "he'd take me for dinner, then we would go somewhere and have sex". (Taken from The Sun Newspaper)

The corrupt "Taxi Age Limit".
Introduced by Mayor Boris Johnson, this project saw thousands of taxis replaced by more polluting vehicles.

There followed a dramatic shortage of vehicles for rent and many older drivers, who did not wish to invest nearly £40k to work just a few days a week, were thrown on to the scrap heap. Some drivers were offered short extensions if they promised to retire after plate ran out.

Scandalously, many old fairways made there way to bus companies to be used as cheap run-arounds.

Worst of all, some old TX1s and FX4s are being used by unlicensed drivers, as the current law allows both PHVs and Taxis to be sold on to anybody, fully licensed. Expired plates on older cabs have been reported by drivers on twitter.


TfL's Bus KSI Statistics
The disgraceful safety record of London buses and the statistics of how many people the atrocious operators of buses kill and injure in the capital each week...
Approx 66 Bus related collisions daily
Approx 2 pedestrians knocked down daily by bus
Approx 1 cyclist/bus collision every other day.

One person a day has been killed or injured in incidents involving London buses in the past five years, Transport for London (TfL) figures show.
(Figures up to Nov 2013.)

25,000 cab drivers putting this information directly into the hands of the general public and business people from all over the world.

This is the kind of action that will get a response from Boris... this is the sort of information that will light a fire under Emmerson's backside from above.


Let's take off the kid gloves and start punching our weight. 

Then we will see who the wide boy really is !!! 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Notice 06/14, From Your Caring, Sharing, Unbiased, Licensing Authority.


Unauthorised Signage On Taxis.

It has recently come to our attention that some taxi drivers are choosing to  display stickers or printed papers in their vehicles which include use of the Transport for London (TfL) roundel (which is an unauthorised use of a registered trademark) and which may state the driver’s negative opinions about taxi and PHV apps.

The London Cab Order 1934 paragraph14 (l), states the licensee shall not, otherwise than in accordance with the directions of TfL, cause or permit any object, or any printed, written or other matter to be displayed on the outside or inside of the cab, or be presented to any passenger by way of advertisement.

Drivers and owners of taxis are able to place advertising and other material on their taxis as long as it meets the TfL taxi and private hire guidelines for advertising.

Anyone wanting to display or provide any printed or written material (including advertising or other signage) on the inside or outside of their vehicle or to passengers, which does not meet the advertising guidelines, is required to seek prior approval from TfL before doing so.

Additional information and guidance for drivers and owners regarding stickers and official signs in licensed London taxis is attached to this Notice.

In light of the above, TfL requires that all drivers/owners remove all unauthorised objects, printed, written or other matter from their taxis with immediate effect. The licence of any taxi found to display any such material that has not been authorised by TfL may be liable to suspension or revocation.


Garrett Emmerson 
Chief Operating Officer, Surface Transport 
Transport for London 
4 July 2014

EDITORIAL COMMENT: by Jim Thomas

The above notice is a blatant attempt to intimidate Taxi drivers. TfL have made no attempt to stop PHVs advertising unauthorised signage on their vehicles and so far have not made threats of this nature towards them.

Let's hope that TfL notice 07/14 will be the one that reminds PH that advertising themselves in hospital waiting areas as Taxis is illegal. Or using signage in their operating centre with the word Taxi attached is a contravention of the PHV act 1998.

And how about the wealth of misleading advertising on the Internet Garret? Just type into Your search engine "London Taxi" and see what results you get;


These are paid for placements...do you threaten these companies with the revocation of their licenses Garret, or is it just Taxis you threaten?



Also Garret I would like to draw your attention to the attached booklet which comes with this notice

Guidelines for Advertising on licensed London Taxis and
Signs on licensed London Private Hire Vehicles 

11.4  No signs are permitted on the sides of PHVs.

Is this legally enforceable?
As I seem to be seeing many PHVs running around with door adverts of late.

Is this just another case of one rule for us and just guidelines for them?

In the past, before the wording text was changed, when we complained that PH were using back screen adverts bigger than the prescribed area allowed, we were told that this TfL policy was not in fact a rule or legally enforceable and that it was just guidelines.

Are we then to take it that when it comes to PH, their livery/unauthorised material indiscretions, are only covered by guidelines, yet with Licensed Taxis, liveries/displaying of unauthorised material is legally enforceable by revocation of vehicle licence?

We wait with baited breath for the publication of TfL notice 07:14.
  1.  



Thursday, July 03, 2014

LCDC Meet Private Hire, But Refuse To Meet RMT/UCG. UTG Say Demo AboutUber Not TfL...by Jim Thomas

It's been confirmed that a series of meetings took place yesterday between the LCDC, Unite, The LTDA, Simon Hughes MP and Steve Wright Chairman of the LPHCA. 



When asked if the RMT, UCG or HADTU were invited to these talks, we were told they were not.

Last Month, many thousands of London Taxi drivers gave up their time and made a special effort to show solidarity, in what they were led to believe was a United Trade effort to demonstrate against the incompetence of our licensing authority, TfL.

Indeed, banners were produced exclaiming the fact "Totally Failing London".

Both before and after the demonstration, there was plenty of brave rhetoric issuing threats of regular demonstrations.

But it seemed the message was lost and the threat of further action dissipated. Media coverage did not include our grievances with TfL and the misleading message went out that we were indeed protesting against a certain smart phone app.

When questioned why members of the UTG met with the Private Hire industry, we were told by the LTDA and Unite that no such meeting took place between them at Taxi House.



Although earlier in the day we had this tweet from Grant Davis Chairman of the LCDC.



After the trade had been promised unity,  the LTDA proclaim that with 10,000 members, they don't need anyone else and can "Go it alone". 



Pre-demo their was meeting between members of the UTG. The representative from Unite wanted to arrange dates for subsequent meetings, but Unite alone, as the LTDA refused to give assurances for another demo. The LCDC voted to back up the LTDA.

It now transpires that the theme of the protest has been completely changed by the United Trade Group (UTG).  We are now told that the demonstration and any further demonstration will not be about TfL's incompetence but will be aimed at Uber. 

This is the line the UTG want to pursue. 



Unfortunately the trade has again been sold down the river by those who purport to represent us. We were informed through the medium of Twitter by a member of the general council of the a LTDA there is no question of full trade Unity.


TfL/Uber High Court Action Delayed By LTDA Court Cases

The decision by the LTDA to start legal action against drivers working for Uber has derailed Transport for London’s efforts to obtain a high court ruling on the legality of the service.

TfL’s board was today told that the issuing of summonses by the London Taxi Drivers Association will prevent the court from considering the issue as it cannot intervention where litigation is underway.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport, told the board that the summonses would be heard by magistrates whose rulings aren’t binding and would almost certainly be appealed.

Although it was likely those appeals would eventually end up in the high court, Daniels said it would take “some considerable time” for this to happen.

Sounds like another sell out. This definitely looks too much of a coincidence.

    Information from Twitter and MayorWatch.co.uk





Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Sometimes A Picture Paints A Thousand Words. East London Cabbies Trip To Maldon


It was fantastic for West Ham Uniged a Football Club (@whufc_official) to allow drivers to use their facilities at such short notice.


Excerts From Points of light. 
There are heroes whose names we never hear
A dedicated army of quiet volunteers


Reaching out to feed the hungry
Reaching out to save the land
Reaching out to help their fellow men.


There are dreamers who are making dreams come true
Taking time to teach the children there's nothing they can't do.


Giving shelter to the homeless giving hope to those without.
Isn't that what this land's all about.

Editorial Comment:
Another great day for the "Army of quiet volunteers".
It was fantastic for the Mayor of Maldon to not only welcome the procession of taxes, but he also took the trouble to welcome every driver and every child.

A big thank you to everyone who make this day so special.



    Words from Randy Travis, Points of Light.


TfL Internal Staff News Letter July 14: One Out, All Out.


A further day of strike action has been called for all members (Bands 1-3) of TSSA, Unite and RMT: 25 hour strike commencing at 06:00 on Thursday 10 July 2014, finishing at 07:00 on Friday 11 July 2014.

We are co-ordinating with a national day of action across the Public Sector co-ordinated by the Trades Unions Congress. We all work for the benefit of the public, delivering vital services for the people of Britain.

On 10 July, we can join together with other colleagues under attack from these politically driven cuts. You don’t get quality services without quality staff!

Support for our action continues to build. This week PCS announces the result of its industrial action ballot, and Unison is also balloting its members in TfL.

We also continue to take action short of strike. This includes non-participation in P&Ds, not working over your hours and not volunteering as a Travel Ambassador.

Our action is lawful industrial action approved by union members through statutory ballots.

The solution to this dispute is simple. TfL management need to come to the table and engage in meaningful consultation and negotiation; they need to work WITH staff not AGAINST them.

Together we are sending that message loud & clear. Together we can make them listen.

OUR ACTION IS BITING
Some managers are claiming that our industrial action is not having an impact – but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

This is a well-worn tactic used by many employers to try and discourage union members from supporting industrial action. If the strikes and action short were not having an effect, why would they care whether you choose to take part?

Don’t let management mislead or intimidate you. The facts are:
* More people took part in the second strike than the first.
* We had more picket lines, and more people on them.
* This time will be even bigger and better!

Please encourage your colleagues to join a union if they are not already a member, and to join our strike on 10 July.

WHERE'S TRICIA RILEY? 



HR Director of the Year, Tricia Riley, has not been seen at talks with the Unions for over a year.

Tricia won her award for developing TfL’s “people strategy”.
Is this the same brilliant strategy that cuts people’s pay & pensions and has led to 3 strikes?

Tricia says she has a good relationship with the Unions – “It is about finding common ground and gaining mutual respect”. We agree, so come on Tricia, back up your words with some positive actions: Get round the table and help sort out a deal.

Agency workers – why you should support our action

TfL now hires most new staff in Customer Experience via worthless agency contracts. Agency staff have no rights and can be subject to bullying, mistreatment and instant sacking.

Most agency workers in Customer Experience have their pay linked to the very lowest Band 1 rate. TfL now want to cut this rate by £3500 a year. Both permanent and agency staff will suffer. Can anyone afford this?

What can agency staff do to help?

Some agency workers have already joined a trade union, but sadly, because they are contracted via the agency, cannot legally be called out on strike with us. However, agency staff can show support:

• TfL cannot force you to do overtime (they tried this before - we made them stop).
• They cannot make you do someone else's job if it isn't in your job description.
• And you can make it perfectly clear that you DO NOT appreciate TfL trying to use
you against other workers fighting to defend pay and pensions.
• Union members have the highest respect for anyone who does choose not to cross a picket line!

Full TfL contracts for all agency workers! Equal treatment for sickness and attendance! No to outsourcing!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Illegal cab firm finally brought to justice after two year court battle: Obviously nothing to do with TfL's legal team.

A cab firm has finally been banned from Aylesbury’s roads and ordered to pay a hefty £25,000 following a two-year battle to get them off the streets.


Call a Cab – also known as Easy Cabs – unlawfully operated under a Rutland County Council private hire licence which Aylesbury Vale District Council claimed was illegal.

It said cabs must be licensed by them to ensure they were subject to the same safety checks and regulations as other minicab firms in the Vale.

After several twists and turns during a two year battle in the courts, a judge has finally convicted the firm and its boss Ahtiq Raja of operating without a licence.

Chairman of the licensing committee councillor Judy Brandis said: “This has been a protracted and costly prosecution but sends the strongest possible message that Aylesbury Vale District Council will challenge unlawful practices which undermine public safety, essential regulatory standards and fair competition. This was an important case and we are delighted with the outcome.”

In 2012, the district council prosecuted the firm for acting as a private hire operator without a licence from AVDC together.

However, the case collapsed on a legal loophole after Call a Cab argued that the council had not properly adopted the relevant provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1977.

The council had passed a resolution to adopt the provisions on March 8 1989 and was able to provide evidence of the newspaper advertisements, but it could not prove that notices had been sent to parish councils and meetings because its files had been destroyed.

For this reason, the court dismissed the council’s case.

However, in November last year the High Court allowed the council’s appeal and sent the case back to the Magistrates’ Court for reconsideration.

This week Call a Cab was convicted of five offences of operating a private hire vehicle without a licence and its sole director at the time, Mr Raja, for aiding and abetting the commission of the offences.

District Judge Tim Pattinson decided that the additional evidence obtained by AVDC left him in no doubt that the appropriate notifications were made and that the resolution passed by the council in 1989 was valid.

He had no hesitation in rejecting the defence that the company did not require a licence because it was acting as an intermediary, and imposed a fine of £2,500 each on the firm and Mr Raja.

Both the company and Mr Raja also have to pay a victim surcharge of £50 and prosecution costs of £20,000 in total.

Judge Pattinson also noted that the firm had put the council to a great deal of expense and taken up valuable court time.

    Source: bucks herald.co.uk 

Wanna be a Taxi Driver? Don't want to do the Knowledge? Buy an old plated Taxi... By Jim Thomas

London Green Badge and Blue TfL pre-booked stickers have been openly available on EBay for years.
 


But now the problem of Taxis and minicabs running round with expired plates and TfL roundels are becoming an all too familiar sight. 

With the proliferation of older vehicles currently available after the introduction of the Mayor's age limit on Taxis, for just a few pounds, anyone can buy one and could be out there working it as a Taxi.

The problem became apparent back in late 2012, a 22 year old Taxi was regularly spotted in NW1, plying for hire, with a PCO plate a year out of date.



How can this be?
Well it's dead easy...

Current legislation allows Taxi and minicab owners to sell their vehicles to a third party, complete with PCO licence. New owners who are not licensed by TfL then slip under the radar.

Old fairways and TX1s are quite easy to spot, but it's a totally different story with minicabs. It's almost impossible to read the roundel dates without a close up inspection. Even then with tinted windows they can be unreadable.

The reason these vehicles are not being picked up by compliance teams; these drivers just stay away from known ranks where compliance teams are regular visitors...yes it's that easy. 

Taxi Leaks strongly believe, the current compliance program from LTPH, is not fit for purpose and need a complete overhaul plus new direction and new leadership. A director who has come from the rank and file of the trade.

Solution:

The way to stop this is incredibly simple. 
When vehicles are sold on, whether they be Taxis or minicabs, it has to be a legal requirement that the TfL plates/roundels MUST be surrendered. Change of ownership should be followed by a full NSL inspection, with new plates being issued to the new owner. This should herald a completely new licensed period, just like it was under the Met.

The only thing making this complicated is the bi-annual MOT scheme introduced by Boris Johnson. This should be scrapped immediately, as it is a complete farce. Many garages renting older vehicles do their own MoTs. 

The old system was tried and tested over many years and best of all, it worked. Keeping the standards high. Until that is SGS saw another revenue stream in repass fees. Then inspection failures suddenly rocketed. To keep it fair return fees should be scrapped. 

Message to TfL...Do the Job properly, or don't do it at all.
Give Taxis and PHVs their own agency. 

Yet again, when it comes to the licensed Taxi trade, "The Best Taxi Service in The World", public safety is pushed to the back burner.





Monday, June 30, 2014

It's Not Just The Taxi Trade Who Think TfL Are Totally Failing London...Their Own Staff Ain't Too Happy


  TfL's Internal Staff Newsletter For June 2014:

Official statistics show that prices are still rising more than wages, and the Bank of England is now talking about interest rate rises in the near future. Your cost of living is going up, yet TfL is proposing to freeze your wages. This is a wage freeze that may last for 5 years or more, with any future rises based upon arbitrary ‘market comparisons’.

As a consequence of these proposals, the value of your pension will decline, so you will suffer not just now but in the future.

There are already massive inequalities in pay between staff doing the same job; these proposals will make them worse over time. This comes at a time when TfL has made little or no progress in improving their performance on equality and diversity of staff in senior grades over the last ten years.

To make matters worse, in order to qualify for a non-pensionable bonus you will need to demonstrate that you have met the TfL Behaviours; highly subjective and potentially discriminatory measures which lead the way for favouritism and cronyism to prevail.

But is not just the content of TfL’s Pay for Performance that is unjust and unreasonable. The manner in which TfL has sought to impose these proposals without meaningful consultation with staff unions further demonstrates their contempt for their hardworking staff.

TfL bosses have consistently refused to go to ACAS to seek resolution to this dispute. HR Director, Tricia Riley, has repeatedly said she is willing to negotiate with the unions, yet she has failed to come to the table even once, instead sending others to deliver the message that TfL will not talk about the fundamental aspects of their proposals.

TfL staff have demonstrated their opposition to Pay for Performance with strike action and action short of strike. We will soon be asking members to lobby individual members of the TfL Board of Directors and are building links with press, political and community allies.

Our dispute is escalating. PCS members in TfL are now balloting for industrial action, and support for the dispute is growing stronger both inside and outside of TfL.

No Pay for Performance talks, No P&D talk!

It is vital that we keep up the pressure on TfL; action short of strike is really beginning to bite, particularly non-participation in the P&D Process. 

Managers are now trying to get around this non- participation by asking to staff to complete their P&D on the old form or on blank paper. 

It is important to remember that any information that you provide – in whatever format - will be used by TfL to implement the new P&D scheme. 

It is therefore vital that we do not participate in the P&D process in any way at all. For guidance go to: http://tflunionstogether.org/faq/#short

The solution to this dispute is straightforward. TfL management need to come to the table and engage in meaningful consultation and negotiation; they need to work WITH staff not AGAINST them.
Together we send that message loud & clear. Together we can make them listen.


TSSA, RMT and Unite staged a second day of strike action against TfL’s plans to freeze our pay and slash our pensions. This time the turnout was bigger, better and stronger, with more staff than ever taking action and picket lines at 11 of TfL’s major workplaces and several TICs closed.

Support for our campaign is growing both outside and within TfL, with union membership still on the rise.
If you are not a union member, now is the time to join. Remember, together we are stronger.

Mayor to be questioned about TfL Pay for Performance:

Members of the London Assembly are to question Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, about TfL’s plans to freeze pay and cut pensions of hard working staff, whilst increasing the number of highly paid senior post-holders.

As head of the TfL Board of Directors, Johnson has ultimate responsibility for – and the power to influence – TfL policy and practises. Instead of wasting millions of pounds on his personal vanity projects such as the Routemaster buses and the seldom-used cable cars, many of London’s elected AMs believe that TfL should be recognising the committed TfL staff who keep London moving.

Ten times per year the Mayor is required to attend Mayor’s Question Time to answer to AMs and to Londoners. 
The next MQT takes place on Wednesday, 2 July at City Hall on the South Bank, and TfL’s pay for performance proposals will feature high on the agenda.

If you have any questions that you would like our supporters in the London Assembly to put to Boris Johnson, then email them by Friday, 27 June to: taylorm@tssa.org.uk.

The Mayor’s answers to questions are published on line and we will be sharing them with
union members as soon as they are made available. 

TfL staff and all members of the
Hands off our pay & pensions
public are entitled to attend and view Mayor’s Question Time.