Saturday, December 06, 2014

The LTDA Christmas Pantomime starring Steve McNamara- by Cabbies Against Boris

The Christmas Panto season is here and Steve McNamara gave a performance at the GLA Environment Committee Inquiry meeting about diesel pollution which had all the qualities required for a good pantomime; speaking utter nonsense and farcical comments. The only thing missing was any humour.


In September when Steve McNamara effectively managed to squash the Cabbies Against Boris protest about the improper and unlawful Taxi Age Limit, he said live on LBC that the Taxi Age Limit was history

OH NO IT ISN'T:The Taxi Age Limit is not history because taxis are being scrapped on a daily basis without any purpose at great expense to operators and drivers. 6000 taxis have already been needlessly scrapped

Steve also said Boris Johnson had not acted in bad faith

OH YES HE DID: Boris Johnson did act in bad faith because he gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Commit in 2011 that a new Euro 5 vehicle would create 5 times as much NO2 as a 15 year old vehicle. He then scrapped 15 year old taxis knowing that they were less polluting and has now falsely claimed that he has reduced pollution by doing so.


In the Inquiry meeting this week with the GLA Environment Committee, Steve McNamara said about the Taxi Age Limit (1 hr34 min in the clip) 

 "The financial impact has been achievable, people have managed it"

OH NO THEY HAVEN'T: 6000 taxis have been needlessly scrapped at great expense to drivers and operators. The price of buying a used taxi or renting a taxi has gone through the roof because there is no financially viable new cab available that will be emissions compliant going forward and there is now only one Taxi supplier which has a monopoly situation. 

This is surely unlawful in itself.


Steve Wright gave evidence for the Licensed Private Hire Car Association. He said (1 hr 40 min in clip)

"Age Limits are an absolute nonsense; it is not the age of the vehicle it is what is coming out of the exhaust is important"

He then gave a good explanation as to why age limits don’t work and that a newer vehicle can often be more polluting than older vehicles


Steve, an engineer with knowledge and understanding of mechanical engineering also said he gave evidence to TFL at the Taxi Age Limit workshops that an age limit was arbitrary and would not work and this evidence was ignored by TFL.

Steve Wright gives an informed and honest opinion free from personal interest. It is a shame that the Taxi Trade does not have someone like this to represent them.

Its a shame that these comments did not come from Steve McNamara who seems to think that a taxi age limit is perfectly acceptable for reasons best known to himself.


Jenny Jones, a member of the Environment Committee then raised the point that it would be beneficial to remove the requirement for the turning circle. This has been done in Manchester and it has made it easier and more affordable for drivers to buy taxis. She said (1 hour 54 min in clip)

"Dropping the turning circle would open up more possibilities for cabs"


OH NO IT WON'T: Unbelievable Steve McNamara then argued that removing the requirement for the turning circle would not be of benefit because the taxis have to be disabled access compliant and that this is difficult to achieve. 

Obviously absolute nonsense

He said (1 hr 55 mins in clip)

"This myth of removing the turning circle does not stand up to scrutiny I’m afraid": OH YES IT DOES!


Jenny Jones again raised the valid point that removing the turing circle would make it easier for large scale manufacturers to supply a vehicle as a taxi. (2 hrs 15min in clip)

She said that the requirements for the turning circle and the requirement for the taxis to be disabled access were 2 separate things. 

Steve McNamara then again argued that it would be of no benefit to remove the requirement for the turning circle but immediately contradicted himself by saying that most of the problems with the Mercedes Vito Taxis had been with the rear wheel steering. 

He is obviously very confused or is there something else going on?


This performance by Steve McNamara and the LTDA raises some serious questions.


Why has the LTDA actively tried to assist and cover up for the Mayor with the improper and unlawful Taxi Age Limit? 


Why did Steve McNamara try to cover up for the Mayor live on LBC during the Cabbies Against Boris protest saying the Age Limit was history and that Boris Johnson had not acted in bad faith?


Why did Steve McNamara not challenge the existence of any taxi age limit to the GLA Environment Committee in the same way that Steve Wright of the LPHCA did?


Why did he say that removing the requirement for the turning circle will not help when it is obvious that this would lead to a more options for taxis and therefore reduce the price?


Why do LTDA members continue to pay their subs each month for an organisation which doesn't represent its members best interests?


Bob Oddy is allegedly paid £30k a year by TFL, but not to represent his members interest or challenge TFL on their behalf. By being on the board, it raises a conflict of interest; how can he represent his members against TFL when he is a paid board member for them?


The Taxi trade is facing some very serious issues. 

The LTDA is not only not taking proper action on behalf of its members it is actually preventing anyone else from challenging TFL.


                The time for action is now

Dave Davies, Cabbies Against Boris.

See webcast >Click Here<

Hackney cabs protest brings traffic chaos to Liverpool city centre in Delta Taxis row

Taxi drivers protested by driving past Liverpool's Town Hall beeping their horns

Liverpool’s “taxi war” continued as hackney cab drivers brought traffic to a standstill in the city centre today.

They were protesting about plans to open a branch of Sefton-based Delta taxis in Liverpool city centre.

Black cabs caused roads to be blocked by driving slowly through they city’s streets, honking their horns and using a loudspeaker to shout “Joe must Go” in reference to city mayor Joe Anderson.

The taxis continued to snake through town all afternoon, driving a lorry emblazoned with another message referring to the Mayor.

For years city firms and cabbies have complained that Delta have been undermining their chances of making a living, being licensed in neighbouring Sefton but getting a huge share of the Liverpool trade.

The firm has not directly commented on the recent controversy, but in December last year, when the Liverpool Taxi Alliance took a vote of no confidence in council licensing chiefs over the amount of city work going to Delta cabs, boss Paul McLaughlin said: “As far as we are concerned, the council’s doing a fantastic job, everything the law requires, but it’s the city taxi drivers who want to take the law back 100 years.

“If other firms invested the same in technology and training as we do then they might have the same success.”

Jimmy Bradley, spokesman for the Liverpool Taxi Alliance, said: “By allowing Delta to open this office in the city centre, they’re creating the circumstances for a taxi war in Liverpool.

“We have paid millions of pounds in licensing fees over the last 25 years, and this comes as a total kick in the teeth.”

The city council has said Mayor Anderson was committed to working with all parties to ensure the best outcome.

It has added that the council is under a legal duty to grant private hire operator licences to applicants who meet the criteria, and would be open to legal proceedings if it did not

Warning over fake taxi drivers in Bristol

People using taxis over the festive season are being warned about fake people posing as taxi drivers. Bristol City Council say they see an increase at this time of year of bogus vehicles claiming to be legitimate taxi services.

The council are advising people to look for the official plate, which should be on the front and back of the vehicle, before getting inside a car and to check for an identity badge with their licence number, photograph and logo of the local council on it.

Licensed vehicles are easy to spot, but unfortunately there are rogue drivers who are putting public safety at risk and will try to take advantage of Christmas party goers.

Unlicensed taxi drivers put lives at risk. Please be safe and take a licensed taxi this Christmas.


Bristol City Council have released these safety tips:

  • Make a note of the vehicle licence number and driver’s badge number and text them to a friend/family member

  • Keep your mobile phone at hand

  • When you get to your destination ask the driver to wait until you get inside

  • If you feel unsafe ask to be dropped off in a well-lit area where there are plenty of people.

All licensed drivers and vehicles are required to meet a number of stringent checks prior to being licensed, these include criminal records checks for drivers and vehicle testing for vehicles to safeguard the public.


Friday, December 05, 2014

Oxford Street Dangerous To Health: 500 New Buses Exempt From ULEZ, To Add To Pollution Problems.

Shopping on Oxford Street could damage your health according to new research by the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. Scientists found that healthy people exposed to fumes for just two hours suffered damage to their arteries and yet TfL are about to put another 500 buses on the road.

Researchers found that standing for two hours on Oxford Street in London could damage your health

Much of the damage is caused by nitrogen dioxide pollution which is produced mainly by diesel vehicles such as the many thousands of London buses. Although Boris has bought in measures to reduce emissions from Taxis, he plans to implement a policy that would make his beloved new Boris bus exempt from charges under the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zones.

During the summer, researchers from King's College in London discovered that Oxford Street had the world's highest recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide. 

It is believed that the shape of Oxford Street, with tall buildings either side, traps in the deadly fumes.

Under existing plans, the worst areas - including London, Birmingham and Leeds - would not meet the pollution limits until 2030, campaigners say.

Britain breached EU targets in 2010 for levels of nitrogen dioxide, a gas particle from car engines and factories which causes breathing and heart problems.

It is still nowhere near adequate levels, and has repeatedly asked to be granted extensions to the EU deadline.

The European court, which is based in Luxembourg, ruled that the UK’s Supreme Court now has jurisdiction over the matter and must order the Government to take action to meet the legal limits in a much shorter time frame.

The Government is also facing a separate £300million fine for failing to meet the EU’s air quality directive on pollution. Some 16 areas including Greater London, Greater Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield and the West Midlands are currently in breach of the targets.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth, who brought the case against Defra, the Government’s environment department, said the ruling is likely to mean rolling out London’s planned ‘ultralow emissions zone’ (ULEZ) to cities across the country.

Extending pavement, narrowing road space and placing traffic islands opposite bus stops have caused massive congestion, yet planners will not admit, they got it wrong.

The ULEZ plan, drawn up by Boris Johnson, will mean charging diesel car owners £10 to enter the city centre and scrapping old taxis. Unfortunately Boris just doesn't get it. Report after report has shown that old Taxis are less polluting than present new vehicles and so his policy, instead of being a solution, is adding to the problem. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Coming Soon On Taxi Leaks

Coming Soon To Taxi Leaks, Undercover Uber.

Taxi leaks will soon have a new regular contributor, but this time it's not a Taxi driver. 

Our new feature coming soon, will be called; 

We will soon be bringing you the inside story of this company operating on the very fringes of PH legislation. 

What we already know:

Many in the trade are asking the question "how can these drivers make a living, on such low pricing structure?

Well the truth is they can't....and they don't. In all honesty it's a myth that Uber operate at a fraction of the price or a real Taxi. Most of the drivers shift involves some form of surge pricing where the advertised price is doubled, trebled and even quadrupled on certain occasions. 

Here is a screen shot of a recent journey undertaken in an Uber car. Waterloo station to Leicester sq, it went £32 using Uber's wonderful meter, with a 2.5 surge using a rip off route, suggested by uber nav. This is not uncommon, as seen on many posts on Twitter and FaceBook. 


               How is this technology? 
          Looks more like daylight robbery!

Another tool in their arsenal is the fact that journey prices do not relate to a fixed estimate but final pricing is set by a combination of time and distanced traveled, achieved by use of a Taxi meter embedded in the drivers phone. Of course, anyone who has ever used a Sat-Nav, will know precisely how comical some of the routs offered by the device can be. 

The use of a Taxi meter is banned in PHVs, but although we know this its a meter, plus Boris has said its a meter and even Uber call it a meter, TfL's wonderful legal team have had to apply for a High Court definition as they say they are not sure. 

TfL's High Court action is currently on standby as the LTDA have taken out private prosecutions against a number of Uber Drivers. These cases were heard at Westminster Magistrates Court and has now been sent up to the High Court to be heard. 

Sat-Navs can be useful when you have no idea how to get from A to B, but that's about it. As long as you are not giving a service based on mileage taken. If a company is dependent on this type of device, then a fixed price, system is the fairest option. But when you charge for distance travelled, then using a GPS guided Sat-Nav can mean the passengers are literally being defrauded. 

The biggest danger with this service is that Uber have put an army of drivers on the street with very little driving skills and virtually no knowledge of the city what so ever. Making them solely dependent on the services of the Uber Sat-Nav. 

We have seen on social media literally hundreds of horror stories where passengers have been taken miles out of their way and charged enormous amounts for the pleasure. Uber drivers follow the Sat-Navs like sheep and there have been many horrendous accidents as they drive up one way streets in the wrong direction. 

The culture of Private Hire drivers availing themselves of Sat-Nav's GPS technology in order to compete with regular, trained, licensed Taxi drivers, is highly dangerous as they spend most of the journey with their eyes transfixed on their appliance screen.

This operation could have/ should have been stopped before it started. But unlike other licensing authorities around Europe and North America, spineless TfL have been frighten off by the money men behind this company.
The fact their (TfL's) legal team have rarely won a case bought against a PH operator, also doesn't help.

Something else we noticed:
Uber have no public telephone number.
They have no email address.
They also have no contact person.

How do customers voice complaints ?

TfL do not deal directly with Private Hire customer complaints, they send them on to the operator to deal with. 
Uber, in their terms and conditions say they are not responsible for driver complaints and stipulate the journey is soley a contract between driver and customer. 
Who actually sorts out these complaints ?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Joint Ranks Committee, Lets Down Trade Three Times In A Jim Thomas

They say bad news comes in threes. So, after the travesty of WinterWonderland, after the cock up at WinterVille, the trade waited with bated breath, but we didn't have to wait long.

 It was billed as the most amazing, biggest fashion extravaganza ever. Tickets went on sale at £1000 face value. Soon they were selling online for up to 5 times their original value.

Ed Sheeran performed to the sellout audience, who were informed well in advance that the event would probably over run and when they left, the tube would have closed down. 

We are of course referring to the Victoria Secrets  event at the world famous Earls Court exhibition centre. 

So what facilities were put in place to get the people away from the centre?
What arrangements were made by our wonderful representative Joint Ranks Committee?

Last night the RMT London Taxi Branch put out these tweets.

The powers that be decided that Taxis would not be allowed to rank up by the exit. 

Although lines upon lines of private hire cars were allowed to form illegal ranks outside, illegally plying for hire and touting for business as the public vacated the venue. 

Could someone on the committee of the London Taxi Joint Ranks Committee, affiliated to the United Trade Group, please explain exactly what it is they do at there planning meetings?

TfL, fair open and transparent, part 2 ... By Jim Thomas.

Last night, Lower Thames Street was awash with Private hire cars, illegally plying for hire outside Old Billingsgate. As usual, TfL's compliance and Cab Enforcement were nowhere to be seen, even though this is a major Red Route and covered extensively by TfL CCTV cameras. Cars at times were double parked with the Cycle lane completely blocked and rendered inoperable.  

There has been much controversy lately, concerning the actions of certain private hire operators and the legality of bookings. 

For instance, straight away bookings:
Where PH drivers have been allowed to wait outside events, with marshals escorting passengers directly to waiting cars. 

Also smartphone apps that put passengers in direct contact with driver

Is it right that a PH company can put cars on standby, to form a rolling rank outside a venue for immediate hiring?

What exactly is the law regarding pre-bookings.
Obviously the law applied in London differs somewhat to the the rest of the UK, so Taxi Leaks recently decided to asked TfL to explain. 

Unfortunately the answer we got back is about as clear as mud. Which is of course in line with TfL's more recent policy of misinformation.

Below is the email we recieved:


Thank you for your email.

To clarify, I can confirm we take the view that any company who offers private hire journeys booked via a mobile phone application (app) has to be licensed in line with the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998. 

The Act prescribes that all bookings details must be recorded prior to the commencement of the journey. Any licensed operator that fails to record bookings prior to the commencement of the journey (whether bookings are taken via a phone, a mobile app, or in person) is liable to fail a compliance inspection. If they fail to heed warnings to correct poor record keeping, their fitness to remain licensed will be reviewed.

Having said that, there is no reference in the 1998 PHV Act or associated operator regulations as to how far in advance private hire bookings must be recorded by licensed operators before the journey is undertaken.

With regards to your request for a copy of the ‘Special Notice’ issued following the launch of Zingo in 2003, we can find no record of this notice being issued.

We believe there is a place for new technology to work in the taxi and private hire market and that we should not unnecessarily restrict new ideas that are of genuine benefit to Londoners. Nevertheless, we fully support maintaining the clear distinction between taxi and private hire services in the capital, where only taxis have the unique right to ply for hire and PHVs must be pre-booked through a licensed operator

I can assure you that we take our regulatory responsibilities seriously and although the rapid development of technology presents challenges, we will continue to monitor such developments to ensure operators and drivers remain compliant and the safety of the travelling public is not compromised.

In order for a company to be considered ‘fit and proper’ to be licensed, we must be satisfied that the individuals who make up that company – i.e. the company secretary and the board of directors – meet a number of criteria, and administrative rules, set by us. Once licensed, the licence holder is expected to demonstrate they remain ‘fit and proper’ to hold the licence and that they continue to comply with other legal requirements connected with running a business.

The overriding consideration in determining an operator’s continued fitness to hold the licence will be based on whether they can continue to fulfil their role and run their operating centre(s) without posing any likely threat to the general safety of the public.

A copy of our driver, operator, and vehicle policy guidelines can be found on the TfL website at the following link

I hope this clarifies our position.

Kind regards

Andrew Hatch

Correspondence Officer / Managing Director's Office

 Transport for London - Surface Transport 

Open and transparent, clear and concise? ... we think not!

Now what you have to understand is that TfL use a set of "guidelines" when considering the legal aspect of PH operations rather than statutory regulations as with the Licensed Taxi Trade.

An example of this would be when RD2 were issued 18 licence variation on the same day they applied for an operators licence. When Taxi Leaks complained directly to LTPH about this, we were lied to on three occasions by the director, John Mason and his deputy Helen Chapman.

After each fake excuse, we presented evidence exposing the lie. Finally TfL came clean and informed us that TfL policy on PH is in fact just guidelines and as such, they can do what they like.

Although we published our research plus TfL's response, not one trade representative org or Union picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. We did however, have a considerable amount of help from the UCG while researching the issue. 

The PH act of 1998 is full of gaping loop holes.
Another fine example would be, after a prosecution for touting bought by TfL against Diamond Chauffeurs, a legal definition was given that a clipboard Johnny, only has to be "at" a venue and not "inside".

This definition has never been challenged by the United Trade Group who purport to represent the trades best interests, while operating a closed shop in regards to engagement with TfL.
It would also appear from the above email, that TfL's management of filing and record keeping is highly incompetent. 

As a public body, TfL has a duty to be fair, open and transparent, but in fact they are anything but. 
Their constant refusal to give straight answers to FOI requests, would allude to the fact they are covering up bias towards Private Hire operations.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Uber reportedly gave a job applicant full access to customer travel records

Companies court potential employees all the time with things like lavish meals, tickets to concerts and sporting events, and much, much more. In the case of Uber, it seems one of those perks was a look behind the curtain of its operations. Citing an anonymous source, The Washington Post reports that an Uber job applicant was given unfettered access to the company's customer ride database after interviewing at its Washington DC offices last year, allowing him to see the travel records of anyone — including family members of politicians. The experience was time-limited, though The Post says that it lasted for "several hours" after the interview concluded.

"Access lasted for several hours after the interview"

In a statement, Uber says its own privacy policies limit data access to "legitimate business purposes," and that its database is monitored and audited by data security specialists. Furthermore, the company says that any violations of that policy "result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination and legal action."

Nonetheless, The Post's report is another black mark against Uber's handling of privacy and user data in recent weeks. The company's recently been under fire for two separate incidents involving its executives making privacy gaffes. One involved comments by Uber executive Emil Michael, who, while at a private dinner in New York, suggested spending $1 million to dig up dirt on journalists using a team of "opposition researchers." The other involved Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber New York, who last month was accused of improperly using the transportation company's tools to track the travels of a journalist, and has since been "disciplined."

    Source: TheVerge

FBU Strike Action Announced

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) have announced new 24 hr strike action taking place from: 
09:00 on Tuesday 9th December 2014 

After which industrial action short of strike will commence from 09:00 on Wednesday 10th December 2014 until further notice.

As with previous FBU strike action, there will be contingency cover in place across London for these dates.

It is the 48th period of industrial action by members of the Fire Brigades Union since the dispute began in 2013.

The FBU says the walkouts stem from proposals to have firefighters work until they are 60 instead of 55 and fears over lower pensions.

The government has said its contingency plans are "robust".

It has said ministers did make "progress" on issues of concern to firefighters and put forward a revised offer.

The FBU said the proposals will also see firefighters pay more into their pensions and leave them at risk of dismissal as fitness levels decline into their 50s.

The union's general secretary, Matt Wrack, said: "Firefighters in England are reluctantly calling further strike action today as a direct result of the Westminster government's failure to listen and negotiate over pensions.

"Firefighters are asking the Westminster government to immediately open genuine negotiations to resolve this dispute. They should also hold a House of Commons debate to fully scrutinise the legislation and there should be a parliamentary vote on the regulations.

"Firefighters will fight for however long it takes to secure a fair pensions deal - this dispute will not end as long as the regulations remain unchanged."

The last strike action, lasting four-days, took place in November. The walkout on 9 December will begin at 09:00 GMT.

The industrial action has seen fire authorities hire contractors to cover for striking FBU members.
Any updates will be sent out if circumstances change.

For further information please see the links below:

Fire Brigades Union:

London Fire Brigade:


Monday, December 01, 2014

QR Codes For Cheltenham Taxis And Private Hire Vehicles .

Cheltenham taxis and private hire vehicles to have QR Codes to ensure passengers know they are in a licensed cab

QR Code technology is being introduced from Monday  for all licensed taxis and private hire vehicles in Cheltenham.

The borough council scheme which helps promote public safety will see a new style ‘no smoking’ stickers that will also have a printed QR Code.

The QR Code is linked to the individual vehicle’s public access record and when scanned with any smart phone using free scanning software, will instantly indicate whether the vehicle in question is currently licensed and give other important information such as the name of the proprietor and the licence plate number.

Cllr Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, says: “This scheme is being rolled out as part of the approved changes to our taxi and private hire licensing policy.

“QR Code technology is free technology so there is no additional cost requirement on licence holders. They are already required to display no smoking stickers on their licensed vehicles and this is a better use of that requirement.

“Most people have smart phones these days and through the use of this technology people are able to ensure that the vehicle they are travelling in is properly licensed. It will also help them find and retain important information about the vehicle if they have left any items behind or have a complaint to make.”

QR technology is already being used with great success on other licences issued by the council such as scrap metal dealers and street traders.

    Source: Gloustershire Echo

What Happens In The Back Of A Taxi, Should It Stay In The Back Of TheTaxi?

BBC 5 Live Interview, David Mellor London Black Taxi Cab story

Watch David Mellors Apology On LBC 

See more of Justin's Videos on his amazing website.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

TAXI WARS: Protests planned after out-of-town taxi giant opens city centre office

Liverpool cabbies are predicting the outbreak of a “taxi war” after a Merseyside taxi giant announced it had opened a new office in the heart of the city centre.

In a statement on its website, Sefton-registered Delta Taxis said it had started a mini call centre in the heart of the city centre, raising fears among Liverpool taxi drivers that they could lose even more trade to what they have traditionally regarded as an “out-of-town” firms.

At present, bookings accepted by Delta at its main Bootle call centre can only go to private hire drivers and cars licensed in Sefton, while bookings at the city centre office will only be dispatched to Liverpool-licensed drivers.

But under a Deregulation Bill now going through Parliament, taxi and minicab firms will be able to subcontract business to other firms. This means Delta would be able to dispatch bookings from either its Bootle or Liverpool office, to drivers and cars from both fleets.

Last year, hackney and private hire drivers said they were losing up to 70% of their business to firms licensed outside the city boundary.

They said the latest move would put their livelihoods under even greater strain.

Jimmy Bradley, spokesman for the Liverpool Taxi Alliance – which supports the city’s black cab and private hire drivers – claimed they had been badly let down by Liverpool City Council.

Mr Bradley added: “By allowing Delta to open this office in the city centre, they’re creating the circumstances for a taxi war in Liverpool.

“We have paid millions of pounds in licensing fees over the last 25 years, and this comes as a total kick in the teeth.”

Mr Bradley said meetings were taking place among the city’s taxi-driving community to decide on their next course of action.

Cllr Steve Radford, leader of the city’s Liberal group who sits on the council’s licensing committee, said his main concern about the Deregulation Bill was its implications for public safety as it would allow bookings to be subcontracted to other firms, rather than a firm the customer knew and trusted.

He added: “I don’t have a problem with appropriate competition, but I do have concerns about public safety.”

     Source Liverpool Echo