Saturday, January 03, 2015

Cabbies Against Boris –Press Release.

Just before Christmas, Cabbies Against Boris filed a formal complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority about the continued improper and unlawful London Taxi Age Limit which the Mayor now plans to reduce to 10 years. 

The complaint includes the improper decisions of the Mayor and TFL in relation to the London Taxi Age Limit  which forces drivers to buy new more polluting taxis from a single manufacturer which have been scientifically proven to create more pollution than the older taxis. 

Vehicles are being needlessly scrapped which clearly breaches competition laws, creating a monopoly for that manufacturer. The continued restrictive requirement in the conditions of fitness for a turning circle which effectively restricts the London Taxi market, also creates a monopoly situation.

The complaint also includes the improper support  by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association of the London Taxi Age Limit and its continuation and their objection to the removal of the turning circle requirement as detailed in the recent  GLA  Environment Committee meeting in comments from Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA
We will are also calling for a Taxi protest to take place in Uxbridge town centre in January, to highlight to the media, public and potential voters the improper conduct of Boris Johnson and to highlight the complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority.

It is hoped  that London Taxi Trade organisations will support this.

Dave Davies. (CAB)

About the Competition and Markets Authority

What we do

We work to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, both within and outside the UK. Our aim is to make markets work well for consumers, businesses and the economy.

We acquired our powers on 1 April 2014 when we took over many of the functions of the Competition Commission (CC) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Who we are

We are an independent non-ministerial department with over 500 members of staff mainly based at Victoria House, Southampton Row, London WC1with representatives in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


We are responsible for:

·         investigating mergers which could restrict competition

·         conducting market studies and investigations in markets where there may be competition and consumer problems

·         investigating where there may be breaches of UK or EU prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant positions

·         bringing criminal proceedings against individuals who commit the cartel offence

·         enforcing consumer protection legislation to tackle practices and market conditions that make it difficult for consumers to exercise choice

·         co-operating with sector regulators and encouraging them to use their competition powers

·         considering regulatory references and appeals

Our responsibilities are supported by a range of powers which are based on legislation and explained in Towards the CMA, annexe B

Our goals

Our 5 strategic goals are:

·         delivering effective enforcement – to deter wrongdoing, protect consumers and educate businesses

·         extending competition frontiers – by using the markets regime to improve the way competition works, in particular within the regulated sectors

·         refocusing consumer protection – working with its partners to promote compliance and understanding of the law, and empowering consumers to make informed choices

·         achieving professional excellence – by managing every case efficiently, transparently and fairly, and ensuring all legal, economic and financial analysis is conducted to the highest international standards

·         developing integrated performance – through ensuring that all staff are brought together from different professional backgrounds to form effective multi-disciplinary teams and provide a trusted competition adviser across government

Editorial Comment:
The actual Letter sent to the CMA will be posted in the next instalment (Part 2).

Friday, January 02, 2015

Best Tweet Of 2015, So Far!...TfL Enforcement Still A Joke... By Jim Thomas

The best tweet of 2015 so far comes from the Surrey Traffic Police who tweet under the name of @surreyroadcop.

Apparently they have seized a Private Hire Vehicle on rout to Gatwick. The vehicles reg came up on their computer as being uninsured. When stopped it became clear the driver does not hold a private hire licence, has no insurance and doesn't even have a current driving licence. 

         Black Prius, driven by unlicensed uninsured driver seized

When asked by drivers on Twitter if seized vehicles are crushed or sold on at police auctions, they replied they are normally returned. But whoever picks up the vehicle must obviously hold a current licence, have valid insurance to drive the vehicle and be able to pay all costs incurred. 

Surrey Police told Taxi Leaks, they are now in contact with TfL in regards to the vehicle's identifiers which in this case are expired. We were also assured that if found to be stolen, further charges would follow. It could not be confirmed if the driver was in possession of an a Uber MeterPhone.  

Editorial comment:
As we've said before on this blog many times, TfL have to stop PHV (and licensed Taxis) being sold on to private owners, fully plated and licensed. We need to return to the system of change of ownership inspections. 

There is a flourishing market for expired Taxi plates and identifiers current and expired. This is able to take place because there is no requirement for the driver to return plates or Identifiers when they expire as used to be the case under the met.

We've just had an upgrade of Taxi YB/GB identifiers, where drivers were told to dispose of the old IDs themselves. The question should now be asked, was this decision the right decision or made simply to save money?

 Many images have appeared on Twitter, from drivers spotting expired plated Taxis. Unfortunately, it's impossible to spot the expiry date of a minicab.

TfL have made no effort or statement in regards to this issue, probably because if there are no seizures of plates/vehicles, there are no statistics, therefore there is no problem.

We have in the past been informed that seizure of PHVs driven by unlicensed drivers in Central London is very rare. This is not because this offence is few and far between, but the acute failure in TfL and the Met Police enforcement, which has recently been branded by the GLA as "woefully inadequate".

While hackney carriage laws are set in stone and vigorously enforced, PHV regulations are seen to be a joke, overseen by a joke licensing authority. 
It would be quite funny, if not so serious.

Due to TfLs enforcement failures the public are being constantly exposed to danger. The culture of predator based sexual assault including rape are a direct result of this inaction. 

This situation needs changing sooner rather than later.

Why are our trade representatives in the "United Trade Group" not screaming on high about this disgraceful issue. 

Is it because the puppets don't want to upset their puppet-masters? 

Don't forget, stop the subscriptions and make them earn their money.

Thinking of buying an Electric Taxi, think again : Something for you to ponder Jim Thomas.

Has anyone at TfL or the Mayors office, considered the detrimental affect on the drivers health, sitting on top of a massive battery power pack, as used in electric vehicles?

Has anyone bothered to measure the radiation levels given out by such a power pack

What research has been done to show the effects of sitting on a battery pack like the one above (Nissan Leaf) for 8-10 hours a day.

Cover Up?

Like the effects on people's health from smoking that was covered up for many years, they've known about certain health risk issues involved with the production and use of electric vehicles.

A report from the National Research Council shows that the energy required to produce electricity and batteries makes electric cars and hybrids more harmful to human health than oil based energy vehicles.

This report only recently came to light from Ucilia Wang, dated October 19, 2009.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids pose more hazards to your health than gasoline vehicles.

That's right. The energy needed to produce electricity and batteries – from harvesting raw materials to burning coal to produce power – renders these low or zero-emission cars more costly to human health, said a report by the National Research Council released on Monday. To a lesser extent, the damage also impacts areas such as grain crop and timber yields, as well as recreation.

The research council set out to paint a fuller picture of the impact of energy production and use in the United States by determining costs that are not typically reflected in the market pricing for energy and related goods. These costs, instead, generally come from the damage caused by things such as air and water pollutants.  

Impact from corn ethanol production was similar or "slightly worse" than gasoline because turning corn into fuel takes more energy, the report said.

Electric and plug-in hybrid cars also aren't as "green" as they appear. While these cars produce less or no emissions, they are run on power from fossil fuels, the report said. Manufacturing batteries and electric motors also takes up quite a lot of energy.

The report concluded that the non-climate damage caused by manufacturing and operating electric/hybrid cars was "somewhat higher" than other types of cars in 2005, and the same trend would continue towards 2030

This report from the BBC.

Electric cars 'pose environmental threat'

Electric cars might pollute much more than petrol or diesel-powered cars, according to new research.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology study found greenhouse gas emissions rose dramatically if coal was used to produce the electricity.

Electric car factories also emitted more toxic waste than conventional car factories, their report in the Journal of Industrial Ecology said.

Big impact

The team looked at the life-cycle impact of conventional and electric vehicles.

In essence, they considered how the production, the use and the end-of-life dismantling of a car affects the environment, explained co-author Prof Anders Hammer Stromman.

"The production phase of electric vehicles proved substantially more environmentally intensive," the report said, comparing it to how petrol and diesel cars are made.

"The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles."

And this latest report in the Blaze

Study: ‘Green’ Cars More Harmful to the Environment Than Gas-Powered Vehicles?

Electric cars may actually be more harmful to the environment than gas-powered vehicles, possibly invalidating the entire purpose of “green” cars, according to a recent study on the subject.

Researcher Ozzie Zehner says electric cars lead to hidden environmental and health damages and are likely more harmful than gasoline cars and other transportation options,” UPI reports, citing Zehner’s recent work in the journal IEEE Spectrum.

"Electric cars merely shift negative impacts from one place to another,” writes Zehner, who is a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Most electric-car assessments analyze only the charging of the car. This is an important factor indeed,” he adds. “But a more rigorous analysis would consider the environmental impacts over the vehicle’s entire life cycle, from its construction through its operation and on to its eventual retirement at the junkyard.”

He goes on to argue that political and business interests have worked harder to give the appearance that “green” cars are better for the environment than actually making sure “green” cars are better for the environment.

“Upon closer consideration, moving from petroleum-fueled vehicles to electric cars starts to appear tantamount to shifting from one brand of cigarettes to another,” Zehner said.

The study’s author, was at one point a major supporter of “green” energy initiaves.

He “has since changed his position and become an activist looking at a number of so-called green initiatives,” the report concludes.

But Boris will probably ignore all these reports, much in the same way he has ignored the Defra and Kings reports which told him categorically, that the newer taxis he was pushing into service were giving out more harmful pollution in the form of NO2 and NOx than the older vehicles he was scrapping under his age limit policy.

I'm sure Frazer Nash have thoroughly tested all aspects of electro magnetic force fields and electro magnetic radiation (EMR), wink wink.

Prospective drivers for these vehicle have to take into account the amount of time they will be sitting on top of these battery packs. It has to be taken into account how long you will be sitting on top these time bombs. This isn't like personal transport you use for half an hour a day. Some drivers will be sitting on top of these battery packs for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Constant exposure to EMR is dangerous to health. Would you buy a house under a nation grid high voltage pylon?

Of course you will be told "they're perfectly safe". There will be reports from so called environmental experts telling you it's really quite safe. Probably the same experts who told the Mayor that scrapping older Taxis would cut pollution.

Before the war when we were told, smoking is good for you. Teachers and even doctors smoke. After the war we were told it's perfectly safe for families to be housed in prefabs made mainly from asbestos sheeting. 

The government knew about the health dangers associated with asbestos in 1912 but did and said nothing.

Now anyone dealing with this stuff has to dress in a spacemans suit to deal with it.

Will Taxi drivers in the future be forced to wear anti EMR suits to be safe at work? arse

And my arse won't be sitting on one of these environmental time bombs.

Further reading

The Longterm Effects of ElectroMagnetic Radiation › ... › Health Hazards To Know About
Electromagnetic radiation causes tissue damage by releasing electrons in the ... the fact that radiation from cellular devices is demonstrated to be dangerous.

Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation — Juicing For Health

Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation. You don't see it, but that doesn't mean it's not there. Don't overlook the invisible killer. Avoid them where possible.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Final chance for feedback on London's proposed ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ).

Transport for London is making its final call for feedback on proposals to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the capital on 7 September 2020, as the public consultation enters its final weeks.

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have been seeking the views of everyone who lives, works or travels in the capital on the proposed scheme which would significantly improve air quality and in turn the health of Londoners.

The ULEZ consultation runs until Friday 9 January 2015 and is available online. Click link below

The groundbreaking proposals would require all vehicles travelling within the Congestion Charge zone to meet new emission standards and would be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many vehicles would already meet these standards in 2020, however by introducing this requirement next year the Mayor and TfL aim to accelerate the take up of low emission vehicles and stimulate the low emission vehicle market. The ULEZ will also ensure London’s air quality improves more quickly, making the capital a more pleasant place to live and work, and encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport.

The ULEZ is projected to halve emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) from vehicle exhausts.  This means more than 80 per cent of central London is expected to meet the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) annual legal limits in 2020. The ULEZ would also lead to a significant reduction in the number of people living in areas of poor air quality (where levels of NO2 exceed legal limits) – by 74 per cent in central London, 51 per cent in inner London and 43 per cent in outer London. 

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “Introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone is an essential measure to improve London’s air quality and reduce NO2 . Safeguarding Londoners’ health and well-being is a top priority for my administration. I understand that people need adequate time to switch to greener vehicles and help is at hand for those who will be hardest hit, but let’s be clear, we need to make these important changes ASAP to continue to improve Londoners’ quality of life and give everyone who lives in or visits the city the cleanest possible air to breathe.”

The ULEZ proposals would require vehicles travelling in central London to meet the following emissions standards, or pay a daily charge:

·         Cars and small vans – Euro 6 for diesel engines (registered from 1 September 2015 so 5 years old or less in 2020) and Euro 4 for petrol engines (registered from 1 January 2006 so 14 years old or less in 2020).  Non-compliant vehicles could still drive in the zone but they would be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50;

·         Large vans and minibuses – Euro 6 for diesel engines (registered from 1 September 2016 so 4 years old or less in 2020) and Euro 4 for petrol engines (registered from 1 January 2007 so 13 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles would be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50;

·         Heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches – Euro VI (registered from 1 January 2014 so 6 years old or less in 2020).  Non- compliant vehicles would be required to pay a daily charge of £100;

·         Motorcycles and similar vehicles – Euro 3 (registered from 1 July 2007 so 13 years old or less in 2020).  Non-compliant vehicles would be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

As part of the ULEZ proposal, TfL is working to reduce emissions from its buses alongside taxis and private hire vehicles and to increase the number of zero emission capable vehicles. This will create demonstrator fleets in London, boost industry sales and lead the transition towards this technology.

From 2018, it is proposed there will be a new requirement for all taxis and new private hire vehicles presented for licensing in the capital for the first time to be zero emission capable.  Private hire vehicles would also be subject to the ULEZ standards in central London just like other cars and vans (and therefore liable for the charge if they don’t meet the emissions standards).

Taxis will be the second largest contributor to NOx and the largest contributor to PM10 emissions from road transport in central London in 2020. The ULEZ proposes to reduce the London-wide age limit for non zero emission capable taxis from 15 years to 10 years. This would substantially reduce emissions from these vehicles across London (by 45 per cent for NOx and 71 per cent for PM10) and help accelerate the take up of new zero emission capable taxis.

In considering the impact of the reduced taxi age limit, the Mayor and TfL are proposing a specific fund to assist taxi drivers to replace their vehicles. In addition, TfL has been in regular dialogue with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to ensure their new £500m funding allocation specifically supports taxi and PHV drivers to purchase zero emission capable vehicles, as well as supporting a fund for on-street rapid charging infrastructure.

Editorial Comment:
The Mayor still spouting lies about removing older Taxis to bring down the emmissions when we have had two major reports give evidence that new euro 5 taxis are more polluting than older TX1s and TX2s.

Although this report talks of £500m funding, the actual amount available to the Taxi trade for upgrading support, is in the region of £40m.

While Boris is set to reduce the age limit on our present stock of vehicles to 10 years, the Buses will have two 7 year contracts giving them a 14 year age limit. 
Of course Hendy and Daniels favourite RoutMasters will be exempt.

Instead of standing up to the mayor over the unlawful age limit implementation of 2012, our trade representative bodies in the firm of the United Trade Group, collaborated along with manufacturers and those with financial conflicts of interest in removing as many vehicles as possible. 

Poor leadership and inaction over the past 5 years has led the Mayor and TfL to believe that Taxi trade representation, is a spent force and they can virtually do whatever they like to us.

Now we all have to pay for their sell out with a 10 year limit. This will affect the price of new taxis and will see second hand values drop dramatically. 

We have been told that present non compliant Taxis will be exempt from a ULEZ charge, but everything could change in the next 5 years. New Year's Eve fireworks were going to be free, the cable car wasn't going to cost Londoners a penny, be commuter driven and the toll on the QE2 bridge was going to be dropped when it had paid for

    Source: Fleet News

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hendy Omits Uber From Recommended New Years Eve Travel Jim Thomas.

While trying not to read anything into his statement, it is interesting to note that TfL's Transport Commissioner made no reference to Uber, in this years announcement about getting home after New Years Eve celebrations. 
And it's not just Taxi Leaks who noticed this. 

London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, said: London has had another wonderful year and I know that many people will be out in the capital welcoming the New Year in. Our priority is that passengers travelling on New Year’s Eve get home safely and plan ahead for their journey home. They can do this by either using the free travel that we are providing on our services or with a licensed taxi or a "pre-booked private hire vehicle".

Their official statement also stated: 

Public transport is the best way to get around London, we urge revellers to use these various means rather than drive. Some buses will be on diversion or finish early due to the road closures.

People choosing to take a taxi home are advised to use a black cab or pre-booked minicab to ensure that their journey is safe and legal. No mention was made of Uber...does this mean that they finally agree that Uber, which doesn't do pre bookings and uses an immediate eHailing App, is not legal?

Also, following on from their new "Woefully inadequate" reputation, TfL have again failed to appoint suitable ranking stations, for licensed Taxis wishing to work. Every year a request is made for a temporary ranking facility in the Mall and every year it is refused. Enforcement will again be minimal, leaving the public to the mercy of huge numbers of illegal touts. 

              Busiest times, over New Years Eve

    Source: CityAM

Another Uber Driver, Charged With Raping An Inebriated Customer.

'He will not be Ubering anybody,' judge says of driver charged with raping woman

After allegedly raping an inebriated customer in his Albany Park apartment, a former Uber driver walked the victim back to his car and told her “I made you happy,” Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.

Maxime Fohounhedo, who shared an Uber account with his wife, is accused of first attacking the woman inside his black four-door vehicle after picking her up in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Mack said.

The woman had used Uber X to summon Fohounhedo and fell asleep in the back passenger seat as Fohounhedo drove onto the highway, Mack said.

Once he was off the highway, Fohounhedo, 30, asked the woman to sit in the front passenger seat because he was unsure of her address, Mack said.

The woman fell asleep again but awoke after Fohounhedo turned left in an alley and stopped his car behind an apartment building, Mack said.

There, Fohounhedo allegedly took the 22-year-old woman’s hand and put it inside his pants.

The woman pulled her hands away but fell asleep a third time.

When she woke up, she found herself inside an apartment on a dark leather couch with Fohounhedo on top of her and her pants and underpants down to her ankles, Mack said.

After the rape, Fohounhedo took off a condom and went to the washroom, giving the woman some time to see the layout of the apartment, Mack said.

The victim then got dressed, and Fohounhedo helped her leave, taking her out the rear of the apartment and down one flight of stairs, Mack said.

“I made you happy,” Fohounhedo then allegedly assured her before dropping her off at home.

The woman immediately texted a friend to tell her what happened before she fell asleep again, Mack said.

She made a police report as soon as she woke up a few hours later and went to an area hospital where a rape kit was done, Mack said.

The woman was able to tell police about her driver, and they were able to trace the attack back to Fohounhedo’s apartment, in the 4400 block of North Lawndale, using the victim’s GPS information from the date and time of the incident, Mack said.

The woman was able to identify pictures from inside and outside his apartment, Mack said. She also identified Fohounhedo in a line-up.

Fohounhedo was arrested on Sunday by his apartment after police saw him come out of his dark Lexus, according to an arrest report.

Fohounhedo, who was born in the West African country of Benin, had his Uber account in his wife’s name, but his picture and phone number were on the account, Mack said.

Uber spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin said Fohounhedo was removed as an Uber driver as soon as officials at the company were alerted about the alleged attack.

“This is an appalling and unacceptable incident, and first and foremost our thoughts are with the victim and her family,” Mullin said. “We immediately removed the driver from the Uber platform when we learned of the incident and are cooperating with the Chicago Police Department in the ongoing investigation.  We stand ready to assist them however we can to hold the perpetrator accountable.”

The company also noted that “account sharing is expressly prohibited on the Uber platform.” Uber said it’s exploring legal options against Fohounhedo and his wife.

Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Fohounhedo held in lieu of $500,000 bail Tuesday for criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse.

Should he post bond, Fohounhedo must surrender his passport, the judge said.

Chiampas also banned Fohounhedo from driving people for a car service, saying: “He will not be Ubering anybody.”


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sir Peter, Leon and Garrett, This Is What Honourable Men Jim Thomas.

Mark Carne CEO of NetWork Rail, has appeared on national TV and made the statement that, owing to the recent performance of NetWork Rail, he would not be accepting his six figured performance related bonus.

This is the action of an honourable man. 
Mr Carne's action relates to just one really bad weekend.

While on the other hand, London's Taxi and Private hire's licensing authority TfL, had a year which has seen the Greater London Authority (GLA) brand them as "woefully inadequate".

If the transport commissioner and his directors were honourable men, then they should follow in the footsteps of Mark Carne and refuse to accept their performance related bonuses. 

Sir Peter Hendy, Leon Daniels and Garrett Emmerson,
Will you show some backbone, stand up as honourable men and refuse your performance related bonuses?.

    Source: ITV News.

Maybe It's Time To Blow The Windows Out..........By Semtex.

As another year comes to an end, our trade leans back on the ropes gasping for more air to continue our fight for survival.

And what a difficult year we have endured too. I used to blame paranoia for thinking the whole establishment were against The London Taxi Trade, but never have I been convinced as much as I am now, that the Transport For London Master plan, is to eradicate us totally. Looking back over 2014, that master plan is in full roll and hurtling down the track.
I am the first to admit that it wasn't all strawberries and cream under command and responsibility of the Metropolitan Police, but there cannot be many in our ranks who wouldn't go back to the old days like a shot, if we were able.

From the day that TFL took control of our profession, we have seen our world famous respected institution abused, disrespected and buggered.

Taking command of such a structured and valued iconic speciality, requires structured and specialist commanders to direct and control it.

It should come as no surprise then, to see the legacy of The Protector Oliver Cromwell, dissected, smashed onto the ropes and almost ruined, when inexperienced career chasing civil servants and bus enthusiasts are appointed to punch way above their weight, taking us out on the way.
After all, why on earth would anyone who is so passionate about buses, give any care or professional respect to London Taxi Cabs?

That's a bit like a member of Greenpeace going out for a drink with a commercial Tuna Fisherman.....isn't it ? And yet, not only do the Bus Boys control and licence us, but are doing a damn good job of making sure we are extinct too. If that isn't a conspiracy theory, then mine's a bloater !
I have never directly criticised any of our trade organisations, or the faces behind them. I personally know many of our colleagues in all different unions and clubs that work tirelessly behind the glare of fame, in an effort to gain more of a professional footing.

However, and honestly, with the greatest respect to all of them, there hasn't been enough power in the charge, to make a difference that is outstanding and sound enough from any of them. A confidence to give rank and file drivers an optimistic future. A future where they would encourage their sons or daughters to start the knowledge, a future where they would borrow 100 grand mortgage with assurance, a future where they can plan and coordinate their retirements, holidays and financial commitments with confidence and belief in not only their profession, but the future and longevity of it.
It has been almost five years ago that I wrote that Men were Coming To Kill Us. During this year, it has become apparent to all of us, that we are well and truly surrounded.

There are so many pressures against us out there now, that only a realistic and profound challenge will clear the road forward for us all.
All of us with a badge around our neck will be only too aware of how much heartache, pressure, time and commitment was involved to allow us the privileged and sole rights to ply our superior knowledge and cab's for hire, under Hackney Carriage Laws that are etched in stone.

We knew the rules before we started. We discussed it with our loved ones. We decided that the huge input of time and financial cost would be worth the pride and professional elite status, and so embarked upon the long road ahead, to become one of London's finest.
It is no surprise then, that when a mini cab firm comes along with a huge financial backing from the banks and other investors, and to add insult, sporting an illegal meter, that our backs should be rubbed up the wrong way, and disenchantment would take root.

Surprisingly, not only did the Bus Boys from TFL give them an Operators Licence, they blatantly welcomed them with open arms. Even though their counterfeit meter was drenched in world controversy.
To anyone who had worked their pipe out to complete the gruelling London Knowledge, this was a kick in the teeth not just for us, but our families and loved ones who had encouraged and supported us through four or five years of purgatory.

The Bus Boys at TFL had more or less made it clear that the message was, don't bother doing the knowledge as we have just undermined everything you worked hard for. If Uber can tear the Hackney Carriage legislation up, then so can anyone else with a few quid in their bank accounts, whether its registered in the Netherlands or Norwood.
Behind the scenes in this trade, I have many good friends, a lot of them in positions of leadership and example. They have often criticised my militant stance, and explained that dialogue with the authorities, meeting with politicians, lobbying through constituent Members of Parliament and media consultation is the future and the way forward for our battered profession to make progress.

Out of respect, and a realisation that we are indeed part of a democratic society, I listened and supported my learned colleagues.
As this year draws to a close though, and with my hand on my heart, I believe our lobbying and meetings have fallen on deaf ears. As a result of an imminent defeat, the natural militant attitude that I harbour, comes racing to the fore.
Let me make a parallel. A little over dramatic, but the principles remain the same.
At 11.30 on Wednesday morning 30th April 1980, six armed Iranian gunmen calling themselves The Democratic Revolutionary Front For Arabistan, raided the Iranian Embassy In Princes Gate.

Within a few minutes, they had held the embassy under siege, and taken the 26 people in the property as hostages.

Very soon, the Metropolitan Police under the command of Assistant Commissioner John Dellow, had surrounded the embassy and taken operational control outside the building. Many specialists were in attendance that day. Police marksmen, negotiators, psychiatrists, and many other specialists, expert in the field of negotiating.
The hostages demanded that political prisoners be released from various prisons in Iran, and their safe passage from the UK guaranteed and failure to meet their demands would result in the hostages being killed and the embassy blown up.

Commissioner Dellow's team worked flat out attempting to convince the terrorists that they should give up. Just like the Bus Boys, they were having none of it.
That Wednesday turned into, Thursday, into Friday into Saturday, into Sunday into Monday.............with absolutely no progress whatsoever. By this time, the Iranians were getting restless and threatened to kill a hostage if their demands were not met on the day. Dellow's officers could only watch, wait and attempt to negotiate.

Later that day, the terrorists crossed the invisible line. Three shots rang out, and the body of a hostage was slung out the front door.
The Government's emergency panel COBRA were watching this unfold with fear and panic. After the hostage was shot, the then police commissioner David McNee contacted Willie Whitelaw the Home Secretary to say that he felt he had no option but to hand the job over to the SAS.

B Squadron just so happened to be on Anti Terrorist duties at the time, and as the saga at the embassy unfolded, four unmarked range rovers were already speeding east bound up the M4 from Hereford.
The rest is history. On the given command, troopers from B Squadron abseiled down from the roof, blew the Iranian Embassy windows out, killed all the terrorists barring one, rescued the hostages and were being de-briefed at Regents Park Barracks within the hour. The whole operation codenamed "Nimrod" took less than 12 minutes ! Job done ! A siege that had gone on requiring massive resources for almost 6 days, was concluded in less than 12 minutes, because the team from B Squadron were intent on getting what they had travelled from Hereford for.
Iv'e never been a fan of constant dialogue and blah blah blah politics, especially as I witness our trade eroding as it all  takes place. Neither have I ever been a fan of half hearted taxi demos. They are easy to control by the police, very rarely achieve much worth talking about and have often caused divide within our ranks.

However, I have always maintained that a demo of London Taxis of say 10 or 15 thousand cabs, would leave the incompetents who control us, no other option but to listen.

15000 London Taxis in the middle of London on a perfectly legal democratic and peaceful demonstration would cause utter breakdown of trade, commerce and industry in our capital.

Make no mistake folks, our trade is under siege and we are losing. A demo of this size would require total trade unity and support. No egos, no lanyard colour football mentality, no mine is bigger than yours..............just 100% trade solidarity and unity.
If we were able to pull that off, the civil servants would show an immediate desire to talk sense with us, trust me. London simply couldn't afford to be held to ransom without the hierarchy holding emergency meetings to see what we were disenchanted with.

In my mind, we have nothing to lose. If we don't do something, our trade will be all over in a year or two from now.

We have no guns, we have no stun grenades and we have no bullets.
But what we do have is strength in our numbers, solidarity, pride, and a duty of care for our 400 year old heritage. The unity of one and all having toiled, worked, sweated, and suffered for four years or more to go about our business without fear of malicious neglect, incompetence and worry.

TFL are walking all over our trade in a bullying, couldn't care less attitude.

I worked hard for my badge. I put a lot into it. My kids were only little at the time, and as adults they can still call over many of the runs, such was their misery at having to listen to it every night.

Im proud of my badge. Proud of my profession and proud of its history.
Wev'e tried dialogue, we've tried negotiating, we've tried going to the meetings, we've tried the lobbying, we've tried writing to our MP's, we've tried to be civil..................and we are getting slaughtered !
Maybe it's time to blow the windows out.
A truly united demo of 15000 cabs in London next year would guarantee our survival. It's up to us to decide whether we can be bothered or not.
May I wish all our colleagues green and yellow badges, of all unions, clubs and associations, a very healthy and prosperous New Year.
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
Men are Coming To Kill Us. Let's Give Them A Hiding !
Be Lucky all. Stay safe.
8829 Semtex.