Sunday, September 20, 2015

Val Shawcross CBE AM, Asks Boris To Instruct TfL/The Met To Reintroduce Temporary Cover For Taxi Renewals.

It wasn't all bad news on Wednesday.

After the Mayors Question Time resumed, Val Shawcross asked Boris if he would instruct TfL/The Met to resume temporary licenses to those drivers waiting for their DBS checks to clear. 


She explained in great detail that drivers she knew personally had been waiting 3 months and that it wasn't just Taxi drivers affected. A reverent vicar  in the borough of Southwark had been waiting for 18 weeks and couldn't serve her community.

Assembly member Shawcross read out part of the press statement she had received that morning, from the Support Black Taxis Group who had organised an international day of protest. 

She read out in part, demand number 4;


Temporary licenses (Bill renewal) to be issued to taxi drivers, if the delay is due to inept and inconsistent administration, that is of no fault of the driver. 

To not issue the driver who has completed the necessary paperwork, has had the money deducted from his/ her account and is of previous good character, denies him/ her of the fundamental right to earn a living.

Boris admitted it was a shocking state of affairs saying he had been told the reason for the backlog was a deficit of 20 staff members. He said he was shocked at the 37,000 backlog of applications and said this was partially the result of the unprecedented rise in new Private Hire drivers applications. He gave an assurance he would act on this immediately. 

Of course, legally there is no need for a piece of paper saying you can work, because it's already there in the legislature. Transport Act 1985 section 17(7) says when you apply for a licence renewal, before the expiry of your present licence, you are covered until the new licence is issued or a suspension or revocation is put in place. 

Temporary licenses had been issued to Taxi drivers experiencing problems with renewals for many decades. But the practise was suddenly stopped without warning on Peter Hendy's bequest. 

Taxi Leaks wrote to Peter Hendy on many occasion asking for the reinstatement of temporary licenses pointing out the desperate hardship being experienced by some unfortunate drivers, but always received the same pre-scripted reply that TfL felt it was a matter of protecting the public from drivers who may commit serious crimes between licence periods ...yes he actually said this!

This situation should never have been aloud to get as bad as it has. It should have been addressed by those who had Boris's ear at closed Cabbies Cabinet meetings, when it became apparent just how many drivers were being denied the right to work.

Extra Comment:

There are a few ifs and buts, but it looks more promising now than for a very long time. 

I have seen unconfirmed reports on social media over the weekend, that TfL have already issued some temporary licenses this week. So fingers crossed. 


Dizzy said...

Boris says he was shocked at finding out there are over 37,000 applications caught up in the backlog.

What sort of retard have we got running this city!

And what is he going to do about the senior management at TfL who have made such a piss poor job of the whole situation.

Someone is crap at their job and should be removed immediately.

But Boris wont do that...or anything else about it cos he is just as useless.

Hendy's gone, time to shoot the next in line...Leon Daniels

Sean Day said...

I submitted five demands that TFL could implement straight away without the need for amendments to existing legislation. I felt they were also basic prerequisites that the trade had every right to expect. Below are the five requests. Two of which have been granted.

1) TfL will clearly and firmly uphold its own published policy on transparency, by opening up the cabbie cabinet meetings to relevant members of the GLA and Trade Representatives. Minutes from the meeting will be made available for the industry to read.

2) The high court case brought by TFL to seek a ruling on what constitutes a taxi meter is to be public. It cannot, in any conceivable terms, be conducted in private. The taxi trade is highly suspicious- with good reason- of the financial clout of certain lobbyists, and TfL are using public money to defend the working model of an app based product. The case is of public interest, and again, for transparency reasons, the court proceedings should be open. Whichever side the Judge sees fit to rule on, the democratic right pertaining to ‘justice should be seen to be done’ has to be upheld by TFL.

It must be noted, just as this statement had been released the news broke that Boris Johnson had responded to an online petition and decided to override TFL’s decision to hold the High Court action in Private. However, we maintain that TfL are providing unfathomably weak support for the trade by employing a human rights lawyer when what is required is specific technical delineation

3) An immediate cap placed on the issuing of private hire licenses. There is no law that compels or prevents TfL from issuing licenses. The guidelines clearly state that if a person meets the criteria listed then they can apply for a license. Applying for a licence does not make issuing a license compulsory. Indeed, mitigating circumstances such as the inexorable increase in motor traffic congestion, and subsequent Pollution implications, should be deterministic factors for capping licenses.

4) Resume issuing Temporary licenses (Bill renewal) to taxi drivers. A driver who has completed the necessary paperwork, has had the money deducted from his/ her account and is of previous good character, should not be denied the fundamental right to earn a living. Current legislation (sec 7, subsection 7) allows for this. Any unnecessary delay due to an inept and inconsistent administration is no fault of the driver, nor should it be of any consequence,

5) The indisputable and corroborable contempt that Mr Leon Daniels has for the licensed taxi trade brings into question his ability to act with discernment when making trade associated decisions. Primarily, the unmethodical issuing 30,000 private hire licenses over a two year period (most of which facilitated the en-mass infiltration of smart phone instant hire car services) was reckless in the extreme. In doing so, we openly accuse Mr Daniels of overstepping his brief by intentionally derestricting a market that already satisfied demand with supply. It is of my informed opinion also, that the stress level of those within the Trade is becoming infective, to the degree that depression could elevate to a serious organisational matter.

The fact that many decisions lack rudimentary economic sense is a failing by someone whose duty it is, at the behest of the current mayor, to comply with prevailing legislature (or modify it by legitimate means). From an observant position, the taxi trade’s relationship with Mr Daniels TPH is beyond reparation. The trade has no choice therefore, but to request Leon Daniels’ immediate removal.

These requests are not up for negotiation.