Saturday, February 21, 2015

SAVE LONDON'S ICONIC BLACK CABS : Please Sign

Boris Johnson and TfL imposed a 15 year age limit on London taxi cabs to reduce emissions in the capital, knowing full well that the newer Taxis, were more polluting.



TfL are a public body and their decisions must be evidence based, rational, proportionate and fair. The taxi age limit was introduced without proper testing to prove that the age limit would be of benefit. MPs and assembly members asked for the testing to be done but it was never carried out. 


The Defra report from 2013 proves that newer vehicles do not produce less harmful emissions than older ones. It concludes that all emissions strategies in London have failed. 


See section 4.3 page 44 for details on London Taxis.

Read Report, Click link below:

London's taxi drivers would love to replace their current vehicles with ones that are fully electric or zero emissions capable, but these vehicles are not currently available. Taxi drivers must scrap their 15 year old vehicles, even though they meet current standards, and purchase new £40,000 diesel vehicles. 


These diesel taxis will not meet the standards of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone that Boris is planning to introduce in 2020 . Please sign this petition to get the age limit on London's Black cabs removed. If a London Taxi is fit for purpose and passes current emission standards it should be allowed to stay on the road.


To sign petition, please click link below:

Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry www.cappi.org.uk

The Campaign has been supported by 25 Mps and Lords and the Environmental Audit Committee also supported it in its air quality report. 


Lord Smith the Chair of the Environment Agency 

has now also supported the campaign and it seems likely that a Public Inquiry will be initiated soon. 


When it is, there will be an excellent opportunity for the taxi age limit to be scrutinized and overturned



         ALL DRIVERS SHOULD ATTEND






Guildford taxi drivers demand judicial review over licence fee charges

Angry cabbies are demanding a judicial review into what they regard as historic overcharging over their licence fees.

The Guildford Hackney Association (GHA) has been involved in a long and bitter dispute with Guildford Borough Council, making applications to the ombudsman and threatening to strike, over what it sees as the ‘injustice’ of charges set by the licensing department, going back more than 20 years.

The charges for 2015-16 were agreed by the borough executive last month, but the council last week accepted recommendations by officials to reduce the figures – some by more than 50%.

The charges vary, depending on whether the application is a renewal, replacement or a new licence.

Mark Rostron, secretary of the GHA, said: “That’s some dip, from £100 to £48, so they are quite a big lowering in things such as the changing of plates per vehicle.

“Unfortunately, these fees and issues are really infrequent and when they come about have to be paid.

“We are concerned about the annual taxing, which has gone up by 12.9%, and drivers’ licences have gone up by 14.9%.

“This situation is so bad and has been on going for so long we are going to apply for a judicial review.

“If you just change your car that has gone down by more than 52% so blatantly they were overcharging and for what? Just a plastic plate, a piece of paper, and 10 minutes of a clerk’s time.

“We welcome some of the fees going down, but it seems like they have partially relieved an injustice which has been in place for more than 20 years.”

The charges were approved on February 11 but Councillor David Goodwin predicted that questions would be raised.

He said: “I welcome the reduction to taxi charges, which is up to 58% in some cases, and think it is good for taxis drivers and their customers.

“However, it goes to prove that Guildford Borough Council has been overcharging the taxis for many years.

“Some of the changes are only 50p one way or the other. However, some are up to 58% reductions.

“While I welcome reductions and I am quite sure the taxi trade will welcome reductions, it does beg the question what has been going on for all this time?

“Because the only explanation here is that the review was led into the mechanisms and recordings of charges.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, the lead councillor for licensing and governance, explained: “Each year we calculate the cost of processing and issuing different types of licences, and these costs are used to set fees and charges.

“We have been working hard to streamline the processes we use for licensing taxis, private hire vehicles and drivers.

“As a result we have reduced some of the fees for 2015-16.

“This will certainly benefit drivers, who can choose to pass on these savings to their customers.

“We set the maximum fares that can be charged, but drivers can agree lower fares with their customers.”

    Source: Get Surrey 

Friend Or Just Another Wolf In Sheep's Clothing? Mayoral RaceMerry-Go-Round Swings Into Action.

By Jim Thomas
  Déjà Vu?

Ive just read an article by Ivan Masscow's posted on the Huffington Post. Although he purports to support the survival of the "Best Taxi Service In The World", obviously courting favour in the up and coming Mayoral race, it would appear we have another Tory candidate who hasn't quite grasped the essential facts about the traditions and everyday business model, of our iconic trade.

He says: 
"As I sat in the back of an Uber car this morning at Holborn, stuck in traffic that would have been avoided by any Black Cab driver by skipping along Guilford Street, it dawned on me what all the fuss is about." 

Then he goes on to heap praise on our trade:
"The knowledge, that sense of urgency and enthusiasm, the smart little turning circle and iconic design that was so exciting for me as a child that going in a cab was actually the most exciting part of coming to London, has real value".

But then he plays his hand. 
He says:
"It's time to re-write laws for the digital age and support the iconic London Taxi."

Taxi Leaks would ask WHY?
In London we have the gold standard of Taxi service. Honest, reliable, safe, drivers who know what they are doing and where they are going. Our working practise works, so why are so many out to change the system that has managed to keep the City moving for the best part of 370 years.

Masscow's Lack Of Research: 
It would appear that this Mayoral candidate, is yet another prominent personality who thinks it's fashionable to call for Taxi drivers to be dragged screaming into the 21st century. But his statements show he is just another entrepreneur, who really hasn't done his research. 

Masscow believes Uber's business model of driver-referral and use of rating technology makes them instantly self-governing in terms of safety standards.

He also believes Peter Hendy was right to issue Uber with a licence, even though they contravened most of the conditions of the licensing regulations when initially set up to run from a "rent-a-desk" in the More London Building, back in 2012. 
This statement alone would point to the fact, should Ivan win the Mayoral race, we can expect to see the career of Peter Hendy extended. 

Amazingly, the only negative Ivan finds with Uber is the fact they don't pay Tax in the UK. 
(Funny he didn't mention their meter, accepting instant hails, insurance validity issues, absence of a land line, passenger data harvesting, complaints procedure, extortionate price surging)

As we delve deeper into the article we find the real reason behind his extraordinary post.

It would appear that Mr Masscow through the medium of Twitter, made his personal feelings crystal clear over the issue that his preferred choice of minicab was excluded from bus lanes.
(Again we see his preference for using minicabs over Taxis). 

In light of his future Mayoral candidacy, his advisory team must have choked in horror over their skinny lattes, as they believe, along with all the other political classes that cabbies are quite literally, key opinion formers and it would be electoral suicide to piss them off.


Apology:
Uncharacteristically he then made a rare statement, a total reversal and apology- 
He said: "I was wrong. Cabbies, exhaustively trained to drive safer wheelchair friendly £40,000 vehicles, need protection and deserve all the breaks they can possibly get".

Taxis And Technology And The 21st Centuary:
People just don't realise, Taxi drivers do not fear advances in new technology, in fact the Taxi trade has always been at the cutting edge of innovation and invention in the transport field.

Taxis were first fitted with two way radios in the early 1950s, almost a decade before minicabs circumvented the the Hackney Carriage Act.
Automatic vehicle identification was invented by a London Radio Taxi company. GPS, digital dispatch, computer screens and believe it or not, the first ever smart phone Taxi apps, all came about through research by London's licensed Taxi companies.

We were also the first transport service in the world to become completely wheelchair accessible.  Much of the technology we find today in ambulances, fire engines, police cars and other emergency and breakdown services, all appeared first within the licensed Taxi trade. 


ComCab, Dial A Cab and Radio Taxis all had forms of phone apps before private hire. When TfL introduced their Cabwise text number/app, our radio circuits were overlooked and TfL's open bias in favour of Private Hire became apparent.

The only negative applicable to the advances in new technology is that we didn't shout as loud about our innovations as Uber has.

Masscow finished with this statement:
One thing is certain this rare breed of Londoner is here to stay too, and I as Mayor will stand by them and help preserve this resilient, iconic industry.

Is it just me? 
Or are you also getting a feeling of déjà vu.

Editorial Comment Extra:
The most worrying aspect of Masscow's article is the confirmation that Uber are planning to expand their minicab fleet to 42,000 drivers by the end of the year.

While this figure is made up mostly from the ranks of already licensed PH drivers, the ease of sign up and availability of cheap vehicles financed by Uber is encouraging new bodies into the market. 

A recent job advertisment for head of compliance leaked the fact that the true figure for Taxi and PH drivers is in the region of 150,000 licences. Take away the combined Yellow and Green badge Taxi drivers and that leaves PH with approximately 125,000 drivers. 

Currently TfL refuse to recognise this figure officially and put the number of PH drivers at around 70,000. 


So, was the advert a typo....or a Freudian slip?





Thursday, February 19, 2015

New $300m British Factory To Build London Taxi Company's New Taxi.

The Chinese-owned London Taxi Company has been given the go-ahead to build a new 300 million U.S. dollars British headquarters and production factory on Wednesday.


The development is described as being a state of the art facility for research, development and assembly of high technology electric vehicles, including the next generation of London taxi.

The site, In Rugby, will be the London Taxi Company's new headquarters and will include a substantial research and development department, supply chain team, global sales and marketing and administrative functions necessary to support the assembly operations of the new vehicles.

Two years ago London Taxi Company became part of the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

The company says it intends to invest in the new site to help develop advanced green taxi technology over the next five years with the aim of launching a zero-emission electric powered London taxi by 2018.

The London Taxi Company is already the leading global manufacturer and retailer of the purpose-built London Taxis, now an international icon.

The company has two manufacturing plants, one in Coventry - the city where the iconic Fairway London Taxi was born - and one in Shanghai, which produces vehicles for export markets, the company said on its website.

The move to Rugby will mean the company quitting its long-established Coventry base - just 21 kilometers from Coventry - but the company views the new factory as part of a five-year investment plan, creating an initial 550 jobs with scope for future expansion that could potentially lead up to the creation of 1,000 jobs.

It is anticipated that approximately 12,000 of the specialist vehicles will be produced based each year on a single shift system.

Business leaders and local politicians welcomed the move and hailed it as a significant step forward in realising the area's strategy economic plan for creating growth in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Cllr Carolyn Robbins, chair of Rugby Council's Planning Committee said on Tuesday the committee gave their unanimous backing to the project.

"We are delighted the London Taxi Company has chosen Rugby as its new location. We hope it will attract other innovative businesses to our borough," she told Xinhua.


    Source: Shanghai daily


East Guide To RMT Early Day Motion 762 Process.

It's been bought to our attention that some drivers are confused and are having difficulty filling in the request for support on the RMT site. 

Below, is a  step-by-step guide to the process.


Enter post code, then click on SUBMIT.


You will be informed of your local MP. Click on
WRITE TO MY MP.


Fill in details : Name, Email,Address.


Scroll down and click on SEND AS AN EMAIL.

ANd that's it. You will then be informed that you have been successful. 

Below is a link to the RMT site.

Define Plying For Hire In Law...Support For Early Day Motion 762...by Jim Thomas


As we all know, Transport for London is woefully inadequate and failing to carry out its licensing and enforcement functions. Senior management are allowing PHVs to operate within the "immediate hire" market. This is primarily due to the absence of a statutory definition of plying for hire


Earlier this month, the RMT's parliamentary group secured sponsorship of Early Day Motion 762. The motion calls for a statutory definition of "Plying for Hire".


As we all know, Transport for London is woefully inadequate and failing to carry out its licensing and enforcement functions. Senior management are allowing PHVs to operate within the "immediate hire" market. This is primarily due to the absence of a statutory definition of plying for hire.


Earlier this month, the RMT's parliamentary group secured sponsorship of Early Day Motion 762. The motion calls for a statutory definition of "Plying for Hire".


We now now need YOU to give as much support as possible, to encourage other MPs to get the motion to the next stage.

It is now up to every Taxi driver, green badge/yellow badge, irrespective of Org or Union, to show support for this action, by writing to MPs and asking them to support the Motion. As this is a nation issue, it doesn't matter if you live outside London. 

Below is a template letter which you can cut and paste (on pen your own). 


TEMPLATE LETTER

Dear XXXX

Need for a statutory definition of “plying for hire”

Under existing regulations, private hire vehicles (PHVs) may only pick up passengers when pre-booked, rather than from a rank or in response to being hailed. Such regulations provide passengers with important safety protections against unregulated drivers who have not undergone extensive criminal record and medical checks, or had to pass a formal taxi driving assessment like licensed taxi drivers.

However, Smartphone apps such as Über are circumventing the law governing the taxi and minicab industry.

Transport for London’s stated position is that the distinction between the two services must be maintained. However, in spite of this, TfL is failing to carry out its licensing and enforcement functions  Specifically, TfL is allowing PHVs to operate within the immediate hire market.

This situation can only be addressed by introducing a statutory definition of plying for hire. 

A failure to introduce a statutory definition of plying for hire will undermine public confidence in a safe and secure licensing regime. It would also ultimately undermine the viability of the current taxi service.

I request that you call on the Government to bring forward urgent legislation which provides a clear statutory definition to protect the distinction between taxis and PHVs.

Please sign EDM Number 762.

Yours sincerely XXXX

ENDS:

Place your post code in the box provided beneath and then click "go", to find your MP. 
Use the facility provided on this site to send an email direct. 

If you already have your MP's email address, then use that.




Contact Your Politician
Enter your Postcode below:
 

EDITORIAL COMMENT:

At present, the trade is still dangerously fragmented. 
But we now have an opportunity for individual drivers, regardless of Org or Union, to actually pull together and fight on a united front.

Plying for hire as way know it today, is not defined in the act of 1984 and has only been allowed through case law. The Law commission intends to repeal all Hackney Carriage acts and scrap case law. A one tier system by stealth.

Defining "Plying For Hire" in Law won't miraculously solve all our problems, but it will assure the future of the "Best Taxi Service In The World" for decades to come.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Vinnie Jones video helped me save heart attack passenger's life.

WHEN taxi driver Dean Clarke picked up his last fare on Saturday night, he never imagined by the time the journey ended he would have saved a life.


But when a 76-year-old passenger collapsed and began having a heart attack, his instincts kicked in along with advice picked up from an advertising campaign.

Dean, who has been a taxi driver for Hanham-based Homesafe Cars for two years, administered emergency CPR on John Alexander for 20 minutes despite having no previous first aid experience.

And the technique he used to save his passenger’s life was gleaned from watching a campaign backed by soccer hardman Vinnie Jones.

In the Staying Alive advert the footballer turned actor demonstrates how to administer CPR accompanied by Bee Gees’ hit.

The 54-year-old was helping the man and his wife out of the taxi outside their Hanham home after they had been to a pub in Cadbury Heath celebrating their son’s birthday.

Dean said: “As I helped the man out of the car, he collapsed back. It was really frightening, I rang an ambulance and told them what was happening. They talked me through some basic CPR and I just had to keep his head back and his airways open.

“I had never done CPR before, the only knowledge I had of it was from the Vinnie Jones CPR videos. The man on the phone was great if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”

Dean also rang his colleague to go back to the pub and pick up the man’s son. After 20 minutes, an ambulance arrived to take the man to hospital where he was treated.

Paramedics told Dean if it wasn’t for the life saving CPR he administered, the man may not have survived.

Dean said: “They said I helped save the man’s life, but if it wasn’t for the people at the end of the phone talking me through I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it, so I owe it to them really.

“I’m just so glad to hear the man is okay, miraculously he is out of hospital already and doing well, I hear, so that is all that matters. I was very anxious on Sunday until I heard he was okay.

“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything out of the ordinary, I was just doing my job and what anyone would have done. But it was a very frightening experience and I’m just glad it has been a positive outcome.”

The manager of Homesafe Taxis Mark Horman said: “It’s amazing really what he did and we are very proud to have him as one of our taxi drivers. He went above and beyond and we are just pleased that the man is okay and out of hospital. His family have been in touch with us through our Facebook page and have thanked us, but we are just glad he’s okay.”

Members of the man’s family commented on Homesafe Taxi’s Facebook page to say how thankful they were to Dean and the company.

Aide White said: “Thanks guys, this is my father-in-law of 35 years. You lived up to your company's name, Homesafe. You did a great job.”

Daughter Louise White said: “Thank you very much this customer is my Dad we have just pick him up from hospital and apart from bruising and a chest infection he is ok as a family we can not thank you enough. My mum and dad will be in contact with you soon thanks again.”

And Grandson Liam White added: “Thank you so much, you saved my grandad’s life.”


    Source: Bristol Post

Just Incase You Missed It : SuperCabby Podcast Episode 5 – The Lewis Norton Interview

Play

In this episode SuperCabby Jamie Owens interviews Lewis Norton who is the new Branch Secretary of the RMT London Taxi Branch.

Lewis has only been driving a London Taxi for about 3 years but appears to be passionate about our trade and is also not afraid of voicing his opinions about the trade.

During last years demonstration in central London, Lewis told BBC news

'INFRINGEMENT ON TAXI DRIVERS' RIGHTS' 

 "About 25,000 cabs are competing with 70,000 unregulated minicabs and it is "disproportionately represented in the market".

"We are in effect a state public transport service along with the Tubes and buses. What TfL seeks to do, its coming down from the Mayor Boris Johnson, is the Conservative ideology to favour privatisation, deregulation over the London transport network.

"We believe this is an infringement on our right to ply for hire, and Uber offers the same services and the same rights through an application, and we find that totally unacceptable.

The RMT was not the first trade organisation that Lewis joined as he joined the LTDA shortly after getting his badge.

Lews spent 4 years doing the famous Knowledge of London to become a London Taxi Driver.

The interview is about 45 minutes long.



   
          With thanks to SuperCabby, Jamie Owens

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Italian Cabbies Show London How To Do On Foot Protests.

Turin, February 17 - 1,500 licenced taxis drivers converged on the northern Italian city of Turin today in protest against the Uber car-hailing app they fear is co-opting their livelihood while sidestepping regulations.


Protesting drivers wore red clown noses, threw yellow and blue smoke bombs and brandished placards reading 'Je suis taxi legale'.
"We are calling on (Transport Minister Maurizio) Lupi to intervene to suppress what he too says is illegal," said Walter Drovetto, head of the taxi driver branch of the rightwing trade union UGL.


 "If these people want to do the same job as us let them also pay 50% in taxes and submit to the necessary controls," he continued.


Many of the taxis hailed from the Ligurian capital Genoa where on Monday a judge ruled in favour of an Uber driver and restored his licence. 

The service allowing vehicle owners to offer paid rides to customers through a smartphone app that connects them amounted to "voluntary sharing of a personal automobile for private mobility within a social network," the judge said.

        My Taxi Driver Father, Pays Tax

However San Francisco-based Uber is under fire from taxi drivers and licensed car services in many Italian and foreign cities, who say it violates laws setting out the roles and characteristics of taxi drivers and chauffeur car rentals.