Saturday, October 03, 2015

Minicab Rapist Jailed For Six Years.

The mini cab driver who raped a vulnerable woman while she was asleep in his car, in Uxbridge, has been jailed for six years.

At a sentencing hearing at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday (October 2), Ali Moaberfard was sentenced to six years imprisonment and has been placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

The 39-year-old, from Barnet, was found guilty of the rape of a 31-year-old woman at Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday August 11.

The court had heard how, on the night of May 4 2012, the victim had been out in Notting Hill at a party. Leaving the party she decided to take a minicab to get home.

The car was driven by Moaberfard and, instead of taking her home, he took the victim, who was reportedly in a vulnerable state, to an address in Uxbridge. It was here his victim fell asleep.

The victim awoke to find Moaberfard raping her. Despite telling him no he continued and she passed out again, according to Met Police report.

The following morning, Moaberfard dropped his victim at Uxbridge Underground station. From there, the victim went to hospital and later police were called and an investigation began.

Clothing from the victim reportedly contained a DNA trace that matched Moaberfard and so he was arrested.

How the media reported this yesterday :

How this was previously reported:

So Danya Bazaraa reports the rapist as a "bogus Taxi Driver" and Nathan Spendalow reports the same rapist as a "Taxi Driver".

Both so-called journalists failed to mention Moaderfard was actually a minicab driver

Free Banner Stickers Offer, In Support Of The Taxi Trade From Ubiquitous and #SaveTaxi

we are really pleased to announce that the Ubiquitous Banner Stickers are available for fitting.

There are a number of different wordings, but you have to be quick as we only have 500 available.

If you would like one of these, we need to book your taxi in at their garage in Dunbridge St. on any day between 12-15 Oct inc. and 19-22 Oct inc., between the hours of 9.30-11.30am or 2-4pm.

To book please email us at stating your preferred date and time slot, vehicle type (eg tx or vito) and name and contact number please. 

This is a fantastic opportunity to get some positive PR for the trade as well as promoting #SaveTaxi and what we represent.

Book early to avoid disappointment

#SaveTaxi, Stronger together.

Friday, October 02, 2015

UCG Statement: Met Issue Section 12 Order on Monday's Demo, Windsor House 2pm

As you maybe aware Trevor Merralls and I were asked to attend an urgent meeting at New Scotland Yard this afternoon to discuss the  forthcoming Windsor House demo.

On Wednesday afternoon the Met agreed we could have 90 minutes, utilising the two eastbound carriageways of Victoria St, the focus being on Windsor House.

Our Campaigns Officer accepted this time limit even though he had requested 120 minutes.

Late yesterday afternoon , October 1st, he received a call from the Met informing him that actually we could now have only 60 mins. Trevor refused this 30 minute reduction explaining that 90 mins had been agreed already

After the Met had discussed our displeasure and refusal to accept 1 hour, they then offered 60 minutes but with all 4 carriageways given to us. In effect all of Victoria St.

We told them that we were still not happy at this last minute time restriction, we would discuss it in committee and ring them this morning with a decision.

After a COM meeting Trevor was asked if we may have 1 hr 15 min compromise the Met said they would let us know asap..

At 11;30 am today ,Trevor and ' one other ' COM member was summoned to the Yard for a meeting 13:30; the Met even offered to "go and get him".

As soon as we sat down ,Chief Inspector Mark Chatfield invited us to call off Mondays action completely as our last two demos had been so successful in terms sheer numbers that the disruption caused was more than they could have envisaged.

PC Keith Leahys words were " You are victims of your own success" and the Police needed breathing space  before our next action.

This request was flatly refused. 
We were then told ," In that case you can have 30 minutes but in only the two eastbound carriageways of Victoria St.

Again we refused as we found it Draconian. They then said we would be served a Section 12 Public Order document Order placing severe restrictions on us ,if we did not accept it.

After a conference call with our committee we said, as our demos are about Enforcing the Law, we would be willing to call them off if the Met would give us 10 police officers and a small TFL compliance team on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night for a few weeks, along with a UCG committee member who could highlight the touting activity hotspots. The officers could then investigate, question and if neccessay arrest touts.

 After a long period, we were told they could not guaranteed this, but they would arrange a meeting with senior enforcement officers and the Head of the Mets cab enforcement, to discuss a 'strategy' and also make our concerns known to TFL !

As a mark of good faith, we then offered to postpone Monday's action, but ONLY (pending the meeting) if they would supply 4 PCs who could act when shown the real tout spots and not the photo opportunity Operation Neon nonsense.

Surprisingly the Chef Inspector said he could not get 4 Constables from Scotland Yard, without primary meetings.

We refused to put faith in meetings which promised nothing and subsequently have been served under Section 12 (3) Public Order Act 1986.

The restriction put upon all attendees will be made clear by us and the Met and we ask, as always, that all drivers abide by them and comply with requests of Liaison and Police officers on the day.


We have been informed that we must return to the Yard on Tuesday, to discuss what the Met refer to as " your 3 huge demos "

Please support us in our continued fight.

We will update you all constantly.

Many thanks guys and girls.

We hope all orgs will now support us as it becomes clear the " stop the demo " order is coming from the very top. 

  Best Wishes 

Angela Clarkson
UCG Secretary 

While the Taxi trade has a whip-round, the LPHCA show how it should be done.

London is on the front line of a Taxi war, with drivers orgs desperately trying to stop the rise of Uber.

Both the black cab trade and legitimate minicab services are being decimated by Uber, which operates using a system which illegally plys for hire and undercuts traditional Tacis and minicabs on price. It's also alleged the smart phone app has been given favourable treatment by London's transport regulator, Transport for London (TfL).

Trade body, the London Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), has been putting pressure on TfL to crackdown on Uber. Leaked documents show the LPHCA has drafted in heavyweight, "Magic Circle" law firm Clifford Chance to present a legal case to get the taxi app banned in London.

Copies of evidence submitted to the Greater London Authority's Transport Committee by private hire car operator Addison Lee leaked on social media. The submission, which is part of an ongoing consultation on taxi regulation in London, includes evidence submitted seperately to TfL by the LPHCA in June.

In it the LPHCA, which represents 15,000 private hire and minicab drivers in the capital, and Clifford Chance call for TfL to hit Uber with an immediate ban until big changes are made that could cripple its business.

Here's a summary of the big five arguments the LPHCA makes against Uber.

1. Uber's insurance is not up to scratch

Uber requires individual drivers to ensure their cars themselves, rather than hold a fleet-wide insurance policy as is the norm in London. The taxi industry argues that this means Uber is putting public safety at risk, as it can't guarantee all its drivers are insured.

The LPHCA uses a Schrodinger's Cat-style argument to say that this is inadequate: because Uber only checks documents when driver signs up, LPHCA claims Uber can't prove at all times that its drivers are insured. They could have cancelled their policy since signing up. Though there is no evidence that this is the case. 

The industry also argues that because TfL allows Uber to operate without fleet-wide insurance, Uber gets an unfair price advantage as these policies are costly.

And by passing the saving on to the customer but still requiring the driver to buy a policy, the taxi industry argues drivers are being incentivised to cut corners on insurance to save money.

Clifford Chance, on behalf of the LPHCA said: 

"Uber's operating model facilitates and encourages increasing numbers of uninsured drivers onto the streets of London by allowing drivers to cancel their policies after registration with Uber."

The LPHCA argues that the checks on these documents are flawed in the first place, pointing to a report in The Guardian on the ease of tricking the system with faked documents.

2. Uber doesn't pay tax like it should

Uber processes its UK fares through Dutch subsidiary Uber BV, meaning it gets around charging customers UK VAT at point of sale. 

By processing revenue through Uber BV, the company also pays a lower rate of corporation tax. Both Taxi and PH companies say this tax set-up gives Uber another unfair advantage. This issue has already been referred to the UK taxman, HMRC, which is probing Uber's tax set-up.

A spokesperson for Uber recently said: "Uber complies with all applicable tax laws, and pays taxes in all the jurisdictions it operates in, including the UK."

3. It's unsupervised and unsafe

The LPHCA tells the Transport Committee in its submission (emphasis ours): 

As a direct consequence of the flaws in Uber's operating model Uber drivers loiter, ply for hire, park illegally and create a public nuisance in areas of high demand such as at airports and stations, undermining London’s profile as one of the safest taxi markets in the world.

Clifford Chance backs this up with some recorded complaints:

Clifford Chance

The LPHCA also argues that taking bookings in-car and taking bookings without an operator's license is in breach of the law and unsafe. Clifford Chance says it: "undermin[es] the important role of the operating centre in promoting safety."

And because jobs are routed through Holland, Clifford Chance argues "those service elements are beyond effective regulation by TfL," which again it claims is in breach of the law.

4. Driver and passenger data isn't safe

The LPHCA claims Uber "fails to take seriously its obligations to protect customer and driver data."

Clifford Chance points to reports of Uber accounts being hacked, such as a data break in February that left 50,000 driver details exposed, and says Uber London is not registered in the UK as a data controller, another breach.

5. Uber is flouting the law

The LPHCA accuses Uber of "knowingly, willingly and intentionally flouting local regulation for profit in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands - almost every European market in which it operates."

Uber founder Travis Kalanick advocates a strategy of “principled confrontation” with regulators and lawmakers around the world, according to an interview with Vanity Fair. Their growth team motto states it's easier to ask for forgiveness, than ask for permission.

Clifford Chance says also: "Uber London fails to record destination information as required under the Act, undermining an important feature of the private hire framework in London designed to protect the public."

'The risks are increasingly clear'

As the battle progresses, neither side looks close to backing down. 

Black cab drivers have been putting pressure on TfL to crackdown on Uber. News broke this week that TfL is considering introducing New restrictions designed to hurt Uber that. But we've seen this happen before in a previous consultation in 2010. Nothing came of those recommendations.

Clifford Chance and the LPHCA are calling for Transport for London to immediately revoke Uber's license:

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance concludes in its report: "These are not simply technical infractions. As Uber expands the risks associated with its operating model are becoming increasingly clear.

"Uber currently has approximately 17,000 registered drivers and has stated an intention to recruit 42,000 drivers by March 2016.

"However, when confronted by issues in relation to its drivers Uber disclaims responsibility for them on the basis that they are self-employed. 

In practice, the quality of regulation, oversight, and therefore the safety of the London private hire market is disintegrating rapidly as Uber expands."

It's war.

Source : Business Insider and Reuters.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Watch message from Andrew Pinnington, CEO of Hailo, click link below:

Since being in charge of Hailo from the beginning of the year, it’s become apparent to me that Hailo and the taxi trade need to be more united to build a stronger future together. To achieve this we have made the decision to resign our private hire licence and return to black cab only in London.

As a company founded by Cabbies, Hailo was made strong by its original connections to the taxi trade and we feel we’ve drifted too far from it. We have consulted extensively with the trade unions who have all backed our decision. We are doing this as it’s routed in a genuine belief that you, London’s black cab drivers, provide the public with a crucial service.

Together we need to start by exposing the two big pieces of misinformation about the taxi trade: that cabbies don’t like new technology, and that taxis are a dying trade.

Cabbies began using tech before companies like Uber even existed.

We see every single day a million reasons why taxis are here to stay. All cities need transport that doesn’t just give value for money, but one that provides exceptional service, safety, reliability and accessibility. We have to put a value on all of these things, not just a low price. Black cabs are a godsend for people who want to travel home at night safely; people that need a little extra help getting around, such as those with disabilities or mums and dads that need a bit more space for the kids; and businesses that want the most knowledgeable and speedy way to get from A – B. For all of these people, having a thriving sector of the industry that meets their needs is critical. If we allow price and market forces to be the only criteria, it just creates a race to the bottom on who can deliver the cheapest service.

Black cabs offer a safe, accessible, knowledgeable, opinionated, iconic, speedy and world-class service. Who else can match that?

With a joint belief in these benefits, this is why we are making this promise to you today so that, together, we can use tech to empower you to build a thriving 21st century black cab trade through innovation, data and cutting-edge apps.

With your world-class service and our unbeatable technology, together we can win.

At the heart of this is our commitment to go back to black –100% Hackney Carriage. No ifs, no buts, just taxis.

And to prove to you that we mean this, this is what we are committed to now and in the future:

  • Hailo will be black cab only
  • We will use technology to further reinvent a London icon
  • We will Introduce new & improved ways of working with Hailo, including:
    • A relaunched FastPay solution, giving you the ability to accept card payments from jobs off the street and those booked through Hailo
    • Commission-free periods
    • Capped commission structures – details of all of this will follow over the next few months.
    • A boost to the Dedicated and Priority programmes, providing more work to our most committed drivers.
  • We will stay rooted in our communities – as a British born company we care about the city in which we live in
  • We won’t pick and mix on regulations. Rules are rules – they are there to protect the public interest. If we need new ones, we will work with you and regulators to create them.
  • We’ll give drivers jobs coming in, jobs all day and jobs going home via an indispensable app
  • Continue to make multi-million pound investments in marketing black cabs to get drivers more work

And here are our plans for the trade. We will:

  • Campaign at every level of government, every day, not simply to protect your trade, but to help you build your future. We are working with politicians to make them listen to you.
  • Continue to work in partnership with trade bodies
  • Uphold the unique benefits of the Knowledge
  • Have an aspirational vision for London to make all transport 100% accessible, safe, green and reliable – and lead the world on standards, professionalism, and values.
  • Win back some of the biggest corporate accounts out there – like American Express, already signed up to our books

With your help we can make all of this happen.

Since we launched in 2011 we’ve raised over $100m investment and put over 10 million passengers on your back seats and will continue to do so today and tomorrow.

We look forward to working together with you on building a better future.

Andrew Pinnington
CEO, Hailo

No Representation without Taxation

Now the PH proposals are out for consultation (don't forget to take part), it seems a well known PH company that states it does not accept pre booking but curiously remains licensed is running an online petition that effectively asks: 'do you like our unregulated sweatshop so you get a cheap ride?' 

Of course excluding from this 'people's poll', wheelchair users, those needing the hearing loop, swivel seat or hi vis seating & grab handles that every real taxi that plies for hire in this great metropolis has.

More importantly and that's why I paraphrase the clarion call of the American Revolution, how can a company that pays its pittance of tax in the Netherlands be able to consult at all here, surely only U.K based companies should be eligible to do so ?

Remember it ain't about technology at all, it's about taxation!

Double Dutch? 
Double Standards?

I'm Spartacus.

Massive Turnout At Aldwych Demo, Despite TfLs Attempt To Scupper.

The announcement yesterday of the conclusion of the Private Hire consultation (which, instead of already being acted upon, has been put back out again as another consultation) was carefully orchestrated to try to scupper the proposed taxi demo at the Aldwych. 

With the help of the media, the recommendations from the consultation were all over the TV news, radio news and carried by almost every London paper. TfL spin doctors pulled out all the stops, to try to upstage the demo. But their plan fell at the first hurdle. The recent PH consultation is basically the list of regulations TfL have relaxed, in order  to enable the illegal operation of Uber.....whereas the proposed demonstration, was solely about TfL's inadequate, bias and unfair enforcement (or lack of it) in regards to their administration of the Private Hire Act 1998. 

TfL thought they'd done enough to disrupt the demo. 
But Taxis came....they came in their thousands and they kept coming. 

Police Conspiricy To Dispurse 
The police shot themselves in the foot when acting under orders to disrupt our legal right to protest. As they did with the Blackfriars Demo, they tried to divert thousands of taxis away from the Aldwych, along Fleet Street and away. 

But as room became available around Aldwych, it was soon filled by even more Taxis arriving from along the Strand, Waterloo Bridge, Kingsway, Catherine Street, Temple Place and up through Arundel Street. 

So many vehicles turned up, the police didn't know what to do next. At one point, Taxis were being diverted, against the flow of traffic, along the Strand side of Aldwych. But, it had nowhere to go and just added to the complete chaos. 

A police inspector admitted they had made the mistake of misjudging the situation as finally things ground to a halt.

The support from members of the public was huge. Many drivers were out of their vehicles explaining our grievances and the support shown was reassuring. In the ninety minutes duration, I only witnessed one dissenter, a wobbly cyclist who shouted obscenities at drivers until he was eventually chased off by a support officer.

Six O Clock Whistle.
As promised by the organisers and in order not to affect the theatre goers, on the stroke of 6 o/c, the cones and tapes were removed and the Taxis disperse in all directions. 
One WPC commented it was unbelievable how quick the cabs dissolved back into the evening through traffic. 

@UCGcampaigns next date for your diary is Monday 5th October, 2,00pm  at Windsor House

With all the negativity coming from the leadership of other Taxi orgs and Unions, it was expected the demo would be a disappointment. But as is normal with other orgs, they failed to ballot the mood of their membership. Fed up meaningless talk, coupled with their own orgs inaction, drivers from all orgs turned out in their thousands.

The representative org leaders should now take notice that each demo is getting bigger, and it's their members who are swelling the ranks. Be part of the solution....not part of the problem. If you can't do what's best for your members, then stand aside and let someone else take the reins.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Petition calls for the instant dismissal of Mr Leon Daniels.


The indisputable and corroborable contempt that the Managing Director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL) Mr Leon Daniels has the licensed taxi trade brings into question his ability to act with discernment when making trade associated decisions. 

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. TPH TfL continue to issue 600 - 1000 PH licenses each week. 

Calls for TfL to cap licenses Despite protestations by TfL, the law is innominate, in that no law exists that compels or prevents TfL from issuing licenses. The guidelines clearly state that if a person meets the criteria listed then they can then apply for a license. 

The emphasis here is on 'applying,' which 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. 

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. 

In stark contrast to the haemorrhaging of Private Hire licenses, taxi drivers are being denied their democratic right to earn a living due to insufficiencies delaying the renewal of taxi drivers licenses. This resolves around the huge backlog of completing DBS checks. In the main this has been exasperated by TfL issuing an insurmountable and therefore unmanageable level of Private Hire licenses. 

Despite repeated requests, TFL have failed to resume issuing temporary licenses (Bill renewal) to taxi drivers. A driver who has completed the necessary paperwork, remunerated the relevant licensing authority, and is of previous good character, should not be denied the fundamental right to earn a living. 

Current legislation of the 1987 Transport Act (sec 17, subsection 7) states; ‘Where a person holds a licence which is in force when he applies for a new licence in substitution for it, the existing licence shall continue in force until the application for the new licence, or any appeal under this section in relation to that application, is disposed of, but without prejudice to the exercise in the meantime of any power of the licensing authority to revoke the existing licence'.

This unnecessary delay a direct result an inept and inconsistent administration and is no fault of the driver, and nor should he suffer any consequence. Probably the most serious accusation. however, is Mr Daniels' blatancy in misleading the Taxi trade, misleading the public and misleading the GLA transport committee. 

He has vehemently endorsed a commercial, off-shore, company which allows their drivers to illegally drive Private Hire vehicles, without the necessary Hire & Reward insurance. In the presence of the London Assembly, and recorded on video, Mr Daniels publicly stated 'as these vehicles are cars (PH), it's perfectly within the law to switch on and switch off the hire and reward element'. 

This is a conclusive lie. Subsequent, clarity came from the National Association of British Insurers who confirmed that no such 'on/off' insurance existed. The demonstrable level of malevolence Mr Daniels has shown the taxi trade has placed the relationship beyond reparation. 

More so, for a senior civil servant to put the safety of the public at grave risk - either with intent or deleterious ineptitude- makes Mr Daniels position at TfL is no longer tenable. 

The trade has no choice therefore, but to request Leon Daniels’ immediate removal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dutch prosecutors raids Uber's offices in Amsterdam, in taxi probe

Breaking News from Reuters Amsterdam.

 Dutch prosecutors said his morning, Tuesday 29th September,  they have raided Uber's European headquarters in Amsterdam in a criminal investigation into whether the car-hailing company is offering illegal taxi services.

In a statement, the Netherlands' national financial crimes prosecutor said it believes Uber has continued allowing drivers without taxi licenses to offer paid rides via its UberPOP service, despite previous fines of 450,000 euros.

Agents from the country's Transport Inspectorate have seized administrative records from the company, it said.

In a week where the new Labour leader announced they would crack down on companies like Amazon, Starbucks and Google who do not pay full share of UK tax, the question must be asked, why the government revenue service, haven't invetigated Ubers business model! 

It's widely been alleged on Twitter that Uber have launch UberPool in London this week, a ride sharing service based on Uber Pop. 

Renewal Chaos To Continue, After TfL Refuse To Reinstate Temporary Licenses

Almost two years ago Taxi Leaks broke the news that Sir Peter Hendy had taken it upon himself to suspend the issuing of temporary licenses to drivers waiting for renewals. We warned at that time drivers would be unable to work.
Taxi leaks editor wrote to Sir Peter on many occasions asking him to reconsider. But Hendy was adamant, temporary licenses (TLs) were going and drivers would have to lose work. 

Taxi Leaks have run many campaigns asking for the reinstatement of TLs  

In March 2014 Taxi Leaks wrote to Hendy pointing out the Transport Act 1985 sec17(7) and Hendy said his legal team would look at it and get back to us. 

With their usual contempt for the plight of Taxi drivers thrown out of work, unable to make a living, TfL never got back till September 30th 2014. 

Leon Daniels replied on behalf of Hendy saying that they agreed drivers could carry on working under the Transport Act, but only if a completed DBS criminal record check had been received by TfL. 

This was a none victory as it was the BDS backlog and holdup that was causing the problem. 

We have never taken our foot off the gas over this issue, we emailed every GLA member, every London MP and on numerous occasions we wrote to the Mayor. We've constantly tried to get all representative groups to take this up, but there seemed little interest. 

At the last Mayors Question Time, Val Shawcross asked Boris to take action over the alleged 37,000 licence renewal back log and suggested the reinstatement of Temporary licenses as was the case for many decades. 


After listening to Val Shawcross Boris said "that sounds like an immensely positive idea I will immediately take steps to ask TfL to start reissuing temporary licenses".

Unfortunately as soon as he had left the auditorium, his view of an immensely positive idea completely changed

        It's just one piece of bullshit after another!

Meanwhile drivers are still unable to work, still unable to make a living, still unable to feed their family.

It's not just drivers waiting for renewals, we are hearing horror stories from knowledge student who after taking 4 years to complete the KoL, they are being held back, waiting months for DBS checks before they can progress to receiving their badge. It's scandalous!

There is only one group who are taking direct action sighting this as one of the reasons their members were all balloted and voted (over 90%) to demonstrate.

If you care about the future of your trade, come to the Aldwych, 4:30 pm on Wednesday and make some noise.

The licence renewal scandal has finally started to hit the news (after nearly two years), as certain celebrities start showing their support the Licensed Taxi Trade.

The item below is taken from last nights ITV London News.
Unfortunately, when it came to the important bit....the statistics...ITV's researcher got it we've fixed it for them. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Letter To Editor: Regarding, TfL CO and CoL Police Incident At Shine Charity Event.

My Name is Tony Casey

I went to the chaos as Shine last night, to investigate on behalf of the LCDC. A compliance officer phoned the city of London police, alleging a Taxi driver was aggressive and drunk.

I have been a Taxi trade negotiator for over 25 years, never aggressive but sometimes firm when speaking on behalf of the Taxi Trade.

I am not frightened by authority, as they are civil servants and here to SERVE US.

Remember they WORK FOR US, WE PAY THEIR WAGES, they do not pay ours.

An official complaint is being prepaired and we are asking for a member of the TFL compliance team to be suspended pending the outcome of a false statement made to the City Police.

I can confirm that I do not drink and have not done so for 37 years. 

TfL, HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME....Bias Harassment Of Taxi Drivers At Shine.

Lighting up the night-time with an incredible parade of almost 20,000 walkers, who adorn themselves with glowsticks, bright clothes and lights, Shine is an inspiring fundraising walk for the wonderful charity Cancer Research UK.  

The walk which features both half and full Marathon walks symbolises the light their work can bring to the darkness of cancer, which affects so many lives. 

Each participant pays a £39.99 fee which goes towards the staging costs, with marshals along the rout ensuring their safety. Final destination is Old Billingsgate from where they have to make their own way home. 

We were informed that 500 minicabs had been pre booked. But it's alleged these bookings were never checked by TfL compliance. 

The PH operator who holds a dynamic licence variation for this venue, just happens to be the same one that, against TfLs own regulations, received 18 licence variations the very same week they were originally licensed, instead of having to wait the required 12 month period.

Back in 2012, when complaints were made to the directorate of John Mason and Helen Chapman at LTPH, three dodgy excuses were offered in succession, all of which were proved to be untrue. Finally we were informed that the PHV act licensing regulations, are just guidelines and not legally binding. 

This company is just one of a number who have been allowed by TfL to bend licensing regulations to suit their own agenda. 

Pre Bookings, my arse!
PH clipboard johnnies, were shepherding customers to waiting minicabs. These vehicles were being allowed to form an illegal rank in Lower Thames Street, with the help of both TfL compliance and City of London police.

Provision for a temporary Taxi rank was granted, but although in plain sight, was placed over 300 yards away down the slip road towards the Tower of London.

         Taxi rank tucked away on the corner 

     You'd need binoculars to see the rank in daylight.
          Shades of WinterWonderland perhaps?

While no restriction was placed on PHVs forming an illegal rank, TfL compliance officers were giving drivers plenty of stick and waving overflow Taxis on. Only 8 taxis at a time were being allowed on the slip road. 

It soon became apparent that all was not well. 
The walkers were being told taxis were unavailable plus exaggerated information was being given out about our prices. Potential customers were being held in a queue by PH marshals inside Old Billingsgate, some waiting for up to 90 minutes.

This whole deception was made possible by TfL COs who refused to let the Taxi marshals approach waiting customers at the venue. 

As the night wore on the word started to get to the walkers who then slowly started to use the Taxi rank. Horror stories were coming out of inflated fares as Minicab drivers tried to marry up passengers with fixed individual prices on shared journeys.

Ironically, many of the "Gold Standard" licensed Taxi drivers, from the "best Taxi service in the world", had unselfishly turned their lights off and made their way to the venue to offer reduced metered fares, with some drivers refusing payment completely. Many Taxi drivers also made donations to the charity workers.

Just a few of the marchers who got to their destinations free of charge.

In spite of the harassment from TfL compliance, using The Twitter accounts of @UCGup and @Flash_Demo, a steady stream of Taxis managed to keep the rank pretty much full, using Trinity Square as a feeder.

Special thanks to "the Mayfair Mob" who were again at the forefront of the operation, putting out dozens of requests to their members to help out. 

This biased behaviour from TfL reflects badly on the driver orgs who have attended previous Joint Ranks Committee and LCE meetings. 
Another year, another chaotic performance. 

Will we see even more last minute inadequate solutions, as we approach WinterWonderland and another News Years Eve fiasco. 
Not forgetting, the UTG trade who attend these meetings have had a year to sort it out!

Just some of the Tweets from Sunday morning at Shine.