Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vive la France, vive les chauffeurs de taxi de Paris...by Jim Thomas.

In future, Friday the 13th, will forever be associated with one of the worst atrocities inflicted on a civilian population by are small group of religious fanatics. 

As bombs exploded around the city, to the sound of automatic weapons, the city went into lockdown and all public transportation was suspended. 


People were scared, walking the streets, wondering how they could get back home to their families. Tourists in unfamiliar surroundings, wanting to get back to their hotels.

But then, an extraordinary event materialised as Parisian Taxi drivers stepped up to the mark, turned off their meters and began a night of complimentary journeys to help clear the streets.


The people of Paris were ferried to safety by the city's taxi fleet. Drivers switched off their meters, filled their Taxis with desperate people and took them away from the carnage. 

With no fear for their own safety, the Parisian taxis drove around the streets, drivers beckoning to the confused and distressed, taking them safely home. 

Later into the night, many cabbies went back for the walking wounded, as they left the city's hospitals. 

"Miracle of the Marne.”:
Just over 101 years ago, 6th September 1914, the French were back on their heels. Gen. Joseph Joffre organized a counterattack, and by Sept. 6 his troops were fighting the Germans along the Marne River. With the outcome and possibly the fate of France in the balance, General Joffre called for reinforcements from Paris.

But the railways were clogged and no trucks were available, so the military commander of Paris, Gen. Joseph Gallieni, hailed the city’s taxi drivers. On the evening of Sept. 6, hundreds of cabs assembled at Les Invalides, the military hospital, and by morning of the 7th, a convoy of impossibly top-heavy Renault AG1s with tiny 1.2liter 2cylinder engines was puttering their way towards the front.

By the end of Sept. 7, some 600 taxis, each making several runs, had delivered 6,000 troops. 
It is not known whether the passengers tipped the cabbies, but the cabbies actions tipped the battle over to the French and became the saviours of Paris. 


The Renault AG1 was later to be christened "Miracle of the Marne.”

LAST NIGHT IT WAS TAXI DRIVERS, WHO WERE CHRISTENED "MIRACLE OF PARIS".



Parisians Offer Blood And Shelter:
Long Lines are filming outside hospitals as Parisiens queue up to tonight blood. Many are sharing pictures and information about which hospitals almost in need using the hashtag #dondusang


The hashtag #porteoverte (open door) was also used throughout the night two of the rooms to anyone who needed somewhere to stay.


Paris police have placed a temporary ban on demonstrations in the city and surrounding areas until Thursday.

In London there are calls on Facebook for people to gather at Trafalgar Square in London at 9pm this evening to hold a solidarity rally for the victims of Friday's attacks. #NotAfraid 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Letter To Taxi Leaks, In Regards To The Mayfair Mob's Hit On Forge.

Last night on the Forge was a really outstanding performance by the Mayfair Mob. The turnout at Finsbury Square was 25/30 which boded well.  Spirits were high. 


Then many more cabs appeared when we arrived. There were moments when the marshals could barely load the punters in fast enough. It was a triumph for all those concerned. 


 I was sorry to have to leave early quite frankly.  

I just wanted to pass on my honest opinion in more words than Twitter will permit and reiterate my admiration for the way this group of drivers has taken control of its own destiny in such a determined and effective manner, causing no grief to anyone other than the scabs. 


Exemplary.

Frances Wyhowska.

Camden's CrazyTraffic Schemes, Designed To Make Things Worse?

Camden's guerrilla cycling council have again shown no consideration for anyone other than cyclists. In their recent Tavistock Place trial, unbelievably, wheelchair users have been excluded from being dropped in the vicinity of Tavistock/Torrinton Place. Amazingly, disabled groups have made no comment on the scheme.

 
Camden's crazy schemes are constantly being rolled out across the borough and have bought about, not only gridlock, but also extreme pollution issues. Euston road, already one of the most polluted roads in Europe, is about to get much worse...


One of the capitals major arterial routs, which circumnavigates the congestion charging area, is about to be reduced to two lanes as construction on Cross Rail escalates. 


Anyone in their right mind would believe that a progressive council would be falling over itself, putting in place new traffic systems which will ease the extra pollution caused by the perceived gridlock about to hit the area. Instead Camden's cycling transport department have introduced measures to insure traffic will not be able to use through routs surrounding the Euston Road.   


On top of the new Tavistock Place trial, Camden have reintroduced the no right turn from the Taxi rank in Pancras Road. They say this is because of the congestion caused by Taxis to north bound traffic. Taxi passengers who wish to travel north will now be subjected to a trip around the station utilising Euston Road, York Way and Goodsway. This will mean not only higher fares but also extra emissions around the area. 

The council however seem totally oblivious to the Private Hire Vehicles, illegally waiting, some double parked, outside St Pancras Station. These minicabs have been given free reign to do what ever they like with no restriction on waiting, double parking or u-turns.

Their explanation about congestion falls down in the fact that the enforcement camera across the road is pointed directly at the rank exit. 


So while minicabs are allowed to wait, park, double park, open tout and drive away in any direction they like....Taxis will be harassed and issued with penalty tickets at every opportunity. 

Tavistock Place Experiment : Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard.



Tavistock Place Consultation : 
AskPOB is conducting an independent survey to establish driver opinion on recent experimental traffic changes between Torringnton Place and Tavistock Place. 

AskPOB is an impartial third party, working in collaboration with trade organisations and groups to reach as many drivers as possible and to understand how drivers and taxi customers are affected.

About the trial :
Camden Council is introducing a trial of temporary traffic changes on the east/west route that includes the streets Torrington Place, Byng Place, Gordon Square, Tavistock Square and Tavistock Place. The changes are planned to be in place for 12 months and will be introduced using an experimental traffic order. 


During this time detailed monitoring will be undertaken. Once the trial has been in place for a few months, the Council will write to local residents and businesses to formally seek views on the changes. 

All views received during the trial will help inform a decision on whether the changes should be made permanent. 

Works for the trial will take place between 6 and 23 November and will include closure of the westbound lane to traffic. 

During this period wheelchair users will be excluded from the area and cyclists will be directed to move into the new cycle lane when required. 

Please take a few minutes to complete this consultation

More information can be found here:>www.camden.gov.uk<


Thursday, November 12, 2015

£100 Wee Fees are coming to Camden as they shut down toilets!


Camden can afford to waste money on ridiculous schemes yet they cannot afford toilets with Lincoln’s Inn Fields moving to pay as you go...is this taking the piss?

PUBLIC toilets are to be closed down across Camden in a cost-cutting drive order from the Town Hall.

Labour cabinet councillors were last night (Wednesday) facing warnings from community groups, rival politicians and even some of their own colleagues that they must rethink the idea – or face a public backlash.

A briefing document compiled by council environment chief Councillor Meric Apak – seen by the New Journal – maps out a timetable, after a public consultation survey, for the closure of the free toilets in:

l Pond Square, Highgate village

l West End Lane, West Hampstead

l South End Green, Hampstead.

Automated lavatories in Queen’s Crescent, Leather Lane, Russell Square and West End Lane are also facing the chop.

Meanwhile, the well-used toilets in Camden Town and Lincoln’s Inn Fields will move from being a free service to a facility only used by those who pay, similar to toilets at railway stations.

The proposed closures and fees, which the council says will save just over £250,000, are being lined up almost immediately after the Town Hall introduced a £100 fine system for people caught urinating in the street, nicknamed “wee fees”.

The council will try to mitigate public anger over the suggested closures by establishing a community toilet scheme which would see private businesses and shops paid to open their doors to the public.

Cllr Apak’s battleplan briefing includes a plan to “set out the financial context in which decisions are being taken” to the public, and the hope the council will be able to “engage” with businesses.

But Catherine Budgett-Meakin, a former chairwoman of the Highgate Society, said the proposal for Pond Square would be “disastrous”.

She added: “Let alone it being in the centre of the village and very well used, we also have a bus terminus and I don’t know what the bus drivers would do without it.

“There was a tremendous row the last time they tried to shut it, the whole village threw themselves behind the lavatories. We have people coming up from the cemetery and the Heath, where else are they going to go?”

In recent years, public conveniences which have closed in Camden have been converted into a range of uses including an underground cocktail bar, a music studio and a coffee shop.

Keith Moffitt, the former Lib Dem leader of Camden Council who lives in West Hampstead, where both the free toilet and the automated lavatory are under threat, said: “This is massively disappointing. It feels like something Labour have wanted to do since 2002. Again, it feels like they are hurting the most vulnerable people, the people who are not confident going into places and asking to use the toilet.”

Conservative finance spokesman Councillor Don Williams said: “Just closing them isn’t the answer. The council has seen how volunteers have taken up the running of libraries when they were threatened with closure, and it should be seeing that if they can’t run a service then they should be asking if anybody else can. It could be a private operator, or it could be funded by a community response.”

Asked whether a community collection would mean only affluent areas saving their toilets, Cllr Williams said: “We’d have to look at it as a collective, but just closing them down isn’t right.”

Even some Labour councillors have raised reservations. Holborn and Covent Garden councillor Julian Fulbrook said the changes would lead to a “severe excremental challenge” in his ward. He said people “down on their luck” would not be able to pay to use the Lincoln’s Inn Fields toilets, even if the fee was 20p.

“‘Pay to go’ does not seem to me to equate to the principle of ‘from each according to their means’ as the users there are often down on their luck and might not be able to afford very much ‘to spend a penny’,” said Cllr Fulbrook.

“Regularly there are several hundred men – and occasionally a few women – waiting for evangelical groups from many miles around who do a ‘soup run’ there most evenings. If there are no free loos available for the masses, then there will be open defecation again in Lincoln Inn Fields.”

Cllr Apak has warned his colleagues that the issue could flare up in the coming months and that he would work hard to “reassure residents as much as we can”. Cuts to the department budget were agreed last December.

Cllr Apak said he was aware that the availability of toilets was a sensitive issue, adding: “The message is that we are working with the community on this and if they have any alternative suggestions we will listen to them. We have to make these cuts – we’re trying to make the best if it. We’ve all been asked to do our bit and I’m doing mine.”

He said that he had helped organise a successful toilet scheme in Kentish Town when public conveniences there were closed.

“After some initial protests, it has worked well,” said Cllr Apak. “The businesses would be paid because of the extra upkeep but they would have to advertise that their toilets are available for public use. It’s a community plan.”
Asked whether £250,000 would be seen as a significant saving in the bid to plug Camden’s multi-million-pound funding black hole, he added: “It all adds up.” 

Meanwhile in South Lanarkshire:

The council chief involved in closing public toilets has been left "embarrassed" after he was caught urinating in the street by police. 

South Lanarkshire Council's deputy leader, Jackie Burns, was spotted in the act in Hamilton town centre and was issued a £40 fixed penalty notice by police. 

                        Taking the proverbial?

Cllr Burns has since apologised and said he had been "embarrassed" by his actions near the Hamilton Palace nightclub. 

He said: "I was in a taxi rank at the Bottom Cross in Hamilton and needed the toilet. I went down a lane to relieve myself and was approached by police, who gave me a £40 fine which I have duly paid. I am embarrassed by the incident and have apologised."


No More Mushing? As Mayor Considers Buying Unaffordable Zero Emission Taxis To Lease To Drivers

It has also emerged that Johnson is considering having Transport for London (TfL) buy zero-emission black cabs and lease them back to taxi drivers as part of his efforts to tackle London’s air pollution. The capital has been in breach of EU safety limits for nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas produced by diesel vehicles such as black cabs, since 2010.

In a letter to London assembly member Stephen Knight dated 3 November, the mayor wrote: “TfL is currently considering the proposal to purchase and supply zero-emission capable taxis to taxi drivers in London.” Zero-emissions capable taxis would suggest electric or hydrogen cars.

However, he cautioned: “This is a complex proposal and needs to be considered carefully given that TfL is the regulator for the taxi and private hire trades in London.” TfL already operates a similar leasing model for the new Routemaster buses.

Knight welcomed the possibility of electric black cabs: “Switching London’s black taxi fleet over from diesel to electric vehicles is an essential part of tackling dangerous air pollution in the capital. Electric taxis have the benefit of low running costs, but the barrier to their fast and widespread adoption is the very high initial purchase price of these new and innovative vehicles.”

Source : theguardian.com

Editorial Opinion:

At first glance this seems highly unlikely. But just take a moment and do the maths.

Currently, there's an alleged euro subsidy of around £50m to be administered in what ever way the mayor sees fit.

Instead of giving the cash to Taxi drivers, to subsidise the cost of buying the new vehicles, it would appear Boris has worked out that he can buy 850 new ZEVs with the £50m, lease them out to Taxi drivers and claw back the money over 4-5 years which would then, more than likely disappear into the coffers of TfL. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guildford BC To Remove Wheelchair Requirement For New Taxis


Guildford Borough Council has set out new policy for taxi drivers, which include removing a requirement for new taxis to be wheelchair accessible.

Taxi drivers in Guildford will have to pay almost £1,000 to rebrand their cars with a new livery proposed by the borough council.

Changes to the borough’s fleet of cars will be discussed again next Wednesday (November 18), which also includes the need for drivers to pass a new knowledge test and the removal of the requirement for all new taxi vehicles to be wheelchair accessible.

However, drivers will be encouraged to make their cars wheelchair accessible by being offered a reduction in licensing fees for doing so.

Council cuts subsidy by two thirds:

The borough council has proposed to contribute 25% of the costs of the rebrand of the 178 vehicles in the first six months of the new policy being adopted, which is a reduction from the 75% it proposed earlier this year.

The cost is said to be £1,250 per vehicle, meaning the car owners will be left with a bill of £935.

Papers due to go before members of the council's licensing committee on Wednesday highlight one of the disadvantages to drivers with the new logo is that some use their vehicle for private use, and would not necessarily like it to be identified as a taxi when they do.

Councillor Graham Ellwood, lead councillor for community safety and licensing, said: “Our first priority is public safety and customer satisfaction with our borough’s taxi and private hire vehicles.

“We want to give members of the public assurance that by choosing a Guildford taxi, they will get a safe and professional service.

“These changes are based on local people’s views of what they want and expect from the taxi service. The new branding will be distinctive and associated with a service the public deserves.”

The council was due to discuss the changes at a full council meeting in April, but the item was deferred.

A spokesman for the council said: “It will no longer be compulsory for all new taxis to be wheelchair accessible, except those with council contracts to carry disabled passengers where the requirement to have a disabled access vehicle remains compulsory.

“However, those who provide for wheelchairs will benefit from reduced licensing fees.

“This decision is in response to public feedback and survey results that show many people, including those with disabilities, prefer to travel in a saloon vehicle.

"We have consulted with disability groups and they are in full support.”

Following reports to the licensing committee on November 18 and the executive November 24, the changes will be considered for adoption at a meeting of the full council on December 8.

Source: www.getsurrey.co.uk

Hailo opens mobile payments to all of London's black cabs

After ditching its private hire business and recommitting to London's black cabs, Hailo has been pulling out all of the stops to get traditional taxi services back onside. On top of campaigning "every level of government" to protect the industry and reinforcing the benefits of the Knowledge, the company today announced HailoPay, a new service that let London's 22,500 black taxis offer free mobile payments to customers.

Unlike Pay With Hailo, which lets people who have already downloaded and registered via the official app pay for taxi journeys hailed from the street, this new service operates in the browser and allows riders to pay for any journey taken in a black cab simply by entering the driver's unique badge number. Drivers need to be signed up with Hailo to accept credit cards via this method, but with 15,000 already registered, the company is off to a healthy start.

As the taxi industry scrambles to keep up with the pace of private hire services like Uber, credit card payments were a bone of contention for passengers who didn't always have cash to hand. HailoPay eliminates that hassle by providing a quick way to pay for any cab, regardless of how it was hailed. Drivers don't have to install bulky credit card machines and riders can get a digital receipt emailed to them directly after payment.

"We're offering this service at absolutely no cost to passengers and drivers, as part of Hailo's commitment to create a world class taxi service for London that is 100% safe, 100% reliable, and 100% accessible," says Hailo CEO Andrew Pinnington. "Working together with drivers we'll continue to innovate and deliver a world class taxi service for London."

SOURCE: Hailo Blog

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TfL Finally Announce Temporary Licensing For Renewals, But There Are Conditions.


• Temporary measures will be introduced for existing taxi and private hire drivers by the end of November

• Drivers must have applied for DBS certificate at least three months prior to licence expiring

Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that, from late November, it will introduce temporary measures for existing taxi and private hire drivers if their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) results have still not been returned. The measures are a response to the impact that current delays at the DBS can have on drivers waiting for their licence to be renewed.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are the responsibility of the Home Office and individual police services. The Mayor is ensuring every effort is made to reduce waiting times for these important safety checks, with the Met drafting in around 60 additional members of staff to help.

TfL has already taken a number of steps to ensure that licenced drivers aren’t stopped from driving because of delays, discussing the issue with the Home Office and seconding a number of staff to the Metropolitan Police Service to help process applications. The new measures will further ease pressure, whilst ensuring that the high standards required from drivers are maintained.

To be eligible for the temporary measures, drivers will have had to apply for their DBS at least three months prior to the expiry of their previous licence. Drivers receive a renewal pack, which contains details of how to apply for the enhanced DBS check necessary to continue their work as a licenced driver, from TfL four months before the expiry of their licence.

The temporary measures will only be available to drivers applying to renew their licence – as these drivers will have previously undergone a DBS check – and will initially be limited to two weeks in length. In the unlikely event that their DBS certificate is delayed further, drivers can apply for a renewal. Drivers from both trades who are applying for a licence for the first time will not be eligible, however 

TfL will continue to escalate these cases on their behalf.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The last thing we want to see is London’s taxi drivers out of work. These temporary measures are the most effective way of tackling the immediate issue, alongside a dramatic boost to staffing levels at the Met. I am confident that this approach will ensure that drivers are able to get back to work as soon as possible while maintaining public safety.”
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “We are aware that a number of drivers have been unable to work due to the delays in receiving their DBS certificate, and that these delays are affecting them and their families.

“These new measures will help these drivers while ensuring that the high standards required of drivers are maintained.”

While the temporary measures are in place, TfL will continue to work with colleagues in the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police Service and the DBS to address the waiting times for DBS checks. As a condition of the temporary measures, drivers will be required to sign up to the DBS update service in order to prevent a similar situation occurring in future. As well as these efforts to minimise delays in the DBS system, TfL also launched a counter service earlier this year in order to assist drivers with any licensing queries or problems.

Pride And Prejudice..........by Semtex.

Despite a few years of global turmoil, both financially and more worryingly, our National Security, London is still without doubt a city we can be proud of. It is still a capital city that other countries aspire to be like, whether in sport, fashion, finance, commerce, entertainment, nightlife or a number of other subjects.

I would wager that whatever corner of our globe that you may be in, mention London to somebody and the image of a Black Cab and the Queens Guards may well spring to their mind.

I am very fortunate but more importantly very proud, to have belonged to both of these ancient, world famous icons.
 
Sunday was our National Remembrance Day, and our London Taxis and Guards Regiments were proudly on display, cheek by jowl, for all of the world to see.


I saw our Poppy Cabs lined up in military precision, snaking the whole length of Westminster Bridge and beyond. It brought a lump to my throat, and it dawned on me how traitorous and negligent Transport For London have been, in the appalling disrespect that they have showed our great trade. 
 
Whilst on the subject, Mike Hughes is a very modest gentleman and colleague. The way he has led the Poppy Cab service for our military veterans, is testament to what our iconic profession represents. Naturally, Mike relies on the many like minded, willing colleagues from our trade to assist him, and our trade being what it is, he always hits his target. 


The logistics of this massive brief shouldn't be underestimated, and I know that it takes up a lot of Mike's working year. Mike is a giant of a man in both his physical stature and his heart. He has assisted me personally in some of my most precarious and worrying times and it is to the advantage of both our London Taxi Trade and The British Legion, that Mike Hughes is the colleague and man that he is.
 
Witnessing the cabs and their fantastic, generous drivers yesterday, who willingly gave a day's wages to assist our military, not only choked me up, but gave me an immense pain of anger towards TFL and Mayor Johnson. If I was London Mayor, I would be incredibly proud of the London Black Cab and their drivers, but that lot of shysters don't appear to share my sentiments.
 
It hasn't been a good year for our trade. But yet, in spite of this treatment and mutiny, The London Taxi Trade continue to give generously and freely to many deserving and valid charities.

Not long ago, a convoy of almost 100 London Taxis left Canary Wharf taking almost 200 seriously and terminally ill children on the long haul from London to Paris Disneyland. 


Once again, almost 100 of our proud trade men and women giving up most of their week's earnings, for such a worthy and once in a lifetime holiday for dangerously ill kids. Not just once, mind you, but every year !
 
Can you imagine the Goldman Sachs backed Uber doing anything like this ?  
Course you couldn't !
 
The thing is, I'm not na├»ve, I'm not wet behind the ears and I know that things change and things move on. Of course I do. I accept that.  But surely, they should only move on for the good, the better , or  to improve ? Not just for the sake of it.

I would like to ask anyone at TFL or even the blond fellow himself if, hand on heart, any of them HONESTLY think that flooding our great city with untrained Uber drivers and their cars instead of our 400 year old platinum, professional service................is moving forward ? 
Is it HONESTLY progress ? Is it HONESTLY for the better ?
 
Look at the form that Uber have got already. Death by dangerous driving, rape, sexual assault, violence, abuse, incompetence, etc, etc, etc etc.

Is that really good world reputation for our great City ? 
Does Johnson HONESTLY go home to his wife and say that he is well proud of what Uber is doing for our Capital ? 
Does EVERYTHING have to be about cheap ? 
Does it all have to be about who can do the job for the cheapest price possible ? 
We are becoming a nation of cheap skates ! 
Don't get me wrong, I love a good deal and love the pound shops too. 

Only last week I was pleased with my pack of 20 AAA batteries for £1. I got home, put three of them in my head torch and they lasted 32 minutes !
Cheap ? You bet ! Any good ? Not worth a rub ! Back to Duracell. You get what you pay for ! I took a chance and paid the price, but what I didn't do is go back crying that I had been shafted ! I had no one to blame but my greedy and stupid self ! I should have known better.
 
Where will it end ? 
Will a firm of foreign nationals with dubious background checks undercut the price paid in salaries to the Queens Guard ?
 
I am no financial whizz kid. But surely our tourist industry and image is very important to London's economy ? 
The London Black Cab is at the heart of it ! 
We are part of the history and image of London !

And yet, TFL and the Mayor treat us with contempt and continual disrespect and would put their hands together if we disappeared altogether. 
Why the prejudice ? 
Why the contempt ? 
Why do they regard us so low and worthless ?
 
What concerns me though, is that we are getting used to this shoddy treatment. We actually expect it now. It shouldn't be like this, should it ?
 
Our trade appear to be limping along despite the abuse and traitors who have hung us out to dry. I don't know of what will become of us in the end. If it were left to me I would give TFL such a reminder of what and who are trade are, that shit or bust, they would never forget it ! However, it is not my call, and our ultimate survival is in the hands of our trade Orgs. I don't say that sarcastically either, as I know only too well how apathetic we are as a trade.

Whoever we are members of, trade Orgs require support and commitment. And that comes from a person who belongs to neither !  However, I don't mind who calls the action, if I think it will assist our longevity, I will do everything to support it. 
 
I have personally achieved much in life that I am immensely proud of. Completing the Knowledge of London and gaining my Green Badge was certainly one of them. Normally, I take TFL's appalling prejudice against our trade on the chin, and just deal with it. But witnessing the incredible gesture of goodwill and respect to our military from Mike Hughes, his team and the Poppy Cab Drivers, mixed in with the raw emotions I always feel at the Cenotaph, left me in a state of frustrated anger. Anger at how we have been regarded by a limp wristed bunch of civil servants and anger at how our great 400 year legacy, has been given away to a third world rabble of unqualified dross.
 
Our future is unsteady right now, but one thing is for sure. If anything happens to our great trade, there will be many wonderful, deserving charities, sick and under privileged children, war veterans and many others, who will greatly miss the generous and proud goodwill of our London Cab Drivers.

On the other hand, maybe Uber could just step straight into our shoes, and do the deeds that we do, couldn't they ? In their dreams, maybe.
 
Transport For London and Johnson deserve the monster they are creating. The problem is though, unless we present them with some robust challenge, for us it will be too late.

Walking around Soho late on Saturday night with some old army mates, neither of them from London, I felt embarrassed.

A city centre China Town looking more like Calcutta than our once fantastic London. And the establishment had the affront to describe Paul Raymond as "sleazy" ! Personally, I would rather witness the odd pair of naked breasts or a pert ladies bum protruding from a Soho doorway than the chants of "Taxi, Taxi" or being mowed down from a coked up Rickshaw driver ! Paul Raymond wouldn't recognise his old patch in the mere eight years he has been dead. It has become a bandit town.
 
I am convinced that the hidden agenda to eradicate us is in full swing within the TFL sewerage . Even with their suspect win in the courts for their fake meter, Uber or TFL or Johnson were unable to diminish our hearts and professional pride to continue serving London and the world's travelling public, just the way we always have done.
 
And if there were ever any doubt as to whether we are deflated or fighting, then one could look no further than Mike Hughes's fantastic Poppy Cab Battalion on Westminster Bridge yesterday, or The Magnificent Mayfair Mob taking our night ranks back by force !
 
On the ropes we may very well be, but I awoke this morning as proud of my Green Badge, as I ever have been!
 
Don't start your celebrations yet TFL 
We ain't going anywhere just yet !
 
Be lucky all.
 
8829 Semtex
 

Monday, November 09, 2015

PASSENGER, ANTONY PATSALOS, BROKE TAXI DRIVER'S JAW

A drunk black cab passenger who punched the driver so hard he broke his jaw narrowly avoided jail after his wealthy parents offered to stump up £15,000 compensation for his victim.


Antony Patsalos, (above) 25, hit experienced cabbie Ayanie Nageye after an argument erupted over the payment of a £31 fare for a late-night taxi ride home from a boozy night out.


Mr Nageye, (above) who has held a Hackney Carriage licence for eight years, was left to drive himself to hospital in tears after the single blow sent him reeling to the floor.

Mr Recorder Lawrence Cohen QC said he was 'struggling' to find a reason not to send Patsalos to prison after he was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm. 

Source : courtnewsuk.co.uk

The Mayfair Mob : Licensed Taxi Drivers, Clawing Back Work From The Touts And Reclaiming Ranks... By Jim Thomas.


Most drivers will now be aware of the fantastic work being carried out, by a band of night drivers calling themselves the Mayfair Mob. These courageous drivers are tackling the war on touts, one battle at a time....and this is proving to be highly successful. 

It's also extremely welcome to see certain trade representatives openly promoting the actions this group in Taxi trade media. 

Extending the use of the AdVan, has been a major factor in our success. 

          LTDA AdVan helping out at Forge

After the success of the marshals at Novikov's and Forge, there is now a campaign in the LTDA Taxi paper actively recruiting marshals. 

This is a positive step forward and hopefully a step on the ladder to rid our trade of the tribalism (my orgs better than your org) that has held us back for so many years. The work carried out by the Mayfair Mob, utilises members from all trade bodies (Brothers In Arms).

In the space of just a few short months, the Mayfair Mob has acquired two completely new night ranks, previously believed to be unobtainabl. 

  Mayfair Mob regulars, Novikov's and Sketch

With the rank boards firmly in place, we now wait for Westminster council to put down road markings, which should make it easier to keep the space clear for working Taxis. 

Some non believers think it can't be done, as the two ranks in question are only live at certain times of the day. Well if they can sort this problem out in at Benedick's wine bar in Belfast, using the same method, it can also be sorted out in Mayfair. 
See solution below.

     Benedick's, Bradford Place, Belfast

Another major achievement has been the extension to the rank in Cornhill, outside the night venue Forge. Again thought to be impossible. 

Cutting the ribbon on the new Forge Rank extension, now known by Mob members as "The Benidorm Rank". 

Through the medium of social media platforms such as Twitter and FaceBook, the group regularly put out updates as to the current status of Mayfair and City ranks. We are now seeing more drivers joint our ranks, as the touts appear to be receding. Club owners are happy to see the pimps and pushers outside their premises diminishing, although door staff are feeling a huge dent in their nightly backhanders.

The Mob utilise the members only account (@UCGup). This system insures the touts are unaware as to where the work is building up and where "the Mob" will hit next.

A few years ago, Westminster City Council carried out a survey on night venue patrons. It showed beyond a shadow of a doubt, revellers leaving venues will use the first service they see when leaving night venues, whether that vehicle be licensed or not. They regard the fact that door staff have put them in a vehicle, as a sign of authenticity. This is why it's so important we put vacant Taxis outside venue exits. 

Many drivers are saying that night-work hasn't been as bad as had been anticipated at the beginning of the year, this is a direct result of the amount of work being clawed back from the touts by Mob members on the front line, outside the night venues. 

The Mayfair Mob will shortly be expanding their list of achievements and are actively encouraging councils to look at putting licensed Taxi ranks outside every licensed venue.

COMMENT FROM SEMTEX: 
Without doubt, the Magnificent Mayfair Mob are the pride of the London Cab Trade !
Their hit rate and success ratio are phenomenal when you consider how much progress has been made using a relatively small manpower deployment.

Their success has been no surprise to me. Their effectiveness and strength are powerful for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, and of major importance, is that the members of the Mob are PASSIONATE. Without passion, they could never achieve their objective.
But not only that, they are hugely successful because they remain and operate as a small specialist unit.

In my opinion for what it's worth, to grow big, have AGM'S, meetings, management boards with offices etc, would dilute their potent killer sting overnight.

Too many people with too much to say would see them become just another Org. I understand that they have a competent and nominated leader who calls the shots, and that it how it should be.

They are operating perfectly for my money. A small unit, fussy and choosy who join, using secretive and covert intelligence. No blah, blah, blah, chat chat chat shall we shan't we...........just target, deploy and hit !

Would could be simpler ? What could be more effective ?

There are several similar units in the world that spring to my mind, who have had a long, successful and devastating record. I wont mention them on this post for obvious reasons, but have had resounding success using the Mayfair Mob's basic rules of counter deployment.

Stay small folks, stay strong, stay effective and be lucky. Thanks for what you are doing for myself and others in our trade, who will benefit off the back of such committed and passionate colleagues. I am told that nightwork is already improving on certain venues of the West End.

The Mayfair Mob. The pride of our cab trade.

8829 Semtex.