Saturday, November 21, 2015

In Parliament This Week : What Do They Know...Written Answers.

Written Answers - Home Office: Taxis: Arrests (18 Nov 2015)

Jim Fitzpatrick Labour, Poplar and Limehouse.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many private hire vehicle drivers have been arrested in (a) London and (b) the UK for offences related to plying for hire in each of the last five years.

Mike Penning: Minister of State, the Home Department, ministry of justice. 
The Home Office does not hold data centrally on the number of private hire vehicle drivers arrested.

Written Answers - Department for Transport: Taxis: Wheelchairs (20 Nov 2015)

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport).
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of (a) Uber vehicles, (b) black cabs and (c) private hire vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport).
The results of the Department’s taxi survey in 2015 showed that 58% of all taxis (Hackney Carriages) in England are wheelchair accessible. All 22,500 London taxis are wheelchair accessible as required by Transport for London’s ‘Conditions for Fitness’ taxi licensing policy. 175 authorities (61%) require wheelchair accessible vehicles in all or part of their taxi fleet.

We do not keep comprehensive statistics on the number of wheelchair accessible private hirevehicles, including those operated by Uber or any other private hire operators. However we do welcome initiatives by such operators to improve the service they provide to those who need additional assistance.

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport).
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he intends to implement a single consolidated legislative framework for taxis throughout England and Wales.

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport).
A single legislative framework for taxis and private hire vehicles throughout England and Wales was one of the recommendations of the Law Commission following their comprehensive review of taxi and private hire legislation.

The Government is continuing to consider the Law Commission’s report in its entirety and in line with the protocol that exists between the Government and the Law Commission, the Government will formally respond to the Law Commission and announce its intentions in due course

Friday, November 20, 2015

On the trail of the skinny Latte! I'm Spartacus

Today I called TfL to clarify some issues about DBS (CRB in old money) having received my renewal pack

I currently hold an enhanced CRB and subscribe to the update service so anyone require a check can go online and do so, great I thought TfL will accept that no problem.

It's the incorrect type of enhanced check as it doesn't state it covers vulnerable adults, yet the actual check is the same and because I subscribe to the update service TfL can check instantly if anything is untoward.

Note that with the DBS I hold it's ok to work in a school, children's home or nursery but not drive a cab!

If however I am an asylum seeker or have refugee status TfL can't ask for those 'robust' certificates of good conduct from abroad or conduct a DBS check at all!!!!

Meanwhile the cycle superhighway is opening up to be used intermittently as the cyclist chooses, pedestrian terrified and put at risk as pavement are narrowed etc.

We best not think the thousands of unnecessary extra PH vehicles and the latest self indulgent idea from Zak Goldsmith to scrap bus lanes as evidence of the complete utter incompetence and lack of foresight by the Mayor as some kind of conspiracy against us for fear of being called paranoid.

Andrew Gilligan, Camden Council, Johnson and TfL seem unable to recognise the 'bleeding obvious', it's a complete fiasco.

So when those cyclist on their third world sweatshop produced bikes arrive at their non tax paying multi national to work in the PR department, we can rest easy as every Skinny Latte drunk is Fairtrade.

Who says they don't care about anyone or anything else such as the pedestrian, the delivery driver or the public services funding that keeps them alive.

Every Fairtrade Skinny Latte (bought at another well known taxpayer) proves otherwise, don't you just love 'em.

I'm Spartacus

DON’T JUST PAY GLIB RESPECTS... PAY YOUR TAXES TO PROTECT US. Grand gestures of solidarity wrapped in hypocrisy from mega-rich tech firms

IT DID not take long for the world’s technology giants to react when cowardly gangsters unleashed bloody carnage and terrifying chaos on the streets of Paris last Friday.

First came the spread of news, analysis and rumours on social media, with 7,000 tweets a second at one stage as the world watched in horror at the unfolding tragedy.

Then firms such as Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter and taxi company Uber used their huge networks to help get people out of danger and to reassure families and friends. 

Great stuff. If only it had stopped there, one more fine lesson in how fast technology is changing our world. 

Instead, the internet giants and gurus of the digital age could not resist showing off their concern with instant demonstrations of sympathy.

Amazon was among the first, draping its homepage with the stark image of a French flag against a black background and one simple word: Solidarité.

Facebook offered a filter to let users cover profile pictures with the tricolour, while YouTube, owned by Google, altered its own logo to adopt the flag’s blue, white and red stripes. 

Uber, which ramped up prices during a previous terrorist attack in Australia, changed the colour of the car icons on its app.

Apple and Google placed a simple black ribbon on their websites as a mark of respect.

Meanwhile, mega-rich bosses fell over themselves to express support.

Tim Cook, the Apple chief executive, tweeted: “Nous sommes tous Parisiens” (We are all Parisians).

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a message on his site, saying “every member of our community spreads empathy and understanding on a daily basis” and that if everyone played their part, “one day there may no longer be attacks like this”.

What hogwash. What utter hypocrisy. For this was saccharine sympathy from self-serving firms that refuse to play their part in protecting us from such cruel assaults.

If these companies really want to show solidarity with the victims of this latest terrorist outrage, let alone with doctors treating the wounded or members of security forces risking their lives to track down the killers, how about paying their fair share of taxes?

Instead, they are serial European tax avoiders, displaying zero interest in our common good. After all, ask yourself how else Apple became the world’s richest company, sitting on a cash stockpile bigger than the gross domestic product of several European nations?

It is easy to express “empathy” with doodles and smooth words.

But this is phoney grief when the people running these firms ignore a harsh reality: effective armed forces, police and spies in Europe cost hard cash. 

The billionaire bosses don’t seem to care that here, hospitals, doctors and nurses are expensive, or that roads for police cars and ambulances (and Amazon deliveries) need maintenance.

And if they refuse to pay from swelling company profits, then a bigger burden falls on the rest of us to ensure our society is safe, our families protected and our democracy secure. Indeed with bitter irony, even as French officials swept blood and glass from the streets of Paris, members of the European Parliament issued the latest scathing attack on Amazon, Facebook and Google for obscene tax avoidance.

They accused these massive multi-nationals of paying virtually no tax in European Union nations, thereby denying governments vital funds.

Yet their angry fusillade merely echoed frustrated politicians in Westminster and Washington before them.

This scandalous refusal to pay fair taxes is how sanctimonious tech chiefs in Silicon Valley pay for their vast homes, their huge yachts, their hobbies such as space exploration and their image-improving philanthropy. Facebook, for instance, may be one of the world’s biggest companies but last year, it paid just £4,327 in British corporation tax — less than the average worker hands the Exchequer. 

Meanwhile, staff here took home an average of more than £210,000 in pay and bonuses.

That pathetic tax payment is insulting, especially in a country still struggling with austerity — as Chancellor George Osborne will underline next week with his spending review. 

He has just found extra funds for 1,000 new spooks to combat terror plots — but police numbers are falling, Armed Forces cut to the bone and junior doctors in open revolt over working weekends.

These tech firms claim to be responsible. So how come within hours of declaring “war” on the terrorists this week, secretive hacking collective Anonymous had managed to remove more than 6,000 social media accounts associated with IS?

These internet giants pose as paragons of virtue and insist they are changing society for the better.

Yet even as they talk of “solidarité” and drape websites with symbols of support for terror victims, they fail to cough up to the costs of stopping such horrific attacks.

The fight against terrorism costs money — and the failure to contribute could cost lives. 

Perhaps those technology titans could remember this next time before they cry their crocodile tears.

Source The Sun. Written by Ian Birrel– Ian Birrell is a journalist and former speechwriter for David Cameron.




Result Of AskPOB's Consultation On The New Tavistock Place Traffic System.

AskPOB has conducted a thorough and conclusive consultation around the recent experimental traffic changes on Tavistock Place and the surrounding areas.

1,254 licensed London taxi drivers took part in the consultation to provide Camden Council clear guidance on trade opinion.

You can download the report by using the following link:  >Click Here <

Example of results:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Katie Hopkins Thanks Taxi Driver Who Called Her An Ambulance, After She Fell Ill.

Katie Hopkins ‘Smashed Up Her Face’ And Required Urgent Medical Treatment

Katie Hopkins took to her Twitter page earlier today to thank the black cab driver who had called her an ambulance after she fell ill and apparently “smashed up her face”.

The former Apprentice star required emergency medical treatment, and luckily Joe the cabbie was on hand to give her the assistance needed.

Writing on her social media page, Katie shared: “To @joejohnpayne for calling & London Ambulance for coming. 

“I thank you. Gas & air + a side order of smashed face.”

Joe soon replied, writing: “hope u feel ok . I’m Joe the London black cabbie who phoned the ambulance for u today and waited with you until it came x”.

Katie then retweeted his message, adding: “London’s black cabs - the second emergency service

“Thank you. #saveourblackcabs.”

It isn’t known what caused Katie’s accident, but it is being speculated that it could be a result of the star’s epilepsy, although it normally only occurs in the night.

Katie previously admitted that she is due to undergo serious brain surgery in a bid to help cure the illness, revealing that a part of her brain is missing and that is what causes the seizures

When Katie was in the Celebrity Big Brother house, her housemates confirmed that she regularly fitted at night, with Michelle Visage sharing: “She was fitting [one night] and I didn’t know what to do. 

“She woke up and was like, ‘What are you doing, why are you standing over me?!”

Katie is yet to comment further on her hospital dash earlier this afternoon, but appears to be doing fine

Mayfair Mob Achieve New Victory, For Night Taxi Drives in Dover Street.

Again the Mayfair Mob have eased the burdens on the hardworking night Taxi drivers . 

One of the more active night ranks at the former site of the Dover Street Wine Bar—soon to be the new Novikov restaurant—was recently taken out of commission by an official TfL suspension order, while building work takes place.

Drivers noticed that NO work was taking place from 6pm until 8am. 

An active member of the Mayfair Mob Team, contacted TfL and was put in contact with the new person dealing with Ranks and Highways. The case was put forward that as no work was being carried out in the evening, the rank was lying idol when in fact it could still be used to a satisfactory degree, which would not inconvenience any work being carried out in the day time period. 

After reflection, TfL has now lifted the suspension between the night time hours of 18:00 till 08:00 and a new notice has been pasted ove the previous one.

So, don't be put off by the signage, you can now officially use the rank to service the busy Arts Club from tea time till breakfast. 

Our thanks go out to Mayfair Mob member @raywhu for his dedication and unpaid time he has freely given on this issue. 

Well done Ray.

Taxi Owners File Lawsuit Against New York City Seeking Compensation And Punitive Damages

Taxi owners and lenders on Tuesday sued New York City and its Taxi and Limousine Commission, saying the proliferation of the popular ride-sharing business Uber was destroying their businesses and threatening their livelihoods. 

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court accused the defendants of violating yellow cab drivers' exclusive right to pick up passengers on the street by letting Uber drivers who face fewer regulatory burdens pick up millions of passengers who use smartphones to hail rides. 

According to the complaint, the number of Uber rides in the "core" of Manhattan increased by 3.82 million from April to June 2015 compared with a year earlier, while medallion cab pickups fell by 3.83 million. 

They said this had driven down the value of medallions, which yellow cab drivers need to operate, by 40 percent from a peak exceeding $1 million and caused more defaults.

Uber's rise also contributed to the July 22 bankruptcy of 22 companies run by taxi magnate Evgeny Freidman, and the state's Sept. 18 seizure of Montauk Credit Union, which specialized in medallion loans, the complaint said. 

"Defendants' deliberate evisceration of medallion taxicab hail exclusivity, and their ongoing arbitrary, disparate regulatory treatment of the medallion taxicab industry, has and continues to inflict catastrophic harm on this once iconic industry, and the tens of thousands of hardworking men and women that depend on it for their livelihood," the complaint said. 

The Taxi and Limousine Commission referred requests for comment to the city's law department. Nick Paolucci, a spokesman there, said the city would review the complaint. 

Plaintiffs include the Melrose! Progressive and Lomto Federal credit unions, which said they have made more than 4,600 medallion loans worth over $2.4 billion.

Other plaintiffs include individual medallion owners, as well as the Taxi Medallion Owner Driver Association and League of Mutual Taxi Owners, which said that together they represent about 4,000 medallion owners.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, including for alleged violations of cab drivers' property and equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution. 

It also seeks to ease cab drivers' regulatory burdens, including a requirement that half of their cabs be accessible to disabled people by 2020. 

In September, a state judge in Queens County dismissed a lawsuit by the credit union seeking to stop the city from supporting Uber's expansion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shocking Enforcement Statistics...Would Operation Neon Officers Be Better Employed As Taxi Jm Thomas

According to their own website, TfL directly fund 68 dedicated Cab Enforcement officers.

Below is an example of official spin directed, at the media from TfL, to justify their appalling record on compliance and enforcement. Last year saw a staggeringly low number of convictions. After almost doubling the Cab Enforcement Unit, convictions are still embarrassingly low. 

Other the last 3 years we have seen an escalation of touting in central London on a scale never witnessed before and yet a professional Metropolitan Police unit returns a hit rate of convictions at less than 2 a week! And this is double the rate of convictions for the same period in the previous year! 

It's interesting to note, that these apparent 46 convictions do not appertain to 46 separate drivers. It would appear —by examples given to the media— minicab drivers have been charged and convicted of multiple offences, which could mean the figures given relate to just 16 individual arrests.  

Sayed Mustafa, of Acton was found guilty of three offences and at the City of London Magistrates' Court on September 2 was fined £1,200 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Kandasamy Rajendran of Harrow, was found guilty of three offences at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 18 and was fined £375 with six points added to his driving licence. 

2 drivers 6's called spin!

Personally I think TfL and the Met should be hanging their heads in shame.

TfL Press Release:

A record number of rogue cabbies (do they mean minicabs) have been successfully prosecuted by Transport for London (TfL) this year. 

In the last six months, 46 cab drivers (they are not cab drivers, they are minicab or Private Hire drivers) working across the capital have been convicted following action by TfL of various offences, including driving without insurance.

The rise in convictions - from 38 during the whole of 2014 - follows a crackdown by TfL, which doubled the size of its compliance team to 82 officers earlier this year.

Steve Burton, TfL's director of enforcement and on-street operations, said the increase was testament to its work to improve passenger safety and stop illegal cabbies (again, they are illegal minicab or private hire drivers not cabbies) undermining law-abiding drivers.

"We are using a broad range of tactics to deter, disrupt and apprehend drivers who are touting or illegally plying for hire and we will push for the toughest penalties available for anyone caught by our teams," he added. 

In addition to the prosecutions by TfL during the last six months, the Met's cab enforcement unit arrested 267 drivers for touting and unlawful plying for hire offences over the same period. So far, 53 of them have been convicted and 80 cases are still pending

Extra Comment:

So, that taking into account that multiple convictions are counted from each case, very few of the arrested touts actually make it all the way to a prosecution and conviction. At present the multitude of touts seen around the capital have more chance of winning the lottery than being convicted of touting.

It's time we asked the question "Is our compliance budget being spent wisely?"

The compliance teams (made up mainly from bus inspectors on overtime) have no actual power and are not seen as a deterrent by touts. Would this manpower be better utilised as marshals controlling timed ranking facilities outside night venues?

After nearly 18 months of complaints from the Taxi trade, about the illegally plying for hire and prolong waiting by Private hire drivers at St Pancras, TfL's bus inspectors finally show up to move on the perpetrators. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Camden's Reply To Email, Regarding Tavistock Place Trial.

Todays reply from Camden, regarding the current traffic system being trialed in Byng Place, Torrington Place and Torrington Place.

Dear Sir,

thank you for your email. 

The reasons for the trial are set out below.

The road forms part of an important east / west cycle link connecting Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Bloomsbury, King’s Cross and Angel. The most recent surveys in 2015 recorded 1,009 cyclists during the morning peak hour and 880 in the afternoon peak hour.  These figures demonstrate that the route is the busiest street for cycling in Camden and one of the busiest in London. The route now suffers from a number of issues:

• The number of cyclists has grown to a point where the existing cycle track does not provide sufficient space and also makes it difficult to safely overtake. 

• It is estimated that 50,000-60,000 students are based at the University of London Bloomsbury colleges, and they generate a large number of walking and cycling journeys. The area is extremely busy with pedestrians (over 1,800 pedestrians were counted on Torrington Place during the morning peak hour, rising to over 2,580 between 1pm and 2pm).

• The current road layout with narrow pavements, a two-way protected cycle track (on one side of the street) and a traffic lane in each direction does not provide a safe and attractive environment for the large number of pedestrians.

• The route suffers from a poor casualty record, particularly due to collisions between motor vehicles and both cyclists and pedestrians.

• Residents have also raised concerns that crossing the cycle track and then two traffic lanes can be difficult and confusing.

• A number of local groups, residents and institutions have asked the Council to look at ways of reducing the impact of through traffic in the area. As part of the approval for the West End project, the Council agreed to bring forward proposals for a trial to reduce the impact of through traffic on local residents in Torrington Place between Gower Street and Tottenham Court Road.

Because of the width of the road it is not possible to provide more space for walking and cycling without significantly reducing the space available for motor traffic. The experimental trial gives the opportunity to test a potential solution to these issues.

 The changes introduced with the trial will provide a safer and more attractive cycling route, which will improve conditions for existing cyclists, while also encouraging new cyclists. Removing westbound traffic will also make the corridor a more pleasant environment for pedestrians, with improved air quality and streets that are easier to cross.

The existing taxi rank will be retained outside the Tavistock Hotel.  Where a ramp is required to pick-up / drop-off disabled passengers, taxis will need to stop on a side street  for a left hand side kerb.


So there we have it. There's not enough room for cyclists racing each other to overtake!

And wheelchair users can be dropped off in other streets and make their way round, under their own steam. How caring of Camden Council!

While this is the scene in Tavistock street as portrait by Camden today 

This is the utter chaos being caused in Judd Street and other surrounding areas. 

Birmingham firm completes London Taxi Group acquisition.

The company, which sealed a deal to buy Mini specialist Min-Its only two weeks ago, will now be able to move into a new market supplying parts around the globe for London taxis.

Leacy now has access to a 6,000-strong parts range for multiple marques and models of the cabs and – for the first time – will be making these products available online.

As part of the acquisition, Leacy also purchased a fleet of 21 taxis that are ready to be restored, the earliest dating back to a 1950s Marque 7 Beardmore model.

David Keene, Leacy CEO, said: “We are delighted with the purchase. It represents a strategic move into a growing international sector and will diversify our current offering.

“London Taxi Group is a well-known brand that has a loyal customer base, who are passionate about their vehicles.

“One of our key aims is to ensure the continuity of these iconic vehicles for the next generation of owners by enhancing the customer experience even further.”

He added: “We have ambitious plans to hit £10m by 2018 and the acquisition of strong businesses like London Taxi Group will complement our organic growth.

“20 new jobs will be created at our dedicated Aston Lane warehouse as part of this expansion and we are already in the process of recruiting the right people

“London Taxi Group is a well-known brand that has a loyal customer base, who are passionate about their vehicles.

“One of our key aims is to ensure the continuity of these iconic vehicles for the next generation of owners by enhancing the customer experience even further.”

He added: “We have ambitious plans to hit £10m by 2018 and the acquisition of strong businesses like London Taxi Group will complement our organic growth.

“20 new jobs will be created at our dedicated Aston Lane warehouse as part of this expansion and we are already in the process of recruiting the right people

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lib Dem Councillors To Support Minicab App's Circumvention Of Current Jim Thomas

                 Caroline Pidgeon and Daniel Carr

TfL have recently proposed new regulations to take into account new advances in technology. The proposals have been welcomed by both the licensed Taxi trade and the majority of PH drivers and operators across the capital. 

But to everyone's surprise, the Lib Dem's mayoral candidate, in line with her party policy has come out against these new regulations. 

It appears that the Lib Dem's are in favour of a certain smart phone app being allowed to breach PHV act legislation, by showing cars in real time that are available for immediate hire (illegally plying for hire).

They are also against the introduction of a 5 minute  period before customer request and passenger pick up. Their reason is that people will be put at risk waiting in the street for the envisaged extra 90 seconds (based on the average arrival time of 3.5 mins).

If this app complied with current PH regulations and had a booking facility, passengers would not have to wait in the street at all. But again, the Lib Dem's feel this company should be given preferential treatment, in regards to the regulations every other PH have to abide by.

At a regional conference on Saturday, London Lib Dems debated private hire regulations, and how they should get it right.

There are three proposals Liberal Democrats should be most concerned with. The first, a mandatory waiting period between requesting a private hire vehicle and pick-up, is hard to square with any consumer interest rationale. TfL is proposing a mandatory 5 minute wait, about 1.5 minutes morethan the average time it takes for an Uber driver to arrive. Apparently this would reduce the risk of a customer getting into the wrong vehicle, a problem TfL provides no evidence to suggest actually exists. Even if it does, it appears not to have been weighed against the risk of extending the time in which people may have to wait alone on a street corner late at night. 

Taken together with another proposal to ban the in-app visualisation of hire vehicles, the impact on ride-sharing services will be severe. As Uber’s popularity among customers revolves around the app’s visualisation function, low fares and short wait-times, killing two of these off smells suspiciously like an attempt to cripple a black cab rival.

The most concerning is the proposal to lock drivers into working for just one licensed operator at a time. It seems innocuous enough, but looking forward this risks significantly decreasing the take-home income of drivers who work for ride-sharing platforms. Why? If you use Lyft or Uber in the US you will notice most drivers have a dashboard of smartphones on the go. This enables them to play-off operators like Uber, Lyft and SideCar, accepting rides from whoever is offering the highest rate.

Locking drivers into working for one operator will also risk entrenching the position of today’s largest operators. New entrants, who usually begin with a small customer base, will find it hard to entice drivers to jump platforms if rides are likely to be less frequent. Back in Australia, fears Uber might unilaterally lock drivers to their platform prompted Uber Vice-President David Plouffe to insist his company would not go down this road. That TfL is considering a proposal that risks decreasing driver pay and cementing Uber’s dominance of the London ride-sharing market is troubling.

So what principles should inform the Liberal Democrat stance on the private hire market? As the motion suggests, we should back robust regulation on customer safety, payment of due taxes and the provision of disability compatible services. However, we also need to recognise that regulations which inhibit competition do a disservice to both customers and drivers. Other cities are already seeing a more vibrant ecosystem of operators emerge by following these principles.

New Lib Dem member Dan Carr proposed a motion that they should oppose controversial changes. 

Mr Carr argued that Merton has few black cab ranks and the growth of services like Uber will increase choice.

Editorial Comment: 
The Lib Dem's support was given the day after this so called trendy minicab app surged prices to 500% to the people in the midst of the terror attacks on the Parisian streets, while the local licensed Taxis ferried the walking wounded, lost and bewildered to safety, free of charge.

Would More Taxi Ranks, Be A Better Solution ? ... By Jim Thomas

Over the last two weekends, night Taxi drivers have reported a noticeable expansion in TfL compliance team members involved with "Operation Neon". 

Unfortunately there is very little they can do.

• If a PHV is parked on a Taxi rank they ask them to move. 
• If a private car is parked on a cab rank they can call on Westminster City Marshals to issue a PCN. 

But, that's about it!!!

In this highly visible exercise, compliance officers can be seen slowly sauntering around Mayfair with absolutely no meaningful plan of operation.

The team with actual power of arrest are the Mets Cab Enforcement Unit (CEU), but they are too few in number and starved of an adequate budget. 

With the expansion of the Uber fleet, has come a massive problem of touting. Uber drivers using fog lights (in it's self a contravention under the Highway Code, rule 114) to signify immediate availability, are illegally plying for hire. 

These vehicles don't have to openly solicit as their customers have been carefully schooled in the procedure. They see a Prius with its fog light on, they wave their phone at the driver, who winds down the window. Passenger gives driver a destination and is allowed to enter the actual touting takes place. To any observer, it looks like a legitimate hiring.

But every journey undertaken in this manner is an offence. The driver has committed an act of illegal plying for hire and the journey is now uninsured. 

Because of the scale of what's going on and the way these jobs are procured, the CEU have a massive job on their hands trying to obtain enough evidence to arrest/convict touts, or even report the drivers for illegal plying for hire. The drivers involved have more chance of winning the lottery than getting their collar felt for touting. 

Possible Partial Solution?
The best way we can fight back is by getting too the work before the touts. We need to have ranks outside every venue, every popular night spot. We now have to do exactly what the touts have been doing to us for decades and that's to get to the work first, by putting Taxis outside venue exits.
                               IT WORKS!

It's no good any more, aimlessly driving round in circles. Your rightful work is being intercepted by these cars and the public are convinced this is totally legal. 

Mayfair Mob Modus Operandi 
The new marshalled rank at forge took over 150 jobs on Friday night alone. Jobs that in the past, were shepherded into the waiting minicabs of Diamond Chauffeurs. 

Since the Mayfair Mob started targeting the area, touting in Berkeley Street, Bruton Street and Dover Street has been dramatically cut.
But there is still touting outside the Palm Beach. We need a proper rank there, despite the fact the casino say they don't want one, they just want the space outside to park customers cars. 
This forces Taxis to put themselves on offer by forming an unauthorised rank. But they do, and it's surprising how quickly it can move.

For many years, we had a rank in the middle of the road, popular with night drivers, which moved extremely well. We need a rank for at least 4 taxis, bang outside, as we could do at all london casinos. The more rank spaces we can get, the less space there is left for touts to hang up.

Our biggest hurdle presently comes from local councils such as Westminster and Camden. 
Why do these councils put up such a fight against us protecting the public from unlicensed touts. Surely the idea of having a licensed Taxi service with adequate ranking facilities makes perfect sense.

I picked up an elderly couple last night from Hakkasan and the lady said to me:
 "When you come out of a restaurant and it's cold, wet and your tired, there's nothing more welcoming than the sight of an orange for hire light".

Minicabs fled from Berkeley Square


Get involved:
If you are a member of the trades largest representative group, get involved and ask questions. The LDTA have a branch meeting for drivers at Taxi House on Tuesday 17/11/15 at 5 pm

Sunday, November 15, 2015

'Reports of the demise of the London Taxi trade have been greatly exaggerated' I'm Spartacus.

"Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated"

So said the famous author Mark Twain when his obituary appeared in a newspaper, so it is with us, despite a well expensed and of course non UK tax paying PR campaign placing stories in the press and laughable surveys about how great they are.

We actually find out there's some "rotten in the state of Denmark" ( or is it the Holland or the Cayman Islands as no one is quite sure?) as the sweated labour (aka the drivers) kick up a fuss about the terms and conditions of their shackles, it sure seems likely that something is disrupting the disrupters!

             Uber drivers protesting at Aldgate on Friday 

So has our battle been won?

Not yet boys and girls, not anywhere near.

There's  a lot of effort needed to ensure the regulators and the legal framework acts as it should and put clear distinctions between us plying for hire and they who must be pre booked.

The other PH outfits are screaming blue murder but they need to reflect on their previous lobbying for the introduction of a 'light touch' licensing regime that's come back to bite them, we as a trade should reflect on how some of our trade organisations also allowed it to come to pass.

Still all that's a history and we need to look forward, campaign for legal certainty, provision of ranks & CCTV outside every 'honey pot' etc. etc.

Lastly a message to the interlopers:

We have been the world champion cab trade for over 350 years undefeated, if you want to knock us out, your going to need more than shocking drivers, political lobbying, shafting with surge pricing, non existent customer service or any clue of the geography of this big old town before you can even come close with a punch.

As another Travis said 
"you looking at me?" 

Travis, you bet we are!

I'm Spartacus