Friday, February 05, 2016

LTDA's General Secretary Steve McNamara, Confirms Support For United Taxi Trade Demo

A few weeks ago I promised an update on the many things happening within our trade and the LTDA’s lobbying and other involvement.

Credit Cards

The response to Transport for London’s (TfL’s) consultation into Credit Card acceptance in taxis was massively in favour of universal mandation from all stakeholders including taxi drivers. As a result, from October this year, every taxi will have to accept credit cards as payment for fares. I am currently trying to get precise details of the mandation but am aware that there will be a plethora of choice available to drivers. Paypal, Izettle and Levenpay, in addition to the more traditional fixed and wired units, such as those supplied by Verifone, Cabvision and Taxiworld, will all be acceptable.

In order to offset the credit card cost to drivers, there will be a 20p surcharge added to all fares by increasing the meter drop from £2.40 to £2.60, and a slight adjustment to the running rate of the meter. The Tariff 3 rate will now end at 5am instead of 6am. I am aware that most of our members already accept card payments; but it is expected that, in line with other countries where cards have been mandated, there will be a significant increase in the number of people choosing to use taxis. There is a whole generation of Londoners, primarily the under 35’s, who do not carry cash and therefore do not ever consider hailing a taxi. Many of this ‘cashless’ generation use our competitors such as Uber as their first choice of transport provider purely because they can pay by card, and it must be remembered that Uber do not even accept cash!

Legal Action

We are still awaiting the judgement on our Judicial Review of the Cycle Super Highway. Our Judicial Review into TfL’s licensing of Uber is progressing, and the City law firm engaged are currently communicating with TfL’s lawyers and the High Court regarding possible outcomes, costs and actions. There is no guarantee that we will be granted permission to have this action heard or that we will win if it does go ahead. The press have already extensively reported aspects of the case in articles similar to this one:-

As I explained in my last email, we are also reviewing other options in the criminal courts, which again are being progressed, and in addition we will continue to review the possibility of assisting the crowd funding campaign being organised by the savetaxis group.

Raising the Trade’s Profile Politically

Traditionally the taxi trade has had little experience in communicating with law makers and parliamentarians, but we have learnt fast as the lobbying and influence of our competitors became apparent. The LTDA has engaged a professional communications and messaging company to assist us in engaging with MPs and other decision makers, in order to reinforce our positive messages and raise our concerns at the highest level. In recent months I have met with dozens of, mainly London, MPs, the leaders of many councils, and all the mayoral candidates. My next scheduled meeting is with the prime minister’s senior advisor.

I am hopeful that we will shortly see a ten minute Bill, scheduled in support of our trade and an Early Day Motion (EDM) supported by most of London’s MPs.


The LTDA has been asked to support a demonstration being organised by other trade groups on the 10thFebruary, aimed at highlighting the involvement of Whitehall and Number 10 in lobbying TfL and the Mayor to dilute some of the more important aspects of the recent Private Hire Regulations Review. The LTDA were not involved in any of the planning for this action and I only had it officially confirmed when I met all the trade groups on Monday.

Opinion in the trade is divided over demonstrations, there are those who have reservations about how these actions reflect on the trade and are reported in the media and question the likely benefits. Others see militant action as a valid option.

The demonstration on the 10th is being supported by all the other trade groups and if the LTDA, by far the biggest trade body, did not support the action, our position could, and probably will be, viewed as being indicative of disunity within our industry. 

For this reason we will be supporting the action on the 10th which takes the form of a drive-in, in Whitehall, between Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square at 2.30pm

Best Regards


Steve McNamara

General Secretary

Published with kind permission of Steve McNamara 



Anonymous said...

Reading between the lines of Mc's letter, he gives no reason for the loss of an hour of Rate 3 nor does he explain why there is a reported 30% drop in "Waiting time" on Rate 1? Does he think we will not question this? Who decides these changes? What "stakeholders" are dictating MY earnings?

Anonymous said...

What a load of balls the only reason that the LTDA dicided to join the demo was to rais it's profile to be seen doing something as for the cycle highway why did you not take TFL to court over the illegal ply for hire act of ph Ehail is Steve Being told what to do I think so stop being bobs bitch and grow a set this could of been sorted 2 years ago or is it certain stake holders telling you what to do .?

Anonymous said...

Wow stopping rate 3 at 5 instead of 6 I can hear the stampede of punters big problems small ideas our demise started when we got rid of extras for the rates plus the disastrous decision to start rate 3 at 8 0 clock that no one seems to want to take credit ! for .. also why give the press ammo all for a sake of a 20p like most I have a credit card machine for the last 18 months it's costs me absolutely nothing in rent as I easily without trying take the minimum amount required

Anonymous said...

So we will be less likely to Wait but it will impact on daymen in traffic

Mike Davidsohn, The Voice Of Reason said...

Rate 3 is TEN oclock

I'm Spartacus said...

Well done Steve for the enthusiastic endorsement. The LTDA finally realises that TfL aren't to be sucked up to.

He states he was not involved in the organisation of the demo, well old pal you excluded many organisations from talks with TfL for many years who could have been involved.
So let's look at this positively:
All that's needed now, is the resignation of Bob Oddy from the board of TfL over the PH regs, after he and the board hopefully reject them in March.
You can also repudiate the engage policy and tell TfL

Then hopefully the LTDA, LCDC and UNITE will be rehabilitated into the trade fight back and those blisters from years of fence sitting can heal!

Anonymous said...

So Mac has a meeting with Flashmans senior advisor, no doubt this advisor will have some link to either Google, Goldman Sucks or Uber. Personally, í won't be satisfied until Flashman, Osborne and Johnson are pulling shifts in jail as Charles Bronsons Fag.

Oh what a beautiful dream !

Anonymous said...

Oddy isn't getting a totally free ride, he's got Macs Chiwawa yapping at his heals.

Anonymous said...

Still not sure about all this, there's something that's not being said? LTDA now want to support the demo and may be willing to support Savetaxis JR? In my humble opinion, Steve's feeling pressured?

Anonymous said...

Why yet again does the cost of having a credit card machine fall to the driver ? I keep hearing that drivers are currently charged around 10% to have a card machine. This is Bull. It's the passenger who is charged not the driver. I think it's far too high but I don't see why the drivers should have to pay! It should be free to us and the passenger! I would welcome a slow down in the standing time tariff. It's got to the point of embarrassing what some fared now reach at the end of a journey little wonder people choose the cheaper option. One thing though must be done which never seems to happen and that is any improvements that are made to bringing down the cost to the passenger must be put out there in the public domain. We got slaughtered in the press for tariff 3 when introduced at 8 pm and it being a 50% increase ! Yet when it got moved back too 10pm nobody was aware. In my opinion it shouldn't start till midnight. This trade remains to in house and we only get negative press. That needs to change.

L. Norton said...

The meter will add 20p on the flag fall from 2.40 - 2.60 to compensate for the 3% surcharge drivers are to be coerced to pay.

The running rate of the meter will gain a full 1.6% of which has been granted from the tariff review.

Moving rate 3 from 6am back to 5am was NEVER supposed to be on the table.

Parliamentary Lobbying, EDMs 10 Minute Rule bills etc etc Are only useful if we are asking the right questions. We can all go to Parliament and meet with MPs (Trade unions do this as a matter of course and don't pay lobbyists - Businesses do that.?)

Bottom line is that no matter how Steve dresses this up it's all nonsense. We've taken in effect, a paycut. In the process got nothing in return. Credit Cards should of been mandated years ago, when oyster was launched. LTDA sat on their hands as they couldn't face the backlash from their membership. Weak leadership.

I'll close by pointing out that basically, PHVs are picking up off the street.
This is why we can't 'compete' because Uber has crowbarred it's way into a market that it's not LEGALLY PERMITTED.

But don't worry, credit cards will save us as will lobbying the Tory Government over trivial matters.
All this instead of doing what a real trade union should and defend terms & conditions and wages.

No surprises.

Sean Day said...

Although I was a member of another Org, I never got round to rescinding my membership of the LTDA. After a late shift, sitting in the Oak with one other, who as it transpired, had also retained his LTDA membership. That night we decided to galvanise other members interest with a view to attending the ever illusive branch meetings. Hence, attendance has gone from 2 to 52 in just 4 meetings.

I'll go into detail at a further date, but in a nutshell, there has to be a profound and systematic change with the way they represent the trade. If they are to carry on as though it's business as usual. then effectively, the trade can consider itself totally unrepresented. The LTDA is complicit in where our industry finds itself today, and to affect change they need a complete overhaul in the way they conduct business

It's time to get real at Taxi House, and I'm in it for the long haul. In closing, don't leave, hold them to account. Change has to come from within!


Damian said...

I wonder if the turnaround regarding supporting the demo has anything to do with a steady stream of drivers, and therefore revenue, moving away from the LTDA due to their refusal to support the past demos. LTDA members don't be fooled by this. It is clear their heart is in their bank balance.

Editorial said...

Damian, I don't care what their reasons are...they are supporting the demo and that's all that matters at the moment
I would rathe they did than didn't

Steve contacted me and said the ad van will be there and he's coming in his own Taxi.
Other committee members will be attending.

This is a United please, let's not tear the arse out of any org, now we have finally got a bit of unity.

This is a step forward, one we've not seen for many years.

Jim Thomas

Anonymous said...

As usual Jim's dead right. This is the most sensible communication from Mac I have seen in 8 years. We need to get behind it. Our divided unions are the reason we are in such a mess. Look at London Underground - all unions unite go on strike night tube shelved immediately. Now the underground have picked off the strongest unions - the drivers - and left themselves with station and maintenance staff. Majority of whom are now on temp contracts and replaceable. They will flatten them. Night tube is back on the agenda. Just like we are being replaced by PHV drivers plying for hire via thier phones. The end is nigh when we are divided.

Joe from Bow said...

So what was the other org Sean ?

It's a bit like getting married for the second time and keeping wife number one on the go, on the off chance she'll change.

Anonymous said...

Steve Mac is doing all the things the leader of a trade org should be doing: Taking positive action, keeping his members and the trade informed.

That's more than Mark White leader of the LCDC is doing in his paper!

Derek from Uxbridge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Derek from Uxbridge said...

OK, so I can't say that.

Far be it from me to support him but!
You are comparing Mark White with a powerful trade leader.
For his sins he is just anothe ordinary diver with dreams beyond his own capability.
Sort of rebel without a clue

L.Norton said...

Anon 2:09

I believe your comments regarding London Underground to incorrect.
The RMT are the biggest union on LU and represent ALL GRADES. That is drivers, platform staff and cleaners. Cleaning grades are lowest paid as they are employed by facility management companies such as ISS & Interserve of which employment is based on minimum wage, zero hour contracts. Despite this, they have managed to be organised by the RMT and achieved wage increase victories along with improved T&Cs.
Night Tube is coming, albeit now in line with the RMT framework agreement.
Hence strike being called off. A victory.

The RMT represent LU successfully due to the solidarity of the workforce itself. The problem the taxi trade has is that there appear to be too many fractured groups all vying to represent the industry. The solution is simple. Join one and one only.

Unfortunately the largest combination is the LTDA who are undemocratic and lack the principled ideology of trade union.

Anonymous said...

Ok Lewis, all very good. Can you now explain why the Rmt cab section is so ineffective and has spent the last five years hanging on to the coat tails of other trade orgs ?

I spoke recently to sevetal train drivers who informed me the recent demo was a busted flush, due to the other representative bodies having called the strike off.

All I hear here is old style union bollocks. Talk for talking sake.

If you took your nose out of the Undergrounds rear end and stuck it into cab trade issues the Rmt Taxi branch might achieve something.

L Norton said...

Nice use of crude abuse.

If taxi drivers joined a trade union, not an organisation. Then the union would achieve results akin to the combination on LU.
You've obviously missed the point that strength lies in numbers and as LTDA have 10,000 members, TFL single them out as the go to.

Its not hard to understand.