Saturday, January 09, 2016

Bus mounts pavement in Camden and crashes into supermarket

A shopkeeper told how his sister was “seconds” away from suffering serious injuries after a bus crashed into a supermarket in north London.

Police and paramedics were called to Pratt Street in Camden at 10.47am on Saturday after a Transport for London 274 bus mounted the pavement before hitting Ozdiller Food Centre.

Owner Huseyil Ozdil said his 32-year-old sister Feleknaz was helping a customer at the time of the crash and has been left traumatised.

He also said his sister could have been seriously hurt after the bus hit the store near the counter where she usually sits.

But Ms Ozdil was helping a customer elsewhere in the store at the time.


He said: “Thankfully we are ok. There are no injuries but my sister has been badly shaken up by what has happened.

“The bus collided with the front of the shop where the counter is and that is normally where she sits.

“If she wasn’t helping a customer at the time then it’s possible she would have been seriously injured. Ten seconds could have been the difference.

“Everyone is trying to calm her down but she might need to go to hospital.”

“I wasn’t here at the time but this wasn’t just a bump. Luckily no pedestrians were outside on the pavement at the time.”

Police confirmed no injuries have been reported and road closures are in place following the collision.

Tony Akers, TfL’s Head of Bus Operations, said: “At 11am today (9 January), a route 274 single deck bus, operated by Metroline, was involved in a collision with a shop front along Pratt Street NW1.

“No one was seriously injured in the incident. Police attended the scene. There will be a full investigation into the incident.”


    Minister hints at further block to Taxi access law, 20 years after MPs approved it

    While the trade busies itself worrying about what Uber did this week, or what this/that org didn't do, we are missing what's going on behind the scenes in government. On the 15th of December 2015  the Transport minister told Peers that it is “not necessary” for all Taxis to be accessible to wheelchair-users???

    Transport minister Andrew Jones said that such a policy would mean having to replace thousands of taxis across the country.

    Click link to watch debate: >But members of the Equality Act 2010 and disability committeetold the minister that powers to force all taxis to be wheelchair-accessible had been passed by parliament 20 years ago through the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, but had not been implemented by successive governments.

    The Labour peer Lord Foster asked what evidence the government had for its claim that introducing these measures would be a “burden” on the industry, and how it balanced this against the burden caused to disabled people by an inaccessible taxi service.

    Jones said that about 56 per cent of taxis in England and Wales were wheelchair-accessible, and so he was “not sure the problem actually exists”.

    He said: “I don’t think we need to have every single taxi to be wheelchair-accessible. We need to have a significant number that are wheelchair-accessible so that people who require them can access them.”

    He said the burden on the industry would be the cost of replacing the 35,500 non-wheelchair-accessible taxis, when a new London taxi cost about £40,000.

    But he pointed to another measure from the DDA 1995, which would force taxi-drivers to provide assistance to disabled people, and had also not been implemented.

    He said he was “supportive” of this principle and that his department was hoping to make a decision on the measure “very shortly”.

    But Lord Foster questioned his claim that the lack of accessible taxis was not a problem.

    He said: “I am very surprised to hear that you don’t think the problem exists, because all the evidence we have had in front of our committee suggests that this is one of the biggest problems that disabled people have.”

    And Baroness Deech, who chairs the committee, said: “It has been the will of parliament for 20 years that taxis be accessible. How many more decades is this going to take?”

    When told that 100 per cent of London taxis were accessible, Jones admitted this meant that the proportion of accessible taxis was far lower in some parts of the country than 56 per cent, and in rural areas was just 13 per cent.

    Baroness Deech said: “Unless you bring those regulations into force on a rolling basis, taxi-drivers will never get the cars that are big enough to take wheelchairs. The will of parliament should be carried out.”

    Baroness Brinton, the disabled president of the Liberal Democrats, said a survey in Watford had shown that under 20 per cent of its taxis were accessible, and a very small percentage of those were wheelchair-accessible, with an even smaller percentage accessible to electric wheelchairs.

    She asked if the government could make it compulsory for any wheelchair-accessible taxi to use one ramp, rather than two, as only those with one ramp were accessible to users of electric wheelchairs.

    She said: “Many taxi-drivers hide behind the accessibility label and can’t deliver. It’s very easy to sort out, given the price of ramps these days.”

    Jones said that was a “very fair point” and that he was “extremely happy to take that forward” with his department.

    Boris Johnson: 'officials are drawing up plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street'


    London transport bosses are drawing up proposals to ban traffic from Oxford Street.

    Clearing vehicles off the street is among the options on the table to “improve the environment for pedestrians”, the Mayor of London has confirmed.

    It comes four months ahead of the mayoral election in which all the major candidates have backed the idea of pedestrianising the shopping hub, which records some of the worst pollution levels in the country. 

    Boris Johnson has previously told business owners he would consider banning buses and cars from parts of Oxford Street but ruled out full pedestrianisation.

    But now Mr Johnson has written to Lib Dem London Assembly Member Stephen Knight confirming Transport for London and Westminster City Council were “examining a range of options for improving the environment for pedestrians on Oxford Street”.

    These options include “reducing traffic, widening footways, reducing and relocating bus stops and pedestrianisation.”

    But any move to ban cars, buses and taxis from Oxford Street would need to go through public consultation first, the Mayor added.

    Mr Knight said: “If Oxford Street and the West End is to remain a world class retail centre if must become a much safer and pleasant place to visit, and that must mean moving towards permanent pedestrianisation.”

    Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan and Tory Zac Goldsmith have both backed the pedestrianisation of the street, as have Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dems) and Sian Berry (Green).

    Mr Knight lodged a petition with City Hall in November calling for traffic to be removed from Oxford Street and replace public transport with a “zero emission shuttle bus”.

    The West End Partnership Board will consider the proposals this year, Mr Johnson added.



    Friday, January 08, 2016

    And Now The Good News...London Taxi Driver Cleared Of Dangerous Driving By Jury.


    A black cab driver has been cleared by a jury at the Old Bailey of deliberately ramming his Taxi into a cyclist in an act of road rage.

    Daniel Wentworth, 52, had been accused of using the Taxi “as a weapon” to knock James Williams from his bike during an altercation on Southwark Bridge.

    The court was told he drove after the cyclist before his black cab collided with him.

    The driver, who reported the incident to police himself, had admitted there was a confrontation but denied dangerous assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

    Prosecutor William Gatward said the incident happened on January 9 last year, leaving Mr Williams with severe bruising and a damaged ankle.

    Mr Wentworth was today found not guilty following a trial.

    Letter to Editor : Re Something Smells Article.


    No mention by any of these eminent specialists that DPF'S/Catalytic converters do not work in an urban drive cycle. London has already been singled out as the worst city to drive
    in Europe to drive in. Mainly because of the reckless traffic management systems introduced by TFL. 

    It is a known scientific fact that diesel particulate matter is factor towards deaths from pollution. 

    Another factor being: DPF's and Catalytic Converter failure due to poor traffic management pollutes the air with other toxins such as ammonia - other more harmful toxic emissions the unstable chemical reactions produced that are NOT being checked or measured such as Nerve gas, Cyanide gas and Hydrogen Sulphur gas (smells like rotten eggs), in ADDITION to the common toxic emissions, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons (HC) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx).

    Lastly, there has been no scientific study to determine the effects of petrol engines in an urban environment such as London. 

    Why are Taxis not produced with Petrol LPG engines?

    This is all about money, and nothing to do with tackling the harmful effects of emissions. Basically, these people are talking absolute unfounded rubbish. 

    Something Stinks...taken from the Manchester Taxi News.

    At the beginning of 2013, Geeley bought the London Cab Co for £11.4 million.

    They allegedly bought it cheap, because the Company was driven to near collapse by two massive product recall's. Firstly the TX4 fires and then the Steering Box recall's. Ironically (perhaps) the recalls were brought about by products sourced from Geeley's home Country.

    March 2015, to some fanfare Geeley launch a new £250 million facility in West Midlands.

    This investment is believed to be funded by the U.K. tax payer.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-32063233

    The purchase of New TX vehicles is currently stagnant. Several factors contribute to this. However the main factor is lack of confidence in the product.

    The Government have invested a lot of the PUBLICS money in this project. What to do next.?

    On the 17 December (whilst everybody is busy 'not looking') just before the Christmas break, statements in both Houses of Parliament are made showing the Government is backing 'enviroment charges' which in reality means additionally taxing drivers of older Taxi's to enter the City Centre in which they are Licensed.

    There are five area's involved at first, but, if you do not think that in the near future this will spread to your City, in the words of my old Ma.
    "You want your bumps felt"

    House of Lords..17 December 2015

    Lord Gardiner of Kimble


    My Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State (Elizabeth Truss) has today made the following statement.
    I have today issued the UK plan for improving air quality. This Plan sets out a comprehensive approach that will reduce health impacts and meet our environmental and legal obligations by implementing a new programme of Clean Air Zones. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/air-quality-plan-for-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-in-uk-2015

    Under these Plans, by 2020 the most polluting diesel vehicles - old polluting buses, coaches, taxis and lorries - will be discouraged from entering Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby. Newer vehicles that meet the latest emission standards, and private cars, will be unaffected.

    Over recent decades, air quality has improved significantly. Between 2005 and 2013 emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 38% and particulate matter has reduced by more than 16%. Over the past five years the Government has committed over £2 billion to help bus operators upgrade their fleets, reduce pollution from a range of vehicles such as refuse trucks and fire engines through cutting edge technologies, and promote the development of clean alternative fuels such as powering taxis with liquid petroleum gas in Birmingham.

    In order to bring the UK into legal compliance and to reduce concentrations of nitrogen dioxide below 40 µg/m3 Clean Air Zones will be introduced in five cities. These Zones will reduce the pollution in city centres and encourage the replacement of old, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner vehicles. Similar zones in Germany and Denmark have been shown to improve air quality.

    These Zones will target air quality hot spots. Following scoping studies, which Government will provide funding for, Councils will consult on the details on these Zones.

    In Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby, these Zones will cover old diesel buses, coaches, taxis and lorries. Newer vehicles that meet the latest emissions standards will not need to pay and, under this Plan, no private car will have to pay. The local authorities will have to set charges at levels designed to reduce pollution, not to raise revenue (beyond recovering the costs of the scheme).

    Birmingham and Leeds will also discourage old polluting diesel vans and implement other measures including park and ride schemes, signage, changes in road layouts and provision of infrastructure for alternative fuels.

    Many companies have already started to update their fleets to modern, cleaner vehicles. For example, by 2017 British Gas will have replaced at least 10% of their commercial fleet with electric vehicles, reducing emissions compared to their old diesel vans. The new electric vans also represent a saving over their diesel counterparts. In London the cost savings could be as high as 20%, with other locations saving between 6-10%.

    The Environment Agency, winner of Green Fleet of the Year 2015, has committed to increase the number of ultra-low emission vehicles to more than 100 by the end of 2015.

    Another example of businesses modernising their fleet is Reading Buses - 38% of their fleet are ‘ultra-clean’ drastically reducing their emissions. Drivers are also given advice on fuel efficient eco-driving techniques.

    One of the main reasons our cities continue to face air quality problems is the failure of diesel vehicles to deliver expected emission reductions in real world driving conditions. We have recently secured agreement in the EU to introduce more stringent emissions testing across the EU, ensuring that vehicles live up to their low emission credentials. Our Plans fully factor in current car performance and future performance standards following this agreement.

    The Mayor of London has a well-developed strategy for improving air quality by 2025, including the implementation of an ultra-low emission zone by 2020, retro-fitting of buses and licensing new taxis to be zero emission capable from 2018. We will continue to support and monitor the delivery of the Mayor’s plans.


    A year like no other by AndyCabb

    2015, a year unprecedented in Taxi trade politics.


    I would like to share my experiences of the last year, my thoughts and how the situation we all find ourselves in has affected me.

    I’d like to start in July, when I attended Parliament along with many other drivers for a lobby of Parliament organised by the RMT. This was to launch an Early Day Motion calling for a statutory definition of plying for hire. This was well supported by all the other trade orgs, who all spoke up in favour of this. 


    It seems to me though that this EDM is now dead in the water and that the chances of getting ‘plying for hire’ defined in law is at best unlikely. 

    I think this is a huge shame as if this was defined properly and covered all modern technologies and was future proofed to protect the principle, then clear boundaries that have been allowed to become blurred, would exist between Taxis and Private Hire. I have not heard one reason why this is not a good idea.

    The one thing about this meeting that really stood out for me was one gentleman who stood up and implored us to get out and lobby lobby lobby our MP’s. 

    For me this was something that inspired me to do just that. I didn’t want to do this individually though I felt that if I could gather enough drivers who lived in the same constituency as myself we could lobby collectively. More of this later.

    A few weeks later Unite held a meeting where Tom Watson, Val Shawcross and Sadiq Khan were to be present. Well it was an open meeting to anyone wanting to attend, so off I went once again. It was clear that Tom Watson is a man who doesn’t like injustices and sees our situation and realises things just aren’t right. 

    He spoke very well but the one phrase that stood out when he was talking about freedom of information and wishing to find out how far Uber have got their tentacles into British politics was that this process is ‘slow and laborious’. We should, in my opinion, support his efforts however long they take. We might not like the long game but my message would be ‘keep going please Tom’. 

    Sadiq Khan spoke broadly in support and said he understood our concerns and understood the issues, we’ll see. 

    Regarding the various demos I encountered overwhelming support from the public, (apart from a Mr Angry who took it upon himself to single me out) who seemed interested in why we were there and always wished us luck when we explained to them various issues. 


    I even managed to get my Cab parked right in the middle of Bank Junction and there was a great atmosphere. 

    What struck me was the complete lack of traffic noise, all that could be heard was chatter and the clip clopping of shoes and heels of people walking by, occasionally interspersed by the "Drumslayer" masterfully beating out bass and rhythm.  

    I had a lovely chat at the 30 minute demo with the policeman that was handing me the notice about section 12. He said he hoped we got what we wanted and it just wasn’t right what was being done to us, we shook hands. It’s not the police on the ground who are our enemy.


    One of the most uplifting things to come out of the year was the formation of the Save Taxi group. 

    These ladies are a true credit to our trade and deserve all of our thanks. The family demo at Victoria Street almost had me in tears such was the emotion I felt at this solidarity. Illness kept me away from Downing Street, more of that later.
     
    Wednesday 16th September, Mayors question time. The day we became luddites. 


    Up bright and early (at least for me) a hop on the train, it’s incredible how so many are engrossed in their phones during the morning commute, and a meet with my friend Garry outside Fenchurch Street and a swift walk across Tower Bridge to City Hall. Illness wasn’t keeping me away this day. 

    Fortunately we were early enough to gain entry. Johnson, Luddites, disquiet, suspension, pandemonium. 


    The Tories walked, all of the other assembly members, to their credit, remained. So did we. These people who were to be removed stayed put. Eventually we had to leave, nothing more was to be gained.

    Outside was an atmosphere, though heated I did not feel it was aggressive. Sean Day (not someone I know personally but it’s hard to ignore him) gave a wonderful impromptu speech boomed from his megaphone, demanding amongst other things that the responsibility for regulating Taxi and Private Hire be taken away from TFL and returned to the Metropolitan Police. We applauded.

    What happened next was incredible. I had lost contact with Garry and had been happily chatting with a few friends and acquaintances when suddenly a drum started beating (the Drumslayer) and an impromptu call went up to walk towards London Bridge. I followed. 


    This turned into a 4 or was it a 5 hour march across London in the pouring rain, I was glad of my umbrella, especially being unwell, others were less fortunate and got absolutely drenched. Apparently there were about 600 of us. We marched over London Bridge through the City stopping at Peterborough Court (yes them) along Fleet Street the Strand and down Whitehall stopping at Downing Street (yes him at 10 and him at 11).


    We stopped at Parliament Square then carried on along Victoria Street up to Windsor House, where we naturally stopped for a while. We headed back on ourselves following much the same route in reverse stopping at much the same places as we already had until we reached Ludgate Circus where we turned right crossing Blackfriars Bridge on our way to Palestra, where rather comically some delightfully bolshie schoolboys joined in with the protestations. Here it all ended and we dispersed.

    Along the way I chatted with many and bumped into a few friends as well. While using the toilets at Westminster I was mistaken, by a friend of mine, for an old tramp while drying my hands (thanks Paul) though due to the nature of my illness my face was somewhat distorted and for the only time in my life I was sporting a rather scruffy beard which I had grown for ‘medicinal reasons’!!! He honestly thought I was a tramp and had to do a double take.

    My only regret about this march was the abuse some of our colleagues received along the way. I had no idea about this march and I was on it, so I’m prepared to accept that neither did anyone else. Sure it was world taxi demo day but no org at all had organised anything, and the march took place after Mayors question time, with a vague suggestion of a drive in at 2pm at Westminster. 

    Back outside City Hall Grant Davis had given a speech which I had missed. However this leads me onto the Class Action being proposed against TFL. This could be magnificent, we haven’t heard much about this in recent weeks but I really hope this gets off the ground. There is nothing I would like more than to see TFL officials (we all know which ones) squirming in the witness box. They are slippery though, like eels, so this action won’t be easy. However I am rock solid behind this.

    After the RMT meeting at Parliament I managed, mainly through social media, to cobble together a few drivers in my local area. This led to a few more drivers getting involved and eventually we grew to around 25. We finally secured a meeting with our MP at Portcullis House at the beginning of November. My friend Garry and myself represented our group and met with our MP. 

    The initial reason for forming this group was to get our MP’s signature onto the Early day Motion, and I wish I  could report that we had been successful in that aim. However she stated that along with many of her colleagues she doesn’t get involved with EDM’s. However she was sympathetic to our concerns but did not support some of the proposals being put forward by TFL in the recent consultation. 

    The five minute wait and fleet insurance she did not agree with. She did agree that a cap on private hire numbers was needed and apparently a figure of 60,000 has been suggested. She also agreed that enforcement was not good enough. She stated that she would write to TFL, Zac Goldsmith and the secretary of state regarding these matters. The meeting lasted 90 minutes, and you may like to know that our MP is Jackie Doyle-Price and our constituency is Thurrock. 

    Putting this together was not easy and I’m delighted we managed to pull this off even though we were not as successful as we would like to have been.

    This year, like many others, I have filled in more consultations and signed more petitions than ever before. I do believe we have support and I do believe our message is getting through. But, and it’s a big but, the people in power are shafting us and somehow we must expose this. 

    Our organisations are under immense pressure but they have to find a way to obtain the evidence that’s needed even if it means dirty tactics. As an ordinary working driver all I can do is support everything they are trying and I do.
     
    I finally signed up to Twitter this year (@andycabb66). I try not to get embroiled in arguments on there but I have had one or two discussions. It’s a strange place and I must admit I’m a little bit hooked and I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but I do enjoy making the odd comment here and there and asking ‘Dan’ the odd awkward question which never gets an answer. It would be easier to mine for oil on Jupiter.

    The issues we are facing are affecting us all in different ways. I mentioned earlier that my health has been affected, and I only mention this because I have had two very nasty stress related illnesses that left me needing hospital treatment. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out where the stress originates from. It’s blasted at all of us from Victoria Street via City hall and Downing Street. 

    Maybe I have involved myself too much in everything that’s going on but I can’t sit back and just let them kick me in the teeth. I am just a foot soldier if you like and I will support anything I can that will help our trade. Our enemy is TFL and I feel they are willingly allowing themselves to be used by Uber to hasten our demise. Make no mistake Uber are playing them like a fiddle.

    I have one New Year’s resolution and that is to attend the LTDA branch meetings, I shall keep my counsel about the LTDA as I have tried to write this piece without favour or prejudice to anyone in our trade.

    After a much needed week off I will venture back out onto London’s ghost like streets searching down dark alleys for early January scraps. But I have been left infuriated this evening after listening to Mr Leon Daniels on BBC Radio London, so much so I felt compelled to write to him personally. 


    The letter is below.
    Be Lucky everyone here’s to 2016 the year our fight continues with zest,

    AndyCabb

    Listen to Leon the on Eddie Nestor's drive time show earlier this week:  >Click Here<

    Dear Mr Daniels,
    Having just listened to your performance on The Eddie Nestor show this evening I feel compelled to write to you to correct the amazing misrepresentation within the answers you gave in regards to London’s Taxi Trade.
     
    Firstly your statement that the amount of private hire vehicles within the central area is small is a complete fallacy. As things stand currently 1 in 10 vehicles inside the congestion zone is a private hire vehicle. 5 years ago this figure was 1 in 100. You must agree 1 in 10 is not a small amount. I would like your comments on this please.
     
    In regards to your being legally obliged to licence any person as a private hire driver who meets your criteria, I believe it is an abdication of your responsibility in keeping congestion on London’s roads to the minimum possible by licensing upwards of 600 new drivers every week. 

    Yes you are the regulator so this is your responsibility. I beseech you to find a way to stop this as waiting for primary legislation is taking far too long. I can only assume you are prioritising income over all other issues. I would like your comments regarding these points please.
     
    Your claim that licensing criteria for Taxi Drivers and Private Hire Drivers being very similar hides one very important point. Anyone who has just entered the UK is able to apply for a PH licence as long as they have a letter of good conduct from their embassy. This is because they are unable to be checked by the DBS system as they do not have records that go back three years. 
    I would like to ask you if you think this is acceptable?

    Just on a matter of public safety it cannot be acceptable, you surely don’t need me to spell out why. 

    Again as regulator you are responsible for hundreds of drivers who have been licensed in this way with minimal checks (one is too many). You as regulator bear responsibility for this and you should stop this practice now. So please tell me whether you feel it is responsible to continue licensing drivers who are un-checked.
     
    You also claimed that during busy periods in the West End it’s impossible to find a Licensed Taxi. This is ridiculous. I can only assume you are trying to justify in some way the huge number of private hire licenses you have issued in the last two years. 

    I can tell you that I have been a licensed Taxi driver for over 20 years and I work during the times that you might call ‘busy periods’ and it’s fair to say that there are so many yellow lights that it feels like Blackpool illuminations. Your licensing policy has completely saturated the market place to such an extent that finding a licensed taxi in London has never been easier. I would welcome your comments about this also.
     
    On a further note this job that I love has become almost intolerable in the last 18 months and I put the blame for this solely at your door Mr Daniels. On a personal note it has affected me so badly that during the last year I have suffered physically from stress related illnesses that has seen me referred to hospital for treatment. I know there are 25,000 others feeling the effects of your policies also.
     
    Yours sincerely,
     
     
     
     
     

    Thursday, January 07, 2016

    A Level Playing Field!...Be Careful What You Wish For.

    IS THIS THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME?

    Local private hire drivers in Belfast are set to sit down with the Environment Committee at Stormont today (Thursday) to state their case as they call for political support for proposals to reshape the taxi industry.

    In Belfast both Private hire and Public Taxis are referred to as Taxis.

    Public and private hire Taxis currently operate under different rules, public and private hire, determined by the colour of their licensing plates, but the Department of the Environment wants to bring them all into line to operate under one new licence.

    Under the plans in the Taxi Act, customers would for the first time be able to hail any taxi from the side of the road, ending the need to pre-book the private hire cars as all taxis would run under a reformed single-tier licensing system.

    Drivers from outside Belfast would also be able to come into the city centre and work, meaning an increase in the number of vehicles available at peak times.

    The plans were due to be implemented several times in recent years but have seen delay after delay. Sinn Féin and the DUP expressed concern at the impact on public taxi drivers, which has seen the proposal stall at Stormont.

    Private hire drivers, including Belfast man Robert Mateer, have been working hard behind the scenes in recent months to try and secure political support for the proposals and today they get to meet the committee that will decide on the issue.

    Robert, a PH driver with Peter Pan Taxis on the Springfield Road, said he can’t understand why anyone would oppose the plans and he hopes to change the mind of those who have concerns about the proposals when he sits down with the MLAs today.

    “We are delighted with the opportunity to meet with the committee for 15 minutes and state our case,” he said.

    “All we want is a level playing field, equality, these restrictions benefit nobody and the proposals would provide more choice.

    “We are ordinary working class people trying to make a living, we are a threat to nobody, not public taxis or anyone else. I hope the DUP and Sinn Féin support the workers on this as it is simply an issue of equality.

    Wednesday, January 06, 2016

    A Sprint Along The Milbank's Cycle Super Highway....by Jim Thomas

    So, you honestly thought these cycle lanes were introduced for safety reasons...Well, Think Again!
    Speeding cyclists are putting pedestrians and other road users at risk in Central London. 


    Just do a quick search on Google for “Strava”, the name of just one of several GPS based performance monitoring apps and then a road name.

    For example, “Strava segment Millbank” (below) reveals a map, giving a start and finish point. 


    Onsite statistics show there have been some 278,240 attempts to compete, by 34,638 different cyclists, along this section of Embankment. 

    The site gives league tables of the fastest male and female rides on most roads around the capital. 

    Below is the leader board for the Essex Road N1section part 2, currently a 20mph road. As you can see, the speeds recorded along this rout exceed 33 mph.

    Many people enjoy cycling in London, but competitive urban road racing is highly dangerous. It's hardly surprising pedestrians and motorists are worried about these lycra clad racers. 

    And this is just one of many such apps.

    Virtually every road of interest to cyclists now has a "Segment", enabling competitive racing to take place at any time.

    Every day, thousands of cyclists are using this app to race each other or record personal bests, not just on roads, but also on paths, paved areas and off road tracks, with complete disregard for others.

       

    Notice that the cyclist is traveling too fast to be overtaken by other vehicles sticking to the speed limit on this stretch between Vauxhall and Lambeth Bridges.

    By the time the rider slowed down, to negotiate the round-about, he had reached a speed of 32 mph.

       

    "Cycle lanes, nah! don't do them pal....London Bridge 20mph...don't make me laugh!"

    Tuesday, January 05, 2016

    Two Females, Thrown Out Of Uber Car In London- For Kissing


    A London Uber driver has been suspended after allegedly throwing a lesbian couple out of his car for kissing.

    The minicab firm confirmed it had contacted the woman after she posted on social media and banned the driver from taking jobs while it looked into the allegations.

    On Monday night the woman, who asked not to be named, tweeted: “Disgusting aggressive driver said he ‘did not allow’ my girlfriend and I to kiss in the back of his car and then proceeded to pull his car over and ask us to get out when we refused to comply.

    “When told we would report him, he didn’t seem in the least bit bothered so please do advise how you would deal with this,” she asked Uber’s support team.

    In a statement, Uber insisted-even though it has a reputation for this type of behaviour-“ we celebrate diversity and do not tolerate any form of discrimination whatsoever”.

    A spokesman said: “We have been in contact with this rider to offer our full support and find out exactly what happened.”

    Last year two gay couples made a complaint after being kicked out of their Uber car onto the capital’s streets for public displays of affection.

    In January Corey Watts and Jordan Sloat said they were asked to leave an Uber car near Covent Garden after “kissing”.

    Later in the year, Sam Simons, 36, claimed he and friend Santiago Figeuroa were booted out of a car after sharing a “peck on the lips”.

    Uber pledged to investigate both these incidents and said it had suspended the drivers in each case, but was not immediately able to confirm the long-term outcome of either investigation when asked on earlier today.

       UBER: into the future with new technology?

                  Or, regressing to a bygone age!

    Important message to all GETT drivers....from Glen Alutto


    Around 5 weeks ago the format of your statements changed (first one 30th november).

    You had the summary on the first sheet and details of your jobs on the 2nd sheet.

    The difference was on the second page when they added the column showing your fees paid for each job, i.e. 10 % max £4.00. 

    If anyone did an invite to Gett from that change, you will see on the first page (summary) the invite to Gett are shown as free, but if you then look at the 2nd page you will see for all invites you're actually charged the fee.

    Although its slightly complicated if you add up all the fees and compare with the total fees deducted you have been charged for ALL invites to Gett.

    I first noticed this before christmas, and worked out that for 20 invites I had been charged £56.02 in fees! 

    Several e mails from the 23rd December up until today, have now resulted in the head of driver services admitting this is an error in the system and have refunded me. 

    However, Gett have not told me that they will inform every driver of their accounting errors, so all drivers please check your statements and make a claim to Gett for the overcharging on Invite to Gett jobs.

    Uber's New Year's Greedfest Sees Tens Of Thousands Deleting The App.


    Uber's rapidly expanding its ride-hailing operations across the globe seems to have hit a major hurdle.

    But here in Frankfurt's city of 690,000 citizens, slightly less than the population of Uber's hometown of San Francisco, the company recently did something unusual: It retreated.

    In early November, Uber shut down its small office in Frankfurt’s centuries-old city centre, after just 18 months of operation. Mothballing the online platform that had let people hail rides through a smartphone app. 

    The pullback was spurred in part by drivers like Hasan Kurt, the owner of a local cab business, who had refused to work with the American service.

    With more than 20 years of experience as an operator, Mr. Kurt said he disliked how Uber barreled into Frankfurt in early 2014, using primarily unlicensed drivers who had not passed the same exams and health checks required of licensed drivers. That low-cost service, UberPop, which is similar to UberX in London, faced legal challenges and was eventually outlawed by German regulators last March.

    Uber then tried to recruit licensed Taxi operators like Mr. Kurt to build its service within the letter of the law. But Mr. Kurt would not budge.

    "It's not part of the German culture to do something like what Uber did," said the bespectacled 45-year-old over, a cup of tea during a break in his busy holiday schedule. "We don't like it, the government doesn't like it, and our customers don't like it."

    Uber's withdrawal from Frankfurt is just one of a multitude of retreats by the company across Europe in recent months.

    In November, the ride-hailing service also pulled out of Hamburg and Düsseldorf after less than two years of operating in each of those German cities.

    Also, in Amsterdam, Uber recently stopped offering UberPop. 

    New Year's Greed

    Over the weekend, the company has been subjected to a deluge of criticism and complaint as reports of price surges up to as much as x8.9 were recorded during the New Years Eve celebrations. 

    In Perth, Western Australia, one customer complained he was charged $480 for a 50klm journey usually costing less than $55. 

    In Sydney, Uber Surge Pricing: Department of Fair Trading is dealing with a number of complaints. 

    MORE: http://yhoo.it/1Z06Q48 

    In London, there were reports of Uber customers deleting the app in their thousands. Many of these taking up the black Taxi app, Hailo. 

    In Los Angeles: The first time ever I took an Uber it was just under $5 to get me 15 miles from Malibu to Santa Monica. Awesome. The second time it was $12 each way back and forth to Beverly Hills. Great.

    Going to dinner at 10:30pm on New Year's Eve I took an Uber to Beverly Hills and due to a surge it cost $18. Reasonable. At 12:30 when I pressed the button for Uber Pool (share the car with another passenger) I noticed the inconspicuous "Estimated Charge" icon and tapped it: $70 popped up. I cancelled the Uber and ordered a Lyft shared ride for $45. That was the good news; the bad news was that the screen read "Your driver is 4 minutes away" for the next 35 minutes. At 1:15am I managed to flag down a taxi that got me home for $41 plus tip. Cancelled the Lyft.  Priceless. 

    Monday, January 04, 2016

    Councillor says 10 minute parking 'grace' at St Pancras puts public in danger and is causing chaos...by Jim Thomas.


    Back in August 2015, Councillor Sian Berry supported the United Cabbies Group's call on Camden Council to use terrorism clauses in legislation to enforce its two minute waiting period restriction for drop-offs at St Pancras station. 



    In a dossier submitted to the council, Cllr Berry included photographic evidence from black cab drivers showing the restricted bays on Pancras Road filled throughout the day with mini cabs waiting for 'e-hails' from apps such as Uber. 

    In the wake of what's recently been happening in Paris and Brussels and the current security alert pointing to an imminent terrorist attack, you would have thought Camden Council, in league with the British Transport Police would be on the case with this abuse of the parking regulations outside one of the biggest international terminus in Europe. 


    Let's not forget what happened outside Tiger Tiger. Terrorists left two car bombs in plain sight parked alongside illegally ranking minicab touts. Luckily enough, the bombs failed to ignite, yet within days, the touts were back outside the night venue and the authorities went back to turning a blind eye.

    Unfortunately, it looks like it will take an atrocity on an epic scale to wake these people up.

    How long before terrorists recognise the fact that at present, they can park a Prius full of explosives, on any Taxi rank in London