Friday, January 15, 2016

Minicab driver targeted in horrific attack, ambushed in Plumstead by waiting gang members.

A minicab driver was sent on a back-and-forth journey through south London before being ambushed by a gang of thugs assembled by his passenger. 

Police said the driver and the passenger became embroiled in a series of arguments during the bizarre journey on December 12. 

Having been driven through south-east London for almost an hour, the customer asked to be returned to the original pick-up point of Invermore Place, close to the garages near Walmer Terrace.

On the way there the passenger made a call, and the driver heard him asked the person on the other end of the line to meet him at the garages.

As the cab arrived at its destination the driver noticed five men waiting in the area.

He was then dragged from his silver Skoda and brutally assaulted, leaving him with head and hand injuries. 

The attackers are then said to have made off with £30 they stole from his car. 

Graphic footage of the assault was later uploaded to social media after the incident was filmed on a mobile phone. 

Police today issued an appeal to trace a man in his 20s in connection with the incident.

The suspect is a slim black man, with a beard, who spoke with an African accent, police said.

Detective Constable Danny Banks, from Greenwich CID, said: "We want to urgently speak with anyone who saw this vicious robbery and assault, or who is aware of this incident and can assist with our ongoing investigation."

Anyone with information should contact police via 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Calls to Crimestoppers are free.

Plan for London's first underground hotel rejected

Plans for London’s first underground hotel, 50ft below the surface with windowless rooms, have been rejected by councillors who warned it would be a “minus-five star” destination.

Criterion Capital applied to convert a below-ground NCP car park in Bloomsbury into a 166-room Tokyo-style “pod hotel”.

The LDN hotel would be artificially lit and have no restaurant and bar. It would be on the fourth and fifth floors beneath a commercial block in Great Russell Street, near Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

It was touted as budget accommodation for tourists and business travellers. But Camden council turned down the scheme last night.

Councillor Stephen Stark said: “With no windows in the rooms, it’s not a zero-star rating for the hotel but probably minus five stars.”

Colleague Adam Harrison said: “We need to ensure it’s safe staying five storeys underground in a part of London with some of the worst air quality in Europe.”

Criterion argued it would “have much benefit to the area and create 24 jobs”.

Source: Evening Standard.

ITS NOT JUST AT HEATHROW : Uber drivers upsetting villagers near Stansted Airport.

Lack of parking restrictions in a village just one mile from Stansted airport where residential streets are being used as waiting areas for minicabs is causing anger and frustration for those who live there.

Residents in Takeley are finding their streets lined with minicabs, lately many of them the new Uber cars, waiting for callouts to the airport.

And with no residential parking restrictions in place save for one hour between 10am and 11am each day, they feel they have “no leg to stand on”.

Paige-Elizabeth Reed, whose mother lives in the village, said: “The parking is getting so bad, with Uber drivers sitting outside the residents’ houses for hours.”

But North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP), which has responsibility for parking in the Uttlesford District, says it is aware of the problem and is doing what it can to “enforce the area”.

A spokesperson said: “The problem extends to the clearway on Parsonage Road and Stansted Courtyard. Restrictions limiting parking to a specific one hour period are usually put in place to prevent commuters from all-day parking.

“Residents concerned about these licensed minicabs parking in the area should report their concerns to their Local Authority, in this case Uttlesford District Council which is the licensing authority.”

When asked about the licensing in the area, UDC replied: “UDC: “We do license taxis in the district, BUT, THESE UBER CARS ARE OFTEN PHVs LICENSED BY TfL IN LONDON, and they wait around near the airport for jobs to come in via the app.

“Obviously if there are no restrictions, they do have the right to park, even if it is inconsiderate of resident’s needs.”

NEPP says it considers the potential benefits and impacts of many parking or waiting restriction requests from across north Essex, and would gladly do so in this instance.

However, it does stipulate that applications for parking or waiting restrictions must be able to demonstrate clear support, including from the local ward councillor.

“Each request is reviewed and scored, looking at key factors including the level of local support, potential benefits and impacts,” said the spokesperson.

“Schemes are then referred to the Partnership’s Committee to prioritise and agree which will be progressed.”

Ms Reed says that restrictions must be looked at more closely and as a matter of priority, as currently residents feel powerless to take action.

“We have no leg to stand on. This needs to be sorted because it’s getting beyond a joke,” she said.

“1 mile from the airport and there’s people sat for hours just waiting and waiting. It has to and needs to stop. Make it permits only so residents can park easily with no hassle.”

Parish clerk Jane Heskey said the problem had arisen in the past few weeks.

She went on to say: “There is an average of 40 to 50 minicab cars waiting around the village. 

There is a real problem with litter and there are no toilet facilities in their cars so there is also the obvious issue with bottles of urine and plastic bags full of human feces being discarded.” 

She urged residents to record registration plates and take pictures of the cars so they could be checked out.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

LTDA, seek judicial review of cycle superhighway

Mayor Boris Johnson's plan for cycle superhighway linking east and west London does not have planning permission, taxi drivers told a court.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association is seeking a judicial review of the £47m Westbourne Grove to Tower Hill route, via the Victoria Embankment.

The lanes will take up space causing disruption, the High Court heard.

Transport for London (TfL) said the plan was "works of improvement" and did not need planning permission.

The two-lane cycle way across the city is set to finish in the next few months.

Steve McNamara, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association's (LTDA) general secretary, has described the scheme as Mr Johnson's "last hurrah" before leaving office in May.

Project rethink

The LTDA is asking Mrs Justice Patterson to grant a judicial review of the decision, which could force a rethink of the project.

Mark Lowe QC, for the LTDA, said construction started last April without planning permission or an environmental impact assessment (EIA) as required by the EU EIA Directive.

He urged the judge to class the project as a "development" as defined under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which was not exempt from the need for permission, more so as it was could create "significant adverse environmental effects".

Howard Carter, general counsel at TfL, said "the east-west cycle superhighway will make London's roads safer for all, particularly cyclists".

Timothy Straker QC, appearing for the organisation, said the LTDA's objective was plainly "the cessation of further works, if not the dismantling of the work already carried out".

He said such a move would cause "considerable and unjust inconvenience" to the project. 

The hearing continues and is expected to take two days

Source : BBC news

The Rise In London Private Hire Driver Numbers, Is Increasing Journey Times By 10%

An increase in the number of minicabs in London has lengthened journey times by an average of 10% over the past 12 months, according to research from Addison Lee.

According to the private hire car firm, the number of new entrants to the market has increased by 56% over the past two years. Much of the growth is down to the success of Uber, the ride-hailing app, which has gone from zero to more than 20,000 private hire cars in just three years.

There are nearly 95,000 licensed private hire drivers in London in total, and estimates suggest the figure will rise to 148,000 in the next two years.

Addison Lee’s chief executive, Andy Boland, says: “Our drivers and passengers have been telling us that London congestion has been getting worse and that journeys are taking longer. Now we have the evidence. At busy times, some parts of the capital are literally grinding to a halt.”

There has been growing pressure on politicians in recent months to impose restrictions on the number of minicabs in the capital, both because of congestion and pollution, but Andrew Jones, under minister at the DoT, said earlier this week that the government would not do so.

The growing number of minicabs in the capital persuaded the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to say last May: 

“We must be able to take action against the threat posed by the massive increase we are seeing in the number of private hire vehicles.”

For Boland, too, there are too many drivers. “Congestion and slower journey times are huge issues for London drivers,” he said.

Source :


Letter From LTDA Member : Re Camden's Tottenham Court Road Taxi Exclusion

A document from Camden's Lawyers' to the LTDA re: Tottenham Court Road taxi exclusion, made grave reading. 

Camden did consider the inclusion of taxis in their redevelopment scheme, but research data showed taxis as the main cause of serious accidents in the area. When the findings were challenged, Camden produced evidence that they had exhausted all avenues and could not locate data that identified taxis from PH. 

So, as of now, we are considered the most dangerous vehicle on the road- because of THEM! 
Whether Camden wanted us or not isn't relevant, at least let us know the real reason

I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Years of TFL blurring the boundaries between taxis and PH; actively recruiting staff to big up so called similarities (as opposed to highlighting differences) has left the trade wide open to assault. 

We remain the only legitimate alternative to the minicab swamp that swills around us, and the public NEED to know that there is an option. 

First and foremost, we should to be recognised by officialdom for what we are, and that is;

Editorial Comment :
So, for all the councillors, planners and consultants involved with and on behalf of Camden Borough Council.

This is a highly regulated, extremely safe, fully wheelchair accessible Licensed London Taxi....

                              And these are not.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Definitive Answer From The Department Of Transport Under Secretary On PH Number Cap.

Tom Brake, Shadow LD Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Shadow LD Leader of the House of Commons

Asked the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a cap on the number of private hirevehicles operating in London

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Replied, "this Government does not intend to amend primary legislation to allow the number of private hire vehicles licensed in London or elsewhere to be restricted".


 New Taxi Rank Markings In Wardour Street.

Last night, rank markings were repainted outside the old Floridita bar/restaurant, in preparation for its reopening as "100 Wardour Street".

The rank markings are clear enough for us to easily move off any tout chancers. 
In addition, local wardens have agreed to ticket any vehicle other than a Taxi, seen parked or waiting at this site. 

Great team work again on behalf of the trade, by members of the Mayfair Mob, who have been working hard behind the scenes with both TfL and the council to complete this project well ahead of schedule.

Please do not use this rank as free parking as it will be a working rank and is expected to be as busy as Novikov's in Berkeley Street. 

If you see touts, parked up on our ranks, move them on and give it ten minutes. If there's touts there, then there's work there. 

Other triumphs for the Mayfair Mob, were Hakkasan and Forge, both have proved to be great assets in our fight to take the work back off the touts.

More ranks are currently under negotiation, and when announced, we will need your help to keep them stocked with Taxis. If people see an orange light, they will use us.

Now the ball is in your court, use 'em or lose 'em.

Liquefied petroleum gas can help solve London's air quality crisis

Calor Gas' Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs Paul Blacklock, writes that London cabs switching to LPG could significantly improve London's air quality and calls on London Mayoral candidates to embrace this option. 

The news that the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) hourly legal limit for all of 2016 was breached just eight days into the year is the reason I spoke to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, last week during his LBC phone-in about his plans to clean up London’s transport.

London’s air quality is the biggest environmental threat facing the city this year. And it is an issue that will be central to the forthcoming Mayoral election.  

Transport for London have already done a lot of work on providing solutions for this issue - not least the introduction of hybrid electric taxis from 2018 which are an essential aspect to improving the quality of our air. But they are not the only solution and at an estimated £60k, could prove to be too expensive for many drivers.

Currently London’s cabbies can convert their polluting diesel taxis to LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) in return for a five year extension to their operating licence. 

TfL has indicated that the incentives for these conversions may stop in the near future, just as London’s air quality is reaching critical levels. 

A properly deployed plan to convert targeted sections of London’s taxi fleet to LPG will help clean up London more quickly and save cabbies’ money in the long run.

To help manage the immediate air quality crisis, there is a strong argument for TfL to extend their existing policy throughout 2016 and 2017 - allowing black cabs to convert to Euro 6 LPG autogas engines in return for a five year extension to their licence. All the emissions research points to immediate huge reductions in Nitrogen Dioxide and other harmful emissions, allowing TfL to deliver improved air quality over the next two years, before the implementation of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2018.

From 2018, politicians, policy makers and the industry will be encouraging black cabs to take advantage of TfL’s subsidy to convert to hybrid electric vehicles.

But the brutal reality is the subsidy for electric cabs will not cover all of the existing fleet, leaving a large number of cabbies to fully fund the electric solution themselves. 

And as things stand, TfL’s current plans mean that without the LPG conversion option many taxis will be allowed to continue running on diesel well beyond 2020.

Cabbies are working in an ever more competitive post-Uber market and many will feel they can no longer afford to continue working. 

In order to maintain the number of black cabs post 2018, TfL should also offer cabbies additional, more affordable options such as LPG to supplement the 9000+ electric cabs.

LPG is a much cleaner fuel than diesel and petrol and offers a solution which can be deployed now, without the need for subsidy, as cabbies will get a payback on their £8000 investment within 2 years - meaning cleaner air for London, in a shorter timeframe and for less money.

But separate from the reduction in emissions, London’s cabs will once again show the world they are leading the world in cleaner taxi technology, TfL will maintain fleet numbers, a competitive and fairer marketplace and also benefit from licence fee  income.

Other cities are already taking the lead.  The Labour controlled Birmingham City Council is supporting the conversion of its taxis from diesel to cleaner LPG, whilst in Japan, Toyota is launching its zero emission capable Black Cab, again on LPG, for just £16,000 from 2018.

It is easy for London to establish a way forward which would fully support the drive to hybrid electric taxis whilst at the same time drastically reducing the air quality emissions from the taxis remaining on London’s roads.

With London’s air quality being the biggest environmental risk for London this year these simple LPG solutions provide Boris an opportunity for a real environmental legacy for Londoners and for Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan the opportunity to be seen to be leading on improving London’s air quality.

Canadian PM Announces Bill To Ban Uber.

Newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking a stand against Uber.

An internet poll, commissioned by Satov Consultants, a Toronto-based researcher and business advisory company mentioned Uber have covered 30% more rides than dispatched Taxi cabs in the major Canadian and American cities where both can be used. 

Since the introduction of Uber in Canada, new polls have revealed people are 56% less likely to use traditional taxis, but more important, they are 21% less likely to use public transport. This has put hundreds of thousands of licensed taxi drivers out of work across North America.

Prime Minister Trudeau made an announcement late Saturday evening in a press conference that a bill will be passed through the House of Commons that will be putting a halt to the service, promising to protect the integrity and commitment of traditional licensed Taxi drivers.

Mark Satov, founder of Satov Consultants, said “Uber is currently doing to the traditional taxi model what Expedia did to travel agents and what Amazon did to the vast majority of bookstores. 

Uber has grown its market share faster than anything we’ve ever seen and completely destabilised incumbents.”

Traditional Licensed Taxi cab drivers everywhere from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, even Edmonton and Niagara Falls have caused major disruption by protesting against Uber, and are now demanding Trudeau put and end to the service.


                                Coming soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Letter To Editor : Uber Drivers Defecating In Residential Streets Around Heathrow.

I'm from Stanwell and before I start I just want to make it clear,  I have no interest in any war between Taxis and Private Hire.

This is purely about the parking, toileting, littering, abusive and physical intimidation, and so much more that is presently going on in Stanwell.

We the residents know why uber park here we aren't stupid. We also know they have no toilets or any other place to eat and such and we understand they are trying to make a living. However that does not make what they are doing right.

This weekend three news agency's ran story's of uber drivers acts in Stanwell, and yet just this morning I find myself chasing an uber driver from my garden.
Does nobody understand that bad press is a cancer for a company and yet the cancer is being caused by their own drivers.

Record these acts we are told, and what happens, drivers slap the phone out of your hand.
Do you think calling the police helps, the drivers just speed off.

We the residents can't just sit back and allow this to happen to us, my wife and child have had to experience so much and my dog has eaten God knows what. When you have 40 or more uber drivers in one street what does logic tell you is going to happen? 
Not a normal person in the world would say any of the above is right....

Last week an uber guy was defficating in my bush and another driver was going crazy at him. On Friday, I threw a guy from my garden and suddenly I was surrounded by 8 drivers, fortunately for me two passing drivers came and stood up for me with two more residents of course 5 against 8 is not as good as odds as 8 against 1, so the Uber guys backed down and drove off.

These are just a few examples for you, but what will happen if this keeps up? TFL will have to act as a lot of these things are crimes, people will not use uber because of what they read on the Internet and they will wonder what kind of driver they will get, and drivers will be more stressed because of the constant war with residents.

People need to wise up, as to what's going on!
If you need the toilets go to Tesco its 24hours as are three petrol stations within 2 miles not to mention the Mc Donald's restaurant.

Uber have told us they will adjust their app map so no pings will work in Stanwell. God knows why the police and Uber's licensing authority (TfL) are allowing this God only knows.

I think the vast majority of uber drivers just don't care about anything but themselves. The only thing that brings a smile to my face is when I see somebody sat there for three hours before they get a job, I wonder to myself how much money can be made like that if any.....

I reckon my house has dropped 10 grand in price because it's currently being used as a toilet.

Anyway as always, I'll look foreword to another several battles when I get home tonight and my wife can look forward to picking up shit and washing the garden so our child and dog can play in it.

Stanwell resident. 

Editorial Comment:
It must be terrible to have to go through this every day and night. We know the police and TfL are turning a blind eye to what's happening with these parked up Uber cars around Heathrow. 

However, this whole situation is being staged to gain as much bad publicity as possible. As you say, this was all over the media at the weekend and surprisingly, carried by outlets who normally won't have a bad word said about Uber.

It's being stage managed in a bid to embarrass the airport authority to provide Uber with similar facilities to the Taxi trade...feeder park, canteen and toilet amenities.

Going on the way TfL and Surrey police have shown no desire to go up against this multi-billion dollar company in the past, they are gambling that they will get away with this, coming up against little or no resistance.

To be honest, I don't think you will have to put up with this much longer, as I have recently received an email from a very good source, informing me that Uber are meeting with the airport authority regarding a bookings desk to be set up in Terminal3, along the line of the ones we saw last year at music festivals. A feeder park and facilities will soon follow.

My Taxi Trade Frances Luczyc Wyhowska

It is eighteen months since I took my first tentative steps into the world of the black cab trade:  I made a call to Nick Ferrari on LBC in support of the 2014 taxi demo.  Little did I know what the next year and a half would hold in store for me.
During these intervening months I have tried to campaign for the trade in any way that I can, whether that is by writing articles in the trade press, hassling MPs and councils, turning up to demos or handing out leaflets on ranks.  I have observed personally the duplicity of politicians at all levels, the ineptitude of the so-called regulators at TfL and the crass behaviour of the media when it falls prey to the power of cash-rich lobbyists and vested interests.
But it is not all doom and gloom.  
I have been astonished by the determination and resilience of the London black cab drivers.  They, after all, are the people who are at the coalface and see day to day exactly what is going on.  They are the people who justifiably guard their Green Badge achievement jealously against the infidels’ attacks.  They are the people who take such care with the disabled, mothers with small children, the military and the elderly.
And this is not the half of it.  Drivers have realized through the outstanding example of the Mayfair Mob that they can empower themselves to fight back and keep their position as the world’s gold standard.  They can and do embrace new technology and have adapted it to their world rather than letting the trade be subservient to the technology itself.  New apps, Twitter, smartphones, credit cards:  all these devices can be made to boost, rather than impair, the trade.
The other impressive discovery I have made is the extraordinary humanity of the drivers.  I have never before come across so many selflessly generous individuals.  I am proud to have become a Vice-President of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, and have seen at first hand the level of giving that epitomizes this trade.  Add to that all the work done through the Poppy Cabs, the Albany Taxi Charity among many others, and the collections for a wide variety of causes that take place on a regular basis at Heathrow.  All this takes place at a time when the trade has suffered some serious financial knocks.  This goes beyond duty – it is something precious and exceptional.
I am also very proud to have made some wonderful friends in the last eighteen months.  

Drivers often ask me why I have become involved.  The answer is simple:  it is the drivers themselves that have won my unswerving loyalty.  I truly hope that every one of you will have a better 2016.

Frances Luczyc Wyhowska

TPH Notice 02/16 - Lumiere London 2016.

                    Lumiere London 2016

The Lumiere London light festival will be taking place between Thursday 14 and Sunday 17 January 2016 this year. The event, which is expected to attract large crowds, will take place around the West End and King’s Cross which will mean some temporary road closures and temporary changes to access taxi ranks.

Road closures

To safely facilitate the event, a number of road closures will be in place to allow set-up and for the duration of the event as follows:

The following roads will be affected between Wednesday 6 January and Wednesday 20 January 2016: 

From Thursday 14 January until Sunday 17 January 2016, the following roads will be closed between 16:30 – 23:30:

Further road closures during the event may be required and will be kept under review.

During the event access for buses and taxis will be permitted:

• Along Oxford Street from Orchard Street

• Past the southbound closure of Regent Street, at the junction with

• Mortimer Street – after this buses will need to make a right turn into Margaret Street towards Cavendish Square

However, this will be monitored throughout the event and changes maybe made to this access if any issues occur.

Taxi ranks
The following taxi ranks will be available during the event:

Access to the above taxi ranks will be monitored throughout the event and changes maybe made if issues occur. 

Further Information

Further information about the event is available on TfL's website and on the event organiser’s website.

Helen Chapman 
General Manager

Monday, January 11, 2016

RMT Announce Strike Dates Over Tube Cuts And Night Tube

RMT announce new strike dates over tube cuts and Night Tube

RMT confirms programme of action on London Underground over pay, Night Tube and job cuts.

Tube union RMT today confirmed that its executive has agreed to a wide ranging programme of industrial action across London Underground grades in two separate disputes over pay and night tube and the plans to bulldoze through massive cuts to station staffing numbers early next month.

On pay and night tube ALL grades called out follows

  • Fleet grades not to book on for any shifts between 18.30 hours 26th January 2016 and 18.29 hours 27th January 2016. All other grades not to book on between 21.00 hours 26th January 2016 and 20.59 hours 27th January 2017
  • Fleet grades not to book on for any shifts between 18.30 hours 15th February 2016 and 18.29 hours 16th February 2016. All other grades not to book on between 21.00 hours 15th February 2016 and 20.59 hours 16th February 2017
  • Fleet grades not to book on for any shifts between 18.30 hours 17th February 2016 and 18.29 hours 18th February 2016. All other grades not to book on between 21.00 hours 17th February 2016 and 20.59 hours 18th February 2017

Every job matters /Fit for the future station job cuts programme

  • All station staff grades to take a week of action from the imposition of the rosters and new operating model on Sunday 7th February through to Saturday 13th February – the nature of that industrial action to be confirmed in due course.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT members are furious at the bodged introduction of the Mayor’s Night Tube plans and the fact that they have been tied in with a pay deal that has left our members dangling on a string and out of pocket since April last year. RMT supports the principle of a properly worked out Night Tube service introduced through agreement with the unions but the abject failure to work through the detail has led to a comprehensive breakdown in the negotiations and has forced us to name a programme of further industrial action. This whole situation could have been avoided if London Underground, under direction from the Mayor, had dealt with the Night Tube professionally from the off instead of resorting to ultimatums and imposition.

“RMT has fought for more jobs on the Underground to cope with the added pressures of Night Tube but those jobs must be within the framework of the existing tube operations and must offer career opportunities to the Underground’s existing staff, including existing drivers who may choose to take up the offer of reducing their hours.

“On the station staffing crisis it is absolutely crazy to be bulldozing through and imposing new rosters linked to the axing of over 800 safety-critical jobs from early next month when there is a heightened security status and when services are dangerously overcrowded across the network.  The current plans also rip up previous agreements to protect staff caught in the middle of this reorganisation. The station staff are the eyes and ears of the Underground and hacking back their numbers represents a lethal gamble with safety that RMT will continue to fight against.

“RMT remains available for talks in both disputes.”


The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said the union backed the planned 24-hour tube service in principle but blamed the mayor and London Underground for trying to force through the plans without agreeing the detail of operations and working conditions. Cash said his members had been “left dangling on a string and out of pocket since April last year”.

“This whole situation could have been avoided if London Underground, under direction from the mayor, had dealt with the night tube professionally from the off instead of resorting to ultimatums and imposition.”

Regarding station staffing, he said it was “absolutely crazy to be bulldozing through and imposing new rosters linked to the axing of over 800 safety-critical jobs from early next month when there is a heightened security status and when services are dangerously overcrowded across the network”.