Saturday, May 28, 2016

New PH Feeder Park At Heathrow : A letter to the editor, from Tom Scullion

HAL / BAA have fast tracked a feeder park to a company who do not comply with tfl's rules or regulations a company who have been exposed and expelled all around the World for non compliance with the regulations of the particular City, County or Country.

How will HAL implement this mini cab feeder park? 

Are the car park charges be in line with the Taxi feeder park ?

 I am also interested on the Civil aviation authority's views on allowing cars to operate at airports in the UK ? I am pretty sure it breaks their own rules.

According to a leading insurance brokerage company there are 183,000 PHV drivers in the UK who do not have the correct insurance are BAA going to allow PHV drivers a permit or RFID readers without checking that they are correctly insured to pick up HAL's passengers ?

This back door deal with Uber seems to me, to be rushed through without consultation with the taxi trade and all of the other stakeholders including the trusting passengers who use and work at Heathrow airport.

The minimum requirement for registration must be a full audit including identity checks with finger prints, CRB checks, fleet management controls for MOT,  vehicle maintenance records and Full hire and reward insurance displayed in the vehicle at all times.

Tfl and the Police should have inspectors working with HAL to have daily vehicle inspections to make sure the vehicle are road worthy and are interrogated  with ANPR systems on every terminal 24/7 including searches for rape kits.

Is it true that HAL signed off the uber mini cab feeder over three months ago without any dialogue with the Taxi trade and other stakeholders like the trusting public it would be interesting to review HAL's  detailed data on this invisible review.

Will other PHV companies like Addison Lee be allowed to use this VIP car park? 

If not why not?

All seems dark to me.....

The only trade organisation to pick up the baton is The UCG well done Guys.

I feel really sorry for the local residents around the Heathrow area who have been subjected to the plague of filthy  drivers and I agree something has to be done, but HAL's decision to reward bad behavior and to cosy  up to a company who has no control or responsibility for their drivers is outrageous, imagine the costs of refurbishing our old feeder park then hand it over to a PHV company who do not have the ability to pre booked a job, which is against tfl's rules is nonsensical.

Is HAL's secret agenda to allow uninsured unchecked private hire drivers to force the London Taxi trade out of the airport ?  

Recent reports claim there are only four Police enforcement officers at Heathrow and by contrast Gatwick have over 90 if HAL want a third runway they need to step up big time, here is another example of lawlessness the Hilton on T4 has an illegal Uber rank plying for hire, it's all got out of control.

Not a word from TfL's new enforcement officers who stand around Edgware Road traffic lights shooting the breeze what's that all about ?

When are they going to be employed at Heathrow airport?

The whole issue of E plying for hire must be addressed by  the government, MP's and the courts in great detail as this current Wild West do as you like minicabs free for all has to stop.

Be lucky 

Tom Scullion.


There is a UCG demo on 8th June, between 2pm and 4pm, Victoria Street and Windsor House.
It is a protest to highlight the corrupt state of Transport for London to a wider audience; with a call for Leon Daniels to go.

It is not aimed at the new Mayor. How could it be? His seat is not yet warm.

I am not a UCG member.
I understand the insignificance of replacing one corrupt official with another.
But the public, whose support we want, need to be informed of our struggle.
The whole of TfL needs to be reviewed.
London needs a Public Enquiry, looking into TfL's unhealthy relationship with rich disruptive organisations, from management level up to Johnson, Osborne and Cameron.

My union, the RMT do not support the demo. They also believe that Daniels will not be sacked, but promoted; re Hendy.

I personally do not care if Daniels is beatified.
This is not a tit for tat vendetta against Daniels. It is a public statement that we believe Leon Daniels is not fit to serve in his existing position.

Officially the RMT feels it deflects from real issues. But I believe this is an issue that needs public airing.

The LTDA do everything to undermine the UCG and any other trade organisation.
They did the same last time out, with an 'all fur coat and no knickers' lobby come photo opportunity at Parliament, the day before a demo.

The LTDA and TfL are too cosy. So cosy in fact it is hard to discern one from the other.

The LTDA boast about their relationship with MPs and officials. Look where that got us.
We are in this state because of the LTDA's cosy, ineffectual relationship with MPs and officials.
The LTDA are poodles.

Unite are more like a political party than a union. I am still waiting for that grand conjuring trick they and Tom Watson promised us, a year ago.
Luckily I did not hold my breath.

This lack of urgency, and my feeling that the Taxi Branch seemed to be of no real consequence to the largest union in the land, were my main reasons for leaving.

The LCDC are more a taxi newspaper than a taxi movement.

They released embarrassing emails between Daniels and Jo Bertrum, showing collusion between TfLTPH and Uber. But the readership of The Badge are only cab drivers.
It is the public who need to be informed.

The LCDC supply the bullets for others to fire, but are nowhere to be seen, for fear of upsetting the new Mayor or anyone else they might photobomb to raise their profile.

A refusal to 'out' Daniels in public, by Orgs who refused to sit at the same table as him, smacks of grandstanding.

This demo will not inconvenience the public too much. It is occurring during a convenient time the Metropolitan Police agreed was not overly disruptive.

TfL hierarchy must be rolling in the aisles watching this division.

Whenever we need to show unity, an enemy within throws a spanner.
If we die, it will be due to Machiavellian ambition and driver apathy.

I for one will be on that demo calling for Daniels's head. And why not? He conspired to take ours.

I will also be calling for a public enquiry, and highlighting how the rape and sexual assault of vulnerable Londoners, by TfL Licensed Private Hire drivers, has gone through the roof, on Daniels's watch.

So if you need an excuse not to attend, you can always use that old chestnut "My Org told me not to.", that is your perogative, your conscience.

If you work during the demo, any Taxi demo, then you are crossing a picket line. And you know what that makes you.

by Lenny Etheridge


Friday, May 27, 2016

I owe my soul to the company I'm Spartacus

So goes the old song, the Paul Robeson version being the finest and most moving.

So vehicle manufacturers are teaming up with PH and Taxi apps.
all talking about driverless cars so let's deal with that first then last.

Will there be a robot to load wheelchairs, luggage or deal with those who's language skills aren't great or not exactly sure of their destination?

We can imagine what will happen to those who have had one or twenty too many Cream Sodas and who might leave a parting gift for the next punter.

Back to the present, let's see all this for what it is, nothing more than a set of finance deals to tie in drivers to a app and a manufacturer over the longest possible time, they might as well install handcuffs to fit the steering wheel and a Benzedrine drip!

Some are already offering 'Payday' loan style arrangements so the suckers who work for those outfits are effectively driving today for yesterday's money, so we have now got financial manacles on the pedals as well.

This isn't the future it's slavery and that's nothing new.

Back to driverless cars, why bother at all? 

Those beloved tax avoiding multinationals can get mugs to drive for less than the minimum wage subsidised by another set of mugs called the taxpayer who fund the tax credit and housing benefit system.

I could write to my MP but their very busy filling in expense claims for 40p, I could call Uber and complain but the landline isn't there. I could email Leon Daniels but he's busy corresponding with Jo.

AlI I do know is ' St Peter don't you call me cos' I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store'.

I'm Spartacus.

P.S 'The EU protects worker rights' .... really????

Uber Do Not Actually Accept Bookings, But The Drivers Do... An Open Letter To Chief Licensing Officer (Head of Licensing) Sheffield From Lee Ward.


To Stephen Lonnia, Chief Licensing Officer (Head of Licensing) Sheffield

I bring to your attention several drivers that had their badges revoked and are currently going through the court process of illegally plying for hire, and no doubt afterwards for then driving without insurance. 

I am sure that you are aware that these drivers had their licenses revoked and or suspended with immediate effect due to them being classed as a danger to the public by the Sheffield Licensing Committee and therefore the licenses were revoked/suspended under section 61(2)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

I am now going to ask why, if this is the case of the drivers, have Uber not also been dealt with in the same manner for the exact same reasons?

Uber are a peer to peer company (P2P), they openly admit that they are not a transport provider. Section 3 of the Users Terms and Conditions states;

Uber UK accepts PHV Bookings acting as disclosed agent for the Transportation Provider (as principal). Such acceptance by Uber UK as agent for the Transportation Provider gives rise to a contract for the provision to you of transportation services between you and the Transportation Provider (the "Transportation Contract"). For the avoidance of doubt: Uber UK does not itself provide transportation services, and is not a Transportation Provider. Uber UK acts as intermediary between you and the Transportation Provider. You acknowledge and agree that the provision to you of transportation services by the Transportation Provider is pursuant to the Transportation Contract and that Uber UK accepts your booking as agent for the Transportation Provider, but is not a party to that contract.

For the sake of clarity, your PHV Booking will be accepted and allocated to a Transportation Provider by Uber UK as holder of the relevant operator's licence. You should be aware that the Transportation Provider to which your PHV Booking is allocated and who provides the Transportation Services may be licensed in an area other than where the booking is requested or the Transportation Services are provided.

And as I am sure you are aware that the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 Section 56(1) states that;

For the purposes of this Part of this Act every contract for the hire of a private hire vehicle licensed under this Part of this Act shall be deemed to be made with the operator who accepted the booking for that vehicle whether or not he himself provided that vehicle.

After reading the summary of Judge Sean F Dunphy in the Ontario Court of State Justice in 2015 which can be located here

It was very clear that a P2P service such as Uber do not actually accept the booking, but the driver does. This has been proven quite easily by myself and a friend who is an Uber driver. We drove to the outskirts of Sheffield to ensure that no other Uber driver was close by and I requested a trip from the Uber App, which I could not make because no Uber cars were available and therefore Uber could not and did not accept my booking. 

I then asked my friend to log into his Uber drivers App and make himself available for work, which he did. Sure enough I could now link myself to a driver on the Uber circuit, so I therefore requested a journey, but, I asked my friend to not accept the booking. Because he did not accept the booking the Uber App then told me to try again later, which is quite obvious that the booking was never accepted in the first place by Uber even though a driver and vehicle was in the area. 

Again, this simply proves that what Judge Dunphy identified that it is the driver who accepts the booking and not Uber or any of its servers, companies registered under its umbrella or an employee of Uber that accepts the booking as an operator of private hire vehicles is by law required to do. The driver quite clearly accepts the booking and Uber then link the P2P request of the customer with the driver. Even if the driver accepts the booking and then chooses to decline the booking, the customer is  then still without a booking being accepted because they have to try and get another driver to accept the booking by repeating the process.

This then means that every driver who accepts a booking by a user of the Uber App is actually plying for hire and as such is doing nothing legally different than the drivers who had their licenses suspended/revoked back in late 2015. 

This then therefore leads me to request that Sheffield City Council revoke the Private Hire Operators license issued to Uber on the grounds that every journey that the public think is fully legal and therefore insured is in fact no different than plying for hire which will as you are aware, cancel the Private Hire insurance of the driver who collects them and takes them to the destination unknowingly breaking the law.

Another scenario that would support this action is that if a friend of mine has an operators license and puts his phone on divert to my mobile so that I can take calls and then cover the work I would also, as a driver, be accepting the work and not him himself who is a licensed operator.

I must advise you and the Sheffield City Council that ALPHA see this matter of such a high importance to the safety of the public travelling in Sheffield that if no action is taken by yourselves by the close of business on Friday the 28th of May 2016 then we will have no option other than to take this information both locally and nationally to the the media and other bodies that will find this information relevant.

Please respond to this email as soon as possible and not like previous emails that I have sent to yourself. 


Lee Ward

ALPHA Chairman

Unless The Taxi Trade Ditches The Engagement Policy And Unites Fully, It Hasn't Got A Hope Of Jim Thomas

Our trade is like this baby seal, floating on thin ice, in an ocean full of Orcas, closing in for the kill.

Any defence mechanism we've had, has been stripped away by the bureaucracy and red tape of the engagement policy. Half our trade orgs have and still are capitulating to the whims and wants of TfL, while excluding all other representative groups.

They call themselves the United Trade Group, but they are far from united. They meet regularly with TfL but there are no minutes of the meetings, because they are frightened of rocking the boat, incase they themselves become excluded.

In this present climate, with the trade on the floor and the large lady warming her vocal cords, you would have thought the trade would be falling over itself to become more united than ever and yet the reverse is true.

Ask any of the three constituent members of the UTG if they would support a push to remove the engagement policy and you get the same tired answer, that is not their call, it's TfL.  

And yet the LTDA have emailed all their members explaining why the engagement policy should stay in place. 

'For many years TfL has, understandably (in Steve McNamara's opinion), required trade groups to be able to justify that they have a membership of at least 5% of drivers, in order to be fully recognised and engage with TfL at a senior and mayoral level -a condition that only the LTDA meet- The theory (who's theory Steve, yours and Bob's?)being that without a minimum membership criteria (about 1200 drivers out of the 25,000 total), or a background of long established trade representation -both the RMT taxi branch and UNited Cabbies Group have been established over seven years and the Suburban coalition for much longer - it would be impossible to limit meeting attendances to a practicable and workable level.' 

Is Steve McNamara assuming that two members from six orgs/unions couldn't carry out a practicable and workable meeting?
I myself have been in TfL RedRout Forum meetings at TfL with over 24 delegates from 8-9 different groups and enjoyed extremely practicable and workable meetings. Come on Steve surely you can do better than that old chestnut!

"The Engagement Policy" has fragmented the trade, currently only the LTDA, LCDC and Unite are officially recognised. Steve McNamara holds this up as a major achievement?

But then there's the insurmountable hurdle of the one little word.....Kudos. 

If it's not their own idea, they won't be backing it!
If their not their glory, then they will steal it!

So why are they doing this: 
• Why can't they see beyond the insults of the past?
• Why can't they draw a line in the sand and step over it, leaving what's passed in the past?
• Why can't they step forward for the benifit of the whole trade?

Until the orgs get their act together, forget the insults, throw out the engagement policy and truly unite....we don't stand a chance....just like this baby seal, eventually the ice will melt. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The History Of The Black Cab

Source: Car Keys

Black Cabs Infographic

So there you have it, what's next???

A driverless, satellite navigated Cab, which could be hitting our streets by 2025.

Still fancy paying £60k for a zero emmision electric, range extended TX5 or Metro?

With a life span of possibly less than 7 years...

Sean Paul Day, An Interview With Francis Wyhowska


In this episode Sean Paul Day interviews friend of the Taxi trade, Francis Wyhowska.


Francis is a big supporter of the London taxi Trade and regularly attends demos and hits and has just returned from the London Taxi Drivers Benevolent Associations trip to Ypres

Tel: 020 8144 8294

London Taxi Radio is an New Digital Media initiative incorporating an online radio station, podcasts, Youtube channel, photographs and video footage.

Toyota Hails Ride With Uber

Carmakers Toyota and Volkswagen have struck separate partnerships with rideshare companies Uber and Gett. 

The Japanese company will invest an unspecified amount in Uber and offer new leasing options for its drivers. 

Toyota said the two companies would share also knowledge and speed up their research efforts in areas such as driverless cars. 

Toyota said that as patterns of car usage continued to change, it wanted the collaboration to be about more than simply providing vehicles but to also collaborate on technology such as in-car apps.

Gett chief executive Shahar Waiser also stressed that the partnership with VW would involve technology and innovation. 

VW said: "The ride-hailing market represents the greatest market potential in on-demand mobility, while creating the technological platform for developing tomorrow's mobility business models."

Uber's deal with Toyota follows Apple's $1bn investment in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. That has been regarded in some quarters as a political move by the US technology giant to bolster its presence in the crucial Chinese market. 

Apple is also believed to be developing a car.

In March, General Motors invested $500m in US Uber rival Lyft to help develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars. 

The partnership will also create a joint car rental service for drivers to increase the number of vehicles available through Lyft

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Uber accuse Taxis Of Overcharging Wheelchair Customers And Announce Their LandLine Exemption From TfL.

Uber, lying to the public.
In their announcement earlier this month uber, using a generalisation, state quite falsely, that two thirds of Wheelchair users have been unfairly over charged by Taxis and private hire. 

As we know, in respect of London's licensed Taxis, wheelchair users pay the same fare as everyone else. But then let's not forget the Ubergate tapes that have shown this company is being coached by TfL Managing Director Leon (turn on off insurance, Yes they have a land line) Daniels.

The passage below has been taken from Uber's website.

'Existing accessible private hire vehicles often require booking hours – and sometimes days – in advance and Scope’s 2015 Extra Cost Commission reported research from the Department of Transport showing that almost two thirds of wheelchair users have been unfairly overcharged in a taxi or private hire vehicle.'

Notice again, the inference that Uber do not do pre bookings. (The subject of the first Ubergate email scandal)


A document has recently appeared on Twitter, showing that TfL have given Uber an exemption from the requirement of having a landline. 

Uber say they have been granted an exemption as having a landline for bookings would prejudice the interest of a third party.????

It appears that this company can do what ever they like and that the PHV act of 1998 doesn't apply to them as in TfL's eyes, they are in a category all on their own. 

Volkswagen is making a $300 million bet on Gett

  Shahar Waiser, cofounder and CEO of Gett.

Volkswagen is making a $300 million strategic investment into taxi app Gett, the startup announced on Tuesday.

The auto giant’s minority investment comes as it attempts to move beyond a huge corporate crisis over emissions, and launches a new mobility unit focused on new technology.

VW “want to go beyond vehicle ownership,” Gett CEO Shahar Waiser told Business Insider in a telephone interview.

Gett, an Israeli startup that launched in 2010, works in a similar way to rival Uber: Users can use an app to simply hail a taxi.

The company is not profitable overall, Waiser said — although it is in some early markets. It has annual revenues of $500 million. It has previously raised $220 million in venture capital — with VW’s $300 million taking the total up to $520 million. Waiser declined to comment on Gett’s valuation.

It currently operates in 60 European cities, as well as New York. The new funding will help accelerate expansion on the continent, Gett says.

Waiser also said that Gett’s technology — big data, predictive algorithms, and so on — could prove useful in the development of self-driving vehicles, but stressed that neither Gett is not currently developing autonomous vehicle technology.

Drivers who use Gett can stand to benefit from the deal: They will be offered terms on Volkswagen vehicles that are better than market rates, Waiser says. This, in turn, could make the platform more attractive to potential drivers looking to get into the ride-hailing business.

The investment is also likely to some extent a necessity, as ride-hailing companies raise increasingly huge war chests in their battle for dominance. Uber has raised billions. And Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing company, recently received a rare $1 billion investment from Apple.

VW isn’t the first legacy auto company to invest in the ride-hailing business. Back in January, General Motors sank half a billion dollars into Lyft, at a valuation of $5.5 billion (and as part of a larger $1 billion Series F funding round).

Source : Business Insider.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It's Not Uber Killing The Trade, Its The Engagement Policy...Letter To Editor.

One of the biggest demos this trade has seen in past years, stunned TfL, taking them by complete surprise. The trades success in 2009, dealing with the first official Private Hire rank in central London, (a leased TfL bus stand in Whitcomb Street) was unprecedented.

Guarded at night by police officers, it spawned a massive drive-in, referred to in the press as the new Battle of Trafalgar. 

Just after this, the news broke that TfL had let a wife killing, PHV driver on the knowledge. After two united trade mass protests, complete with the newly formed RMT taxi branch, he was slung off the knowledge and shortly afterwards Director of TfLTPH Ed Thompson, was removed from Taxis and Private Hire. 

Fearing bigger and even more potent demos from the trade with the run up to the Olympics looming, TfL knew they had to come up with a plan to ensure they could push through all their controversial plans to deliver the Olympics on target.

The engagement policy was born mid 2010, a stroke of pure genius, invented by new boy John Mason. 

Mason's idea was to lay down certain requirements which only the LDTA could match. But then felt the arrangement would look bad if only the one group signed the policy (could have caused even more uproar amongst the rank and file). So, Unite and LCDC were invited to sign up, even though neither one conformed to the policy requirements. 

The RMT and the newly formed United Cabbies Group were barred from the policy as TfL felt they were the main antagonists. The decision to black ball these two groups, was also backed by all three members of the newly formed United Trade Group. 

TfLTPH's idea was, the LCDC and Unite would be too hesitant to rock the boat, for fear of expulsion from this new elite new group.

The LTDA had the seat on the board of TfL dangled like a carrot in front of a donkey. 

Just a thought: As Bob has always insisted he didn't represent the trade or his members directly on the board of TfL, should he be asked to pay back his salary for the time he spent away from his secretarial post at a Taxi House?

Anyway that was the plan, to divide and keep the trade quiet, which has worked well for six years

It's still working today!

We've recently been informed by TfL, the policy will continue under the new Mayor.

We've had the TfL Commissioner caught in an sordid affaire with a £140 an hour sex worker he came across while surfing a sex website, 
The UTG kept quiet.

We've had a minicab firm in West London receiving multiple PHV roundels in a brown envelope without having to present their vehicles. No prosecutions resulted.
The UTG said nothing.

We've had the forged Taxi driver licenses that turned up in a badge and Bill check in the city. Alleged to have originated from the move to Palestra, again  
The UTG said nothing

We've had Uber Licensed in contravention of the 1998 act conditions of fitness (no land line, no facility for pre-bookings, customer details kept on server in USA)
And again the UTG have said and done virtually nothing. 

We've had the driver renewal scandal with Hendy stopping the issue of temporary licenses saying Taxi drivers couldn't be trusted...
The UTG did and are still doing nothing about this.

We now have the Ubergate you see the pattern!

As for Richard Massett's joint ranks committee, the Mayfair mob have shown them up big time. 
Without any trade org affiliation, they managed to get ranks implemented at Hakkasan, Novikov's, Sketch, Bread Street, extension at Forge and repaints of many other ranks seen fading away.

So, someone please tell me why two trade representative orgs and one Union are still having elitist, un-minuted secret squirrel meetings with TfL?

What do their members feel is being achieved by their representatives capitulation to TfL's demands?

While the engagement policy is in place we have no chance to win or change anything.
We need TfL to negotiate with the whole trade, not simply consult with the teacher's pets.

Every org has good ideas. The UTG ideas no matter how good, seldom seem to get past the LTDA, who seem to speak to TfL on behalf of the trade as a whole.

Those outside the UTG, if they act alone get called splitters and anyone from outside an org who comes up with an idea, is said to have ulterior motives. 

The recent week long demonstrations from Dads Defending Daughters, produced positive results. Unbelievably, the LTDA have now jumped all over this and are claiming the sole kudos. 

It's not Uber that's killing the trade, it's the engagement policy.

It should be the aim of every driver in our trade to get this engagement policy scrapped.

Regards Jonathan Wyett (retired)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letter To Taxi Leaks : Heathrow Surrounding Area, Turned Into Pseudo Migrant Camps

I have witnessed first hand how Uber cancer has attacked Heathrow area like a tornado. I have spoken to residents who have basically given up reporting to the local authorities including the Met police. 

This Addison Lee Driver, was alleged to have repeatedly assaulted a female resident in Little Harlington Playing Fields on video. 

Uber have formed migrant camps all over the Heathrow vicinities. Every available space from parks and lay-bys, from McDonald's to pub forecourts. From Hotel areas, to business car parks and Petrol forecourts. Areas like Sipson, Colnbrook and Stanwell. Etc etc. 

Uber have decimated the local minicab firms. It's as if the Calais camps have moved here lock stock and borrowed. Unless you have actually witnessed what has happened here first hand, you will not know the horror that has happened to once lovely areas. 

Bags of human waste are evident all over a five mile stretch. Apparently the locals state the smell from human waste in the parks that once housed children playing or the locals that use to walk their dogs etc. The stench in the air makes you vomit instantly. 

On my journey in most days, Uber cars are lined up on no waiting areas. Drivers asleep or openly using the spaces as toilets. These animals have no respect for any laws or for the local communities. 

Look at the video posted earlier, these residents are now prisoners in their own homes. Anarchy and scenes of Calas camps are now visable for all to witness. NO FEMALES are safe walking around these parts. 

TFL have caused this attack on lawful home owners, as well as the rest of us. Gangs of Uber migrants are openly doing as they would from camps in Greece and France. Words fail me right now. 

Unfortunately we live in a PC world where White middle classes have played their part in creating "No go camps". This has nothing to do with being racist at all. 

The London cab trade has all creeds and colours etc. We all have to live by rules and regulations. Unfortunately this uber disease has no such rulings in place. 

Welcome to Conservative way of giving these animals a chance up the ladder and look how they are paying us back. 
Thank you Cameron thank you TFL. 
And thank you Met Police. 
Corruption at the top has created Migrant camps out west!

Regards, Heathrow Taxi driver

Police Ignore Assaults On Female By PHV Drivers In Harlington

Amazing footage of a Harlington resident, Christine Aardman, who's had enough of the private hire vehicles she feels are destroying the area. So she decided to video what's been happening in a parking area of little Harlington playing fields, Sipson Lane. 

She went their to take a few picture but while there, on 9th April 2016 at 9:10 am, she was subjected to racial and sexual abuse.

She said "It's a risky business going to no-go areas full of Heathrow PH drivers, but I only planned to see if things have improved from three days earlier, when I first contacted the police.

"As soon as I arrived I was spotted by a PHV driver who shouted 'hay woman, what are you doing here?'. Intimidation and assaults followed, but it was the caf├ęs leaseholder who rang the police".

A further assault happens just before police arrive but no crime will appear in police figures. So that's no action and no red faces, about the no go areas created by Heathrow (private hire vehicles) drivers

The lady filming, later discovered that the police officially recorded the incidents as a littering and parking issues.

Christine says she was shocked by the lead police officers attitude. His focus was more on the female owner who had made the call to the police on behalf of the private hire drivers. He didn't want to see film she had taken or CCTV of the incident.

Video below was removed by Uber's investor Google after complaints from the aggressive drivers who assaulted the female, saying that this film exposed their identity.

.  ...

Minicab Sexual Assaults, Could The Solution Really Be This Simple? Jim Thomas

Apparently, the biggest problem facing the public, in regards to London's Licensed Taxi trade (in the eyes of TfL), has been the refusal of drivers to accept credit cards. 
TfL in their infinite wisdom have acted swiftly by mandating drivers acceptance of all credit cards -including contactless payments- to be implemented in October this year.

In the eyes of TfL and the public... simple solution, problem solved. 

The biggest problem facing passengers in private hire vehicles at present, is customer safety. 
Reports from freedom of information requests, show from February last year to February this year, 154 instances of sexual assaults (including rapes) against passengers were recorded against private hire drivers. 32 of which the Met police were accusations made against Uber drivers. We must also be aware that the Metropolitan police state in their POP (Clapham) report, that over 60% of sexual attacks never get reported.

So what has TfL come up with as a permanent solution to this problem....they've  sat on their hands, with a bewildered look on their face, shaking their head. 
Paying people enormous amounts of money, doesn't guarantee common sense, they just haven't got a clue what to do.

As always, the solution could be very simple. 

Every Private Hire Vehicle should have two way CCTV fitted as part of their conditions of fitness. Some insurance companies are currently fitting systems at no cost to the owner. Every vehicle should have 2cm high easy to remember registration numbers, emblazoned on the dash, plus both front and rear windscreen. PHV drivers should also be subject to having their DNA taken for future cross-referencing. These measures would also protect the driver from false allegations

Currently PHV licence numbers virtually unreadable and almost impossible to ascertain. Seven digits in minuscule font, with 9 out of ten roundels hidden behind tinted screens. 

A simplified registration of three letters, followed by two digits (1,797,600 combinations) in 2cm high font (same as Taxi ID cards) facing the passengers bottom left of windscreen, should be an easy to remember reference. Combined with tamper proof CCTV  video, should see an almost immediately cessation in sexual assaults on passengers in legitimate Private Hire vehicles.

How is it that Taxis have to have the drivers badge number emblazoned on both front and back windscreens, in 2cm high font plus vehicle PCO pate numbers on back and in passenger compartment...having to be clearly visible at all times, and yet PH have small roundels with tiny digits, unreadable unless viewed up close and in the majority of cases, hidden behind tinted screens. 

With 99.99% of all passenger assaults, over the past 30 years having occurred in minicabs, how have these brainiacs at TfL managed to get it so wrong with vehicle identification?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Buck Stops Here????....Letter To Taxi Leaks From Dads Defending Daughters.

Early last week one of my best friends, Taxi Driver Danny Hussey, was swooped on by around ten Compliance Officers, in Tooley Street.
They claimed his Cab Driver License was over a year out of date.

Although my mate had received his DBS in March 2015, his Cab License refused to turn up, even though his wife sent four written requests.
To be fair to all parties concerned, he had moved address.

It seemed obvious that my friend had filled in all the correct forms and sent them to the correct address, with all the correct details, because he had been issued with a DBS.

But according to Transport for London, "You will have to go through the whole process again. Including a new medical and new DBS.
Believe me I am not one hundred, but two hundred percent sure you are looking at, at least eighteen weeks before you can work again."
Who can afford four or five months out of work?

TfL were unwilling to accept any responsibility for this cock-up.
And Danny was told he had to stop work immediately.

I rallied the troops and was preparing for a mass demo outside Palestra House everyday until Danny's license was reissued.

After all, the license is just a fee. Danny was still a legitimate Taxi Driver; considering he has passed the Knowledge, passed his advanced driving test, passed his medical, and still had two years left on his current DBS. We felt he was being treated harshly.

Surely, we thought, TfL could give him a temporary license/cover note?
But it seems red tape in Palestra House is made of the unbreakable and unimaginative kind, when it is applied to Taxis.

Luckily Danny is a member of a union. He contacted the RMT, and they started negotiating on his behalf immediately.
More and more it looked like TfL were not going to budge.

More and more it looked like a long drawn out war of daily demonstrations on the horizon.
Why do TfL assume that every Taxi driver is up to no good?

No one, it seems, is given the benefit of the doubt from Palestra House - even those like Danny, with an unblemished record.
To cut a long story short, the RMT negotiated a temporary license for Danny, with the proviso that he also renews his DBS. Don't ask me why.
At least they accepted his medical certificate was still valid.

Post negotiations, this story takes a different turn; highlighting the human side of TfL.
Danny is dyslexic. So when he arrived at the TfLTPH licensing office the next day, he was met by a friendly and extremely patient TfL officer, named Minette. She helped Danny through the whole process. 
Other members of staff, like Jessie, went out of their way to make Danny feel relaxed, and defused a potentially stressful situation.

Danny told me of the chaos he witnessed, where drivers in similar situations to his, obviously burdened by financial hardship, were pleading with staff for their licenses, so they could just simply go to work.

I will not betray details, but suffice to say Danny wished he had some spare cash to give one particular driver, whose story was heartbreaking.
This is the day to day routine for counter staff at TfLTPH; dealing with drivers under extreme stress, caused by inept clerks and inconsiderate bosses, who delegate the sharp end of the stick down to them.

Danny could not speak highly enough of Lewis Norton, Branch Secretary of the RMT, for turning eighteen weeks into two days.

I refuse to compromise this story by promoting one Union or Org above another. Needless to say, if you do not belong to any Union or Org, get your head out of the sand and your finger out of your arse, and join one now, before you are forced to take a long and unexpected holiday.
You do not want to find yourself up against a stubborn and unaccountable TfL, without some form of backing.

Be lucky.

Editorial Comment: 
There is no need for any driver to lose work under these conditions:
 a) You have your DBS back and it's clear.
 b) You have completed and submitted your application:

These are the words of Leon Daniels, who was speaking on behalf of Sir Peter Hendy, appertaining to the Transport Act.  

"Where we are provided with a complete application, including the results of the DBS check and any other necessary information, but have not yet made a licensing decision before the old one expires, the existing licence will remain in force until a decision is made in accordance with section 17(7). In these circumstances, a driver will not be issued with, nor require, a temporary licence pending a decision being made on their application. 


Please note that contrary to the comment in your email, section 17 of the Transport Act 1985 only applies to London taxi driver and vehicle licences, not London private hire vehicle driver licences.

Kind regards

Leon Daniels | Managing Director  

Transport for London | Surface Transport | Palestra |

11th Floor - Zone R4| 197 Blackfriars Road|Southwark|SE1 8NJ".


If you are sending your application off using the postal system, send it recorded delivery. 

Any driver who had lost work after being told they can't, after receiving a clear DBS and having presented a completed application form, should seek compensation from TfL for loss of earnings. In these extreme cases it's not the drivers fault, so TfL should reimburse the driver for work he/she could have undertaken while unlawfully denied the right to work.