Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Pledge | 2nd June 2016

Watch the first 11 minutes 

Something else I wanted to share. 
As a fantastic surprise Florence and the Machine (Guitarist Rob Ackroyd) turned up at the Christopher House Hospice in Austin Texas and sang a duet with the young lady, Karinya YaYa, who had missed her concert due to her illness.
The room was full of joy warmth love and life.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Uber, Amazon And TfL's Buses, Blamed For London’s Toxic PollutionIncrease

Another damning report, puts the blame for London's toxic air quality, squarely at the feet of TfL....and they do what they always do, try to lie their way out of it.

As Managing Director Leon Daniels is about as popular as rabies at present, TfL roll out their chief operating officer for surface transport, Garrett Emmerson who said: “We’re doing everything possible to mitigate congestion, including deploying a team of new on-street officers to clear obstructions and move unlawfully stopped vehicles.”

A team of new on-street officers to clear obstructions and move unlawfully stopped vehicles??? If this includes illegally park, illegally plying for hire Minicabs, then let's hope this new on-street team are more efficient than the limp waisted approach from the "on-street" operation neon team found aimlessly promenading round Mayfair some Friday and Saturday evenings.

After spending many millions on a state of the art control centre based in Palestra, TfL have managed to bring London to its knees, with much of the capitals roads virtually impassable. Traffic jams at 2-3-4 o clock in the morning caused by badly sited, sparsely used segregate cycle lanes, impossible traffic light phaising and badly planned traffic systems i.e. The Elephant and Castle, plus road works. London now has an excessive amount of polluting buses, with even more on order. Plus TfL's fleet of PHVs, the largest in the world, is expanding at a rate of 6-700 a week.

Professor David Begg, former chairman of the Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport, found some routes were now “close to walking speed” as they pushed more toxic fumes into the air. One of the worst routes was named as the 11 from Fulham Town Hall to Liverpool Street station, which averaged just 4mph at peak times.

Professor Begg said the main cause of the extra pollution was that worsening gridlock had caused bus fuel efficiency to drop by more than a third since the millennium.
He said: “Stop-start conditions caused by congestion are a key factor (and) lower operating speeds are bad for pollution.

“Congestion dramatically increases carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.
“Under heavily congested conditions tailpipe emissions can be increased by a factor of three or four times.”
Professor Begg’s report, commissioned by the Greener Journeys campaign group, also blamed the explosion in on-demand Uber cars and delivery vans from online retailers such as Amazon for worsening congestion.
Professor Begg called for minicabs, including Uber and other car services, not to be exempted from £11.50 daily Congestion Charge.

Slower speeds also led to the capital “facing one of the fastest declines in bus use anywhere in the UK”, said Professor Begg, which he urged Mayor Sadiq Khan to prioritise.

Professor Begg report follow World Health Organisation findings that London is among the worst capitals in Europe for toxic air.

London’s concentration of PM2.5 microgrammes per cubic metre is about a third higher than New York and Copenhagen and on a par with Athens.

The WHO said that PM2.5 - which contains pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon - poses a grave risk to human health.

Editorial Comment: 
Another report that shows its not the Taxis causing the problem. Two previous reports buried by former Mayor Johnson, showed older Taxus were in fact cleaner, greener than new models. 

The 15 year age limit on Purpose Built Taxis should be scrapped immediately, as their is no evidence they are more polluting. 

The decision by Boris to scrap older vehicles was a mearly an promotion to help his Chinese friends sell more new vehicles. 

More Good News : St Pancras Parking Problem, Solution Found.

We would like to give an update on the St Pancras parking situation. After a series of demonstrations the like of which the trade had never seen before that were instigated by the group known as Dads Defending Daughters (DDD), a member of the Mayfair Mob (MM) working closely with the RMT was able to get a meeting with Camden in early May. This meeting would never have been possible without the brilliant and somewhat genius plan the DDD had implemented and actioned to perfection.

The airport style drop off as mentioned in this months TAXI was a great idea on paper and would of definitely solved the PHV parking issue, but in reality was flawed on many counts and rightly rejected after consultation. The potential for congestion , double parking and the obvious security issues flagged by the Border Agency plus timescale issues ended any hope of this plan. 

At the meeting, the two representatives from Camden were well informed and suggested using double yellow lines. It was at this stage that the MM member suggested that implementing the double yellow lines on an experimental order would be the quickest solution, as the consultation can take place after the lines had been painted. This is by far the quickest option available and there is no reason why it would not be successful.

At present Camden are unable to issue PCNs till after the grace period has been applied. Although members of the MM came up with ways around the grace period for Camden, the lines are a better option. Once the lines are painted no vehicle will be able to wait there and Camden's marshalls will be able to issue PCNs immediately. This solution will require the presence of marshalls, but Camden will be approaching TFL to help with this. It is also hoped that once word gets around that PCNs are being issued, this will act as a deterent. There will also be the option of phoning 101 and reporting vehicles illegally parked causing an obstruction and asking police to help clear the area. 

We hope that the sudden appearance of the LTDA's marshalls at St Pancras is purely for the greater good of the trade and they are not there as a publicity stunt, trying to undermine the solution agreed with Camden. This solution was gained not only by some great work from the Dads Defending Daughters , The Mayfair Mob and the RMT London Taxi Branch, but also by drivers from every taxi org. We feel that all Orgs and drivers should back this solution and stand united even if it isn't the solution they envisaged. 

This solution is currently with Camden's design team and they have given a date of mid June for works completion. We are expecting an update and will forward the info onto the trade as soon as we are in receipt of it.

We would also like to congratulate the UCG on their outstanding achievement, of getting the engagement policy withdrawn. A new Mayor hopefully means change and what better way to achieve this, than with new voices joining the old voices to show the trade United as one.

You can also text reports discreetly, straight to the British Transport Police. You can use the same text number 61016 to report incidents at any of the mainline or underground stations around London. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Important Announce From The UCG June 8th Demo Cancelled.

Following a Committee of Management vote, we are suspending the planned action of June 8th.

We trust the integrity of Val Shawcross and thank her for trusting us.

She has shown commitment to our trade, with a new transparency towards trade meetings.

The whole trade should support Val and her team.

Angela Clarkson 

Breaking News, The United Trade Cartel Has Been Smashed.

At a meeting held earlier today, between the UCG, Deputy Mayor Val Shawcross, and TfLTPH General Manager Helen Chapman, a deal was hatched to approve engagement by all trade orgs with TfL, finally putting an end to the restrictive and highly damaging engagement policy. 

The meeting between Val Shawcross and Helen Chapman Trevor Merralls and Bryn Phillips was called today to discuss the actions of Leon Daniels and the outdated  Engagement Policy.

The United Cabbies Group said they would not suspend the preposed industrial action on the 8th of June, unless certain terms were met. 

After the meeting Bryn Phillips made this statements in a series of Tweets:

"Drivers. We have had a very constructive meeting with the Deputy Mayor for Transport this morning. The engagement policy is history.

"The concept of "selected orgs" has been consigned to the dustbin. We insisted RMT are also given a seat at the trade table.

"We can also confirm that bus lane access for licensed London taxi drivers will continue an could even be extended to cover all bus lanes. 
Val Shawcross will report to the Mayor soon.

"The boat has a new crew and a new captain. Old policies have walked the plank.
We meet again in three weeks to try to map out a way forward to save your jobs"

We can also confirm that the issue of emails between a manager at TfL and Uber London are being investigated. "Far too cosy", exact words.

The UCG secretary Angela Clarkson put out a short statement on Twitter:
Trevor Merralls had a very fruitful meeting with Val Shawcross and TFL.
The  committee are now discussing suspension of proposed action. 

The UCG remain committed to positive talks with the new Mayoralty.

Well done to the UCG, this is something we here at Taxi Leaks have been campaigning for since the engagement policy was first introduced. 

This is a major step forward for the trade in our fight for survival. 

Something else that should be pointed out:
Today's meeting was fully minuted and the minutes will be available by freedom of information request.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Addison Lee, Arrive In Greater Manchester.

Addison Lee arrives in Manchester. 

London PH Giant Addison Lee arrives in Manchester, EXCEPT, they missed it on their Sat Nav and instead set up in a nearby Town, usually the case with PH drivers, but not the Companies. 

Addison Lee are however owned by U.S. Equity group Carlyle and it must be remembered that Mark Twain (another Yank) once said of Manchester.

“I would like to live in Manchester, England. The transition between Manchester and death would be unnoticeable.”

However , for whatever reason, locating near Manchester but licensing with a more efficient authority is no doubt a wise one.

Lets hope they can give UBERK a run for their money. It is not a coincidence that UBERK have an 'Office' in Stockport as well.

Read more: >mcrblackcab.proboards<

TfL Caught Bang To Rights Issuing PH licence Without CRB Check.

This tweet appeared on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

It followed this alleged TfL document which was posted earlier in the day.

We have been told repeatedly by TfL that Private Hire drivers go through the exact same process as Licensed Taxi Drivers when applying for or renewing their licenses. 

Last April we were warned in the media 
'Criminal record checks BANNED on foreign murderers and rapists who want to be minicab drivers if they have applied for asylum or refugees status'

TfL brushed these claims under the carpet and  repeatedly stated on Twitter, Private Hire Licenses are not issued, unless the driver has first completed an enhanced DBS check. 

At other times, we were told 'people that have lived in a foreign country and haven't lived here long enough, could be licensed subject to a letter of good conduct from the last country they lived in'. 

Well it seems they lied.....again!
Lies such as;
• They have switch on, switch off insurance.
• They complied with all the regulations when they first applied for their licence.
• They definitely have a land line for bookings

And now this;
Many Licensed Taxi drivers have been put out of work, some for many months, after Peter Hendy decided to scrap the temporary licence system that had been in use, with absolutely no trouble for decades. He said he could trust Taxi drivers to receive renewals just incase they had committed serious offences while waiting for their new licence to be processed. 

Now we find out that TfL have allegedly been issuing new and renewals to Private Hire drivers, without first receiving back DBS criminal record checks....One rule for us, and yet a completely deferent rule for PH.

A driver asked the question on Twitter, why are the orgs not all over this

He was told by a certain political lobbyist, that they had been silenced by TfL's gagging policy. 

At this, the same tired trolls rolled out to defend the engagement policy, but were told 'call it what you like, but the engagement policy clearly prohibits criticism of TfL'.

We have been informed the Mayor will be looking into this issue. 

This situation is unacceptable. TfL can no longer be trusted.