Saturday, August 06, 2016

Taxi Drivers And Cricket Fans Caught Out As Taxi Rank Removed From Outside Edgbaston


Cricket fans going to watch Pakistan V England at Edgbaston this week have been frustrated by the lack of taxis pick up from Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

Marshals and cones have been put in place outside and around the stadium- a decision taken by the cricket ground.

One fan, Shamo Khan who had travelled to the game from Solihull, left the ground at 5pm on Thursday, August 4 but struggled to get a taxi.

He said: "My visit was very disappointing as I was unable to get a black cab after the match. The police and traffic wardens were not allowing the taxis to pick up.

“I had to wait a considerable amount of time to get a taxi. I have a bad knee but had to walk a distance to the Bristol Road and Priory Road traffic lights to stop a taxi. "

“It is sad to see this happen when such a big event 

Local black cab driver Tariq Rashid said the lack of provisions for taxis is ridiculous.

He said: “It's terrible that there has been absolutely no provisions for taxis at all for such a big event.

“Last year there was a taxi rank outside the ground but they have got rid of that. My licence says I should be able to pick up from anywhere even red routes.

“It seems to me they want people to catch buses but black cab drivers work out cheaper for people if you are travelling in a group to see the cricket.

“Black cab drivers are ambassadors of Birmingham. We carry new visitors and business professionals around the city all the time.

“ These transport failings create a very negative impression of the city which could easily be avoided.”

Cricket fans at the Edgbaston Cricket ground. 

At the moment cricket fans can walk up to Pershore Road - a few minute walk from the ground to try and flag a cab.

An Edgbaston Cricket Ground spokesman said: "We have return shuttle buses running from the stadium throughout the day, which run more frequently during peak times – i.e. start and finish of play. 

"Taxis are operating outside the stadium, along Pershore Road and Edgbaston Road and are allowed in to the stadium grounds once the vast majority of spectators and vehicles parked within the stadium have departed safely following the close of play. 

"The maximum wait for taxis to come into the stadium after close of play is 30 minutes. This is done on a safety basis. "

"We brought in a taxi facility in for the Ashes last year. However it was stopped because taxi drivers were not using it and preferred to operate as before." 

A council spokesman added: "The cones and marshals outside the ground have nothing to do with us. We have the usual restrictions on parking in residential areas during big events to ensure the flow of traffic.

"Ordinarily there should be a rank outside the stadium provided by Edgbaston Cricket Ground. It is their decision not to have one this year."

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Leon Daniels, £25m Later....Chaos

Leon Daniels stated, "The return of two way traffic at Elephant and Castle, will transform it to a place people want to be".


New traffic systems, plus the segregated cycle lanes have bought London to virtual gridlock. The situation has become so bad that Metropolitan Police Armed Response Officers will be arriving at incidents on the back of motorbikes. Every day, we see emergency services stuck in the gridlock surrounding the Cycle Supper Highway. 

Badly thought out systems are seeing journey lengths increased in time and distance as vehicles are banned from no left turns/ no right turns at certain junctions. Westbound traffic along the embankment wishing to use Westminster Bridge, now have to travel an extra quarter of a mile, plus bringing more traffic and more pollution through Parliament Square. All because cyclists can't be trusted to cross the road properly with other right turning vehicles at the bridge junction.  

Preventable deaths in London caused by pollution from traffic emissions has risen sharply in parallel with the new cycle lanes, from 8,000 to 10,000 per annum. 

Traffic is set to get a lot worse as both Westminster and Islington Councils plan to take two major roads away from motorist. Tottenham Court Road is to become buses and bikes only. Taxis and private cars are to be diverted into Gower Street (already gridlocked most of the day) which will become two way. 

But the system that will effect the traffic most of all, is the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street. Oxford street looks for most of the day and night like a bus garage, full of stationary, empty buses. Where are all these buses supposed to go?

Figures showed that on the day I the last bus strike, pollution levels around the Oxford Street area, dropped dramatically by an amazing 50%.

Be Careful What you Wish For : Toronto Bring in Third Tier Rules Just For Uber.

The saga continues.

Toronto's taxi drivers are accusing the city of doing little to make sure Uber comply with new regulations. 

Also, Industry regulators say that Uber isn't following the city's new regulations, which came into effect a few weeks ago. 

In May, after a Uber were found guilty of illegally operating outside of the legislated regulations, instead of banning, the City Council voted to regulate the ride-share service by creating a new third tier of transportation and bought in a new set of rules for private transportation companies (or PTCs).

However, some taxi drivers say the city is doing little to make sure Uber's actually complying with the new rules.

The United Taxi Workers Association will meet tomorrow and is considering holding another protest, possibly in early September. 

Toronto's last taxi protest shut down many streets including the 501 streetcar route in December.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Statement From Action4Cabbies Regarding JR On Credit Card Surcharges.

On January 18th 2016 Action For Cabbies embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to try and raise an initial £600,000 so as to obtain permission from the court to launch a judicial review against Transport For London for alledgedly wrongly and potentially illegally issuing Uber with a Private Hire Vehicle Operators License. The initial deadline for raising the funds was set for March 18th, after several extensions the final deadline was on April 7th. The extensions were given so as to see if we could still make the original target and to give the LTDA time to match the £300,000 as was originally agreed. Despite our best efforts we failed to reach the £600,000 target, we managed to raise in excess of £350,000. Nobody in the history of the Licensed London Taxi Trade had ever managed to raise funds to this level before but sadly the original plan was not to be.

Anticipating that we may need to adopt an alternative plan a consultation was undertaken on March 3rd by AskPOB. This consultation was to find out if those who contributed to the original fund would back an alternative plan to try and launch a judicial review against Transport For London with regard to certain aspects surrounding how TFL were implementing the impending mandatory credit card initiative.  To that effect we asked Taxi Drivers to decide whether this would be a route that they would like us to examine and potentially undertake. The majority voted in favour to proceed with seeking permission for a Judicial Review in regards to the driver paying the transaction charge.

Upon realising that we would not reach the £600,000 target and with a majority vote from the consultation it was decided on March 31st 2016 to switch from trying to obtain permission for a judicial review in relation to Uber being licensed to attempting to obtain a judicial review in relation to how the credit card initiative was being invoked. Everybody who pledged through the crowdfunding initiative was given the opportunity to withdraw their pledge by 5pm on April 5th.Numerous announcements were made over various platforms including e-mail, Facebook and Twitter and it was made clear that any uncancelled pledges would be used for attempting to obtain permission for the judicial review surrounding credit cards.

Certain aspects of the alternative judicial review had to be altered as there would have been no prospect of getting a positive result as well as aspects that were not unreasonable  such as objecting to fixed payment machines, the mandated requirement to accept credit cards, the list of suppliers to name but 3.

An application for a judicial review was lodged with the court on May 3rd and some of the monies that had been collected were paid to Rosenblatts Solicitors as a retainer, all remaining monies are being dealt with via our accountants Raffingers and will be paid to Rosenblatts Solicitors upon receiving a full and final costing.

On July 17th we received informal notification from our solicitors that the  attempt to obtain a judicial review had failed, we would not be given leave to challenge Transport For London in court. We received the official notification several days later.

Naturally we are very disappointed with this outcome as we feel that there is a strong enough case. We would like to thank every single person that believed in this cause. We may have failed on this occasion however the positives that have come from this are enormous.....the biggest positive being that we have proved that we CAN galvanise ourselves and fight back as an industry.

Moving forward we are going to continue fighting tooth and nail to help protect this industry and help it to flourish. We may have lost this battle but we aim to help win this war.

Once again we wish to thank each and every one of you for your support.

Stronger Together

Action For Cabbies

Appeal, Please Help Find This Cabby.

Jim, if you could help find this Cabbie I would be very grateful. 

On 30. July 3016 at 21.45 a Licenced Cab Driver stopped to assist a Police Officer wlth a distressed child on Sussex Gardens, at the junction of Talbot Square. The driver took both the child and Police officer to St Mary's Hospital.
The Officer would like to commend the Cab Driver for his assistance. This was not possible at the time. 

So could he make himself known at Paddington Green Police Station, where the officer would like to express his thanks. If the officer is not there, could the cabbie please leave a contact number and ask the station officer to put it on the station board?

This is from the friend of a friend and going around the shelters quite a bit now. Cheers!

All the best

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Was Mayor's Major Crackdown On Rogue Minicab Drivers, A Damp Jim Thomas.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered an extra 250 compliance officers to be deployed over the next year to target drivers of private hire vehicles and other cabs operating illegally.

TfL's operation Neon officers hiding at a bus stop in Victiria.

So with operation Neon, in the eyes of the majority of night Taxi drivers, an enormous flop....we are to get more of the same, unwarranted COs, with no power of stop, walking round London doing absolutely nothing other than harassing Taxi drivers over ranking. 

We are told the new compliance officers will focus on hotspots of illegal private hire car activity including the West End and the City. Apparently they will have the ability to access the insurance MIB but only in office hours (9am to 5pm) couldn't make this stuff up.

“I want Londoners to feel safe when they take a taxi or minicab and that is why I have approved a major increase to the size of our team that targets touts and illegal activities,” said Mr Khan. At present, a tout has more chance of winning the lottery than being prosecuted by TfL for touting!

Perhaps the Mayor can explain to us all, how putting staff on the street with about as much power as a bus inspector (which most of these officers will be part time) is going to make passengers "safe".

Steve Burton, Transport for London’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, who's teams of compliance officers are sometimes seen, two days a week aimlessly walking round the west end added: “Illegal minicab activity not only poses a serious risk to passenger safety but undermines licensed, law abiding taxi and private hire drivers.” It's a shame then Steve that your COs have no power to do anything about rouge drivers who are not licensed by TfL!

Perhaps Steve Burton can explain how more of the same benign COs are going to make passengers safe? Last year 154 serious sexual assault including rapes in licensed private hire vehicles. And that's just the 10% that the Met police estimate reported the attacks 

He warned rogue minicab drivers flouting the law that they will be caught and “dealt with robustly”. (Yes but who by Steve, your officers have no power! And those warning letters you send out are a joke)

This expansion of TfL compliance was welcomed by the LTDA. More proof that this organisation hasn't got its finger on the pulse of what's really going on out there. 

Funding to pay for the new officers will come through changes to private hire operator licensing so that larger firms pay a greater share of the costs of enforcement.

Of course Uber have backed the extra officers, as this measure completely bypasses their illegal plying for hire MO.

Tom Elvidge, Uber's  general manager for London, said; “It’s important that people only use a properly booked car from a licensed private hire operator.” Which is an amazing statement from a company that doesn't take bookings and is only available for immediate hire. 

Is Tom Elvidge advising customers to use other operators who actually do take proper phone bookings?

Transport for London, the Met and Westminster Council have been running Operation Neon since May to target rogue drivers at weekends, and in most Taxi drivers opinion, has been a complete waste of time and money.

So far, nearly 10,000 private hire drivers have been advised and moved on to keep roads clear for taxis but only on Friday  and Saturday. More than 5,000 were reported for not wearing their badge, not really zero tolerance, and nearly 500 for not having a badge and were stopped from working for the rest of the evening. (Go home....yeh, they must be quaking in their boots....not.)

Since this operation has been running, only 65 drivers have been "reported" (not convicted) for plying for hire offences. A group of well trained, warranted cab enforcement officers would be able to nick 65 touts over a weekend, as the problem is completely out of control. 

Westminster councils parking Marshals who sometimes accompany operation Neon officers have the best record and have issued nearly 3,000 parking tickets. 

Mr Khan has also pledged to clean up the capital’s taxi fleet to make it the “greenest in the world”. 

With a trade struggling financially, Khan and TfL wants us to invest the best park of £60k in an uncertain technology, which has added health risks to drivers that manufacturers and TfL are glossing over.

All taxis in London will from October 3 be required to accept card payments, including contactless. Unfortunately the implementation of this policy has been nothing short of scandalous.


As Sadiq Khan unveiled plans to crack down on illegal minicabs, transport union RMT complained the drive will fail to look at smartphone services like Uber.

The boss of transport union RMT has said the plans fall short, with neither TfL nor City Hall willing to look at the role of "e-hailing" smartphone minicab services like Uber.

Mike Cash, RMT general Secretary said "This practice circumvents the current regulation regime which is there to protect the travelling public. Neither TfL or the Mayor appear to have the will to tackle this blatant flouting of the regulations by the likes of Uber".

"In addition, proposals laid out in a recent consultation review of Private Hire regulations are to be revisited under Mayor Khan's administration. The union is deeply concerned that yet again they fail to regulate the virtual plying for hire of private hire vehicles which is now endemic on our streets."

Veterans skydive in aid of The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled.

Friend of the London Taxi Trade, Frances Luczyc Wyhowska will be doing a skydive of 12000 foot with the Red Devils on 25 Aug in aid of the charity to raise funds for Normandy next year

If anyone wanted to sponsor her this is the link. Another committee member, Graham Pike and two veterans are also jumping

And tag it Frances

Any help as ever gratefully received

Two WWII veterans, Ted Pieri (90) and Fred Glover (92) are undertaking a tandem skydive with the Red Devils on Thursday 25 August 2016 to raise funds for next year’s Taxi Charity D-Day trip to Normandy. 

Ted and Fred will be joined by Taxi Charity committee members Frances Luczyc Wyhowska and Graham Pike.

Ted, who lives in Erith, Kent, joined the 1st Airborne division in 1943. He did his first parachute jump in 70 years in 2015, and enjoyed the experience so much that he’s willing to jump again to raise money for the charity.

Fred Glover was a member of 6th Airborne ‘A Company’ who were tasked with landing within the infamous Merville Gun Battery in 1944. This will be Fred’s first parachute jump since his time in Normandy.

Please watch this short video where London Taxi Driver Allan "Ossie" Osbourne,  talks about why he loves taking the veterans on these trips.


> Please Click On This Link To Donate <

The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled

>See more on YouTube<

Monday, August 01, 2016

Still Blue Peter? Addison Lee, No Prosecution over Rugby World Cup Liveries, Yet Taxi Drivers Reported For Unauthorised Signage.

Ex TfL commissioner Sir Peter Hendy, is still sticking it to the London Licensed Trade Trade Cabbies.
Hendy, became the centre of attention in a sex scandal, when it was revealed he was paying a broke prostitute £140 an hour for sex after finding her on the adult sex website .

While London was watching the Olympics, Hendy was having and adulterous affair with his £140 an hour hooker. 

While in charge of TfL, Hendy allegedly made conditions for Taxi drivers increasingly more stringent while at the same time easing off on regulations governing the licensing of Private Hire. 
Under his watch, Uber was given an operators licence even though they never met the regulations faced by other private hire operators. 

And now it seems, even though Hendy is no longer in charge at TfL, he is still using his influence to stick it to the Taxi trade.

Last week, we were informed that Addison Lee would not be prosecuted by TFL for taking no notice of LTPH and going ahead with their full body liveries advertising the Rugby World Cup in spite of the legislation and regulations governing advertising on PHVs

And yet TfL compliance have decided to warn a Licensed Taxi driver, about his in cab window sticker. 

So it's one set of rules for us.....and no rules it seems for them. 
What say our trade representative bodies.....the silence is deafening !

Leon Daniels Phoned Uber's Jo Bertram At Least 24 Times From TfL Registered Phone.

Following on from the "Ubergate incident", concerning embarrassing emails which were sent between TfL's managing Director of Surface Transport Leon Daniels and Uber's Jo Bertram, it has now been revealed in a Freedom of Information request, that Director Daniels contacted Jo Bertram personally no less than 24 times by phone between June 2014 and April 2015.

The request also shows a further 31 calls were registered from TfL mobile phones between 19th December 2014 and 9th April 2015. 

Telephone calls made between Daniels and Bertram:
11th x2, 13th, 18 June 2014
2nd, 25th x2 July 2014
19th August 2014
25th September 2014
13th October 2014
4th x2, 10th x2, 15th December 2014
19th, 20th January 2015
13th, 16th x3 March 2015
23rd April 2015
1st May 2015
6th June 2015.

Val Shawcross recently explained to collective from the Action4Cabbies group, in future the Taxi trade would only be dealing with three TfL personnel, that being Commissiner Mike Brown, Chief Operating Officer Garett Emmerson and General Manager T&PH Helen Chapman. 

Leon Daniels is no longer overseeing the running of Taxis and Private Hire. It's alleged he has been moved sideways to take on other projects. 

In the bold restructuring, anyone with a conflict of interest will no longer have a seat on the board of TfL. 
Val Shawcross announced to the A4C group that at least half the board including Bob Oddy, Steve Wright and Peter Anderson are to be replaced. 

Full details will be announced once the new board has been fully recruited.

Uber Defeated In China, Sells Business To Rival Company Didi Chuxing

Minicab-booking app Uber has agreed to sell its business in China to rival Didi Chuxing.

The two firms have been fierce competitors, but Didi Chuxing dominates the Chinese market with an 87% share.

Uber China launched in 2014 but has failed to make any profit so far.

Cheng Wei, founder and chief executive of Didi Chuxing, said the two companies had "learned a great deal from each other over the past two years in China's burgeoning new economy".

He added that the deal would "set the mobile transportation industry on a healthier, more sustainable path of growth at a higher level".

As part of the deal, Mr Cheng will join the board of Uber, while Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick will join Didi's board.

Uber's China business will retain its separate branding while US-based Uber Technologies will hold a stake of about 17.5% in the combined company.

Didi Chuxing is backed by Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba, and has also invested in Uber's rival US taxi-booking service Lyft.

Big losses

Uber has been struggling to break into the Chinese market despite having Chinese search engine Baidu as an investor.

In February, the company admitted it was losing more than $1bn a year in China, spending huge sums to subsidise discounted fares.

"Funding their China dreams was becoming too expensive for Uber," Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based consultancy BDA, told the BBC. 

"Many saw it as an obstacle to their own IPO (Initial Public Offering)."

Uber chief Travis Kalanick said that "as an entrepreneur, I've learned that being successful is about listening to your head as well as following your heart".

"Getting to profitability is the only way to build a sustainable business that can best serve Chinese riders, drivers and cities over the long term."

The fierce rivalry had led both companies to heavily subsidise their journeys. The merger is likely to see fewer such subsidies.

"One thing to watch carefully is how quickly consumers feel the impact as subsidies are withdrawn," Mr Clark added.

Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent

If you can't beat them, join them - that may be what Uber's ultra ambitious Travis Kalanick was thinking. This deal may be Uber's best available option on the table.

Uber put up a good fight, there's no doubt about it. And it may not all be bad news.

If the departure from the Chinese market means a sizeable stake in the biggest ride-sharing player in the world's second largest economy, which currently has a potential customer base of some 750 million people, and that's only going to grow - then that's not too shabby.

Recognising this was one fight he wasn't going to win, may well turn out to be a sign of Mr Kalanick's maturity and business acumen in the future.

Didi Chuxing in brief:

  • China's number one taxi-booking app. 
  • Claims to have an almost 90% market share and some 14 million journeys every day.
  • The company is the product of a merger: In February 2015, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache merged to form Didi Kuaidi, later renamed Didi Chuxing. 
  • It is the driving force behind an alliance with India's Ola, South East Asia's Grab and US firm Lyft, allowing users to use their apps to hail from the partner services when abroad.

New rules

The deal with Didi Chuxing comes just days after China agreed to provide a legal framework for taxi-ordering apps.

Both Uber and Didi have welcomed the decision, having previously operated in a legal grey area in the country. 

While the apps are widely popular, they have undermined business for normal taxis and have been met with protests by cab drivers. 

The new rules will take effect on 1 November and will, among other things, forbid such platforms to operate below cost.