Saturday, September 10, 2016

Alleged Corruption At TfL TPH, Concerning Top Directors And Managers.

Did you ever stop to wonder, in the light of the hold ups we've witnessed, concerning Taxi driver licence application and renewals, how it could be possible for Uber to get over 600 of their new driver applications licensed every week, for over a year. Many of their applicants without the necessary enhanced DBS record checks!

Allegations have been made, that there's been an agreement in place between Uber and top TfL officers to fast track uber applicants through the system,
 


Allegations made on social media state:
TFL AND UBER ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ENDANGERING THE PUBLIC, BY FAST TRACKING DRIVERS WITH NO CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS, BY ARRANGING EMBASSY SPONSORSHIP. 
WHILE ACTIVELY HOLDING UP LICENSED TAXI DRIVER APPLICATIONS.

Every week more and more evidence is piling up, showing collusion between top TfL officers and Uber. 
The document above is just the latest in a long line of documents leaked to the trade. 

Unfortunately no one seems to know what to do with this mounting of evidence. 
The LTDA have suddenly turn into a cardboard copy of the Mayfair Mob, trying to usurp kudos gained by the Mobs militant activist. (Difference being, the MM have been doing it 7 days a week fir over a year, not just for photo ops and PR to fill the next issue of Taxi)

When will our orgs and a Unions wake up and go to the highest authority in the land and demand a public inquiry into the goings on between Uber and officials from TfLTPH. 

Every day we are subjected to lie after lie from our licensing authority. 

The time has come for answers.....no more questions.....no more let's wait and see.....no more it's all going on in the background.

#NoMore.

Leaflet issued by the Indelendant Taxi Allience 





Summary of Save Taxi meeting with TFL on 8th Sept'16.


Yesterday myself and Artemis met with Silka Kennedy Todd (Head of Taxi and PHV Stakeholder Relations) and Edgerton Rodgers (TPH Compliance Delivery Manager) and had a positive meeting discussing a number of trade issues.

Rather than delay these minutes we have decided to post the points discussed however please note we are awaiting some clarification on a couple of bits of information and will advise asap when the details have been received.

We discussed the following:

We'll start on a positive - Recruitment has started on an additional 250 compliance officers promised which is very welcomed.
They will have CSAS powers to do checks and take drivers off the road for non compliance (an explanation about what CSAS actually is will be posted later). They will work with the police, use Intel and follow up on intelligence collated from TPH division.
They will continue to support the Globe and Neon Operations which uses high visibility enforcement to disrupt and deter illegal touting, plying for hire, obstruction/congestion/waiting around venues and blocking of taxi ranks.

We raised the recent issue of PHV roundels being removed or tampered with and asked how would vehicles be identified to be stopped and checked in these instances. It was confirmed ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) will and already is being used. 
In addition, compliance teams are already working closely with the police on Operation CUBO which specifically targets illegal driver activity including that of no insurance. The police are using a new hand held device which identifies any culprits!

For reference, the number of Taxis v's PHV vehicles being stopped and checked is now pro rota'd for fairness ie. far fewer taxis are pulled in comparison to the number of PHV's  due to the fact that there are far more PHV's vehicles on the road. The % of each sector stopped is comparable.

For info, one of the biggest area's of non-compliance is not wearing s badge for both  PHV and Taxis drivers. 
We have been asked to remind everybody of the requirement to wear your badge. Wear it with pride after all you worked so hard to get it! If nothing else it helps customers to have confidence in the trade that they are being driven by a professional licensed London Taxi Driver.

The new compliance officers will be rolled out between now and next Spring.
TFL would like to really encourage more women to the role and pointed out that there are part time positions so could benefit many parents!
They have clarified that should any taxi driver wish to apply they would have to give up their licence as it would be a conflict of interest! 
They are going to send the link to apply so we can post it should anyone in the group be interested! We will post shortly.

The City of London police are running their own operation targeting the use of fog lights for illegal touting. We will try and get some stats to share at a later date.

Uber v's TFL
We asked for clarification on exactly what did the judge rule at the recent hearing as there was much confusion and conflicting reports.
Basically the legal teams are working on this at the moment and TFL will issue a statement clarifying this and their position next week w/c 12th Sept. We will post this as soon as it has been issued.

What is clear however that the requirement to have H&R insurance in place from when the PHV licence is issued and for the duration of the licence has been upheld. In fact all new PHV applicants are already required to have this since June this year and all existing PHV drivers from 11th July. This is already effective and does not come into force from 1st Oct as with some of the other regulations.
PHV drivers must have their insurance certificate on them in the vehicle (not necessarily on display) should they be asked to present it by either a passenger, compliance or the police. 
6 more TFL admin assurance officers have been employed to receive calls from compliance officers to check valid insurance and follow up with the MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau).
We asked what action is taken against drivers if they 1. are stopped but do not have their insurance docs on them and 2. are stopped but found to not be insured. TFL are going to advise specifically on the start to end process of a couple of different examples and we will post once received. 

Another real positive piece of news is the move to report Taxis and PHV's separately. The Met Police are introducing a new system called 'Copa' which will differentiate between the two going forwards. We expect this to launch approx end Oct (not 100% confirmed) however it is unlikely we will be able to analyse and draw any conclusions from the data collated until next Spring as it will take time to build.

Edgerton thanked everyone that sends through non-compliance reports of any kind of illegal activity and assured us that it all does get reviewed. 
He did ask however for us to remind everybody to please be mindful about the information sent in so that you do not break the law and incriminate yourselves. For instance, you may be reporting somebody genuinely touting or stopped on a taxi rank however on many occasions, the evidence presented is often a video recording on a mobile phone while driving. If this is given to the police to follow up you could end up being prosecuted yourself for holding a hand held device while driving.
Please remember that if you see an incident that needs reporting, ALWAYS get out of your vehicle to record any video evidence or take photo's. 
Nobody is trying to deter anyone from reporting anything and all the information received is very welcome but please put your own safety and licence first! 

To be able to investigate or take action TFL ideally need the number plate, roundel details if possible and date, time & location! Obviously photo's or video's are really helpful but only if you follow the advice above! 

Here is a reminder of the touting links:
https://tfl.gov.uk/forms/12368.aspx
https://tfl.gov.uk/forms/12407.aspx

CREDIT CARD REGULATION
I have collated a list of drivers understanding of what is required so that TFL can directly confirm and clarify if each point is correct. For instance she said they have not issued any instructions that drivers should get into the back of the cab to assist a passenger if the fixed CC machine fails as this had been raised as a real safety issue for drivers recently. She was surprised we thought this had been advised. I explained it is contradictory from the advise given when you get your badge! 
She was keen to understand in what instances we thought this would be necessary and how us supposedly getting into the back would help. She asked what sort of problems we have now with hand helds! 
She said they would be taking a common sense approach to the CC requirements. I explained that is too vague as drivers fear getting stopped and reported by compliance which adds to the stress of the job. We can't work thinking will a particular officer be lenient and take a common sense approach or will they be the one to report by the book! 
I will post everything I receive back in a bid to help clarify our position and resolve any confusion as soon as it is received.

We raised the GQ Awards taxi rank suspension and the anger felt by the taxi trade. We explained that it would of been much fairer and easier to have kept the taxi rank and have a separate PHV area in the car park that the taxis were moved to. I reminded them that the ranks were ours and that we had worked hard to have the right to use them and pay for them out of our license fees! 
I think it is clear to say TFL have listened to the feedback and lessons will be learnt for the future. 
I think we have to take them at their word unless something like this should ever happen again. 

TFL board
Silka confirmed that Helen Chapman is now soley responsible for the taxi and PHV division and works directly with the Deputy Mayor and Mike Brown the Transport Commissioner.
Not new news we know, but she confirmed Leon Daniels and Garret are still at TFL but very hands off and not directly involved in the Taxi and PHV trade.

NIGHT TUBE ADVERT
We asked were they aware of the ad and for
clarification if it had anything to do with TFL.
She categorically confirmed that TFL had not endorsed it or had any involvement in it.
The ad appeared in The Sun on Sunday Magazine called Fabulous on Sunday 4th Sept.

CROSS BORDER HIRING
We asked why a system called Geo Fencing was not made a requirement for Uber to install so that a driver can only receive jobs for the area they are licensed in. Surely this would help the number of out of town PHV's working in London and adding to our congestion! 
We were shocked to learn that this is a massive issue for TFL and compliance but unfortunately PHV legislation which is set by the government and not TFL, states that a PHV driver can work anywhere in the country and it is not illegal to work outside of the town they are licensed in. 
Another issue for TFL is that is they do pull a PHV driver for non-compliance it is also very complicated to enforce our London regulations as they are registered in another town with different rules and compliance! This is a major issue for all of us and one we feel must be addressed with the Government.
We also need to lobby the Government regarding capping PHV numbers as again this ruling is not set by TFL and out of their control.

Regarding PHV's having to pay Congestion charge & extending the operational hours of the CC zone, they are waiting on a steer and decision from Sadiq. They did reiterate that Sadiq is committed to protecting and supporting the taxi trade and that he will be issuing a statement of his plans very soon. We are hoping it will come this side of Christmas but the actual timing could not be confirmed. Changes are beginning to happen and there really are many things being worked on in the background so we must just be patient for a little while longer!

We asked if they would they be open to a TFL/cabbies Q&A meeting at City Hall to engage with drivers and listen/address their concerns - numbers could be managed by balloting tickets. They already hold suburb forums/surgeries so were not opposed to the idea. They are going to look into the logistics and get back to us as apparently something similar had happened in the past. We will let you know the outcome.

Neon Endorcement Results regarding Drive Offs. We ran out of time but they are going to email to clarify exactly what drive offs mean and what is done to follow this up. Do drivers just get away with it? 

Feedback regarding King's Cross - we were asked how we thought the new Enforcement was going that was introduced last week ie.double yellow lines.
I also raised the point about the line of the rank and explained it would be much more logical to have the feeder rank in Camley Street to join the main rank.
This is going to be passed on to the relevant department for review.

Regarding the recent conviction of the PHV driver Mohammad Dalim, a statement from the legal team has been requested and will be forwarded on as they were unable to discuss personal circumstances yesterday  due to confidentiality. 

To finish on a positive note, they confirmed that TFL planned to increase taxi ranks by 20% by 2020 as part of the rank action plan! 

We have agreed to meet again at the end of January'17.

We hope you are agree that there are many positives to be drawn from the information shared with us. While we know there are still many issues, frustrations and wrongs within the trade, things do feel like they are beginning to happen. Regardless of what happens inbetween, we will continue the fight to protect and save our trade and look forward to the next meeting in the New Year to continue our dialogue.

Shelley Harnett

#SaveTaxi ... Stronger together ❤️

Friday, September 09, 2016

Breaking News : TfL take Backward Step In Regards To CC Mandate And Taxi Condition Of Fitness

TfLTPH have clearly shown today, that the Credit Card mandate and associated condition of fitness, is a product of third party interest, rather than what's best for the driver and the passenger. 


News was afoot early in the day when CabVision posted on their Twitter feed, there would now be a "soft launch" to the conditions of fitness concerning the rear fitment of PED machines in Taxis. 

I then spent all afternoon trying to get a statement from the TfLTPH Twitter account, but as normal with important trade issues, my questions were completely ignored. 

It was then left to the Chairman of Dial a Cab to break the news via the Save Our Black Taxis FaceBook account. 


Apparently the details are still being finalised as new legal implications have emerged, and so the date for mandated acceptance has been moved from the 3rd of October to the end of the month 31st October. 

The condition of fitness concerning rear fitted CC machines, has now been moved to 1st Jan 2017 and according to  Mr Rice, that's official.

TfL have so far said nothing but will of course be busy letting all third parties know the new arrangements before they make an announcement to the trade.

NEWS JUST IN FROM TfLTPH :

Amazing, that just 24 hours after #SaveTaxi group meet with TfL to discuss issues and concerns over rear fitting of PEDs, TfL decide to postpone deadline 

Well done ladies 


Letter To Taxi Leaks : Taxi Drivers need to file complaints with London Travel Watch, who may in turn influence the Mayor


This organisation receives more than £1 million a year in taxpayers money and their job is to hold TFL to account for their decisions and policies, which includes buses, taxis, PH and cycling.

It seems that they are not doing their job; yet more wasted public money!

 

 

http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/documents/get_lob?id=4223&age=&field=file

 

http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/home/

 

London TravelWatch is the independent, statutory watchdog for transport users in and around London. Funded by the London Assembly, we speak for all London transport users on all modes of transport. We look into complaints from people unhappy with the response they have received from their transport provider.  We want to see the best journey experience possible for everyone travelling in and around London.

 

If they ‘’want to see the best journey experience possible for everyone travelling’’ then surely they should do something about the hundreds of empty buses, the badly designed Cycle Super Highways which did not comply with the planning process or the issuance of tens of thousands of unregulated Uber licenses , all of which are causing massive congestion and air pollution


Dave Davies. 

MasterCard Sued For £14bn In Largest Ever British Legal Claim Over Credit Card Fees.


Credit card group MasterCard is being sued for £14bn, the largest legal claim in British history, in a landmark lawsuit over allegations that it overcharged 46m UK consumers.

The claim, which MasterCard said it would oppose vigorously, is the first major case under a new framework for class action lawsuits on behalf of multiple claimants. It revolves around fees imposed by MasterCard on businesses that accepted its debit and credit cards between 1992 and 2008.

Law firm Quinn Emanuel, which filed the suit at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, alleges that these charges – known as “interchange fees” – were set at an unlawfully high level and pushed up prices for British consumers.

The claim was brought by Walter Merricks, the UK’s former chief financial services ombudsman, on behalf of around 46m consumers he claims have lost out.

It follows a 10-year legal battle between MasterCard and the European commission that ended in 2014 with the European court of justice concluding that the credit card firm’s fees for cross-border transactions were too high.

In a long statement on its website, the law firm said MasterCard has spurned a chance to settle with the commission, instead of choosing to fight its case through the courts.

“MasterCard lost this battle at every level and showed complete disregard for its cardholders and consumers at large, focusing instead on generating unlawful profits,” Quinn Emanuel said in a statement.

Merricks, who spent 10 years in charge of oversight of British financial firms, said: “The filing of this claim is the first step towards consumers obtaining compensation for what MasterCard did.

“MasterCard charged billions of pounds of unlawfully high fees for its sole benefit and to the detriment of consumers. It has already been found to have broken competition law, the basis of which was to protect consumers, and that cannot be disputed.

“There is no basis upon which MasterCard can contend that its card fees were not unlawful.”
He said that because MasterCard’s fees had already been ruled unlawful in the European court, the claim need only prove that consumers suffered losses as a result.
Under the UK’s framework for lawsuits on behalf of multiple people, which was overhauled in the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, anyone who lost out is automatically eligible for compensation unless they opt out explicitly.

Boris Bronfentrinker, a Quinn Emanuel partner, said: “Despite criticising this action publicly in July and further insulting consumers by referring to the UK’s new collective action regime as ‘unfortunate’, MasterCard has since turned over evidence [witness statements and expert reports] that allows us, even at this early stage, to robustly value the claim at £14bn.

“They are now preparing for a tough legal battle which we estimate will go to trial in 2018 unless they are prepared to make UK consumers a fair settlement offer before then.”

He said MasterCard had made “no effort” to compensate consumers who lost out, despite acknowledging that the fees had been passed on to them.

“It is not clear how MasterCard can now turn around and argue the opposite to prevent our case from succeeding,” he added.
MasterCard said: “Now that the claim has been filed, we will take time to review it in detail, however we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.

 “We deliver real value through the benefits of security, convenience and consumer protection, and we are committed to investing in our payment services in order to continue to meet the rapidly evolving needs of all our customers.”

In a separate blog post, the company said interchange fees are good for consumers and said similar cases in the US had been thrown out of court. Interchange fees are paid by a retailer’s bank to the bank that issued a credit card used in any transaction. The retailer’s bank then charges the retailer to cover its cost. The fees are fixed by credit card companies and are often incorporated into the prices that shops then charge consumers.

Funds linked with Chicago-based Gerchen Keller Capital, the world’s largest litigation funder, will provide up to £40m to fund the litigation.

There has been one previous case under the new rules on collective action lawsuits, on behalf of pensioners who claim they paid too much for their mobility scooters. But the case against MasterCard is the first to test rules intended to allow suits on behalf of vast numbers of claimants.


Thursday, September 08, 2016

New Dress Code For Taxi Drivers, Plus Licensing Authority In-House MOT's

Taxi drivers in Scarborough will have to adhere to a new dress code under proposed new rules put forward by the borough council.

MOTs must also be carried out at the council’s depot under the plans, which will go out to consultation later this month.

The authority has admitted that it knows its proposals will not be popular but it is determined to ensure the service is consistent and professional.

A report, which will go before the council’s Licensing Committee, states: “As a minimum standard, males should wear long legged trousers or tailored shorts and a collared shirt which has a full body with either short or long sleeves.

“As a minimum standard, females should wear long legged trousers, knee length skirt or dress and a collared shirt or blouse which has a full body and short or long sleeves.

“Footwear for all drivers shall fit around the heel of the foot and allow for safe operation of the vehicle.”

T-shirts with offensive slogans, hoodies, sandals, football tops, tracksuit bottoms and clothes with holes or visible damage would all be banned.

The authority admits that forcing drivers to have their car’s MOT carried out in Scarborough will be unpopular.

The report adds: “The Council is aware that the requirement for all vehicle MOT tests and compliance checks to be undertaken at the council depot in Scarborough is of concern to the trade. 

“Presently an MOT may be undertaken at any MOT certified garage, anywhere in the country, with the additional compliance checks being undertaken by Licensing Officers over a two week period, twice a year.

“The consistency of existing MOT tests is of concern, particularly considering the results from two licensed vehicle operations conducted since October 2015, where faults were found with vehicles which had only recently undergone and passed an MOT test.”

A Level Playing Field.... Or Deregulation By Stealth To A One Tiered Service?

News broke over the weekend that the DVSA were going to scrap the Taxi driver test as from December 2016.

Yes, you heard it right, after many years of calls for a more level playing field regarding the standard of driving for Taxi and private hire drivers, the DVSA, instead of calling for all private hire drivers to undertake the same driving standard requirement, have decided to scrap the Taxi driver test altogether.

The decision came out of the blue and Local Authorities were only officially informed this Tuesday.

On the face of it, the decision is unbelievable! 
Over 200 Local Authorities have mandated the DVSA test as a requirement for Taxi drivers Licence.

The DVSA have a captive market for this.

The only reason I can see to relinquish this Money spinner is the Government intend to deregulate further and see this test as a barrier to new entrants (refugees) seeking to enter the trade.

I think the situation requires close scrutiny.

TfLTPH put out this statement on social media, today:

'We have been advised by DVSA that they will stop delivering taxi driving tests on 31 December....

A driving test will still be a licensing requirement, but they will no longer be provided by the DVSA.'

Meanwhile in London, it is widely believed that the Government/TfL are on course for a full scale Private Hire deregulation to break the back of the Taxi trade. 

On Tuesday, TfLTPH put out a notice that the Licensed Taxi rank at the Tate Modern, installed at a cost met from the licence fee of Licensed Taxi drivers.....would be suspended to assist the dropping off of passengers arriving for he GQ magazine awards, an event attended by Mayor Sadiq  Khan. 

  TfL's sign, being unsigned has no legal standing.

A notice was also attached to the rank post. 
What happened next was absolutely disgraceful. Far from being a place where attendees could be dropped off, it turned into a toutfest of unbooked PHVs. Taxis were stopped by marshals from using the rank, which was being used by private hire cars as a private hire rank. 


While minicabs took control of the rank directly outside the main exit point if the venue, Taxis had to queue in Great Guilford Street. 


The whole situation became a shambles as pre booked PH vehicles were blocked in by packs of touts. No compliance officers were visable at the location to stop the illegal plying for hire, but in a bid to save face, TfLTPH put out this series of tweets


We would stress at this point that although previously informed by TfL, not one representative from the Licensed Taxi orgs connected to the Joint Ranks Committee bothered to turn up and check out the proceedings. The unfolding saga was documented quite clearly on social media throughout the evening and into the early morning. 

A colleague of Taxi Leaks phoned LTDA's Richard Massett Wednesday afternoon, for clarification on what had transpired the previous night at the Tate Modern. 

Executive committee member Massett, also chair of the Joint Ranks Committee, said he had been informed of the notice to suspend the rank, but had no idea what had happened. 

Is this the best we can expect to get, after paying money to this org, to represent our best interests?

EXTRA COMMENT:
For those who find the DVSA decision confusing, this from the NPHA 

Dear Members:

We sent you an email earlier today concerning the fact that we have had confirmation, from both the Department for Transport and the DVSA, that taxi assessments will not be conducted after 31 December. Any bookings made and a slot allocated before that date will go ahead.

There seems to be some confusion on this point:  the DVSA test is for taxi driving; nothing to do with vehicle testing.   Those of you whose councils already mandate the DVSA taxi driving test will know exactly what we’re referring to.  

As far as vehicle testing is concerned, that is still very much a local issue regulated by local conditions on the vehicle licence.

No doubt licensing authorities will be considering how to account for this development in their policies over the coming weeks.  If your licensing authority currently mandates the DVSA taxi driving test as a pre-condition of being granted a taxi or PHV licence – or indeed requires this for existing licence holders as well – you may wish to approach the council and make enquiries as to their future plans and requirements.

As always, we welcome your reaction and input on this matter; we have endeavoured to advise you as soon as we got confirmation.

Thank you for keeping in touch.

Best regards,

Donna D Short (Mrs)

Director/Company Secretary

National Private Hire Association

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Taxi Divers Strike Action Over Access To Cambridge Rail Station, Supported By Local MP

Daniel Zeichner, Cambridge MP, centre, backs taxi drivers.

Taxi drivers are threatening strike action and launched a petition to save Cambridge station rank fearing “chaotic" scenes and clashes with other road users if it is moved.

Cambridge Hackney Carriage Association, which represents more than 200 taxi drivers, fears changes at the rail station will mean they are being sidelined as transport bosses “pander to cyclists and buses".

The association is being backed by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner.

Paul Bradley, General Secretary of the association, said: “We are concerned that the public Station Road rank where it always has been near the station is being taken by stealth. It is in everybody's interest for it to remain there and for taxis to have access through the bus gate so they can safely exit away from the Station Road rank instead of the congestion at the new drop off/pick up point which they have allocated to taxis, deliveries and the public all in a little area. I think this will be chaotic and a lot worse than is currently there now.

“There are other options to consider which can work better without pandering to just buses and cycles. We are doing our best to avoid demos and strikes but if we are not listened to and our views at the least considered, I fear this may happen."

He added: “We have started an online petition to 'Save the Station Rd Rank' and hope the public to get behind this too as its their rank and the will be affected greatly too."

The petition says: “They plan to relocate the Station Road public taxi rank to an obscure location. Cambridge Hackney Carriage Association (CHCA), a voluntary organisation, are campaigning to keep the public taxi rank, that has been serving the public for decades.

“The operational taxi rank is currently close to the bus stop, flats, shops and most importantly, it's seconds away from the station doors. That makes it part of the hub. Why is this important? New plans will mean the public will have to walk for several minutes, possibly pulling luggage in adverse weather conditions (rain, cold, snow, etc) to the far end of Station Road where they have to cross a busy junction to get a taxi. Public safety cannot be compromised.

“This will affect everyone including people with disabilities (wheelchair users), the elderly, lone travellers, visitors, tourists, families with young children. Consequently this will affect customer experience and will inconvenience rail users."

Part of CB1's highly anticipated Station Square will open this month, station operator Abellio revealed.

The area right outside the existing station building will provide space for a taxi rank, disabled parking, short stay parking bays and drop-off points.

Rising bollards will be fitted in Station Road, meaning only walkers, cyclists, buses and some delivery vehicles will be able to access the interchange directly. Taxis and cars will use the northern access road to get in and out of this part of the development.

Tom Scullion Follows His Article, With Letter To Local MP Emily Thornberry.


Dear Emily 

Thank you for you letter dated 24 August 2016 and the copy of the Mayors response which, at best, is disappointing I have attached a link to a journal published today on social media highlighting the taxi trades plight and the lack luster responses from Tfl and the Mayor 


As you can see Tfl are actively supporting illegal practices from the PHV market and neglecting the Taxi trade at every turn. 

We the Taxi trade have tried every diplomatic avenue to reach out to the Mayor and Tfl and have received  "short shrift"  and false promises. Now the trade will protest on the Streets bring London to its knees, not something I agree with, but I can see why the Taxi trade has been forced to raise awareness to the general public. 

PHV drivers licensed by Tfl are not safe and we need clear demarcation between Taxis and PHV drivers. All of Tfl's reporting lump both sectors togethe for example, last year Tfl reported (after a FOI request) that 154 sexual  attacks including 32 counts of rape were committed by Taxis and PHV drivers... The reality is none were committed by Taxis.

The same applies to claims experienced in terms of accidents. PHV drivers crash all day every day because Uber encourage their drivers to work 80 plus hours per week with a workforce, many of whom are driving in the UK for the first time, under European driving licenses. We the Taxi trade who by the way are the safest surface transport provider in the World, are paying hefty insurance premiums as a result.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support an hope you will continue to see both sides of this very sad predicament in the future.

Kind Regards

Tom Scullion

Broken Promises And The Final Straw.....by Tom Scullion


I recently read that PHV drivers are removing their Tfl badges from their cars to avoid detection from the police and Tfl, these drivers are never going to have H&R insurance and we all know that they can get away with it due to the lack of interest from Tfl and plod. Tfl are very quiet over the ANPR controls...

The PHV industry know they can get away with murder due to the complete lack of enforcement from Tfl, case in point , PHV drivers and company's "pass themselves off" as Taxi companies type in a search on google for taxis at Heathrow airport you will not find one single Taxi company


Tfl  are supposed to police the Internet to prevent false advertising from unscrupulous company's but they just can't be bothered,  no wonder the PHV industry cut every corner in terms of CRB checks and proper H&R insurance.

I still can't get my head around the amnesty period for PHV drivers to comply with the law in terms of hire and reward insurance Tfl know that most of the 110,000 PHV drivers in London are not properly insured and are let loose on the general public.

These drivers do not have to adhere to the law of the land until October 1st 2016, in the interim, Tfl are guilty of allowing the general public to be placed at risk under their watch, fully in the knowledge that a large percentage of mincabs licensed by Tfl are uninsured.

Fleet control and compliance:

Tfl's new enforcement squad should write to every mini cab driver and request current photos of vehicles with badges, a copy of their hire and reward insurance, MOT expiry dates  CRB etc Tfl could create an electronic form to allow the drivers to upload the documents and photo's and any driver who does not comply with this request should have their license revoked with immediate effect and if a driver is caught driving without validation from Tfl should have their car impounded then sold at auction and a life time ban from holding a PHV license.

Question :

When are Tfl and the Mayor going to invoke the congestion charge for PHV drivers in London the reason I ask is that the Mayor has not stuck to his word in regards to a "Renaissance for the Taxi trade" 

We as a trade, are furious with false promises and no actions from the Mayor or Tfl instead, we have over aggressive Tfl plastic enforcement offices hassling Taxi drivers for not having the requisite amount of No smoking stickers, why the sudden purge has there been complaints by the public seeing punters smoking in the back of cabs ? No... not a one,  its just Tfl's way to retaliate to the voice of the trade who have highlighted Tfl's woeful management of the Taxi and private hire product.


We were promised :

Full access to every bus lane 

An expansion of operation Neon and other enforcement initiatives 
More Taxi ranks and rest areas across London
Control over Uber drivers at Heathrow airport and the surrounding areas to stop the disgusting behavior by Uber drivers, an update from Tfl and HAL regarding the Uber feeder park would be welcome but not forthcoming in the very near future
Please share the stats on Uber park movements and the amount of visits of Tfl inspection officers week on week. 

A Green finance package to purchase or lease "New technology, environmentally  friendly Taxis" there was talk of Tfl bulk purchasing from the manufacturers and passing the discounts onto the cab drivers
A request to government for VAT exemption for "Green Taxis".

And what did we get so far:

No congestion charges levied on PHV
No restrictions on the boundaries where London PHV drivers can operate it should work like a suburban drivers license, but no, TfL allows their PHV drivers to operate out side the M25 and all around the country some reports as far as Bristol we see them plotting up at Gatwick, Luton and Stansted  airports emblazoned with their Tfl Licence giving the public the impression that they are legal and above board, nothing could be further from the truth, where do Tfl draw the boundary line?


The latest fiasco is the credit card acceptance in London Taxis, we all accept and agree with 100% acceptance but Tfl have railroaded these project forcing drivers to pay hundred of pounds to a cartel of company's who can supply a fixed unit in the back of our Taxis without any risk assessment of the dangers to the Taxi drivers who will be enticed into the back of the cab by the criminals who will, I can assure you,  rob and attack Taxi divers. There is a reason for a partition window in a Taxi it's there to separate the passengers from the drivers to protect both parties. 

The trade have had enough of words and false dawns and have now voted on mass to  demonstrate on the streets of our Capital city to make the public aware of the dangers of the PHV industry and the recent FOI report that Tfl did not want to be published, why did Tfl want to hide the facts from the public? We don't want to do this,  but if Tfl want to kill our trade their will be ramifications.


Favoritism

Tfl have a "special relationship with Uber" un minuted cozy meetings, coaching from senior Tfl management, super tolerance over the operators license in three buildings none of which complied with the rules in terms of insurance and call center requirements, they still don't have a land line ffs. 

Surprise, surprise Uber are taking Tfl to court over the Mayors cast iron decision to level the playing field with a compulsory English language test. I hope Mayor Khan will defend his promise and take Uber to task through the courts.

This will test the metal.

Road management or lack thereof: 

We as a trade have endured months of unnecessary hardship and financial loss due to Tfl's stupid SCH which has not improved safety, congestion or air Quality, in fact,  it has proved to be a complete unworkable, ill conceived disaster from start to finish.

We need to STOP this lunacy now, Tavistock Place needs to restored to its former glory, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street need to have full inclusion of Taxis as we our part of the surface transport infrastructure as important if not more than any empty bus clogging the streets of our Capital.

Tfl have forced our hand, all acts of diplomacy has been  has been met with a slap in the face, every straw has a breaking point.

Be lucky

Tom Scullion

Monday, September 05, 2016

Night Tube Advert, Insults The Licence Taxi Trade....UCG Complain To Commissioner Mike Brown


Offensive and Inappropriate, Night Tube Advert.

Mr Brown,
I am writing to you to complain about a night tube advert run by TfL that is both misleading, offensive and wholly unbecoming of TfL as the Taxi regulator.

I find it beggars believe that I should be writing such an email to a professional public body as to the tone and content of one of it's adverts.

There is a night tube advert of which a copy of the image has been forwarded to me by one of my members genuinely upset and aggrieved at this.

Upon opening this image I too was shocked, how could an advert like this pass any type of scrutiny before being released, this of course assumes that it is thoughtless, careless and stupid rather than vexatious.

I enclose a copy below, the words that cause offence are:

THE NIGHT TUBE
Tourists and Londoners rejoice! The central and Victoria lines run at night on Fridays and Saturdays, so no more drunken 3am chats with a black-cab driver for us.


What is this supposed to mean? That Black cab drivers are drunk while driving passengers? That conversing with a black cab driver is disdainful? The very fact that a cab driver is out there driving passengers home safely (while their wives/husbands/partners are at home in bed) seems to have escaped you, we too would like to sleep at the same time as our families. Working shift patterns is stressful, places great strain on family life and complications for long term health.

The gratitude we receive from our regulator is a disrespectful slur on our character, the fact it comes from our regulator suggests that even our regulator is subliminally telling passengers not to use us. The closing words "for us" is meant to mean what?

You do know that Londons Taxis have been driving your tube staff home late at night on discounted rates for many years. Is that what is meant by "for us"?

On behalf of the London Taxi Trade I insist that this advert and all it's electronic images are forthwith removed immediately and a full apology made to the London Taxi Trade.

I have also made a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency.

Len Martin
Chairman
United Cabbies Group



      Uber today outside Sutton Station, openly touting.





STILL THINK THERE'S A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD ?