Saturday, September 24, 2016

#SaveTaxi's wheelchair fundraiser for Canonbury cycle crash victim who is forced to crawl.

Black cabbies are raising money to buy an electric wheelchair for a disabled customer who currently has to “crawl” to and from their taxis.

Alex Doodle, 44, has been on the lengthy waiting list for three months. The architecture graduate, has relied on black cabs to get around since losing the ability to walk in a cycling collision in Essex Road seven years ago.

But the costs, coupled with the mental healthcare bill, means he has had to survive on full fat milk since November.

And after sharing his story with driver Terry Vaus, who watched them “crawl” from his cab last month, the cabbie called on the close-knit community to raise £3,000 for a chair.

“I feel like a prisoner in my own home,” Alex told the Gazette. “To have the freedom to go out when I want would be life-changing.”

To make matters worse, Alex lives in a first floor flat in Englefield Road, Canonbury, because wheelchair-accessible homes are so scarce (making up just 28 of the 2,000 council properties let in the last two years).

The council has helped Alex get crutches and undergo physiotherapy to use them, but he still has to stumble up and down the stairs, causing up to 15 falls a week. “My neighbour has found me unconscious a number of times,” Alex added.

“I spend most of my money on taxis and mental health services, so I haven’t been able to eat properly since November, but some of these wonderful Taxi drivers have been bringing me baby food. I get full from just half a jar – I’ve also been living off full fat milk.”

Terry said: “I’ve picked up Alex a couple of times and we got chatting about his life.

“When I dropped him off I offered to help, but he really didn’t want me to. I watched him crawling along the wall. He's been pushed from pillar to post. So I posted about him on our Save Our Black Taxis Facebook group and it just went from there.”

Islington’s health boss Cllr Janet Burgess said she was sorry to hear of Alex’s situation and was doing what she could to help, including offering in-home adaptations and mental healthcare.

She said: “I would urge Alex to engage with our services so we can ensure he has all the support he needs.

“While we are building new homes for disabled tenants, demand for properties vastly outweighs supply.”

Donate to Alex’s appeal > Click Here. <

Comment From # SaveTaxi 's Shelly Hartnett

It is a great honour to have been asked to help support a very special #SaveTaxi member and trade supporter! 

Together, let's get him the wheelchair he so desperately needs and with it, a new lease of life.

Thank you to everybody that has already shown support.

Please donate whatever you can and share share share.

Thank you! 

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th September 2016.

Jo StevensShadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General 12:00 am, 15th September 2016 
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing legislation for the taxi and private hire vehicle industries. 

Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)
What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015 relating to taxi licensing on the ability of licensing authorities to regulate taxi trade. 

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
Local councils have the powers to provide effective licensing arrangements in their area, but legislation is in the House to strengthen the current framework. We will consult on new statutory guidance for local licensing authorities once the parliamentary process is complete.

Jo StevensShadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General
I thank the Minister for his reply. Internet and smartphone use has revolutionised private hirevehicle services. Does he believe that current legislation, which is now several decades old, is adequately regulating this technology?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
The legislation that governs this sector goes back many, many more decades, to the age of the horse and carriage. That is why the Government asked the Law Commission to take a comprehensive review of taxi and private hireregulation in England and Wales. Obviously, it is a devolved matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will be responding to the Law Commission’s report in due course.

Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)
Sheffield City Council believes that its tough policy on child sexual exploitation is basically useless because other taxi operators can license themselves outside Sheffield and then operate in Sheffield. Will the Minister meet me and other colleagues from Sheffield city region to discuss taxi licensing in relation to CSE?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
I will be happy to meet the hon. Lady. I just point out that whatever licensing area a company is operating in, it has to ensure that a fit and proper person test is carried out, but I will be very happy to meet her.

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)
May I also welcome the Secretary of State. He knows my city of Cambridge very well. We look forward to him coming to open the new railway station, which is long overdue. He also knows that Cambridge is full of people who think that prisoners should read books and that Britain should be in the European Union. I suggest that he brings a very hard hat with him when he comes.

We heard in an Adjournment debate raised by my hon. Friend Andrew Gwynne about the problems in the taxi trade and the procrastination and inaction over two years since the Law Commissionreport. Some months ago, the Minister told us that he was about to act, and yet in a written question to me a few days ago, he said that the Government have no plans to bring forward legislation in the current Session. How much longer will we have to wait?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
That is a complex matter and we are working on it and through it, but we are already taking action on the key issue of child sexual exploitation in the taxi and private car sector by putting the guidance onto a statutory basis. We hope to be consulting on that as soon as the Policing and Crime Bill has reached Royal Assent.

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)
What a striking contrast with the new Mayor of London, who has done more in a few weeks than his predecessor did in eight years, and more than that lot have done in six years. Does the Ministerrecognise the problem with cross-border licensing? As we have heard, there are councils in this country handing out licences like confetti. These vehicles are clogging up the streets of London and adding to congestion. How much longer will we have to wait until he takes the problem seriously?

Andrew JonesParliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
The Government are clearly taking the issue seriously. I am aware of the actions taken by the new Mayor of London, but it is worth making sure that one gets those actions right; I understand that one of the operators has already won the right to a judicial review.

John BercowSpeaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Order. We started late because of the preliminary announcements, so we can run on slightly, but we must have much shorter questions from now on. To be honest, questions today have been simply far too long.

Former Minicab Driver Jailed For Rape Of West End Clubber

A former mini-cab driver has been jailed for 14 years after raping a woman at knifepoint near a West End club more than two decades ago.

Haci Ibramahain Koc, 53, was caught following a cold case review by the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.

The breakthrough came when detectives made a DNA match with Koc, who had provided a smaple for an unrelated matter in February.

Koc, now living in Devon, attacked the 28-year-old woman when she got into his minicab on May 17 1994, at 2.30am.

During the journey, he stopped the car and dropped the passenger seat backwards.

He then pulled out a knife, held it to her face and cut off a lock of her hair before forcing himself on her.

The terrified woman was eventually able to get out of the car and flee for safety.

Yesterday, at Isleworth Crown Court, Koc was finally convicted of rape and jailed for 14 years.

Detective Inspector Keith Braithwaite, of the Serious and Complex Case Team, said: "Despite the overwhelming forensic evidence against Koc, he still denied the charge against him and went to trial putting his victim in the witness box forcing her to relive her ordeal 20 years on.

"Koc has shown little if any remorse for this horrific crime. I hope the verdict and sentence gives some closure to the victim and would like to thank her for her courage and dignity throughout.”

I'm Spartacus Tells TfL, "Be You Ever So High...The Law Is Above You"

I am getting RSI, blogging, tweeting, speaking and writing to M.P.'s GLA members, Mayors etc etc, about the need for an enquiry into TfL over this and many years.

I see Margaret Hodge is looking into the Garden Bridge, well that's good but it's small beer compare to what's gone on at TfL : Cable Car, CSH, Bow Roundabout, Oxford Street's empty buses, Ubergate, Badgegate, Cash for renewals gate, engagement policygate, war criminals driving PH gate and Dear Jo'gate, etc etc

It's a big list of gates and I am thinking that's the "TfL master plan" plan....If there so much on the 'matters arising' on TfL no one will come near.

Be sure we ain't giving up taking them gates off the hinges, Windsor House!

     'Be you ever so high, the law is above you'

So there we are up at TfL for awarding of the world famous Green Badge, well done all, on the way out people given a 'goodie' bag.....from the LTDA.

Why are they the only organisation given access?

Why don't the UTG camp followers of the LCDC or UNITE say anything?

What's going on here, anyone know?

Does this special treatment come at a price of not questioning TfL, especially now since the 'Dear Jo' Sunday morning emails came to light?

I'm Spartacus.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is the tail wagging the dog? A Message From The UCG To Helen Chapman.

Taxi Leaks Editorial Comment :

Strong words from UCG vice chairman Trevor Merralls.

This is exactly what the drivers want to hear.

But we also want to hear this from all our representative orgs who take our hard earned money in subscriptions.

All this crap we've had about Credit Cards and where to site the PED reader, is not for anyone's benefit, it's been hyped up to keep us divided and fighting amongst ourselves, while Uber's Licence is renewed with as little fuss early next year. 

And it's working extremely well...

The trade can no longer afford to sit back and wait, the trade needs to fight. 

We want our orgs united in this fight....and to fight for us the drivers. 

No longer fighting each other for a place at the engagement table or a seat on TfL's board. This tribal mentality has bought us to the jaws of defeat, and it needs to stop before we are wiped out completely.

We want a public inquiry, and we want it now. 

An inquiry into Uber's cozy relationship with certain TfL officials. Plus, let's not forget the damage that was done by the ones who have moved on.

We want these people bought to justice and yes, we want this NOW. 


Jim Thomas.


Taxi Leaks is a blog which brings you news about the London Taxi trade, with over 3,000,000 hits.

To access the blog, please click the home button below.

Did TfL Relax Regulation On Landline To Assist Uber's Modus Operandi And Get Daniels Off The Hook ?... By Jim Thomas

In the light of the plethora of evidence published in trade journals about the collusion between certain TfLTPH officials, allegedly bending over backwards to help Uber circumnavigate the requirements laid down by the Private Hire Act 1998, you would have thought there'd be no more skeletons left in the TfL closet. But you'd be wrong!

It's now crystal clear that LTPH have been secretly massaging and amending said legislation. 

Below is an email sent to one of our readers by TfL after he repeatedly asked about Uber's original licence application. 

He claims TfL only replied when he copied in his MP.

Part 1....

Part 2....

Apparently, TfL have a new "interpretation" of the requirement for a PH operator to have in place a landline for taking bookings.

TfL are now claiming it's no longer a regulatory requirement for an operator to "maintain a landline once they are licensed an operational"....REALLY ?

If that's the case, then this interpretation makes the initial PHV act laughable. 
It's like saying when you have your vehicle licensed, you must wear a red tie. But after the vehicle is plated, you can then discard that item. 

Many Taxi drivers are now concerned that this part of the act has been massaged by TfL to facility Uber's continuance as a PH operator, helping them operate independently of statutory legislation which, every other PH operator has to adhere to.

The old interpretation seemed to be firmly in place, until Leon Daniels was found to have lied to the GLA transport committee. Daniels presented the GLA with what he said was Uber's public landline number. Turned out to be Jo Bertram's private line.

Now it seems, the requirement from the act of 1998 has been reinterpreted.
Again, drivers are concerned that this was done to get Daniels off the hook, and to keep Uber compliant.

The information recieved by our reader, was also past on to the LTDA back in June. 
Not only have they said nothing about this, they didn't even reply to the driver who copied them into the emails. 

Personally, I can confirm that this issue was not bought up by the LTDA at the all trade representative meeting at Taxi House, called to discuss how our trade should go forward, in light of the Toronto verdict, which I attended on the 3rd of August.
Minutes of this meeting will be posted later this week.

Uber update : Joint initiative yesterday.
TFL Compliance and Met police in Camden. 
 • 74 vehicles stopped. 
 • 64 phvs and 10 Taxis. 

56% of phvs were found to be non compliant, i.e. no insurance.

Yesterday's operation shows without doubt, Uber drivers are not taking the PHV act, regulations seriously. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mayfair Mob : Doing What They Do Best, Getting The Job Done... By Jim Thomas

Marshals on Taxi ranks, that have no power to keep the rank clear of touts and parked cars....unless they are going to do the job properly, what's the point ?
It's no good just standing there drinking coffee and chatting.

Over the last few weekends, the LTDA have been placing marshals at popular Taxi ranks. Looking at the @TheLTDA Twitter feed, they now put out little else.

Occasionally supported by the AddVan, they  tweet every few minutes in what appears to be a massive PR exercise. 

But the problem is, with little to no training, no power, no official support, the whole exercise has become some what embarrassing for them.

Saturday night saw Hakkasan's Taxi rank in Bruton Street, completely lost to touts while LTDA Marshals stood in attendance, not knowing what to do next. Same thing happened when they decided to moved round to Nobu's rank in Berkeley Street.

Last night, the Mayfair Mob showed the trade how it can be done properly. 

Just before midnight, a general tweet exclaimed that Hakkasan's  rank had been over run. 

I was the first cab to arrive and parked opposite. Camera in hand, I approached the cars with roundels and explained TfL had told me to ask them to move, but if they refused, to photograph their vehicles and send details to the @TfLTPH Twitter account which (they claim) is monitored over night by compliance. 

Others Taxis from the Mayfair Mob soon followed, to provided back up.

Most of the PHVs moved immediately, claiming they had only stopped there as the signage is confusing and the rank has no road markings. 

Obviously the odd car, having nothing to fear from LTPH, refused to move. But by making a 101 call in the presence of the driver saying, the old bill are on their way, they don't normally hang about too long.
It took less than 10 minutes to clear the rank and for the rest of the evening Taxis were able to service.

This is what the Mayfair Mob do, not just for photo opportunities, but every night! .... and for free. 

Uber Cashing In On Bomb Explosion, Charging Double To Take Terrified New Yorkers Home

TRAUMATISED families caught up in the New York bomb blast have accused Uber of cashing in on the tragedy by charging almost double to take them home.

Furious passengers have taken to social media to slam the taxi firm in the wake of the blast that killed one person and left 24 injured in the Manhattan area of the city.

COME ON @Uber ???? 1.8 surge pricing after explosion in #Chelsea? I'm disgusted. People are trying to get home safe. Shame on you #DeleteApp

— Jessica Keenan Wynn (@JessicaKWynn) September 18, 2016

My $11 usual ride home to #Chelseafrom Midtown Manhattan was $32 thanks to surge pricing from @Ubercause of #ChelseaExplosion thanks

— Wally A. (@whatiswally) September 18, 2016

This is true. My family and I were out in Manhattan and many of our train lines were closed. Uber prices surged up.

— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 18, 2016

Uber reportedly charged between 1.4 and 3 times the standard fare with one city worker saying he had to pay twice as much as usual.

Mortgage broker Nick Lalli said: “Just trying to get home from the city and Uber f****** doubled the surge price.”

Another Twitter user said: “My $11 usual ride home to Chelsea from Midtown Manhattan was $32 thanks to surge pricing from Uber because of the Chelsea explosion, thanks.”

With authorities turning a blind eye to Uber cars parked up all over the capital, how long before the scenario below, is a stark reality?


Cocked a deaf un!.... That's how our fathers would have called TFL's recent reply.!

The Political arm of TFL is the Mayor, so while he delves into religious politics in the US...and additionally says London is open for business ..its not a real surprise to see his appointee addressing our concerns regarding the steam roller issue of isolated card readers in the rear of our vehicles with an undeserved and flippant attitude particularly from a non front line member who is securely protected member of TFL staff answering the mayors enquiries

They have hit on the technique of basing demonstrative points to balance actionable decisions so bearing that important point in mind:

Why can't TFL demonstrate a few examples of legal statistics themselves under the UK law of the land on this precise matter such as:

 1. Please Can TFL show anywhere in the whole of the UK (excepting TFL) wherby a licensing authority has forcibly imposed a mandatory card processing requirement and where failure to comply that mandate would directly result in a suspension or revoking your current license entirely on that basis ?

 2. Please Can TFL also provide any legal English statutes of law which enforces the acceptance of any card payment against a merchant ( taxi driver) other wise punishable in UK courts?, and separately what basis is a card payment accredited and recognised under UK consumer law in terms of legal tender ?

THESE ARE STATISTICS TFL SHOULD IMMEDIATELY DISCLOSE! (and as they have enough highly paid in-house lawyers to able them to provide this information it could be provided easily)

A simple point of asking the Taxi trade to provide statistics proving taxi drivers are daily being attacked by drunken passengers is a cunning attempt by TFL to "normalise" drunken dissent or violent behaviour as a risk of our job and will therefore be unlikely increase with card processors as being extra risk within the business we do...its a pathetic ploy so im not at all surprised it was asked by TFL in the first place

If TFL does want true statistics about drunken violence against taxi drivers all they have to do is google it,,,, or ask the metropolitan police, so stop wasting our time with this time wasting question and abolish the whole ill dreamt up idea, and concentrate on looking after the licencees who pay their licences to fund their own Licensing authority to act in their interests particularly where safety is concerned, and not for political ideology of the crazy kind.

All drivers must keep the pressure on their MP's Unions and GLA members as any card processors you already have and use should be perfectly acceptable to do your job efficiently and safely particularly as it is fully in your control so not be scrapped for anything else....period!

Be Lucky


The Metropolitan Police estimate only 10% of sexual attacks in PHVs are actually reported.