Saturday, November 12, 2016

Are Uber Using TfL To Licensing Vehicles To Work In Areas Where They Can't Get An Operator's Licence ?


Flags of Convenience....remember that term?

It applied  to 'coffin' ships registered in jurisdictions where safety standards were low and employment protection non existent. 

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable seafarers killed, injured and underpaid.

Ring any bells?

We have TfL licensed PH operator encouraging drivers to go to cities and airports outside their licensing district to cover work at predatory rates below cost with the intention to kill off long standing local operators and taxi trades, forget any local democratic process or decisions, it matters not.

TFL state the law allows this (case law says it doesn't TfL) and many local authorities have just inserted a condition (just like our mandated acceptance of CC) that their licensed vehicles have to work exclusively or almost so in their area, you don't need an Act of Parliament just a notice changing the conditions.

If you tried Plying for Hire (and that IS what they are doing) outside the Met you would be nicked.

TfL won't act of course as its their (Dear Jo) favoured partner and it's my view that they are implementing national 'standards' for PH as proposed by the Law Commission by stealth with the tacit agreement of the Department of Transport and have found an operator willing to do so.


Of course release of the Sexual Assault statistics would cause a national outrage and could cause the agenda to hit the rocks, will they ever be published in any meaningful format?

Small matters as to the fiction of bookings taken in London (Uber's office isn't staffed 24/7 so it can't be true), and it's billed in Holland to avoid VAT despite HMRC guidance, other 'legal' tax avoidance, bogus MOT's and Medicals endangering the public are more casualties of the grand plan.

If any of that passes a 'Fit and Proper' test then the test surely isn't fit or proper?

100,000 plus licence fees plugs a big hole in the budget and tops up the bonus trough at TfL. 

Small local authorities fees and cab operators are again just collateral damage.

So the London scandal has gone nationwide, other countries are acting why not us?

On Sunday I will be on the Poppy Cab run with our valued ex service folk who we all are so very proud of.

Monday onwards I will be ashamed that the likes of the management of TfL are my fellow citizens.

Next up for TfL, licensing Pedicabs, waiting areas for them, ever more pollution and congestion, more sexual assaults etc etc.

'A land fit for heroes'

No longer.

I'm Spartacus


These Ubers being used in Brighton are licensed by TfL.... shame on you LTPH

EXTRA COMMENT FROM LES REID:

Hi Jim
 Read your piece on Cambridge Uber being hackneys.

Cambridge unlike London is governed by the LGMPA Act of 1976.

Hackneys which use UBER's surge pricing are committing a CRIMINAL offense each time they do so.

I attach the relevant section of the 1976 act.

67 Hackney carriages used for private hire (1) No hackney carriage shall be used in the district under contract or purported contract for private hire except at a rate of fares or charges not greater than that fixed by the byelaws or table mentioned in section 66 of this Act, and, when any such hackney carriage is so used, the fare or charge shall be calculated from the point in the district at which the hirer commences his journey. 
 
(2) Any person who knowingly contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence.

Les.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New UberX Service -Using Licensed Taxis- Launches In Cambridge....Hailed A 'Disaster'.


The UberX app has launched in Cambridge using Hackney Taxis. Already the scheme has been hailed a 'disaster' for other cabbies in the city.

The company claims the new app has already proved “hugely popular” with availability in more than 20 towns and cities across the UK.

But Rashel Mohammed, chairman of Cambridge Hackney Carriage Association which represents about 200 drivers in the city, claims Uber is a disaster for the industry.

He said: “Uber on the surface may seem like a reputable company. If anything- they are very destructive to the industry. As soon as they gain a strong hold, the balance of power shifts irreversibly in Uber’s favour. Then, both the drivers and passengers have very little choice.”

Paul Bradley, vice chairman of the association, said: “We don’t have a problem as they have a operator’s licence and have said they are using local private hires so are working within the law like our other companies. 

"I’m not sure how they can use the Hackneys because it’s my understanding that Uber’s price is worked out on their app but hacks have to by law, use the meter set by the city council within the city boundaries.

“I would like to remind people that if it’s the technology people like our own company’s such as Panther and A1 Cabco have had this for a while available for download where you can load on your credit/debit card and track your taxi coming to you and your journey is recorded.

“My only fear is that if they get bigger here the London Uber Prius cars will then come along and cause similar chaos as they are creating on London roads.

“We welcome competition as long as it’s a fair playing field.”

And commenting on the News Facebook page, Florian Arapi said: “Disaster Uber,with drivers not knowing were they’re going. And the worst £5 charge if you cancel the ride, be careful don’t fell asleep on Uber you might end up miles from your destination.”

Simon Wynn added: “Good old Cambridge council giving a license to a company that is single-handily ruining a industry. A company that is worth billions while their driver’s work all the hours under the sun while making £5 an hour. Also with the City Deal we are meant to be getting cars off the road but they have now opened the flood gates to what could be hundreds and hundreds of so called taxis.”

The Uber app allows anyone to book a trip with a licensed private-hire driver at the touch of a button. Now users in Cambridge can download the smartphone app and book a taxi.

A journey to King’s College from the city rail station would cost £5.80 and from Market Street to the Science Park will cost from £8.65.

Fred Jones, Uber’s general manager in Cambridge, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be launching in Cambridge today. There has been a lot of anticipation for Uber’s arrival and already more than 20,000 people in the city have opened the app in the last three months. From today we’re looking forward to helping people get a safe and affordable ride at the touch of a button.

“This launch also means that locally licensed private-hire drivers can now apply to use the Uber app and become their own boss – choosing when they want to drive.”

All drivers using the Uber app in the UK are licensed for private hire and Cambridge drivers will have a license from Cambridge City Council which includes an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)  check - the same checks as black cab drivers and care workers 

EDITORIAL COMMENT :

Uber operate outside London using Vehicles licensed by TfL. Mayor Kahn said in the run up to the Mayoral elections that the first time Uber broke the rules, he would run them out of town and revoke their licence. Kahn lied.

Here we have an example which is happening all over the UK. Vehicles licensed by TfL are illegally working in areas that Uber are not licensed to work in. Their philosophy is to seek forgiveness rather than permission. 

   

The driver of this vehicle is clearly operating illegally and has been reported to TfL. TfL don't deal directly with complaints against private hire drivers, they refer the complainants back to the operator - who in this case is Uber. 

Uber are allegedly encouraging it's drivers to operate illegally and so the circle goes round and round. 

Free Advertising On All Taxis : Is The Trade Being Mugged Off ?

The headline says it all, are we being mugged off with the TfL mandate of credit card acceptance?

Look at they way it's been implemented:
  • Only certain providers have given a carte blanche 
  • This select few will be able to charged the driver whatever they want in the future with no guarantees. 
  • Drivers are being forced to sign a lengthy contract or lay out hundreds of pounds to use an independent machine that could soon be obsolete if TfL mandate meter connectivity.
  • Many small business refuse to accept Amex but we're told we have to.

Anyway my attention has been drawn to the stickers that TfL insist that we have to have in our taxis!
Why are TfL insisting we display various commercial logos on a public information notice. 
Are we not advertising Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diners club? 


If this is the case, why are we letting them advertise on our (or the proprietors) property free of charge ? 

I believe we should be contacting these companies and demanding they pay each vehicles owner a payment for the ads , let's say...£1000 pa would be fair. 
Someone somewhere is getting paid by these companies and in my personal opinion, I wouldn't mind betting TfL are in receipt of a nice little earner. 

I know the ITV's successful soap Emmerdale, are paid to advertise contactless payments. Watch next time someone buys something in the cafe or shop with signage prominent in all the shots.

What we display on our vehicles should be our own personal choice, not some TfL manager or TfL Board Member with a conflict of interest. 

If TfL are going to insist we have to have these advertisement style stickers under conditions of fitness, then we should be paid in the same way drivers with super sides or drop down seat adverts are paid.

Would any proprietor let four massive global companies advertise in four prominent places in their Taxis forever more, free of charge ?

Would TfL let us advertise our Taxi apps on the sides of their buses, or on their underground rolling stock, free of charge ?

Regards 
Zola25 

EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM I'M SPATACUS :
Why do these signs contain the wording "This taxis NOW accept credit and debit card payments"?
I was taking card payments when Leon Daniels was still working at the bus garage, before the disastrous decision to create TfL was even on the horizon.

It's all smoke and mirrors, spin and PR. 
We are portrayed as the 'awkward squad', the reason is simple....it's because we've  exposed their flawed and questionable decisions, the biased treatment of us and it seems every other PH operator except the infamous 'Dear Jo' one.

I think Khan and Shawcross just thought we were exaggerating when they came to office, they are now like rabbits,p caught  in the headlights about what to do over the ingrained attitude at TfL who believe they are beyond accountability.

We need to keep up the pressure, on and on and on. 
Eventually the dam will burst. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ever Wondered Why TfL Are So Adamant That Taxis Must Take Credit Cards...by Gerald Coba.


So a certain TfL board member Mr Ron Kalifa, is Deputy Chairman of credit card system provider WorldPay and is also a non executive director of Visa Europe.

WorldPay has a subsidiary called WorldPay Uk which makes the ingenico card machines which (among others) have been authorised by TfL for use in London Taxis.

It could be argued that Mr Kalifa has a strong financial interests in Taxi accepting CCs....it could also be argued that he has a conflict of interest?

I bet @TheLTDA 's political advisers will be all over this....not.

This is what is on TfL's website, in regards to Mr Ron Kalifa

Ron Kalifa was appointed Deputy Chairman of Worldpay in 2013. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer for over 10 years, building and leading Worldpay into the premier global payments company it is today. Worldpay is the pre-eminent FinTech company in Europe and is one of the largest payments companies globally.

Ron has been a driving figure behind the success of Worldpay, one of the world's largest payments companies, which last year became the UK's most significant FinTech IPO when it listed on the London Stock Exchange.

With over 15 years' experience within the global payments industry, Ron holds responsibility for the strategic direction of this FTSE 100 business which employs over 5,000 employees across 25 offices in 13 countries. Ron has extensive experience of the payments ecosystem - including card payments, cash management and trade finance and transaction banking.

Ron is also an independent consult to Advent and its advisers on a variety of issues, particularly in relation to new investment opportunities.

Ron has spent part of his career in the USA as well as Europe.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

UCG's Letter to Theresa May, Hand Delivered 8th November 2016


Letter from United Cabbies Group, to The  Prime Minister; The Rt Honorable Theresa May.
Hand delivered to 10 Downing Street November 8th 2016

 
 
November 8th 2016
 
The Right Honorable Theresa May
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA
 
Dear Prime Minister,
 
I write to you as the General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group (UCG) a trade body that represents the interests of the Hackney Carriage drivers in London, and other UK cities.
 
Our members have called upon us to arrange a formal protest, today, as they now have no confidence, in TfL and its management team; today, we, the Licensed Taxi Trade, bring our discontent with TfL to Whitehall to raise awareness of serious threats to London. We do not call these protests without giving serious consideration to the affects they have, on the general public and we apologise for any inconvenience our protest may cause; however, we feel we are left with no other option as we have exhausted every possible avenue in our attempts to get Transport for London to address our concerns.
 
 
2. Whilst we have a number of unresolved issues with the day to day administration at TfL, our main focus is on health, safety and the economy.
 
A number of recent reports, on the worrying decline in London’s air quality, coupled with excessive journey times, have resulted in an unsustainable increase in traffic congestion, this manifests itself in pollution taking London well above safe limits.
 
Approximately 9,500 people are dying prematurely every year, twice as many as previously thought. London has breached EU safety limits on NO2 for five consecutive years. (source King's College London)
 
Oxford Street has the worst NO2 levels in the world.
 
As working Taxi Drivers we are exposed to this toxic pollution more than any other road user; it is often suggested that the Taxis we drive disproportionately contribute to these levels, whilst this is true, it is not of the driver’s choosing. We have a very limited choice over the model of Taxi and design criteria of the vehicles we drive. Transport for London have failed to provide the Taxi trade with an affordable choice of vehicle that is more environmentally friendly and thereby allowing us to compete in an increasingly competitive market.
 
Buses (subsidised by TfL)  are the highest polluters, of all vehicles on London’s roads,  followed by Private Motor cars (because of the number of them on the roads at any time) Taxis are in third place. (source King's College London)
 
3. Another consequence is that of massive real loses to London’s economy. We have used official figures to calculate the loss of productivity, to London every year.
The figures are simply staggering and costly; anybody who needs to travel for business, logistics or the emergency services can attest to this.
 
Transport for London has implemented road traffic management policies that have caused serious damage to London’s health and wealth.
 
When Leon Daniels took on the role of surface transport director at TfL  road speeds in London averaged 8.98mph. This is now below 7mph.
 
Sustrans reported in 2014 that 9.6 million trips as car driver/passenger were taken every day (this figure is rising). Based on official figures London is losing 1.4 billion hours, every year, stuck in traffic jams, creating congestion, pollution and costing UK businesses millions of pounds, of lost income.
 
There are a number of other worrying issues regarding TfL and their fitness to run London’s transportation system.
One of the most concerning issues is the continual rise in rape and sexual assault figures pertaining to Private Hire drivers in London; TfL have failed in their duty to protect the public and their licensing practices must be investigated. The last published figures showed 111 sexual assaults, committed by Private Hire Drivers; the latest figures, that were due to be released in September 2016, are still unavailable and despite FOI requests remain so. Leaked information suggests this has risen to 263 for the six months to September.                                                

4. There have been several allegations of corruption at TfL ranging from contracts awarded for underground 3G infrastructure to tendering for bus contracts.
 
There is an individual who has claimed he was directly told that unless he submits a payment, his solution to a pollution problem will not be accepted. (I have this person's details and he has repeated this accusation to me)
 
There are also some very dubious and questionable relationships between senior TfL staff and mini cab company Uber that have been uncovered, in leaked emails, amounting to “Coaching” answers to difficult questions, that would expose illegal behaviour. We believe this was done with the sole purpose of misleading the public and the Greater London Assembly (GLA).
 
 
There is also the Security risk from lack of enforcement on counter terrorism. A while ago, there was the potential for two very serious incidences. A Private Hire Vehicle (AKA mini cabs) was left unattended, outside a London nightclub whilst filled with gas cylinders; the vehicle was towed away (oblivious to the danger) and upon unloading, at the car pound, a bomb was discovered - fortunately it failed to detonate. A second vehicle, disguised as a mini cab, was identified nearby, by police - that also failed to detonate. With so many PH vehicles parked outside venues and TfLs total lack of effective enforcement this could happen again but next time with unimaginable dire consequences
 
5. TfL is an organisation with a budget of £10.4bn 2016/7 but is not accountable to anyone. Even the Mayor seems to have no power to deal with this behemoth of an organisation that is now very apparently out of control.
 
There is something very seriously wrong at TfL but this is not just our view. A recent GLA future proof report, described TfL as “woefully inadequate ; we believe this warrants an inquiry.  We therefore formally request that you grant a Statutory Public Inquiry. For the sake of London's, Health, safety and wealth.
 
We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you or your representatives in order to discuss our concerns in further detail.
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Len Martin
General Secretary
United Cabbies Group




Police Play Dirty: Is It Time To Take The Gloves Off ? By Jim Thomas

        View from MP Peter Heaton Jones' window, looking out onto Whitehall.

A United trade demonstration, called by the UCG, supported by the LCDC, RMT, HATDU, Suburban Allience, ITA, DDD, MM and #SaveTaxi.
Let's not forget, that our biggest representative org said they wouldn't be supporting the demo, on advise from their political advisers....

Unfortunately, the met police did everything in their power to disrupt the effect of the demo in Whitehall. They arrived early, put cones and ribbons down the middle of the road and diverge cabs away from Whitehall. 

Four days prior to our protest, wearing masks, carrying weapons and daubing graffiti over public buildings, the police allowed the anti-austerity anonymous group to run a mock for many hours. A peaceful demo by London Taxis drivers and they decide to use heavy handed tactics. 

This is the respect we get, for playing by the rules and letting the authorities know our plans in advance....

A second protest venue was called off out of respect for the police, who promised we could hold our protest for 90 minutes. But it seems the police decided to break their word and tried to disperse vehicles before they got anywhere near Whitehall. Drivers arriving from Milbank were diverted over Lambeth Bridge, Taxis were kettles in Horse Guards Road  

Double crossed 
Just after 2 pm more cones were strategically placed, cutting off access from Parliament Square. At the same time this aggressive Traffic a Cop (recognise him*) and his team were diverting unsuspecting drivers away from entering Whitehall from Trafalgar Square. 

*Same aggressive traffic cop trying to divert cabs away from the demo.

After Marshals complained, the police relented and within minutes, the demonstrators achieved complete gridlock. 
Outside the gates of Downing Street, Trevor Merells, vice chair of the UCG gave an emotional speech, before leading a delegation down to number 10, where a letter was handed in, calling for an inquiry into TfL.

We were informed that the tactics employed by the police had actually backfired as the knock on effect from Taxis redirected, had caused chaos reaching back to Kensington in the West and the City in the east. 


Many drivers are now calling for future demos to be unofficial with multiple hits at various locations. 
Perhaps it's time to hit all of London's bridges at the same time.
  
This isn't the first time the police have broken their agreement to let drivers demonstrate peacefully. 
We had a similar incident on 10th of February when aggressive traffic cops stopped Knowledge Students from joining their future colleagues in Whitehall. 


One student was arrested and although the gold commander had him de-arrested, saying he would hear no more about the incident, he received a summons two months later. 
The case is still going on and scheduled to be heard in January, almost a year after the incident. 

Members from the GLA turned up and spoke to the organisers in front of Downing Street.

 Support again from the Cabstop and Knowledge students, plus it was really nice to meet proprietor Stephanie Prayer from A&S taxis.

UCG O MEET WITH MET :
We have been informed that the Met Police have agreed to meet with the UCG to talk about the continued plying for hire and the use of fog lights by PHV drivers 


One thing that saddened me yesterday was the amount of Taxis I saw with jobs in as I made my way in towards the protest. 
The drivers who carried on working, have no right to complain about the situation the trade finds itself in. 
I was informed that station ranks were well attended bby working cabs and so was Heathrow. 

Is it now time to take the gloves off ?

  
    With thanks to Artemis and Mandy : Stronger together #SaveTaxi

Least we forget
London's finest will be back in-force this coming Sunday. Poppy Cabs will operating a free service, taking our veterans to and from the remembrance day services.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning....we will remember them.



Tuesday, November 08, 2016

A Final Call To Arms : Surrounded...But We Have The Fire Power.



 Never in our London Taxi Trade's history, have we been under such threat and pressure. Never have we had so much competition to remain an iconic world respected trade. Never have we been up against such vigorous and persistent opposition. But worse of all, never in our tenure initially granted by The Protector Oliver Cromwell, have we been governed, controlled and managed, by such a biased, short sighted and duplicitous hierarchy as Transport For London.

They appeared to have bent over backwards, to enable our famous and proud service, to dissolve unchallenged without the slightest sign of empathy or loyalty to so many years of platinum standard service to London and it's travelling public.

I saw this coming nine years ago, and have bored even myself, let alone my colleagues, and preached  and whined  on and on, that Men were coming to kill us. I didn't trust the commissioners of Law, and neither should I have done.


That of course, is all in the past, I know. But surely, in the precarious and volatile thread that our future now dangles from, it is apparent that a hard and serious challenge is the only perceivable course of action for us ?

Surely it is blatantly obvious by now, that the negotiations, meetings, deals and blah, blah effing blah.......has won us nothing ? 
Or is it me ? 
Am I missing something here ?

You see, I have many, many  fantastic friends and colleagues in or industry, and they belong to all different trade clubs, unions and organisations. Nothing wrong with that of course. I understand that. BUT.......only if when push come to very important shove......we all stick together .

When the UCG announced imminent trade action, I cheered and clapped in unity, happiness and hope. It is after all, our only hope. We are surrounded folks. The men are here ! They got in through an unlocked back door, they are positioned, tooled up to the teeth and ready to take us out the Taxi game.

So when our colleagues at the United Cabby's Group, call for the back up battalion to give these shysters a fight, come down the ropes and blow the windows out,  it is of absolutely no question about it, that anybody who drives a cab for a living, and wants to continue into the next decade, is certainly gonna be there, to answer our united trade call for assistance ? 
Right ?

Don't even ask such a stupid question ! 
Of course we will all be there!
I know some of us belong to other regiments for sure, but we all want to win the war, and as one, we are an army..........aren't we ?  
We all drive the same cabs, don't we ? 
All got the same meters, haven't we? 
All got a bill and a badge, haven't we ?
Of course we have ! 
And we are all London Licensed Taxi Drivers.  All trying to stay in a trade that we have worked so hard to belong to, for so long, under so much pressure from everywhere.

I know, that like me, we have all heard the old chestnuts about " So and so is working his socks off behind the scenes " or " Just play it slowly, softly softly catchee monkey " or " So much is being done in the background "

You can say that again ! So much IS being done in the background............but it aint from us and if it is, its failed !
 
Unfortunately we've heard that the major trade organisation who claim to support the future of London Taxi drivers ARE NOT WILLING TO SUPPORT THE UCG's CALL !

I am not a Diva, I am not anybody special and the trade will certainly run without me. I know that.

But when you think of the work that front line action teams like the UCG do to try to claw back a fight that we hold onto by a whisker, I find it an insult to their tenacity and spunk, to refuse a call for solidarity and help.

See you there in Whitehall folks. 
This is surely our last chance to be counted.

And in the best and most sincere traditions of The Great London Cabby................Be Lucky.

8829 Semtex.

'A clear and present danger'....Someone's Got To Warn The Public!

Whilst the TfL compliance officers harass working Taxi Drivers for the heinous act of not displaying or having credit card stickers in the right place, touting and those playing the 'fog lights game' continues seemingly without any let or hindrance.

If that's 'intelligence led' enforcement then I suggest they get some, intelligence that is.


If that's not bad enough, we have vehicles with bogus MOT's and PH drivers (who could have serious health conditions or be recently discharged from Broadmoor) carrying the public. Any sane person who doesn't live in the Alice in Wonderland (or is it bonus land of TfL) would think every resource would be deployed to stop the unfit vehicles and drivers, but no, apparently and unbelievably they can drive until they next renewal...

If that's not the case TfL aren't denying it.


If someone is injured or worst the lawyers of the victims know who to come for and who to contact for the evidence of this gross dereliction of duty.

We also have a well known PH operator with drivers working 90 plus hours a week to scratch a living whilst the operators proceeds of their exploitation disappear offshore, previously they have even sent messages along the lines of 'you have been logged on for 80 hours, keep it up'.

This alone should have led to an immediate revocation of the operators licence, but we all know it won't happen, Why?

TfL are fighting tooth and nail not to publish the horrendous sexual assault figures Why? 

Could it be it reflects badly on TfL, the police and their apparently favoured operator (see the 'Dear Jo' emails for evidence?)


So LTDA members if you want to know why we are all calling for a parliamentary enquiry, the above should be enough, more than enough.

PR companies won't make it happen nor will the 'comfortable men' at Woodfield Road or their supine associates, we will keep on until the enquiry happens and it will happen if we keep up the pressure.

See you in Whitehall and if you definitely can't make it, see you this Sunday on the Poppy Cabs event.

We are fighting for survival, let's be 'avin you!

I'm Spartacus

Editorial Comment:
It's perfectly clear what TfLTPH are doing here. They believe if they hit us with hard enforcement in regards to the credit card and no smoking stickers, we will forget all about their non-publication of the minicab related rape and sexual assault figures. 

It's also clear they intend to hold out until after Uber has been relicensed early next year, before they release the statistics. 

Well if TfL won't warn the public, then it's up to the trade to do it.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Press Release From The United Cabbies Group


At 2pm on Tuesday the 8th of November, thousands of London Taxi’s Protest at Whitehall with one simple clear message calling for a Public Inquiry into TFL, The UKs Capital is gridlocked and choking with air pollution.

The traffic chaos and air pollution in London resembles that of a third world city, not that of a world leading city.

Every single person living, working and visiting London is affected by the severe congestion and toxic air pollution, as well as the dire economic impact to business and tourism.

The regulatory Public Body responsible for this unarguable failure is Transport for London.
Unfortunately TFL is not structured as a Public Body and does not act  as a Public Body  in compliance with Public Law.
It is structured as a complicated web of private Limited Companies with TFL employees as directors of those companies.
TFL has an annual budget in excess of £11 billion of Tax Payers money yet has not been  accountable for its failures in its Duty of Care to protect the public.

The structure of TFL and its lack of accountability for the unarguable failures is something which should be properly scrutinized by a Statutory Public Inquiry

The Mayor of London is Chair of TFL so is not in a position to conduct an independent investigation.

There are also far more serious issues as a result of that lack of accountability.

TFL have failed to act in compliance with Public Law on many issues
London Taxi and Private Hire –LTPH- have failed to regulate properly.

They have issued tens of thousands of Private Hire Licenses without proper background checks, without proper insurance checks , without proper medical checks and with no proper regulation or enforcement.

The result is traffic congestion, air pollution and Londoners being exposed to serious safety and security risks.

They have introduced a Taxi Age Limit based on false evidence that the newer taxis were less polluting. More than 10,000 London Taxis have been scrapped at great expense to drivers for no proper purpose. 

Trade organisations were misled by TFL that this policy would reduce air pollution when the technical evidence clearly showed the older taxis were LESS polluting

There is no proper process or consultation with many of the other decisions made by LTPH in relation to Taxis and Private Hire
TFL have also failed on many other issues.

They have failed to implement a single effective air pollution strategy for many years and as a result thousands are dying each year from air pollution in London. Every single person living, working or visiting London is affected.

They have failed to comply with proper planning process and proper traffic management resulting in gridlock and severe congestion. The Cycle Lanes which have contributed to the gridlocked streets and therefore more air pollution is one example. TFL ignored the Planning process claiming the project was ‘road improvements’ and not a change of use, even though they were changing the use of the road specifically for cycles. It would be positive to encourage and enable safe cycling in a proper way but the result of the current mismanaged policies are clear to see.

They have failed with proper procurement process. This includes the Garden Bridge project and the Old London Underground projects which have both failed to comply with proper lawful process.

The number of empty buses driving in central London causing congestion and pollution has increased, and at the same time the Directors of TFL hold significant shares in the bus companies.

In December 2014 the GLA Transport Committee, who supposedly have the ability to hold TFL to account, filed a report about TFL following an extensive inquiry in relation to Taxi and Private Hire.

The report listed many failings and described TFL as ‘Woefully Inadequate’. The result of that report was absolutely nothing; no action has ever been taken about the serious failings of TFL in the report.

This confirms two things; firstly that TFL are failing and not acting in compliance with Public  Law and secondly that they are unaccountable. They just ignored the Transport Committee inquiry and report and took no action.
It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

The protests will start on Tuesday 8th November at 2 pm in Whitehall and will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone.

We do not call these protests without giving serious consideration to the affects they have on the general public and we apologise for any inconvenience our protest may cause, however, we feel we are left with no other option as we have exhausted every possible avenue in our attempts to get Transport for London to address our concerns.

END
Contact United Cabbies Group
Len Martin (General Secretary)
email 

pressoffice@ucglondon.org.uk
PRESS CONFERENCE- United Cabbies Group intend to call a press conference prior to the protest, details to follow.
Q and As

The Taxi protest is causing huge disruption and inconvenience ; Is that reasonable?

It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

What is the protest about?
Transport for London are a Public Body but their decisions and policies do not comply with Public Law. These decisions do not just affect taxi drivers they affect everyone.

TFL has an annual budget of £11 billion of taxpayers’ money so it is reasonable to expect them to act in the Public’s interest.

The failed policies have caused gridlock ,congestion and pollution and as a result there is harm to health and the economy.

Failure to regulate has created serious risks to personal and general security, including sexual assaults, rapes, injury to passengers and pedestrians and the fact that the capitals security in general is compromised.
Why has the Mayor taken no action?

TFL are accountable to no one which in itself is something which should be investigated in the format of a Public Inquiry.

 The Mayor is Chair of TFL and therefore could not conduct an independent investigation. The GLA are supposed to be able to scrutinize the decisions and policies of TFL but have no statutory power to take action about TFL failures.

A GLA report in 2014 which deemed TFL to be ‘Woefully Inadequate’ has been ignored.
Why has the Department of Transport taken no action?
Formal complaints have been made to the DFT over a number of years and even though this is a national issue  they have continually stated that they have no jurisdiction over TFL and that it is a matter for the Mayor to deal with. The Mayor is Chair of TFL so therefore cannot taken independent action.

Why a Public Inquiry?
If there was a train crash and 140 people were killed there would be an immediate Public Inquiry to establish what had caused it and what steps could be taken to prevent it ever happening again.
The failed policies of TFL which are replicated throughout the UK are leading to massive air pollution  which causes 140 deaths every single day. There is also harm, injury, sexual assaults, road accidents caused by TFLs failure to regulate properly.

It is an outrageous situation and the improper and unlawful decisions need to bee scrutinized in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry to ensure that effective policies are implemented in the future and that TFL complies with Public Law and its Duty of Care to protect the Public.

How Long will protests last?
The protests will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone
Who is involved?

The protest has been organised by the United Cabbies Group but is also formally supported by the London Cab Drivers Club, the RMT, the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and thousands of individual taxi drivers throughout London and the rest of the country.

What are the requirements of Public Law ?

It is a requirement of Public Law that decisions made by a Public body or someone in Public Office follow correct procedure, are rational and evidence based, for proper purpose, proportionate and properly reasoned. These criteria exist to ensure that decisions made by a Public Body result in effective policies and strategies.  It is extremely important to acknowledge that these criteria are not just an obligation they are legal requirements and the failure to comply with these requirements is the reason why TFL’s decisions and  strategies have failed.

The legal requirements for a Public Body are to
1/ Follow correct procedure
2/ Be Rational and Evidence based
3/ Have proper purpose
4/ To comply with the European Convention for Human Rights
5/ To be Proportionate
6/ To be properly Reasoned
TFL have failed to comply with these requirements.

What are the requirements for a Public Inquiry ?

It seems that the Government has taken no notice of many complaints about TFL (including by MPs) and the obvious failings, despite the clear lack of compliance with Public Law and the clear harm to the Public (from air pollution , sexual assaults, and the numerous accidents in London caused by unregulated drivers) 

The ONLY reasonable solution is for the failures to be properly investigated in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry

Certain characteristics can be identified in those public inquiries that have taken place:
·         Widespread loss of life
·         Threats to public health or safety
·         Failure by the state in its duty to protect
·         Failure in regulation
·         Shocking events

1.      Allegations of serious misconduct and prima facie merit have been made against those acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the state and

2.      Those allegations are sufficiently widespread and are being treated sufficiently seriously by those outside Government to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the State and in the rule of law and

3.      The allegations relate to a sufficiently defined event or series of events to allow an inquiry to be given proper and clear terms of reference and
An inquiry would represent the most effective means of establishing the merit of the allegations made and so of restoring public confidence.
It is the best possible way of establishing why previous TFL strategies have failed so that these mistakes are not repeated and proper effective urgent action is taken in the future.