Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Bank Junction; In a Game of Chess if you don’t plan your moves its Check Mate.... By Dave Davies

When someone plays Chess they plan several moves ahead, trying to second guess what their opponents reactive move will be and considering all options.

If a player does not do this it’s Check Mate.


You can be absolutely sure that the Mayor of London and TFL see the bigger picture and plan their moves in the same way and taxi drivers and trade orgs need to start thinking in the same way or its game over.


A good example is the current situation with the Bank Junction. The responsibility for this decision is supposedly the City Of London, but in reality its TFL.


The City of London are claiming its to reduce pollution but in actual fact it will increase air pollution.

Scientific testing was carried out in Brighton which shows that more than 90% of air pollution is caused when a vehicle is stop starting.

In the graph below the spikes in air pollution can clearly be seen at traffic lights.


The closure of Bank Junction will cause massive congestion in the immediate surrounding area and therefore there will be a massive increase in air pollution from Buses in that congestion. They may well be able to drive through Bank Junction more easily but they will have to drive in heavily congested traffic to get to it!


TFL could have opposed this  decision on the grounds that it would cause congestion and pollution in the immediate surrounding area  but they have chosen to actually support it.


Why have they done this?


Is it because the Directors of TFL have shares in the Bus companies who will benefit from the policy of having exclusive access to Bank; are they hoping that people will use their buses instead of Taxis?


Is it because they know it will distract taxi Drivers from protesting about TFL; the media will report the battle is with the City of London ? 


Are they hoping that you will send a message to the media that you are protesting about the City of London’s decision and NOT TFL ? 


They know that all the time Taxi Drivers are distracted by this they are not  focussed in exposing TFL and the decision to renew Ubers License in May?


If the message for the upcoming protests is that it’s about the closure of Bank Junction then TFL will be over the moon.


People need to see the bigger picture.


This is not about the closure of Bank Junction  to Taxis; it ‘s about the improper and unlawful regulation of TFL.

If drivers battle on a single issue like this they are not playing the game strategically; they are not planning several moves ahead.

What happens if the battle is won only for next week another Local Authority closes access for Taxis? (in Westminster for example)

Do you then protest about each and every issue month after month?


The smart move is to think ahead and plan your moves. Issues will continue until the Government steps in and takes action.

The ONLY way for this to happen is if there is a clear message and clear objective, which I outlined in a previous article


Daily Taxi protests will take place until the ALL of the following demands are fully met;


1/ The media fully investigates, reports and exposes the improper and unlawful actions of TFL, to include the failure to regulate Private Hire, the issuance of tens of thousands of PH Licenses without proper background checks, medicals or insurance, the improper interference of senior politicians to allow the regulations to be disregarded and the many other issues that have been raised by Taxi drivers and their Trade Organisations.


2/ The Prime Minister and Government immediately initiates an urgent  Statutory Public Inquiry into the improper and unlawful conduct of TFL as detailed above and in the Press Release below


3/ Pending the Statutory Public Inquiry there is an immediate suspension of 

·        New Private Hire License applications

·        The Uber Private Hire operator’s License; they do not meet the regulatory requirements to hold an operator’s License (no landline/office  etc ) and Sadiq Khan promised that he would do this if he became Mayor and there was a single case of a driver being licensed improperly. There is evidence thousands of drivers have been issued licenses improperly so he needs to stand by his word.

·        The improper and unlawful Taxi Age limit which is needlessly scraping taxis on a daily basis costing drivers thousands of pounds.

·        The continued road alterations(including the closure of Bank Junction) which have not complied with proper Planning Process. TFL have claimed that change of a roads use from vehicles to cycle lanes is not a change of use.


The details of the demands of  the daily protests could be communicated by Press Releases from Trade Orgs , Social Media and flyers handed out to drivers (there are thousands of drivers who don’t use social media and have no information about the ongoing issues).

There will be no need for representation or engagement; the protests organised by individual drivers themselves  will continue until the 3 demands are fully met.

TFL have to be exposed and there has to be a change in the regulatory body.

TFL is a web of Private Limited companies who receive £11 BILLION  a year of Taxpayers money yet are accountable to no one


There could also perhaps be formal protests by Trade Orgs to run alongside any unofficial protest.

I know the UCG are planning to protest against the City Of London decision to restrict the Bank junction, but it is TFL who have allowed this to happen and encouraged it. 

If there was a proper regulator in place it would be that regulator challenging the City of London

It will be good to have a clear and untied plan of action by all drivers and trade orgs

 Unfortunately this message was not well received by any Trade orgs . I previously offered to speak to the UCG, DDD ,ITA and no one has responded.


The message that has been suggested is being completely ignored.


If the need to think several moves ahead can’t be seen and the message is something else then its Check Mate!



Thousands of London Taxi’s Protest  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 which has 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 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


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.



Anonymous said...

PHV Rich, Most of the public think TFL is a government department, they don't realise it is a private company making millions, this is an important message that needs to be put out, it would change the minds of the public if they knew all this money is profit for the fat cats

Anonymous said...

If you want to know why TFL have got away with it fir so long it's simple MONEY TALKS

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece from Dave Davies. Stupid is as stupid does and his expertise will slip through the trade fingers like grains of sand.
Get him involved, he's 100% solid in dealing with the media.
He's been side lined for far too long... We haven't got a spokes person in the trade that can hold a candle to this man, believe me!

Thefat Girl said...

Could e fleet owners and garages help get the word out? It's their living too.

Anonymous said...

So after the (glorious) 12th there will be repeated and prompt follow up action, in various forms, that will continue NOT until the promise of "somebody will look into it if you call off any further action", but until immediate action is taken to enforce the existing regulations. Only AFTER enforcement starts will future action/protests be put on hold. Unless of course the expression "there's nowt as stupid as people" shows itself to be true again?

Secondly there is widespread discontent amongst the general public with changes TFL have made, and are planning to make not related to taxis. This should be capitalised on. You don't have to convince the public of your belief that TFL are incompetent with regard to their treatment of the taxi trade, you just have to use it to confirm and increase the public's existing perception of them making things worse, repeatedly. Humans are far more likely to support something if it is for their own benefit, rather than others. We just need to hope a good percentage of Londoners are actually human. Sometimes I wonder.

Thirdly, these forums are watched not just by taxi drivers. Therefore numerous flash demos, every day, are easily achievable using nothing more than mobile phone apps. It just takes taxi drivers with a "I can be arsed" attitude.

Anonymous said...

As things stand it is likely that the media wont report anything about the 12th or if they do they will report the wrong thing ie its about the City of London or Uber.
There is no proper media management and never has been.
Thise organising protests need to wake up and be proactive BEFORE the event.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:47 Agreed mate. I've always said it and always wondered why our trade haven't rolled the red carpet out for Mr Davies. He knows his stuff and is only too happy to make one with us. But for some reason, our trade orgs haven't embraced him. We're a funny breed us lot, aren't we ?


Anonymous said...

Its pretty clear that well thought out strategy with an end goal is not what the taxi trade wants. Far better to have big demos once in a while so that egos can pat themselves on the back and let the media report any rubish so long as it doesnt actually achieve anything.
Here is a prediction. The bank demo wont be reported or if it is it ll be about Uber.
Nothing will change

Anonymous said...

The most improtant thing about a protest is to have a clear message and clear objective and this doesnt happen. When the UCG held the Whitehall protest I spent time draftinga Press Release but it wasnt sent out properly.
There was no follow up to that protest and nothing has changed.
Asking the City of London to change its m8nd is unlimely to happen.
Asking the Prime M8nister to change tye City of Londons mind might.

Trying to get this point understood is impossible.