Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Open Letter To Val Shawcross.... From Cabby Alex White.


Dear Val Shawcross

Firstly happy new year to you, whilst I am a licensed black cab driver (London Green Badge) I am not writing to you in that capacity mainly, I am writing to you in the capacity of someone who witnessed the devastation of a family losing a loved one in a car accident. Just over 10 years ago two very good friends of mine were killed in a car accident, there was a third person who died in the car but he was not known to me.

It was myself that put the initial call into girl who died parent's, warning them that the police were on their way and were going to deliver the worst possible news, I was too far away to get there quickly to be with them and suggested they get a neighbour to come round and sit with them whilst the police deliver the bad news. On that day I lost two of my best friends, I had lived with both of them previously, the girl was the person that introduced me to my wife of 15 years, these were very good friends to me.

My wife and me helped the families dismantle their dead children's lives, we helped clear their house of belongings etc, but the lasting memory for me was on of watching a mother who had lost her only child, sprinkle her ashes into the sea, this is something that will live with me for the rest of my life, this is sorrow on a level I have never experienced before.

So here we are we are on the 2nd of January 2017 with the first fatality due to a minicab not paying enough attention to the road, u-turning on Great Eastern Street taking out a motorcyclist in the process, so a family now is 'getting the knock on the door' from the police, sitting them down and giving them the heart breaking news that someone has died. 

My heart goes out to the family and friends of this person it really does. But tempered with this sorrow is anger, anger that this was avoidable, TFL and city hall are preceding over a city where there are so many people being seriously hurt or killed unnecessary. TFL are culpable, condoning to some degree and I believe it is only a matter of time before someone brings a corporate manslaughter charge against the directors of TFL.

I have no problem with normal private hire, the guys that see this as a profession, see this as a job to slowly enhance their skills, to get better and better at their job, but anyone who relies on sat-nav to the degree an Uber driver does will never improve, they will always struggle to drive around our great city, the business model is deeply flawed and cannot improve whilst there is such as reliance on technology.

Now in my capacity as a taxi driver I invite you and 3-4 of your fellow members of the GLA to take a ride in my cab in the evening around the west end to see what taxi drivers have to put up with, we now need eyes in the backs of our heads to work out what stupid manoeuvre is coming next from cars around us that seem fixated on a device stuck to the windscreen. Unfortunately the police clamping down on phone users is not going to stem the tide of accidents whilst one operator has in their business model an app that the driver has to keep on referring to whilst driving.

Val I would like to bring up another point with you, this I believe is a very significant issue, this is about bus drivers that are 'moonlighting' as Uber drivers, whilst TFL say they cannot link the two professions, I believe this is incorrect, TFL issue bus passes to all bus drivers so they have a database of bus drivers somewhere, now in my capacity as a computer programmer and currently holding the Microsoft Certified Database Administrators (MCDBA) qualification (as well as a number of other IT qualifications) I know that to join two lots of data say on postcode is a pretty easy piece of work, to then produce a report that matches postcode of a private hire driver and then bus driver on postcode with the names and house number of both sides listed so perfect matches can be found would be around two hours work for a proficient programmer so I don't believe TFL are doing enough. It should not be possible for a bus driver to also be a private hire driver, this is putting the public at significant unnecessary risk.

So here is my second offer, I offer my services free of charge to TFL to align this data for easy reporting, I would think this is no more than 2 hours work, I am happy to sign confidentially agreements/non disclosure agreements or work on a structurally correct dataset without any data in it.

I await your reply

Kind Regards

Alex White (76695)


Anonymous said...

Just seem to me the only time any politician or a person that sits on the mayors bench will try and do something is when a vote is needed 2 accident in December in daling road w6 first one need FRU to cut them out 2 weeks later same spot not as bad but the uber passenger did go hospital these drivers have no road sense what so ever TFL need to be held to account ASAP

Tyron Jacques said...

Well done alex , val shawcross please see it in your heart to get something done about this mayhem & bedlam that now destroys our great city on a daily basis .

Anonymous said...

Good post but your assuming TfL actually WANT to know. They will do nothing to hinder Uber, it is, as an idiot said 'a done deal'.

Anonymous said...

Great letter alex, but im afraid you have 2 hopes NO & BOB hope with tfl, mayor and all at city hall they only care about £££ and not about any safety , once again i applaud you for trying to help our trade but all your endeavour will fall on deaf ears

Anonymous said...

Well done Alex. Be proud mate. Credit to our trade.


colin said...

Luckily a Police officer (off duty) from a West London district only broke a finger after being taken out by a Uber driver doing a Uturn taking him off his motor bike,he's a friend to my daughter & partner also plod,this is getting beyond serious now.

Chris Skinner said...

Excellent proposition Alex! You are unselfishly offering your time and expertise, which the GLA would be foolish to refuse. I'm not holding my breath for a positive response. There is something not right at TFL and our city representatives seem frightened to tackle it for some reason!

Frank Sabine said...

Unfortunately Alex their to arrogant & corrupt to accept any advice/help because in their eyes they are doing nothing wrong.

Alan Wicker said...

hopefully, I'm wrong, but the evidence all around us says that, your excellent letter Mr. White, is just a complete waste of time

time, which they have and we don’t

NB we are now being attacked, on so very many fronts, by an enemy, that is determined to destroy us

NO one has helped us e.g. the great Tom Watson – what did he end up doing?

tfl is only concerned with, THE BOTTOM LINE i.e. the MONEY

money cascading in from uber

nothing that we've tried so far, has worked

and what are we doing - carrying on with the same useless tactics

e.g. what have our DEMOS achieved, other than to turn the Public against us and show the Authorities, how fragmented we are? the media don’t even report them

London is grid-locked with protests, nearly every weekend - ho cares?

the only demos that ever attract attention, are high profile ones e.g. blocking up Heathrow, which would only lead to, one or two of us, getting our collars felt

i.m.o. we haven't been thinking & defending with, Lateral Thought

we need an Atomic Bomb - NOW

I think that, our line of attack should be, DIRECT TO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES, who to, are only interested in, THEIR OWN, bottom line

we must get them on our side - NOW

if an uber driver’s Private Hire Insurance Premiums, were to reflect their actual, very high risk and costs, to the Insurers & the Payment Terms, made so very tough i.e. NO dollar down and paying monthly, but a year’s full payment, up front, I am sure that, uber and tfl, would rapidly find themselves, in a totally different position

Anonymous said...

I was informed last month at a Metropolitan Police Safety meeting by a Traffic Sargent that bus drivers are already assigned a code. If one is needed for Taxi and Private Hire drivers then that can easily be accommodated, but the suggestion was for it to come from the trade and not from the national police service.

Having this system in place would also make life easier in distinguishing whether it was a taxi or private hire driver when complaints and accusations or accidents are made.

T.Beaven said...

Good sentiments but don't hold your breath waiting for a reply!
I hope I am proved wrong but it seems they have all been bought.....

alfie cane said...

Great writing and very good points but Val and her like don't care it's all about getting into power and doing what they want and forgetting the promising they made to us ..

Anonymous said...

Don't let these people who say you got no chance, won't hold me breath etc put you of. Well done for trying you never know.

Anonymous said...

What ever happenned to the Uber partner that killed the baby in the buggy?

What happenned to the Uber partner that killed a motorcylist in Maida Vale?

What charges will be made regarding the latest killing by an Uber partner in Shoreditch?

How many bus drivers have been charged with anything regarding bus fatalities?

The old broom is wearing out and the carpet is looking rather lumpy Mr Khan.

I understand some PH drivers can apply for an exemption for displaying roundals. Watch them suddenly disappear from bus garage carparks. TFL will do anything other than putting a stop to the wholesale murder of the innocent public!

Anonymous said...

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

This option needs looking at. TFL and the mayor need to be stopped dead in their tracks. The evidence for a case is overwhelming!

Anonymous said...

Nicely written letter with a very personal touch. As ex police I've been in that exact position delivering a death message and seen the devastation it does to the family. As a taxi driver for just over 2 years I find myself using my previous police advanced driving skills to read the road ahead and anticipate just what these Uber drivers are about to do. It has got me out of potentially dangerous positions and prevented numerous accidents. I can only describe the environment we are working in as dangerous and this is down to Uber and the way their drivers are supposed to operate. It is an aggressive city to drive in. You have to be organised and plan ahead whilst driving these roads. That would be backed up by asking all sorts of drivers from coach to couriers...It is such an unforgiving place if you get it wrong. Unfortunately the Uber operating model is not compatible with navigating this city. I have already had my MP out in the back of my cab to highlight the bad driving by these phv drivers. I've informed him just how much police time it takes to deal with these accidents which occur 3-4 times a day every day. I've stressed the importance of highlighting the fact that the phv is working for Uber when the police report these accidents and asked him to consider the impact it has on local businesses, deliveries , missed flights etc as a result of traffic and road closures this causes.He has forwarded my concerns to the mayor and I'm awaiting a response.

Anonymous said...

Corporate manslaughter (referred to as corporate homicide in Scotland) is a criminal offence that allows for companies and other similar organisations to be liable for deaths.
An organisation will be guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed causes a person’s death, and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased. This will be the case only if the way in which the organisation’s activities are managed by its senior management is a substantial element of the breach.

Anonymous said...

All good points ...but what the F@@@ are the orgs doing to defend our trade a absolute disgrace why someone would now want to pay into any org is beyond me!

Anonymous said...

Lovely letter,let's hope that they take you up on it. Well done you.

Surely TfL could find out this information by cross referencing their driving licence number?