As we approach the New Year, it has become obvious the Mayors transport strategy for Central London will see our trade relegated from being the best Taxi service in the world. We are now moving at incredible speed, closer to the Project Horizon goal of a trade half the size (cut down to 13,000) integrated into a one-tier system with Private Hire.
I remember, many years ago, the Metropolitan Public Carriage Office, writing to every licensed Taxi driver saying "their must be no, 'no go areas' in London for Taxis".
"You will be expected to go to any destination, anywhere within a six mile radius (now extended to twelve) or within one hour in duration and their must be no exceptions".
Yet these past two years we've been afforded no protection from the mob wreaking havoc around the Lisson Grove area, which is fast becoming a 'no-go area'.
Mayor Khan is bent on our destruction after four centuries of our iconic Taxi trade, as he sanctions the creation of more 'no go areas'.
We've had 9 years of protest, demonstration...consultation after consultation, engagement and negotiation and yet our representatives have learn nothing. Our largest org alleged to be too friendly with the commissioner (on-side Mike), recently referred to protesting drivers as loonies.
This year, after six demonstrations, two bouts of negotiations, followed by an extended period of waiting and seeing, we lost access to the Bank Junction.
The system was financed by TfL in order to speed up bus times. But on closer inspection, once through the junction the busses hit more of Khans chaos which negates any advantage made by the ban.
This is soon to be followed by a traffic ban along a new two way Tottenham Court Road leaving just busses and cycles, with access to Oxford Street/Baker Street in consultation and eTaxi only bus lanes still to come.
Caught up in the middle of these attack on our trade, are the unfortunates, the disabled and less mobile members of the public. Mayor Khan is stealing freedom of movement from the disabled to shop wherever they like, in order to give-away and make more room for able bodied shoppers who he hopes will be traveling back-and-forth with Crossrail's new Elizabeth line (when it's eventually finished, but that's another past the buck scandal).
Amazingly, we've had virtually no help from disabled group lobbyists (probably worried about losing their funding should they go against TfL) and the wheelchair users -past and present- on the board of TfL have said nothing in defence of the disabled's right of access and the freedom to shop on Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Baker Street.
There is (as always), a hidden agenda...'Project Horizon', plus Khan obviously feels he can usurp many extra passengers onto the new line by making it as difficult as possible for taxis to get to popular destinations around the capital.
Taxi Leaks has been speaking of Project Horizon for several years now after it was discovered by accident published on the Internet (now removed) and TfL have always denied it ever existed.
We predicted back in 2009, that under this agenda, there would be no-go Taxi areas, followed by Private Hire rest ranks where drivers would be allowed to rank and wait to be hired. On top of this, we now predict that PH WAVs will soon be allowed to rank at major venues and mainline stations.
With no current regulation on Taxi apps, it seems we could be sharing virtual ranks with on demand private hire, sooner rather than later.
(This could change though as Chris Johnson has now reached his total to take his case against the apps forward)
WE ALWAYS SAID TFL WERE NO MORE THAN A BUNCH OF COWBOYS:
With Country Boy Rett Russell (Garrett Emerson) in charge of London's Ambulance service, it's only a matter of time before we see Uber on-demand immediate hire ranks at hospitals around Greater London.
We are supposed to learn from past history, but it seems our trade representatives have learned nothing.
After years of negativity and deterioration, fighting the unfair and elitist United Trade Group (UTG), did we not all cheer when Val Shawcross announced the group itself would be scrapped and the gagging order known as the engagement policy would be assigned to the shredder.
But then, the old United Trade Group was replaced by the new United Trade Group. Another lesson not learned.
To further the progression of Project Horizon, TfL has placed the trade in the predicament of struggling to afford new replacement vehicles, by authorising just the one highly expensive vehicle and giving our work to a non-domicile company which pays little to no tax here in the UK.
We have also recently learned from the Mayor's statement at City Hall, that the subsidy on new Taxis will only be available for the next 250 vehicles off the production line, many of which are already on order to larger garages.
The Worm Is Finally Turning....Its Time To Put Up The Fight Of Your Lives...If The Trade Is To Survive.
The trade's rank and file drivers will be disregarding weak leadership and fighting back on a scale never before seen on our streets. If the trade orgs leaders won't support the coming actions, they will be deemed part of the problem and dealt with accordingly.
No longer lions led by sheep...
The Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA)
Coming later this month, no more waiting and seeing.
Keep an eye on social media for updates later this month.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
As we say farewell to 2018, we were greeted with the insulting news of an OBE for the man, under who's watch we saw
• The licensing and expansion of an illegally operating on demand car service app, decimating the livelihood of many Taxi and private hire drivers. (Question: why was the Deloitte's report silenced??? Why wasn't the meter verdict challenged when it became apparent that Bertram had lied under oath??? In the Uber licensing appeal, why did TfL only appear as an interested party??? )
• The standard of passenger safety on buses went through the floor, with KSI stats from Bus collisions going through the roof. (17 serious injuries from collision per day in the first quarter of 2018)
• London's roads ground to a halt... in gridlock caused by incredibly bad planning and a complete lack of understanding in the capitals traffic needs. TfL commissioner went on recorded saying the segregated cycle lanes were rolled out to quickly without adequate planning!
Leon Daniels is to be awarded an OBE for his services to London's Transport....He's better known to our trade as 'Leon the Liar' after allegedly misleading the GLA transport committee twice with lies that supported the ongoing licensing of the Uber platform.
Lie 1. 'Uber drivers have special on off insurance'... completely unsupported by the Association of British Insurers.
Lie 2. 'I have with me the contact number for Uber passenger help line'. The number he gave the GLA was in fact Jo Bertram's personally ex-directory number.
TfL then changed the licensing requirements to make a passenger contact landline unnecessary.
Leaving TfL facing a £1bn budget deficit, Leon was awarded a £500,000 bonus for having his employment 'terminated'.