Saturday, December 01, 2018

Take It To The Bridge They Said, We Did...Now, We Take It To The Bank... by Jim Thomas.

NEWS FROM THE FRONT LINE

They said block the bridges, so we did, and it was massive. But there’s no pleasing the sunny day protestors, who protest from their arm chairs in their warm front room. 

We did it and it was magnificent. 
Now it’s on to Bank Junction next week and a similar venue the week after. We will keep coming back daily till the CoL and TfL concede to our demands ‘Where Buses Go, Taxis Go’... a single, strong message. 

On the bridge, we gave out 18,000 leaflets to the public, and hours were spent explaining to people caught up in the protest. But the good news, 95% of the public and many of the cyclists are on side. 

One surprise was the friendly atmosphere around the CoL police, who were very accommodating, unlike their colleagues from the Met on the south side of the bridge, who again appeared aggressive. 

We have another message, this time to TfL, if you want to engage over these protests, don’t bother talking to Steve McNamara who doesn’t talk for us, the protestors on the street. Talk to the ITA (you know who to contact).

But this isn’t/wasn’t about the colour of lanyards, it was a coming together of drivers, fighting for their right to ply for hire, a right we’ve aren’t doing the knowledge.
But it was great to see on the bridge, the General Secretaries, Chairmen and committee members from two orgs who actually represent their members.
There were many there that felt unrepresented by the people who’s handsome wages they pay.     


There’s news today of more London streets that will be closed to Taxis across many London boroughs. This has to be stopped, there are no half way measure. Where Buses go, all taxis must be able to go. 

Baker Street is currently closed for ‘resurfacing work’, but let’s not forget Westminster plan to make Baker Street “Buses and Cycles only” between George Street and Blandford Street!

Taxi leaks warned about this in 2013 and again in 2016

Plus we want what the Mayor promised us when he was canvasser now vote. 
• Access to Vernon Place into New Oxford Street
• Shaftesbury Avenue, right into Piccadilly
• Access to all bus lanes, no exceptions. 

Think about the advantages to other traffic if we are taken out of the diverted routes systems. 

By taking us out of more and more bus lanes and closing off more streets to taxis, is just adding to congestion and pollution. 

Sadiq Khan, what happened to “I want to see a renaissance in the iconic Taxi Trade and stop the flood of PHVs clogging up the street”?
According to the transport minister, since your election, you haven’t once asked for the power to cap PHV numbers???

Keep your promise to the Taxi trade Sadiq and do the job properly. 

This week has been truly amazing, many said it was too ambitious, but we did it. Remember the scene...’build it and they will come’. Well, we built it and boy, did they come....every day, in increasing numbers.

Don’t forget, when TfL/CoL ban us from roads/streets, they are not just doing it to us.... they are also doing it to our customers who want us to take them their. Without these people, we don’t have a job!


The fight goes on brothers and sisters, a fight we have to win, a fight for survival.... no surrender this time as we go forward next week to the Bank Junction, Monday 3rd December, 4pm.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
If you couldn't make it to the protests but would still like to support your trade, it's not too late 
Fill in the Tooley Street consultation, it's really simple and only takes a few minutes. 

 
You can even leave a comment and tell them what you think of their proposals to take Taxis out of Bus lanes and such.
Don't use profanity or your contribution won't count, it will be disqualified. Do this today as it only runs till the 8th of January. 

Click this link below 

Or if you have a QR scanner...you can scan the QR bar code at the bottom of this post, which will take you to the TfL page.


Friday, November 30, 2018

More On The Lisson Grove Muggers From Tony Casey.

Four robbery suspects from Lisson Grove have been arrested by warrant, their homes spun over and stolen property has been found. 

They have been interviewed under caution at London Police stations and bailed with possible conditions not to travel in Taxis and possible night time curfew.

The arresting officers files have now been sent to the Crown prosecution service for charging consideration.

They hope to be arresting more suspects soon as the gang is at least now 20 in number.

I would urge all cab drivers to report all incidents to the police as soon as possible, on line or in person at a police station... if you can find one open.

The police neighbourhood team in church st market would especially like to hear from you.

Sgt Scott Barden Marshall and his staff are awaiting your calls.

Tel No 0207 321 7959.

Remember we cant let these robbers make this area a NO GO AREA.

Tony Casey. 

Day 5 Expected To Be Massive : State Of The Trade, By Tom Scullion : Plus Lisson Grove Arrests


As each day goes on more and more Taxi drivers are turning up to demonstrate against another ill conceived highway strategy to the detriment of the public and all Road users, most of us wonder why Tfl has agreed to even having a conversation about banning Taxis from any Street with any local council. 

I honestly think that London Taxis are the most efficient form of public transportation in the World. 

Think about all wheelchair accessible purposes build vehicles who have always used the most environmentally friendly vehicles available to us, just remember when Tfl started to insist on Euro 4,5,6 standards, the same Tfl that made us all fit retrofitted exhaust system until the latest technology or new cab comes to market, so the poor Cabbie has to decide to buy another Taxi just to comply with tfl’s green policy or Jack the job in!

BTW Tfl never once looked to the 120,000 mini cabs regarding their emissions so happy days for their drivers, I did hear, they are supposed to start to engage with tfl’s Green policy sometime after 2020

Moving onto 2018 the only new London Taxi is the TXE

 

A-Zero emission capable Cab with a very hefty £65,000 price tag this really is a beautiful cab with the latest cutting edge engineering technology, now the poor cab driver who has to modify or upgrade their Cabs has to make the biggest business decision in his working life shall I carry on with the previous model TX4 


Which was north of a £42K investment to be EURO 6 compliant Taxi to be told that Tfl, City of London and a queue of local councils want to ban the TX4 and all previous models of Taxis from certain areas of London and this is just the tip of the iceberg Tfl now want to restrict access to critical thoroughfares across London such as Bank Junction, Tooley Street, the entire area of Bloomsbury including the latest madness at Judd Street etc etc etc.

No matter what the London Taxi trade do to comply with tfl’s conditions of fitness vehicles no matter how much it costs the driver no matter about Mayor Khans pledges to allow every Taxi full access to every bus lane in London which must include restrictions on right and left turns for buses only Tfl and the Mayor have, in their infinite wisdom, to not only renege on their promises they now want to restrict more and more access on the streets of London. 

So as you can understand your London Cabbie has had enough and have made a statement this week by protesting at the latest proposal of restrictions at Tooley Street and beyond.




If Tfl and the Mayor really want to tackle safety, congestion and emissions on London’s streets give London taxis your full support and freedom to ply for hire unabated access to make London the best City in the World.

Here is just three positive suggestions ( there are 100 more) to improve safety, congestion, emissions, journey times and customer satisfaction and value for money.

• Allow right turn from the strand onto Waterloo bridge
• Allow access to the bus lane from Shaftesbury Ave to Piccadilly 
• Allow access to the bus lane at Cockspur Street
Just try this for a trial period to measure the massive improvements it will make with virtually zero costs to Tfl.

Be lucky 🍀

Tom Scullion 
53065

So, next week it's the Bank Junction...all week.



TAXI LEAKS' EXTRA BIT : 


I think the question needs to be asked : 
Why are we not being heavily supported by disabled groups such as Transport For All (TFA) ???
They want accessible transport for all, and all we want is access...where buses go, we go!


London Taxi Radio’s Sean Paul Day, Interveiws GLA Member David Kurten on London Bridge.
Click link below to view 

Breaking News From The LCDC.

Latest Update on the Lisson Grove Gang:


Lisson grove, Thursaday 29th November  
The LCDC's Tony Casey has been working closely for the last six months with the Gangs and Robbery Squard, Neighbourhood Policing Officers, and Local MP Karen Buck, in regards to Taxi drivers being mugged/robbed by a group of youths known as 'the Lisson Grove Mob'.  

Tony received this update yesterday evening:
 
Four robbery suspects have been arrested by warrant and their homes searched. 
They have been interviewed under caution and bailed to return to Police station at a later date.

Files on four individuals have been sent to the cps for consideration of charging.
Police are hopeful that the bail conditions will include, no riding in taxis and a nighttime curfew.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Day Four Where Buses Go, We Go Protests : Finally, A Word From Our Largest Org.


Disgruntled LTDA members on London Bridge called for the resignation of their General Secretary, at yesterday's action. 
In answer, the LTDA put out a tweet Wednesday evening, saying they (and other trade orgs) will be meeting with the transport commissioner Mike 'on side Brown' next week. 
To be followed by a meeting with deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander. 
Up till now, Heidi has refused point blank to meet with any Taxi trade org or union....just shows what a few demos can achieve !


Let's not forget that it was Steve McNamara who called for the suspension of the demos at the Bank Junction saying wait and see as Mike Brown was 'on side'. Unfortunately, he didn't say which side Mike Brown was actually on.
 
The commissioner for TfL then wrote to the CoL saying he supported the exclusion of Taxis from the Bank Junction.  

When asked what their stance was on the current series of protests on London Bridge, they said:
 
"Currently it’s a proposal, we are 100% committed to getting universal access to taxis. 

"The proposal is in direct conflict with MTS. 

"Meeting Transport Commissioner on Mon, this is item 1 on agenda! 
Meeting Heidi soon, same agenda, if this fails then demo is only option".
(Keep up Steve, we're already on demo no4)

Will either of these meeting be minuted....you can bet your bottom dollar they won't be. 



TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : A Message From United Trade Action Group !





Wednesday, November 28, 2018

LTDA Members On The Bridge Calling Out “Where’s Steve Mc” ... WBGTG Protest Day Three


DAY THREE, WHERE BUSES GO, WE GO PROTEST.

LTDA members protesting on London Bridge and Tooley Street today, were calling for the resignation of Steve McNamara en masse.

The members are saying that McNamara is no longer representing the best interests of the membership. 

20 or so driver/members who have recently tried to effect change have been expelled. 

THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE....NEXT ON TfL's  LIST...OXFORD STREET, TOTENHAM COURT ROAD, BAKER STREET, JUDD STREET, NILE STREET, EBENEZER STREET, VESTRY STREET AND PROVOST STREET.

This is a power struggle with TfL and local councils trying to shut us out.
 

With such an important issue affecting the trade, the main questions on the bridge today were: 
Why are the LTDA sitting back and letting these road exclusions happen.

Why have the COM not supported the call for direct action?

Day three at London Bridge has been another huge success, it’s just sad that our largest org with an alleged 10,000 members doesn’t want to know and couldn't be bothered to get involved.

 Sad to see cabs actually driving past their demoing colleagues who are fighting for their right to use all the roads that buses can use.

One protestor told London Taxi Radio: I’m in the biggest org with a massive membership paying £16 odd a month, looking round here today, WHERE ARE THEY?”.

Another protestor said it speaks volumes about the LTDA when they won’t get behind the judicial review against the Uber verdict. They won’t support the UTAG action and they won’t support Charlie Crocker!

Watch this broadcast from the Bridge from London Taxi Radio:


A lot of sense spoken today and plenty of support from far and wide.


Statement From United Trade Action Group (UTAG)


UTAG are very pleased to announce that Ascotts, Cabvision, Curb (formerly Verifone) and Taxiworld have all agreed to contact their customer bases, informing them of the UTAG legal action. 

Over the coming week, these suppliers will send a combined total of 30,000 emails and texts. 

UTAG would like to take thsi opportunity to thank these key suppliers for agreeing to contact their customers on our behalf, as it is essential that every driver is aware of the intended legal actions."

If you would like to donate, please click on the link below




Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Where Buses Go, We Go. Day Two : Protest Unnecessary Say TfL

Day two, another successful protest with nothing crossing the bridge for three hours.

The Tooley Street consultation wasn’t due out till early next year, but worried about the reaction from the more militant driver led orgs, TfL bought the consultation forward, believing Taxi driver wouldn’t protest so close to Christmas. 

Apparently, they were caught on the hop and are now screaming that the chaos around London Bridge is unnecessary. 

Ben Plowden, TfL's director of strategy and network development, said in a statement: "A consultation is currently underway on changes to Tooley Street to improve conditions for people walking and cycling, or traveling by public transport.

"The best way for people to let us know what they think about these proposals is to respond to the consultation, so this type of protest is unnecessary".

That’s not true. The trouble is that TfL take no notice of consultations that don’t go their way. 

We’ve seen time and time again TfL ignore the results of previous consultations, then implement what ever they wanted to do regardless of public opinion. 

The latest example was when they completed ignored the residence of W1, when they wanted to pedestrianise Oxford Street. It was only the fact that Westminster council threatened TfL with legal action that the plan was eventually scrapped. 

Plowden went on to say:

"All feedback on our proposals will be thoroughly assessed and taken into account."

The consultation for the Tooley Street scheme runs until January 9, TfL insist no decision will be made until all responses are considered.

Again, as we’ve seen many times before, TfL have already made their mind up and will always bow to the cyclist lobby. 

The protests are set to continue. 

Watch Grant Davis interview with LTDA member on periscope :

https://www.pscp.tv/w/bs2LXTE2MDc2Mjh8MUx5R0J5empOalBLTvFaUBF11xXQIGhwJryID3O_UKOOn0W8ACFiEGsH1vqf?t=3m47s

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Again, something else we achieved today...The Police not only opened the Bank Junction to all traffic, they also made TfL open Cannon Street. 

More news from the Bridge head 


"If You Don't Like It Take Us To Court"! Let Make Helen Chapman Rue Those Words

Hi Ladies & Gents, I hope you are all well and keeping your heads above water. It's not getting any easier is it! 

I must tell you about some developments in the Taxi trade that could well be a game changer. 

As we've all watched year after year the entity that is Transport for London dismantling our trade, and all our cries simply falling on deaf ears, LTPH boss Helen Chapman once arrogantly told us "If you don't like it take us to court"! 

Well here it is folks... Full on legal action! 

The United Trade Action Group (UTAG) have done the talking and now they're doing the walking. They have started the ball rolling with this legal action and it is now up to us to support it. 

This action comes in a 3 pronged approach... 

1. To Judicially Review the decision of Westminster Magistrates to grant a license to Uber on the basis of conflict of interest and flawed reasoning. 

2. To hold Transport for London to account under multiple causes of action including its failure to regulate the statutory regime. 

3. To hold Uber to account under multiple causes of action including economic torts and the interference of the trade's exclusive right to ply for hire. 

One thing I can tell you is that No1 is already in the bag. After some fantastic work by the UTAG team the Hon Mr Justice Walker has granted a Judicial Review of the original case after it was discovered that the Judge's husband works for one of Uber's major investors. You don't need to make it up! 

After she was rumbled Judge Emma Arbuthnot, Britain's most senior Magistrate then pulled out of a similar case in Brighton for exactly that reason. That spoke volumes and Mr Justice Walker saw sense and granted a review of the whole case again... Minus Judge Emma Arbuthnot! 

It should have been black & white... Are Uber fit and proper or are they not? 

Not... Let's do everything we can to help them. Operator licenses are either for 5 years or they are refused. Where she got a 15 month license from I will never know, despite even admitting that she had seen no change in Uber's nefarious practices to suggest they were now a 'Fit & Proper' operator. 

Her job should have been simply to decide yay or nay! 

Granting the application, Mr Justice Walker said "Uber had gravely misled the regulator and the court". 

Pretty damning words if you ask me! 

So we are back in the game, Uber have had their license refused and are appealing to get it back. (They can still operate under appeal). Now unless British Justice is something other than what we've all grown up to believe, I reckon their chances of success this time are pretty minimal. It may be wishful thinking but there is a mountain of evidence against why they should be granted a license. They even admitted in court that they had been operating illegally by taking the booking direct to the drivers and not complying with the law of going through an operator first, which everybody on the planet outside of Palestra knows is illegally plying for hire. 

I do hope you share my optimism in this, and you'd better be prepared to fill the void when they get their sorry arses kicked out! 

So onto No2... Holding TfL to account. Transport for London are a law unto themselves and literally accountable to nobody. Well almost nobody, the one place they can't fob us off with their nonsense is in a court of law. It really is the only way we will ever beat them, but if we don't take the fight to them we will never know. The destruction of our trade must be stopped! 

I've worked at Heathrow Airport for about a decade now. For years the average wait time was always 2 hours. Now its 4 hours. Well I'm no Carol Vorderman but that in my book is a 50% pay cut. My business damaged by TfL granting a license for Uber to operate illegally. Sorry but that's not on, they need to be held to account! 

Let's make Helen Chapman rue those words! 

No3. To hold Uber to Account. 

Uber admitted in court that were operating illegally during their Workers Rights trial. Enough said for me... I want compensation! 

So as you can see there is already a tonne of evidence in our favour and I would be very surprised if getting a result wasn't a mere formality. We've just got to do it! 

And that's where we all come in. This stuff costs money... Lots of it and we need to start raising it fast. We have a fantastic opportunity to right all the wrongs in this trade but if we don't take it we will never get that chance again, and things will just continue to get worse with private hire helping themselves until it becomes unviable for us to go to work. That's the reality folks. 

I don't want that and I doubt you do too so this is a no brainer. The UTAG group are asking for drivers to help fund this legal action. Go to their website 

www.unitedtradeactiongroup.com 


for full details and join the 000s of drivers who have already signed up. This is our trade let's fight to save it! 

And it's not just drivers... The UTAG group are also made up of suppliers and services to the taxi trade. There are some big players on board who have already donated large sums and worked hard to get this thing off the ground. Bravo to you guys, and if there's anyone out there reading this now who earns their living connected to the taxi trade then get onboard too. Our trade is your trade! 

Also don't confuse this legal action with the other one that is running simultaneously lead by solicitors Mishcon de Reya. Theirs is seperate to this and is designed purely to seek compensation from Uber. 

I don't know about you but I want more than that. I want Uber stopped from operating. I want TfL stopped from destroying us. I want to go back to operating with the sole right to ply for hire having earned it through doing the Knowledge. And I want compensation for the damage done thus far. This action if successful should address those issues. 

What do you want? 

Some come on guys and gals, lets all get on board with this, sign up, spread the word to everyone you know, and lets go for the jugular! 

As the title of this email says... It's Now or Never! 

Cheers Dizzy. 

Where Buses Go, We Go...Day 1, Huge Success. Same Time Same Place Today.

The first day of action in this first series of five, got off to a great start being well attended, better than expected. 


The protest kicked off on the stroke of 4pm. The bridge, which comes under the City of London Police (who were great, and seemed very supportive) quickly filled up and the whole area came to a complete halt. 

The irony of the situation was exposed when the CoL decided to open up access to all vehicles at the bank Junction, to try and ease traffic flow which was gridlocked.


The CoL police inspector who appeared to be in charge, amazingly, said they had been caught by surprise as TfL told them the protest had been cancelled. 

There was a short sharp interaction with two Met motorcycle police officers, who for some reason became aggressive and were threatening to arrest drivers for obstruction. But the CoL inspector ordered the two to carry on riding and leave the situation to the City police. 


The public were handed excellent leaflets (designed by Sean Paul Day and supplied by the LCDC) which explained the situation in detail. On the whole the public seemed to be fully supportive....with the only anger shown to drivers coming from a couple of irate Lycra clad cyclists. 

There were in fact a couple of incidents involving cyclists which to my eyes looked stage managed to try and cause trouble, but the behaviour of the cab drivers was impeccable and the two incidents I personally witnessed was dealt with rapidly by the CoL police. 

The drivers left a lane that could be cleared quickly for emergency vehicles.
 
The buses were being looked after by a number of TfL uniformed staff who gave me their word they were not compliance officers. To our amazement, the dozen or so  buses standing stationary for the duration, had their engines running (unlike the cabbies who had switched everything off). 

The senior CoL office asked if there would be any more protesting from the Taxi trade in the City this week and seemed to be taken by surprise when we explained that this was to be a week long daily protest.


Obviously, members of the ITA were in full attendance, but it was also very nice to see so many younger/newer drivers getting involved, some on their first ever protest. 

The days militant action was fully supported by the LCDC and the RMT, with their chairman/general secretary and most of their committee members in attendance. 


Strange through that a Taxi news platform, one who claims to be impartial and have the largest circulation on social media, decided not to post anything whatsoever about London Taxi driver's struggle for full access to the transport network.
Instead, they posted a story about a minor minicab demo in Milton Keynes, where drivers were protesting over an extra 20p commission on every job. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
  



The fight goes on, no more waiting and seeing!

The ITA announced after the days protest, it's more of the same again on Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Friday... And if the trades demand are not met in full, they will take stock of the situation and decide where to hit next week.


Even our French colleague Taxi Driver supported today's protest 





Monday, November 26, 2018

ITA Call Industrial Action - Where Buses Go....We Go - Day One.


A message to all the drivers who will be supporting the call for daily industrial action, starting tomorrow at 4pm on London Bridge :
Please remember:
We are taking this action for one reason and one reason only!
They are taking away our right of access to ply for hire and take passengers where they want to go.
Recent exclusions are just the thin end of the wedge.

As part of London's public hire system along with buses, we must be given a right of access to every street that buses have access to. 
Every bus lane that buses use, we must be able to use.

The strap line to this action is simple :
WHERE BUSES GO...WE GO 

THE INDEPENDANT TAXI ALLIANCE (ITA) IS CALLING FOR LONDON'S MAYOR SADIQ KHAN AND TFL, TO LIFT THIS RESTRAINT ON OUR TRADE.

Also, remember.....
If you see a uniformed police officer coming towards your vehicle, close the window...refuse to accept any form of documentation. Also, if asked, do not sign anything.


If you see any TfL staff taking notes/photos of vehicles/drivers on the action...this could in the form of public carriage officers (PCOs), bus inspectors and the like, try to take photo or video them and what they are doing*...ask to see their **RIPA order. If they can't show you, let them know you will be reporting them*** to the police and TfL. 

*Remember not to use your phone while the engine is running and keys are in the ignition. 

           Windsor house ............. Trafalgar Square 

**The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c.23) (RIP or RIPA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, regulating the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation. 
***Anyone (including employees) acting on behalf of a public body i.e. TfL, needs an RIPA order to carry out any covert surveillance.

Do not perform any illegal manoeuvres and don forget, you only have to comply with uniformed police officer directions. TfL staff have no authority to direct traffic.