Saturday, December 22, 2018

Taxi driver who helped save man threatening to jump from bridge says 'if I'd not stopped I would have never forgiven myself'

One of the 'unsung heroes' who was praised by police for stopping a man jumping off a bridge in Bolton has spoken out.

A taxi driver who stopped a man from throwing himself off a bridge said he would have 'never forgiven himself' if he hadn't pulled over to help.

AJ Singh, 25, was driving along the A666 in Bolton when he noticed a man standing on the wrong side of the railings.

AJ, who was driving home after dropping a customer off, pulled off the dual carriageway and talked with the man for around an hour.

The young taxi driver said other members of the public stopped to help too, and eventually coaxed the man back to safety.

AJ, from Altrincham, said: "I was just about to join the motorway when I noticed a man on the wrong side of the bridge.

"I put my hazard lights on and went over to him. My main worry was that he was going to fall off the bridge and into the path of an oncoming car.

"While I was speaking to him some other members of the public came over and they rang the police.

"I just kept talking to him. It's a shame it had got to that stage. I felt like the system had let him down.

"He was obviously in a really dark place, and it was scary to see somebody in that position.

"I just thought this man is somebody's loved one. I felt that could relate to him. I have family and friends who have had mental health problems. If I hadn't pulled over, I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself.

"At one stage I thought he was going to jump but eventually we managed to get him to come back and we pulled him over the barrier."

Taxi driver AJ Singh was part of a group of 'unsung heroes' who helped stop a man from throwing himself off a bridge in Bolton.

Police in Bolton praised AJ and the rest of the group for their actions on Thursday.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, was taken to hospital to be assessed by mental health workers.

Police praised the group for their brave actions

In a message posted on the GMP Bolton page, officers said: "A massive thank you to those unsung heroes who helped to save the young man.

"Hopefully he will get the help he needs."

Source : Manchester Evening News

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Don't Suffer Alone.

As we enter what for many is a happy time of year, we shouldn't forget that not everyone will be feeling that way. 

Many, who perhaps have recently lost a partner or other pertinent reason, may look at this period as a lonely and sad time. 

So it's worth knowing that if you text 
Samaritans (116123) when you're feeling depressed, angry or even suicidal, a crisis worker will text you back after a few minutes and will continue to text with you.

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) helps people who are struggling to cope - experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis. You can call them between 8pm and 6am every night.operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at .

Friday, December 21, 2018

TfL Release Latest Taxi And Private Hire Journey Related Sexual Offences.

TfL have today released the Taxi and Private hire journey-related sexual offences for the year 2017.

Rapes up from 30 to 34
Sexual assaults down from 135 to 128

     From the TfL website 

Unfortunately this year unlike last year, TfL have decided not to publish the easy to read brake down of figures, to show which operator these predators are working for. 
Fortunately a previous FOI request has shown that Uber were responsibly for a massive 72% of Private Hire journey sexual assaults.
We've been formed that the LCDC have written to TfL asking why the breakdown has been excluded from their webpage this year.

The last breakdown of driver type was published in 2016.
In 2016 over half the convictions for Rape and Sexual assault were committed by Uber drivers. Over 3,000 PH operators licensed in London by TfL and one operator was allegedly (going on TfLs own published statistics) responsible for more than half of all rapes and sexual assaults 

It is also worth noting that again there are:
'No reports/convictions of rape or sexual assault were recorded against Licensed Taxi drivers '...again in the lasted figures released today.

Comment from LCDC Chairman Grant Davis

Londoners were told that by using the UBER app, it was a safe way for females to travel as their journeys are tracked 

Today TFL figures show 72% of all sexual assault cases where the driver is actually charged works on the UBER platform 


This is appalling. It will be interesting to see if media outlets will pick it up?

Also, I doubt it’s not a coincidence that this bad news has been released last thing on a Friday just before Christmas !!!

Comment from Save Our Black Taxi FaceBook Group :
Also worth pointing out that offences that are committed outside of London... by London licensed private hire drivers... are investigated by the local police force for that area. 

These offences are NOT included in the figures. 

So how many more offences have been committed? 

More comment from Mattblacktaxi
So when the figures are published for the period starting in June, will it show the post "probation" figures for Uber?

These figures that TfL have published today do not seem to add up to the figures obtained by the GMBunion for the same period.

But again ZERO offences in black cabs

Thursday, December 20, 2018

FOI Shows Government Minister In Secret Meeting With Uber, Before Licence Appeal Was Heard.

     Tory MP Nas Ghani with David Cameron 

After the explosive FOI revelations in the Guardian by Ben Quinn, we now learn Transport minister Nus Ghani, also held secret talks with Uber AFTER it lost its TfL license and BEFORE it's appeal was even heard at Westminster Magistrates.

Minutes of the meeting show Uber tried to pan off the UPHD legal challenge as trivial efforts of a few disgruntled.
Sure didn't seem that way when we staged national strike in October. 

Uber also try to muddy the waters on self employment by suggesting worker status is not self employment - this was four months before its appeal was even heard at Westminster Magistrates and yet Uber is boasting to Nus Ghani that it's relationship with TfLTPH had been 'steadily improving since the (previous) summer'.  
We're quite sure it had been too!

Uber told the minister they were 'supportive of national minimum standards that can work within their business model'. 
Eh? I thought business was adapted to regulation...not the other way round?

Nus Ghani asked Uber to list their top issues for govt. 
They said:
Definition of plying for hire
Cross border hiring 
Price controls

Uber told the minister (in their private meeting), that they were disappointed not to have been asked to participate in DfT Task & Finish group. 
Never mind that minicab drivers were not represented nor given access and the review was supposed to have been about their welfare.

At a time when Uber's license was under review and the company was in, what Mayor of London called... a quasi judicial process... why was minister secretly meeting with Uber and why were TfLTPH cozying up with them? 
Entire regulatory system from top to bottom is rigged against workers.
This reeks of corruption. END

Source : UPHD Twitter Feed.

We've received word today from a source close to LTPH, that Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, has again slipped into town unannounced for further discussions with TfL and certain Transport Ministers relating to Uber's proposed app based on demand minibus service. 

I suppose our largest orgs thoughts of the day will be more schoolyard name calling and waiting and seeing. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hold On ... Relax Everyone ..... We've Found TFL's And Sadiq's Missing £23 Million Pounds

White van man is being offered a reprieve from daily pollution charges of £12.50 under plans to improve air quality with a vehicle scrappage scheme.

Small businesses employing fewer than ten people will be able to apply for a grant to help them to switch from a diesel van with high emissions to one of the cleanest new models.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, announced the £23 million scrappage scheme after being accused of threatening the viability of small businesses under plans to introduce an ultra-low emission zone in central London on April 8 next year.

Pre-2016 diesel vans and cars that do not meet the latest European emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London.


The Tory's have said that this will be seen as Sadiq Khan's Poll Tax and we could see riots with the backlash from thousands of angry drivers and small businesses.

Source : The Times. 

Khans Christmas Present To The Trade... Mayor To Make Age Limit Announcement!

The Mayor has chosen this morning, just ahead of the Christmas break to try and bury his really bad news for the trade, a ‘kick in the teeth’. 

This is the Mayor’s Christmas present for the cab trade. 

In the coming New Year, he will be consulting on reducing the taxi age limit to 12 years on all but the new electric, LPG and the latest Euro VI diesel cabs (roughly 65 plates and later)! 

Now although the wording is consulting on reducing, we all know that this is just another done deal. With certain people who have financial interests in selling the TXe rubbing their hands. 

To add insult to injury Khan will also be announcing that he no longer has control of the £40 million he assured us was ‘Ring Fenced’ to assist the trade to purchase the new electric cabs. 

Apparently, he has somehow ‘lost’ £22 million, and now only has £18 million left!

Amazingly, none of the £1bn budget set aside for cycle lanes and Taxi exemption signs has “gone missing”. 

Question of the day....HOW DO YOU LOSE £22 MILLION ?


And now for the good news....after meeting with Mike Brown and Chris Grayling, Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has given his permission for Uber and other PH drivers to be charged congestion charges. This allegedly on the understanding that Uber minibuses will be allowed to use all bus lanes and restricted right and left turns.

The minicab industry had warned most fares would rise by 10-20 per cent, some would treble and minicabs “could become as expensive as black cabs”.

Minicabs have been exempt from the C-charge since its introduction more than 15 years ago.

Today the Mayor, who has been unable to impose a cap on the number of drivers licensed by Transport for London, decided to remove the exemption from April 8. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Taxicard Contract A Disgrace : Users Protest As Free Journeys Decrease. Councillor Blames Government Funding.

Disabled people protested against what they see as an insufficient number of free taxi rides offered by their council.

Users of the ‘Taxicard’ service in Harrow handed in a petition at the borough’s civic centre on Monday – International Day of Disabled People – criticising the low number of journeys they are entitled to.

Harrow Council now offers just 40 free trips a year which, as the protesters pointed out, equates to less than one return journey every two weeks.

It is one of the lowest in London and, by contrast, neighbouring Hillingdon Council provides 104 annual journeys.

Adam Gabsi, vice-chairman of Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD), organised the march to the Civic Centre alongside several other charities.

He said: “The council needs to speak to the very people that they are affecting to understand what impact their decisions are having on people’s physical and mental health.

“Disabled people want equality, justice and the freedom to live. The Taxicard scheme helps to facilitate this and should not have been cut.”

He added that blaming austerity for the cuts is an “excuse” and urged the council to come up with “innovative ideas” to help plug any funding gaps.

Nigel Long, chief executive of HAD, believes there is “room for manoeuvre” on the Taxicard issue and hopes to see the number of journeys at least doubled.

“We are sympathetic to the council’s financial situation, but disabled people should not have to bear the brunt of austerity,” he said.

“It seems as if they have taken the soft option and they have let disabled people in the borough down.”

Cllr Adam Swersky, who is responsible for finance at Harrow Council, agreed that it is important to find alternative sources but said it is impossible to ignore the impact of reduced government funding.

He said: “This is a symbol of how long austerity has been going on for. We’ve been facing cuts year-on-year and so, in that respect, things are only getting worse.

“These things affect the people who need our support the most, and that is why we are fighting for fairer funding in Harrow.”

He explained that the demand for adult social care does not meet the council’s budget and, as a result, it needs “as much help as possible” from outside bodies.

And he promised to work with HAD and other charities in the borough to see how they can move forward together.


Funding for disabled cut, yet the Mayor found £1bn to fund cycle lanes which have crippled businesses all over London


Supported by ITA, LCDC, RMT, DDD and MM 

Dates and venues will be posted in the New Year. 

One Of Uber's Biggest Investors Goldman’s Sachs, Facing Criminal Charge In 1MDB Scandal.

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal or 1MDB scandal is an ongoing political scandal occurring in Malaysia.

Malaysia is demanding Uber investor Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bear the brunt of the 1MDB scandal, opening up another legal front for the Wall Street firm over its role raising money for the investment fund.

The country filed the first criminal charges against the U.S. bank in the global corruption probe on Monday, after publicly urging Goldman to come to the negotiating table or face litigation. The firm already is in the thick of investigations by U.S. prosecutors and regulators over Goldman’s conduct in the controversy.

Malaysian authorities allege that Goldman misled investors when the bank knew that proceeds from 1MDB bond sales it arranged would be misappropriated. The government is seeking fines in excess of both the $2.7 billion of allegedly misused funds and the $600 million in fees received by Goldman on the deals. Goldman has blamed rogue employees for any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB, a state-owned investment fund.

"Their fraud goes to the heart of our capital markets," Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement announcing the charges. "If no criminal proceedings are instituted against the accused, their undermining of our financial system and market integrity will go unpunished."

Goldman Sachs’s role in raising about $6.5 billion for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013 has evolved into its thorniest scandal since the global financial crisis a decade ago triggered a public backlash against banks. Former Goldman partner Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty to U.S. bribery charges and his former deputy, Roger Ng, was arrested in Malaysia. And one of its senior investment bankers in Asia has been put on leave after being referenced in charging documents.

Ex Partner Tim Leissner 

Goldman Sachs said it would "vigorously contest" the charges, which it said came without a chance for the firm to provide its view.

"Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions," the bank said in an emailed statement Monday. "1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved."

Goldman’s increasing proximity to the scandal has weighed on its stock, which is down about a third since the beginning of the year. That has erased its so-called Trump bump, a reference to the boost all major banking stocks received after President Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. Goldman shares are now trading at the lowest level since October 2016.

Along with targeting the firm, Malaysia filed related charges against Leissner and Ng, as well as former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.

The indictment focuses on circulars and memoranda that Goldman prepared for the 1MDB bonds, saying that they contained statements that were false or misleading or both. Malaysia is pursuing the claim on the basis that the relevant bond documents were sent to the regulator in its offshore banking haven in Labuan, and therefore were covered by its securities law, Thomas said in the statement.

Malaysia is filing the charges against three of the bank’s units -- Goldman Sachs International (UK), Goldman Sachs (Singapore) and Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC -- the Edge newspaper reported, citing charge sheets from the Kuala Lumpur court.

"The criminal charges of this nature are grave, and it goes to the core of Goldman’s business as an investment bank," said Nizam Ismail, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP in Singapore. "If the outcome of the case results in a criminal conviction against the bank, there are potentially severe reputational and financial risks to the bank, as well as the bank’s standing as a licensed financial institution with regulators worldwide."

Officials in Malaysia had previously said they were seeking a full refund from Goldman Sachs for the fees it received for the 1MDB bond sales. The $600 million Goldman earned from the bond issues dwarfed what banks typically make from government deals.

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind of the schemes to siphon billions of dollars from 1MDB, was also charged in absentia in the U.S. He was accused of conspiring with Ng, then a Goldman Sachs banker, to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB, known formally as 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

A spokesman for Low issued a statement from his attorneys that he maintained his innocence.

The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is ramping up an investigation into how executives dodged the bank’s internal controls while helping Malaysian authorities raise the money, people briefed on the matter said late last month. The probe examines the actions of Goldman Sachs as well as individuals and has been gaining momentum, the people said, asking not to be identified because the inquiry is confidential.

Leissner’s guilty plea suggests he’s helping U.S. authorities with their investigation of the bank. Other regulators are examining if its conduct points to a broader pattern of prioritizing lucrative business deals at the expense of following rigorous compliance standards.

And two Abu Dhabi funds -- International Petroleum Investment Co. and Aabar Investments -- have also filed a civil suita gainst Goldman Sachs in New York, seeking damages for alleged fraud in connection with embezzlement at 1MDB.

Source : Bloomberg 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Islington Cab Drivers Release Christmas Single About Being In Love

Joe and Jon the Islington cab drivers have made a Christmas single about being in love

Two crooning black cab drivers from Islington have released a Christmas single about being in love.

Joe Cartwright, 49, and Jon Cox, 50, have written and produced their track Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without You from their studio space at Parkhurst Road’s Islington Arts Factory.

The festive tune features backing vocals courtesy from a True Stars Academy Theatre School choir, run by the Eastenders actor and anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella.

"It’s a song that can be universal, said Joe. "So it doesn’t matter if you’re in Afganistan or away on an oil rig, because it just encapsulates the feeling of love for another person."

Jon, who grew up in Clerkenwell, told the Gazette: "I’m very excited to write this song because it’s an emotional time of year and if our song becomes part of that I’ll be happy."

You can listen to the track on Spotify or iTunes.

Source : Islington Gazette.