Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Surprise, Surprise ViaVan Given 3Year Licence By TfL, To Use Euro 6 Diesel Mercedes



Surprise, Surprise....ViaVan, the joint-venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans in Europe, has been granted a new 3-year Private Hire Vehicle Operator's license to continue to operate so called 'on-demand shared transport' in London by Transport for London, using vehicles that the London Taxi Trade have been banned from using...euro 6 Diesel engine Mercedes Vitos and Vaneos, now lumped together and called V-class .

Keith Prince asked the Mayor why black cabs can't licence euro 6 Mercedes Vito vans anymore, but his new shuttle bus pilot schemes can. 

It's one rule for everybody else and draconian rules for the black cab trade under Sadiq Khan.



ViVan launched in April 2018 and said it has provided more than 7 million rides in London and saved 3 million vehicle kilometers by pooling multiple passengers into shared vehicles, resulting in more than 600,000 kilograms of CO2 saved.

Keith Prince AM also asked Mike Brown why Transport for London won't let the cab trade use Euro 6 Mercedes Vito vehicles when new on-demand buses can. It's one rule for the black cabs, another for everyone else




ViaVan said that by using technology from U.S. provider Via, ViaVan has proven to be a strong solution for public transport operators and partners, not only in London with TfL but across the UK in both rural and urban areas.

Chris Snyder, ViaVan CEO said, ‘We are proud to receive the renewal of our license in London. 
We believe that ViaVan’s focus on smart, shared mobility is part of the solution to achieving the Mayor’s goal of 80% journeys by public transport, walking or biking by 2041.’

So ViaVan who recently were in trouble for there advert on TfL stations showing a ViaVan driver breaking the law, picking up passengers on a zebra crossing (advert was banned by TfL but can still be seen on stations and tube trains) are now considered to be part of the Mayor’s Public Transport?

Snyder went in to say, ‘To actually get Londoners out of private vehicles and on-board with the city’s goals, it’s necessary to provide a technology-driven solution that combines the efficiency, comfort and convenience of a personal vehicle with the affordability and traffic-reducing benefits of public transport’.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
ViaVan recently hit the headlines with its adverts on the TfL transport system. The advert showed a group of passengers, boarding a Mercedes side loader Private Hire vehicle, that was stopped on a zebra crossing. 

Also at the bottom of the advert, was the claim London's smartest and greenest rides......as the company use Diesel engines and not electric powered vehicles, this statement is false. 

Taxi leaks complained to both the advertising standards agency and TfL and neither replied. So we asked the LCDC to put in a complaint on our behalf, this they did. 

TfL came back with a statement saying that no action would be taken against ViaVan as the contract for the adverts was to run out shortly. But unlike young ladies in swimsuits that appeared to offend Mayor Khan, you can still find the ViaVan advert on certain rude trains and stations across the TfL network. 


Another advert that was (supposed to be banned, the one TfL actually apologised for, showing an unsavoury character with the words 'When you recognise your blind date from the news, get out of here Kapten', can also still be seen on TfL tube trains. 

It would appear that only adverts showing offensive food, or beautiful young ladies are removed immediately by TfL working on behalf of the Mayor.....but offensive, lying adverts from foreign minicab operators may only be removed eventually, when TfL get round to it.....which could be some time in the future.....or not perhaps. 


Monday, July 15, 2019

After His Refusal To Call For A Ban On E-Scooters, Should Mike Brown Be Replaced In The Interest Of Public Safety ?


Asked about the dramatic rise in the illegal use of e-scooters by commuters in in light of recent fatality, Mike Brown dismissed calls for a ban saying riders need to be more careful. 

And now a 14-year-old boy who crashed his electric scooter in Beckenham is fighting for life.

Has Mike Brown's decision been swayed by the fact that his largest stakeholder Uber (largest on demand e-scooter supplier in California) will be pushing to operate in London???

Taxi Leaks would pitch the question, in the interest of public safety, is in time for Mike Brown to be moved on, and a new, responsible commissioner appointed to replace him???


Road safety campaigners called for a crackdown after the second accident in 24 hours involving the battery-powered vehicles in London.

The teenager is thought to have lost control riding on the pavement and collided with a bus stop at about midday on Saturday, according to The Sun. 

He suffered a serious head injury and was airlifted to another hospital - where he remains in a critical condition.

A day earlier, TV presenter and YouTube star Emily Hartridge , 35, died when her motorised scooter collided with a lorry in Battersea.


Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “While there has only been one death in the UK there have been a number across Europe.”

Electric scooters are illegal to ride in public in the UK. Most users are unaware that e-scooters that reach speeds of 40mph can only be used on private land.

Anyone currently riding them the roads in London, risks a £300 fine and six points on their driving licence (if they have one), while those that ride them on the pavement face a £30 penalty.
It hasn't gone unnoticed that the Police in Central London are turning a blind eye to the use of e-scooters. 

The Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police were called to Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, at 11.42am on Saturday, 13 July to reports that a teenage boy had crashed an electric scooter.

‘Officers attended along with the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance.

‘A 14-year-old boy was found with a serious head injury after it was reported his scooter had collided with a bus stop. He was taken by Air Ambulance to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

‘His next of kin have been informed. 
Enquiries into the circumstances continue

Skydiving Wives Raise £7,000 For Taxi Charity For Military Veterans


On Tuesday 9 July at Old Sarum Aerodrome, two Taxi Charity for Military Veterans committee wives, Anne Parsons from West Ealing and Susy Goodwin from Ware, completed tandem skydives with The Red Devils.

The jump was postponed from the original date of 1 May due to low cloud and high winds, resulting in a ten-week delay. 
However, the extra time allowed the girls to gain further funds and they have raised, in total, a staggering £7,000.


Their adrenaline-fuelled experience began the second they left the plane at 12,000 feet, free-falling through the clouds at 120 mph for forty-five seconds. 
Once through the clouds, their parachutes were deployed, allowing these brave ladies to enjoy spectacular views of the Wiltshire countryside as they floated down, landing gently in the drop zone, thanks to the skills of their respective Red Devil.


Susy carried veteran Ted Pieri’s beret. Ted, who passed away in January aged 92, was the first person to do a fundraising skydive for the Taxi Charity and in doing so started a bit of a trend. He was a member of 250 Light Composite Coy. RASC. 1st Airborne. 

Susy Goodwin say’s "Climbing through the clouds we reached 12,000 feet. The instruction came to put on our goggles and wait to move to the now open door. Sitting on the edge of this little plane and staring into the clouds beneath us, for some insane reason I thought it would be like jumping onto a 13-tog duvet covered with cotton wool and shaving foam! But I loved it and would I do it again- yes in a heartbeat"

Ian Pieri, Ted’s son said "How great that Susy completed the jump successfully. My dad would have been absolutely thrilled and so very proud of you. It was both wonderful and emotional to see you with Dad’s picture and his beret. It made my week."


Anne Parsons dedicated her jump to close family friend Major Justin van der Pant late 7 Para RHA. Justin passed away in 2016 at the age of 48. 
Anne Parsons said, "I was extremely honoured to jump in Justin’s memory." and his widow Jennifer said afterwards: "Justin would be so proud of you for being so brave and raising all that money."

Would the ladies do it again?

"Absolutely," said Susy, who clearly relished the idea of a second jump.
Not so Anne, who despite the amazing experience, announced her immediate retirement from skydiving to pursue non-adrenaline adventures.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : About the Taxi Charity

The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans was formed in Fulham in 1948, to work for the benefit, comfort and enjoyment of military veterans and arranges many trips every year for veterans from all conflicts. 

The charity offers international trips to Holland, Belgium and France, UK day trips to concerts or museums, transport to attend fundraising events, as well as special days out to catch up with friends and comrades.

To fund and facilitate these outings, the charity is wholly reliant on generous donations from members of the public, businesses and trusts and the amazing group of London licensed taxi drivers who offer their time and vehicles free.

 

To find out more about the charity or to donate visit the website http://www.taxicharity.org

Twitter @TaxiCharity

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TaxiCharityUK

 

For more information, to arrange interviews or to request images please contact

Christina Bowden

Bowden PR 

07984 433614

christina@bowdenpr.co.uk

www.bowdenpr.co.uk


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Tower Hamlets - Determined To Displace Traffic From The More Affluent Localised Areas, Onto Less Affluent Ones...by Sean Paul Day


Why are local authorities - such a Tower Hamlets - determined to displace motor traffic from the more affluent localised areas onto less affluent ones such as the Mile End Road 

Why do TfL and the local authorities sell the notion that they can reduce emissions on a street by street basis? 

Why is it that a lot of the roads being closed to through traffic are the more affluent local ones?  Kensington & Chelsea, for example,  have the second longest life expectancy in the country yet they have some of the heaviest urban traffic flows? 

The ‘localised’ clean air policy is absurd! The much vaunted 9k deaths per year never seems to fluctuate and is never explained in regional differences? 

Surely, those living near the busiest roads would have the highest mortality rates? The data doesn’t even filter out respiratory conditions caused by smoking or industrial pollutants and doesn't clearly explain what "early death" is?

The main factor, is poverty - it kills far more people than emissions. Those living below the poverty line tend to have a worse diet and more medical complications than those on average earnings and are therefore more susceptible to ‘early’ death.

We do need to plan for the future and reduce on a global basis our human detritus but this will need to be done from a much wider perspective than the one adopted by our local authorities and TfL. 

We badly need the Department of Transport to instigate a review of road and traffic planning in our major cities so that the response is balanced and not the scalpel approach that makes motorists the cancer and local politicians the scalpel. 


Creating binaries for taxi drivers which could economically disadvantage them is hardly an incentive for them to invest in ULEV.  And if we argue against all motor traffic then we cannot ignore the fact that hidden consumption pollution due to to cycle lanes  is extremely high.

The main point to remember is that we all need the transport network for everything we consume. Waging war on commercial vehicles is akin to sawing off your own arm. 

In short, ill thought out road closures that make life harder for regular, working class people to go about their daily chores is not the way forward and is brought about by a disconnect with residents  and an ignorance to local needs! 

The borough councils could start by listening to local concerns…just don’t hold your breath for too long waiting.

Here what Cllr Margaret Cooper had to say about the Tredegar Road experiment 


Please support the residents of E3 by signing their online petition :


Also, support this campaign by following @justice_local on Twitter 

TfL’s Own Case Law Says Taxis Should Be Allowed To Use Bus Lanes ... It’s On Their Website !


Remember the judgement in the case bought by Eventech, a subsidiary of Addison Lee, against black cabs (Taxis) being given the right to use Bus Lanes.....well it seems Sadiq Khan, TfL and a number of local councils seek to have forgotten. 

The most relevant two paragraphs read: 
Mr Justice Burton agreed, noting in his High Court judgment: `There is to my mind a clear distinction between the need of black cabs (and their passengers and the public) for them to be in the bus lanes, by way of visibility and availability of, and access to, black cabs for those hailing a cruising taxi'.

He went on to note: 'I consider it makes entire good sense for black cabs to be travelling in bus lanes. Minicabs just do not have the need to use the bus lane, and black cabs do'.

The case was defended by TfL.... so what has changed?
What new legislation has been bought in to change this situation?
Are TfL, Sadiq Khan and local councils acting illegally ?

Who’s out there fighting your corner ?

Below is the complete notice posted on the TfL website :

Judgment notes TfL policy does not appear to the ECJ to involve state aid nor confer, through State resources, a selective economic advantage

Transport for London (TfL) has today welcomed the judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), in Luxembourg, on the case brought by Eventech, a subsidiary of Addison Lee, that challenges TfL's policy of allowing taxis, but not private hire vehicles, to use bus lanes in the capital.

In its judgment, the ECJ recognised that taxis are distinct from minicabs noting the former's "legal status, are in a factual and legal situation which is distinct from that of minicabs, and consequently those two categories of vehicles are not comparable".

The ECJ notes that drivers of taxis are subject to strict standards in relation to their vehicles, their fares and their knowledge of London, whereas those standards do not apply to minicabs.

The ECJ goes on to recognise that only taxis can ply for hire, they are subject to the rule of 'compellability', they must be recognisable and capable of conveying persons in wheelchairs, and their drivers must set the fares for their services by means of a taxi meter and have a particularly thorough knowledge of London. Concluding that in that context, the bus lane policy does not confer a selective economic advantage on taxis.

Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: `Our policy on bus lanes was upheld by the High Court. We welcome the opinion from the Advocate General and now the European Court of Justice, but ultimately await the decision of the Court of Appeal. As this process continues we are maintaining our well-understood and effective policy that helps to keep London moving in the interest of everyone.'

In the original Judicial Review proceedings in 2012, TfL explained to the court that taxis are allowed to drive in bus lanes because they can ply for hire, whereas minicabs cannot. It would be more difficult to hail a taxi, especially on a busy road, if the vehicle concerned was not near to the kerb. Unlike minicabs, taxis are required to be wheelchair accessible and their ability to use bus lanes is of great benefit to wheelchair users. 

Allowing tens of thousands of minicabs to drive in bus lanes would also impact on the reliability of bus services and risk inconveniencing the six and a half million passengers who travel on buses each day.

Mr Justice Burton agreed, noting in his High Court judgment: `There is to my mind a clear distinction between the need of black cabs (and their passengers and the public) for them to be in the bus lanes, by way of visibility and availability of, and access to, black cabs for those hailing a cruising taxi'.

He went on to note: 'I consider it makes entire good sense for black cabs to be travelling in bus lanes. Minicabs just do not have the need to use the bus lane, and black cabs do'.

The proceedings were brought by Eventech, a subsidiary of Addison Lee, against the Parking Adjudicator, which arose from Penalty Charge Notices issued by Camden Council for illegal use of the Southampton Row bus lanes. Both the London Borough of Camden and TfL were named as interested parties. The High Court upheld TfL's bus lanes policy in 2012 and the Court of Appeal hearing took place in April 2013.

There are around 23,000 licensed taxis in London and approximately 53,000 licensed minicabs in the capital.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Woman On Illegal Electric Scooter Killed In Collision With Lorry On London Street, As Police Turn A Blind Eye


Police at the scene in Battersea, where woman died after being struck by a lorry

A woman has died after being struck by a lorry while riding an electric scooter at a roundabout in south-west London, police have said.

The victim, in her 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash at Queen’s Circus in Battersea shortly after 8.30am on Friday.

Several roads in the area were closed off while the rush hour collision was investigated, including Chelsea Bridge and Nine Elms Lane.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said the woman’s next of kin are yet to be informed, and no arrests have been made.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the first medics had arrived at the scene in under four minutes.

"Sadly, despite the extensive efforts of medics, a woman died at the scene," she said.

It is illegal to ride scooters with electric motors on public roads and pavements in the UK, and the crash prompted a warning from the Department of Transport (DfT) that e-scooter retailers should tell customers about the ban.

Unfortunately the Police have been turning a blind eye to these dangerous vehicles, as they have with the plethora of dangerously ridden electric rickshaws, also illegal on the roads.


The illegal scooters can exceed 30mph and are increasingly being used for short journeys in a number of countries, including in many European cities and the US.

In the UK they can only be legally used on private land, but this policy could yet be reversed as the DfT is carrying out a review of legislation to accommodate changes in the way people get around.

A spokeswoman for the department said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to all those involved in this tragic incident, and fully support the police as they carry out their investigations."

She added: "Safety is at the heart of all our road laws and it is important that retailers continue to remind people at the point of sale that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads."

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Lawless London

Again today, another illegal scooter rider has a bad accident. These scooters are riding past police officers who are saying and doing nothing. 

Ambulance called putting unnecessary extra pressure on the emergency services. 

 

Friday, July 12, 2019

TfL To Kick Taxis Out Of "Priority Lanes" To Try To Halt Falling Bus Rider Numbers, By Speeding Up Journeys



 TfL are to introduce a new network of 24 hour priority bus corridor lanes in central London after a sharp decline in bus usage....to help deliver the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s reach his target for 80 per cent of journeys to be made by sustainable transport modes by 2041. 

With e-hail on demand minicab apps trying to price each other out of the market, many passengers are switching away from buses and tubes, into these cheap minicabs who can avoid the most congested routes... adding to even more congestion on so called quiet routes. The situation hasn’t been helped by council planners, with their ridicules new road schemes. 

As buses sit in the congestion, ridership has fallen dramatically with officials at Transport for London blaming slowing traffic speeds caused mainly by their own incompetent traffic planners. 

Despite the Mayor’s fares freeze and the introduction of the hopper fare which allows passengers to take multiple buses for a single fare, the number of bus journeys still fell again in 2018. 

Concerns have been expressed by London Assembly members and passenger watchdog London TravelWatch that TfL and City Hall’s decision to axe and curtail some bus routes will worsen the decline.

A paper to be presented to TfL’s Programmes and Investment Committee next week sets out a number of measures designed to avoid this.

Yet not one word about the affect of the loss of road space to segregated cycle lanes.... also seen to be causing massive gridlock throughout the capital. 

The changes include "developing a core network of reliable bus services in central London, through the provision of bus priority lanes," reviewing bus lane hours in partnership with boroughs, and providing orbital links.

In addition, a "new, holistic" approach to road schemes will be adopted, including a requirement that the needs of bus passengers "must" be considered when drawing up new projects.
We could also see access to more roads, completely lost to the trade on a scale never seen before

Source : MayorWatch.co.uk

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

This is bad news for London’s Taxis who up till now have been included in most of central London bus lanes.... this is all about to change with the all new Bus Corridors. 

Not one word so far from the Taxi Trades largest org who recently congratulated the Mayor on doing a fantastic job....

The more militant band of Taxi drivers (ITA), have been protesting in Parliament Square every week since January under the banner "Where Buses Go, Taxi Go", claiming that any exemption is discriminate to disable and vulnerable passengers. 

Yet again the Trades largest org’s General Secretary called the protesters ‘Loonies’ in an apologetic email to TfL’s commissioner Mike Brown. 

In every practical sense these new priority lanes are no more than bus lanes. But looking again at the original statement from City Hall sources, they are not called priority bus lanes, they carefully use the phrase ‘Priority Bus Corridors’.

This is no coincidence. In our opinion it’s because there is case law to protect Taxis having fair use of bus lanes. TfL have purposely changed the name so they can legally exclude Taxis. 

Will you wait and see; a policy that lost us the Bank Junction and could lose is Tottenham Court Road?

Or will you fight ?

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. 


Thursday, July 11, 2019

CMT Trialling ARRO Concierge In The Wembly Area.


Hopefully, you'll have read our previous email introducing the ARRO Concierge trial. If you didn't, here it is https://mailchi.mp/c625bcc7c72e/arro-concierge-newsletter.

As a quick summary, ARRO Concierge is an extension of the ARRO platform where hotels, restaurants and other businesses that are not well served by Taxi Ranks can hail rides for their customers. These trip offers will show on the CMT screen in your Taxi if you are 'for hire' and close to its origin.

The purpose of this post is to tell you about an expansion of this trial which we've undertaken in the Wembley area. While the vast majority of ARRO Concierge locations will be centrally based, we are also looking into the viability of outer London locations such as Wembley.

As always with ARRO Concierge, it's entirely your choice whether or not to accept a trip offer but the success, or otherwise, of this Wembley trial will be instructive as the whether it's possible to service outer London trip offers.

Your feedback is vital to us. Whether that's your initial thoughts on ARRO Concierge or your experiences of having used ARRO Concierge, please use the link below to give us your feedback. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The New Nissan Dynamo Fully Electric Taxi Is Now Available To Test Drive At Northwest EV Taxis.

   

Good news for the trade for once!
Northwest Taxis have now taken delivery of the new Nissan Dynamo, which you can now book for a test drive by phoning Paula on 0208 206 0330


I recently visited the showroom (Northwest EV, 12 Carlisle Road, NW9) to see the new Nissan Taxi with a completely open mind...I've heard all the talk about it being too small, not looking like a Taxi, won't get plated by TfL etc, etc.....but I must say that after being shown around the all new fully electric Dynamo Taxi, I was completely blown away. 

 

The sliding doors are manual, and are extremely easy to operate, so no need to advise passengers not to touch. 

Remember this is Nissan....those of you who have been in the trade long enough to remember, the Nissan engine was one of the best engines we've ever had in a Taxi, and we've not seen its like since it was replaced with the move from the FX4 Fairway to the TX range. 


This new vehicle has been a long time in the coming, but unlike other manufacturers, Dynamo have refused to release a vehicle that wasn't ready, under researched or would have to be upgraded shortly after its entry into the market place. 

It comes with the added bonus of hindsight from the Osaka experiment. 
This was an experiment that took place in Japan, with an earlier Nissan electric Taxi, which gave the manufacturer greater insight of the needs for a sustainable working model. 
The batteries used in this new Dynamo model are at the pinnacle of technology, with a range on full charge of 175 miles, but realistically with heater, lights, wipers and AC, this could drop to around 135 miles. The vehicle is covered by a comprehensive warranty of three years, with batteries covered by a separate warranty of five years.

 

One of the very best attributes of the Dynamo, you don't need to have your home electrics upgraded.... no need for a council grant to install a special charging point outside the front of the house or garage....this vehicle can be plugged straight into a 13amp household socket, to be trickle charged charged over-night, or if you're a night man like me, during part of the day (8 hours). 

You can however use a fast charger to top the battery up to 80%, should the need arise.

      

Unlike the Vito, the Dynamo has a sliding window panel which the passenger can open should they feel the need for ventilation. 


The research that's been carried out on all working parts of the Dynamo have been extremely comprehensive. Take for instance the front steering rack, researchers completed 58,000 figure of eight turns at speed to test the reliability of the newly engineered unit. 
Also the sidestep has been tested under 50 feet of water in a swimming pool, to gauge if it would be affected in inclement weather conditions. 


The vehicle as a working Taxi is very comfortable, I'm 6 feet tall and felt I had plenty of leg room. 

Servicing 
Service intervals are 18,000 miles and at £50 for the small service and just £75 for the major service...very affordable. 

Moving on from the pros... to the cons:
It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, being compact and returning to 5 passenger seats instead of the Vito and TXe 6.
The ramps, like the Vito, are stored in the boot.
The floor of the Dynamo is slightly higher than the TX4, but like the Mercedes Vito, has a similar automatic step, which is a useful feature. 
The spare wheel, again like the Vito, is an optional extra and fits neatly underneath the rear of the vehicle. 
Fitted rear carpet is also an optional extra, but my person preference would be the rubber flooring which is easily cleanable in the event of a nasty spillage. 

And that's about it for the cons.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Paula at North West Taxis, has put together a financial package that will enable drivers to fully purchase the Dynamo over a five year period, with no final ballon payment.
No deposit with payments working out at approx £220 a week.
With an on the road price of £47,995, I believe this is a serious contender for the trade. 

With the average driver currently spending £20-25 a day on a 5 day week, and with the Dynamo costing roughly £20 a week in electricity costs. This is a real saving on expenses, which to most purchasers would see this vehicle as very affordable, compared to the opposition. 

     


IF YOU ARE A RMT MEMBER :
The Nissan Dynamo Taxi will be available for inspection and test drives at our next Branch Meeting.
Thursday 11th July @ 8.15pm, Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road.