Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Private Hire Driver Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Disabled Passenger.

Manoj Kuttiyani at Mold Crown Court

Manoj Kuttiyani from Penyffordd, who is standing trial in Mold, denies the charge

Manoj Kuttiyani from Penyffordd, who is standing trial in Mold, denies the charge. 
He is accused of "pouncing" on a disabled passenger and sexually assaulting her.

Mold Crown Court heard Manoj Kuttiyani, 48, took the vulnerable woman home before he "forced himself" on her. 

Kuttiyani, of Hawarden Road, Penyffordd, denies sexually assaulting the woman in her Flintshire home after picking her up at around 6.15pm from a pub in the county in February last year.

The victim had been to a karaoke night with her partner when the woman phoned a minicab and was picked up by Kuttiyani.

Her husband decided to get a bus home separately as he wanted to buy a Chinese meal for the couple.

However the victim said after she got home Kuttiyani knocked on her door and when she opened it he pounced on her and began to sexually assault her.

The victim said her ordeal for around 20 minutes and when it ended she called her son who told her to call the police.
When her partner arrived home she told him what had happened and he also told her to call the police.

A recording of the 999 call was played to the court. In it the victim told the operator how the minicab driver had brought her home then "forced himself" on her.

She said: "I am not very well. I am disabled. The front door was locked. When I opened the door he pounced on me, kissing me and touching my breasts. He's given me his private mobile number even. He wants to have an affair with me. 

I don't know what to do.
"He was all over me, touching me. He was over my face with his mouth open. He grabbed me between my legs. He knew I was vulnerable. 

The victim, who became distressed during parts of the recording, said she "didn't want a fuss" and had tried to talk to Kuttiyani about his wife and children but his mouth was around her mouth.

She said he pushed her up against the wall and the radiators when he was in her kitchen and kissed her.
She added: "His teeth were biting into my face. It was like he was hungry. I am just so much in shock.

"I didn't know what to do. I just kept him talking because I thought he was going to go further."

The trial continues on Wednesday, when the defence will open.

COUNCIL Chiefs Say They Will Step Up Patrols To Stop Drivers Ignoring Rules Over New Taxi Rank Location.

Cabbies were told to switch to a new site behind Brighton Railway Station last week as part of plans to transform the foyer at the front. Similar to the switch in location at London Victoria a few years ago. 

The decision was made by Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs the station.

Queueing taxis had led to a bottleneck in the area, causing delays for buses and other traffic in the surrounding streets.

Taxi drivers were told to queue in Stroudley Road, behind the station, instead. But most local Cabbies feel this location is totally unsuitable. 

The change was introduced on Monday last week, but after just a few days, some taxis were still being spotted parking outside the front of the station.

Brighton and Hove City Council said it has received a "number of complaints" that the new taxi rank location is being ignored.

Taxis and private hire cars are legally allowed to drop people off on yellow lines and at bus stops, unless the bus stop has a no entry sign.

But the authority has warned drivers they must not "wait or tout" in areas they are not permitted to be in.

One Argus reader took a picture of errant drivers and said: "This is why the taxi rank was moved to the back.

"But as you can see taxis are ignoring the move and still blocking bus stops and Surrey Street.By doing so they are in breach of their licence."

The change to the taxi rank location was welcomed by North Laine Green Party councillor Lizzie Deane, who incidentally is not a Taxi driver and has little knowledge of the everyday working of the Taxi Trade In Brighton. 

She said: "Residents will be pleased that GTR has finally taken the decision to relocate the taxi rank to the rear of the train station, freeing up the narrow residential streets they live on from traffic fumes, congestion and noise.

"This news will be particularly welcomed by people living on Surrey Street and Upper Gloucester Road where day-long traffic queues had become commonplace."

So we have a Green Party councillor who wants Taxis not to park up and switch off their engines while waiting to be hired, but to circulate adding exhaust fumes to the poor air quality of the area. 

Follow the money:
"Civil enforcement officers patrol the area and licensing officers will also be increasing their checks on this area. 

Surely, if a regulating council takes your money when you purchase a licence to drive a Taxi, then they are obliged legally and morally, to provide facilities to accommodate these drivers.

The regulator in the Brighton and Hove area should be providing enough space for the Taxis to rank safely and responsibly. They take our money and want to do nothing more.

It’s a joke and it’s the same all over the country with these councils, they see our trade as no more than a cash cow.

Report Unnecessary Road Closures, It Works For Me... Claire Zazzara

Every driver should start to report all roadworks... especially the ones that are just closed roads or narrowed roads for absolutely no reason... 

Make sure you say no work is being done, no visible obstruction or obstacles preventing cars from using that road...

Ask to see the relevant legislation licence permit or traffic management order they have which permits the road to be shut...

Make the letter sound like you know what your talking about

Email the relevant council, roads and services dept... links below!
(photos included are good too)

I’ve done this twice with Westminster and twice the blockage has been removed the next day. 

Your basically doing is questioning their authority, the authority they obviously do not have...

Taxi Leaks Extra Bit : 
Our representative orgs and unions don’t appear to be doing anything like this, so this is something we can do ourselves. 

Their spokespersons are very good at saying not enough drivers are in an Org or Union, but if they did more work like this... they might inspired more drivers to join 

Be nice to see Camden getting 25,000 reports a day about unnecessary road closures...Westminster too needs shaking up. 

So let’s put the ball back in their court. 

Guess what... this obstruction in Goswell Road has been removed 7 hours after my email!!!! See below!

That’s three out of four so far, this isn’t just a coincidence. 
We believe that some of these utility companies don’t have the permission or the licence (TMO) to leave obstacles in the road or leave streets closed that are obviously finished. 

Follow Claire’s success and complain it takes only minutes. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

The War On Taxi Over Ranking Heats Up, Westminster Dishing Out PCNsLike Sweets. Plus Traffic Report.

The war on Taxis, in the vicinity of  Harrods appears to be heating up. One driver tweeted that he has been sent 5 PCNs from the same day, with possibly more still in the pipeline. 

We’ve been informed that it’s the residents who are complaining, mainly about the cabs parking in Walton Place while waiting to move across to the rank. 

The London Cab Ranks Committee (the ones who though it would be a great idea to put a night rank for Sexy Fish in Bruton Lane that’s unusable) are advising that drivers feeding from Walton Place are jeopardising the whole ranking facilities at this store. 

Not so much a representation, more a collaboration with London’s top PCN earner. 

Of the top 20 councils across the country showing a “Parking Surplus” (according to the RAC foundation) the top 17 are in London, with Westminster top of the pops at £69m, almost double 2nd place Kensington and Chelsea’s Surplus. 

Also in the ‘London’s Traffic News’ this week. 
  • Cannon Street is now open again eastbound, so please do not go through the Bank Junction. Are our largest org still refusing to protest with the Loonies (their word not ours) and waiting and seeing about this... mustn’t upset 'On Side Mike'...
  • Bridge street will be reopened from today, 
  •  Fenchurch Street will be closing from December 2019 between Fenchurch Buildings and Mincing Lane, for 9 weeks. 

London’s traffic this week has been disastrous. We’ve seen emergency services such as ambulance and fire engines stuck in the gridlock caused by Blackfriars Underpass being reduced to one lane. 

Terrible gridlock around Wapping as the new BusGate goes live (which 70% of residents disagreed with). 

A statement from ‘London Travel Watch’ said: 
We are getting reports every minute or so, with drivers sitting in gridlocked traffic throughout the whole London area! 

Is it time for the roads and highways in London to be taken out of TfL hands ?  

Meanwhile in Piccadilly: 
Westminster Council has had to move the traffic island 10 yards west of Bolton Street, after TfL registered Private Hire minicab drivers (looking at their SatNavs instead of the road) are continually over steering leaving Bolton Street, and smashing into and knocking down the traffic signals. 

The same crazy driving standards can be seen on Regent Street at the junction of New Burlington Street, where traffic signals are constantly being smashed into by TfL registered minicabs. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Still No Update On Airport Closed Shop...A Restriction On Trade?

A short while ago (June), due to over supply and a fall in demand, HAL's Heathrow Taxi Management (HTM), covertly introduced a close shop system. It only came to light when a new driver was refused a Tag. 

HTM said it is has been necessary to implement a one out, one in system. They went on to say they would no longer be producing new ‘Tags’ and if drivers wanted one to work at Heathrow, they would have to go on a list. 

This means waiting for a driver to die, retire or just hand their tag in. We’ve even been told they offer a reward of £10 to buy back unused tags. 

The decision appears to have been supported by the GMB who said “And about time too”. Also allegedly in agreement is Unite central branch who objected to the induction of new drivers . 

Apparently there are just 6,500 tags currently in circulation. 
Are they insisting that the London Taxi trade is over supplied? 

And yet are HAL appear to be turning more towards a trade that has four times as many vehicles/drivers than the London Cab Trade. 

By doing this, they have created a virtual closed shop, a restriction on working practise and at a stroke, divided the trade into haves and have nots. While greasing they way clear for a PH take over. 

Unfortunately the trades reps who seem to spend so much time out there, have been unable to negotiate an acceptable solution, but then they can’t even decide which representatives should actually be in trade meetings at any one time, allegedly acting more like schoolyard bully boys than professional trade representatives. 

The airport has always been (and must remain) available to all who have done the knowledge, not just a privileged few. 

If the tag system isn’t working then we need another system. If the feeder park system is full, then we need a different system to accommodate.

At present HAL are bending over backwards to accommodate Private Hire companies while continuing to work against our trade. 

One trade rep has taken to twitter to try to explain the situation better. He said:
 “The Feeder Park was full and spilling out onto, not only Newell Road but also the Perimeter. 

Several new buildings have been built next to the Taxi Feeder Park and taxis block access to them and their respective Car Parks...”

He accused drivers of: not helping themselves, and said that occupants of the new buildings and World Business Centre have made complaints to HAL and the Police?

He went on to say that:
Too many drivers were trying to get into the Feeder Park with waiting times increasing even though signs were posted saying the feeder was full”.

In his opinion: the trouble lays in the fact that 50% of ALL Drivers do not belong to a Trade Org....they do not contribute to 
a) funds that pay for Legal opinions!
b) ideas on direct action!

So 11,000 approx paying over £180,000 a month is not enough to come up with ideas or funding ???

So this situation has got nothing to do with weak representation, it’s all come about because 50% of the trade refuse to give money to totally inadequate representers !!! 

But then can you blame drivers for not wanting to be part of trade orgs or Unions who can’t even agree on who should attend trade meetings???

Drivers coming into the trade look for decent representation and to be honest, they are not impressed by what they are presently seeing. 

In times of low demand, the trade has always suffered a backlash from over ranking. But by creating a closed shop at LAP, we are in danger of councils creating more closed shops at major ranks such as main line stations. 

We now have street access disappearing on a daily basis. 
Royal parks looking to exclude 
Bus gates forcing traffic into more gridlock and yet the order of the day appears to all as wait and see. 

Heathrow has operated for many years with a cloud over its head. 

Thought by many drivers to be the epitome of all that’s wrong in the trade as a whole. Three Orgs, three Unions who most of the time despise working with each other, causing weak representation. 

When was the last time we saw a united trade protest? 

The only trade org that gets a reaction now is the driver led ITA. 

Drivers will never sign up 100% to orgs and unions who’s philosophy and behaviour is more akin to football supporters than trade representation. 

A Solution Or More Jobs For The Boys?
Now we hear that a new system is to be implemented at Heathrow, an app based system!

Will this app be driver run?
Will someone else have their hand in our money bags??
Will we see so called privileged drivers within group being allocated prime jobs by the app???

What will come next???.....
  • Will they withdraw tags from drivers who don't work there often enough?
  • Will there be a surcharge put on tags to cover administration of this new scheme?
  • Will so called Taxi managers be jumping the queues
  • What next???....join our org or Union and we will get you your tag???

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Good News For Lovers Of Old British Icons... Morris Returns As A Retro Pure-Electric Van Maker

Revived Morris hopes its first van in 50+ years isn't a Minor drop in the ocean

THE MORRIS name is set to once again return to UK roads with this, the ultra-cute retro Morris JE, after a British-based investment firm announced it’s preparing to revive the famous marque.

Warwickshire-based China Ventures is set on reviving Morris’ van-making division, and bringing to market a range of new commercial goods vehicles. 

That means modern day versions of iconic cars including the Morris Minor and Oxford are unlikely to arrive anytime soon, as the company isn’t being brought back as a passenger vehicle producer.

The Morris JE is a light van inspired by the Morris J-Type that was produced between 1948 and 1961. 

Even though the JE very clearly harks back to classic vans, its a thoroughly modern machine. All JEs will be built on a "cutting edge" chassis, Morris Commercial claims, and the JE’s retro bodywork will be made entirely out of carbon fibre -- a lightweight and strong space-age material that costs more to use than traditional materials. 

As a result, the vehicle is expected to be on the expensive side by small van standards, with a base price in the £60,000 ballpark being targeted for the JE’s planned launch in late 2021.

Morris Commercial also says the van will use a "state-of-the-art" battery-electric powertrain, and claims the production-ready van should have a range of around 200 miles on a single charge.
Details on what electric technology the Morris JE will feature remains to be seen, though the company says the JE’s powertrain is "UK-sourced", and has been created in collaboration with the Malvern-based electric vehicle tech developer Indra Renewable Technologies.

It’s also likely the state-owned Chinese car maker SAIC will be involved in some capacity. 

According to the UK government’s Companies House business register, Morris Commercial’s chief executive Dr Qu Li is also a director at the van maker LDV, which is owned by SAIC and already produces pure-electric panel vans and mini buses.

SAIC has also owned the rights to the Morris name since 2007, when it merged with the MG owner Nanjing Automobile -- the Chinese car maker that was advised by China Ventures when it bought the assets to the collapsed MG Rover Group consortium in 2005.

While Morris Commercial says the JE was designed to be "hugely appealing to large and small businesses focused on the environment", it will likely strike a bigger chord with van drivers based in and around busy cities. 

As London and Norwich already have low emissions zones, with areas like Southampton and Birmingham set to follow in the coming years, a pure-electric van is potentially a future-proofed solution for white van men and women who regularly work in densely-populated places. 

Should the Morris JE be brought to market in 2021, it will likely face some extremely stiff competition, as many other van builders have committed to launching low and zero-emissions models in the near future.

London taxi maker LEVC has already revealed plans to launch a hybrid panel van based on its TX taxi, and commercial vehicle makers like Citro├źn, Fiat, Ford, Peugeot and Vauxhall have said they’ll be launching new pure-electric cargo carriers in the coming years. Nissan already sells the pure-electric eNV200, while Renault offers the Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E.


Morris made early London Taxi cab... the Morris-Commercial International ‘Upright Grand’ taxicab – nicknamed ‘Uncle Lima’....circa 1929.

A new brand of Taxi was announced into London on 9th February 1929. 

Built in accordance with New Scotland Yard regulations the new Morris-Commercial International taxicab was up to date and convenient in detail. 

Safety glass was fitted throughout, upholstery was real leather. Passenger’s need only press a button and speak in an ordinary voice and a microphone would communicate it to the driver. 

Four wheel brakes would have been better, reported The Times but the rear brakes supplied were efficient, the steel artillery wheels detachable. 

The average turning circle was 24ft 9in.

Licensed to carry four passengers, the taxicab had "plenty of speed" and four forward gears and was suitable for the provinces, as well as London Town. 

This model was also fitted with a shock absorbers, for a smooth ride. 

The Morris Commercial was succeeded by Nuffield Oxford 1947-1953

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Katie Simmonds Says “ Carry On Being The Best”

Katie Simmonds, keeper of the Russell Square Shelter is organising a major collection  in aid of seven Taxi trade focused charities. 

The Charities are:
  • The LTCFC. 
  • The Magical Taxi Tour. 
  • The East London Children’s Outing. 
  • The Albany Taxi Charity.  
  • Taxi Charity For Military Veterans. 
  • The Warm Clothing Appeal.
  • The Cabman’s Shelter Trust.   

Katie said:
Over the next few Fridays, we will be out collecting at Taxi ranks and hope drivers will spare a pound or two! 

There will be collection tins at all the shelters, Russell Square, Temple Place, Northumberland Ave, Warwick Ave, St Johns Wood, Pont Street, Kensington Park Road and Thurloe Place. 

There will also be collection tins at popular eateries, Astral Cafe, Kings Cross Taxi Centre, Great Suffolk Street, Sapori, and also at Ascots Garage. 


So, keep an eye out for the lovely Katie over the next few Fridays. 
But don’t just wait for Katie to come to you... pop into Russell Square Shelter for a snack and ‘Carry On Being The Best’. 

TV Presenter Trinny Woodall, Among Uber Customers Charged For Journeys They Didn't Take

After an 18 month probationary extension then, then after news they still hadn’t come up to scratch given another 2 months... it has again come to light that Uber are still not protecting its customers data. 

Fashion celebrity Trinny Woodall is among Uber customers who have again been charged for journeys they haven’t taken by hackers. 

Celebrity makeover expert Trinny Woodall is among a number of Uber customers who were charged for journeys they did not take.

The National Transport Authority received a number of complaints from Uber customers who used the popular app in recent weeks.

Trinny Woodall took to Instagram while she was in Ireland last week to complain after she was charged €75 for a short trip from the Merrion Hotel to 52 Merrion Square Dublin.
Other customers claim they were charged up to €200 for trips they did not take.

One woman was charged for three trips within the space of 11 minutes last Thursday - despite not actually using the app, according to her husband Glenn Holmes
"She checked the app and the nearest cab was 20 minutes away so she didn't call one in the end and instead used [a different app].

"She was actually going to an event where Trinny Woodall was speaking and she had mentioned on her social media that the same thing had happened to her.

"My wife was charged for three transactions in the space of 11 minutes, it was impossible for her to be in three cabs at the one time."

Meanwhile, Dubliner Will St Leger said he was charged €70 after he cancelled a driver.
"I got a refund but for someone who may be on a budget having to wait three days to get your money back can be rather stressful."

A spokesperson for the NTA said it appears there was a fault with the Uber accounting system. (or as we would call it, been hacked)

An Uber spokesperson said they are working hard to resolve the issue. (Again, empty words we’ve heard many times before with this company).

"We are in touch with the National Transport Authority. Anybody who has been impacted will be reimbursed in full."

After a 20 month licence extension, it’s crystal clear that Uber’s driving standards haven’t improved.
TfL are putting the public at risk by allowing this company to continue operating. Proving that TfL aren’t fit to be regulator.


Lee High Road this morning !

In True Blue Peter Fashion, Here’s One They Made Earlier In Woking

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

If You Fail To Learn From History, You Are In Danger Of Repeating It

What is it about this greedy practise of up charging (or as we know it, surcharging) introduced by Gett on it’s passengers at certain times of the day, that drivers don’t understand. 

By charging customers a surge-price, it make them no better than Uber drivers. 

Gett can only function with this, if drivers support it, but by supporting it, you are hammering yet another nail in the trades coffin. 

Worst of all are certain Taxi trade media, that know this us going on, knew what was going on before with the cars on the app, and yet still take adverts from this company. 

The LCDC’s Badge publication, stopped taking adverts from Gett when it became crystal clear, the company was dispatching work to private hire cars through the Gett Taxi App. 

Gett do not have the required PHV operators licence which is a requirement under the PHV act of 1998. (Yes they do operate a Private Hire app... but legally, the Gett Taxi app can only dispatch work to licensed Taxis).

A question drivers should be asking, why are TfL sanctioning this practise when it clearly states in the abstract of Hackney Carriage Law, that it is illegal to charge a passenger more than the fare shown on the Taxi Meter, within the Greater Metropolitan Police District?

Is that no longer the case?
If I get a job late at night going in the opposite direction to the way I want to go, can I now legally demand a 66% up-charge???

Customers using the Gett app expect a licensed London Taxi and they don’t expect to be surcharged like Uber customers. 

Is this the reason why Get Taxi dropped the word Taxi from its bane because eventually they want to move away from Taxis? 

Was nothing learned from the Hailo saga. If you fail to learn from history, you are in danger of repeating it...

This practise alone, is blurring the lines and could eventually be seen as instrumental in the adoption of a one-tiered service (as with the covert Project Horizon, a TfL agenda recently denied by Mayor Khan at MQT). 

Below is an interview with a customer who is far from happy after receiving a 66% up charge on his bill. He says he will never use the app again. 

The Video Below Is A Must Watch:
Tweet from Taxi driver John on Twitter last night:
“So I just picked up this gentleman from the city and dropped him at Montague Square. He started the conversation off and I think you might be interested in this”.