Sunday, May 19, 2019

Uber Accused Of Failing To Pay £1bn VAT


If you backed & helped fund the @GoodLawProject VAT UBER case then your money was not wasted. Judgement day is coming never lose faith. 

The Good Law Project posted this tweet on Twitter today :
As the Sunday Times reports, we will, early next week, sue HMRC for failing to act in relation to Uber's tax dodging.



If you backed the UBER VAT case it’s progressing. 

Now it’s time to back @UTAG17 for £5 Per week less than your coffee bill per week 
The Taxi industry seeks change then make it happen....... 

San Francisco's Uber-Nuisance Probe Gets Go-Ahead From Court



Uber Technologies Inc.was ordered to turn over to the city of San Francisco data about how many of its drivers are responsible for illegal parking, traffic congestion and safety hazards.

A California appeals court rejected Uber’s argument that the information was properly given to a state regulatory agency, the California Public Utilities Commission, and shouldn’t be turned over to San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Friday’s order affirms a lower-court ruling in San Francisco’s favor.

The city wants the information for an investigation based in part on a police department study showing that car services like Uber’s account for about 65% of violations for driving in and blocking transit and bicycle lanes, failing to stop for pedestrians and illegal U-turns.
San Francisco’s probe also seeks to determine if Uber is underpaying its drivers in violation of the city’s minimum wage laws. Shares of the ride-hailing giant have struggled after its May 9 initial public offering, in part under the weight of questions about the viability of its business model -- specifically whether drivers will be compensated as employees or remain independent contractors as Uber treats them now.

“We do not and cannot know at this juncture what the City Attorney will choose to pursue, let alone whether or not any legal action it undertakes will hinder, aid, or have no impact upon the CPUC in its regulation,” the appeals court ruled.

Uber spokesman Matt Kallman didn’t immediately respond to an email after business hours seeking comment.

Source : Bloomberg 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Are Camden's Bus Diversions A Sign Of Calamitous Transport Planning Or The Decline Of TfL



It seems that everyone else can see the calamities happening on in Camden....except for the council planets themselves. There's been a lot on social media, about the conflicts of interest with certain councillors involved with these new hair brain schemes.....some councillors have already been replaced.

Residents are up in arms (again), complaining that original consultations have been discarded. 
Even the local paper 'CamdenNewJournal' is now leading with articles pointing out the incredible insanity of recent traffic schemes. 

But it's not just Camden Council..TfL are also being put on the spot by the local paper.
In their latest online edition, they say 'all the signs point to what can only be described as the decline of Transport for London'.
Fitzrovia, Judd Street, Hampstead Road, Midland Road, Tottenham Court Road....all these crazy, congestion causing schemes have received backing from TfL.

Is TfL up to the momentous job of transforming transport and street usage by vehicles in the face of the threatening climate change?
A revolution in transport is essential. It will, of course, never be achieved unless it is planned centrally by the government.

The introduction of electric cars is a case in point – this will not come about without the full co-operation of manufacturers, the lowering of costs, the changing habits of consumers – as well as sound planning by transport authorities such as TfL.

But TfL appears to fail when it comes to public consultation. While half-baked consultations on the introduction of cycle lanes have been welcomed by many cyclists they have also caused waves of resentment among private drivers and cabbies.


Creating two lanes in Tottenham Court Road has left it as a street of two parts – one, going northwards, choked with traffic; the other, going south, virtually deserted, just a few buses and a few cyclists.

Or take the decision taken this week to allow a crane in Crowndale Road which forces virtually all buses going southwards to miss Camden Town and zigzag their way across th borough, instead of using Camden Street and Crowndale Road. 
Was there any real consultation?
Any prior publicity?

Without warning, thousands of families who will be boarding buses to go shopping in Camden Road and Camden High Street will now find themselves (until May 25) squeezed out of Camden Town. 
It will be even worse for th disabled and young mothers with children.
This may seem of little importance to the bigwigs at TfL, but it means a lot for local families. 
Good local government would avoid such calamitous planning. 
Unfortunately what the residents have in Camden at present, is well below aceptable standards.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

MP Asks For Plying For Hire Definition Legislation To Be Bought Forward. Minister Says No

Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to provide statutory definitions of pre-booked and plying for hire, in order to maintain the two-tier taxi and private hire regulation system, as recommended by the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Licensing.

Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 14 May 2019, cW)

 Nusrat GhaniNusrat Ghani

Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

Providing a statutory definition of plying for pre-booking and plying for hire was considered as part of the Government response to the report by the Chair of the Task and Finish Group. 

The response issued on 12 February explained that since the Law Commission concluded in 2014 that a statutory definition of plying for hire would not be a practical improvement on the current position and there being no change in the legal situation, the Government would not take forward that recommendation.

Was the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Licensing a complete waste of time??? 

Sadiq Khan Refuses To Meet Peer Of The Realm, In Regards To The "Where Buses Go, Taxis Go" Campaign.

 
Many drivers are asking the same question :
If the ITA have won their/our objectives, that is Tooley Street/Duke Street Hill access and a year's delay on Tottenham Court Road, then why are drivers still being asked to protest once a week in Parliament Square?
The protests will continue because they haven't achieved everything they were initially set up to deal with. 

We want it in legislation that where buses go, Taxi go. 
But it's not going to be easily achieved under the present Mayor. Lenny Etheridge spoke to Lord Palmer in the Square yesterday, who had this to say:
"I've written to Sadiq Khan three times hoping to meet on behalf of the protesting Taxi drivers and on each occasion the Mayor has refused to reply or even acknowledge my letters.

Sadiq Khan snubbing a peer of the realm not only breeches protocol, it's down right rude.


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT 
Why We a Will Continue With Protests:
Look at Taxi access from Jamaica Road, westbound onto Tooley Street, via the bus lane which alleviates the stress put on side streets in he surrounding area. 

This is what should be happening on Theobald's Road onto Vernon Place Bloomsbury. Taxis wishing to access Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, would be taken out of the Procter Street High Holborn,  Earnshaw street chaos. Plus Taxis coming down Bloomsbury Street should also be able to make the turn right turn along with Buses onto New Oxford Street. 

Another pinch point could be avoided at the bottom of the Haymarket the 10 foot section bus only access to Cockspur Street, should also be open to Taxis. 
All these options would speed up passenger journeys and  alleviate local traffic in this area. 



 

Yesterday's protest saw an increase in numbers as the police stopped local traffic using the inside lane on Whitehall. But we still need bigger numbers. If Ten thousand cabbies had turned up on a regular basis, we would not be going into a 15th week, we would all be working now using the same road space as buses. 
It's pure apathy that's causing this to drag on. 

So the fight goes on, three hours, one day a week, every week.....come along and join your colleagues fighting for your right to use these streets.

       

TAXI LEAKS PS...
It didn't go unnoticed that yesterday, certain Dial A Cab drivers (now owned by ComCab) tried to scupper the protests by getting messages put out, that the protest had been called off. 
These are our own colleagues, and this behaviour is atrocious. 

In future, if any protest is to be cancelled it will be announced by the ITA, on all social media platforms and not just a radio circuit terminal. 

As French Taxi Unions Give Their President An Ultimatum, Another LTDA/TfLTPH FOI Email Emerges


In a letter to the Prime Minister of France yesterday, French Taxi unions issued an ultimatum: 
"Meet us now and cooperate - or prepare for blockages of airports, train stations, ring roads everywhere in France"

  

Notice that it’s signed by all five presidents of the French Taxi Unions. 


Below is an email gained by FOI request, showing our largest orgs relationship with our Mayor and regulating body. 

It appears that TfL employees, are writing back slapping scripts for LTDA, to be used as comments on press releases. 


Many emails have surfaced through FOI requests between TfL and certain Taxi trade and Private Hire companies/groups in the past. 

Many of these emails have been publicised in trade publications. Some, even showing collusion between certain representative trade groups officials and our very own trade regulators.
But, yesterday’s expose’(I believe) is the most damning and scandalous I’ve seen in all my 45+ years in the London Taxi Trade. 

Well, well...TfLTPH writing suggestive script for the General Secretary of our largest representative trade org to use as a press release, you couldn't make it up!!!

Questions that demand answers:
  • How many more press releases have TfL scripted for the LTDA?
  • Was the LTDA’s wait and see policy for the Bank Junction fiasco scripted by Helen Chapman, Dan Maskell or even Mike “on side” Brown?
  • Was the LTDA’s decision not to protest over Tooley Street and Tottenham Court Road also scripted by TfL Staff?

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
Branch elections cancelled on trumped up charges? 
Branches closed down leaving just one that green badges can’t attend!
Multiple members expelled for speaking out against the old guard!

The members of our largest representative group, should waist no more time and demand an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to form a committee who will look after the best interests of the trade they are elected to represent.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Update From TaxiApp About PayPal's Investment In Uber.


In response to the announcement made by PayPal, Taxiapp views the use of the company as a payment clearance option as toxic and is not currently promoting the PayPal deal to new drivers.
 
However, the situation is more complex for existing members. We cannot negate the fact that we as drivers are mandated to accept credit as a condition of our licence. Boycotting PayPal in the first instance would remove existing drivers from the payment system which could force them into a position of being unable to work legally. It would be irresponsible of Taxiapp to discard its obligation to those drivers and leave them stranded without a payment solution.
 
All Credit Card companies are predatory by nature and Taxiapp cannot allow itself to be pushed around by a parasitical company such as Uber in an increasingly hostile market. The only truly impenetrable way to solve such a conflict of interest is for the trade to own its own app and payment clearance solution; something Taxiapp is working towards. However, this can only be achieved if drivers were willing to get on board and support the trades only Cooperative app. If not, then the industry will continue to give its business away to various corporations.
 
PayPal was chosen in good faith and offered the best deal available to drivers at that time, and the team has worked tirelessly to reduce the rate even further. Certainly the route to securing the deal was a complex one as most have secondary ties elsewhere with various venture capitalists.
 
Our industry is rife with what may constitute a conflict of interest. For example, both Visa & MasterCard have indirect financial interests in Uber. Geely Holding Group (manufacturers of the new Txe) has a 10% stake in Daimler. Geely itself, has multi-million dollar links with Uber, and Daimler is the parent company of both MyTaxi & ViaVan. Daimler also invested in Taxify (remember them?) Russia’s Sberbank, who owns over 30% of the aggregate Russian Banking Market invests heavily in Gett…as well as Uber. Computer Cab plc - who’s brand includes DataCab, Call-A-Cab, and Local minicab Groups - is a subsidiary of ComfortDelGro who owns the second largest public bus company in London- operating under the name of Metroline LTD. Izettle is owned by PayPal and Cabapp processes it’s payments through Barclays- another huge investor in Uber Technologies.
 
Nevertheless, none of the aforementioned companies can lay claim to working solely in the best interest of drivers and it doesn’t absolve Taxiapp of its responsibility it has to the trade. Whilst not promoting PayPal to new drivers, a period of transition will be needed while the team explore alternative clearance options for its existing members. It must be stressed, using PayPal has never been a prerequisite of being on the app so ultimately the choice to continue using PayPal - or seek an alternative clearance model - has to be left up to the drivers themselves. Again, in a narrowing market and until TAXIAPP has the funds to integrate its own payment solution, finding an alternative that is devoid of a conflict of interest will be an increasingly difficult one.
 
It is worth remembering, that Taxiapp’s steering group is not made up of financiers or paid individuals; it is run by a group of drivers who commit a considerable amount of their own time for free to ensure the trade has it’s own technological platform and that it runs smoothly… so your patience and support in this area will be valued
 
I will be in GSS at 10am and again at Camley St Café at 2am Tues-Friday for roughly one hour for anyone who has concerns about the PayPal deal and wishes to discuss the issue further.
 
All the best
 
SPD- TAXIAPP Communications


The Future Is Now ... Wait And See No More...by Sean Paul Day.

TFL's 'Network Management Control Centre'

Our biggest mistake is viewing the trade from a retrospective viewpoint. We cannot change the trade’s future based on the prevailing standard. The longer we spend trying to do that, the more we lose pace with policy and innovation.

Two years ago we highlighted the threat of a secondary wave of technological development and nothing was done about it. 
A year ago we warned about TfLs buses being deemed archaic and were set to be disrupted and nothing was, or is, being done about it . 

Instead of a bunch of independent systems on a local, national or even global level, TfL is looking to further develop a transportation network that works like the internet, where everything is connected. Standards based communication, which will reduce costs and create value for everyone involved in managing traffic in ‘smart’ cities.  It is vital that we are included within this new ‘eco-transport system. This is not an option…this is the future! 

TFL will expand their operational ‘responsibilities’ by integrating advanced, wireless communication technologies into both the Met District and surrounding counties. 

By integrating advanced, wireless communication technologies into both the transport infrastructure and vehicles TfL is able to seamlessly process/share data that will prevent vehicle collisions, keep traffic moving and reduce environmental impacts (hence TfL’s inactivity re: current level of congestion and accidents). 

Coordinating traffic signals, prioritising certain lanes, electronic information boards and variable speed limit signs are all part of the burgeoning ‘eco’ transport industry.  

Also significant is the ability to automatically distribute realistic data -time congestion data to control centres.  It is understood that traffic will enable mobility through “packed to capacity’  infrastructure. We WILL have to be part of this… how much control we have will be down to us (sorry folks, you hate on me for saying this, but we  are currently giving away all control to big money corporations) 

Pursuing the destabilising of  - what was - 20,000  hard working sole traders is nothing short of disgusting political and business practise. Clearing the way for a big money corporations to enter the market has decimated the earning potential of licensed taxi drivers so much so, owning and maintaining a purpose built vehicle will very soon become a non-viable business option. Be prepared for a move to usership- away from ownership (Sherbet is clever than what we give him credit for) 

What provision has the Commissioners team put in place to facilitate a municipal industry’s shift into a predatorily controlled market funded by financial institutes seeking market domination? None! What does that tell you? The permanence of our industry remaining a product of the state is a serious threat, and we need to look closely at what we need to do to ensure our working model survives in this bourgeoning new word. 

The trade desperately needs to find a better system for governance. Many of the irreversible risks that now threaten our trade originate from a rapid pace of industrial development coupled with the monopolisation of emerging technology and a refusal by TfL to enforce existing legislation.

Conveniently for TfL, the system currently in place to represent the trade - and effectively manage many of issues we are facing is done by using yesterday’s tools and by the same people. As a consequence, the necessary action is either not taken or is taken too late, while the problems and risks the industry faces continue to grow and mutate. 

The issue here is that our main representation isn’t weak… it has a totally different agenda, but doesn’t even understand the course it’s perusing. We can carry on as we are but if the political route hasn’t secured a single MP to ask questions on our behalf then a completely different approach is needed …and needed quick. 

There’s only so long we can remain bolted on to tech like a Tonka Toy -designed for a different time and place. 

This is not Doom and Gloom… this is reality and  a shout out to organise and see clearly the wood through the trees. 

We cannot stand still and rely on intransigence to sort out the future… the future is now.

“On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of decision, sat down to wait, and waiting died”. 

The Proactive ITA protests, run from 1 – 4pm every Wednesday afternoon 

Sean Paul Day.

  

Monday, May 13, 2019

Love Them Or Hate Them, Passengers From Paddington Require Them... It’s That Simple


Above is the image used in an the article published on line by MyLondon.news. 
It’s alleged to be a pop up rank that has caused hold ups not only to road users but also emergency services. 
The photo they used was actually a line of Taxis, waiting at the traffic lights on the corner of Praed Street and London Street. (See second photo below)


However, there is a pop up rank in the vicinity, but it’s actually in the other side of the road, outside the Hilton hotel. But the difference is, the pop up rank, isn’t causing an obstruction. This observation has been confirmed by the ambulance service who say they have no problem with the Taxis when accessing St Mary’s Hospital 

Fake news reports in an online propaganda site ‘MyLondon.News’ say that Black Cabs are blocking Praed Street causing a problem with ambulances accessing St Mary’s Hospital. But funny enough when contacted for a statement...the ambulance service say they have reported no such problem. 

The London Ambulance Service who we approached for a comment said no “significant issues” with congestion on Praed Street caused by Taxis ranking existed. 
Has this online publication been fed these obvious lies by TfL in their ongoing anti Black Cab campaign? 

The online article said: Two black cab drivers approached by the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service on Tuesday (April 30) refused to comment on the issue.
Westminster Council's cabinet member for environment, Tim Mitchell, said: “Vehicles illegally blocking this section of Praed Street is unacceptable– that’s why we’ve stepped up the presence of our traffic marshals (follow the money) in the area to prevent parking offences including idling. We’re continuing to monitor the situation, and working with TfL and others to find a permanent solution. Well the best solution is for an authorised rank to meet the obvious demand from train passengers leaving the station. 
There is no blocking of Praed Street this is a blatant lie from Westminster Council.   
The article went on to say:
“As part of our ongoing Don’t Be Idle campaign, we’re educating all drivers on the effect of idling on air quality, (educating by way of a cash cow in tickets issued) but need Government to give councils greater powers to enforce against idling.“....

Will Westminster’s marshal be insisting that buses along Praed Street switch their engines off while picking up at various bus stops?
Will the buses be sudjected to penalty notices if found stationary with their diesel engines running?

Will Westminster City Council be insisting that all buses stopped in both Eastbourne and Westbourne Terrace switch their engines off, as they can often be found idling. (Yet funny enough, not a peep from residents or the council). 

LTDA chairman Richard Massett said: “The LTDA does not condone drivers parking unsafely and causing congestion in Praed Street.
So why hasn’t Massett who is Chair if the Joint Ranks committee has a Taxi rank put outside the Hilton. There’s plenty of room and by the fact that cabs are using this pop up rank, there’s a definite need for a rank. Perhaps he is just going to initiate the alleged LTDA policy of wait and see if someone else solves the problem and then claim the kudos.

Before drivers formed the pop-up rank, there were lines of Private Hire touts, which can presently be seen actually blocking London Street... which is the actual access point for many ambulances.
The current situation highlights the inadequate design of taxi facilities at the station. 

The policy of the LTDA working with TfL and Westminster City Council should be to establish a rank to serve both the hotel and Station south had years to sort out a solution, so far our regulator and representative orgs have failed.  

The current thinking of all parties involved (including rank and file working Taxi drivers), is that any future authorised ranking facility, would best be sited in Praed Street at the site of the current pop up rank. 

Below, is the real pop up rank. As you can see there is no obstruction. If there was no real call for this rank, with no passengers leaving by the south exit, then obviously, drivers wouldn’t wait there for a job !
Also, surely it’s better to have Taxis on a rank with engines switched off, than driving round aimlessly looking for passengers. After all, isn't that what the mayor and local councils clean air policies are sell about???



Sunday, May 12, 2019

TfL Asks The City Of London To Support Car Free Day Event.


Another questionable scheme from those who plotted to get Taxis banned from the Bank Junction, Tooley Street and Tottenham Court Road. 

They now want to close off parts of the City, for an international ‘car free’ day later this year to show what it would be like without traffic, could cause massive gridlock around the area, according to Councillor Marianne Fredericks. 

But it's not the City Fathers who at behind this incredibly naive and woefully incompetent idea, it appears Sadiq Khan and TfL's Mike Brown are standing in the shadows (again). 
Let's not forget what Mayor Khan said last month when questioned on the delays with CrossRail by the transport committee of the GLA...
He said "The buck stops with me.....but it's not my fault, it's all the fault of the previous CEO of CrossRail". 
(Is this not a first class example of passing the buck?)


Taxi leaks had been informed, it's actually Transport for London (TfL) who have asked the City of London Corporation if they will back the event in September. The event would involve closing both London and Tower Bridge at the same time.

City of London Councillor Fredericks, told colleagues at the Corporation’s 'streets and highways' sub-committee: “Sounds like a good idea...but, if we really want to experiment on how to cause more gridlock on the periphery...removing traffic from the City is a good opportunity?”

The event, planned for 22 September, would coincide with London's Open House weekend, which attracts thousands of tourists and locals, to get a peek behind doors of buildings usually closed to the public.

Officers showed councillors a map, where they propose to  extend the car free area on the day...including streets around Guildhall and Bank. Another option could see roads around Leadenhall Street and St Mary Axe being out of bounds to all traffic.

Cllr Fredericks (Tower ward) went on to say she thought the car free day would be a bad idea, if traffic was bumper to bumper on Mansell Street, and other parts of the Inner London Ring Roads, which carry the “largest area of housing in the Square Mile”.

In response council officers said they believe they could manage that area sensitively. (Where have we heard that before?)

Some of the more militant Lycra clad Councillors, also asked if the restricted area could be extended to Postman’s Park and the St Paul’s area, but were told it could cause problems for essential access to emergency vehicles around St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Cllr Randall Anderson (Aldersgate) added: “The purpose here seems to make sense. In my view car free should be about showing what it could be like...” 
We can actually tell him now what it will mean...disabled people would not be able to get about, and unless visitors were young healthy and fit, the city would not be a place they would want to be in (but perhaps that's the real idea behind the madness?). 
It will also show gridlock chaos ensuing, with traffic not being able to get across London.

City councillors also said they had security concerns about closing the two bridges at the same time for the day. But public security has never stopped the Mayor or TfL before once they've already made their minds up.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Did Rise And Fall Of The Mutual Society Lead To A Control/Dictatorship?.... by Anthony Minas

A Letter to Taxi Leaks, from LTDA Green Badge Branch Chairman, Anthony Minas.


Dear LTDA members,

As the former & most recent Green Badge Branch Chairman, I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to a recent article written in the TAXI paper on page 6, dated 30th April 2019, by the Chairman & Executive of the LTDA Mr. Richard Massett.
Even though the undertone of the article would seem set up to provoke a reaction, as the Branch Chairman , I’ll endeavour to press home the ‘facts’ as opposed to indirect or underhanded swipes. 

The branches of the association are structured in accordance with the rules of the association which sit naturally alongside a democratic pathway for any member to attend or if they were ever to have a desire to be a representative. During my tenure as Branch Chairman with Peter Walsh, who was elected as Branch Secretary, we managed to change the dynamics of branch meetings from those under the previous regime. We brought a modern freshness that had been amiss previously.
We invited guests from Nissan Dynamo Taxis, LondonTaxi PR, as well as Wes Streeting MP to mention a few.

Surprisingly, not once, even with guests of this magnitude, did one CoM member take up the invite to attend.
We also made space for members to ask questions & in return, we would provide the Council of Management (COM) answers from the previous meeting, which again, under the previous regime, was not forthcoming & when it was, it was only vague answers.


Richard Massett makes a point about holding a ‘forum’ style round table meeting where all members are encouraged to take part in the discussion. These ‘hand picked’ 20 or so members, which is completely against the democratic process and I might add, if you held one a month it would take over 40 years for the 10,000+ membership to have their say at these round table discussions organised by not the branches anymore, but the COM!

In 2016, The branch members recognised how quickly things were moving against the trade & put a plan & proposal together to counter attack the tirade of detrimental abuse to our trade. The beacon of that plan was to create a ‘forum’ for all members to assign to, reinventing the purpose of what the society (LTDA) was set up for.......It’s members. Without going into detail too thoroughly, the plan was well thought out and very detailed. The irony of Mr Massett’s article using the term ‘forum’ in a sentence alongside ‘encouraging members’ is fascinating as the members proposal was unanimously refused by the Council of Management, now, here we are, over three years later & once again, a collective bout of amnesia has kicked in, where, a ‘forum’ is the greatest thing since slice bread. The kicker to the members though, is the forum is controlled by the CoM, who can cherry pick whom they choose to attend leaving no confidence that any member who has challenged the CoM or dared to ask a pertinent question in the past, will, without exception, be blacklisted from being ‘invited’.
Who’d have thought it ?
When the LTDA was set up, a member of a mutual society having to be invited to a members meeting that they pay into ?
Also restricted as to what they can or cannot say ?
It’s very easy to call that positive trade talk, especially when it means, you can’t talk democracy or accountability! To myself, it has all the hallmarks of a controlled dictatorship.

Under my tenure, the LTDA branch meetings had reached attendances that had never been seen before.
I’ve never felt it a point of interest to include ‘who’ attended as it’s not an issue that I recognise as being a problem, but since Mr Massett has projected it in his article, as promised, I’ll respond. He makes a point which I personally find insulting being probably the first Chairman in the LTDA’s history of a mixed heritage background as is also the case with the Branch Secretary.


By calling on a “Cross Section” of people to attend the CoM’s hand picked members meetings ?
How insulting & isolating is that ?
How is Mr Massett racially & religiously profiling his members ?
Maybe the fact that he had only attended one Green badge branch meeting in two years, could be one of the reasons where his uneducated view come from ?
Maybe if he had attended , he would have seen the record amount of women in attendance ?
Words fail me when it comes to his point on religion, race & gender In a branch meeting, for two hours, we all share a common bond, it’s plain & simple for everyone to see......we are CAB DRIVERS! Religion is not part of the remit of attending & once again, if Mr Massett or any other member of the CoM would have taken up the constant invites to attend the  meetings, he would have seen a wide variety of attendees, from different ages, races and gender?
I will note, that during my year long tenure, none of the above was addressed to me EVER?

I challenge Mr Massett to present the membership with proof of any member of a different Race, Religion or Gender, who felt underrepresented at a branch meeting?
On the contrary, I could present the members with proof that ‘ALL’ members were included and encouraged to attend.
Also, before every branch meeting, new faces were always welcomed & encouraged to ask questions.

I was often told at CoM meetings to focus on leading from the front as opposed to focusing on those asking questions, one CoM member advised me, “Some members don’t want to speak or ask questions, they want to be led & sit & listen” ?
The CoM wanted to focus on those members, not the vocal ones who may ask an awkward question?
Collective amnesia again?
But let’s stick to the point Mr Massett makes and ask the question, if you are a member who isn’t vocal, who wants to listen rather than speak, where are you most likely to go?
To a branch meeting where you don’t have to do anything other than sign in, or, go through the charade of applying to a formal round table meeting where the pressure is on for you to speak in a face to face intimidating atmosphere chaired by Mr Massett himself and other COM members 
I think we all know which one it would be?

One of the bottom paragraphs in Mr Massett’s article says that the members who attended would like to attend again, who are these members?
Where are the minutes?
What was discussed?
What’s the quorum to pass a motion?
Where is the democratic pathway written in the rule book of the association?
All of the questions above would not be able to be asked at the members meeting according to Mr Massett.
He also mentions that they are looking to create a rota system to accommodate all members in future meetings, is this the same rota system as the marshalling ?

Under my tenure, the Branch members proposed to offer ‘ALL’ members the option to do marshalling duties. I asked for a new advert to be placed in the TAXI paper to give members the opportunity, (what if you’re a new member or missed the previous advert?) again, a unanimous “NO” decision was made by the CoM, stating that the members were given the chance when an advert was put in the TAXI paper back in 2015, & they missed the boat, “A bit like a job application” was one of the comments, “if you didn’t apply, it’s too late”!
Really?
Four years ago?

The rota to the marshalling is controlled by executive CoM member Mr Anthony Street and is certainly not a revolving door to every member, the only way you ‘might’ get a go, is if one of the regulars drops out and you’re on a very long waiting list.

Being on the waiting list to a members meeting does not go hand in glove with a mutual society, imagine if you were to say something that Mr Massett didn’t like?
It’s obvious what’s happening here & it’s nothing but control /dictatorship by the CoM, when the society is meant to be for the members ?

Co-operative principles are the seven guidelines by which co-ops put their values into practice, often called the seven Rochdale Principles:[20]

1. Voluntary and open membership.

2. Democratic member control.

3. Economic participation by members.

4. Autonomy and Independence.

5. Education, Training and Information.

6. Cooperation among
co-operatives.

7. Concern for community.

Co-operatives values, in the tradition of its founders, are based on "self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity." Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Read the co-operative values above, None of the Rochdale principles are being adhered to, in fact, they have been broken.


Mr Massett mentions ‘old style’ branch meetings in a pub, this again is insulting to the accommodating Horseshoe public house, who offered the members tea & coffee as standard with the meeting room at a very low rate for a central location.

They also provided a microphone & speaker so that all members could hear and be heard.
Situated in Clerkenwell Green, it’s the perfect destination for all green badge drivers to attend with free parking after 6:30pm. If Mr Massett would have bothered to come down, he would have seen for himself.

To round off, many in the trade are left frustrated that our trade will never be unified, there are lots of views on the reasons why, but here’s my take on it. The co-operative & community benefit society’s act (2014) is a act of parliament that all of our orgs fall under, the registrar to this act is the Financial Conduct Authority ( FCA).

A mutual society is perfect for our trade as individual self employed sole traders, it’s a movement that brings the paying members together as one force to fight off illegal acts against the trade & instills democracy within it, when a council or regulator is implementing policy to attack our trade, do you think they look at what legal cover the org has as a reason ‘not’ to abuse our trade?
No!
They look at how unorganised we are, how fragmented we are, even within our own orgs. The biggest failure that has created disenfranchised members & infighting within our trade is the fact the the co-operative movement has been lost, abused & manipulated by past & current representatives.
On joining a society, you should be educated as to what it is before joining, you should be supplied the rules of the society & advised to read before making a decision.

A mutual society is not legal cover, legal cover is just a scheme added on to some society’s after it’s been registered. If you were to have been told from the outset that you are joining to be part of something, to have a say, to be encouraged to form a bond with your branch (sector) colleagues, I do believe that the trade would be in a stronger place today.

The only regulators of a mutual society are the members that pay into it, nobody else!
Instead we have been led into believing we’re joining to have badge-safe, legal cover, most pay in to give themselves conscious security but could go their whole taxi trade career without needing it, if it were just about legal cover, the LTDA would not qualify as a mutual society.
A cynic would say it operates more like a company.

It’s not known in the co-operative movement that executives within a society give themselves a wage, BUPA healthcare & company cars! Coupled with that, there is no Renumeration Committee to make a judgement on pay rises , pay reduction or bonuses!

Nobody who pays in, can actually see what an individual claims for or what it was spent on?
No member, is even sent an annual expenses report before the Annual General Meeting (AGM), so they can gauge an opinion before the meeting takes place to prepare some questions or raise any concerns?

In summary, the LTDA, as it stands, is not behaving like a Coop. The LTDA is being run like a company and one that the current COM feel they own and can do what they like. They cannot! It’s owned by ALL LTDA members. It’s time we took back our Association.

Thanking You All.

Anthony Minas.