Tuesday, July 09, 2019

DRIVEN TO DESPAIR : SOS, THE SILENCE OF SUICIDE


For many years London's transport regulator Transport for London "TfL" has neglected the mental health concerns of the capital's cabbies with the fallout understandably being a deteriorating mental health crisis within the industry.

London's cabbies have a rich 360-year tradition in the capital taking approximately 3 years to complete the "Knowledge of London" which is regarded as the toughest topographical test in the world, however, in recent years advancements in technology has seen the way that the public hail taxi's change dramatically.

TfL has failed to keep pace with the regulation of this changing industry and with newspaper revelations which revealed that TfL was "lent on" to accommodate companies like Uber who were found by the High Court to have misclassified their drivers as self-employed contractors instead of workers and are also accused of VAT avoidance compounds TfL's failure to regulate.  

TfL continues to allow tax dodging gig economy companies to undermine the industry, granting licenses to private hire minicab operators with impunity despite tax and employment malpractices, naturally, with this level of negligence, the fallout is understandably catastrophic for ordinary working taxi drivers.


Almost overnight, Mayor Khan has slashed 25% off life span of a taxi from 16 years to 12 years and forced taxi drivers into a zero emission taxi capable "ZEC" taxis costing in excess of £70,000 with finance, additionally, tensions have become fraught with a lack of charging infrastructure in the capital, moreover, the private hire minicab industry has been allowed to operate in the same immediate hire space with vehicles costing in the region of £17,000. 

While dramatically increasing the costs for taxi drivers, Sadiq Khan has restricted access to large swathes of the capital's roads to taxi drivers where drivers ply their trade and earn a living, therefore, there is no coincidence why there is a mental health crisis within the taxi industry when costs have increased, road space has been taken away and TfL and the Mayor of London have turned a blind eye to gig economy tax avoidance. 

For several months the Mental Health Charity, Silence of Suicide founded by Yvette Greenway and Michael Mansfield QC have been writing to TfL's commissioner Mike Brown asking for a meeting to discuss what TfL & the Mayor can do to improve and understand better how their poor performance, harmful policies and failure to regulate impacts on mental health and wellbeing of the taxi drivers who they control - after many attempts to sensibly engage with TfL's commissioner, regretfully Silence of Suicide's requests have been ignored.

TfL claim they engage with the taxi trade on many issues including mental health, however, we can say with our hand on our heart - they don't - so we have made a short film highlighting the issues and problems that we face and how we feel.

One starts to think, how much more can ordinary working people take before there is a serious tragedy?

Here is our film.

 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mayor Khan has certainly heaped stress on the London taxi drivers, but he is not solely to blame, lets not forget Boris, and his boris bikes, and the conservative pm cameron and chancellor osborne, together with London mayor boris, letting uber illegally in to London, to pick our pockets and destroy our livelyhoods, thats what i call stress!

Anonymous said...

TfL are wiping out the best taxi drivers in the world to claw in money from a constant stream of poorly equipped PHV drivers who would fail tests on the Highway Code and who rely on satnavs to navigate London. Uber crashes cost our emergency services dearly, yet they they funnel their profits offshore to avoid tax.

Hugh Bar said...

Is there statistics on the suicides of London Black Cab drivers? Do some cab drivers really feel this bleak about the trade? Is it true that you can loose your badge if you seek help for suicidal thoughts? Private hire have been around for many years. Nowadays private hire use new technologies, the app and sat navigation. Nobody from past, present or future regulators are going to ban, prevent or restrict the use of these new technologies. It's something we have to live with. These new technologies have caused the playing field to change. I yearn for the good old days but life has moved on. For those who sadly do feel suicidal please seek help.You don't have to struggle on your own as there are people who can help. Dark days can turn back into brighter ones. Its not easy out there but hopefully others can provide with a helping hand.

Anonymous said...

Any driver feeling, through lack of cabs to rent, that they are being forced into getting a LEVC. Have a think first, how this will affect your working hours and family life.
Now I might not be 100% on the figures, so don’t hang me over this, but the maths are something like this:
£3,750 initial deposit (hire charge)
£188pw x 52 = £9,776 / 12 = £814.666 etc per month.
That goes to the fat cats. Then add the insurance premium (I’ve heard good rumours that it’s £3,000 per year.) So, that’s £250 per month.
Add to that tyres/brakes (not servicing)another £500min per year / 12 = 41.66 etc per month.
Added together and rounded to nearest is approx £1,107per month, for 5yrs. That’s just the cab, not taking into account the meter(1st yr included). Overhaul fees. Petrol and charging costs.
That is a lot of work, just to break even.
The cab trade has got more bad luck coming down the track with crossrail, multiple more cheap apps, and whoever else wants their hand in our pockets. Think before you sign on the dotted line, just because, well it’s only a few quid more than the cab I was renting.
Don’t let the trade get to you mentally. If you can’t pay, it’s their problem, not yours. Put everything in the wifes name like phillip green, and get a small log book loan on the car, to protect it from clampers. Let your problems be other people’s. Stay strong. It’s only cab driving.

Anonymous said...

Well said 9.20, but in shorthand its got to be around 80k to buy, thats without the replacement battery when it goes down, and its sure to! You can buy a terrace house in hull or birmingham suburbs for 80k, rent it out 500 a month, and you dont have to pay out for service, overhaul, meter, tyres, fuel, , and you wont get it made redundant to work in 12 years time, going down to 10? Love the small log book loan idea! only thing i disagree with you is phillip green comment, its SIR phillip! Says a lot about this country dont you think? Sir phillip green who stil owes 100million on pension fund for old shop girls, sir jimmy saville, sir mo farah who got 700k for running half a marathon when everyone else had to raise 3k to enter, sir sir sir, what has this great britain come to?

Anonymous said...

dear 5.18 lets not forget it was labour with their "mayor for london" tfl,and now a labour mayor who won,t be happy till we,re history.

London said...

Shocking figures in regard to financing a cab
Silly question I am sure but Do TfL have have no legal obligation considering drivers purchased a vehicle believing it be on a 15 year basis and then made business plans took out mortgages loans all on this basis ?????

Anonymous said...

CONservative pm cameron, CONservative chancellor osborne, and CONservative London mayor Boris have already consigned us to history 2.48 by allowing uber in to London to take our trade away from us, anything any mayor of any party does after is just putting the icing on the uber cake, but you keep voting for them 2.48, they will look after you!

Anonymous said...

Can you please tell us 8.57 who you would vote for your diatribe is now very tedious and boring.

As i have said before this forum should not be a party political broadcast, for what it is worth this is the worst political landscape in my lifetime none of them are any good.

Granted UBER has certainly been a major factor but the lack of action from the LTDA and general driver apathy has not helped. We are walking headlong into oblivion the only thing that binds us is the knowledge and how long is that going to last, our numbers are ever depleting.

9.20 is right with the numbers, and remember you wont own the cab unless you make the final payment and who will be in a position to do that. In previous times you paid outright for the cab over a period and had equity, if you encountered difficulty you had a chance to sell the cab and clear the finance, this can rarely be done on a PCP.
So think about before you sign up, what happens if you encounter a problem and have to have a month off you are already nearly a grand behind.

The expenses to earnings are far too wide now, the job is forever changing in my opinion signing up for long contracts is foolhardy

Anonymous said...

TFL AND AGISIM.

The plan in TFL's garlic fumed filled offices during its meetings and discussions is what to do to control the london taxi trade and lead it into financial oblivion and we all moan afterwards whilst we watch them do it from start to finish knowing fully well what they are doing, its pathetic.

Take the fact when any of us have the need to contact TFL about matters we are concerned about... Taxi Licensing... Driver Licensing... anything serious that can actively prevent us eventually going to work, Who else has noticed the virtual breakdown in contact ability to anyone who can deal with you in less than 45 minutes if you are not cut off before then?
I know someone who had a £17 call bill charge for waiting to deal with a problem on their number it is a complete scandal.

Another thing I noticed, Any written correspondence no longer has any quality service credential markings or quality kite marks such as ISO or similar which they used to have, but not now because the service we gets is shockingly poor for the money we pay, although oddly, correspondence does have the "disabillity confident employer" crestmark stamped on the bottom of the letter, so "employees" gain improved conditions remembering we are not "employees" of TFL and never will be.

The 12 year age reduction coupled with decomissioning is a ruination of our whole trade without exaggeration, and if anyone cannot see an age bias of complete discrimination towards the older driver on these actions then the laws are being blindfolded in favour of TFL because the older drivers are being 100% priced out of their qualifications and vocation simply because of the numbers of older drivers that exist, and I am sure TFL has counted them in the bigger scheme of bean counting and slide rule decimation tactics, so older drivers should be actively complaining to their unions as direct consequence to their planning to continue paying their way and not being forced to unsheduled retirement.

Why has this issue not been raised or a disibility study and impact report regarding the issues of age effects towards older drivers and the remedy to resolve this incorporated into the final consultation report?

The 12 year age limit is undeniably ageist impacting the older drivers far greater than any others without any solution.

Tfl cannot link or co-join "decommisioning" and drivers ages because there is no public master blueprint either connecting decommisioning with the lowering of the age limits or connection drivers ages, no, lowering agelimits was pure and deliberate ageism for thousands of drivers who have given service for many years and now find the end has been forced apon them by taking away the ability to work because of age which before this tfl decision they could buy another maybe second hand vehicle which was tailored throughout the years the option before retirement factoring in cab rentals are also decimated directly due to age the limit reduction and direct comparisons can also be made.

BE LUCKY

GREENBADGEJOHN

Anonymous said...

I will vote for mr jeremy corbyn 5.03 i think, he is hated by the CONservative loving press, as he will hit the bankers bonus first, and we all know that the best way to upset these eton boys and city bankers is in their pocket! Also, corbyn is always portrayed as a terrorist loving anti semite, but in fact helped bring peace and saved many lives by engaging with the republican movement in Ireland, something the press always neglect to say, and the fact that the CONservative home secretary willie whitelaw also did meeting them in cheyne walk in the eighties, but i would give anyone a go after the way this country has gone down in these last 8 CON years! Its a jungle out here, people getting killed all over the place,, society has never been more financially divided, people on zero hour contracts (thats why we have record employment), everyone on a few hours a week but in work, its a race to the bottom with these clowns in, but keep voting them mate, they will look after you1