Saturday, March 16, 2019

ITA Protests To Continue Monday 1pm ... Plus Blast From The Past, What Have Demos Ever Won?


Looking back at yesterday’s protest from the 5,000 ‘children’.... it would appear that the ITA’s suspension of the Taxi protest in and around Parliament Square was the right decision.

The so called children -mainly six form students- were captured on camera, trying to jump the roof in of a recovery truck, cars were whacked with placards and the afternoon was far from peaceful. When their demo ended, their rubbish was left speak over the square....so much for worrying about the environment. 


The trolls and keyboard warriors most of whom have never been on a single protest, have been active since the news of the suspensions broke, but the ITA believe driver's safety and that of their vehicle is paramount.

The protests will continue at 1pm on Monday and will also go ahead on Wednesday.  Friday 22nd Protest is again suspended as the ITA consider that the presence of two opposite factions demonstrating will put drivers and their vehicles in danger. 

If you have any suggestions about the protests, timings or venues, then simply come along on Monday (join the loonies)  and speak to the organisers, who will discuss the matter with you.

After the Mayor's swerve on the subject of Taxi access at question time in Bexley, it looks like the only barrier to our victory with the 'Where a Buses Go', Taxis Go campaign, is Mike ‘on side’ Brown. 

Although there is supposed to be an engagement policy in place, involving the LTDA, LCDC, UCG, RMT and Unite, it didn't go unnoticed that the Mayor only thanked the LTDA and Unite for their support. Looks like the engagement policy has been replaced by the Vichy Policy.



TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Blast From The Past.
Again, to all those who say Demos Don't Work!
 
Let's just reflect on the list of victories from rank and file driver led protests, demonstrations and Flash Mob hits have achieved. 

A massive demo and coordinated rest day in the early seventies stopped us having to collect VAT for the government on Taxi fares!

Another mass protested at the old GLC HQ stopped speed bus being introduced across London in segregated bus lanes similar to the cycle lanes we see today, which would have created large no-go areas for Taxis across the capital!

We demonstrated at Westminster Council House to stop Westminster council introducing licensed Private Hire offices across the west end, it proved successful... even though the LTDA told its members to stay away!

As Chairman of the LCDC, Jim Wells led many night time protests which saw:
• Mr Ali's illegal operation finally closed down
• Rank extension at the Victoria Sporting Casino
• The PH booking desk at the Hippodrome removed
• Cab rank implemented outside Stringfellows
•The lines of touts removed from outside Hombre (rank implemented) and The Sports Cafe touts arrested
• Ranks appointed in Coventry Street.

Under Jim Wells' leadership, we also created a data base of the registration numbers of virtually every private hire vehicle in London. Idea was to have an online data base that people could check to see if secondhand cars had been used as Minicabs. 

All these victories where achieved by rank and file driver protests, flash mods and demonstrations. 
 
When TfL sublet the bus stand in Whitcomb street to a private hire operator (WestOne Cars) with Marshals (supplied by Westminster council) touting by sending potential passengers to a booking office in Leicester Square, we had a massive all trade demo and their cars were forced to moved inside the car park on the corner of Panton Street.

Once out of view, it finished them off and the Marshals (financed by Westminster) soon disappeared, after further demos. 

Killer on the Knowledge fiasco : 
We then heard through an insider at TfL, that there was a former Private Hire driver, (who had murdered his wife and also seriously assaulted his daughter) on the knowledge. We (RMT, LCDC) held two mass demos outside Penton Street and not only was he slung off the KoL, but the Managing Director for TfLTPH (Ed Thomson), was moved on. 

The Twitter action Group (TaG hit squad) Flash demos at Tiger Tiger, Bear Street Charing Cross Road, Argyle Street, Hanover Square and Swallow Street led to new ranks being appointed. This led on to more driver led action from the Mayfair Mob and Radio Circuits (minus ComCab who at the time were strongly affiliated to the LTDA) at Nobu.
Later, action from the Mayfair Mob saw new ranks implemented at Hakassan and Novakov. Action that followed on from the UCG at Abacus/Forge saw a more sensible solution to the rank in the City 

Again, with assistance from radio circuits Dial a Cab and Radio Taxis, more night time demos and flash mob protests resulted in ranks at Smiths and Fabrics.

I had a conversation over the weekend with a young driver sitting on the Shard taxi rank. I asked him if he had attended any of the protests in Parliament Square, he said "No, demos don't work". 
I pointed out to him, that the only reason he was able to sit comfortably on the Shard rank, was the fact that the LCDC had organised a protest at Palestra over Peter Hendy saying it was impossible to have a rank in St Thomas street for the Shard. (The LTDA said it couldn't be done and advised members to stay away from demo).

While on the subject, let's not forget the email from Steve McNamara to Mike brown: 
He said drivers protesting for the salvation of the trade that gives them a living and puts food on the family table, were  'Loonies'. 

In my opinion appeasement and collaboration for an easy ride and a seat at the table, is treason towards your trade and your fellow drivers.

We are making ways with the protests outside Parliament, and we must keep up the current pressure.... Khan has now switched and lied about who is behind our exclusions, because of pressure from MPs, Peers and Assembly members who support our call for “Where Buses Go, Taxis Go”.

Parliament Square, Monday 1pm till 4pm 
👀👍🏻

Friday, March 15, 2019

TfL’s Mike Brown Ordered References To Crossrail’s Difficulties Removed From Mayor’s Updates


In an article published in City AM, it’s been alleged that Transport for London’s boss Mike Brown ordered references to the difficulties Crossrail was experiencing with dynamic testing to be removed from email updates sent to Sadiq Khan, it was revealed today.

At a grilling by the London Assembly's transport committee, Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, admitted he felt Crossrail ought to brief the London mayor that there was insufficient time to carry out dynamic testing.
The London Assembly has been able to get hold of key emails exchanged between senior members of TfL and Crossrail as part of its investigation into the railway's delay, which was revealed last summer.

The £17.6bn Elizabeth Line was originally scheduled to open last December but has been delayed indefinitely due to time and cost pressures.

Tom Copley, a Labour Assembly member of the committee, read out one particular email dated 19 June, in which he said Smith appeared to be "quite adamant that this needed to be included".
"I'm wondering why you think it was taken out, as it transpired, by Mike Brown?"
Smith said a paragraph that referred to the time constraints around signalling testing should be included in an update to the mayor.
The email read: "Removing the statement re insufficient testing time is wrong. If it's Andy or Steph who've done so I think you need to explain that we (one) see it is a critical issue that we need to note. I'd remind them that we have been taken to task (on stage two) for not highlighting risks. If it's Mike I don't think it changes my view but he is the boss."
The Crossrail crisis reached a height in September when the London Assembly accused Khan of misleading the public about what he knew and when about the delay. The mayor has maintained that he was only informed of the delay to Crossrail two days before it was publicly announced on 31 August last year.

Copley then asked if there was a general culture at Crossrail and TfL of people lower down the chain of command not wanting to send information further up out of fear of the reaction.
"I think more widely, probably yes," Smith replied.
"When we go back over Crossrail history we will find occasions of that happening. But do I think that email itself is direct suppression of something vitally important? No."

A TfL spokesperson said: "TfL produced regular reports for the mayor, drafted with input from Crossrail Limited and London Underground’s Elizabeth Line team.
"There were rare occasions when it was felt that information should not be included as a simple line in a weekly report but needed detailed explanation at regular face-to-face meetings, including details of the planned remedial action to be taken.”

Source : City AM 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Mayors Question Time Bexley.

At last nights Ask The Mayor in Bexley, a young female Cabbie in the audience asked Sadiq Khan, I am being forced to buy a £65,000 electric Taxi but as my cab is completely wheelchair accessible, has facilities from the blind and hearing impaired. I need the ability and assurance to be able to drop my passengers door to door, but I’m being banned from Tottenham Court Road, Tooley Street and the Bank Junction. 

The Mayor waffled on praising the trades disability accessibility. He went on to say, Tottenham Court Road is the responsibility of Camden Council and Bank is City of London....he said he will continue to lobby council leaders. 

He made no reference to the TfL bus lanes we are excluded from which he promised us access to when campaigning for Mayor.

There was also massive applause and much support when a member of the audience accused the Mayor of waisting £180m on cycle schemes that are only used by 4% of the population of London, money that should have been used on helping the police and solving knife crime that affects everyone one, not just a Lycra clad few. The members of the GLA accompanying the Mayor looked totally shocked at the level of support coming from the audience. 

This is the Mayor who considers Taxis are no longer Public hire but Private Hire.  Project Horizon in full swing. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

STATEMENT FROM THE ITA: Protests On FRIDAY 15/03/19 And Friday 22/03/19 Cancelled.


After liaising with the Police, the Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA) have decided to call off this Friday's and next Friday's two protests:

Tomorrow's protest 15th of March, police say they are expecting over 5,000 school children, protesting about Climate Change....

Next Friday's protest, 22nd March, would have clashed with a mass Pro Tommy Robinson Demonstration, which we have been informed may also attract demonstrators from ANTIFA opposition. 

The Roads and Transport Police have sent this message to the ITA:
A really big thank you, as you can imagine this really helps our policing plan and also reduces risk to your drivers. Your assistance on this has been duly noted by our management.

The ITA will still be protesting on Monday and Wednesday next week, plus after this, unless an announcement is made, we will go back to the usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday.



Court Throws Out Case Against Driver Touching Mobile Phone At Traffic Lights And Awards Driver Costs.


Good news today for another Cabby, again unfairly harassed over touching a mobile phone while being in control of a licensed Taxi (this time with engine running and waiting at a set of traffic lights with hand brake on). 

I was approached last night by a driver who doesn't want to give his name, who told me that he had to go to court, as while he was stationary at a set of traffic lights, a passing cyclist with a helmet camera had made a digital recording of the driver holding a mobile phone. 

The cyclist passed the footage on to the police and a summon's was duly issued. The drivers refused a fixed penalty and opted to go to court. 

In court he gave evidence that the passenger had found a phone on the back seat and asked the driver to take it into the front. The driver said he told the passenger to hold onto the phone (as they were moving at this time) until he was stationary and could put the hand brake on. 

The driver also produced a recite from his local police station where he had handed in the property. Dates of the alleged offence and the police recite matched. 

The court found that the driver had acted responsibly, that no offence had indeed taken place and the charge was dismissed. The driver has also been awarded costs. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

Don't panic, loads of social media users thought they had been thrown off platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Many couldn't sign in and this already signed in couldn't make posts or post comments within groups. 

Facebook sent out an email this morning explaining that they had isolated a bug in the system and that everything should be up and running properly today. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

TfL Extend PH English Test Deadline, Plus LTR...Right To Reply.


Absolutely Shocking news today that TfL have now decided to put back the deadline for PH English language requirement: 

TfL have put this statement out on their Twitter page earlier today:
The deadline for the English language requirement has been extended for all new PHV driver applicants and renewing drivers. All evidence must now be received by 30 September 2020

This follows the recent publication of the DfT’s draft statutory guidance for licensing authorities, which recommended an English assessment for licensees. This extension will allow sufficient time to work with Government to ensure consistent standards.

If you have submitted evidence to comply with the English language requirement, you do not need to take any further action, unless requested to by TfL. If you haven’t submitted your evidence yet, you now have until 30/09/2020 to do so.

Grant Davis, Chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) said: “Why not just move Dara into City Hall and be done with it”.

So now TFL’s Private Hire proposals have been delayed due to DfT recommendations; 

‘This will allow TfL sufficient time to consider the recommendation and work with Government to ensure consistency in standards, as appropriate’

Who is complicit in this charade?

So far, not a single word to the trade from our largest org’s General Secretary.....probably in his waiting and seeing in-tray. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

LTR Taxi Paper Right To Reply. 

Sean Paul Day and a collection of LTDA members discuss the current Taxi Paper from the LTDA.

Click link below :
 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

TfL Alleged To Be Charging More Than Double The Going Rate To TXe Owners Using TfL Charging Points

London Taxi driver finds out the hard way that all the TfL owned electric taxi charging points, are charging Taxi drivers a surcharge to use their machines. 

In this case the driver was being forced to pay more than double. 
The price using a RFID card should have been 09p per KWh but on the TfL owned black cab only charging point, he was being charged 22p, a surcharge of 13p per KWh. 

Below is Rob’s post from Facebook. 

I’m a driver of an Electric LEVC TXE 

After doing my research on charging and fast charging I joined the chargemaster polar plus scheme  this gives me a RFID card to use up to 6500 different chargers at the reduced rate of £00.9 pence a KWh ..... this costs a monthly subscription of £7 which gives huge savings and makes it all a little more affordable 

Tonight Iv pulled on to the charging point on Balham high road  connected the cab and swiped my polar membership card( as it says on the screen)for it to show card unrecognised ..... strange I tried it again 

I called chargemaster to see what the problem is and was told 

This unit is a TFL owned charging port .... it’s designed for black taxis only  and charged at 0.22 pence a kWh you can only use your debit or credit card as TFL receive a surcharge from the machine ... I have registered on the polar plus members network as a Taxi I explained .... chargemaster  informed me that this is TFLs stipulation on certain charging ports put in across London’s network 

So not only are we forced to buy the electric cab , forced to take credit card at cost to us , we’re now being over charged for something we didn’t want ....... ludicrous 
😡😡😡😡 why should we be charged over double to charge for £65k they should be helping us this is totally derogatory  to the trade and an insult !