Saturday, April 06, 2019

TfL Are At It Again, Misleading Taxi Drivers

As you may know, from Monday, the 8th Of April, TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan launch the ULEZ charge. The zone will be covered by the existing Congestion Charge (CC) area in Centra London, which the Mayors hopes will shortly (25/10/2021) be followed by an expansion to the North and South Circular.  

TfL have publish their ULEZ car finder, which is supposed to let you know if your vehicle will have to pay the charge.

As an experiment and to see how accurate the ULEZ checker is, we added the number of a 61 plate TX4 Taxi. 

This is the reply we got:

You are subject to the ULEZ.  
From 8 April 2019 if you travel in the ULEZ you will need to pay the daily ULEZ charge. This is because your vehicle does not meet the ULEZ standards.

What they don’t tell you, is that in another page of their on line website, you can find this passage hidden away:

London-licensed taxis are exempt from ULEZ - they are subject to a 15-year age limit and new emissions standards have already been introduced for them. From 1 January 2018 all newly licensed taxis must be capable of producing zero emissions.
So there it’s a full exemption (not a discount) for all plated Taxis. Remember though, if you plate has expired and you need to enter the ULEZ zone to reach a test centre from your garage, you will have to pay the charge. 
But again we see just how incompetent TfL are at actually putting accurate details on their Website or online Twitter account. If TfL were a commercial company l, certain people working there would be looking for a new job. 

Keepers of vehicles registered with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class will benefit from a sunset period after the ULEZ starts. They'll be exempt from the ULEZ charge until 26 October 2025 as long as their vehicle doesn't change tax class. 
Blue Badge holders will need to pay the charge from 8 April 2019 unless their vehicle meets the new ULEZ emission standards... or is registered with the DVLA with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicle' tax class. 

So again we see TfL discriminating against the disabled. Not only are they being stopped from utilising a door to door Taxi service, as fully wheelchair accessible Taxis are banned from certain streets and bus lanes, they will soon (2025) have to pay the ULEZ charge even if their own vehicle is a registered disabled Tax class.
Former Mayor Ken Livingstone had the philosophy ‘before you can charge for congestion, you have to create congestion.

That’s exactly what he did in the run up to the introduction of the Congestion Charge. He told utility companies that for 6 months after the introduction of the Congestion Charge, they would be no permission for Road works other than emergencies. So the utilities rushed through as many programs as they could, right up to the introduction date. 
When the charge came into effect, the Road works disappeared and Jen shouted from the roof tops ‘look, my new CC charge is working, traffic is moving much better now’.
Now TfL and Sadiq have taken a leaf out of Ken’s book. Traffic lights have been phased to stay on red longer, road companies have been given permission to store plant equipment on central London streets causing chaos. All this traffic congestion results in higher pollution. 

Point Proved Thursday Night:
There are road works on Conduit Street junction of New Bond Street, with a 4-way alternate lane traffic light system, causing major traffic congestion. Around 10pm, someone (won’t say who) unplugged the lights and within 5 minutes, the traffic congestion disappeared. 
Plant has been left for months untouched on the streets, holes dug and work crews disappear for weeks at a time. London looks like one massive building sight. 
It will be nice when it’s all finished...that’s what they told us 20 years ago and there doesn’t look to be a finish date in sight. 

Are Sadiq and TfL actually willing to kill members of the public just to raise money ??????
The increase in traffic congestion and therefore higher pollution levels are contrived by the Mayor and TfL as a cash cow. If we are to believe the propaganda constantly spewed our by the Mayor about London’s Toxic air killing people, then it is he and TfL who should be shouldering the blame. 

Friday, April 05, 2019

ITA Protest On Tour Proves Massive Success With Drivers

The ITA protest went on tour again this afternoon. The venue was announced (mainly by word of mouth and WhatsApp groups) Victoria Coach Station. 

It was always planned not to stay there for longer then half an hour, as we didn’t want to disrupt people heading away on holiday, but the ITA wanted TfL and the police to know that should (at a later date) TfL still refuse to talk to our representative, we will hit it hard. 

Just after 2:30 the message went out, cabs sounded their horns and made their way swiftly towards Hyde Park Corner which was soon gridlocked. 

Police again tried to intimidate drivers by taking numbers but there is nothing they can do if you have your light off, seat belt on, and are stuck in heavy traffic. Haven’t we been told that we should turn off our ignition if stuck in traffic, to help improve air quality? 

Buses leaving Victoria and coming north from South London were stack up in a walk of red along Grosvenor Gardens back up as far as vauxhall Bridge Road. 

The female commander in charge today said nothing would come of the taking of numbers and that she was happy for us to be there. The police then mounted a big push and tied to clear the outside lane to run traffic around the protest, the order went out to go to plan C, which was Piccadilly Circus. 

When TfL found out the new target was Piccadilly Circus, they tweeted the lights to stay on red hoping to creat traffic gridlock so the protest would move on, but their plan backfired as no one could move anywhere and virtually the whole of Central London ground to a halt. 

Best sight of the afternoon were the passengers getting out of the working cabs who were now caught up in the mess. 

One clueless police officer tried diverting all traffic from Piccadilly at St James Street but Taxis we’re doing right onto Albemarle Street, working round into Bond Street and back on to Piccadilly, leaving him scratching his head. 

With Piccadilly Circus at a complete stand still and still loads of Taxis on the periphery, plan D went into affect... Trafalgar Square. Cabs headed for the King Charles 1st round about. 

All surrounding areas were mashed. Job done and the final whistle was blown around 4:30. 

These ITA touring protests are seen by most of the drivers as the best way forward in future. Perhaps just one day in Parliament Square and another two days a week touring round. 

There will be no more protests for a 4week break, to give TfL and local councils time to reflect. Morale is high amongst the drivers who are willing to keep this action up indefinitely. The ITA say next time, Victoria Coach Station will be blocked for four hours. 

Well done to all my colleagues who have been there, shoulder to shoulder over the past twelve weeks. 


Thursday, April 04, 2019

TfL Set Up New Cameras To Catch Out Taxi Drivers Who May Be Over-Ranking

Please be aware...there is now a TFL camera outside the Victoria and Albert museum. Issuing PCNs to Taxi drivers over-ranking. 

Allegedly, there have been no reports of PHVs receiving similar tickets for being parked on the Taxi Rank or the loading bay (a regular sight) at the rear of the rank.

Taxi drivers have been complaining for years now about the amount of contravention of Taxi ranks mainly by Private Hire vehicles parked on Taxi ranks waiting for customers. 

We are told if reported TfL will take action, but the amount of re-offenders show that TFL's strongly worded letters ar having no affect.

Natural History Museum Next ?

We’ve been informed that there are also plans for a similar set up at the Natural History Museum. 

This again is a direct attack on the Taxi Trade coming from TfL


Breaking news....................


Meanwhile in Lisson Grove cab drivers are getting robbed and assaulted every night. Will we have to wait until a driver is murdered for action to be taken to protect Taxi drivers in the area. 

TfL and local boroughs appear to have a war against Taxis with more areas and bus lanes planned to be excluding Taxis. We are progressively reaching a state where we can longer guarantee to get passengers to destinations. 

The ITA have held 2 weeks (10 daily) protests on Totteham Court Road. Followed by 8 weeks (Mon/Wed/Fri) in Parliament Square. This week saw the ITA go on tour Monday and Wednesday....

Join your militant colleagues tomorrow at 2pm till 4:30, fighting for the right of every Taxi driver to ply for hire on all roads and bus lanes. The venue to be announce tomorrow at 1:30. 


Ola Say's It Will Take Uber Head-On In London Already Launched In 5 UK Cities With 3 More To Come In May

Ola, Uber's biggest rival in India, said it will take on the ride-hailing giant in London before the end of the year after launching in five smaller U.K. cities.

 Bangalore-based startup commenced operations in Liverpool last month, having established its first European business in Cardiff in August and later added Bath, Bristol and Exeter. Reading and Birmingham will follow this month, along with Manchester in May.

U.K. Managing Director Ben Legg said the step-by-step approach should help Ola crack the London market. No date for entering the capital has been set, but plans are being developed and the launch will come before November and the start of the pre-Christmas rush.

"London is the most complex in terms of regulation and it’s got more competition for drivers," Legg said in an interview. "That’s why we wanted to work our way up, adding a little bit more scale and complexity with each city instead of doing London first."

Ola, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt, raised $300 million from Hyundai Motor Group in March, giving the ride-hailing startup a valuation of about $6 billion. Founded in 2011, it now has 1.3 million drivers on its platform and users across 125 cities in India, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

It's Been Confirmed That Uber Actually Lobbied For Introduction Of Congestion Charge On Its Own Drivers

As London's Uber drivers prepare today to protest against TfL, who have introduced the Congestion Charge for all Private Hire Drivers, it's emerged that in New York, it was in fact Uber who lobbied for the charge to be introduced in Manhattan. 

As their drivers prepare to demonstrate on London Bridge today, organisers are hoping that this time the Uber drivers can actually find London Bridge as last time they held a demonstration there, the drivers actually turned up on Tower bridge.

Uber was the biggest backer of a campaign pushing for congestion charging in New York City, emerging as an unlikely champion of a levy on vehicles in US cities grappling with how to deal with heavy car traffic clogging the streets and contributing to pollution. 

The US car-booking app group, which spent $2m lobbying for the levy that will come into place in two years, had also backed previous unsuccessful efforts to pass congestion charges. 

The New York congestion charge, which is expected to raise billions of dollars to fund the city’s ailing public transport systems, was successfully adopted into the state budget at the weekend.

Minicab apps such as Uber and rival Lyft have been accused of putting more cars on the road and undermining public transport across the country. San Francisco’s county transportation authority has blamed car-booking servicesfor half of the rise in the city’s congestion between 2010 and 2016.

The companies have opted for congestion pricing as their preferred solution rather than taxing car-booking or limiting the number of cars on the road. Uber sued New York in February over a cap on for-hire vehicle licences the city council passed last year.

“Long term, what we’re working for is a system that helps people understand the impact of driving a car into the congested core of a city,” said Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s head of transportation policy. “New York is an important moment in time but it’s also part of a broader strategy.”

During the New York campaign, Uber lobbied lawmakers, ran television ads and contributed $700,000 to the advocacy group Fix Our Transit, more than the Real Estate Board of New York, which put in $500,000. In September Uber committed $10m over three years to support what it calls “sustainable mobility” by advocating for congestion charges as well as better parking regulations.

Lyft is also backing congestion pricing schemes, contributing $75,000 to the New York campaign. 

In contrast, New York’s taxi drivers have opposed congestion pricing, arguing it puts even more strain on them while they handle disruption from rivals.

“[Uber] knows it’s better for everyone if traffic is moving faster than 4.7 miles per hour . . . They are acknowledging that they have a role in congestion but also want to be part of the solution,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, which backed the congestion charging campaign.

Raising the cost of driving a car into midtown Manhattan or other central parts of cities has counterintuitive benefits for Uber and its peers. Less traffic means shorter wait times for passengers. They are also betting on a broader shift away from private car ownership to other forms of transportation they offer, including shared rides, bikes and scooters, and to public transit. Uber says many customers combine an Uber trip with the bus or subway.

“What we see around the world is users of Uber tend to be heavier than average transit users,” said Mr Salzberg



Wednesday, April 03, 2019

On Tour With The ITA : Wednesday 3th April...Bank Junction, London Bdg, Blackfriars Bdg And Aldwych.

Today’s protest was called for Bank Junction. By half two, the whole junction was at a stand still. Major congestion was reported stretching back as far as Trafalgar Square which was at an virtual standstill. 

Although the area is under the City of London Police, it look like they had drafted in the Met to deal with the Taxis.  

By three, a Met Police gold commander was overheard telling officers to take badge numbers of Taxi drivers for reporting to TfL. But when he saw he was being filmed he said this was not the case and only drivers who were committing traffic offences such as inappropriate driving or anti social behaviour would be reported. 

When it was pointed out in detail this was a peaceful protest, he said they didn’t mind the drivers protesting peacefully but a complete blockage of the junction was unacceptable. 

He asks for lanes to be kept on open to ease the congestion and sent officers over to Cornhill to tell drivers to move off.

The organisers said if one cab moves we all move so the order was given to go to London Bridge. The police immediately closed access to London Bridge which backfired by trapping traffic which couldn’t leave via bank junction Westbound because of the all traffic exclusion.

The order was then changed again, to plan C and Blackfriars Bridge became the next target. 

The police, seeing their mistake immediately opened up London Bridge and headed to Blackfriars. 

Taxi drivers reported that Blackfriars was too congested already by traffic, so plan D was put out and the protest moved on to the Aldwych. Getting there was not too bad as traveling away from the Bank towards the centre was moving ok. Police outriders tried to disrupt the Taxis but when told we were joining a peaceful protest were obliged to let us through. 

By four pm the Strand eastbound was at a standstill full of buses, Kingsway gridlocked, Fleet street solid back to Ludgate Circus. 

There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing for a while but eventually we were left to protest, which was again extended to 5 pm.


Monday saw a TfL bus crash into a stationary Taxi. Today saw a TfL bus crash into a car....are these bus drivers receiving training from Uber?


Today’s demo has been a fantastic success with most of the work done for us by the Met. 

Well done to all my colleagues who cane to protest. And if you were one of the mass of drivers who carried on working.... shame on you !


Monday, April 01, 2019

Met Police In A Mess : Plan To Move ITA Protest Onto The CoL Police Patch, Backfires.

Another great turnout for the ITA's campaign "Where Buses Go Taxis Go".

Organisers felt that the protests in Parliament Square had become to easy to handle and a decision was made that, as TfL were still refusing to talk, the Protests would go 'on tour'.

A different location will be chosen each time, for the three times a week mass cause as much disruption as possible. 
Today's venue of the Old Street roundabout was announced just before 2pm. It was a truly awesome site to see the whole area bought to a complete standstill in such a matter of minutes, by a flotilla of Taxis, proudly displaying their blue ITA dots and Gold UTAG stars. 

It didn't take long for buses to start stacking up along the kerbs. They couldn't move as the roundabout cane to a complete halt. 

Around 3:30pm the Met Police started to get a bit tricky, trying to move the protest over the boundary towards the City of London's patch. But the organisers had already announced another venue, and all the Taxis were making their way to the rotunda. 

We were told at some point, the police inspector in charge of the protest, ordered buses to be cancelled with no new ones coming into the area.
It was great to see so many Yellow Badges supporting the cause, as Taxi exemptions from certain roads and major bus lanes will also affect them. 


The protest was scheduled to last till 4:30, but because of the Met Police bad handling, it was decided to carry on past the deadline to a 5:30 finish. 

See you all again Wednesday, venue to be announced through the usual channels. 

We've been informed that the manager of Greggs inside Westminster Tube station, said he's sorry to see us relocate as their takings will be down by approx 3000 coffees and meal deals a week!