Saturday, May 04, 2019

According To London Cab Ranks Committee, Victoria Taxi Forecourt Rank To Open 8th May (Probably)

Big news of the week:

After the news this week from TfL, that a previous post in Taxi Leaks, about the ITA victory at Tooley Street was indeed factual and not fake news after all ... plus the news from Camden Council that Tottenham Court Road northbound was to remain accessible for at least the next 11 months .... We have now received news that the forecourt Taxi Rank at Victoria Station, is to reopened next Wednesday, 8th May. 

Although they have added a small caveat that this is subject to confirmation on Tuesday 7th May.

There have been no details released as yet to say whether the Hudson Place Rank will be removed. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:
After drivers were just getting used to the new rank at St Pancras, Midland Road, TfL announce that the rank is to be suspended over this weekend. 

Their Twitter account proclaimed: Midland Road taxi rank will be closed Sat 4 May – Sun 5 May 2019 for final resurfacing works.

Midland Road will be closed between the tunnel and Euston Road. 

Taxis can use the King’s Cross taxi rank as an alternative.





Friday, May 03, 2019

TfL Phone Lines Undermanned, Rank Suspensions And Local Council Consultations.


Updates from TfLTPH

Phone lines
Both our licensing phone line and our vehicle inspection booking phone line are experiencing extremely high call volumes at the moment. We are sorry if you've been waiting to get through. For non-urgent queries, you may be able to find an answer on our taxi and private hire page.

We're prioritising licence renewals where the current licence is about to expire. If your current licence is not about to expire, please bear with us and we will respond when we can. Taxi and PHV inspections can only be booked within 28 days of the vehicle licence expiring. Please do not call and try to book your vehicle inspection before this period.

Q Parks update
If you have a ZEC taxi you can get access to the rapid charge points in 10 Q-Park car parks to charge your vehicle for 50 minutes. This TfL-funded initiative to support ZEC taxi drivers allows you access for up to 60 minutes, from the time of entry to the Q-Park, to charge your vehicle.  You will need to exit the car park within the 60 minute period to avoid TfL incurring over charges.
 
There has been a significant rise in applications for Q-Park access card. This means that it has taken longer than our anticipated 48 hours to respond to applications. We apologise for this delay. We are responding to all applicants as quickly as possible. To apply for a Q-Park card please email: RCPaccess@tfl.gov.uk
 
When you get your Q-Park card, please be aware of the following guidelines:

You spend a maximum of up to one hour within the car park. Aim to leave when the vehicle is charged or after a maximum of 50 minutes to avoid delays at the exit which could lead to over charges incurred by TfL.

The use of Q-Park cards is monitored. If you stay over the maximum 60 minute limit, you may have your access suspended or TfL may seek to recover the costs of overstay.

Check Zap Map to see whether a Q-Park rapid charging point is free before entering the Q-Park. If the rapid point charger is in use, please seek an alternative location. Do not enter the car park.

RANK SUSPENSIONS : 
The following ranks will be out of service:
•6044, Dover Street (Art Club), until 18:00 on Monday 6 May. Whole rank to be suspended for traffic management. Other parking either side of the rank has also been suspended.

• 4949, Curzon Street (Bolton Street), from 08:00 until 18:00 on Saturday 4 May. Whole rank to be suspended for a crane operation, subject to weather conditions. There is a road closure in place.

• 5681, Whitehall Court (Royal Horseguards Hotel), from 18:00 until 23:00 on Monday 6 May. Whole rank to be suspended for filming.

• 5860, Porchester Road, Paddington, from 08:00 on Tuesday 7 until Thursday 16 May. Whole rank to be suspended for traffic management and carriageway works. All parking has been suspended.

• 6023, Brook Street (Claridges), from 08:00 on Tuesday 7 until 18:00 on Saturday 11 May. Whole rank to be suspended for a crane operation, subject to weather conditions.

A few Central London issues you may like to keep an eye on so they don't slip in under the wire :

Westminster taxi ranks
Westminster City Council is consulting on proposals for new taxi ranks. You have until Monday 29 April to review the plans and send comments to the council.

Local implementation plans
Tower Hamlets Council has also proposed changes to its local implementation plan. You can find out more about them below:

Tower Hamlets Council - closes on 9 May 2019
Phoenix Road
Camden Council is consulting on changes to Phoenix Road and you have until Monday 27 May 2019 to share your views with the council.

West Hill area traffic management scheme
Wandsworth Council is trialling a new traffic management scheme in the West Hill area. The trial will run for six months. You have until Saturday 31 August 2019 to share your views on the trial.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : from the ITA
Taxi drivers under the unified banner of the ‘ITA’ will take to the streets again on Wednesday 8th May 2019 in Parliament Square at 13:00.

They will be calling out Sadiq Khan and Mike Brown.
Khan will meet with the Extinction Rebellion oligarchs to further his own publicity but refuses to meet with spokespersons from the Where Buses Go, Taxis Go campaign. 

Khan will play out the pantomime during the train strike. He will spout platitudes about workers' rights, and mean none of it.

Brown will say he regularly meets Taxi reps (if regularly is one or two meetings a year).
But he won't meet representatives of the Taxi protests.

The reason Khan or Brown refuse to meet representatives of protestors is because there's no financial or political gain from such a meeting.

They would be subject to uncomfortable questions. Questions they could not answer honestly without incriminating themselves.



Thursday, May 02, 2019

Complaints From Taxi Drivers, Who Say They Are Being Unfairly Harassed By TfL COs....Statement from the ITA


It has been bought to our attention that ITA members are being targeted by TfL CO's. During the Where Buses Go, Taxis Go campaign, the Met police were seen to be taking protestors' numbers during peaceful dissent. It’s alleged this was being undertaken, with the express reason of forwarding collected information to TfL for "further action".  

The ITA has received numerous complaints from members who attended the peaceful protests about CO's, (especially CO1101), targeting ITA drivers at Heathrow drop offs, going through everything with a fine tooth comb with a stringent mini overhaul on the drivers' cabs.

No one minds checks, but this is blatant harassment. 
In light of ITA members being targeted by TfL CO's, and Met police, we advise EVERY Taxi driver to submit a Subject Access Request application to TfL

Use the template below to ask TfL for every piece of data they have on you. All records, emails, internal memos, everything. 


DO A SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST DIRECT WITH TFL, FREE OF CHARGE.

Any driver wishing to apply for a Subject Access Request to receive all the data #TfL hold on them, here is a quick, easy templat. The request is absolutely free.

In the subject box put:
Subject Access Request

Attach a photo of your Bill and DVLA Drivers Licence for ID purposes.

To: tphlicensing@tfl.gov.uk

Dear Transport For London
Please send me all of the subject data you hold on my file, under a data subject access request 
This includes all data you hold in any data base (ie, Dropbox) and include all social media posts held. 

In short a full disclosure of all data you hold on me
Kind regards
....your name
....your badge number
....your home address
....your email address . 

(Please find enclosed two forms of identification)


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
While the Met police were busy harassing Taxi drivers for over ranking and allegedly not shearing badges (when was the last time you saw a working cabbie, purposely not proudly wearing a badge?)....last night another two stabbings, one a fatality. 

A 15 year old male was stabbed to death in the borough of Hackney, with another 16 year old male taken to hospital from the same area. The 16 year old is said not to have life threatening injuries. Police have now imposed a section 60 order throughout the whole area of Hackney which will allow them to stop and search anyone on the street. 

These attacks come just days after a 29 year old was stabbed to death in the area on Friday.

Unbelievably, the police figures show this is the 29th fatal stabbing in central London since the start of the year and yet the Met are deploying resources to harass working Taxi drivers. 

London Taxi PR donates Pops the Magic Taxi books to Brompton Fountain


London Taxi PR donates Pops the Magic Taxi books to Brompton Fountain

London Taxi PR (LTPR), an organisation which represents the interests of the Licensed London Taxi profession, has paid a visit to children’s charity, Brompton Fountain, to present and donate a number of books about Pops the Magic Taxi, accompanied by the books author and Taxi driver, Fiona Kennedy.

The donation of books, which were presented in person to several patients on the children’s wards at Royal Brompton Hospital, was made by LTPR founder and Director, Lee Sheppard, PR and Communications head, Andy Scott, and Pops the Magic Taxi author, Fiona Kennedy. A further number of books for the charity were also presented to Brompton Fountain Director, Trudy Nickels.

Pops the Magic Taxi is a children’s book about Pops, a magical Taxi that can not only talk, but also has the ability to travel back through time. The book involvesPops visiting Battersea Power Station, to help rescue a runaway dog.

London Taxi PR decided to make the donation of the books to Brompton Fountain as Andy from LTPR has known about the charity for a number of years due to a family member suffering from Cystic Fibrosis and seen at first hand the work they do for children and their families.

The Brompton Fountain charity supports the paediatric intensive care unit and children’s ward, the young patients and their families at Royal Brompton Hospital. It relies on the kindness and generosity of its supporters for its funding and donations. www.thebromptonfountain.org.uk

Since their formation, London Taxi PR has undertaken aseries of targeted media campaigns, which are being usedby London Taxi PR to promote the benefits, advantages and safety of using the iconic London Taxi to a wide audience.

All the campaigns and publicity that has so far been generated by the company has been funded by fellow London Taxi drivers as well as supportive companies andorganisations, many of whom have signed up to donate to the cause on a monthly basis, indicating how passionate they all are about their industry and the cause.
London Taxi PR. Passionate about promoting and preserving the iconic London Taxi trade and funded byLondon Taxi drivers who care about their industry. 

For more information on London Taxi PR and their campaigns, please visit their website http://londontaxipr.com

For information about Pops the Magic Taxi and how to obtain copies, visit: www.popsthemagictaxi.com

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

LTDA's Secret Meetings With TfL...Plus Unite's Secret Meeting With Khan....from LCDC Facebook page


We have now flushed out from TFL what we had all suspected for a long time, TFL are holding secret non minuted meetings about trade issues with both the LTDA & Unite.

No wonder this trade is on its arse when TFL selectively meet with the trades biggest appeasers.
It was Steve Mc’s pledge to have 9k ZEC taxis on the road that has instigated the Mayors 12 yr age limit plans. If the trade cannot put on 45% new cabs on the road then the Mayor will take the older ones off.

At a recent meeting I attended at LEVC David Ollier (  LEVC) stood up and pointed at Steve Mc and said if it wasn’t for your 9k promise we wouldn’t have this age limit on the agenda!
TfL have done NO assessment on the delicensing proposals that have been put forward by LTDA / Unite and with numbers under 19k now, we could easily see another 2k cabs come off the road this year.

Where does that leave us?
Suburban drivers who rely on cheaper rentals, GONE
Older drivers who may use a cab just 3-4 days a week GONE
Part time drivers - GONE 
Fleet cabs for when your cab is in having repairs GONE 
This is a bloody disgrace and please see the response I received yesterday from one of Helen’s minions.

Good afternoon Grant,

Many thanks for your email to Helen on Friday, I am responding on her behalf.

I appreciate you writing and I want to reassure you that we are not holding private meetings for the purposes of excluding other trade organisations.  As you know, we first held an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) workshop with you and the other trade representatives on 17 January. At that meeting, there was a request from trade reps for a further meeting the following week, which we arranged for the 24th January. Other attendees cancelled their attendance at the meeting on the 24th, so we got in touch with Danny O’Regan (your nominated representative for that meeting) to ask if the LCDC wanted to go ahead with the meeting on consultation proposals, which we would happily have done. Danny decided, on reflection, that he would not attend and instead would prefer to submit a written briefing.

Separately, Unite arranged a meeting with the Mayor which was also attended by the LTDA on 28 January. The meeting was requested by Unite the Union and the LTDA in response to concerns raised by both organisations about the impact of the taxi age limit consultation proposals that had recently been announced by TfL.

Helen and Christina Calderato, Head of Transport Strategy and Planning, whose team is leading on the consultation proposals, were asked to attend the meeting alongside the Mayor.  During the meeting the LTDA and Unite challenged some of the modelling assumptions made on taxi emissions that formed the consultation proposals. It was therefore agreed that Christina and Helen would follow up and meet separately with the LTDA and Unite on the specific questions raised during that meeting.

The meeting was arranged for 30 January due to limited diary availability and was held with Steve McNamara of the LTDA. The meeting isn’t minuted but Steve went through the emissions modelling assumptions and asked a number of questions to understand the basis for them. Christina provided answers to these questions. Steve also wanted to understand further the rationale behind some of the proposals so he could consider alternative ideas and suggestions that might form part of the LTDA’s response to the consultation.

All consultation responses, including those that may have been submitted by the LCDC, will now be considered by TfL.

As you will be aware, the engagement policy recognises the need for ad-hoc meetings from time to time to discuss topical issues.

I hope this helps to provide clarification.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards

Dan

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : From LCDC Chair Grant Davis 

Responses by LCDC COM members to TFL 

All,

I suspect that had we not FOI’d this information, no one would have admitted that a meeting had taken place between TfL and Unite/LTDA whether in person or on the phone.

The phrase ‘When you are in a hole stop digging’ springs to mind when I read the reply. 

This is not the first time TPH have been caught out by FOI: it won’t be the last. The least TfL could do would be to apologise and say it won’t happen again, but then they’d be lying. 

The Engagement Policy was designed to stop Orgs taking industrial action without first talking to TfL. But if TfL are going to blatantly exclude certain Trade Groups from discussions then it’s not worth signing up to it and attending meetings. 

For 4 years, starting with Silka’s emergence as the Relationship Manager, TPH have asked the Trade about ideas to promote the Knowledge. On two separate occasions I asked that we look at how the Knowledge was structured and funded-that fees were putting candidates off and that a PH Driver can be fully licensed before a candidate for the Knowledge is even accepted on to the scheme. We now have a situation whereby the Knowledge is dying and only a handful of drivers pass each week and numbers of Taxi Drivers are dropping which will be exacerbated by the new Delicensing scheme. 

In December 2016, we told TfL it would fail and they preserved for 2 years before taking any notice of what we said.

There have been no proper economic integrated impact assessments on the effect of TfL policies on our Trade since the Jacob’s report in October 2014 which used flawed data from pre-2009 and believed a new ZEC Taxi would retail at @£40,000. We all know to our cost that it is a bloody sight dearer.

Not once have TfL stopped and reviewed this policy. Instead they agreed with Unite/LTDA that it wasn’t Policy. Any idiot can see that it quite clearly has been and the FOI’s we’ve uncovered have shown that TfL do not know what they are doing.

I, for one, am fed up being lied to. When I said at the TOP Seminar that the Mayor’s Taxi & PH Plan was failing TPH tried to insist that it wasn’t citing ‘English Tests’ as their big achievement. No sooner had I left the meeting, it was postponed. 

In the minutes, TfL said that they would provide a response, yet there are 19 ‘Future Proof’ recommendations, 34 Task & Finish ones and now 9 on raising standards from the London Assembly Transport Committee. In 2015, I told Helen Chapman that the only ways to stop the growth of PH was to raise standards and licence fees. Her response was to freeze licence fees and she would not have known that there was an explosion in PH numbers had we not pointed out that Taxi Drivers could not get through to renew Licences on the phone.

TPH have mismanaged our Industry for too long and the one constant for 10 years now has been someone who tells her bosses she can keep us all onside when really she is only interested in paying her mortgage. Well, I’m struggling to pay mine and it’s only a small one! God forbid how difficult others are finding it! 

Chris Johnson and Matt Newell are trying to get TfL to do something more responsible than a ‘workshop’ that will give Drivers the phone number to the Samaritans in 3 years time. 

Late last year, we had a Driver on one of our Facebook pages threatening to take his own life. I had to call the Police in the end and ask them to attend an address in East London after the Samaritans and I failed to keep the Driver on the line. The Driver has constantly spoken about how hard he was finding it to make a living and how he had lost his home. I didn’t tell most of the LCDC Committee...in fact, I don’t think I told anyone, as I know we are all struggling to earn a living and it was difficult to discuss. Subsequently, following other unrelated incidents, Chris and Matt have picked up the cause. I’m copied into all the emails but it not easy to read TfL continually try to evade taking action knowing that it’s their policies that have caused us all hardship and difficulty. 

What makes all this harder is that TPH have gone behind our backs to talk to two Trade Leaders who, are both full time representatives on good salaries, who have been letting us down for decades by being out of touch with working Drivers. This is a distinct case of regulatory capture, where officials and representatives have chummy relationships agreeing not to disrupt proceedings too much in return for an easy life. 

How many times have we had to listen to Helen Chapman defending McNamara for how hard he works, only to be told one of us is not Senior enough to attend meetings or hold an opinion on behalf of our Organisation? Even the most recent Senior Reps Minutes make an issue of how Grant was replaced by Dan at the last minute. 

This cannot go on. 

We need not only a change of attitude at TPH, we need real change at TfL!

Mark

On 1 May 2019, at 09:43, "doregan0015@aol.com" <doregan0015@aol.com> wrote:

Hi Dan 

May I clarify, 

Firstly, when cancelling my attendance I stated the LCDC would ‘consider’ a written submission, this is due to the fact we have received very little information in order to submit a quantified response, this is highlighted in my email to yourself on 17/01, extract below 

———————-

Hi Dan

Apologies I do not wish to complicate matters by joining the conversation but I feel I must.

You state the meeting was specifically arranged to seek the views of the trade on potential impact. How can we make an informed projection without any provided information?

How many vehicles initially impacted?

How many of the current fleet are Euro 5,6, ZEC, LPG?

What are TFLs projections on future driver numbers? We know we are starting to see the impact of falling driver numbers probably due to declining KOL applications, year 16/17 showed approximately 1100 new drivers entering the trade, 17/18 approx 800 and with only 10/11 weeks to go in 18/19 a lowly 380

Of the initially effected vehicles how many are fleet? How many owner drivers? What are the ages of those owner drivers? 

We also have the added complication of the fluid restructured delicensing scheme, you say there has been great interest, of those applying what is the ratio between fleet & owner driver?, again what are the ages of those owner drivers ? We need this information to assess the likelihood of drivers purchasing new, retiring or potentially renting. Since the delicensing scheme announcement how many inquiries have LEVC received? are you in contact with LEVC, will we be updated regularly ?

The bottom line is, very little if any information/data has been forthcoming, we are walking into the dark with a blindfold on

————————

We still have very little detail !!

Secondly, the reason I agreed to cancel the workshop meeting 24/01 was out of consideration, if you recall your email on the day you stated ‘you are the only person due to attend’ & our ‘city planning colleagues asked me to check whether given the circumstances you still wished to come in’

I cancelled out of good will !! 

It seems that good will isn’t replicated given there is an arranged meeting 4 working days later with Unite, LTDA & Christina Calderato (excluding the LCDC) seemingly to discuss issues which would have been discussed in the cancelled workshop!! 

Any previous meeting Unite & LTDA had with the Mayor is neither here nor there.

I also find it puzzling the LCDC are requested to submit a written response after cancellation yet Unite & LTDA are afforded the privilege of their own meeting !!

The London Assembly Transport Committee recently produced a report titled Raising the Bar
Taxi and private hire services in London, recommendation 9 reiterates the GLA calls for improvement in engagement, it seems for the chosen few that improvement isn’t necessary 

Kind regards 
Danny O’Regan
LCDC



Someone else who's been having secret meetings with Khan and TFL's Mike Brown!



Police Put Knife Crime Aside To Concentrate On Cabbies Not Wearing Badges And Over Ranking ...Statement From ITA


Ladies and gentlemen of the Taxi fraternity, please make sure you are wearing your BADGES and that you do not OVER-RANK.

The police are initiating Operation STAN today.
They are putting knife crime to one side and are focusing on those notorious criminal TAXI DRIVERS instead.



The Tube : Not Only Most Polluted, But Now Damaging Passengers Hearing As Noise Levels Reach 100dB

We’ve recently been informed that the London Underground (the Tube) is 30times more polluted than the streets above. 

Now we are told (by the BBC) that the noise levels onLondon’s Underground are way above acceptable levels and passengers are being advised to wear ear protectors, to stop their hearing being damaged  

They found noise levels on some Tube routes are exceeding 100 decibels - which the audiologists say is harmful to commuters' hearing. 

This below from the BBC News Website:
A group of campaigners set themselves a task of measuring how noisy each journey was on the London Underground.

They found noise levels on some Tube routes reached 100 decibels - which the audiologists say is harmful to commuters' hearing.
Transport for London (TfL) is being encouraged to put up warning signs in parts of the Underground network where noise levels are high.

However, TfL say their Health and Safety Executive guidance ‘suggests’ Tube noise is highly unlikely to cause long-term hearing damage.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT

Len Martin Of The UCG said on Twitter:
So, the particulate level is 30x that at road level and the sound pressure level is 100db (concorde was 110db) 
Are the @H_S_E  are interested?

Well, according to their statement to the BBC... TfLs Health and Safety Executive are clearly not interested !
Perhaps they only become interested when it’s Black Cabs in the dock as TfL London Buses an Tubes appears to have a get out of jail free card under Mike Brown and Sadiq Khan.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

New Report Alleges TfL Did Nothing Until BBC News Broadcast. Is Mike Brown In Hot Water Again ?


Is MikeBrown in hot water again? 

Hammersmith Bridge is part of TfL’s strategic road network. An investigation has found that TfL were sending 100 buses an hour over the bridge.  

An agreement with the local council, that there would never be more than one bus going either way at any one time, was never adhered to.  

The bus companies consistently breached that agreement, allegedly instructing their drivers to ignore the engineers’ warnings.

The BBC News team caught drivers moving the barrier and actually filmed three buses on the bridge at one time. The news team complained to TfL who immediately sent a square of inspectors to the bridge to monitor what was happening (as if they didn’t already know. 



Bus drivers had been repeatedly observed, pulling down the safety barrier on the bridge approach, but until the BBC News team filmed what was going on, complaints were never dealt with and the practise was allowed to continue. 



London Taxi PR makes donation of Pops the Magic Taxi books to Richard House


London Taxi PR (LTPR)an organisation which represents the interests of the Licensed London Taxi profession, has made a generous donation of a number of books about Pops the Magic Taxi to Richard House, Londons first childrens Hospice, based in East London.

The donation of books, which will be for the children to read and also for a forthcoming summer fair at Richard House, was presented by London Taxi PRs PR & Communications head, Andy Scott to Gaby Brown, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Richard House.

Pops the Magic Taxi is a childrens book about Pops, a magical Taxi that can not only talk, but also has the ability to travel back through time. It was written by Taxi driver, Fiona Kennedy. The book involves Pops visiting Battersea Power Station, to help rescue a runaway dog.

London Taxi PR decided to make the donation of the books having heard about the great work that Richard House does in providing essential care and support for life-limited children and their families across London from their East London base.

Opened in 2000 and founded by Anthea Hare, Richard House was Londons first childrens hospice, and cares for over 300 children from around LondonIt needs to raise over £3.5m to keep and expand on the services that it provides and relies upon the generosity of its donorswww.richardhouse.org.uk

Since their formation, London Taxi PR has undertaken aseries otargeted media campaigns, which are being usedby London Taxi PR to promote the benefits, advantages and safety of using the iconic London Taxi to a wide audience.

All the campaigns and publicity that has so far been generated by the company has been funded by fellow London Taxi drivers as well as supportive companies andorganisations, many of whom have signed up to donate to the cause on a monthly basis, indicating how passionate they all are about their industry and the cause.
London Taxi PR. Passionate about promoting and preserving the iconic London Taxi trade and funded byLondon Taxi drivers who care about their industry

For more information on London Taxi PR and their campaigns, please visit their website http://londontaxipr.com

For information about Pops the Magic Taxi and how to obtain copies, visit: www.popsthemagictaxi.com