Friday, May 31, 2019

Star Letter Of The Week From A London Taxi Driver Of 20 Years Service.


I want to be able to afford a new taxi, that at some point in the future, I could own , without monthly payments. A taxi that doesn’t cost thousands to service and put right on a weekly basis. A taxi that doesn’t break you mentally and financially.

I want to drive around town, picking up street hails, without the worry of whether there is going to be space to nick on a station rank. Without the daily hassle of over ranking, and cameras, watching every move. 

I want to not have to work 60+hours a week, just to turn a living. Maybe do that extra job at the end of the shift that used to exist, but might now take an hour to get.

I want to be able to plan for the future, maybe a nice family holiday, in the school holidays. Maybe a move to a bigger house or somewhere nicer.

I don’t want to be handed jobs via an app, because that’s how it’s done these days...are we all happy for others to take a cut of the action. 
Who agreed to that?

I don’t want to be forced to take credit cards, when the person in the back is trying to scam you ( not my card, it’s your machine mate).

Over the last 20yrs, all the good aspects of the job have long gone. Never to return.

The London taxi driver is no longer wanted by many. 
A thing of the past. 
How dare a working man or woman control their own business, make a few quid. 
Have an extra day off.

The taxi trade has lost so much. 
Where Buses Go, Taxi Go isn't going to get any of this back, but they could help us keep the road space we need to do our job.....if this is lost, then all is lost. 

Westminster Council Say "Oxford Street Signage (Buses and Cycles Only)Is Clerical Error".


After the Blue sign Buses and Cycles only went up on the corner of Oxford Street and Portman Street, the ITA started making plans to move the 'Where Buse Go Taxis Go' Protests To Westminster. 

Yesterday, a temporary red sign was placed at the junction saying Taxi were presently included while current road work takes place, but the more permanent signage saying Buses and Cycles only, was uncovered by a concerned Taxi driver. He told Taxi Leaks: 
"This is just like the right turn onto Wigmore Street....they covered that up too. I saw the covered sign and desired to park on the Amba and creep back and uncover. I knew this was what would be there so I took the covering away back to my cab".

The ITA was immediately informed and plans were made to move the protests to Oxford Street, Wigmore Street, Orchard Street. A letter was drafted informing local businesses that they would no longer be serviced by the Best Taxi Service in the World!   

Westminster Councils 'Roads and Transport Manager' was sent a communication by email and a standard reply said he was on holiday. But... someone must have read the email and panicked because with in half an hour, the ITA had received word from the council that like before.... again the word Taxi had been left off the signage in a clerical error, and that the offending signage would be removed ASAP.

So there you have it.... Again, the threat of progressive militant action from the only group fighting for this trade, has resulted in a successful conclusion. 

But we must not relax, as things could change daily with Westminster, they can’t be trusted. They could be telling us what we want to hear as they don't want any hold ups in the new road layout. 
It's now up to our wonderful orgs and unions to do their bit and get some sort of guarantee from Westminster the, Where Buses Go...Taxis Go.  


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

London Taxi PR Meet TfL To Discuss Recent Decisions Affecting Taxi Trade And Passengers


Just a quick post in respect to all those drivers working yesterday afternoon, with a smug smirk on their face uttering the same old excuses under their breath, the same old rhetoric... protests are meaningless, not working and going nowhere. 

After yesterday’s Proactive ITA protest, representatives from London Taxi PR met with senior officers from TfL to discuss recent decisions causing ongoing problems not only affecting the trade and its drivers, but all Taxi passengers as well. 

After the meeting, London Taxi PR posted this short statement on their twitter account:
Good meeting and dialogue this evening with both Frances McAndrew and Dan Maskell at Tfl. Hopefully we managed to get across our points and concerns with regards to decions affecting not only the profession but also All Taxi passengers. Thanks again for your time.

 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
Well done again to the drivers who gave up their time to attend the protest in Whitehall and Parliament Square. 

With the football (many drivers traveling abroad) and it being half term, we were surprised at the number of drivers turning out again. Bridge Street, Great George Street and Parliament Square full, and Whitehall solid back to Horseguards Avenue. 

It was thought that numbers would be well down and the protest would have to move to a less ambitious venue at 2pm, but numbers were only slightly down and the protest stayed in the Square till 4pm. 

With the news that we will soon be seeing Buses and cycles only sections along Oxford Street, with work starting eastbound yesterday, it’s important that the fight must go on. 


New Study says that 1 out of every 6 Uber vehicles have unfixed safety recall issues.


A study from Consumer Reports looking at nearly 94,000 Uber and Lyft vehicles in New York City and Seattle revealed that one out of every six rides has an open, unfixed safety recall.
Uber and Lyft have the ability to have zero recalled cars on their platforms at the push of a button,” Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in the report. 
“They both claim to be technology companies, yet refuse to use that technology to take this obvious step to decrease the danger from unrepaired recalls on their drivers and customers.” 
Across New York and King County, 25 registered vehicles had at least five or more unfixed potential defects.
“Uber’s website says people can ‘ride with confidence,’ while Lyft promises ‘peace of mind,' yet both companies fail to ensure that rideshare cars are free from safety defects that could put passengers at risk.”

Here in London, it's the same....we told TfL to check the recall list, we also told them how to check....there is a DVLA service to keep you updated on recalls. 
They haven't bothered.

Would they not have bothered if these faults were on the new TXe ???

The GLA called TfL 'woefully inadequate'....but we believe they are more woefully incompetent !!!

If you thought getting your Bill renewed was a labour....try getting an appointment to get your cab plated, it's a complete and utter nightmare. 

Source  /www.mlive.com/news

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Statement From The Proactive ITA : Wednesday's Protest In Parliament Square 1pm Time To Change Gear.


The representative orgs and unions might think this unsolved situation is okay, but we don't.

We refuse to take this abuse lying down.

It now appears that TfL are completely and accountable to both houses of Parliament no matter how much they mess up or appear to be corrupt.

Sadiq Khan has ignored repeated requests to meet with a Peer of the realm acting on behalf of a number of Peers in the interest of the Taxi Trade, to discuss the ITA's ongoing campaign 'Where Buses Go, Taxis Go'. 


Please arrive at Parliament Square by 1 pm and at 2 pm be prepared, as we will be moving on.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :


Every week the police have made it either awkward or difficult to enter the protest area. A marshal has had to be sent to each entry point and asked the police to contact control. This is time consuming and puts drivers off attending.

We are assured every week this will be dealt with and that all drives wishing to join the protest will be given access.... but every week it's the same, with stroppy offices not briefed properly, refusing to move the cones. 
Also marshals arguing at check points, have been threatened with arrest by aggressive Check-point Charlies.

Last week, we were even given an apology by the inspector in charge...and told it won't happen again!
(But we've heard this before). 
The inspector said in future, this will all be sorted out at the pre-protest briefing. 
We will have to 'wait and see'. 

Last week after we were told the inside lane in Whitehall would be kept clear for emergency vehicles....but when we arrived, we were told (for the first time in 16 weeks) Taxi access would be restricted till after 1pm,when the protest was due to start. The police had already started letting all traffic use the inside lane, organisers had to complain to the officer in charge. It was only when they threatened to move the protest to the Coach station, the officer reconsidered and blocked entry to everything except Taxis and emergency traffic.

This week it will be different, come what may, we will be going on tour at 2pm.
 
It seems the powers that be are willing to sit out the Kettled protests in Parliament Square and Whitehall....so now it's time to take off the gloves. 
On the stroke of 2pm, the ITA will change gear and go on the offensive.

It's also time for our orgs and unions to supported the trade "100% Officially", (although committee members from two orgs and one Union have regularly attended unofficially).

Time they stepped up to the plate, as current policy of 'Waiting and Seeing' is part of the problem, rather than a solution.

You need to let your paying members know if you support the 'Where Buses Go Taxis Go campaign', or you support Khan, TfL and local councils decisions to ban Taxis. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

What A United Taxi Trade Could Bring To London, Vive La France


We're forever being told, our five representative trade bodies are never going to fully unite, it’s just not in their nature they say, it’s never going to happen. 

This below is what can happen when a trade IS united . 

At last weeks meeting between French Unions and their Government, following the nationwide Taxi protests in France :
It was decided the Government will NOT give PHVs access to bus lanes. (This is exactly what we have been protesting about for the last 16 weeks, but we only have a few hundred willing to protest. The French united and achieved this in a couple of weeks) 

Also, the French Government will NOT create parking spaces or ranks for PHVs and in Paris, only the Government can distribute taxi / PHVs Licences and NOT the Mayor.





This has been achieved solely because the French Taxi Trade came together and united as one.  The five London taxi orgs are now looked at by the Mayor and TfL as a benign joke, who will never be able to deliver a victory of this magnitude. 
But...the drivers themselves could. It doesn't have to be this way!

The Proactive ITA are not a joke, they are a militant umbrella group trying to pull the drivers together regardless of org or union loyalty.  

The trouble is that too many rank and file drivers can’t see what can be achieved by a united alliance. Wasn't it Trevor Meralls from the UCG who gave that Churchillian speech outside 10 Downing Street, "it's not the colour of your lanyard that matters....it's the badge on the end that counts".

The ‘Where Buses Go Taxis Go’ protests are entering a seventeenth week, purely because the majority of drivers choose to work while the Proactive few fight for them. 

If drivers, regardless of representative loyalty had united seventeen weeks ago, we would not be where we are today.... we wouldn't we be looking just at a complete victory at Tooley Street, it would be a complete victory at Tottenham Court Road, plus we would also be back in the Bank Junction scheme.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

TfL, Local councils and the Mayor, will keep pushing and pushing to see how far they can go. 
Old Street Roundabout opened yesterday and it’s a mess, just like the Elephant, yet nothing from any org ????

Then we have decommissioning!
Tried to rent a spare cab lately? .... there ain’t any. 
We spoke to a Garage owner over the weekend, he said he gets at least five calls a day saying “do you have any cabs to rent”.
One of the largest garages in Bethnal Green has 50 drivers on the waiting list, its getting crazy out there.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Police And Military Crack Down Hard On Spontaneous Taxi Strike Over Decommissioning Taxis In Mexico



A spontaneous strike involving hundreds of taxi drivers broke out in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, yesterday after the local government decommissioned roughly 35 taxis early Friday morning, claiming they were operating without permits. In response, taxi drivers who fear losing their jobs fanned out across the city center and blocked major streets as well as the international crossing between Mexico and the US city of Brownsville, Texas.

At midday the taxi drivers came to the central square, some with homemade signs reading “Corrupt government, get out,” and were meet by a heavy presence of state police armed with assault rifles and wearing helmets. Security forces harassed the drivers and attacked protesters as scuffles broke out when police attempted to bring tow trucks into the city center to tow the parked taxis.

Police began firing rubber bullets into a crowd of protesters. 
When crowds began pushing police back, police backup arrived with sniper rifles pointed at the crowds. A caravan of armored military vehicles descended on the central plaza.

At least one taxi driver was injured and several were arrested. One driver said, “This was a unilateral action on the part of the police.”

Police then started aiming live sniper rounds at protesting taxi drivers
“We have the right to keep working,” another taxi driver told TV Noticias Tamaulipas. “We have been working for eight, ten years without violating any laws…this is a peaceful protest. We have already told the authorities, we are not going to hurt anyone.”

The bold decision by taxi drivers to block major thoroughfares and the international border crossing is a sign that the strike wave by maquiladora workers that broke out in January has had an impact on broader sections of the working class and middle class, strengthening their resolve and encouraging them to take action to defend jobs and wages.

Even though many taxi drivers are independent contractors, when the police and military began pushing crowds of taxi drivers yesterday, the drivers began chanting, “don’t mess with the working class.”


Police began aiming live rounds at taxi drivers
At the strike wave’s zenith earlier this year, some 70,000 workers were engaged in strike activity, electing their own independent factory committees in rebellion against both the companies and the pro-corporate unions. Workers demanded major pay increases and the abolition of union dues.

Large demonstrations of taxi drivers and other contract drivers have taken place across the world in recent weeks, including an international protest of Uber and Lyft drivers that took place across every inhabited continent earlier in May.

The local corporate media is attacking the Matamoros taxi drivers for their “selfish” behavior, pointing out that many workers were not able to travel to or from work as a result of the blockades.

But the comments sections of social media news sites show workers responded with overwhelming support for the drivers’ protest, with many commenting that if the government spent money to provide Matamoros with a functioning public transportation system, they would not have to walk to work or school through dangerous neighborhoods.

The local government is scrambling to meet with representatives of the taxi drivers to calm tensions, which remain high throughout the city. Video of the police and military violence against demonstrators was viewed tens of thousands of times within hours of the clashes yesterday afternoon. Comments on social media read, “The state police rob us and beat us and take our money.” Another wrote, “The repression against the people of Matamoros continues! Who will help us now???”

By early evening, the international port of entry had been reopened but dozens of taxis remained parked outside the city government building, blocking traffic through downtown. Drivers say they will not leave until all the decommissioned cars are returned to their drivers.