Saturday, July 13, 2019

Woman On Illegal Electric Scooter Killed In Collision With Lorry On London Street, As Police Turn A Blind Eye


Police at the scene in Battersea, where woman died after being struck by a lorry

A woman has died after being struck by a lorry while riding an electric scooter at a roundabout in south-west London, police have said.

The victim, in her 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash at Queen’s Circus in Battersea shortly after 8.30am on Friday.

Several roads in the area were closed off while the rush hour collision was investigated, including Chelsea Bridge and Nine Elms Lane.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said the woman’s next of kin are yet to be informed, and no arrests have been made.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the first medics had arrived at the scene in under four minutes.

"Sadly, despite the extensive efforts of medics, a woman died at the scene," she said.

It is illegal to ride scooters with electric motors on public roads and pavements in the UK, and the crash prompted a warning from the Department of Transport (DfT) that e-scooter retailers should tell customers about the ban.

Unfortunately the Police have been turning a blind eye to these dangerous vehicles, as they have with the plethora of dangerously ridden electric rickshaws, also illegal on the roads.


The illegal scooters can exceed 30mph and are increasingly being used for short journeys in a number of countries, including in many European cities and the US.

In the UK they can only be legally used on private land, but this policy could yet be reversed as the DfT is carrying out a review of legislation to accommodate changes in the way people get around.

A spokeswoman for the department said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to all those involved in this tragic incident, and fully support the police as they carry out their investigations."

She added: "Safety is at the heart of all our road laws and it is important that retailers continue to remind people at the point of sale that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads."

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Lawless London

Again today, another illegal scooter rider has a bad accident. These scooters are riding past police officers who are saying and doing nothing. 

Ambulance called putting unnecessary extra pressure on the emergency services. 

 

Friday, July 12, 2019

TfL To Kick Taxis Out Of "Priority Lanes" To Try To Halt Falling Bus Rider Numbers, By Speeding Up Journeys



 TfL are to introduce a new network of 24 hour priority bus corridor lanes in central London after a sharp decline in bus usage....to help deliver the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s reach his target for 80 per cent of journeys to be made by sustainable transport modes by 2041. 

With e-hail on demand minicab apps trying to price each other out of the market, many passengers are switching away from buses and tubes, into these cheap minicabs who can avoid the most congested routes... adding to even more congestion on so called quiet routes. The situation hasn’t been helped by council planners, with their ridicules new road schemes. 

As buses sit in the congestion, ridership has fallen dramatically with officials at Transport for London blaming slowing traffic speeds caused mainly by their own incompetent traffic planners. 

Despite the Mayor’s fares freeze and the introduction of the hopper fare which allows passengers to take multiple buses for a single fare, the number of bus journeys still fell again in 2018. 

Concerns have been expressed by London Assembly members and passenger watchdog London TravelWatch that TfL and City Hall’s decision to axe and curtail some bus routes will worsen the decline.

A paper to be presented to TfL’s Programmes and Investment Committee next week sets out a number of measures designed to avoid this.

Yet not one word about the affect of the loss of road space to segregated cycle lanes.... also seen to be causing massive gridlock throughout the capital. 

The changes include "developing a core network of reliable bus services in central London, through the provision of bus priority lanes," reviewing bus lane hours in partnership with boroughs, and providing orbital links.

In addition, a "new, holistic" approach to road schemes will be adopted, including a requirement that the needs of bus passengers "must" be considered when drawing up new projects.
We could also see access to more roads, completely lost to the trade on a scale never seen before

Source : MayorWatch.co.uk

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

This is bad news for London’s Taxis who up till now have been included in most of central London bus lanes.... this is all about to change with the all new Bus Corridors. 

Not one word so far from the Taxi Trades largest org who recently congratulated the Mayor on doing a fantastic job....

The more militant band of Taxi drivers (ITA), have been protesting in Parliament Square every week since January under the banner "Where Buses Go, Taxi Go", claiming that any exemption is discriminate to disable and vulnerable passengers. 

Yet again the Trades largest org’s General Secretary called the protesters ‘Loonies’ in an apologetic email to TfL’s commissioner Mike Brown. 

In every practical sense these new priority lanes are no more than bus lanes. But looking again at the original statement from City Hall sources, they are not called priority bus lanes, they carefully use the phrase ‘Priority Bus Corridors’.

This is no coincidence. In our opinion it’s because there is case law to protect Taxis having fair use of bus lanes. TfL have purposely changed the name so they can legally exclude Taxis. 

Will you wait and see; a policy that lost us the Bank Junction and could lose is Tottenham Court Road?

Or will you fight ?

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. 


Thursday, July 11, 2019

CMT Trialling ARRO Concierge In The Wembly Area.


Hopefully, you'll have read our previous email introducing the ARRO Concierge trial. If you didn't, here it is https://mailchi.mp/c625bcc7c72e/arro-concierge-newsletter.

As a quick summary, ARRO Concierge is an extension of the ARRO platform where hotels, restaurants and other businesses that are not well served by Taxi Ranks can hail rides for their customers. These trip offers will show on the CMT screen in your Taxi if you are 'for hire' and close to its origin.

The purpose of this post is to tell you about an expansion of this trial which we've undertaken in the Wembley area. While the vast majority of ARRO Concierge locations will be centrally based, we are also looking into the viability of outer London locations such as Wembley.

As always with ARRO Concierge, it's entirely your choice whether or not to accept a trip offer but the success, or otherwise, of this Wembley trial will be instructive as the whether it's possible to service outer London trip offers.

Your feedback is vital to us. Whether that's your initial thoughts on ARRO Concierge or your experiences of having used ARRO Concierge, please use the link below to give us your feedback. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The New Nissan Dynamo Fully Electric Taxi Is Now Available To Test Drive At Northwest EV Taxis.

   

Good news for the trade for once!
Northwest Taxis have now taken delivery of the new Nissan Dynamo, which you can now book for a test drive by phoning Paula on 0208 206 0330


I recently visited the showroom (Northwest EV, 12 Carlisle Road, NW9) to see the new Nissan Taxi with a completely open mind...I've heard all the talk about it being too small, not looking like a Taxi, won't get plated by TfL etc, etc.....but I must say that after being shown around the all new fully electric Dynamo Taxi, I was completely blown away. 

 

The sliding doors are manual, and are extremely easy to operate, so no need to advise passengers not to touch. 

Remember this is Nissan....those of you who have been in the trade long enough to remember, the Nissan engine was one of the best engines we've ever had in a Taxi, and we've not seen its like since it was replaced with the move from the FX4 Fairway to the TX range. 


This new vehicle has been a long time in the coming, but unlike other manufacturers, Dynamo have refused to release a vehicle that wasn't ready, under researched or would have to be upgraded shortly after its entry into the market place. 

It comes with the added bonus of hindsight from the Osaka experiment. 
This was an experiment that took place in Japan, with an earlier Nissan electric Taxi, which gave the manufacturer greater insight of the needs for a sustainable working model. 
The batteries used in this new Dynamo model are at the pinnacle of technology, with a range on full charge of 175 miles, but realistically with heater, lights, wipers and AC, this could drop to around 135 miles. The vehicle is covered by a comprehensive warranty of three years, with batteries covered by a separate warranty of five years.

 

One of the very best attributes of the Dynamo, you don't need to have your home electrics upgraded.... no need for a council grant to install a special charging point outside the front of the house or garage....this vehicle can be plugged straight into a 13amp household socket, to be trickle charged charged over-night, or if you're a night man like me, during part of the day (8 hours). 

You can however use a fast charger to top the battery up to 80%, should the need arise.

      

Unlike the Vito, the Dynamo has a sliding window panel which the passenger can open should they feel the need for ventilation. 


The research that's been carried out on all working parts of the Dynamo have been extremely comprehensive. Take for instance the front steering rack, researchers completed 58,000 figure of eight turns at speed to test the reliability of the newly engineered unit. 
Also the sidestep has been tested under 50 feet of water in a swimming pool, to gauge if it would be affected in inclement weather conditions. 


The vehicle as a working Taxi is very comfortable, I'm 6 feet tall and felt I had plenty of leg room. 

Servicing 
Service intervals are 18,000 miles and at £50 for the small service and just £75 for the major service...very affordable. 

Moving on from the pros... to the cons:
It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, being compact and returning to 5 passenger seats instead of the Vito and TXe 6.
The ramps, like the Vito, are stored in the boot.
The floor of the Dynamo is slightly higher than the TX4, but like the Mercedes Vito, has a similar automatic step, which is a useful feature. 
The spare wheel, again like the Vito, is an optional extra and fits neatly underneath the rear of the vehicle. 
Fitted rear carpet is also an optional extra, but my person preference would be the rubber flooring which is easily cleanable in the event of a nasty spillage. 

And that's about it for the cons.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Paula at North West Taxis, has put together a financial package that will enable drivers to fully purchase the Dynamo over a five year period, with no final ballon payment.
No deposit with payments working out at approx £220 a week.
With an on the road price of £47,995, I believe this is a serious contender for the trade. 

With the average driver currently spending £20-25 a day on a 5 day week, and with the Dynamo costing roughly £20 a week in electricity costs. This is a real saving on expenses, which to most purchasers would see this vehicle as very affordable, compared to the opposition. 

     


IF YOU ARE A RMT MEMBER :
The Nissan Dynamo Taxi will be available for inspection and test drives at our next Branch Meeting.
Thursday 11th July @ 8.15pm, Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road.

Hammersmith Bridge Could Be Closed Permanently To All Traffic Says TfL Director


Hammersmith Bridge could remain permanently closed to motorists, a senior Transport for London (TfL) director has revealed.

Speaking at New Civil Engineer’s 'Future of Roads' conference, TfL director of project & programme delivery Nick Fairholme revealed that TfL is working up several options for the bridge with Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

The bridge has already been closed for almost three months, after hairline fractures in the cast iron “pedestals” were discovered.
Fairholme revealed that there are three main options being worked on.
The first option would be to keep the west London bridge as it is, carrying out no repairs and leaving it as a cycling and pedestrian bridge.

The second option would be to carry out a partial repair to the bridge to allow it to open to motorists but restrict its weight load to only single-decker busses and localised traffic.

While a third option would be to carry out a full repair to the bridge, however Fairholme concluded that would be a “very expensive” option.
Although Fairholme would not be drawn on an exact cost, New Civil Engineer understands that the total cost of a full repair could be as much as £100M with work estimated to take around three years.

“First and foremost it is important to stress that even though the bridge is owned by Hammersmith & Fulham [council], we [TfL] don’t want to lose it,” Fairholme said.

“Unfortunately the bridge is in a poor state. However, we do believe that it is cost effective to reopen it. We believe it can be reopened, however it is not going to open overnight.”
He added: “Although we want to reopen it, [a full repair] is not going to be a cheap fix.

“If there is public support for leaving it as a pedestrian and cycle bridge then we will have to consider that.”
Despite Hammersmith & Fulham council previously stating that it would like to see the bridge “restored to its Victorian splendour”, council leader Steve Cowan has recently come out in support of a Hammersmith tunnel as a replacement to the bridge.

The idea of a 'Hammersmith tunnel' has been mooted for years, and Cowan believes that the bridge woes make it the right time to "pick it back up".


The bridge, which was built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, has been the centre of controversy in recent years. In 1998, the bridge was subject to a 7.5t weight limit due to concerns around the health of the structure. This resulted in wardens policing the bridge to ensure only one single decker bus crossed at any one time.

Then in 2018 it was revealed that Mott MacDonald was to carry out extensive testing to establish the extent of the strengthening work required to allow the weight restrictions to be lifted and double decker buses to use the crossing.

Owner of the bridge Hammersmith & Fulham Council announced a feasibility study and preliminary design for strengthening works was to be completed by the summer last year with work starting on site at the end of 2018. However this was delayed, and in April this year the bridge was closed indefinitely after hairline fractures in the cast iron “pedestals” were discovered.

Political rows over funding appear to have contributed to the closure. In a statement published at the time of the closure, the council blamed government cuts.

“We have a fully tested plan to refurbish the bridge and we’re ready to start work,” Hammersmith & Fulham said. “But, due to government budget cuts, Transport for London (TfL) says it can no longer fund the planned refurbishment. This is a huge disappointment.”


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :  By Len Martin 

Transport for London knew they were damaging this bridge with their buses but decided that their Bus management team knew better than the civil engineers. Their arrogance staggers me....

Notice the opening piece "unannounced and unexpected a team turn up to monitor buses" -  or translated = "oh sh*t we been rumbled better get there quick and look like we care because the TV cameras are filming today" 

 

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.

 

Was Traffic Ban At Bank For Public Safety ? £25m In Fines Last Year.... Follow The Money.


The Taxi Trade were told by the City Of London, we were banned from the Bank Junction Over Safety concerns (although there are no recorded licence Taxi related serious incidents at this junction. We were also told this would see an increase in clean air in the city (looking at the surrounding gridlock, this hasn’t happened). 

What we do know for certain is that this junction has become part of the cash cow for the CoL raising a massive £25m last year alone. 

Source : The Evening Standard

Motorists driving through the Square Mile were fined a record £25 million last year for flouting traffic rules, like going the wrong way up a one-way street. 

A ticket a minute was issued at peak times in the City as fines leapt 17-fold on the previous year after a safety crackdown at a notorious interchange by the Bank of England.

It brought the number of penalties issued in the capital, including TfL-run main routes, to 1,439,942 — or 3,945 a day — which is 30 per cent up on 2017. The figure does not include parking tickets. 

In total, smart cameras trained on the Square Mile helped issue 192,841 moving traffic tickets last year, increasing from almost 10,939 in 2017.

Restrictions at Bank, which allow only buses and bicycles on weekdays between 7am and 7pm, were brought in following the death of cyclist Ying Tao, 26, who was crushed by a left-turning lorry as she rode to work in 2015.