Friday, October 04, 2019

Congratulations To The Amazing Cabbies Who Today, Did Kilimanjaro.



Congratulations to the amazing and inspiring members of the @cabbiesdokili group who today completed their climb of 19341 feet (5895 meters) to reach Uhuru peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain and one of the worlds largest volcanoes. 

In doing so, they have raised much needed funding for the Taxi Charity For Military Veterans.... "because of the great work they do with our war veterans".

Super human effort from these Super Cabbies and what a fantastic photo from the summit. 

The group got a personal congratulation from Bear Grylls.


At 5,895m, Uhuru Peak remains the highest point in all Africa and marks the spot of the jauntily angled summit sign where weary travellers are seen snapping their ‘victory’ photograph. 

While there are several poignant memorials decorating the final summit, there is a surprising lack of drama, with intense relief taking prominence over theatrics.

From the top of Uhuru Peak, travellers look out onto a vast landscape of pristine white snow and towering peaks. It is this point that people from all over the world aspire to. While the weather-worn sign at the very top is notoriously unceremonious, hikers will enjoy the satisfaction of standing on top of the highest peak in Africa

So far the team have managed to raise £13,903 from 228 supporters. 

Please continue donating and help them reach their ultimate goal of £20,000.
It would only take £1 from each London Cabby. 

If you’d like to donate, please click the link below 



Exclusive : History Repeating Itself ? Fake Bills Starting To Show Up At B&B Checks


I’ll never forget the panic in director of LTPH John Mason’s voice, after he ran from Palestra to address members of the RMT's Taxi branch committee at George Vyse’s office at Great Suffolk Street. 

He wanted to know how the RMT had come into possession of information, that 4000 blank Taxi licenses had gone missing in the move from Penton Street, to Palestra. He was visibly shaken that the news had got out.

We were at the time hearing allegations, that owners were snatching back Taxis from drivers who were not keeping up with their required payments, only to find when reporting to TfL, no such numbered licence had been issued. 

Allegations abounded that the fake licenses had numbers of badges, lost or surrendered by retiring drivers (Information that could only come from TfL). 

The issue first came to light approximately 9 years ago, after a bad accident in Victoria between a TX2 and a Toyota minicab. 


Three elderly passengers were cut from the wreckage and hospitalised. I personally attended the scene and while taking photos, was told by a senior police officer, that the driver of the Taxi had done a runner. The officer asked me to try to get a message out, for the drive to come forward and give himself up.
It later transpired that the vehicle had been hired from a Taxi garage, using a fake copy bill.

Then a second fake allegedly showed up, after a driver committed an offence which was dealt with by City of London Police and although director of LTPH John Mason played down the incident saying it was just a cheap copy, it was actually good enough to fool the CoL police officers dealing with the incident. It was only when the complaint was reported to TfL, the driver proved to be untraceable. 

It was widely thought at the time, the documents turning up were in fact genuine and had been purloined by a corrupt member of staff, during the move from Penton Street to Palestra. 

TfL tried to absolved their involvement in the issue, by saying that the original missing licenses (4000 of them) had been found in the back of a cupboard in Palestra and the suspicious ones turning up, were in fact extremley good counterfeits. (That must have been one big cupboard to lose 4000 blank bills) 

In an email from the deputy director of LTPH, Helen Chapman, she claimed that all the stock of blank bills had in fact been accounted for.  

But one proprietor who had been given an untraceable copy licence, said these were definitely genuine bills. 

Soon after these licenses started to appear, TfL decided to change the design, also adding more security features.


History Repeating Itself??? 
Well, apparently it's starting to happen again, and from what we’ve been told, there could be many drivers out there with extremely accurate unauthorised licenses.

A cab driver who doesn’t want to give his name has told Taxi Leaks that he was pulled up by Cab Enforcement officers who spent an unusual amount of time examining his license and also his badge. 

When he asked why the check was taking so long, one of the officers said "we’ve been finding drivers with very passable fakes, even their badges look spot on". 

Last week a senior trade rep was pulled up and given a badge and bill check which took longer than normal. He was also given the same explanation when he enquired about the seemingly 
forensic examination of his documentation and badge. 

Ive been reliably informed that the London Cab Driver Club (LCDC) have written to TfL compliance, for more information about these latest allegations but so far, TfL have failed to reply. 


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
This latest scandal needs sorting immediately and not swept under the carpet to fester with the fake criminal record checks. 

Why have TfL cut the number of PCOs ?
Why have LTPH virtually stopped badge and bill checks ?
These are questions that urgently need answers!

If these new fake licenses are actually genuine blanks, that have been altered and again given numbers of lost or retired badges, they can only be coming from one source and that’ is from someone at TfL. 

But TfL have a history of denial....
Remember how adamant John Mason, was that there had been no arrests of Palestra staff.... later, it transpired Brazilian national Marcos Gurgel had been arrested, charged and found guilty of fraudulently obtaining £249 cash from Taxi Driver (and former RMT Secretary) Stanley Marut, over the front desk counter. 

Then we had Helen Chspman trying to dismiss the 13,000 fake DBS criminal record certificates at a senior reps meeting... until it was pointed out the the statistic actually came from TfL.



We also had Commisioner Sir Peter Hendy saying on London Live TV, TfL couldn’t implement a Taxi rank at the Shard, as the road was under the jurisdiction of Southwark Council. Not true, as it was pointed out by Taxi Leaks, St Thomas Street is in fact a red route. 
Sir Peter Hendy later apologised in an email to Taxi Leaks through director Leon Daniels.

ALSO IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK:

From London Taxi PR:
New LTPR Flyers, rear window logo stickers, receipts & pens now left in the canteen at GSS (Great Suffolk street ) and piccolo bar, queen Victoria street 
Thanks

And from UTAG:
We should like to thank Jon @jonjoncabstop for his generosity in the form of a 3rd donation to UTAG.
Another garage that supports our trade and will fight for our future.
Check Jon’s garage out at
Cabstoptaxis.co.uk

Support those who support us 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

TfL Buses, Limited To 10mph After Collisions On Tottenham Court Road.


More than five months after Tottenham Court Road changed from one-way to two-way traffic a woman has become the fourth person to be struck by a southbound bus on the same pedestrian crossing.
Police investigate the latest collision which happened on Thursday evening. 

Four pedestrians have been hospitalised after being hit by southbound buses on the new pedestrian crossing.

The woman, who has not been named, was hit by a route 29 bus operated by Arriva driven southbound on the central London street.

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson told Fitzrovia News: “We were called at 9:55pm on Thursday 26 September to reports of a road traffic collision involving a pedestrian on Tottenham Court Road, Fitzrovia.”

An ambulance crew treated a woman at the scene for a facial injury and took her to hospital.
Three previous collisions appear to have happened in near identical circumstances.

On the morning of Tuesday 11 June a man in his 30s and a southbound number 24 bus operated by Metroline collided; a week later on Tuesday 18 June a pedestrian and a southbound bus operated by Arriva collided; and then on Monday 2 September a female student from SOAS University of London was knocked unconscious by a southbound bus also operated by Arriva.

All the collisions occurred on the pedestrian crossing on the southbound carriageway just south of the junction with Torrington Place. 

The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association has called on Camden Council and Transport for London to review the layout of the new junction which it says has become a collision hot spot.

Following the latest incident TfL instructed all bus drivers not to exceed 10 miles per hour day or night on Tottenham Court Road until further notice.

Tom Cunnington, TfL’s Head of bus business development, told Fitzrovia News: “We are sorry that a woman was injured after a collision involving a route 29 bus, operated by Arriva, on Tottenham Court Road last Thursday evening.

“Following the changes that have been made to Tottenham Court Road there have been a number of collisions between buses and pedestrians.

“While speed has not been a common factor, we are introducing this temporary measure as a precaution prior to Camden Council completing the project and pedestrians becoming used to the new layout,” he said.

Significantly, nowhere in Cunnington’s statement is there any doubt about the design of the road junction and pedestrian crossing — it is just that people need to get used to it. 
But how long will that take?

Tottenham Court Road switched to two-way traffic on 20 April 2019 as part of Camden’s West End Project, which is part-funded by TfL. Only cycles and buses can currently travel southbound on Tottenham Court Road.

When the project is completed in spring 2020 cars, lorries and taxis will be restricted from parts of Tottenham Court Road at certain times under the £35 million transformation of the street.

By March 2020, Gower Street will also switch to two-way traffic, with protected cycle lanes along its length.

Camden Council has said: “The project will provide safer, greener and more attractive streets for residents and visitors helping to attract, sustain and boost local businesses. This includes wider pavements with new high quality materials, the removal of street clutter and new pedestrian crossings.”

But the latest incident suggests that Camden and TfL are failing to deliver on their promises. 

With all those changes planned on two very busy central London streets, there are a lot of new road layouts for pedestrians to get used to.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:
As always, TfL and Camden council are divorcing themselves from any responsibility of these accidents... and are blaming the pedestrians themselves.

They said in their statement that people just need to get use to the new system... which is amazing as they say all the bus/pedestrian collisions took place on a pedestrian crossing. Looking at the evidence from the photo above, that bus looks nowhere near a pedestrian crossing !!! So, someone's not telling the whole truth here...

This £35m scheme along with  Camden’s previous Fiztrovian schemes have been complete disasters....complete waste of public money, as pollution levels have soared beyond belief due to the increase in congestion.

Strange Goings On, At The Nobu Taxi Rank...Action By PCOs Nothing Less Than Scandalous.

Strange occurrence yesterday, quite late in the evening I came across this Vito, a TfL licensed London Taxi which had ‘two’ wheel clamps fitted. 

The vehicle had been clamped on the working rank outside ‘Nobu’ which has a history of Private hire vehicles using the rank to park and wait to become hired (basically plying for trade). 

Photo below was taken just as I left the rank with a job. (Photo actually taken by my passenger) It shows a minicab that I'd already asked to leave the rank, picking up a job. The TfLTPH no longer passes on to enforcement, evidence of this type of contravention. 


These four TfL registered PHVs below, were all parked on Hakkasan rank in Bruton Street Mayfair, reported on TfLTPH Twitter feed, who then refused to take the matter up with Cab Enforcement.....so no action taken by TfL.


On closer inspection, in appears the Vito Taxi on the rank, had been clamped by JBW judicial services group, bailiffs who's registered office is in Darlington. 

A warning notice had been plastered to the side window, which informed the driver the vehicle had been clamped because the owner had failed to pay an alleged outstanding sum. 

         

We haven’t seen clamped vehicles in London for quite a few years and I was under the impression that it was in fact illegal to for a third party to use clamp. 

What makes this strange is that just in front of the Taxi and directly in front of the Taxi rank, was a black private Tesla, which also had been clamped by the same firm. What an amazing coincidence!!!

       

Both vehicles had been clamped at around 6pm and were still there 6 hours later when I drove passed there to use the rank at midnight. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:
Most of the ranks in Mayfair last night had TfL registered PHVs parked up, waiting for work. TfL are ignoring complaints from Licensed Taxi drivers trying to access these working ranks.....and yet...PCOs were reported outside Annabel's in Berkeley Square, were Taxis were operating a rolling rank because of the frequency of customers leaving, requiring Taxis. 

Why is there 'still' no rank outside Annabel's?
What was the use of putting the Sexy Fish rank, out of sight, around the corner in Bruton Lane?
Is this the result of having a ranks committee chaired by someone who doesn't drive a Taxi? 

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Chelmsford taxi drivers pay tribute to beloved colleague who 'lived for' her two sons: "She went everywhere with her smile in front of her"



"She went everywhere with her smile in front of her"
Over 200 people joined cabbies from across Chelmsford today in memory of a former colleague and mum-of-two who died last month.

Karen Woollard, a beloved taxi driver, died aged 37 on September 6 after a "heart problem", according to her collegues.

Her funeral procession travelled through Market Street, and friends and colleagues lined the rank where she would often work from (Tuesday, October 1).

Karen worked in the industry for almost 15 years as a driver and controller.

She was a mother to two young sons, Lukey and Ashton.



"She loved being a cabbie..."
Karen was just 37 years old
Russell Brigden worked with Karen for more than seven years and was close friends with her for more than a decade.
He says that her death has been felt hard in the Chelmsford taxi community.

"I can pretty much guarantee that Karen left an impression wherever she went," he said.
"It's a sad loss for the trade. She was a nice character and she loved what she did - she loved being a cabbie.

"We're lucky, we live in a town which has grown into a city, but it's still a tightly-knit community.
"The nature of the trade is that you drive around in goldfish bowls, so more often than not more people know us and then we know them.

For Russell, the news of her death was a huge shock.
"It was heart failure, she was born with a heart defect but she didn't struggle with it. 

"It was unexpected, it was very sudden, it was tragic."
"She put someone else's needs in front of her own"


Karen, known as Kaz or Kazza to those in the trade, was a bubbly woman with an infectious smile, according to Russell.
But her defining quality was her generosity.

One day, when driving a gentleman to a mobility scooter shop, Karen went above and beyond.

"It’s very easy for me to say how nice she was because we were friends and I knew her better than most," said Russell.

"But one day, she turned up to pick up a gentlemen to take him to a mobility place to get a replacement battery for his scooter.

"She just saw the guy was struggling and said, 'Hang on a minute this isn't right.'"

Not only did Karen not charge the man for a fare, but she actually started a fundraiser to get money together for the battery.


Karen worked for Fareways Taxis
"She raised the money from all the guys in the trade and we all chipped in willingly," Russell added.

"But that was Karen's nature, she took it off her own back.
"She was providing for the two boys herself, she needed every penny she could get, but she put someone else's needs in front of her own and that was pretty much the kind of person that Karen was.

"She'd give first without any expectations of getting anything in return."

"She lived for her two young boys"
Karen's sons Lukey and Ashton have now been left without a mum.

Now, a fundraising page has been set up online to gather funds for her sons' future.
Karen's father Geoff, said the boys were her life and that anything she did was for them.
"She lived for her two young boys," said Geoff.

"They wanted for nothing, sometimes it was a struggle but she always muddled through smiling.
"Karen was a wonderful daughter, she loved the boys and the boys loved her."
Karen was a popular figure amongst Chelmsford cabbies. 

The fundraiser has already seen many of Karen's friends donate and share their thoughts and memories, something Geoff said has been a brilliant help to him and Karen's mum, Sue, during this period.

Fareways Taxis have also donated Karen's outstanding wages to the page.

"We all care about the boys and we want to make sure we can make life easier for them in any way we can," Russell added.
"There's going to come a time where these boys are teenagers, and they'll want cars and bikes and things like that.

"It will be nice to know that they won't have to struggle as a result of the tragic passing of their mum."

You can donate the fundraiser by clicking below:

Union Reacts As Rank Is Soon To Be Moved From Front Of Station To The Rear.


A TRADE union has responded to news that the taxi rank at Brighton train station is soon to be moved.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will move the rank outside the front of the station to the back, in Stroudley Road, on November 11.

Several taxi drivers were vocal in their disapproval of the plans.

Now a representative for taxi drivers from trade union GMB has responded to the move.

Andrew Peters of the GMB Brighton and Hove Taxi Section said: "For many years the situation of the taxi trade trying to provide a good service for train users has been frustrated by several changes to the station forecourt and road layout with what we understand to be about 300 permits being issued to date for only 17 spaces with each driver paying the high fee of nearly £1,000 per year.

"The trade was made aware of the intended move but so far there has not been any consultation with the Taxi trade on the actual layout of the new rank as we could have made recommendations on this including such as matters as disability access.

"Additionally, we are not aware of consultation with any disability groups.

"Furthermore, with so many permits issued we have major concerns that providing only 29 spaces will not be sufficient.

"We understand there is a ‘feeding area’ but the full details have not been supplied.

"We also have concerns about what will happen when rail replacement buses will also be using the same space.

"Time will tell as to whether moving the rank to the back will work but the clear facts are that both driving to the back of the station and also exiting is difficult at the best of times and any passenger wanting to go southbound will incur higher fares."

The move will see the station forecourt turned into a “welcoming covered pedestrian plaza”, a GTR spokesman said.

GTR’s lead facilities manager Karl McCormack said: “The current taxi rank has outgrown the southern entrance – with queueing along Junction Road and Surrey Street now a regular occurrence.

“We have received many representations over a number of years about this issue.

“In response to comments from residents, the local authority and local MPs, we have listened and devised this plan to meet these concerns.”

GTR also said this rank will be 50 per cent bigger and will have space for 29 vehicles.

To ensure commuters are aware of the rank, new banners will be put in the station.

Vinyl floor arrows and announcements on trains will also direct people.

Mr McCormack said: “The relocation of the rank and the ongoing redevelopment of the northern entrance is a partnership initiative between GTR and Brighton and Hove City Council.

“It will deliver a new look to both entrances, a new, larger taxi rank and an improved transport interchange for our passengers, which in turn will reduce congestion.

“We also recognise the potential concern from the taxi trade over the impact of the relocation and we will have a new way-finding campaign within the station to help passengers find their way to the new rank.”

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

A caller rings in to LBC to explain that an Uber driver had offered her Sex


                


Did you know that the Mayor of London is ok with your wife and daughters using an Uber... 

But it’s well known that he doesn’t allow his own wife Ssadiya Khan, or daughters Ammarah and Anisah to use the app. 


Not surprising as there are still over 10,500 drivers out there with fake criminal record check certificates (DBS) who haven't been rechecked by TfL.



Dynamo On The Road At Last, But It’s Not The First Fully Electric Taxi To Hit London’s Mean Streets


In August 2017, London’s first hybrid black cab hit the streets ahead of new legislation that came into effect th following Jqnuary, requiring all 'new Taxis' to be ‘zero emissions capable’. 

The LEVC TXe can operate for around 50-60 miles on battery power, but also comes with a petrol generator for range extending.  

This week saw the perceived first fully electric Taxi hit the capital. The Nissan Dynamo, is alleged to be capable of doing 160 miles around town between charges. 
Photos of sightings around town, have been appearing all over social media. 

But it's not the first!
London’s first fully electric cab actually came into service 122 years earlier.


“Mr W H Preece inaugurated a service of electrical cabs which are to ply for hire in the streets of London in competition with the ordinary hackney carriages,” wrote The Engineer in August 1897.

The article reads:
“Thirteen of these cabs are now ready for work, and a staff of drivers have been instructed in the use of them. 

The cabs will be let out by the proprietors, the London Electrical Cab Company, Limited, just at the same rate and in the same manner as the London cabs. The ‘cabbies’ are, we are informed, quite enthusiastic about the new vehicle.”

The London Electrical Cab – also commonly known as the ‘Hummingbird’ due to its sound, or the ‘Bersey Taxi’ after its young designer – first took to the streets of the capital on August 19 1897. Inventor Walter Charles Bersey was just 23 at the time, but had been designing and patenting electric vehicles for several years already. According to our predecessors, his creation was intended to mimic the appearance of the horse-drawn taxis of the day.

“The vehicle resembles very closely a horseless and shaftless coupé. It is carried on four wooden solid rubber-tired wheels. There is ample space for the coachmen. The accommodation within is luxurious. 

The propelling machinery consists of a 8-horse power Johnson-Lundell motor, with double wound armature and fields, so that by the use of a suitable switch or controller a variety of speeds can be obtained.”


“The current is supplied by 40 EPS traction type cells, having a capacity of 170 ampere hours when discharged at a rate of 30 amperes. The cabs can thus travel between thirty and thirty-five miles per charge.”

The vehicle had speed settings of three, seven and nine miles per hour, controlled by a lever at the side of the driver’s box. A powerful footbrake that broke the electrical circuit could also be applied, halting the vehicle in short order. This was one of four key conditions under which taxis were granted licenses by Scotland Yard, with carriages also required to be capable of turning in small spaces and climbing central London’s steepest ascent of the time, Savoy Hill.

The batteries, which weighed some 14 cwt (over 700 kg), were hung from springs underneath the vehicle and could be swapped out at Bersey’s Lambeth station using a system of hydraulic lifts. This was undoubtedly restrictive, and it was planned at the time to introduce other stations throughout London where the batteries could be charged and swapped. Though Bersey’s company claimed cab drivers welcomed the vehicle, it appears its introduction was not received as warmly from all quarters, as the following passage from a September 1897 edition of The Engineer illustrates.

“Mr. Walter C Bersey, the general manager of the London Electrical Cab Company, Ltd., has written to the general secretary of the London Cab Trade Council, saying that he fails to see how it can be contended that the introduction of electrical cabs can be against the interests of the cabdrivers. 

He says he has spoken to hundreds of cabmen on the subject, and has always understood they were most anxious for the change, as it would shorten their hours by saving the time wasted in changing horses, and also save them the unpleasantness of frequently having to drive tired and undesirable horses.”

Despite Bersey’s protestations, the vehicle never really took off, with the fleet only reaching a peak of around 75 units. The cab’s two-tonne weight caused huge wear on the tyres which led to noise and vibrations escalating significantly after six months of use. 

Bersey’s company lost £6,200 in the first year of operation, and the business was forced to close in 1899, the vehicles disappearing from London’s streets just two years after making their debut. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTEA BIT:
At present comments are coming in fast with drivers expressing likes and dislikes. Again, nothing new here as we saw the same comments with the introduction of the Winchester, MetroCab and Mercedes Vito models.

Personally, I'll equivilate this to the period of change when mobile phones upgraded from analog to digital. At first, users were highly sceptical, but now...who would leave home without their smart phone? 

Let’s hope our trade has learned from the mistakes of the past by being over critical.
We should all wish the Nissan Dynamo, every success in our future.