Friday, February 28, 2020

Can Boston’s Taxi Industry Be Saved? ...City Councillors Want To Try.

Boston’s taxi industry has seen better days.
Before transportation networking companies — better known as ride sharing businesses like Uber and Lyft — populated the hail-a-ride market, the medallions needed to operate a cab in the Hub could fetch as high as $300,000 to $600,000, city Councilor Frank Baker says.

Now, hundreds are waiting to be sold, he said. Prospective buyers can probably snag one for as low as $35,000.

“Most of the industry were immigrant drivers who took every bit of anything that they had — their credit, their cash, everything — to buy these medallions,” Baker told fellow councilors Wednesday. “Then comes along Uber and Lyft, [and] the medallions are basically worthless now.

“We’ve had people in my office, in meetings, grown men sitting, crying about what’s going on in their industry and trying to pay for their families,” he added. “It’s pretty bad.”

Now, Baker is calling on the council to look at how the local taxi industry is regulated, with the possibility of loosening laws to help get cab drivers and owners on even footing with companies like Uber and Lyft.
Unlike the city’s taxi laws, the state regulations that govern TNCs do not require ride share drivers to have a Massachusetts driver’s license, and hold those companies to different standards, according to Baker.

City regulations, meanwhile, mandate that medallion owners be affiliated with a radio association in order for trips to be monitored by dispatchers, Baker wrote in his order for a hearing. Drivers and owners must also meet sustainability requirements, and the city regulates standards such as vehicle age, registration, condition, and installed equipment, including GPS systems and partitions.

Cabs must also accept multiple forms of payment as well as coupons and vouchers.

Baker wrote that the laws regulating the taxi industry are “overly burdensome in comparison” to those surrounding TNCs, and with self-driving cars expected to hit the road in the future, ride sharing companies likely won’t be the only competition cab drivers will face.

Uber and Lyft have “basically decimated the whole industry,” he said.

“If cab owners and operators are able to receive some relief from their hackney regulations, we may be able to rebuild this business,” Baker said. “I’m not totally confident, but I think we can.”

Councilor Andrea Campbell, who’s working with Baker to address the problems, said lawmakers have met with taxi industry workers for years about this.

At the root of the issue is justice, Campbell said. It’s about righting past wrongs.

“We knew that with technology, with innovation, Uber, Lyft, that these types of companies would be coming down the pipeline,” she said. “We did nothing to sort of shift rates or to change things to allow our taxi drivers to keep up.”

Baker’s order calls on city officials to meet with representatives from both taxi and ride sharing businesses, among other parties. Campbell said taxi industry professionals have already raised “innovative ideas and solutions” to lawmakers, but she did not elaborate on them during Wednesday’s council meeting.

“During difficult times in our city, taxi drivers were always there for us … Now that our city is booming, [it] seems like there’s no place left for our cab drivers,” Councilor Ed Flynn said.
Many drivers work hard for little pay, he said.

“There should be a place in Boston for our cab drivers,” Flynn said.

New Name For Airport Hotel ...The Corona Inn

   The hotel was seen being boarded up on Thursday, February 27

The Holiday Inn in Harlington, near Heathrow Airport, has been designated a quarantine site for patients who suspect they may have coronavirus. 

On Thursday (February 27) an eyewitness said that new wooden hoardings, like those around construction sites, were being installed and that security officers were being placed at the hotel on Bath Road.

They also reported seeing ambulances at the hotel, which is closed to the public, and security officers were turning cars away at the entrance.

A spokesperson for the InterContinental Hotel Group said the hotel had been block booked out but could not comment further, and The Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment.

However, this morning a member of staff on the reception desk said "it's a non-operational hotel and not open to the public".
When asked for details on why he said: "As the media has publicised, I'm sure you know why."

The branch of the popular hotel chain closed to the public and staff were reportedly told it would not re-open for bookings until March at the earliest.
GPs across London are on high alert for cases appearing in the capital and patients are being asked to not go to the doctors but instead call 111.
A number of schools have sent pupils and staff home after they returned from holidays to Italy and reported feeling unwell.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sadiq Khan "London Is Safe": ‬ Woman Attacked By Muggers ‬ Inside A Black Cab On Harrods Taxi Rank‬

Just heard a frightening story in one of my WhatsApp groups. A driver on point of Harrods Rank, picked up an oriental lady with her two daughters. 

She gave him her destination but before he could drive off, the doors were opened again by a small group of men similar in appearance to the Lisson Green Mob. One of the men came to the driver window and was asking to be taken to another destination. 

But as we’ve seen before, this was no more than a distractionary tactic, because another of the men got inside the taxi and proceeded to try to mug the lady. As luck would have it, the lady put up quite a fight and the man made off with just the lady’s watch which he managed to pull from her wrist. 

On the way to her destination she explained to the driver that she was unhurt and really didn’t want to go to the police station. She said the watch was in fact just a cheap fake. She just wanted to get her daughters back to her hotel as they were both quite shaken up. 

Trouble is I’ve only heard the story second hand, and have no idea who the driver was. 

I just hope he reads this... as it’s imperative he goes to the police and reports the incident in full detail. This is not the first time something like this has taken place at a Taxi rank.

We’ve also seen attacks of this nature at hotel ranks.
We can’t have our customers being mug inside our Taxis.

When passengers are picked up it is now extremely important the all doors are locked as soon as possible. 

This is what London has become under a Mayor who would rather spend money on two rappers... than on victims of crime. 


We have now been in contact with the driver concerned in this incident. Apparently he has good quality CCTV footage of the attackers both inside and outside the Taxi and will be attending a central London police station later today.

We hope that the attackers will be identifiable to the police and previous victims of attacks at Harrods, Selfridges and Hotels.
With the help of the videos, it is hoped that these perpetrators can be taken off the streets.

Can you change a fifty mate?
Also, please be aware that counterfeit £50 notes are being offered up for short Taxi rides in the Knightsbridge and Kensington area. UV lights and special pens are available and worth the investment

These UV light keyrings can be picked up on EBay for as little as £2.95+£2.50 p&p and work perfectly.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

King's Cross Station will be completely closed this weekend, No train services will run to or from the busy London station

King's Cross station will be completely closed this weekend.

The closure will mean no trains will run in or out of the busy train station to allow East Coast upgrade work to take place.

Passengers are being warned ahead of time and are being advised to find alternative routes to London.

King's Cross station will be shut from Saturday 29 to Sunday, March 1.

Those intending to travel to and from the capital should be aware of cancellations to services including LNER, Grand Central, Great Northern and Thameslink and Hull Trains services.

With the popular station being shut all weekend it is likely to affect the plans of anyone wanting to make the most of the extra day courtesy of the leap year with a weekend away.

The station is shut due to planned engineering works at King’s Cross, meaning there will be no Thameslink services between Peterborough or Cambridge and London, and no Great Northern services between Hitchin and London, as work continues on the East Coast Upgrade.

The latest stage of this £1.2 billion investment into the route will see Network Rail engineers move part of the signalling control system to a specialist centre in York.

Train services are advising passengers not to travel to London unless completely necessary.

There will be no trains at all in or out of King’s Cross or Moorgate stations, and no Thameslink services between Peterborough or Cambridge and St Pancras station.

Despite no trains being able to enter or leave the actual station, King's Cross St Pancras tube station remains open and is unaffected by these works.

Great Northern trains will still run between King’s Lynn, Cambridge and Hitchin and Thameslink services will run between Bedford and Brighton via St Pancras as normal.

Brighton/Horsham to Cambridge/Peterborough services will run only between Brighton/Horsham and London Bridge.

Greater Anglia have said they will be running an amended service between Cambridge and Liverpool Street, which is likely to be busier than normal.

If you need to get to London and absolutely must travel, you should allow significantly more time and will need to use other rail routes, replacement bus services, or a combination of these, all of which will be extremely busy.

Local Cabbies Took Regulator To Court And Won, Proving It Can Be done. #UTAG17

Revealed: Wakefield Council's legal bill for High Court taxi case
Wakefield Council spent £13,500 on its doomed legal defence against a case brought by local taxi drivers.

The local authority was deemed to be overcharging cabbies for a trade licence by the High Court in December 2018, in what was viewed as a landmark case.

That ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal a year later after the council argued against the verdict.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed £11,250 of taxpayer's money, plus £2,250 worth of VAT, was spent on legal fees for the case.

After a conclusion was reached in December, the council accused the High Court of not offering enough "clarity" during the original ruling and suggested they had cost the council "time and money" as a result.

Its defence was backed by the Local Government Association, which represents councils all over the country, many of whom regulated taxi licences in the same way as Wakefield.

The local authority was charging £384 for a licence, a fee which included costs for punishing drivers who break the rules.

But judges said that approach is unlawful and will have to change.

Asked for comment on the size of the legal bill, the council said it had nothing further to add beyond its statement about the case conclusion in December.

The Wakefield and District Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Association, which represents drivers, claimed the verdict would cost the council £1m in payments to drivers dating back to 2004.

The council disputes that figure, however.

What the council said when the case concluded in December

Glynn Humphries, service director for environment, said: “The legal position as to where enforcement costs could be attributed was unclear and today’s judgement has clarified that the costs of enforcement should be met by the taxi trade through fees and should not be subsidised by the council tax payer.

“We very much welcome the clarity from today’s judgement but are disappointed we didn’t get this in the High Court last year, which would have saved everyone involved time and money.

“The council will now review our position in light of the judgement and set up a process to enable drivers to log any claims as easily as possible and try and ensure we assess the claims as quickly as we can.

"We strongly believe that the £1million figure quoted by the taxi trade association does not apply to Wakefield at all. The fees were only applied to vehicles in January 2018 and charges were paused as we sought clarity from the court, which means that no drivers have been charged for this activity from December 2018.

"Going forward we will ensure that all charges are set against the criteria confirmed by the court today."