Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Are TfL Turning A Blind Eye To Illegal Parking On Working Taxi Ranks???

TfL have put out another statement this morning via their twitter account, aimed solely at "Taxi Drivers" saying Taxis must not be left unattended on working ranks.
Most Taxi drivers believe this statement is no more than cosmetic, as there  appears to be no compliance action to back up these statements. 

All taxis on a working rank should be available for immediate hire, but again, TfL say nothing about the constant stream of private hire vehicles which block working Taxi ranks, or certain working ranks being used for free parking while drivers visit mosques.

The problem in Mayfair at night, became such a prolific problem that TfLTPH decided to ‘unman’ their Twitter account, being used by Taxi drivers to send photographic evidence and reports of contravening vehicles using rank spaces. 

There is of course the exception of rest ranks, a list of which can be found on TFL's website....but again, cars can be found parked on these ranks.

The bias against the trade from our regulator has become a major problem. 

TfL COs are out in force every day checking mainline Taxi ranks for over ranking, drivers idling and the use of smart phones while the engine is running (even if the vehicle is stationary on a rank). 

Taxi drivers complain that Private Hire vehicles parked/waiting on Taxi ranks are consistently ignored by COs. 

And again, their appears to be another exception:
A certain group of Taxi Drivers are illegally parking their vehicles on working Taxi ranks, while they go to the mosque to pray, with it would seem, full blessing from TfL. 

The problem at Hamilton Place, has been reported to TfL on numerous occasions but they have failed to take any action whatsoever. 

Drivers are asking: 
Why are TfL taking a softly softly approach to this problem. It is a definite breach of regulations which clearly states cab drivers cannot park their vehicles unattended on working Taxi ranks.

Some nights, the whole of Hamilton Place’s three main feeder ranks are full of parked Taxis. Even the ranks at the Hard Rock Cafe’ and the playboy club are being used as free parking space for drivers visiting the Mosque in Hertford Street.  

And yet, every so often, TfL COs turn up to move on Taxis over-ranking on the Park Lane Hilton rank because they can’t get on the Hamilton Place feeder. Is this another example of TFL's divide and conquer policy?

When asked to do something about the empty Taxis on Hamilton Place COs give the same weak excuse, saying that’s not why they've been called to the area. 

Another Taxi rank that is suffering with this type of abuse is the St John’s Wood Taxi Hut. The spaces provided at the shelter are for customers using the facilities, not for drivers to leave their Taxi there while they pop down to the Regents Park mosque. 

Todays statement on their Twitter account could be classed as, no more than non action from TfLTPH. 
Why aren’t these offending vehicles being reported en masse to compliance?

What they said on Twitter .....

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Air Quality Action Day, A Waste Of Time And Tax Payers Money?

Air quality in Westminster is worse than at anytime in the past and the reason for this lies squarely at the feet of Westminster City Council planners. 

Vehicular traffic is being unnecessarily detained at certain junctions throughout the borough under the guise of a ‘safer streets’ policy which is causing even more toxic air, causing more preventable deaths. 

It’s not as if they have no idea what will happen, they have been informed in a multitude of consultations, which they just ignore. 

Just look at one junction, the bottom of Sussex Gardens. The roundabout has been dissected by a barely used cycle lane, going against the traffic flow. The lane is also being facilitated by traffic signals that were never needed in the past. 

The lights are phased to give cyclists time to clear the junction while traffic sits for unrealistically extended periods, with their engines running, spewing out so called toxic fumes, where before, the vehicles would just pass through the roundabout. 

The new system at Bayswater Road and North Carriage Drive, has resulted in massive traffic jams that were not there before. 

No one is held responsible for these dreadful systems.

Then we have the sites where road works, which have been completed, we see plant and materials left in the road for weeks on end, causing blockages and major traffic hold ups.... plus in this age of smart  technology, we see antique looking, completely unnecessary four way traffic signal systems (badly phased) in place where 9 times out of ten they are not needed. 

Then we have the added mileage drivers have to undertake to get round the borough, where roads have been suddenly, for no good reason been changed to one way, or no entry from certain direction. This added mileage adds to the total toll on air quality and is solely down to the Council. 

Yet Westminster’s councillors/planners appear to be blind to all the above carnage and constantly try to shift the blame to a few Taxis on the rank at Marylebone Station. 

So, it’s OK for TfL to pump out their toxic fumes, 24 hours a day at certain points in the borough such as Warwick Avenue and Regents Park stations. 

Yet if a Taxi is sitting on the Rank by the extractor fan outlet at Warwick Avenue Station with the engine running, the driver could be issued with a fine.... and yet TfL are free to pollute the street as much as they like  without any comeback.  

Air Quality Action Day
Highly paid Westminster councillors, complete with street wardens (penalty ticket book in hand), along with members of the LTDA, spent the day pestering Taxi drivers working the rank at the station. 

This would have been a perfect opportunity for the LTDA chairman of the joint ranks and highways committee to take the councillors on a tour of the worse spots.... such as Sussex Gardens, Craven Road/Gloucester Terrace, Bayswater Road/Victoria Gate... and point out the failings of the council planners. 

But unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this happened and turned out to be no more than just another photo opportunity.   

Monday, March 02, 2020

A Fleet Of London Taxis, Take WWII Veterans To Visit HMS Queen Elizabeth

On 28 February a group of veterans enjoyed a private visit to the Royal Navy’s largest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, as special guests of the Captain and Commodore

A fleet of six London Licensed Taxis escorted the group of nonagenarian veterans from London for this VIP visit to tour HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth Harbour.

Following an overnight stay at the Royal Maritime Club, the black cabs escorted the seven veterans to Portsmouth Harbour where they were joined for the visit by Taxi Charity Patron, Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns KCB, CBE, DL. The group of veterans included five WWII veterans, two, who served on aircraft carriers, one, who was part of the Russian Convoy, one who served in the in the Royal Navy and a WREN who was stationed at Fort Southwick on D Day.

The tour of the ship included, a walk through the aircraft hangar, refreshments in the Captain’s cabin and a tour of The Bridge. From The Bridge, WWII veteran WREN Marie Scott, pictured, who transmitted messages to and from the beaches on D Day, had the honour of transmitting a short message over 75 years after she sent messages to those coordinating Operation Neptune.

"I can't believe the honour that people place on what I did. At the time we all thought we were doing a job which we were. Now at the great age unbelievable is the only word that describes it, but I think there is a genuine feeling of relief that the war ended in victory and that we have maintained a sort of peace for over 75 years."

Marie Scott, WWII D Day Veteran, said, “It was a real honour that The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans arranged for me to transmit a message today, 75 years after I transmitted messages to and from the beaches on D Day.”


Frances Wyhowska, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said, “The Taxi Charity would like to thank the Captain and crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth who gave us all VIP treatment during our visit. The look of excitement on the veterans’ faces made today an outstanding experience for us all.”

Commander Charles Guy RN – HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commander and Second in Command. “We are always delighted to host our Naval Veterans but especially so in this important anniversary year for the Victory in Europe. We are grateful for the support of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans; it is a remarkable organisation.”

About HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is one of two 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers in service with the Royal Navy. The ship is currently alongside in her homeport of Portsmouth, enhancing her capabilities as she gets ready for further training with her F35 Lightning jets and Strike Group off the South coast this summer.  This represents the final steps as she prepares for her global Carrier Strike Group deployment in 2021.

About the Taxi Charity
The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans was formed in Fulham in 1948, to work for the benefit, comfort and enjoyment of military veterans and arranges many trips every year for veterans from all conflicts.
The charity offers international trips to Holland, Belgium and France, UK day trips to concerts or museums, transport to attend fundraising events, as well as special days out to catch up with friends and comrades.
To fund and facilitate these outings, the charity is wholly reliant on generous donations from members of the public, businesses and trusts and the amazing group of London licensed taxi drivers who offer their time and vehicles free.