Saturday, May 30, 2020

Joint Statement From LCDC, LTDA UCG‬, Following A Brief Phone Discussion:‬

Please find below, an agreed statement following a brief phone discussion:

The implications of the possible ban on taxis using Waterloo and London Bridges, along with certain main routes, through and across the capital are extremely concerning. If implemented without allowing universal taxi access these schemes would have a disastrous impact on both our trade and our passengers who rightfully expect to be taken to their destination via the most direct route.

Disabled and vulnerable passengers would be at a serious disadvantage and with the reduction in capacity on the tube and bus network many would be unable to travel.

London Taxis are the only form of Public transport where social distancing is possible, have a partition separating the driver and passenger and are fully wheelchair accessible. To exclude them from any road scheme is counterproductive and increases congestion and pollution.

As yet, we have been unable to obtain details of how the proposals will, or even if they will impact on our business. We, as a trade must be prepared to take appropriate action if necessary. 

A meeting is expected to take place with the deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, next week to discuss the topic in more detail before final taxi access plans are revealed.

It is expected that no concessions will be forthcoming from this meeting (that’s if it actually takes place). The fate of the trade will then be in the hands of the rank and file drivers to support the expected call for action 100%....this really is the last chance saloon for the majority of Licensed Taxi drivers. 


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Cycle lanes Are To Be Installed In Oxford Street And Its Pavements Will Be Widened. Are Westminster Council Creating No Go Areas For Disabled ???‬

Westminster Council also wants to transform Regent Street and Piccadilly to give road space to shoppers to enable social distancing.

Details were still being established today but council sources confirmed the aim was to introduce temporary cycle lanes in the three streets. More space for pedestrians will be carved out of the roads at Oxford Circus and traffic will be banned from streets around Covent Garden at peak times.

The decision to install pop-up cycle lanes in Oxford Street is a remarkable turn of events after the council spent years fighting and eventually defeating plans from Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London to part-pedestrianise the UK’s most famous high street.

The first phase of the Tory council’s recovery plan includes temporary cycle lanes in Portland Place, which lies north of Regent Street, and in Praed Street, beside Paddington station. TfL has almost completed a permanent segregated cycle lane in Park Lane.

The council said work would start this weekend across all areas of the City of Westminster, including “some of the most iconic locations in the world”.

It said: “Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly will, from this weekend, see measures to widen pavements, change traffic lanes into pedestrian walkways, install signage and guidance on social distancing as well as establishing pop-up cycle lanes.”

Council leader Rachael Robathan said: “These bold plans are designed to ensure we are doing all we can to support the careful and safe reopening of Westminster for residents, visitors and workers as the lockdown eases. This is essential in order to kickstart the economy, whilst always putting safety first.”

The initial phase will include:
  • Creating additional pedestrian space along Piccadilly and at Piccadilly Circus by installing barriers along sections of the road from Green Park to Piccadilly Circus.
  • In Regent Street, creating additional pedestrian space by reallocating one lane of carriageway north and south using barriers.
  • In Covent Garden, extending the existing timed road closures to include Henrietta Street, Maiden Lane, Floral Street and James Street using temporary barriers.

Extra space will be given to passengers heading to and from key transport hubs, such as Victoria, Charing Cross and Marylebone stations.

Markets will be encouraged to reopen from next Monday and a “shop local” campaign will be launched.

“School streets”, where traffic is banned at the start and end of the school day, will be created. More cycle racks will be introduced.

Additional work will be in place by the start of July ahead of the anticipated opening of hospitality sector.

The council said it had received more than 500 requests in a week from residents and businesses for temporary measures to help ease the lockdown and was considering each one.

Straight from the horse’s mouth... Khan’s not letting diesel Taxis earn a living. As far as he’s concerned diesel Taxis can’t go where buses go. 

TfL Accused Of Being ‘Institutionally Unsafe' By Ex Board Member

Michael Liebreich, who served on the TfL board between 2012 and 2018, claimed the body's structure "places safety a distant second priority".

Mr Liebreich, who has campaigned for the Conservative party, made the claims to the head of the review into coronavirus deaths among bus workers.

A spokesperson for the mayor of London called the claims "entirely untrue".

"The safety of passengers and our heroic transport staff is TfL's absolute priority," they said
"This has been demonstrated throughout its response to the coronavirus pandemic."

Since the outbreak of coronavirus bus drivers appeared to have been working in "manifestly unsafe conditions", Mr Liebreich said in an open letter .

Contracting out bus and tram services "puts extreme pressure on operators to deliver services on time or lose money", he added.

Last year a survey of bus drivers , commissioned by TfL, found 17% had fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past 12 months.

In his letter, Mr Liebreich called on Prof Sir Michael Marmot to investigate whether TfL had followed Public Health England's coronavirus guidance.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has not been given to TfL frontline staff, but they have been offered face masks.

Sir Michael, the director of UCL Institute of Health Equity, is leading the inquiry into TfL's response during the coronavirus pandemic.

TFL said it had "delivered a range of measures to improve safety".

This includes an anti-viral cleaning regime, applying a protective film to bus driver cabs and preventing passengers sitting next to drivers, mayor Sadiq Khan's office said.

From Saturday passengers will have to tap in at the front of buses to pay for rides, a measure which had been briefly suspended during the coronavirus lockdown to protect drivers.

Conservative candidate for Mayor of London Shaun Bailey called Mr Leibreich's comments "spot on".

"When this crisis has passed, the mayor will have to answer many difficult questions about his handling of this crisis," Mr Bailey said.
Source: BBCNews 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

100 Year Old WWII Veteran To Mark D Day In Worthing Instead Of Normandy

Major Edwin ‘Ted’ Hunt MVO usually marks D Day on 6 June in Normandy with The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans. This year plans were in place for Ted to join the charity’s annual trip to France, but due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the plans had to be cancelled                
Having already missed celebrations for his 100 birthday on 23 March and the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May, because of the pandemic restrictions, Ted is determined not to miss out again and plans are in place for him to mark D Day on June 6.

For Ted to safely break his lockdown, arrangements are being made to take him in a disinfected London Licensed Taxi from his home in Sompting, West Sussex on the short journey to Worthing War memorial on Saturday 6 June so that he can mark the occasion by laying a wreath and remembering those who did not return.

Major Ted Hunt, said, 
“I missed celebrating my 100thbirthday on 23 March and the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May but D Day is something that I must mark if I possibly can. I am so disappointed that the usual group of  WWII veterans have been unable to travel with the Taxi Charity to Normandy this year and I am determined to place a wreath and pay my respects to those who didn’t make it  home”

Ted is being driven from his home in West Sussex, by London Taxi Driver and charity volunteer Mike Hughes who lives in Worthing and is Ted’s regular driver and companion on the outings organised by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans. 

Mike Hughes, London Cabbie and Taxi Charity Volunteer, said, “After taking Ted to various events I’ve grown veryclose to him and I know how disappointed he was to miss the celebrations for both his 100th birthday and VE Day. We spoke recently and with the easing of the lockdown rules, decided that we could try to mark D Day at the Worthing War Memorial instead of in Normandy as we have done in recent years. 

My London licensed black cab, with its separatedpassenger compartment, is probably the safest way to take Ted on this short journey and we will ensure we adhere to the social distancing requirements at all times.”

About Major Ted Hunt  
Born 23 March 1920, apprenticed to his father as a Waterman 1935 on the River Thames he learned to tow Thames Barges with a rowing-boat. Following the outbreak of WWII Ted volunteered with the Royal Engineers and served in the Battles of Narvik, Norway April–May 1940. 

By 1944 he was commissioned, and as a Captain, commanded 15 of the Rhino low draft ferries on Gold Beach on D-Day. In four months, these landing craft put ashore 93,000 units (tanks, guns and vehicles) and 440,000 tons of military stores. 

During the last six months of the war in Europe, together with the Dutch hydraulics engineer Lt. C. L. M. Lambrechtsen van Ritthem, he advised the Chief Engineer Second Army, Brigadier "Ginger" Campbell, on the "opposed crossing of water obstacles", so that the longest floating Bailey bridge of the Second World War could be constructed at Gennep in the Netherlands. This bridge over the river Maas (Meuse) was 4,008 feet (1,222 m) long and was opened on 19 February 1945.

Demobilised as a Major he returned to civilian life as a college lecturer in navigation and watermanship at the City and East London College in London, from 1948 until 1985.
As a Royal Waterman, he was appointed Queen’s Bargemaster in 1978 and retired from royal service as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in 1990

Ted's sister Emily died on 16th May, aged 104.  The family have not been able to book a date for her cremation due to the numbers that have died in or near Herne Bay. 

About The Taxi Charity For Military Veterans
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 The Netherlands, 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.

About Mike Hughes 
In addition to volunteering with the Taxi Charity, Mike is also the Independent Taxi Coordinator for the free Poppy Cab taxi service for veterans going to and from the annual service of remembrance each November in London.

For more information, to arrange interviews with the Taxi Charity and Veterans or to request images please contact
Christina Bowden
Bowden PR 
07984 433614

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT: Just A Personal Indulgence  For Uncle Les. 

My mother’s youngest brother spent his 20th birthday (6th June 1944) in Normandy on Sword beach. 

The young Leslie Sharwood pulled his commanding officer (who had fallen over the side of the landing craft and couldn’t swim) to safety on the beach... only to later watch him shot before his eyes. 

A few days after the fighting stopped, he wrote home to let his sister, my mother know he was safe. He said he was pleased to hear news his oldest brother George was recovering well after his tank had gone over a landmine in North Africa. 

I treasure his letter, posted on the 10 of June 1944, where he told my mum not to worry about him, and that he was in a happy state of mind. 
Leslie, although never married, was always happy right up until the day he passed in 2004. 

Ex New York Subway Chief, Will Be London Transport Commissioner

  • Andy Byford's appointment was today confirmed by capital's mayor Sadiq Khan
  • Current commissioner Mike Brown will stay on until July 10, Byford starts June 29
  • Mr Byford was responsible for 50,000 staff while in charge of New York's subway
  • The 54-year-old left the role in January following repeated clashes with governor

British born Byford, former head of New York's public transport system...will be London's next transport commissioner.

Andy Byford's appointment was confirmed by the capital's mayor Sadiq Khan and the board of Transport for London (TfL) and he will start on June 29.

Current transport commissioner Mike Brown will stay on until July 10 before taking up a new position overseeing the renovation of the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Byford will earn £335,000 a year - the same amount Mr Brown was on - as well as get performance bonuses.

As president and chief executive of New York City Transit Authority, Mr Byford was responsible for 50,000 staff and devising a 40 billion US dollar (£33 billion) five-year investment plan to renew the city's transport system.

The 54-year-old left the role in January under a cloud following repeated clashes with governor Andrew Cuomo. 

He was said to have frequent spats with Mr Cuomo throughout his two year tenure, despite being considered a rising star in the industry. 

Colleagues of both men said they each wanted credit for the subway’s successes and clashed over the system's management, the New York Times reported. 

Critics said Mr Cuomo did not do enough to support Mr Byford, who he hired to run the foundering system.

But Mr Cuomo's allies suggested that Mr Byford did not do enough to get along with the governor and was reluctant to embrace new technology. 

Mr Cuomo also held meetings about the subway system, which he declared to be in a state of emergency, without Mr Byford.
In October, Mr Byford sent a letter of resignation where he named Mr Cuomo and suggested the governor sidelined him.

Mr Byford said Mr Cuomo initiated an agency overhaul that reduced his power and scaled back his duties.

He took this resignation back, but quit for good in January, with US news outlets attributing it mainly to a reduction in his authority.  

Source: Mail on Line

Read more about Andy Byford, click this link 👇🏼


Let’s hope this new import is better than the last (although of course Byford is British born and worked for London Underground in the past).

Bob Kiley was appointed commissioner under the mayoralty of Ken Livingston.

After he resigned from the position, it transpired he was an complete alcoholic.

He was brought to the UK to become the capital's first transport tsar, with a salary and trappings to match.

Bob Kiley quit his job as London's transport commissioner in 2005 after rows with mayor Ken Livingstone and his own staff.

But, courtesy of the London taxpayer, he was still paid an eye watering income most public servants could only dream of.

In a newspaper interview, Kiley admitted even after his resignation, he was still receiving 737,500 over a two and a half year deal.... for doing "not much".

The then 72-year old American, who once worked for the CIA, was also allowed to remain in his £2.7m Belgravia townhouse, that Mr Livingstone had purchased for him on behalf of Transport for London.

As some on me once said you couldn’t make this stuff up .

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Driving For Justice (Pt1) Produced for London Taxi Radio by Sean Paul Day

Driving for Justice is the first in a series of short films that plan to highlight the injustices committed against the licensed taxi trade, and the knock-on effect that this will have on related businesses. 

How long have we been shouting about this injustice? Stringent regulations force us down a particular path in the road only to be confronted with a dead-end. 

How long have we been banging on about the immorality of decisions being made against us? It is self evidential that the powers that be regard the elderly, frail, sight impaired, wheelchair dependent, and anyone else who can’t cycle or use mass-transport options as collateral damage.

We are being crippled and disempowered. And COVID has provided the power-grabbers with a respectable excuse to tear away democracy and dismiss reproach. It is usurpation at its very worst. If any other industry chronicled the same regulations against the never ending list of interminable restrictions, they’d have a case for constructive dismissal by stealth.

Simply, the  taxi trade is being brought to its knees by policy- nothing more. The Mayor could include us in crucial elements of his transport strategy tomorrow if he wanted, and the local authorities could involve us in their local implementation plans. They don’t because they don’t see us as part of the solution, and somehow that has to change.

TFL is NOT apathetic or indifferent to what is happening to our industry, they have a totally different agenda. The trade desperately need to find a better system for governance. 

Many of the irreversible risks that now threaten our trade originate from a rapid pace of industrial development coupled with the monopolisation of emerging technology and an adamance by TfL to no longer deem us as part of public transport. 

Conveniently for TfL, the system currently in place to represent the trade - and effectively manage many of issues we are facing is done by using yesterday’s tools and by the same people. Most of the time we are not even arguing the right arguments. As a consequence, the necessary action is either not taken or is taken too late, while the problems and risks the industry faces continue to grow and mutate. 

The difference this time is, we are not alone. Drivers, related traders, and stakeholders have all been handed their livelihoods on a plate. That’s a billion dollar industry engineered to be fit only for the knackers yard. 

Merely accepting that the downturn in work is applicable to every one is the death-knoll. 

It is a matter of survival, if we don’t all pull together now for the benefit of all, then we never will.

London Taxi Drivers Charity For Children's Annual Trip to the Seaside Cancelled for the First Time in Over 90 Years

Charity’s Annual Trip to the Seaside Cancelled for the First Time in Over 90 Years 
On 14 July a convoy of London Taxis should have been taking over 200 children and their families and carers for a day trip to Southend-on-Sea. 

For over 90 years this annual outing has been a highlight for cabbies, volunteers and the disadvantaged and special needs children who are invited to participate in this fantastic event.

Bradley Winfield, Chairman of the London Taxi Drivers Charity for Children said “It is very sad for the children and families, that we had to cancel our summer plans including our much-loved outing for hundreds of children to Southend-on-Sea on 14 July

Russell Square Taxi Hut LTDCC Fund Raising Day

The charity is already thinking ahead to 2021 and looking forward to planning next year’s trip when we sincerely hope the world will be a very different place and the restrictions allowing large gatherings will have been lifted and we can plan an event to rival any other. 

If you would like to support our activities in 2021 by volunteering or donating, please do get in touch – we would love to have you on board”

Best wishes, 

Christina Bowden
Bowden PR
07984 433614

Twitter @bowdenpr
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Click link below to donate 

Monday, May 25, 2020

We’ve all seen the fantastic video the beautiful Tamzin Outhwaite made,its time to pay back and say thank you

We’ve all seen the fantastic video the beautiful Tamzin Outhwaite made and circulated on behalf of the London Taxi trade. 

Now it’s time to pay back! 
Tamzin is asking for all of us to sign the petition calling for government support to save the British Theatre & Television industries. 

The petition is calling for additional urgent government support. The pandemic has hugely disrupted the entertainment industry.

  • Theatre & Television sets are busy crowded places. 
  • The audience requires large numbers to huddle together.
  • Theatres can not be profitable while we are social distancing for so many reasons and unlike other industries, we cannot work from home. 
  • Furlough schemes only take us to October 2020, but the industry is unlikely to reopen until 2021.   

Bectu says “ The industry is facing a potentially catastrophic impact from COVID 19, and government, employers and workers must come together to develop a strategy for our cultural sectors’ survival.”

Why is this important?
The entertainment industry has never suffered such a crippling blow. The impact is unprecedented and we must protect this great British institution.

So please, on behalf of Tamzin, sign this petition and please pass it on to all your family and friends and ask them to sign too. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Arbitrator says: “I must say I act out of fear. My fear is if I ruled Uber illegal, I would need security. I wouldn’t be able to walk the streets at night. People would be after me.”

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Uber customer on Friday asked a Manhattan federal judge to overturn an arbitration win for the company in a price-fixing case, arguing that the arbitrator only ruled in Uber’s favor because he was scared.

Spencer Meyer initiated the high-profile 2015 antitrust lawsuit alleging that Uber Technologies Inc engaged in an illegal conspiracy with its drivers to coordinate high “surge pricing” fares during periods of heavy demand by agreeing to charge prices set by an algorithm in the Uber ride-hailing app.

Uber takes a cut from drivers’ earnings, and ride-hailing trips in North America make up the bulk of the company’s revenue. The lawsuit sought a nationwide ban against surge pricing.

Uber argues its drivers are independent contractors and that its app is merely a technology platform connecting drivers with riders. Uber on Friday declined to comment on the court filing.

The company has previously said it believed the law was on its side, pointing to the fact that no antitrust agency has raised issues.

The lawsuit went through several courts before it was sent into arbitration in 2019 in accordance with Uber’s terms of service that mandate arbitration behind closed doors for most lawsuits.

The appointed arbitrator, attorney Les Weinstein, on Feb. 22 ruled in Uber’s favor and dismissed the lawsuit, but according to Friday’s filings he did so out of “evident partiality.”

A transcript excerpt of the arbitration, attached to the filing, cited him saying: “I must say I act out of fear. My fear is if I ruled Uber illegal, I would need security. I wouldn’t be able to walk the streets at night. People would be after me.”

Weinstein also questioned whether he had the legal power to ban surge pricing nationwide. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Uber has a week to respond to the filing in court.

Sadiq Khan And TfL Wanted The Tube To Remain Operational Throughout The Pandemic, So Why Has It Taken Over Three Months To Install Sanitising Units In All Stations ?

Amazing how the Mayor and TfL can roll out an unnecessary, segregated cycle lane overnight, yet take three months to provide sanitising units to tube stations to protect passengers !!!

Phone charging company ChargeUp, partners with TfL to provide sanitising stations in London Underground

A London phone charging company has announced a partnership with a transport organisation to help keep the city clean.

ChargedUp, which provides phone charging stations in public spaces across the country, has announced that its spin-off, CleanedUp, is finally partnering with Transport for London.

The company is currently providing sanitising stations across every London Underground station to help stop the spread of germs in the system.

1495 hand sanitiser dispensers were installed over the weekend – ensuring every tube station in London has at least one.

CleanedUp CEO Hugo Tilmouth commented: “We received the order from TfL on Thursday 8 May and delivered units to all their stations by the following Sunday 17.

“It was a massive undertaking, and with the Prime Minister announcing an easing of lockdown rules, it was essential that it was completed on time”.

Since its launch just a few weeks ago, CleanedUp has ramped up production from 500 units per week to 2000, in order to meet the massive demand.

They said: “We’ve partnered with sanitiser manufactures in the UK to ensure we have a consistent supply to help keep the country safe and clean.
Also, we’re installing units in other major transportation hubs in the coming weeks.”

Source: BDailyNews