Monday, May 30, 2011

PCO Notice 07/09 Parking on Taxi Ranks.

PCO Notice 07/09
Further guidance for the drivers of private hire vehicles

PCO Notice 42/08 provided guidance to PHV drivers about accepting bookings and associated practices. This Notice provides some further information to help PHV drivers comply with the law.
Heathrow Airport and London City Airport
Item 2 of the Notice 42/08 stated if a driver is approached by a potential passenger, whether they are sat in your vehicle or otherwise, they must direct the passenger towards their licensed operator’s office to make the booking there in person or they may hand out business cards bearing the telephone number of their operators to allow passengers to contact the operator to make a booking. Drivers must never approach members of the public to offer services.
Drivers must be aware that whilst handing out a business card is allowed on the streets of London, under Heathrow Airport Byelaw 4(12) ‘Offer of Service’, it is an offence on any part of Heathrow Airport. The byelaw states ‘No person shall sell or distribute anything, offer anything for sale or hire or make any offer of services for reward’.
Any driver contravening this particular byelaw shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £2,500.
It is also an offence at London City Airport, which is governed by separate byelaws. Byelaw 5(14) states that ‘No person shall carry on a business, sell or distribute anything, offer anything for sale or hire or make any offer of service for reward’. Furthermore, Byelaw 5(15) states ‘No person shall post, distribute or display signs, advertisements, circulars or other printed or written material’.
Any driver contravening a byelaw shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine, which in respect of contravention of Byelaw 5(14) shall be up to £400, and up to £1,000 in respect of Byelaw 5(15).
Taxi Ranks

Drivers of PHVs are reminded that they must not park or wait on taxi ranks.
The driver and owner of any vehicle except for a licensed hackney carriage found standing on a rank may be liable to a fine of up to £2,500.
Mary Dowdye
25 March 2009 Head of Standards & Regulations

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TfL Press Release on Sexual Assault Figures.

Safer Travel at Night: Over 1,300 drivers arrested last year as part of crackdown on unbooked 'minicabs'
Over 1,300 arrests last year alone, but in John Mason reply to the chairman of the RMT he says 590 convictions since 2008. Convictions are what count not arrests.  
23 May 2011
Latest weekend operation brings in 39 arrests
Although this is welcome news, we are not complacent, and we will continue our efforts to further reduce these crimes.
Steve Burton, Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing at TfL


Cab related related sexual offences fall by 20 per cent year on year.
No, that’s not accurate, they have fallen only once in the last three years!


The Mayor of London's war against unlicensed minicabs 
(a secret war we presume) 
has resulted in 1,300 arrests over the last 12 months in a crackdown on touting and other cab-related offences during 2010/11.  More important, How many conviction?
The latest figures show the success of the ongoing Safer Travel at Night (STaN) initiative, a partnership between the Mayor, Transport for London (TfL), Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the City of London Police (CoLP), who are working together to make travelling in London safer at night. Wrong! As STaN suggested Satellite offices which have been acknowledged as the main cause of Sexual attacks, it is Stan that is responsible for these appalling statistics.
STaN aims to reduce the number of cab-related sexual offences by raising awareness of the dangers of using unbooked minicabs, also known as touts and illegal cabs, and by using targeted police and enforcement activity to identify, disrupt and deter illegal cab activity. Not such a brilliant idea: Simply by removing satellite offices and the lines of unlawfully plying for hire touts would do a much better job! Also consider reducing the ever increasing number of PH licenses currently standing at over 75,000 and could reach 86,000 by Christmas.
*So far 5 Cab’s, 1 minicab!
Undercover tactics
Both the MPS Safer Transport Command, CoLP and TfL officers (Both? What all three both?) carry out regular enforcement activity across London including high-visibility patrols, stop/checks on vehicles, intelligence-led operations and engaging with the public.
Yes 38,000 vehicle inspections in 2010/11, targeted on Licensed Taxis, in high visibility stops mainly carried out on Bayswater and Chelsea Bridge Roads. Intelligence-led operations think you need more up to date intelligents
During the latest three-night-operation, that took place last weekend in central London, the West End and parts of Camden, there were 39 people arrested for touting and other cab-related offences. 
Surely you mean, minicab related?
Officers used undercover tactics and also conducted roadside vehicle and licence compliance checks on all minicabs within the operation area. Impossible for them to have checked all minicabs within the targeted area, just more mis-information!
Despite significant progress over recent year’s unbooked minicabs remain a high priority for the Mayor, TfL and the police as they are a danger to the public, especially as they operate around the Capital's night life. 
Nice of the Mayor to finally notice as the West End grinds to a halt every week end.
Russian roulette
These cabs are unregulated and uninsured to carry passengers, and in some cases the drivers are linked to more serious crimes including rape and sexual assault, robbery and drugs.
Last year saw the number of cab-related sexual offences fall by 20 per cent to 111 but there is more work to be done. 
Not Last year I’m afraid, TfL have manipulated the way they calculated the assault figures by using the financial year. Plus the attacks that were removed by the 3 suspended Met officers have not been re added to the total, so figures are in fact misleading, again!
These cabs also present a threat to licensed and law-abiding taxi and private hire drivers as they intercept customers and represent unfair - and unsustainable - competition.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The people who live in and visit this great city need to know that it is safe to get around.
'It is in this context that we must confront the Russian roulette that is presented by illegal minicabs
See if Boris can get it right, why can’t TfL?
'Taxi touts are a menace to Londoners and tourists and the number of arrests made clearly indicates our decision to double the size of TfL's excellent cab enforcement team.' 
Sorry, haven't I just read that TfL issued redundancy notices cutting back the full time compliance officers to just 31?
We are not complacent
Steve Burton, Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing at TfL, said: 'These results reflect the hard work by officers from both the police and TfL to tackle touting, cab-related sexual offences and other illegal cab activity in the Capital.
'Although this is welcome news, we are not complacent, and we will continue our efforts to further reduce these crimes and ensure that the public can travel safely at night in the Capital.' Easy done Steve, just scrap Satellite offices and enforce the law for a change!
Chief Superintendent Joe Royle, Safer Transport Command, said: 'These arrests show our commitment to ensuring Londoners travel safely at night.
'We will continue to carry out operations as part of our ongoing drive to tackle illegal cabs and taxi touts operating in the Capital.'

Is it any wonder we have to battle the media every week to keep our reputation in tack when our own licensing authority misuses the words Cab(s) and Taxi(s) contra to its own guild lines (TfL Press Release 25/10)
Section 31 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998.
This section clearly states that use the words ‘taxi’, ‘taxis’, ‘cab’ or ‘cabs’, or words closely resembling any of those word’s, must not be applied to any vehicle, other than a licensed Hackney Taxi. Contravention of section 31, is an offence. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WESTMINSTER CCTV PARKING CAMERAS JUDGED TO BE ILLEGAL

WESTMINSTER CCTV PARKING CAMERAS JUDGED TO BE ILLEGAL

COUNCIL FACES CANCELLING THOUSANDS OF PARKING TICKETS AND REPAYING MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF ILLEGALLY COLLECTED FINES

From Barrie Segal - founder of AppealNow.com™

Councils face repaying millions of pounds of illegally collected fines
Parking ticket expert, Barrie Segal, the founder of the parking ticket websitewww.appealnow.com says, “Westminster Council will have to cancel tens of thousands of CCTV issued parking tickets after my landmark ruling by the Parking Adjudicator and in my view must stop using these cameras immediately. Furthermore the council also faces the prospect of repaying millions of pounds which they collected using these illegal cameras.”
In two far reaching decision for motorists the parking adjudicator has decided that Westminster Council’s CCTV parking cameras do not comply with the law.
The challenge was mounted by the UK’s leading parking ticket expert, Barrie Segal, who claimed that Westminster Council’s CCTV footage did not comply with the law as individual frames were not numbered sequentially as required by law.
After considering further evidence from Westminster Council and Barrie the parking adjudicator, Carl Teper decided in PATAS cases 211000697A and 2110013024  “ ... that the failure to sequentially number the captured images, by means of a visual counter, to be a procedural impropriety as so defined. .....The appeal is allowed”.
Barrie goes on to say, “The camera problems in these two cases apply to all the video footage that I have seen since Westminster started using their new cameras. These decisions and the evidence I have seen in several other cases I am conducting show that the CCTV cameras used by Westminster Council do not comply with the law and therefore paring tickets issued using them cannot be enforced.  Westminster Council should stop using those cameras immediately and cancel all parking tickets issued as a result of their use.  They should also refund all parking tickets paid by motorists who were caught by these cameras and believed the cameras were legal”



Notes
  1. The legislation relating to CCTV cameras for parking enforcement is contained in The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007. Are
  2. The two cases PATAS cases 211000697A (James Field – v – Westminster City Council) and 2110013024  (William Sumner – v – Westminster City Council
  3. Under paragraph 2(c) of the Schedule to The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007 it states “each frame of all captured images is timed (in hours, minutes and seconds), dated and sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter
  4. Extract from Decisions “I am not satisfied that the authority has complied with the requirement in paragraph 2(c) of the Schedule to the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007, that the recording device must include a recording system in which "each frame of all captured images is timed (in hours, minutes and seconds), dated and sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter".

    Whilst each frame of the captured images are timed and dated, I find that they are not sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter.

    In coming to this conclusion I have accepted the argument advanced by Mr Segal, in his written submissions, that the numbering of the visual counter is not sequentially numbered.

    Regulation 4(4) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 provides the grounds on which representations may be made against a Notice to Owner.

    Regulation 4(4)(f) states:

       'that there has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority'

    "Procedural impropriety" in this context means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed by the Traffic Management Act 2004 or the General Regulations or Representations and Appeals Regulations. This includes, pursuant to Regulation 4(5)(a) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 the taking of any step, whether or not involving the service of any document, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions subject to which; or at the time or during the period when, it is authorised or required to be taken.

    I find that the failure to sequentially number the captured images, by means of a visual counter, to be a procedural impropriety as so defined.

    Regulation 7(2) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 provides that if the Adjudicator concludes that a ground specified in Regulation 4(4) above applies, "he shall allow the appeal". There is no discretion about this.

    The appeal is allowed.


FULL DECISION:
Case Reference: 211000697A
Appellant: Mr James John Field Authority:Westminster VRM:XXXX  PCN:XXXXXXContravention Date: 24 Nov 2010 Contravention Time:14:41Contravention Location: Brewer Street Penalty Amount:£120.00
Contravention: Parked or loading or unloading when prohibited
Decision Date:18 Apr 2011
Adjudicator: Carl Teper
Appeal Decision: Allowed Direction: cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and the Notice to Owner.
Reasons:
On 2 April 2011 when I first considered this appeal I caused the following notification to be sent to the enforcement authority:
"The enforcement authority is directed to prove by statement that the camera operator is duly authorised to provide photographic evidence of the contravention. Further, paragraph 2(c) of the Schedule to the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007, requires that the recording device must include a recording system in which "each frame of all captured images is timed (in hours, minutes and seconds), dated and sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter". The DVD does not appear to bear this information. The date and times can be seen on the footage but there is no indication of sequential numbering. The authority is directed to comment on this apparent failure to meet the scheduled requirements and the conditions of use."
  
The authority has responded and I am satisfied that the camera operator is duly authorised to provide photographic evidence of the contravention.

However, I am not satisfied that the authority has complied with the requirement in paragraph 2(c) of the Schedule to the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007, that the recording device must include a recording system in which "each frame of all captured images is timed (in hours, minutes and seconds), dated and sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter".

Whilst each frame of the captured images are timed and dated, I find that they are not sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter.

In coming to this conclusion I have accepted the argument advanced by Mr Segal, in his written submissions, that the numbering of the visual counter is not sequentially numbered.

Regulation 4(4) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 provides the grounds on which representations may be made against a Notice to Owner.

Regulation 4(4)(f) states:

   'that there has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority'

"Procedural impropriety" in this context means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed by the Traffic Management Act 2004 or the General Regulations or Representations and Appeals Regulations. This includes, pursuant to Regulation 4(5)(a) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 the taking of any step, whether or not involving the service of any document, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions subject to which; or at the time or during the period when, it is authorised or required to be taken.

I find that the failure to sequentially number the captured images, by means of a visual counter, to be a procedural impropriety as so defined.

Regulation 7(2) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 provides that if the Adjudicator concludes that a ground specified in Regulation 4(4) above applies, "he shall allow the appeal". There is no discretion about this.

The appeal is allowed.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

John Mason Replies to New RMT Chairman.

Dear Mr Mason,
The RMT Union will do everything in its power to protect the interests and safety of its members and the travelling public.
Pickets and demonstrations will be used as a last resort when other methods may have failed.
 The RMT TAXI branch have requested meetings with both TPH and your bosses at TFL, both you and your superiors have refused to meet with us on these matters.
 The branch has also written to you to suggest ways that could help to alleviate the problems faced by the licensed taxi trade and the travelling public. The RMT taxi branch has suggested an approach which you could use at venues such as Abacus, where you claim to have no authority, even though you license both the venue and the drivers.
 The Licensed Taxi Trade has yet to see any improvement at venues including the Grosvenor House Hotel where private hire vehicles deliberately block the taxi rank with impunity and it often seems if not with your permission, with your blessing, is this true?
 There appears to be no evidence of your "one strike and you are out" policy. If your policy is so successful why are there still hundreds of TPH licensed private hire drivers still ranking outside and touting for work at venues all over London?
If your own figures are to be believed, how can you justify almost total inaction on over 150 sexual assaults and an average of 2 rapes per month by private hire drivers (licensed or unlicensed) over the last  year?
Furthermore in case you are unsure, the protest outside Windsor House was to highlight the number of sexual assaults and to publicise the inability of your department to come up with a strategy to protect both the licensed taxi trade and members of the travelling public from violent attacks and sexual assaults both day and night. 
 The RMT taxi branch would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a way forward and help form a strategy to protect both our members and the travelling public.
Yours faithfully,

Paul Walsh

Chair 
RMT London taxi branch 




REPLY:


 Dear
Thank you for your email of 23 April.
Without wishing to get involved in unnecessary or protracted correspondence I do believe it is important you and your members have a clear understanding of TfL’s position on the points raised and made.

In the first instance I would respectfully remind you that I have repeatedly stated my willingness to meet with the RMT London Taxi branch on a formal basis should they meet and agree to the driver association engagement policy. To date the RMT London Taxi Branch has rejected any suggestion that they can or are willing to meet the policy and as such I can only continue to politely decline your requests for a meeting.

I have never claimed TfL has no authority for Abacus and would welcome an understanding as to how you have reached this conclusion given my previous emails to the RMT on this matter and actions taken by us in light of the taxi trade concerns regarding this venue.

Similarly, with regards to the Grosvenor House Hotel, we have taken considerable action to deal with concerns raised by taxi trade relating to this location, including increased enforcement of the parking restrictions utilising CCTV and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

As I am sure you are aware, the “one strike and your out“ policy was introduced in August 2008 and since this date the policy  has been revised so that any driver who receives a caution for touting in addition to any driver convicted for touting, will have their licensed revoked. Since August 2008 590 TfL licensed drivers have had their license revoked under the “one strike and your out” policy. Whilst I accept there are still drivers there are still drivers willing to risk touting I feel it is far better to have the policy than be with out it although am obviously interested if the RMT London Taxi branch are advocating its removal.

However, whether you agree or not the “one strike and your out” policy is one part of a range of activities undertaken by TfL to tackle illegal cabs reducing touting and stop cab-related sexual assaults. In addition to the ongoing compliance and enforcement activities carried out by our own Taxi &PHV Compliance Team,
which included over 38,000 vehicle inspections in 2010/11, there are regular
covert and high-visibility operations by the Metropolitan and City of London police forces, often with the support of TfL employees. An expanded full time TfL night-time Compliance Team is being established and they will focus on compliance and enforcement activities at night. We also continue to run an extensive pan-London advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of using illegal cabs, educating people that minicabs must be booked and informing people that they can find licensed private hire or Taxi services by using Cabwise Findaride, the late night marshalled taxi tanks or by calling TfL’s 24 hour Travel information Contact Centre.

Although we have seen reductions in the market share of illegal minicabs and cab-related sexual assaults since this work started in 2002 we know that there is still more to do to continue to improve public safety and reduce the number of cab-related sexual offences. The suggestion that TfL is doing nothing to address this problem is misinformed and misjudged and ensuring the safety of the travelling public and licensed taxi and private hire drivers is fundamental to what we are doing.

The figures quoted in your email are incorrect. The figures for sexual cab related offences for 2008/09 and 2009/10 were:

Sexual Assaults           2008/09              2009/10
Cab-related                  93.                       143.

The figures for 2009/10 show that since 2002, cab-related sexual offences have fallen to an average of 15 to 12 each month and while was is an increase since 2008/09 to 2009/10 since the start of the STaN campaign the overall figure has dropped.

There certainly are not 150 reported offences each month and all quoted figures include reported offences in London Licensed Taxis.

In conclusion I totally reject your allegation that there has been “total inaction” by TfL and that unnecessary, misinformed and misguided protests either on street or outside TfL buildings do absolutely nothing to help improve the safety of passengers and drivers.
Yours sincerely

John Mason.
Director Taxi &private hire
Email: johnmason@tfl.gov.uk 

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Freedom of Information request - Gross cost to TfL STaN/Operation Sapphire

-----Original Message-----
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 25 March 2011 07:39
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Gross cost to TfL STaN/Operation
Sapphire

Dear Transport for London,

Could you please supply me under the FOI Act, the gross cost of The

Safer Travel at Night initiative (STaN)to TfL since its inception

in 2002. And the same gross cost to TfL of operation Sapphire since

its inception in 2002.

As these two policies were designed to run in tandem with each

other under the heading of The Safer Travel at Night initiative

(STaN)I have included both in my request.

Yours faithfully,

xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

------REPLY------

Date: 26.04.2011

Dear XXX XXXX

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 25
March 2011 asking for the gross cost to date of both the

Safer Travel at Night Initiative (STaN) and operation Sapphire.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and I can confirm that TfL does hold some of the
information you require.

TfL takes cab-related sexual offences extremely seriously and is committed
to improving the safety of the travelling public. It is for this reason
that TfL spends a significant amount on the marketing campaign warning
Londoners of the potential dangers of unbooked minicabs. The budget for
the 2010/11 campaign was around £650k.

Safer Travel at Night (STaN) is one of TfL's key safety and security
campaigns. Independent research shows that STaN is effective in reaching
its target audience, young women, and persuading them not to use unbooked
minicabs. Female usage of unbooked minicabs has fallen from 19 per cent in
2003 to 3 per cent in 2011 - its lowest level.

TfL has made savings on the campaign over the years, reducing its costs
from over £1m a few years ago. We will continue to look for ways to
reduce these costs whilst ensuring the effectiveness of the campaign. The
annual costs to TfL for the STaN campaign since 2002/3 are shown in the
table below.

Year STaN Campaign spend
2002/03 *
2003/04 £85.7k*
2004/05 £782.8k
2005/06 £1,098.8k
2006/07 £1,030.8k
2007/08 £793k
2008/09 £862k
2009/10 £660k
2010/11 £650k

*The campaign was predominantly funded by the Greater London Authority.

Sapphire is not part of the STaN initiative and TfL does not hold any
information on its costs. The Sapphire Command is part of the Metropolitan
Police Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD). The primary role of the
Sapphire Command is the investigation of rapes and other serious sexual
violence with an emphasis on not only bringing offenders to justice, but
victim care and support. Sapphire officers work closely with the Cab
Enforcement Unit and TfL to investigate cab-related sexual offences. SCD
also has responsibility for investigating other serious crimes including
murder and armed robbery.

If this is not the information you are looking for, please do not hesitate
to contact me. If you are not satisfied with this response please see the
attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

Corporate Governance Directorate

General Counsel

Transport for London

[1][TfL request email]