Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hewlett Packard Free Taxi Service: The Mayor Replies to Taxi Trades Complaints.

Dear James,

I have now received a response to my question to the Mayor.
Please see below.
If I can be of any further assistance then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,
Navin

Promotional taxis
Question No: 1488 / 2012
Navin Shah

I was contacted by a taxi driver angry about a Private Hire Company offering a 'free' "Taxi Service" from selected "Taxi Stops" in Central London having been hired by Hewlett Packard as a promotion for their new laptop. When I contacted TfL about this I was advised that TfL was issuing guidance and advice to avoid any future misunderstandings. I would be grateful to see sight of this advice and guidance and would like a list of who this has been sent to.

Written response from the Mayor

A number of taxi drivers contacted TfL regarding this week long Hewlett Packard promotion which included a free courtesy shuttle service to a number of locations while passengers experienced their new lap top. The service provided was incorrectly reported in the Evening Standard as a free "taxi service".

TfL investigated the circumstances of the "service" and it was apparent that the activity was to promote their new laptop, rather than offer a traditional passenger transport service. Passengers were not paying any money for the service and, in line with guidelines issued by the DfT to licensing authorities such as TfL, they concluded that licensing was not required. While the Private Hire operator concerned used licensed vehicles and drivers, they were firmly of the view that the service did not require licensing by TfL.

The guidance you refer to was verbal guidance issued to the Private Hire operator concerned requesting they check with TfL as to whether licensing is required prior to entering into any arrangements such as this in future.


Navin Shah AM
London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow
London Assembly Labour Group
City Hall
The Queen's Walk
London SE1 2AA

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Further information about requirement for a Public Inquiry...by Dave Davies

Certain characteristics can be identified in those public inquiries that have taken place:

Widespread loss of life
Threats to public health or safety
Failure by the state in its duty to protect

Failure in regulation
Shocking events

1. Allegations of serious misconduct and prima facie merit have been made against those acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the state and

2. Those allegations are sufficiently widespread and are being treated sufficiently seriously by those outside Government to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the State and in the rule of law and

3. The allegations relate to a sufficiently defined event or series of events to allow an inquiry to be given proper and clear terms of reference and

4. An inquiry would represent the most effective means of establishing the merit of the allegations made and so of restoring public confidence.
This website gives a clear guide about the process
http://www.publicinquiries.org/determining_the_need_for_an_inquiry

Terms of reference for judge-led Inquiry

To inquire into the culture, practices, and ethics of The Mayor and Transport for London including:

1. The failure of The Mayor and TFL to comply with Public Law in their decision making process. Decisions are required (by Public Law) to be evidence based, rational , reasonable, proportionate, and consistent. (This includes Air Quality strategies and the policies relating to London Taxis e.g. failure to implement regulation of Private Hire Law , access to ORN, removal of taxi ranks, an Age Limit on Taxis)

2. The Mayor/TFL have failed to reduce emissions in London. Their Air Quality strategies have failed miserably and as a direct result 4267 people a year have died (17068 in the last 4 years) from pollution related illness and many more suffered poor health and a diminished quality of life. The Mayor and TFL have failed in their Duty of Care to implement effective strategies to protect the health on Londoners.

3. The Metropolitan Police have refused to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption and Misconduct in Public Office. In 2008 a High Court Judge ruled that TFL had made unlawful decisions (which constitutes Misconduct in Public Office) and no action has been taken.

4. The Environmental Audit Committee published a damning report in November 2011 which was extremely critical of the failed Air Quality standards in London and yet the Government has taken no action. The Mayor and TFL have not been held to account by any agency.

5. The Mayor and TFL have tried to cheat Air Quality measurements by spraying dust suppressants at Air Quality measurements stations. This is a clear fraudulent attempt to hide the pollution problems and a clear admission that ALL Air Quality strategies have failed miserably.

6. The EU could impose fines of £300 million for London’s failure to comply with emissions standards, which will be passed on to Londoners.

7. The Olympic Committee could withhold £175 million for failed Air Quality standards during the Olympics. It will be humiliating if the world sees athletes suffering from breathing polluted air.

8. The Mayor and TFL have unreasonably ignored any suggestions of valid ideas to improve emissions i.e. a peak time delivery ban or a clean up process for diesel vehicles.

9. In 2009 The mayor ignored attempts by the Labour Government to force him to take action to reduce emissions.

10. The Mayor and TFL have no effective and robust strategies in place going forward, so there is no likelihood that the situation will improve. In his recent manifesto The Mayor did not even mention any proposals to reduce emissions in London, which would suggest he has no intention to do so

Saturday, May 12, 2012

LTPH: Spring 2012 News Letter.

London Taxi and Private Hire
Spring 2012 tfl.gov.uk/tph

TPHNews [b]MAYOR OF LONDON[/b]

[b]Transport for London [/b]
PCO Twitter service (more details in this newsletter) so we hope you will follow us!
Prior to the start of the Olympics on 27 July, the Olympic Torch Relay will make its way around the UK travelling within 10 miles of 95% of the population with rolling road closures in place as the relay moves through the Capital. You can find details of the route and when it will be visiting each borough on the London 2012 website.
A lot of the information to help you carry on working during the Games and keep you informed about what is planned has already been published. Sites you might find useful include:
You can find information about travel hotspots at Get Ahead of the Games Maps and reports about the Olympic Route Network and Paralympic Route Network can be found at tfl.gov.uk

If you are on Twitter you can also follow Get Ahead of the Games by following @GAOTG

To help you make the most of all the opportunities available, this summer were preparing a handbook all about the Games and we plan to send this out to all licensed taxi drivers and private hire operators in June.

Olympic update The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are quickly approaching. We appreciate that there has been some frustration from the taxi and private hire trades that more information about the various arrangements has not been forthcoming. However, more information will be released over the coming weeks and we really want everyone to get behind the event. Taxis and private hire vehicles have an important role to play transporting the public, which will contribute to a successful event and add to London taxis and Private Hire vehicles (TPH) high quality reputation. PCO will send out as much relevant information as possible though our email updates. Updates will also be sent out using the new Renew now. If your taxi or PHV drivers licence is due to expire during the Games then make sure you submit your renewal now to avoid any delays during the Olympic Games.

[b]Contents [/b]
1 Olympic update
2 New taxi fares
3 ORN and PRN over
3 Taxi and private hire licence fees
3 Private hire operator new application forms
4 Law Commission review of taxi and PHV licensing
5 Private hire consultation operating centre requirements
5 Compliance team update
6 Joint operations
6 Ranks news
7 Taxi Driver Disability Awareness Campaign update
7 Taxi and private hire vehicle age and emissions limits
8 Green and yellow badge identifiers
8 Roadworks
9 Cycle safety training
9 PCO Twitter
10 Save fuel and money
10 Licensing telephone enquiry line
10 Myth buster
11 Private hire traininag
11 Keeping up to date
11 Contact us

Welcome again to another edition of PCO Newsletter, we hope you like the new format. There are plenty of developments in PCO to keep you up to date with as PCO staff are working hard to improve the level of service we provide to you.

I am delighted to finally announce that PCO has its own Twitter account after a lot of internal discussions within TfL. I really hope that drivers and operators which have access to Twitter will follow us @TFLTPH and will appreciate receiving information from us directly and provide constructive comments to our information-only account. You can also receive updates by emailing subscribe to PCO.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk
Finally the Olympics is fast approaching and I hope both the taxi and private hire trades take the opportunity to show the world how professional and dedicated you are in transporting the public.

I would recommend that everyone has a look at the get ahead of the games website www.getaheadofthegames. com to see how your journeys could be affected by the various changes.

John Mason, Director, London Taxi and Private Hire

[b]ORN and PRN overview[/b]
It is vital that athletes and officials get to Games events on time. To ensure this is possible, temporary road changes will be introduced along the Olympic Route Network (ORN) - a 109-mile network of roads connecting key venues, accommodation and transport hubs across London. The Paralympic Route Network (PRN) will operate on a smaller scale during the Paralympic Games. The ORN/ PRN is a fundamental part of Londons Host City Contract.

Every day of the Olympic Games (27 July-12 August) and Paralympic Games (29 August-9 September) will be different. Traffic changes are likely to be introduced a couple of days before the Games begin and last until just after they end. However, some stretches of the ORN will be removed when they are no longer needed. The section to and from the Wimbledon venue, for example, will be removed after the Tennis finishes on 5 August.

In cases where the ORN/PRN forms part of a Games road event route, athletes and officials will use alternative routes to get around London. There will be some temporary traffic changes on these routes, although they will have less impact than those on the ORN and will only operate during the road events.

For more information click on the following link: www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/ projectsandschemes/18196.aspx
Private hire operator new application forms

[b]Taxi fares [/b]
On 2 February 2012 the TfL Board approved a 5.3% increase to taxi fares plus a 20p increase in the flag-fall, taking this from £2.20 to £2.40. The changes to the taxi fares and tariffs came into effect on Saturday 14 April 2012.

The proposal to introduce an additional charge or premium during the Games was not approved and the normal taxi fares and tariffs will apply during the Games.

To check out details of the new tariff rates visit the TfL website at www.tfl.gov.uk/taxifares.

Following the introduction of the new operator licensing criteria, we have also carried out an extensive review of the current application processes and application forms. More information will be required upon the submission of an application to determine the suitability of all the individuals and proposed operating centres associated with a licence. We have also simplified the application forms so they are easier to understand and to help reduce the number of errors made.

All currently licensed operators affected by the proposed policy changes are being given guidance to ensure that they have the necessary provisions in place to meet the new requirements.

You can download our new operator application pack at www.tfl.gov.uk/tph
Law Commission review of taxi and PHV licensing
The Law Commission have been asked to review the existing framework of taxi and private hire vehicle regulation with a view to preparing proposals for consultation in May this year.

Following PCO initial conversations with the Law Commission, we have been concerned with some of their initial proposals, particularly those that could confuse the definition and distinct regulatory difference between London taxis and private hire vehicles.

With that in mind, the Mayor of London wrote to the Law Commission to explain why London taxis and private hire vehicles are uniquely different and strongly opposing any radical changes to London taxi and private hire legislation. He stated - the London taxi and private hire trades do not require radical reform and I would be absolutely opposed to the introduction of legislation that would seek to undermine the current system, and which would challenge TfLs ability to set its own regulations.

The Law Commission have written back to the Mayor addressing many of our concerns.

We are pleased that the Law Commission recognises that the taxi/private hire market works well in London, and that their current view is that the current two tier structure should be retained, and if agreed there would be no change of substance to the licensing arrangements of black cabs in London.

The full consultation can be found at: http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/. The closing date for responses is 10 August.

[b]Compliance team update [/b]
The PCO Compliance teams main focus is to ensure all taxi and private hire drivers and operators are operating lawfully and within their conditions of licence, as well as to offer advice and assistance on-street to drivers directly. The team regularly targets activity based on various information and intelligence we receive, such as private hire operators operating outside their conditions of licence or drivers not displaying their identifiers. Licensees who fail to meet our requirements may have their licence reviewed of their licence, which could potentially result in a warning, suspension or revocation.

The Compliance team has a total of 32 staff whose responsibilities include private hire operator pre-licensing inspections, premises inspections and compliance checks such as vehicle inspections and driver licence checks.

25 of these officers work predominately during the day, with the remaining seven staff forming a dedicated night team in direct response to concerns regarding touting and late night compliance activity demand. PCO is recruiting eight new staff to the night team, to target our efforts where there is the most illegal activity and to ensure we have night cover every night of the week.

In addition the Met Police and City of London Police have 68 dedicated cab enforcement officers who deal with all illegal taxi and PHV activity, including arresting unlicensed drivers.

[b]Joint operations [/b]
At PCO we understand that compliance activity is often more effective if it is undertaken jointly with the various other enforcement agencies. We work closely with the Metropolitan and City Police, local councils, bailiffs, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Recently TPH, the Met Police and VOSA have worked together to target unlicensed and dangerous stretched limousines by undertaking two joint enforcement operations. The operations were targeted in hot spots where we received intelligence that limousines were operating in specific areas.

Over the two operations 50 stretched Limousines were examined. 40 prohibitions were issued to these vehicles for various offences including two limos impounded by VOSA for unauthorised use of a vehicle and one driver prosecution for not having an operators licence
As the operations were so successful we will undertaking additional operations in the build up to the Olympics.

If you have any information of where illegal stretched limousines are operating please send this information to the reporting illegal activity section of our cabs enforcement page: https://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/19382.aspx

[b]Rank news [/b]
Kings Cross The new taxi rank and set down area at Kings Cross station opened on 19 March 2012. This provides extra capacity for taxis and a facility for setting down customers at the new entrance to the station. Please note that the entrance at York Way will be closed and drivers should therefore ensure they set down passengers at the entrance on Pancras Road.

Paddington The new taxi rank at Paddington is now open. Drivers are reminded that they are now able to use both the left and right lanes when turning right onto Bishops Bridge Road on exiting the facility.
Tooley Street Weve received a number of reports of taxi driers over-ranking at the More London taxi rank in Tooley Street. Please remember not to over-rank when a taxi rank is already full. Over-ranking causes delays to other roads users, including taxi drivers, and is particular dangerous at this rank as over-ranked taxis force cyclists out further into the
road and into the path of oncoming traffic.

Remember do not over-rank when a taxi rank is already full. Over-ranking causes delays to other roads users, including taxi drivers, and can put cyclists, pedestrians and motorists at risk.

Taxi and private hire vehicle age and emissions limits
Taxi Driver Disability Awareness Campaign Update

In our previous newsletter, we gave details of the measures laid out in the Mayors Air Quality Strategy and how this would affect licensed taxis and private hire vehicles.

The age limits and emissions standards are as follows: from 1 January 2012 a 10 year rolling age limit was introduced for private hire vehicles and a 15 year rolling age limit for taxis; this has now been implemented within the licensing system from 1 April 2012 all new, or new to licensing, PHVs must, as a minimum, meet Euro 4 standards for emissions and be no older than five years and all new, or new to licensing, taxis must, as a minimum, meet Euro 5 standards for emissions.

This measure will now be implemented into the licensing system for taxis and PHVs. Because all new taxis have been manufactured to meet Euro 5 emissions standards from January 2012 and new PHVs have had to meet the Euro 4 emissions standards since January 2007 PCO expect that the taxi and PHV trades will have few problems meeting these new requirements.

The combination of these age limits and minimum emission standards will help reduce harmful emissions from the taxi and PHV fleet and improve air quality for all Londoners.

In October 2011 we launched the first stage of the Taxi Driver Disability Awareness Campaign to ensure that the taxi trade offer a professional and first class service to customers with disabilities in the lead up to the Games. The PCO Compliance Team were deployed to ensure that all ramps, harnesses and equipment were present, in good working order and that the drivers knew how to operate the equipment. Many busy ranks were targeted in London including mainline stations such as Paddington, Kings Cross, Waterloo, Victoria, Wembley and Liverpool Street to hand out leaflets that provided advice and guidance to drivers and passengers. (leaflet attached)

Phase two and three of the Campaign commenced in February where a tougher approach is being taken. The Compliance team are being deployed more frequently until Games time and any drivers that are not conforming by having fully functioning ramps and equipment etc will have unfit notices issued for their taxis. This means that their vehicles will be out of commission until all defects have been rectified and booked in for an inspection.

[b]Green and yellow badge identifiers [/b]
Since 1 March 2012, all taxi drivers are required to display driver identifiers when plying for hire as a condition of their licence. Identifiers must be displayed clearly on the front and rear windows of the taxi and must be carried alongside the driver badge and licence. Both the Met Police Cabs Enforcement Unit and PCO Compliance officers will be working to raise awareness with the taxi trade and ensuring drivers who are not displaying their identifiers are advised and reported where necessary.

We have also set up a new online reporting tool for members of the public to report any drivers who are witnessed not displaying their identifiers, displaying the wrong identifiers, or who may be plying for hire outside of his or her licence area directly to us.

It is intended that these reports provide intelligence information which can be used in the future. No action will be taken against a specific individual driver named in a report, however if a driver or vehicle comes to the attention of TfL on more than one occasion, further investigation is likely to take place and could lead to a suspension or revocation of their licence.

For further information on how to report please visit our Cab Enforcement website at www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/19382.aspx Suburban licence Driver badge number Transport for London MAYOR OF LONDON Borough codes N, RD Extensions Sectors S5, S6, S7, S5, S6, S7, S6, S7, S5

All London licence Driver badge number Transport for London MAYOR OF LONDON

[b]Roadworks [/b]
To help reduce the amount of roadworks in London, the Mayor has asked TfL, the London boroughs and all those digging up the Capitals roads to pledge to do all they can to minimise unnecessary roadworks disruption and ensure works are well managed. Drivers can also report problems with roadworks to TfL by using the online form available on the TfL website.

Details of the new pledge and the form to report problems can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk/roadworks

[b]Cycle safety training[/b]
Below is a reminder of the tips that can help make you, your passengers and cyclists safer when out on the roads. If you have children who cycle you may also be interested to hear that free or subsidised cycle training is available for children in most London boroughs and you can request cycle training for your children by visiting our website at: www.tfl.gov. uk/cycletraining

To make everyone safer when you are on the road remember to: look out for cyclists when turning left or right - they may be filtering through slow moving or stationary traffic and always indicate when turning check for cyclists when you or your passengers open vehicle doors look out for cyclists at junctions - some junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be safely positioned ahead of other traffic so keep this space free for them give cyclists plenty of room when overtaking as much as you would when overtaking a car. Cyclists might use the middle of the lane if they feel its too narrow for cars to overtake, so hang back if you cant pass safely.

[b]TPH Twitter [/b]
As part of our commitment to look into innovative ways to improve communication with the trades, PCO has launched its own Twitter account so we can get relevant information out to you as licensed taxi and private hire drivers and operators. Tweets will contain news and updates such as important information on taxi rank suspensions, train services being cancelled and details of forthcoming PCO consultations. Initially we expect there to be around two or three tweets per day.

In addition, we are planning to get the account up and running in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games so we can provide you with real time information such as highlighting times of events where there will be a significant demand for taxis and PHVs.

The PCO Twitter account will provide information only and will not be responding to tweets from followers. Any questions should be directed in the normal manner via PCO.Enquiries@tfl.gov.uk.

[b]Save fuel and money[/b]
With prices continuing to rise at the pumps reducing fuel consumption and saving money is a concern for all taxi drives.

To help you save money the Energy Saving Trust (EST) are providing free training and advice sessions on how to reduce your annual fuel consumption and cut costs. The feedback from the drivers whove attended a session so far has been extremely positive with them managing to make on average a 25% reduction in their fuel consumption and savings that equate to around £1,700 per year.

The sessions last just 90 minutes and are being held at The London Taxi Companys office in Brewery Road, N7. The session involves driving a taxi, which will be provided for you so you dont need to use your own taxi or fuel, and does not involve any kind of a test or exam.
This offer is open to all licensed taxi drivers and so if you would like to book a place then you can either email us at PCO.research@tfl. gov.uk or book a space online by following the steps below: visit the EST website at www.smarterdriving.net/est login using your own email address and the password savings select the date and time that suits you.

Youll then be sent an email confirming your booking. Youll need to take your DVLA licence, including your photocard if you have one, when you go to the session.

[b]Mythbuster[/b]
Touting is a huge concern for PCO and we are working hard to identify and take actions against drivers who are carrying out this illegal activity. Working closely with Met Police Cab Enforcement Unit, Safer Transport Teams, City of London Police and the British Transport Police, in the last year we have revoked a total of 422 Private Hire Driver licences for touting offences and refused 73 Private Hire Driver Applications for previous touting offences.*

Since 8 January 2012, we have started to publish the names of drivers who have had their licences revoked for a touting conviction.
Individuals who are cautioned for touting will also have their licences revoked under the Mayors One Strike and Out policy, however, we are not allowed to publish these names.

To view this information and more enforcement results, or to report a touting offence please go to tfl.gov.uk/ corporate/safety&security.

[b]Licensing telephone enquiry line[/b]
To improve the service we offer you and as a result of your feedback we will shortly be extending the opening hours of our licensing telephone enquiries line by one hour. We are currently working to establish the best date to introduce this change. Once this is introduced, our Licensing Team will be able accept telephone calls from 8am 6pm Monday to Friday. We will keep you informed of when the extended hours go live.

[b]Get in touch[/b]
If you would like to contact us: General enquiries PCO.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk Taxi ranks tphranksinterchange@tfl.gov.uk Complaints coms@pco.org.uk Telephone 0845 602 7000 Fax 020 3054 3160 Reporting touting, misuse of identifiers or enforcement issues www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/19382.aspx

If youd like to write to us: TfL London Taxi and Private Hire Palestra, 4th Floor 197 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8NJ

Please make sure you mark your correspondence for the appropriate section of PCO. Dont forget you can also visit our website for information, the address is www.tfl.gov.uk/tph
Printed on recycled paper

[b]Private Hire training[/b]
Smarter driving training and advice on how to cut fuel consumption, save money and reduce vehicle emissions has also been arranged with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) for private hire drivers.
If youre a licensed private hire operator and would like to arrange training for your drivers then email us at PCO.research@tfl.gov.uk and include:
your licence number and operator name
contact telephone number
how many drivers you have

Completing the training could help your drivers reduce their fuel consumption, save money and improve air quality in London but spaces are limited so if you are interested then contact us now.

[b]On the grapevine[/b]
[b]Keeping up to date [/b]
Hopefully this newsletter has helped answer any rumours or stories in circulation at the moment but if you are aware of a rumour about TfL or the taxi or private hire trade and would like to know whether there is any truth in it then get in touch by emailing us at PCO.
enquiries@tfl.gov.uk. Tell us what it is you have heard on the grapevine and we will set the record straight in the next newsletter or through our new Twitter account.

To improve our communications with the taxi and private hire trades and keep you up to date, we are asking licensees to send us their email address. If you would like to register to receive email updates, including about the Olympics, then send your email address to: PCO.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk.

Remember you can find all of the PCO notices issued this year on the TfL website and future notices will be posted there too.