Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO LONDON POLLUTION DEATHS AND FAILED AIR QUALITY STRATEGIES

This ePetition is for a Public Inquiry into the failed emissions strategies in London. Taxi Drivers are the worst affected by the pollution; how many drivers do you know who have heart or lung disease or cancer?

If there was an Public Inquiry into the failed emissions strategies it would not only include a full investigation of the unlawful and improper Taxi Age Limit, it would also mean that ALL of the improper strategies of TFL will be fully investigated.

The Phone Hacking investigation  started out to investigate phones being hacked and ended up with many people in the police, media and public office being charged with criminal offences for corruption, bribery and misconduct in Public Office. It will be the same if TFL are investigated

 

 

e-petition

 Click on link below

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39537

 

PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO LONDON POLLUTION DEATHS AND FAILED AIR QUALITY STRATEGIES

Responsible department: Office of the Leader of the House of Commons

A Public Inquiry will expose all that has taken place and establish exactly why thousands of people have died.The Mayor/TFL have failed to comply with Public Law and to reduce emissions in London and as a direct result 4267 people a year have died. Thousands more suffer poor health and a diminished quality of life and continue to do so on a daily basis. Children walking to school and cyclists are breathing toxic pollution 
Every day thousands of Underground passengers and staff are exposed to vented street level pollution which exceeds healthy EU Air Quality levels. 
All London Transport workers are suffering. Government attempts to force action have been ignored. Many Assembly Members and Politicians have asked for action and none is taken; there has been no accountability whatsoever. The Mayor /TFL have tried to cheat Air Quality measurements The EU could impose fines of £300 million, Valid ideas have been ignored i.e. a peak time delivery ban or a clean up process for diesel vehicles.

Sign this petition click here

 

 

There are 4267 people a year dying in London from pollution (the Mayors own statistic in 2008). In the 4 ½ years that he has been in office The Mayor has implemented improper and failed emissions strategies which have seen no reduction in pollution. Tens of thousands of people are being exposed to harmful pollution on a daily basis, including all of London’s Transport workers (Taxi Drivers, Bus Drivers, Train Drivers, Station Staff),  passengers, commuters, cyclists and pedestrians. 
If 80 people a week, each and every week, were killed in a terrorist attack, a train crash or road accident there would be outrage and there would be an immediate Public Inquiry to prevent it ever happening again. It should be the same with the deaths from pollution and the only way action will be taken is if a Public Inquiry investigates why this has happened and why it continues.

 

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

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). The Taxi Age Limit has put hundreds of London Taxi Drivers out of work, yet will do nothing to reduce pollution. The decision was improper and unlawful; it was not evidence based (no testing was ever done) and it has also been exposed that the Consultation process was improper as it involved the Taxi manufacturers. 
Tim Yeo , a senior Tory MP who initiated the Taxi Age Limit, is also the Chairman of Eco City Vehicles (the company selling the new taxis). When the improper involvement of his
company in the Age Limit consultation was exposed Tim Yeo and the CEO of Eco City Vehicles resigned, yet no action has been taken. In fact The Mayor has even denied their involvement in a letter to an MP. A High Court Judicial Review overturned a Taxi Age Limit in Newport Wales for exactly the same reason; an improper consultation process had taken place. The Department of Transport had actually advised against a Taxi Age Limit, as older taxis may be no more polluting than newer taxis, but the Mayor ignored this.

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 (19201 in the last 4 ½ years) from pollution related illness and many more suffer 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. The Local Government Ombudsman and the Standards Committee have also chosen to ignore or refused to investigate any complaints.

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 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.

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

9.      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.

During the Mayoral election all of the candidates (except Boris) formally supported a call for a Public Inquiry into the failed Air Quality and 34 London MPs   wrote to the Environment Secretary to challenge the ‘Public Health Fraud’ because TFL were using dust suppressants at the measurement locations to cheat the readings.
The Leveson inquiry has exposed the serious issues of corruption in the media, the Metropolitan Police and Public Office and a similar Inquiry will expose the reasons why The Mayor and TFL have failed which has resulted in thousands of deaths.

The Mayor and TFL knew in advance that there were thousands of people dying from pollution and also that their proposed strategies would not reduce emissions at all, yet he continued to do nothing.

In 2009 the Labour Government tried to force the Mayor to take action to reduce emissions and this was ignored.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2172187/boris-johnson-resisted-labour-appeal-tackle-london-air-pollution

 

In September 2010 TFL/ The Deputy Mayor were sent details of an engine clean up process, which would have reduced the emissions of all 21000 London Taxis by 30-50% and would have been extremely cost effective. This process could have been used for ALL diesel vehicles in London ie taxis, buses, trucks etc (which are the biggest polluters) yet it was completely ignored.

On June 6th 2010 the Mayor was sent a document which outlined effective ideas for emissions reduction. It also gave technical details of why past and future proposed strategies had and would fail;

1/ The failed taxi emissions project

2/ The failed LEZ project

The Mayor has continually been given solid technical evidence as to why his strategies are not effective. He has ignored this evidence before, during and after these strategies have been implemented.

He has ignored or sidestepped ALL questions that have been asked on many occasions by MPs and Assembly members.

 

The evidence that ALL of the Mayors strategies have failed is unarguable. The Environmental Research Group at Kings have said there has been little or no reduction in emissions in 10 years.

.

If the Air Quality had improved then why would the Mayor find it necessary to cheat the measurements by spraying dust suppressants?

 

A Public Inquiry will expose all of the reasons why there has been no action taken  and establish exactly why thousands of people have died and continue to do so.

It is alarming that despite the obvious failings of his previous tenure the Mayor has made absolutely no proposals to improve emissions going forward. (his manifesto did not even mention pollution let alone suggest any method for improving it)

 

Many letters have been sent by MPs and many questions have been asked by London Assembly Members in relation to failed emissions strategies. The Mayor has completely ignored, sidestepped or failed to answer all questions and has flatly refused to conduct any emissions conformity testing whatsoever. It should be the case that all London MPs and London Assembly Members give formal support and call for a Public Inquiry.

 

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39537

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Have The Lunatics Taken Over The Asylum At Palestra? By Jim Thomas


Insurance Write-offs
A recent post on the LTDF forum has pointed out, that a certain car company in East London with strong connections to private hire, is selling accident damaged, category C insurance write-offs to any one who wants to buy a cheap, fully PCO licensed minicab.


Allegedly, cars similar to the one in the advert have been available for purchase from Gumtree, Auto Trader, Top Marques and Car Giant for quite some time.

According to our source, the temporary General Manager of LTPH Helen Chapman was made aware of this advert and to his surprise, said there was nothing LTPH could do about this.

So now we have a situation where minicab drivers and sexual predators can easily buy, extremely cheap insurance write-offs, that are fully LTPH licensed, find a club or bar and tout with impunity. 
And unbelievably, there's nothing LTPH can or want to, do about it.

While Taxi drivers are subjected to continual harassment, trying to find a place to rank (as Taxi ranks disappear wholesale), minicab touts park up and illegally plying for hire wherever they like.
Also, while taxis are inspected and pulled apart in roadside stops, minicab touts are allowed to drive insurance write-off cut and shuts.

PH Apps And Contravention of the London Cab Act 1968 and Private Hire Act 1998.

For over a year, members of Taxi leaks editorial staff have been complaining about the misuse of the words "Taxi, Taxis, Cab and Cabs" by PH companies advertising their services contra to legislation. 
So far, we haven't had an acceptable response from any complaint lodged with LTPH.

So, not only do they turn a blind eye to touting, illegal plying for hire and insurance write-offs, they appear to take no notice or action agains PH breaking legislated policy/guidelines on Internet advertising.

It seems that any minicab operation can use the words Taxi or Cab and get way with it.... LTPH have no appetite to investigate or enforce, as they appear to be too busy harassing working Taxi drivers.

Even though multiple complaints have been made, one minicab firm in Ruislip Manner have been unlawfully using the word Taxi in their operating centre window, for over 2 years.

Unlawfully Age Limit.
Over recent months, Taxi Leaks has carried numerous posts showing evidence, to back up allegations that the Mayor's Age limit is corrupt and unlawful. Our source, Dave Davies of Eco Power has contacted TfL/LTPH on many occasions. But recently LTPH have informed him they will no longer communicate on this issue. 
Below is part of the latest Email received by Mr Davies 

"Despite our previous responses to you it is clear that you feel there is clear evidence that the introduction of age limits for taxis was unlawful and that you intend to expose this through the Courts.  That would have been the appropriate route for you pursue this matter but you failed to raise any challenge at the proper time and as such we do not intend to respond further to your continuous unfounded allegations."

 

Regards

Helen

 

Helen Chapman

General Manager.


So LTPH are to put their fingers in their ears and refuse to take notice of reports from DEFRA and Kings Collage London.


Over the last few months we have seen;

  * SGS staff accused of issuing PH license roundels without inspecting the vehicles

  * Palestra Staff prosecuted for fraudulently accepting cash for licence renewals

  * Unlicensed drivers, driving licensed Taxis, arrested for being in possession of counterfeit licences, IDs and metal badges

  * Unlawful licence variations issued in contravention of TfL policy

  * Unlawful licences issued to a company in liquidation

  * Licence variations traded like commodities between PH operators

  * Officers from TfL/ LTPH with cameras spying on licensed Taxi drivers 

  * Officers from TfL/LTPH spying on drivers social media



Private hire do not have to put up with continual on-road inspections and are not dealt with over illegal plying for hire.


Because of an unpalatable proposal, that would have seen the recruitment of cheap labour from abroad dry up, senior Private Hire bosses wrote to Boris Johnson and the Director of LTPH was moved sideways, over to congestion charging.  


How much longer do we have to endure this treatment before Sir Peter Hendy and Mayor Boris Johnson finally realise that LTHP are not fit for service.


 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Taxi Leaks Roving Reporter Looks At Bavarian Taxi Trade.

Had a few euros unspent from my Rome sojourn so headed off for a break to the beer and Wurstsalat (Sausage Salad) of Bavaria.
 

As ever I spent "Eine Moment" looking at the Taxi Trade, The small town I was staying in had two cab firms (there is no PH in Bavaria) with the following features:
 
  • Each 'firm' is in fact a cooperative wholly owned by the drivers who share the costs (despatcher, advertising etc.). There is no 'Herr Ober' creaming off the top!
  • Work is despatched by voice in the fashioned way but you can book on line etc.
  • Outside the city limits (about a 2 KM/ circle, customers pay the run in and if in the city limits clock is down on arrival)
  • Cars mostly the famous Sand Coloured Mercedes Taxi specific model with a few other Opel's etc. but all in the Taxi colour with roof sign and 3 level meter (much as ours), cabs were spotless and fares about 10% more then us.
  • The town was busy, all the shops let with quality retailers not the sad collection of payday loan, bookies and charity shops that seem to be the norm in UK.. The Cabs rank up at either end of the pedestrian precinct.
  • Roads are pothole free despite having red hot summers and snowy winters,
  • Drivers seemed knowledgeable and were invariably from the town by birth and they said there was a strong verbund (Union).
  • Diesel is cheaper than UK and the TAXI TRADE GET A TAX REBATE ON FUEL DUTY.
  • Bilkers and other nuisance customers are dealt with by the police severely. there is no touting even in Munich.


As ever its a case of when I get back home, I scratch my head as to how WE and yes its WE, have allowed our trade to trickle away, we still get a living but we are doing ever longer hours for the same money, Its not a good outlook is it?
 
Lets take some lessons here, of course there is no paradise but my trips into Europe seem to indicate a trade prepared to look after itself and ensure it has a future and a refusal to be undermined by social dumping etc..


 
Who knows where next?
 
Icn Kann Nichts Mier!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Environmental Research Group at Kings College London conducted testing last year on 15000 London Taxis to show the real life drive cycle emissions.


Conclusions & Recommendations 1

An accurate Emission Factor database for Black Cabs is needed. This will enable informed & appropriate policy and abatement technology development

Primary NO2 emissions need to be directly measured, and regulated, particularly from Diesel vehicles with high annual mileages. This can tackle London’s NO2 problem more efficiently than a LEZ.

It can be inferred that Emission Factors for all vehicle types are likely to be inaccurate, and should be reviewed and updated accordingly. Onroad measurements, such as the method used in this study, are cost effective and accurate approaches for quantifying emissions. 

Conclusions & Recommendations 2

The Mayor’s strategy to remove the oldest Black Cabs from the London Fleet is unlikely to have a significantly positive impact on the air quality in London. This is due to:

i. The relatively small number of EURO 1 Cabs in operation (2% of the cabs from RSD database; 5% estimated by the GLA)

ii. The emission levels from EURO 1 cabs not being significantly different from other EURO classes, with NO being reduced only by 39%

iii. Newer Cabs emitting higher levels of primary NO2, whilst London has annual NO2 Exceedances

As there is little difference between cabs of different ages, there has been a moderate reduction in NOx , older cabs emit substantially less NO2, but newer models emitting less of the other species, there is a need for R&D into-different fuel sources and technologies for Black Cabs, instead of omitting certain vehicles from London’s vehicle fleet



The Defra report which was released in May showed that newer taxis are no cleaner than older taxis (in particular for NO2 they were creating more pollution.


·         The NO2 issue is more clearly seen in the f-NO2 ratio plot.




The Mayor and TFL conducted no testing whatsoever to prove that scraping older taxis was a valid strategy.


In fact it is a requirement of Public Law that the decisions of the Mayor and TFL are evidenced based.

 

What the Defra report did not contain was the results for the Eco-Power test taxi, a 1999 TX1 .


(TFL INSISTED THAT THIS PART OF THE REPORT WAS  REMOVED AND NOT PUBLISHED)


This taxi was measured in exactly the same way that the other 15000 taxis were measured, with the exception that it was driven through the test location many times.


The test results show that this 14year old taxi was cleaner than the brand new taxis (both TX4s and Vito’s) for Particulate Matter and as clean as the new taxis for all other emissions.


This test taxi was fitted with the EcoPower emissions system which had its approval withdrawn by TFL following a rigged test.


This test shows that the older taxis could have been fitted with an emissions system and achieved better emissions standards than the new taxis.

 

THE 1999 TXI -T366 WAS AS CLEAN AS THE NEW TAXIS FOR MOST EMISSIONS 

AND WAS CLEANER THAN NEARLY ALL TAXIS FOR PARTICULATE MATTER.


With thanks to Dave Davies for information supplied.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Good Samaritan Taxi Driver has teeth knocked out after stepping in to try and stop attack on mini-cab driver

The victim, a 57-year-old man was driving on Chatsworth Road, Stretford when he saw two men attacking the driver of a red mini-cab.

Labour demand answers from TfL boss over anti-Israeli contract....... BY MARTIN HOSCIK

TfL's Sir Peter Hendy has been asked to explain how the clause was included in the contract.

TfL’s Sir Peter Hendy has been asked to explain how the clause was included in the contract.

Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy has been asked to explain how controversial clauses furthering the UAE’s boycott of Israel came to be included in a contract between TfL and Emirates airline.

As previously reported, the UAE oweed airline’s agreement to sponsor the Thames cable car includes a clause allowing it to withdraw from the deal should TfL sell or assign the scheme to a “conflicting person”

The break clause went further than usual, extending the definition of a “conflicting person” to include “any person who is a national of, or who is registered, incorporated, established or whose principal place of business is in a country with which the United Arab Emirates does not at the date of this Contract or at any relevant point during the Term maintain diplomatic relations;”

The effect of the clause was to limit TfL’s commercial options by making the contract subservient to the foreign policy of an overseas Government.

It would prevent TfL from selling all or part of the cable car to an Israeli national or business or financing the scheme through Israeli-based banks should they require its assets be put up as security.

TfL bosses initially sought to defend the clause, however when he became aware of it Mayor Boris Johnson ordered them to renegotiate the contract. City Hall insiders said the Mayor was “furious” at TfL’s gaffe.

Appearing before the London Assembly on Thursday, the Mayor criticised the clause, labelling it “plainly inappropriate” and saying it had been “completely wrongly drawn up”.

Mr Johnson told Labour London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore: “I don’t believe in allowing any foreign policy considerations to intrude into the governance of London and that clause was plainly inappropriate and it’s been taken out.”

Mr Dismore has now written to Sir Peter asking him to confirm how the clause came to be included in the contract and to publish any legal advice TfL received about it.

Sir Peter has also been asked to confirm what steps he’s taken “to hold to account those responsible for this fiasco” and to outline what action he’s taken to ensure “there is no repetition”.

Asked to comment on Mr Dismore’s letter, a TfL spokesperson said Sir Peter would respond and that its past statement “still stands”.

Andrew Dismore’s letter to Sir Peter Hendy:

Dear Peter,

RE: Emirates cable car sponsorship contract

As you know, the Mayor has ordered the Israel boycott clause to be removed from this contract the Mayor rightly considering that the “clause was plainly inappropriate” and “was completely wrongly drawn up”.

I see from the evidence of Howard Carter to the Oversight Committee on 18/7, that the “Emirates want to have a discussion about whether something else replaces it”.

Could you please tell me what is being done to satisfy this request, and what the alternative wording is to be? When will you publish the reworded contract?

Could you also please tell me what is being done to review all other TfL contracts, to see if a similar boycott wording has “slipped through”?
Can you also explain how the original boycott clauses came to be included in the contract?

What legal advice was obtained on the contract and its implications before it was signed?

Was advice obtained from external lawyers or internal legal officers only?

Were the terms of the boycott clause brought to the attention of TfL before the contact was signed? If not why not?

Will you publish the legal advice you obtained on the contract? If not why not? What action have you taken to hold to account those responsible for this fiasco? What steps have you taken to ensure there is no repetition of these serious errors?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Dismore
London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

Friday, July 26, 2013

LTC Restarts Production On Enhanced TX4: Current VM Engine To Be Retained: Press Release From LTC:


COOLANT: Getting the right mix

If any vehicle does not have its coolant concentration maintained at a 50% coolant and 50% water mix at all times – regardless of the season – oxidisation of aluminium components can occur which causes particles to slowly build up within both the heater and radiator matrices. This in turn triggers a sequence of events which can lead to blockages in the oil gallery, rising engine temperatures and eventually, engine failure. It is therefore vital that drivers understand the importance of maintaining a 50/50 coolant/water mix ALL YEAR ROUND.

OIL: Getting the right specification

Gone are the days when you could use any 20w/50 specification oil in your vehicle. It is now vital that you use a fully-synthetic, low SAPS (Sulphated Ash and Phosphorus-Sulphur), 10w40 specification oil in your engine. Failure to use the right oil can result in a number of issues, including bore glazing, bore polishing and, specific to Euro 5 vehicles, blockages in the Diesel Particulate Filter. As well as ensuring that an engine runs smoothly, the right oil will also keep your engine clean and free from contaminants.

SERVICING: Getting the right maintenance

Ensuring that your TX4 is serviced correctly and in line with manufacturer’s servicing schedule is vital in order to protect the integrity of your engine. Servicing your vehicle correctly dramatically improves vehicle and engine life expectancy; it acts as a preventative measure, as it provides an opportunity for mechanics to diagnose potential failures early and, therefore reduce or eliminate maintenance and parts costs.

The company has launched a campaign in order to drive home these fundamental principals of engine maintenance to new and existing customers, which will be supported by their Approved Service Dealer network. It will also be raising awareness of its range of oils (£5.95 for 1litre) and coolant (£4.45 for 1litre), created by Morris Lubricants, which are available from any London Taxi Company dealership or Approved Service Dealers.

Drivers can read more about the importance of coolant, oils and servicing at:

www.london-taxis.co.uk

ENDS

Taxi driver who knocked down pedestrians 'like bowling pins' in central Cardiff has sentence appeal rejected

Majid Rehman was jailed after driving his Taxi at six rail workers and two bystanders outside Cardiff Central train station in March 2012



A taxi driver who deliberately knocked down eight pedestrians “like bowling pins” in Cardiff city centre has had an appeal against the length of his sentence rejected.

On March 27 last year Majid Rehman drove his car at six rail workers and two “innocent bystanders” injuring them all.

One man was dragged under his cab and had to have skin grafts for burn and friction injuries to his body.

Following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court in November last year the 30-year-old married man was unanimously convicted of two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, one count of wounding with intent and five charges of intending to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

He had already pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving.

Judge Philips Richards subsequently jailed him for 15 years saying the lengthy term should act as a warning to any other person who considers using a car as a weapon.

Yesterday, at the same court, three High Court judges listened to his appeal to have his sentenced reduced.


Lord Justice Pitchford QC, Mr Justice Macduff and Mr Justice Jeremy Baker were told by Rehman’s barrister the sentence was “simply too long”.

Nicholas Gareth Jones admitted there were aggravating factors which could have led the original judge to hand out the 15 year term – including that Rehman had a previous conviction for criminal damage after he rammed his car into his employers over a dispute over wages – but added there were also mitigating factors.

“It was a single act, it was in isolation and there was a lack of any significant premeditation,” he said.

Rehman’s trial head how he had been provoked after he was involved in a dispute with the rail workers in which he had suffered racial abuse and had been punched in the chest moments before mowing down the eight men.

Mr Jones also cited a case from 2001 in which a man who rammed his car into a number of police patrol cars, injuring six officers, was jailed for five years.

But the panel of High Court judges rejected the appeal saying while the 2001 case had similarities, it was significantly different.

Mr Justice Macduff said: “There was, albeit to a limited extent, premeditation as there was a gap in time between the attack and the offence.”

He added: “It could have easily been the case that one person, if not more, could have died in this act. That is the measure of how serious this case was.”


Source: Wales OnLine.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Council Give Green Light For Camden To Become 20mph Zone.

Camden sustainability chief Cllr Phil Jones says a 20mph limit will increase safety and encourage people to walk and cycle.

Members of Camden Council’s cabinet have formally agreed the proposals for the scheme following a six-week public consultation.

Results showed 67 per cent of those who took part supported the reduced speed limit, while 32 per cent opposed the change.

But some residents and motorists have expressed reservations about cutting the speed limit – claiming few motorists will adhere to the rules, while slower speeds are not necessary on some main roads.  

In Camden, all roads managed by the council will be subject to the new speed limit, excluding designated red routes which are managed by Transport for London (TfL), such as the Finchley Road, and private roads.

A report outlining the new scheme cites statistics from the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents which claims there is a 2.5 per cent chance of a pedestrian being killed when struck at 20mph, compared with a 20 per cent chance at 30mph.

Figures from the Department of Transport show there were 840 reported road accident casualties in Camden last year, including six fatalities and 108 accidents in which people were seriously injured.

It is also hoped slower speeds will reduce traffic congestion and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

Camden Council cabinet member for sustainability, Cllr Phil Jones, said: “Evidence shows if roads are slower more people walk and cycle and it’s also better for the environment.

“It also provides greater consistency for drivers. At the moment you can go from 20 to 30mph speed limits quite suddenly.

“Most motorists want to drive safely and they live in the borough with their families, so they also want a pleasant and safe environment for them to live in when they’re out and about.”

The cost of the scheme is estimated at £750,000-£1million, and it could be in place by the end of April next year. Police will be responsible for enforcing the new speed limit.

Source: Ham and High.

Editorial Comment:
Previous schemes have shown increases in congestion caused by limits set too low.  

Since the 20 mph limit was introduced on Tower Bridge we have seen congestion escalate on all approach roads. The lower speed limit on Upper Thames Street had to be reversed as traffic almost ground to a halt.

Cllr Jones has said nothing about the fact that modern catalytic converters and diesel particle filters do not function efficiently at low speeds. It is feared by many that as councils adopt the blanket 20mph limit, area quality will deteriorate significantly

Local councils in central London have done very little to reduce emissions and the 4267 deaths every year from pollution continue. That's 80 people each and every week dying in London and yet absolutely nothing is done to avoid those deaths. 

If it were a terrorist bomb going off every week killing 80 people something would be done. 
If a bus or train crashed every single week killing 80 people then there would be an immediate investigation
If these deaths were cyclists, London would be shut down.

All problems with the Mercedes Vito Taxi resolved? you wish!!....Vito Taxi Club


We’re definitely not there yet and there is still a very long way to go to achieve that goal. Our club will not rest until all issues regarding our taxis are resolved and members compensated. There is however some good news from Mercedes.

Parts availability 
Following our efforts to get Mercedes to stock all the additional parts that go into the Vito Taxi at their distribution centre in Milton Keynes, we are delighted to announce that Mercedes will have all parts in stock in a couple of weeks . There has been a holdup because of legal issues We will soon have a guaranteed 24 hour delivery to all dealerships in the UK. We are told that if a part is ordered at 4pm , it will be delivered by 8am next morning . The final details are being sorted out this week , no one can say MB rushes into anything . Dealerships will no longer have to go back to KPM or Penso for parts, so next time you get a dealership that tells you they can’t get the parts, ask again, and if they refuse, go to another dealership for your work. 
Over the next few weeks, Mike and I will be visiting the dealerships around London and we hope to get some feedback for you as to who is giving the best and worst service to our club members. 

Parts availability is of course a major factor in the running and maintenance of our vehicle, but its only one part of the puzzle. Turn around times on warranty claims and repairs are still as much of an issue as they were before. We in the cab trade have had amazing service from small independent garages who were able to repair cabs almost immediately, often within an hour or two. Other trades and the ordinary car owner have not had this luxury. Repair times are often quoted in terms of weeks, not hours or days. Mercedes garages have generally been in this category. If Mercedes wish to stay in the London cab market they have to change and do so rapidly, particularly as other makes of cab will soon be available in London. 
A major bone of contention from our members is the requirement to return to KPM for warranty work when it is patently clear that their workshops are unable to cope with the volume of work coming in. They have also recently announced that they are going into the hire cab market. This can only exacerbate their poor performance as we’re sure they will be putting their own cabs first. 
Hopefully now that taxi specific parts are readily available to all dealerships, repair times will come down at KPM and across the board.

Rear steering. 
While replacement actuators are hopefully no longer an issue, and repair times come down, this does not however alter the fact that the problems with the steering has not changed. Work on resolving this problem is still ongoing at Penso and we hope to get some feedback soon.  Our members cabs are still breaking down on a daily basis and owners out of warranty are having to fork out thousands of pounds to replace faulty components with yet another faulty component. This cannot be expectable and its an issue that if left unresolved can only end up in a court battle. This is a course of action that we hope to avoid but will not shy away from if no progress can be achieved in the coming few months. We at the club remain steadfast in our opinion that its morally and possibly legally wrong for these vehicle (new or secondhand) to be sold with a known unresolved component issue that is arguably dangerous.

Loan cabs. 
Any warranty repairer worth their salt, whether it be a car, van or taxi should  provide a loan vehicle for you to use as a courtesy when your vehicle is in repair. You wouldn’t use a garage for your car if they didn’t offer this service, you’d find a garage that did.  The cab trade more than any other business requires this facility so why is it not being offered to us by the dealerships? 
We know MB are encouraging dealerships to accept loan cabs and have set up an arrangement with KPM to supply them . It is up to the dealerships to take up this offer . Mike and I will be looking into this matter further when we meet the dealerships and will recommend the ones that do to you.

Warranty issues. 
As we told you last time, replacement components that fail after the Mercedes three year warranty period expires, will only be considered for free replacement for up to six months after that date and then only if there has been a history of that part breaking down. If you remove the fuse on the rear steering and only address the problem at the time of your annual inspection then there will be little or no record of it breaking down and it will be unlikely that Mercedes will offer any additional help. This advice also applies to the side steps. 

We are still trying to get an extended warranty deal for our members and a couple of underwriters are looking at it. We will keep you informed of any developments. 
At our last meeting with Mercedes, it was agreed that an inventory/invoice would be issued by the dealerships for work carried out on your taxi, whether warranty or paid. This will enable you to have a complete record of your servicing, repairs and modifications to your vehicle. Please ask for this if it not automatically given to you. You can also ask for a full print out of the work previously carried out. 

On the subject of warranties, a serious issue is raising its ugly head regarding the purchasing or leasing of second hand Vito Taxis from KPM. They are offering a very attractive two or three year leasing deal with a two year warranty. What seems at first to be a good deal is already proving to be a less than ideal for some owners. Their two year warranty has nothing to do with Mercedes and is only valid at KPM. Drivers who are having component failures under this warranty can only use KPM who are regularly offering ridiculous repair times of three to six weeks into the future. We at the club recommend that if you are thinking of purchasing one of these deals, you wait until the situation at KPM has improved.
 
We are also having many complaints from drivers who have bought three year old cabs from KPM with a warranty that the owners say does not cover some very expensive parts. If anyone is thinking about one of these deals, they need to check the terms of the warranty very carefully, but be warned, its not easily understood.

Membership
Unfortunately we are gaining new members every day. I say unfortunately because this type of pressure group should not be necessary in this day and age. New vehicles are still experiencing the same component failures as the first ones sold four years ago and the new owners are still facing the same delays on warranty work. Admittedly, new taxis are a little better than the first ones produced but are still a long way from perfect.
 
If you are reading this email then I have your correct address. Unfortunately some of the email I send out bounce back which means that something is wrong with that address. If you speak to one of our members that have not received this update, please ask them to email me on:- 

vitotaxiclub@gmail.com so that I can update my record 

or call : Mike Canty 07973 739576 or myself, Irving Lomon 07973 393614

Lastly, please let us know of any ongoing issues you have or even if you have something useful to pass on to other members.