Monday, September 30, 2013

A Near Catastrophe On The Thames, Averted By Our Wonderful EmergencyServices. By Glen Alutto.


Only 7 days after a new Routemaster causes a 6 vehicle pile up after running a red light & careering into a line of stationary traffic, we have 30 tourists having to be rescued from the Thames as a Duck Boat goes up in flames. 







Will these vehicles face some sort of recall or have their license to operate suspended?

NO chance that's a privilege saved only for the Taxi trade 



If you saw this amazing rescue on TV news channels, remember, 5 out of the 8 appliances that turned out to rescue these 30 tourists, are affected by the Mayors cuts.



A little bit of what you'll not read in the UTG media...wonder why?

A PUBLIC inquiry into air pollutants linked to birth defects was demanded last night, to try to stop thousands of people being killed each year.

Experts believe poor air quality contributed to 29,000 deaths in the UK in 2008, with 4,300 in London.

Critics of air control measures say the public is being duped into thinking the air is getting cleaner when they argue that it is in fact becoming more of a health hazard. Today we publish details from a report on air quality written in 2011 by London mayor Boris Johnson which reveals worrying findings about the danger of pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2).



Mr Johnson introduced the controversial policy of banning black cabs which were more than 15 years old in London with many replaced by the apparently greener Mercedes Benz Vito six seaters. However, he says in his report the more modern cars, including the Vito, emit “around five times as much direct NO2”.

US researchers discovered that exposure to high levels of traffic pollution causes birth defects.

They found mothers living in areas with the highest levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants were almost twice as likely to give birth to a child with neural tube defects, like spina bifida.

Mr Johnson’s report admits: “NO2 levels have not fallen in recent years as modelling had predicted. This is a problem in major cities in the UK and the EU.

“Evidence suggests this may be due to the failure of recent Euro standards to deliver expected reductions of NO2. Meeting NO2 limit values is much more challenging and is a problem in many urban areas in the UK.”

He urged the Government to implement tax incentives for cleaner vehicles and called for more research into the impact of poor air quality at local and national level “to help communities play their part in air quality management”.

The report admits that measures introduced by the mayor, such as low emission zones, will not be sufficient to meet NO2 limits set for 2015. In 2011 Londoners endured some of the highest levels of large particulate pollution in eight years.

Last night Ukip mayoral candidate Lawrence Webb said: “People think the air is getting better but it is getting worse. People are being duped.

“Mr Johnson’s report reveals some of the more disturbing truths. More people will die due to poor air quality in the future and that is why we need a public inquiry.”

Clean air campaigner David Davies, director of Eco Power, said: “The mayor has not implemented a single effective policy to reduce pollution and has failed in his legal duty to protect the public.”

The mayor’s spokesman said: “Since he took office, emissions of oxides of nitrogen are down by 20 per cent. There is still more to do, which is why the mayor announced plans for a new Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020.”

Source: Sunday Express.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

6 Weeks To Go To Remembrance Sunday November 10th...by a Mike Hughes

Here is your early warning for this year’s Remembrance Sunday November 10th 


Preparations have already started. The British Legion is sending out tickets to those who will be marching past the Cenotaph. In their pack the veterans will receive a letter informing them that the London taxi trade will once again be providing them with a free taxi service from all the main line stations, Victoria Coach Station plus Victory Services and Union Jack clubs.



This service is given freely by you and your trade colleagues. This is the one time when all concerns of trade politics, personal animosities and personality clashes are put aside. This is our fourth year of providing the service, a service that is given freely and without cost to those who come to remember their fallen comrades, those who were prepared to give their very lives and to those who are still prepared to give up their tomorrows so that we may have our today and our tomorrows.

The taxi trade’s help has, in just 3 short years, become part of the memories that the veterans share on this memorial day. This of you who have been at the past events will already know the warmth that you experience when you see the faces of the veterans.



Exact plans may change depending on the security state on the day but it is currently expected that we will be once again using the whole of Westminster Bridge as our holding area. Last year we had the pleasure of two (1930’s) vintage taxis to help bring special memories for some of our veterans. I’ve been promised that we may be getting more vintage taxis including Beardmores and FX3s. More information when I get it

I know I can count on you to help out again this year. To help with the planning can I ask you to let me have your (real) names, phone number, email and if you can help bring veterans in, where you live. Send details to me at mike@mikehughes.org.uk


In the meantime I will be renewing our contacts with the various authorities to make the preparations for this year’s event. Unless there is any urgent need I will be posting a weekly update. Please look out for it – and pass this and all other Remembrance messages on to your friends and family.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Stand Up To Cancer And Shine.


 Thank you so much to the 16,000 of you who have signed up to walk all over cancer with us on Saturday 28 September.

Walking Shine this year?

Event Timetable

Full Marathon
7.30pm  Arrive
8.15pm  Start


Half Marathon
9.00pm  Arrive
9.45pm  Start


For details on planning your journey, what to bring and what to wear, take a look at our on the night section.
 

Planning to cheer on Shiners?

Our volunteers will direct friends and family that want to cheer on Shiners over Chelsea Bridge or Vauxhall Bridge to the North side of the River Thames. From there, supporters can cheer on walkers along Grosvenor Road and Millbank, three to four miles into their walk.

After midnight, friends and family will be able to join us at Battersea Power Station to cheer on our Shiners as they cross the finish line and give them a well-deserved hug!



Scott sings a song to last your whole ride long - Singing cabbie says he has enough tunes to croon you all the way to Heathrow

Published: September, 2013
by AMY SMITH
DRIVERS of black taxi cabs are renowned for their incessant chat as they hurtle through London’s side streets to short-cut their way to your destination while putting the world to rights.
But if Scott Neave picks you up it’s not the chat you’ll have to bother about. Scott, 38, who lives in Highbury, would rather sing you a song.
The self-styled singing taxi driver has been brightening up the lives of his fares for the past three months by treating them to an intimate gig.
“Instead of talking about politics and weather I sing and serenade,” he says. “I’ve done over 200 gigs in this taxi and every single one is different.”
The former 274 bus driver – he qualified as a cabbie 18 months ago – says he has enough songs in his repertoire to last all the way to Heathrow.
In a way, he’s a bit like a human iPod. He even sang to one group of girls who had asked him to switch the radio on.
Always wanting to be a singer, Scott entered X Factor a few years ago and made it though to the second untelevised round. He first sang in his cab when he was preparing for an open mic night.
“People are usually stressed but it has the feel-good factor,” he says of his unusual cabbie style. “I picked up a woman at King’s Cross and started singing. When I looked at her she was crying. I asked her ‘Are you ok?’ and she said ‘You have the most beautiful voice’ so I started to cry as well. It was really special.
“Sometimes people ask ‘How much is that gonna cost?’ and I have to explain that it’s for free.
“I make a bit of conversation first, ask them how their day is going. I ask ‘have you heard of the singing taxi driver?’ Then usually I ask what kind of music they’re into, there’s no point singing a rap version to elderly people.”
“It goes down really well on a Friday nights. It gets to a certain point when the bassline drops and I just flash the lights. People love it and start shouting and whooping. I got strong halogen lights and the effect is a lot like strobe lights.”
Scott admits he might lose his nerve if he had that Simon Cowell in the back of his cab. However it would be a different story if fellow X Factor judge Nicole Sherzinger got in the back. “Well, she’s a babe and has a great voice. I do like singing to the ladies.”
He once picked up a man in a pinstripe suit who turned down his offer of a song. “He said ‘No, it’s not really a man to man thing’. It's quite rare but did throw me off, I’m always careful with men in pinstripe suits now.”
Scott is accompanied by backing tracks he creates at home and plays on CD or his phone.
He asks the punter what kind of song they want, such as comedy song or love song. He also composes and produces his own songs. When he took the Tribune for a spin the song that came up was Cameo’s 1986 hit Word Up, but Scott’s own Garage version. And then his own composition, a lighthearted ditty The Bike Song inspired when his then girlfriend Donna had her bike stolen.
“I usually do a cover first and then if they prompt me for more I’ll do some originals,” he says.
“All my gigs are exclusive to the taxi, you won’t catch me in night clubs. I do six or seven gigs a day in the taxi. Who else can say they have done a gig in Hammersmith, Earls Court and Camden all in one day?”
His favourite routes to serenade fares are the West End and Camden because of the range of people he gets on the back seat. I offer to sing for every passenger.
“I take safety very seriously, I would never put anyone in jeopardy. I tend to do it in traffic and then the cab is stationary and they can hear me better,” he adds.
“It’s a lifetime’s work if I’m honest. I’m just hoping that one day the right person will get in the back.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

Minicab operator fraudster to pay £125,000 to victim.

The owner of a Romford mini-cab company may be forced to sell his home to pay more than £125,000 in compensation to an 81-year-old man, after conning him out of his life savings.

Paul Trower, 63, of Harold Hill, was the subject of an investigation by the Safer Transport Command’s (STC) Payback Unit after his activities were brought to their attention in 2011.

Officers found Trower had conned an elderly man, from Orpington, into investing his life savings into his ‘renowned’ cab company – which in reality had only just been founded.

He was also in the process of taking possession of the victim’s home.

The STC halted the sale of the house to Trower, and froze his bank accounts before he could get rid of all the victim’s money.

Trower was arrested and convicted of fraud and money laundering on December 12 last year, and was sentenced to three years in prison – resulting in the closure of his cab firm.

Further confiscation proceedings were brought against Trower, who travelled from Hollesley Bay Prison, in Suffolk, to appear at Basildon Crown Court on September 20.

A confiscation order of £120,000, plus a further £5,850 in interest, was ordered by the judge. Trower was given six months to pay, or face a further two years imprisonment.

Ch Sup Sultan Taylor, of STC, said: “This was an excellent result which has not only seen a fraudster receive a robust jail sentence but also the end of his disreputable cab company, the loss of his personal wealth and a substantial compensational sum for the victim.

“Our message is clear: If you commit an offence, you will be caught and if convicted every avenue of punishment will be considered including the seizure of your assets. We will get those responsible.”

source: http://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/

Email From Unhappy Cabby...by Mick Smith.

I am writing this Email to you as a warning to fellow drivers and to provide proof that licensed taxi drivers are being treated with contempt by TFL.

TFL have moved the goal posts without notification to licence holders.

I have just recently renewed my licence, and this time had an added trip to the opticians, (something I have not had to do previously in the last twenty odd years) for an eye test which added to my delay in sending back my renewal.

My licence expired on the 28/8/13 and I was not able to send back all the pieces of the completed renewal until 31/8/13

The post office told me, would arrive by registered post by 2/9/13

I next received a letter from TPH on 11/9/13 dated 9/9/13 that they had received my renewal and payment and that I should not work until I received my licence, for if I was to work before then, would be illegal and might result in being prosecuted



This letter was not signed by anyone but merely "licensing administration".

My new licence arrived on 21/913 and was posted out on 19/9/13:



However my new licence is dated 11/913, which means it has sat on someone's desk for over a week with a ban on me working until I have now received it.



I'm now wondering how much compensation I am entitled to........



Yours sincerely



Mick Smith

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Exclusive, Mason Gone...It's Official.

While preparing an article for a certain trade publication, one of our researchers sent a request to TPH to find out if the rumours of John Mason were in fact true or false.



We can now announce that John Mason has decided to depart, not only from LTPH but TfL as well, to pursue other career opportunities. 

Below is an email received by our researcher direct from the TfL press office this afternoon. 

Dear Chris.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director for Surface Transport, said: “I can confirm that John Mason has chosen to leave TfL to pursue other career opportunities.
 
“During four very successful years with Taxi & Private Hire John has overseen the transformation and modernisation of licensing services.  In recent months John has taken on the additional responsibility of managing the Congestion Charging and Traffic Enforcement Directorate which he has done with customary professionalism.
 
“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of everyone at TfL to thank John and to wish him all the best for the future.”

Sandeep Dhillon | Press Officer | Road User Charging, Traffic Enforcement and Taxi & Private Hire

Transport for London | TfL Press Office, 11th Floor, Windsor House, 50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL

Vito Taxi Parts Supplier Eco City Vehicles PLC, Cuts Losses As It Sells More Parts And Licenses

LONDON (Alliance News) - Eco City Vehicles PLC, which co-develops and supplies Mercedes Vito taxis for the London market, Friday said it had cut its losses as sales rose in the first half of the year, but it also set aside more money to cover repairs to a legacy problem with its rear-wheel steering system.

The company's taxis compete with the traditional London Black Cabs, but are facing competition from other new entrants into the market. Eco City said it has now captured about 10% of the 21,000-strong London licensed taxi fleet since it launched in 2008.

It reported a net loss of £263,000 in the six months toJune 30 compared with a loss of £515,000 a year earlier. Revenues rose slightly to just under £17 million from £16.4 million.

Losses were cut even though it booked £506,000 in one-off items, up from £432,000 last year, mainly due to servicing and upgrading specific elements of the rear wheel steer system on older taxis.

Its gross margin increased to 16.4% from 13.9% as it sold more parts and licenses, which generate higher profits, and sold better quality used vehicles.

The company sold fewer vehicles in the period, down 13 to 299 compared with the year-earlier period, but it registered 4% more vehicles as it built up a fleet of newer taxis. However, the value of vehicles sold rose to £2.9 million, from £2.8 million, as it sold a higher proportion of more expensive Vito Euro 4 models.

However, it warned that it is still in talks with suppliers about sorting out previous problems with the rear wheel steering system and can't be certain yet how the whole situation will be resolved. It has set aside a further £700,000 for upgrade programmes.

"Trading in the second half is in line with management expectations and demand for new vehicles was particularly strong in September, which achieved an all time monthly record for new Vito registrations. Gross margins remain firm and the parts supply business continues to see buoyant trading," the company said in a statement.

The stock was down 2.7% at 1.8 pence Friday morning.

By Steve McGrath; stevemcgrath@alliancenews.com; @stevemcgrath1

Aggressive Bus Drivers Intimidating Taxis: A Growing a Problem... By Jim Thomas.

TfLTPH have escalated their efforts to continually harass London Taxi Drivers

It seems the complaints department of LTPH, are happy to take unsubstantiated complaints from bus drivers, without witness statements or photographic evidence against Taxi drivers and yet, continue to ignore complaints from Taxi drivers about illegal plying for hire, touting, the removal of rank spaces, plus non enforcement of the Hackney carriage and private hire acts.

I've just read a couple of letters, recieved by drivers.
The complaints are for using hand gestures directed at bus drivers after intimidating acts of hostility from the bus driver (flashing lights and use of horn) while picking up/dropping off on a bus stop.
The letters were signed by Rita o shea and endorsed by G. Abuduwalla.

The actions of these Taxi drivers did not warrant a complaint letter and TfL would have done better writing to the bus drivers involved explaining that Taxis can legally pick up and drop off on Bus stops. They should also be reminded that it is illegal to use a vehicles horn aggressively or when stationary. 

The Official Highway Code: The horn

The Driving Standards Agency sent this bulletin at 25-09-2013 04:00 PM BS

The horn
Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. Never sound your horn aggressively.
You MUST NOT use your horn while stationary on the road when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am except when another road user poses a danger.

Law CUR reg 99




So please be carefull out there, as TFL have really got it in for us now and seem to be taking the bus drivers side in any argument, unquestionably.

We would advise drivers facing this situation in future, to approach the bus and explain to the driver politely, that you have the right to use a bus stop to pick up or set down. They should treat you as if you were another bus and wait patiently for you to move off. 

If you have a smart phone you should record your conversation with the bus driver, incase they use foul abusive language towards you.

If you are intimidated by a bus aggressively blocking you in, use your smart phone to record video, capturing the drivers face, position of the bus and registration numbers.

We now know any complaint made via the TfL website, must also be accompanied by a written complaint, sent recorded delivery, as complaints from Taxi drivers made online, are not treated as formal complaints unless received by post.

I have suggested the two drivers involved should contact TfL and demand these complaints be removed from any records held by LTPH, as no evidence of an offence has been presented.



We respectfully suggest that bus drivers are given better training, as standards are deteriorating daily. 

Fatalities involving collisions with TfL buses increased by 83% in 2012/13. Is that just “business as usual” for TfL?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Update: Two arrested over death of PC Andrew Duncan charged

Two men arrested on Monday 23 September in connection with the death of PC Andrew Duncan following a collision in Sutton have been charged with offences unrelated to the incident. 

Layne Campbell Chambers, 19 (28.3.94) of Chesnut Close, Carshalton and Danny Back, 23 (9.2.90) of Crispin Crescent, Croydon have been charged with possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A (crack cocaine).

Both will appear in custody at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday 25 September)

+ A 25-year-old man is currently remanded in custody to crown court charged with causing the death of PC Andrew Duncan by dangerous driving

+ Three other people are currently on bail in connection with the investigation pending further enquiries. 

Council wants £50 fee from taxis with wifi


       Central Taxis driver Kevin Wood with tablet computer wifi live in his cab.

Taxi operators have hit out at plans for a £50 administration fee for every cab fitted with wifi.
Internet access in taxis across Edinburgh via wifi hotspots would be free to all passengers, with installation and service charges to be paid by sponsors under the move backed by city council licensing chiefs.

However, the local authority still intends to ask drivers to fill out an application to have the equipment fitted – and charge a £50 levy for each vehicle in the process.
The fee could net the council as much as almost £66,000 if all 1316 of the city’s licensed cabs and private hire vehicles commit to the plan.

The charge was raised with operators at a regulatory meeting last week.

Major firms Microsoft, Heathrow and Styloko paid for a similar scheme launched in London in March.

Central Taxis director Tony Kenmuir said it was not the first time the industry had been stung with unnecessary fees, with operators charged £25 by the council for all adverts posted on the side of cabs.

He estimated the charge would cost his company more than £22,000, saying: “It just gets my goat that they do absolutely nothing for the trade and they’re just always looking for ways to take money off us. We’ll be paying for the unit and the advertisers will be paying for the unit. If there’s some kind of data charge, we might also have to weigh in for that.

“They don’t subsidise us, they don’t make any kind of contribution, which they would do if it was on a train or a bus.”

Mr Kenmuir said there was no doubt passengers would soon come to expect having free wifi in taxis, just like trains or buses.

He questioned why the council was not spending money on upgrading facilities for drivers such as installing new ranks near the 16 stops along the eight-mile tram line.

The council is opening a rank on Rosebery Crescent near the Haymarket stop, but will otherwise rely on existing ranks at St Andrew Square, Grosvenor Street and outside Waverley Station to service passengers coming off trams in central Edinburgh.

George Aird, chairman of rival firm City Cabs, said he was not convinced he wanted taxis in his fleet to be part of the wifi rollout.

He said paying the fee would be up to each individual driver, adding: “The average time of a taxi journey is about eight minutes. For somebody to sit in a train and do their work on wifi coming up from London, I can see the point. But on a taxi I can’t see the point.”
Taxi advertising firm Ubiquitous has agreed to help pay the bill for the Edinburgh service.

A council spokeswoman said the administration fee would cover the cost of a vehicle inspection needed to make sure the wifi unit was installed “safely” and met the taxi’s licence conditions.

source: Edinburgh evening news

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Statistics, Lies and Propaganda.....Part 2. Commissioner's Report To The Board Of TfL. By Jim Thomas

Carrying on from yesterday's post, we now turn to the commissioner's report (Sir Peter Hendy) to the board of TfL.
This report which will be published on Wednesday the 25th September and talks about an unexplainable increase in the number of applications for Private Hire licences.

The report states: "As of 17 August, we have recorded another increase in private hire new-driver applications with over 600 more applications than those received in July. There are no known reasons for this increase"

Is this for real, TfL/LTPH know of no reason why applications for new private hire licences are escalating.

And where do they think the work will come from to sustain these huge monthly increases in the private hire fleet???

Unbelievably, Hendy then goes on to praise the actions of his compliance team. In a three week enforcement activity around Paddington Station 61 taxi drivers have had their details taken to put forward for processing for "plying for hire". Not illegally plying for hire, but "plying for hire". Hendy's words not mine. 

It's times like this which make it essential for drivers to belong to a Union or org, that can offer them the best full legal representation.

Finally in the small section of the report concerning Taxis and Private hire, he goes on to commend the actions of his enforcement team, for their first successful prosecution of a minicab driver, for illegally plying for hire. The first time since TfL took complete control of Taxis and Private Hire, over 13 years ago.

But that's not all....
Since the new system of licence renewals went live, many drivers have been told that due to administration problems causing delays in getting their new licences out, they would have to stop working, as to work while not being in possession of a bill is illegal. The issue of temporary licences have been stopped.

While drivers have had their right to work removed by this hold up in administration, hundreds of extra "new driver" Private Hire licences are being churned out, bringing in extra income.

This situation is scandalous.

It is TfL's policy that Taxi drivers can't work if not in possession of a current license.
It is also TfL policy that a Private Hire operator must be registered and in business for at least 1 year before a licence variation (Satillite office) can be issued.

BUT THAT DIDN'T STOP RD2.com GETTING 18 LICENCE VARIATION JUST DAYS AFTER FIRST GOING INTO BUSINESS

ONE RULE FOR TAXIS...AND A BETTER ONE FIR THEIR FREINDS IN PRIVATE HIRE.

Below is part of the text from the commissioners report for release on the 25th September 2013

3.4.6 Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Service 

The vehicle licensing service has now been live for six months and the service is being delivered by NSL in line with agreed service levels. 

While customers appear very satisfied with the service, a customer satisfaction survey has commenced to gauge reaction across all six inspection centres. As of 17 August, we have recorded another increase in private hire new-driver applications with over 600 more applications than those received in July. 

There are no known reasons for this increase. We are looking to introduce a way of recording reasons for new applications in the future to try and determine more key trends. 

Compliance at Paddington On 21 July, a three-week enforcement activity commenced in and around Paddington Station, Harrow Road and St Mary’s Hospital. 

As part of the operation, leaflets were distributed to taxi drivers to raise awareness of their obligations in complying with road signs, over-queuing beyond the end of designated taxi ranks and plying for hire. To date 61 taxi drivers have been put forward for processing for plying for hire. 

Prosecution for Illegal Plying for Hire On 12 September we successfully prosecuted a private hire driver with two offences of unlawfully plying for hire and unlawfully accepting a private hire booking when not being a licensed private hire operator. His licence to be a private hire driver has been revoked by TfL. 

This is the first trial of offences of plying for hire and illegal private hire operation and follows our robust approach to tackling illegal plying for hire and taxi touting. The Court found the defendant guilty of unlawfully plying for hire and taking private hire bookings not being a licensed private hire operator. He was fined £500 for each of the offences. We were also granted our full prosecution costs of £960.
.......................................................................


"This is the first trial of offences of plying for hire and illegal private hire operation and follows our robust approach to tackling illegal plying for hire and taxi touting."

I find this sentence in Hendy's report insulting and repugnant. 
Hendy has tried many times to give the impression that the level of enforcement is justifiable. 
But latest publicised statistic on TfL's web site show that in the 3 months between January-March 2013, only 6 touts were convicted and had their licences revoked. But with the met police estimates (POP report 2012) of 25 minicab related serious sexual assaults including rapes weekly, I think TfLTPH are way off the mark.

So no PH drivers reported for illegally plying for hire in the bus lane at Swallow and Regent, but 61 Taxi drivers will be processed for "plying for hire" around Paddington Station.

Wonder what our man on the board of TfL will have to say about this in the next edition of Taxi a Mag.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Three seriously hurt as Boris bus on wrong route causes pile-up on first day of service

Three people were left seriously hurt in hospital today after one of Boris Johnson’s new Route Master buses smashed into a queue of traffic while going the wrong way.

The £354,000 number 11 bus, which had only been in service for a day, careered into stationary vehicles resulting in a six vehicle pile up on Chelsea Bridge Road yesterday afternoon.

Transport for London said the bus was in service but “off route” at the time of the crash. It was unclear why the number 11 was not travelling on the normal route.

Ten ambulances treated passengers at the scene and London Fire Brigade used hydraulic cutting equipment to free at least one person from the wreckage.

The 58-year-old bus driver was among the three seriously injured, with a further 12 people treated for minor injuries.


First day: the new number 11 Route Master bus had never been used before, and cost £354,000 (Picture: Nigel Howard)
A 47-year-old man and 34-year-old woman, the occupants of a Citroen car left in a crumpled heap of metal following the smash, today remained in hospital but the injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

TfL have launched an investigation after an apparent witness claimed one of the buses had been going too fast and ran a red light. 

On twitter, @ontheriverdave said: “This was no ordinary bus, I saw a bus with what looked like a stuck throttle/no brakes, big impact, 30mph+ really nasty!! :(“

He later tweeted: “crash in Chelsea, I witnessed an out of control bus run a red light and then crash, are new buses safe?”

One man, who did not want to be named, said someone had seen a bus speeding past the Rose and Crown pub moments before the crash.

 
Investigation: TfL are looking into the circumstances surrounding the crash (Picture: Nigel Howard)
He said: “I don’t know if the bus was on its way back the depot, or if it had been diverted due to the cycle race, but it certainly had no business being on that road, it’s not the number 11 route.”

The Met Police have made no arrests.

This summer an investigation found faulty air conditioning on the buses meant temperatures were soaring to 30.4 degrees Celsius - hotter than the maximum temperature for transporting animals across Europe.


The brand new Route Master was introduced on the number 11 bus route, which travels between Liverpool Street and Fulham Broadway, on September 21.

Tfl is aiming to roll out 600 of the buses by 2016 at a cost of £212m.

Officers from the Met’s Traffic Unit are investigating and have asked for anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to the collision, to contact their appeal line on 0208 285 1574.

Update: Minicab driver jailed for forcing pregnant woman to miscarriage.


A man who forced a pregnant woman into having a miscarriage by administering medication against her will has been jailed for six years.

Ahmed Raofi, 27,  of Whitchurch Avenue, Edgware, was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday 20 September for administering a substance to a woman with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Raofi pleaded guilty on Tuesday 17 September to the offence at the same court.

The offence took place on April 9 this year at an address in Islington.

The 39-year-old woman - who was in a relationship with Raofi - had a miscarriage after he forced her to take medication without her consent.

She eventually lost her unborn baby within 24 hours of being given the drugs. She was four months pregnant.

After she was discharged from hospital, she told the midwife what Raofi had done. She had not told doctors at the time because she was too ashamed to admit what had happened to her.

He was subsequently arrested on Friday 12 April and charged the following day.

Detective Constable Aroon Rashid, of Community Safety Unit at Islington, said: "I hope this conviction would encourage anyone who has been through a similar experience to contact police and have faith that we will deliver them justice."

Statistics, Lies and Propaganda. Part 1...by Jim Thomas

After years of complaining regularly using email, Twitter and the TfL reporting tool (located on the TfL enforcement web page), drivers have now voiced concerns that LTPH, the Met Police and Westminster council are still ignoring the constant illegal plying for hire and touting occurring every night of the week in the bus lane, located at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street.


Why no action from LTPH after drivers making so many complaints?

In the form of a reply to a FOI request, LTPH have now informed us that complaints made other than by written letters, delivered by post, are not regarded as formal complaints, therefore, are not recorded as statistics.


To be honest, in all my 40 years of driving a Taxi, I have never heard such a ridicules statement from a government department.


So all the drivers who struggled to navigate the TfL web site, where you need a degree in IT to find the reporting tool, which is tucked neatly away...have been wasting their time and efforts. 


I remember being at a meeting in Palestra last year, where I was asked to publicise the reporting tool. At the time I made my views clear that I personally thought it should be renamed the shredder as I feared complaints would be collated and ignored en-masse. 


Apparently, I've been proved right. 

Drivers would have had more luck putting a written complaint in a bottle and chucking it off Chelsea bridge, hoping a staff member from Palestra would fish it out as it floated down the Thames.


LTPH have now informed us that complaints made online are only use for intelligence, to shape action taken by enforcement and compliance teams. 

The action they refer to though, seems to be a complete mystery.


After a year of virtual non enforcement at this location, it seems my original suggestion was spot on. 


Below is the reply to our Freedom of Information request, put forward by one of our top researchers.  



TfL Ref: FOI-0945-1314

 

Thank you for your further email which we received on 27 August 2013.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.  I can confirm we hold some of the information you require. You asked for:

 

Could you please confirm which teams you would be contacting as I believe that all complaints about Taxi drivers are dealt with by one Department namely " Taxi & Private Hire"

 

Complaints submitted to the Taxi and Private Hire (TPH) directorate are received by different teams within the directorate including the Enquiries team, the Intelligence team, the Customer Support team, the Complaints team, the Ranks and Interchange team and the Compliance team. We would have to contact all of these teams to establish if they have recorded any complaints about the Paddington Station area.

 

I want to know how many complaints was received by TPH about over ranking and parking in the Paddington Station area.

 

Also I would like to know how many complaints was received by TPH about private hire vehicles parked at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street.

 

I would like, if possible, for both searches to start from the 6 August 2013 going back in time I.e. 5, 4, 3, August 2013 until the £450 cost limit is met or the two years whichever is sooner. 

 

We have done a search for complaints received between 13 February 2012 and 6 August 2013. I can confirm we received 15 complaints regarding over ranking and parking in the Paddington Station area. In the same period, we received one complaint regarding Private Hire vehicles parked at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street.

 

Please note that the results only include written correspondences which were submitted as formal complaints. We have not included intelligence reports (which are used to shape compliance deployments), telephone conversations or emails as they are not formally captured but have been addressed. Reports received through our Twitter feed are also not regarded as formal complaints. However we do review our twitter feed on a regular basis and are aware of ongoing problems at Swallow Street and Regent Street. Frequent enforcement operations are carried out at these locations.

 

Date received

Subject of complaint

13 February 2012

Road users being affected by taxis over-ranking at Paddington

23 March 2012

Road users being affected by taxis over-ranking at Paddington

27 March 2012

Road users being affected by taxis over-ranking at Paddington

17 April 2012

Over-ranking at the Paddington Station taxi rank causing obstruction to surround roads

25 July 2012

Road users being affected by Taxis queuing in Edgware Road and Harrow Road causing congestion on the highway and blocking cycle lane

04 December 2012

Taxis ranking along the Harrow Road near Paddington Station causing congestion on the highway

03 January 2013

Taxis ranking outside the Hilton and Praed Street entrance to the station causing traffic.

09 January 2013

Taxis over-ranking on Praed Street causing obstructions and affecting local businesses.

10 January 2013

The junction at Praed Street/Edgware Road being blocked

10 January 2013

Taxis queuing in Edgware Road and Harrow Road causing congestion on the highway

20 February 2013

Taxis queuing and blocking Praed Street obstructing buses

26 March 2013

Buses being obstructed causing delay for other road users being delayed on Praed Street

27 March 2013

Road users being affected by taxis over-ranking at Paddington

17 May 2013

Taxis parking in Praed Street obstructing and blocking emergency service vehicles from entering St Mary's Hospital A&E

27 June 2013

Taxis parking in Praed Street obstructing and blocking emergency service vehicles from entering St Mary's Hospital A&E

11 July 2013

Minicabs parking and causing on obstruction on Swallow Street

 

We recognise there are ongoing issues at the locations you have highlighted and we are working with the police and other agencies to address these issues.


With thanks to Dave Little.


'We have our cameras EVERYWHERE, there aren't too many places not only a bus but an individual can hide within London that we can no longer see' 

Micheal Joseph's, Centrecomm Opperations Manager.




EDITORIAL COMMENT:


Complaints Against Taxis.

 It looks to us that the "Official" complaints made against Taxis on Harrow Road and Praed Street have been "managed". It would be interesting to know if all the complaints made against Taxis were written and posted or delivered online.


Over-Ranking 

Over-ranking, is a byproduct resulting from the removal of rank spaces, leaving an expanding Taxi trade under facilitated. While satillete offices licenses are given out like cheap sweets, taxi ranks spaces are disappearing daily.


Taxi rank availability in Central London has been extremely badly managed since TfL took over licensing from the Met, presently just 1 rank space available, per 65 Taxis.


Drivers forming a queue along Harrow, are not parked. They are not causing traffic congestion, they are sitting in congestion, waiting to join a badly managed Taxi rank. 


How do Taxis parked outside the Hilton in Praed Street obstruct emergency vehicles accessing St Mary's A&E...it's hyped up rubish, spun by LTPH.



Illegal plying for hire by Private Hire.

How come LTPH haven't released a notice similar to 20/13 in respect of illegal plying for hire, illegal forming of a rank and contravention of a bus lane, by licensed private hire drivers at Swallow and Regent Street?


Why have there been no complaints from Bus Companies/Drivers about Private Hire drivers illegally plying for hire in the Regent Street Bus Lane between 9pm and midnight? 

Lost in the post?


How come no complaints from emergency services about private hire drivers blocking access to Swallow Street?

Do Ambalances and Fire Engines not get caught in the congestion caused by the actions of Private Hire Drivers?



In part 2, we will be postings article that shows Westminster lied about the reason behind the lack of parking enforcement at this location.