Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe suggests cab drivers could help police ensure that the streets of London are safe


London cabbies urged to act as 'police officers'. Are they sure?
We've been reporting crimes in the form of touting and illegal plying for hire, taking place on virtually every street in central London, outside pubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs for the last decade....and the Met/CoL police have ignored us. Now they want our help
 
Below is an article taken from car website, recumbu.com

London taxi drivers are being urged to report the crimes they see whilst driving. The London Taxi Watch initiative hopes taxi drivers can be persuaded to pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously and alert the authorities of suspicious behaviour. 

(Something we've been doing for years that has been ignored )

Regan Hook, Crimstoppers’ London campaigns manager, said the drivers could become “everyday heroes” by reporting crime. He added: “Cab drivers may be aware of crime perpetrators including those involved in vehicle-related crime or may have information and intelligence about other serious crimes.” 

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe suggested that cab drivers could be in league with police officers when it comes to ensuring that the streets of London are safe. He said: “London’s cabbies are the best in the world. With police officers they are there all hours, all weathers and all places. They can be our eyes and ears and help victims of crime.”


Mr Hook agrees, saying: “[Cab drivers] can invaluably help fight crime by contacting the charity anonymously and play a part in making London safer.” 

(That's right. 25,000 pairs of eyes and ears could be a great partnership.)

The initiative was launched outside London’s City Hall at 10am on Thursday 28th November. 

What do you think about the idea? Agree with it or not? Let us know by posting in the comments below. 

 

Friday, November 29, 2013

BBC paid 'twice as much' for 350,000 journeys using minicabs instead of a Taxis.

   The good old days when the BBC used a majority of licensed Taxis

The BBC has spent licence fee-payers' money on 350,000 minicab journeys in the last year, as it is accused of paying up to double the going rate on £10 million of journeys.
Staff at the corporation, who use an internal booking system to arrange cars, have claimed the BBC is paying over the odds for journeys which would be considerably cheaper if booked with a local firm.

The BBC has already confirmed spending more than £10 million on minicab journeys in the last year, with 350,000 separate journeys booked for staff and guests.
A spokeswoman for the corporation defended the system, saying it was important the private hire firms used are "legally compliant, vetted and available when required".

The discrepancy was highlighted in the BBC's internal magazine Ariel, following a letter from staff member Marc Settle, a project producer at the BBC Academy's College of Journalism.

He said the organisation's workers are told to book cabs through internal website Gateway, which promises 'More money for programmes'.

Writing in Ariel this week, he said: "When you book a car via Gateway, you're greeted with a comforting strapline of 'More money for programmes'.
"Is this actually the case? I rang the number on Gateway to get a quote for a journey from Tonbridge in Kent to Gatwick and was told £87.

"That seemed high, so I rang a few local companies and, on average, was quoted £45.
"Another journey from Stanmore to Heathrow was £61 via Gateway yet a local company quoted just £25.
"I know that any receipts which are submitted need then to be processed, and that has a cost. Equally, a central booking system may have merits for auditing purposes.

"I would like to know, though, why minicab journeys booked through the central system seem to cost twice as much as those booked locally."

Another BBC worker, who asked not to be named, added: "When I get a cab when I'm just out on my own time I'll pay £20 to get home, but for the same amount of miles when I book through work it will come to £40 or £50.


"It's a complete waste of licence fee money that should be going on new TV shows, not doled out for expensive minicabs."
A spokesman for BBC Procurement replied to the complaint to say costs were higher in order to ensure the private hire firms were 'legally compliant' and that drivers were vetted properly.

He said: "Charges for cars may appear to be higher than booking locally and directly but, as the BBC completes over 350,000 private hire journeys a year, we have to ensure that the companies used are both legally compliant and vetted and this is done as part of the managed service provision.

"We also require a 24/7 service which ensures broadcast criticality, full transaction reporting covering all journeys, ensuring we are compliant and can report on our P11d (Expenses and Benefits not put through the payroll) obligations."

A BBC source added the sum spent on the Gateway service also encompassed administration fees, and cars for guests on radio and television shows.

In 2008/9, the BBC spent £15.1m on private hire, with a further £13.3m in 2009/10, £12.5m in 2010/11 and £11.3m in 2011/12.
A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “The BBC is a 24-hour organisation with offices across the UK, and, in common with many large businesses, it will incur travel-related costs.

"However, we are mindful that we are spending public money and we have policies in place to ensure spend on travel is proportionate and appropriate. The cheapest method of travel is always encouraged however on occasion minicab journeys are permitted in exceptional circumstances or where there are time constraints.”

When asked about the reasons for using the internal booking service rather than asking employees to book local firms, she added: “It is important that we have contracts in place with preferred suppliers as we have a responsibility to ensure that private hire companies used by BBC staff, freelancers and guests are legally compliant, vetted and available when required.”

Source: Telegraph.

Question from Taxi a Leaks: 
Why did the BBC stop using licensed Taxis?
Every vehicle and driver properly vetted and legally compliant.
No fluctuation in costs, every vehicle fitted with Taxi meter.
Special fixed prices available on most journeys. 
See; Dial a cab, Com Cab, RTG, Hailo and Get Taxi Simple!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cyclists caught jumping red lights in London taxi drivers' hidden camera footage

Cyclists were filmed jumping red lights by hidden cameras set up by London black cab drivers.

Their footage shows 194 out of 364 riders went through stop signals during the rush hour — just over half.


The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said it set up hidden cameras after a series of “near misses and confrontations” between its members and cyclists. The association said cabbies put two cameras at what they said were “average” crossroads in the capital.

One was the junction of Hackney Road, Queensbridge Street and Horatio Street in Hackney, the other at the junction of Fortess Road, Highgate Road and Kentish Town Road in Camden.

 
Cyclists whizz past as a woman pushes a buggy across when the green man is showing
The LTDA, which has 10,000 members, said each camera filmed between 7.30am and 8.30am at the end of September. In Hackney, 108 out of 170 cyclists jumped the lights, while in Camden, 86 out of 194 bikes rode through at red. LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara said two hour-long versions of the footage were available “ 100 per cent unedited” on YouTube.


He said: “We are constantly hearing  from the cycling lobbying groups that cyclists who ride on the pavement, weave in and out of traffic and fail to stop at red lights are a small minority or a small rogue element. This was in stark contrast to what we and most Londoners witness every day.” Mr McNamara, who cycles in the rush hour daily, added: “What we found shocked even us. We’re not anti-cycling, we’re against the unlawful cycling brigade.”

 
Two cyclists jump a red light at the same time
Anyone caught jumping a red light risks a £50 penalty ticket from the police. In an online survey of 1,600 cyclists by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 57 per cent admitted jumping a red light at least once, with 14 per cent doing it regularly. The reason they gave was that they felt safer getting ahead of the traffic flow.

Mike Cavenett, spokesman for the London Cycling Campaign, said: “ Evidence shows that red light jumping causes a tiny proportion of collisions. This view is backed up by police data showing that only two per cent of London’s cycling collisions are attributable to cyclists going through red lights, while the same data shows that 68 per cent of cyclist-motorist crashes in central London have their main cause attributable to bad driving.” 

Source:Evening Standard

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Appeal to trace man after Luton taxi driver dragged along the A40 at a Hanger Lane, following collision


Traffic officers investigating a fail to stop collision on the A40 near Hanger Lane that seriously injured another driver are releasing images of the car whose driver they are trying to trace, and are appealing for any information regarding it.

Officers are also appealing for any witnesses to the collision that haven't already contacted police.

On Thursday 14 November at around 21:15hrs, a 59-year-old taxi driver was driving his black Ford Galaxy people carrier (registration number: LR12 OSG) eastbound along the A40 towards central London.

A short distance prior to the Hanger Lane underpass, it is believed the taxi hit the central reservation causing one of its tyres to deflate. The driver stopped in lane two and put his hazard lights on. 

Subsequently, a car believed to be a silver/grey coloured Suzuki Ignis (registration number believed to start CA04) collided with the back of the taxi.

An argument between the two drivers ensued. The driver of the Suzuki then decided to leave the scene. The taxi driver attempted to stop him but the Suzuki driver held on to the taxi driver and accelerated away into the Hanger Lane underpass.

The taxi driver was dragged approximately 200 metres before he fell onto the carriageway a short distance from the exit of the tunnel.

The taxi driver, who is from Luton, was taken to hospital suffering serious injuries. Fortunately they were not life-threatening and he was later discharged from hospital.

Detective Sergeant Cheryl Frost who is leading the investigation for the Road Death Investigation Unit from the North West Traffic Garage said: "We would like to speak to the driver of this vehicle or anyone, who may have knowledge of the vehicle involved in this collision. We believe that this vehicle will have damage to its front offside headlamp. 

"We are also appealing to witnesses to the initial collision or the events after it, who have not yet spoken to police, to contact us."

Any witnesses or anyone with any information that could assist police are asked to call the dedicated witness line on 020 8842 1817 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Brighton and Hove taxi driver jailed for speed camera lies


A Brighton and Hove taxi driver has been jailed for lying about who was driving his car when it was seen speeding.

Samih Salib, 34, of Linthouse Close, Peacehaven, was licensed as a taxi driver by Brighton and Hove City Council when he was repeatedly caught by a speed camera.

But he ignored notices sent to his home, Sussex Police said.

And when he was handed them by an officer he claimed to have sold his car and created a fictitious person to blame the offences on. He then claimed his wife had been driving.

Salib was convicted of perverting the course of justice at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday 12 November.

He jailed for six months, banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Earlier this year dentist Priti Barua, 46, of Highcroft Villas, Brighton, was sentenced for a similar scam after being snapped speeding.

Barua was convicted of perverting justice after claiming to have left her car at Halfords and blaming the company’s staff for two separate speeding offences. She even created fake receipts to try to support her lies.

She was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence, banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay £1500 costs.

Lying

They were among seven cases highlighted by Sussex Police today (Tuesday 26 November).

The force said that detectives were working with safety camera teams to hunt drivers who tried to dodge justice by lying about speeding.

It said: “CID officers are investigating motorists who have been sent tickets after being caught breaking the speed limit but have then spun a story to try to hide their guilt.

“So far seven drivers in Sussex have been convicted of perverting the course of justice while a string of others are being investigated.

“The partnership works by camera inquiry officers from Sussex Safer Roads Partnership putting together files on drivers who they believe could be lying to avoid speeding fines and points on their licences.

The files are then passed to detectives who question the suspects and charge them if there is enough evidence that they are deliberately lying.

Inspector Chris Collins, from the central ticket and summons unit, said: “We believe these drivers are just the tip of the iceberg and that many more motorists have lied about speeding and got away with it.

“We do not take the decision to prosecute drivers lightly and this is not about targeting motorists or pursuing people who have made genuine mistakes in their paperwork.

“Each and every one of the drivers we have caught deliberately lied about what they had done to try to get away with it and they have had to face the serious consequences of their actions.”

Detective Inspector Gavin Patch said: “If you think you can get away with speeding by giving us false details or making up a story, think again.

“Our staff are experts at spotting lies on forms and will find you out.

“Being convicted of perverting the course of justice will cost you more than being caught speeding and could even see you jailed.”

source: Brighton and Hove news

Tuesday Night, 10 till Midnight, After Dark With Rachel




Willy Wonka And The Swallow Street Golden Ticket.

Saturday night was a complete nightmare in London's WestEnd, most of which became a car park for most of the night. 
Stuff happens!
This, hopefully was a one off, something that we can't avoid.

But in spite of the gridlock, the touts at Swallow Street managed to have a field day (in between visits from NSL wardens). 


Every time I managed to fight my way to the Rank (via Vigo Street), I was greeted by the site of dozens of minicabs illegally parked, illegally plying for hire, servicing the three self appointed minicab controllers inside the Swallow Street Archway. Not content with parking in the bus lane, they now park on the licensed Taxi rank at Heddon Street and also on the rank/loading bay in Vigo Street.


We have to remember, LTPH have helped and encouraged certain PH operators to evade TfL policy. 

There have been many untrue misleading statements from our licensing authority over the passed eighteen months, culminating in the moving of goal posts and a cover up concerning licence variations. 

TfL's on-line PH licence checker has been revised to only show operator and driver licence details. Licence variations have been removed, possibly over the RD2 scandal. It is now impossible to ascertain how many licences each company holds, or when they were issued.

Why would TfL do this if it wasn't to cover up dubious activities?
 
Last year (2012) saw RD2 issued with 18 licence variations, within a few days of the company first registering as a completely new operator. New company, new director, new premises.
The issuing of the new licences was at that time, totally contra to TfL policy, which states an operator must be in business for a minimum of one year before they can apply for licence variation.
 
When asked why this company had received special treatment, both John Mason and Helen Chapman statements proved to be misleading and untrue. Let's not forget that this company has since been granted a licence variation for New a Change, even after an application for a Licensed Taxi Rank was refused.

RD2 has a satellite office licence for the Goucho Club in Swallow Street. Is this the major factor in the lack of enforcement at this location?
 
We have been informed by LTPH that in the last year, Swallow street has been visited some 320 times by compliance officers. Yet the touting and illegal plying for hire problem is now worse than ever, with regular confrontation of Civil Enforcement Officers from NSL taking place nightly.

Drivers and controllers openly tout on the pavement and there is as much evidence as you would need to revoke the operator's licence, issued in this location.

Why has nothing been done at Swallow Street?
Is there some sort of Willy Wonka at TfL, giving out golden tickets...or has there just plain old wongalust at Palestra?

Unless drivers literally put themselves out and make a concerted effort to service this rank and the rank at Heddon street, all the hard work already put in, will be for nothing. No one from our licensing authority seems the least bit interested in resolving our problems with the touts.

"Why should I drive passed hands up in the street to put on a rank?"
Every driver has to do whatever they feel is best to earn their living, no one can tell you what to do and that's the beauty of this job.
Sitting on the Swallow street rank at night, I see Taxi after Taxi drive by me with their light on, circulating.
Surely drivers can spare a few minutes on the rank. 
You don't have to sit there for ages, if you don't get off in five minutes, pull away and just continue up Regent Street, but at least you will be helping to providing a presence.

A few minutes sat on the rank could present you with a job, a job a tout won't be putting in his car.

It took the RMT over a year to get meetings through Westminster's Martin Lowe, with top officers within NSL and City Parking Marshals, which resulted in a warden based operation at Swallow and Heddon Street.
The fight is still ongoing as we now look to get action from the Met and GLA. 

Still dancing to Daniels tune.
The massive workload put in by members of the RMT could have been made much easier and more productive if the Joint Ranks Committee of the United Trade Group would work with us instead of against us.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Addison Lee Driver Filmed Smoking Crack Cocaine



A minicab driver from Addison Lee, was secretly filmed inhaling crack cocaine as pedestrians passed by only inches away. 

A shocked witness watched as he pulled kitchen foil from the boot, sprinkled on coke crystals and heated them from underneath.

He then used a makeshift tube to inhale the fumes. 

The man described as Asian clean-shaven and aged about 30, leaned back as he felt the hit before driving off minutes later. 

The Minicab filmed in Plastow East London, carried the Addison Lee livery on the roof and rear windscreen. 

A spokesman from Addison Lee thanked the Sun on Sunday for drawing their attention to the video evidence.

He added "we have referred this matter to the police and transport for London. The driver has been suspended by Addison Lee and will no longer be providing his services.




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nine Elms, Cycling City, Within A City: Consultation.

Over the coming decade, Nine Elms on the South Bank will transform into a new neighbourhood of central London. At the same time, cycling mode share is expected to increase, with many more journeys in London being made by bicycle.


The transformation of Nine Elms provides a unique opportunity to integrate cycling into the area. Designing for Cycling identifies the characteristics of a successful cycling environment, analyses the context of the area and makes recommendations for the implementation of an urban area that is easily accessible by bicycle.


Transport for London have produced a draft strategy which they are now consulting on, and they would welcome your views.


If you have any comments on the draft strategy, please forward these by email to  NESBDesignforCycling@tfl.gov.uk  by 12:00 noon on Monday 25 November.


To view the draft cycling strategy for Nine Elms on the South Bank please  click here

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Chinese are coming: Was LTC Only Saved To Use As Distribution For Geely Cars?


The London Taxi Company has been ferrying the city's passengers around for more than 60 years, ensuring its brand is recognised the world over.

But the famous company no longer has a monopoly on the streets
It is facing competition from the likes of Mercedes and Nissan
The company must innovate to ensure it doesn't struggle, as it has in the past

Walk through London's streets today and you will see this iconic company, which has some of the globe's most knowledgeable cabbies, no longer has a monopoly on London's market.
According to David Bailey, of the Aston Business School, the competition "was opened up some time ago."


Bailey said, LTC has been "losing market share to the likes of Mercedes, who can take a van and produce it in very big numbers, and get their cost down and convert some of them into taxis. Much more difficult, then, for the London Taxi firm to compete with them .....they are producing in small volumes at higher cost."

And this is where many of the taxi company's problems lie.

I had the opportunity to film at their Coventry factory last year and see the work they do first-hand. But a week after my visit, the company, then owned by Manganese Bronze, filed for administration after failing to have turned a profit since 2007.


To add their troubles, the company also discovered a safety defect in its new TX4 model, leading to the recall of 400 cars and a stop in further taxi sales.

But a year is a long time in business and today, The London Taxi Company is back from the brink, after being bought by Chinese automotive giant Geely for £11 million.
While I am glad that production has resumed and their very skilled workers have their jobs back, I am apprehensive about the future of their UK factory.

The vice president of The London Taxi Company, Peter Johansen, told me their factory will produce 1,400 vehicles for the UK market -- that's 12 vehicles a day.
It's hardly going to swell their coffers.


To add to that, workers here won't exactly be putting their creativity to good use. As I found out, these vehicles will simply be assembled here with pieces that come from Shanghai.

The set-up begs the question: What's the real reason for keeping a production base in the UK?

According to Bailey, "this is about Geely buying The London Taxi Company to act as a distributor of Geely cars, which will be arriving fairly soon to the UK and European markets. So, it's very much a case of the Chinese are coming, in quite a big way."
So for now, Geely is testing the ground in Europe; preparing it for their arrival.

Johansen tells me the company is gaining ground globally. "They will move into Western Europe and other places eventually, but their focus is on the markets closer to home in China where they are made," he said.


"I think when they have established those markets, and become established in those markets, I think you will see then start to manufacture outside China," he said.

In the meantime, they face a challenge: How to improve their taxis? And how do they compete with the cheaper and lighter Eco City Vehicle which is customized by Mercedes-Benz? 
Japan's Nissan is also reported to be launching a taxi for the London market.

But Johansen welcomes the challenge. "Competition is always healthy," he said. "You have to be able to compete in your product and we produce the elite taxi that everybody will like to have, so I'm not frightened by any competition."


That may work while there is cash available. But to secure a less bumpy future, they need to innovate. Being an icon may no longer be enough.

Source CNN. 

Editorial comment
Couple of huge mistakes in this article from the CNN website.
And how do they compete with the cheaper and lighter Eco City Vehicle which is customized by Mercedes-Benz? 

Firstly, the Mercedes Vito Taxi is over 20% more expensive than the TX4.
Secondly, the Mercedes was not made by Eco City and customised by Mercedes Benz, it's the other way round.

Please send any complaints about the article to CNN and not Taxi Leaks. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Man, 27, dies after being dragged 100 yards down Essex Road by Minicab.

A man has died after being dragged 100 yards down a north London street by a car he was clinging on to, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

Police said they believed the 27-year-old had been leaning through the passenger side window of the black Vauxhall Zafira having a conversation with its driver when the vehicle drove off.

Officers were called to Essex Road, with the junction of Ockendon Road, at 1.55am on Sunday.

A spokesperson said: “After being carried along for 75 to 100 yards, the victim lost his grip and fell to the ground, suffering a serious head injury as a result.”

“The driver of the car did not stop at the scene but was subsequently arrested in connection with the incident after attending a north London police station.

“The 57-year-old has since been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in early January.”

Scotland Yard is continuing to appeal for information regarding the incident.

A post-mortem has been scheduled to take place at Poplar Mortuary tomorrow and an inquest will open in due course.

Contact investigators on 020 8842 1817 with any information.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taxi drivers’ emotional farewell to cancer victim Dave


NEARLY 30 taxis joined a funeral procession to give a popular cabbie a proper send-off.

Dave Tenant, 63, who was based at the rank at Benflett station, died after a six- month battle with cancer.

His colleagues followed the funeral cortege to Woodside Cemetery, in Manor Road, Thundersley.

After the packed service family and friends made their way to the Anchor Inn,on Essex Way, Benfleet, for the wake.

Friend and colleague Geoff Bradley said: “People were having to stand at the back of the chapel because so manymourners turned up, which says a lot about the type of person Dave was. He got the send-off he deserved.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TfL Bid To Make Profit From Taxi Drivers: New Handheld Devices To Issue Fixed Penalty Notices.

Coming to a rank near you, TfL's new mobile cash cows

Compliance officers are to be issued with new handheld devices.

Handhelds will be capable of scanning barcodes printed on the new licences, which will instantly bring up the licence holder’s details. Handhelds will also allow the printing of notices on the street, enabling the compliance team to spend less time in the office completing paperwork and more time conducting enforcement activities.

   
The device looks more like the Brick Mobile phone from the eighties, but could raise millions in fines for TfL.

Cutting edge??  
There is no qwerty keypad on the device which has a pad of ABC type buttons, making the entry on details painfully slow.

We watched in disbelief as compliance officers did badge and bill checks, entering data into the devices. The quickest check of the ones we put on the clock was 6.5 minutes.

Interim general manager for LTPH Helen Chapman told one driver, it would be a great idea for checks to be carried out with a passenger on board. She stated customers would be reassured that the Taxi they were in was a genuine Licensed vehicle.

In our opinion, most people already believe the Taxi they are getting into is genuine, sitting through checks such as this will only instil doubt in their minds

Can you imagine the frustration of a passenger who has had to wait in a queue, due to the fact compliance are checking Taxi details, then have to sit there watching the clock tick up while a CO is dithering, entering details with one finger into a hand held device. Yes I can see the passengers really loving this experience.

TfLTPH, New Powers:
A few years back legislation was put in place to enable TfL to issue fixed penalty fines to Taxi drivers for new offences such as failing to wear a badge, not displaying IDs, over ranking or forming unauthorised ranks. Attached to the handheld device is a printer, the sole purpose of which is to issue fixed penalty tickets and stop notes to drivers.

But TfLTPH intend to punished Taxi drivers even further. 
We have been informed that if a licensed Taxi driver receives more than two or more of these new fixed penalties within a prescribe three year period, they could be called up for further action to be taken.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Male cyclist in his 60s dies in crash with lorry at Camberwell Road

  

Another cyclist was killed on London’s roads today, the sixth to die in the past 13 days.

The man, who was in his early 60s, was killed in a collision with a lorry on Camberwell Road just after midday.

The victim was treated in the street for serious injuries by paramedics and a doctor from the air ambulance service.

A spokeswoman from the London Ambulance Service said the cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene “despite extensive efforts” to revive him.

One witness, Nettie Williams, tweeted: “Terrible accident on Camberwell Road SE5. Seems to have involved a cyclist and a bin lorry. Person being removed from under the lorry. It was a collision on a corner at some lights near Burgess Park. I saw from a bus.”

The victim was the 14th cyclist to die in London so far this year. The tally now equals the total for last year.

Cyclist death: the lorry at the junction Picture: John DunneThe accident took place at the junction of Camberwell Road and Albany Road at 12.05pm.

Police said the driver of the truck, a tipper bin lorry, stopped at the scene and was not arrested.

The cyclist’s next of kin have not yet been informed.

A Met spokesman said: “Officers attended and found a male cyclist, believed to be aged in his early 60s, suffering serious injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.37pm. 

“Detectives from the Road Death Investigation Unit have been informed. Inquiries continue.”

The road was closed while inquiries were being carried out.

The recent spate of cyclist deaths began on November 5 when hospital porter Brian Holt, 62, died on Mile End Road in east London as he cycled along Cycle Superhighway 2.

Three days later architect Francis Golding, 69, died after a crash with a coach in Holborn, central London on November 5.

The following Tuesday, November 12, Roger de Klerk, 43, died after he was crushed by a single-decker bus outside East Croydon station. The next day Venera Minakhmetova, a Russian IT entrepreneur, died after being hit by a lorry at the Bow roundabout on Cycle Superhighway 2 at rush hour.

Later a 21-year-old man from St John's Wood was hit by a bus at 11.30pm in Aldgate, near Cycle Superhighway 2. He died the following morning.


Source Standard online

Just hours after a cyclist was killed, another has been involved in a crash with a lorry in Camden 

http://www.lbc.co.uk/another-cyclist-lorry-collision-on-londons-streets-81558

Road charity Brake in call to ban car hands-free phones


Use of hands-free phones should be banned from vehicles as well as hand-held ones, road safety campaigners say.

The charity Brake also called for the penalty for calling or texting behind the wheel to be increased from £100 to somewhere between £500 and £1,000.

Brake said a Freedom of Information request showed more than 500,000 people had points on their licence for using a phone or being otherwise distracted.

The government said it was not looking at banning hands-free kits.

Driving ability
The figures were released to mark the start of National Road Safety Week.

Brake's campaign is being supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers, 10 years after the motoring mobile phone ban was introduced.

     

The road safety charity wants drivers to turn off their phones, and callers to refuse to speak to someone who is on the road.

Brake pointed to research that suggested 98% of motorists were unable to divide their time without it affecting their driving ability.

Using a mobile phone, eating, drinking and smoking were all shown to increase the risk of a crash, Brake claimed.


Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: "We're living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm.

"More and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute.

"While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it's also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger.

"Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific."

'Top priority'
Imogen Cauthery, 26, was hit by a driver who was texting on his mobile phone, as well as speeding, when she was nine. She was in a coma for 10 days, and suffers seizures and memory loss.

She says she regularly sees people using their phones while driving.

       


"I just hate it, I get a really angry feeling, thinking what are you doing? You're ready to ruin another life or kill someone. I was very nearly killed. I want my first life back. My first life without all my problems and I can't get that back," she said.

Peter Rodger from the Institute of Advanced Motorists said a ban would be very difficult for the police to enforce and that a cultural change, which made it morally unacceptable to talk while driving, would be more effective.

"We tend to behave in the way everyone around us expects us to and if we can create an environment in which people don't expect that to happen, that is more likely to control how us, as individuals, actually behave," he said.

The government said it had increased fines for using a phone while driving and was looking at how to improve road safety for younger motorists.

The Department for Transport said road safety was a "top priority".

A spokesman said: "The government is determined that police have the powers they need to tackle any form of dangerous driving, including anyone using a mobile phone at the wheel.

"That is why this year the fixed penalty for this offence was increased to £100 and carries three penalty points.

"Police can stop and arrest any driver if they believe they are not in charge of their vehicle, and this includes if the driver is using a hands-free mobile device.

"There are no plans to change the law around the use of hands-free devices but all penalties are kept under review to ensure they are appropriate."

A man was today fighting for life in hospital after being dragged 100 yards by a car he mistook for a minicab.

Witnesses today described how the 27-year-old victim was left with serious head injuries after losing his grip when the black Vauxhall Zafira sped off along Essex Road, in Islington.

He was seen leaning through the car’s passenger-side front window in the early hours yesterday to try and negotiate a fare with the driver after mistaking it for a mini cab, sources told the Standard.

But he was left clinging on after the vehicle sped off, suffering a life-threatening head injury after losing his grip and crashing to the ground. He was rushed by ambulance to an east London hospital where he is critical. Police today confirmed the vehicle was not a cab.

Denise Read, 53, who works at a nearby minicab firm, said: "One of our drivers said the man’s face was in a very bad way."

A 57-year-old male motorist was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene. He has been bailed until January.

The clash took place near the Ockendon Road junction at about 2am yesterday.

Toyris Miah, 23, whose home overlooks the scene outside Essex Road Kebab, said: “I heard shouting but didn’t think anything of it because this is a busy road.

“But then I looked out of the window a bit later because I saw blue flashing lights and there was about 12 medical staff and they had the whole road blocked off.

“I’ve never seen that many medics attend to one person which is why I knew it was serious. It looked pretty horrible.

“You could see that he was completely unconscious and wasn’t moving. They had him on a stretcher and there were all sorts of tubes going inside him with a blood bag going into him and an aid to help him breathe."

Ali Findir, 37, described seeing paramedics frantically trying to pump the victim’s chest after rushing out of the kebab shop where he works.

He said: “I didn’t see the incident but I saw the ambulance and the blue lights when I came out and could just see this guy in the road and they were pumping his chest trying to resuscitate him for quite a long time.”

Other witnesses told how debris which looked like “smashed plastic” could be seen lying in the road while residents were stopped from returning home for up to an hour.

A cordon remained until about 7am. Call police on 020 8842 1817 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Source Standard online.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Over the Weekend, Swallow Street Bus Lane Kept Clear By NSL TrafficWardens. By Jim Thomas


Friday night, one of the three minicab controllers, the one who normally stands in Regent Street and try's to tout passers by, kick off alarming as Wardens from both NSL and Westminster Parking Marshals kept the bus lane outside Swallow Street Arch clear. 

The Clipboard Johnny (although the clipboard has now been replaced with a small diary) became very animated towards the Wardens and also towards Taxi drivers picking up passenger outside the Swallow Street Arch. Foul language was abundant and at one time, the self appointed minicab booking marshal was chased off, after spitting at "the wrong cabby".

How are these animals allowed to carry on like this?


We have been told by the Met police, that serious sexual assaults including rape occuring on journeys originating in this manner, are now completely out of control and currently running at 25 a week. The problem being so bad, TfL no longer publish these figures.

LTPH have informed Westminster/NSL, that they carry out regular compliance and enforcement operations at this site
Yet no enforcement has been seen to be done, no statistics of enforcement appertaining to this site have been published and not one NSL traffic warden, Westminster City Marshal or Taxi driver has come forward to back up LTPH's claim. 

TfL have even removed the bus lane observation CCTV camera from the junction of Vigo and Regent.

Apparently, after a freedom of information request, TfLTPH said they only ever received one complaint regarding illegal parking in this bus lane, and yet virtually every one of TfL's buses have forward facing cameras being observer on a 24/7 basis by CentreComs operators. Yet not one TfL bus driver, or CentreCom observer has made a complaint.


'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'

Michael Josephs 
TfL Centrecomm operations manager.

In the same period, over 15 complaints have been made regarding Taxi drivers over ranking at Paddington Station. 
Smells a bit fishy...you bet it does.

The touts are now taking desperate measures by parking on the opposite side of regent street and causing congestion in the southbound bus lane. The wardens have been told to enforce the northbound bus lane and so don't cross over. The more persistent touts are even parking on the licensed Taxi rank in Vigo Street, and walking customers around the corner.

Questions that need answers 
Why have 3 satellite office licences been issued in such close proximity?
Surely this problem should have been picked up on site inspection and licence variations refused?

Why have LTPH let this problem fester for so long?

We've still had no satisfactory answer from TfL as to how a company was issued satellite office licences just days after registering as a new company.
Why has the UTG said nothing about this?

Don't let them win.
If you are close, please put on the rank, the work is a constant steam.
Every job you take is one less In a scab.