Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Breaking News from Reuters Amsterdam.
Dutch prosecutors said his morning, Tuesday 29th September, they have raided Uber's European headquarters in Amsterdam in a criminal investigation into whether the car-hailing company is offering illegal taxi services.
In a statement, the Netherlands' national financial crimes prosecutor said it believes Uber has continued allowing drivers without taxi licenses to offer paid rides via its UberPOP service, despite previous fines of 450,000 euros.
Agents from the country's Transport Inspectorate have seized administrative records from the company, it said.
In a week where the new Labour leader announced they would crack down on companies like Amazon, Starbucks and Google who do not pay full share of UK tax, the question must be asked, why the government revenue service, haven't invetigated Ubers business model!
It's widely been alleged on Twitter that Uber have launch UberPool in London this week, a ride sharing service based on Uber Pop.
Monday, September 28, 2015
I went to the chaos as Shine last night, to investigate on behalf of the LCDC. A compliance officer phoned the city of London police, alleging a Taxi driver was aggressive and drunk.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
A meeting was set up on the 9th September 2002, at the Angel/Morris Suite, The Hilton Hotel, Islington, London. The meeting was chaired by Roy Ellis who introduced 8 of his staff that were sitting on the top table with him. This meeting was attended by 30 suburban drivers from and representing all of the 22 outer London boroughs.
It was pointed out at that meeting that the London suburbs were oversubscribed with taxis along with a lack of taxi ranks to support the demand that there was in areas within the 6 mile radius of Charing Cross. The boundary changes that took place on the 1st April 2000 did address this in parts, where some of the outer London borough adjacent to the inner London boroughs were in fact well within the 6 mile radius of Charing Cross. In fact 2 of these borough boundaries Brent and Lewisham came with 3¼ miles of Charing Cross.
So it’s not a problem for the LCDC, LTDA and Unite the Union to do deals privately with the authorities without the need to consult with their members, but forbidden should a suburban group make suggestions on how to alleviate some of the supply problems in areas within the 6 mile radius of Charing Cross.
As most of this had been suggested and some of those suggestions implemented such as the 2 suburban extensions long before the Suburban Review meetings, I fail to see where or how all this came about after the review document was published. Perhaps the problem lies with the LCDC, LTDA and Unite the Union not forwarding this information to its members as and when it happened.
As for this so called "land grab" of GB territory by suburban drivers. TfL asked for a solution, we gave our views but the GB’s blocked it and thus allowed the lack of supply to be taken up by private hire, which then opened it up to the American App to fill the demand gap with TfL rubbing its hands at the increased revenue it has produced for them. TfL have always said that it the GB’s can’t/won’t fill the void then they at some stage will.
I also have a copy and have no intension of dragging you through it all again and re-kindle the enmity it brought to YBs and GBs as history has now proven the point. London is overrun with incompetent private hire drivers nicking your work wholesale.
Did the LSTC submit a response! They sure did, not only submitting it beforehand in writing, but giving it verbally and photos of those 2 representatives at the City Hall meeting have been posted on this sight to prove it.
As I said before, the ranks were asked for long before there was even talk of having a 24 hour tube service, but now you want to spin it round that all concerned are working to achieve that end when you know that that is not true.
What we were after in the suburban review was what was stated in PCO Notice 26/03: The PCO has been aware for some time that there are areas between four and six miles from the centre of London which are not well served by All-London drivers but are not available to Suburban drivers. There have been a number of attempts to resolve this by the use of ‘island’ ranks but these have not been entirely successful. Following consultation with trade representatives, an alternative scheme is now to be piloted in south London, the principle of which could, if successful, be extended to other areas.
So the idea of more island ranks, extensions and going home ranks was being discussed and in part implemented as far back as 2003.
So what has happened regarding the last Suburban Review meeting in December 2014, not a lot as it has been kept under wraps by the LCDC, LTDA and Unite the Union because they don’t want to waste time discussing suburban issues with the TfL. That is a fact that TFL have told us.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
The London Suburban Review was killed off by the LCDC, LTDA and Unite the Union at the very first meeting, where it was made very clear that they didn’t want any change to the way the cab trade was run at any cost.
Their spin doctors informed the trade that the London suburban driver wanted to work central London on a full time basis, which was not what had been suggested, but it did manage to achieve the object they needed. All debates with the authorities from there on in will be taxi issues within a 3½ mile radius of Charing Cross and their beloved Heathrow Airport.
Here you are some 3 years on from the London Suburban Review and the London taxi trade is on its knees, but those who make these decisions on behalf of trade and its workforce are doing very nicely thank you and are answerable to no one but themselves.
TfL are closing the London Underground booking offices left right and centre and these no doubt will be taken up by the local PH operators. Not forgetting that TfL are looking to expand and roll out a 24 hour London Overground network.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Shawcross says that 72 of the 144 stations on the Night Tube network do not have a taxi rank within 250 metres, and that this could leave passengers “struggling to complete their journey”. The issue is said to be particularly acute in outer London, where two-thirds of Night Tube stations do not have taxi ranks. In inner London 64% of stations have one nearby, as well as more frequent night bus services.
TfL plans to add taxi ranks to 26 Night Tube stations, but Shawcross is calling on London Mayor Boris Johnson to ensure all have a taxi rank within 250 metres.
“With the Night Tube start pushed back to autumn, the Mayor has a chance to put his foot on the accelerator and get this sorted,” she said.
“The Night Tube will only get you so far. People need to know that when they get off the Tube there will be a taxi there to help them finish their journey safely if they want it.”
Thursday, September 24, 2015
This year's Children's Magical Taxi Tour departed from Canary Wharf on 18th September 2015. The countdown ribbon cutting took place after the Big Breakfast Send Off inside the East Wintergarden; this event marks the beginning of the trip and is attended each year attended by a number of the trip’s sponsors and dignitaries.
The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Phil Davis, is extremely grateful to everyone who helps in making the trip possible, from the larger corporate sponsors all the way through to those making donations through JustGiving via the website. The Marriot Hotel Canary Wharf provided everyone with packed lunches and the London Taxi Company donated the spending money for the children. Ampersand sponsored the breakfast itself.
This year the ribbon was cut by the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens Alderman Sir David Howard and the Master of The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers, Colin Evans, and then the convoy of almost 100 taxis, around 400 people set off on the trip, taking children with life limiting illnesses on this magical journey.
The long line of taxis was escorted by City of London Police and the Gendarmerie Nationale, as well as support vehicles, including the AA, medical teams from the hospitals where the children are patients and London Ambulance Service. Heading off down to Dover, the magical journey had begun. Boarding a P&O ferry to Calais was quick and easy and the ferry trips are donated kindly by P&O. The car deck full of London taxis is quite a surprising sight to fellow travellers on the ferry.
Once in Calais, the convoy reassembles and the journey down towards Paris and the Disneyland resort commences. A fuel stop at the Aire De Repos Assevillers Ouest services gave the opportunity for a taste of the fun to come at Disneyland. As the taxis arrived, a band was playing and characters were on hand to greet the children. With refreshments all laid out ready in welcome, face painting opportunities – not to mention the chance to enjoy some candy floss, everyone was refreshed and ready for the remainder of the journey.
In recognition of the Award made to the service area for their warm welcome each year, the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers had made an Award last year to the staff at the service area and a short speech was made by Kevin Deneux and Mickael Bruder welcoming everyone once again. The weather on the journey through France was punctuated by some very heavy rain and so it was a welcome sight when the Hotel Cheyenne car park was finally reached a little later than usual. Everyone checked in to their hotel room and then headed of the Chuck Wagon for an evening meal. Then it was time for sleep before a busy day in the Disneyland Park and the Studios.
On Saturday morning the children ensured their carers and taxi driver hosts were up bright and early ready to make the most of the day in the resort. Once in the Park the children have fast track passes to ensure they do not have wait in long queues for the rides and experiences.
Walking round the park and seeing the excitement and delight on the faces of the children it is clear to see how worthwhile this trip is for them. It is a wonderful day away from the rigours of their treatments in the magical environment that Disneyland provokes. As well as a chance for the taxis to take a rest in the car park of the hotel being admired by the guests who wonder quite why so many London taxis are parked in there!
Following the day in the park, there is a Gala Dinner where the guests are joined by some very famous characters; Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto The Chipmunks, Donald and Daisy Duck to name just some. These characters were kept busy all evening signing autographs and posing for photos with the children before joining in the disco dancing. Not too many people can say they have been dancing with Mickey Mouse and his pals at a Saturday night disco.
The following morning saw the convoy regroup and head off back to Calais. There was a fuel stop on the return journey at Assevillers, somewhat quieter than the outgoing visit, but thanks to some lovely sunshine the children were enjoying their packed lunches out on the grassed rest areas. Soon the convoy was back in Calais where the ferry was waiting for them to board. A calm crossing soon saw the ferry docking in Dover where everyone said their goodbyes and headed off in different directions taking the children back to their hospitals and homes.
This was the 22nd annual trip that had been organised by the WCHCD; it is a testament to the kindness of the drivers and all the support services and their generosity in giving their time and vehicles freely. Throughout the trip people were telling the committee what a great time they were having which is what makes all the hard work preparing for the trip and fund raising so worthwhile.
This year one of the drivers had set up a Facebook page for the trip and regular images and updates were published throughout the weekend. This has proved very popular and following the trip many of the parents and carers had commented on how much the children had enjoyed the trip.
The power of social media meant many people were able to see the regular updates as they happened in the resort.