Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Petition calls for the instant dismissal of Mr Leon Daniels.

  

The indisputable and corroborable contempt that the Managing Director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL) Mr Leon Daniels has the licensed taxi trade brings into question his ability to act with discernment when making trade associated decisions. 

The unmethodical issuing 30,000 private hire licenses over a two year period (most of which facilitated the en-mass infiltration of smart phone instant hire car services) was reckless in the extreme. TPH TfL continue to issue 600 - 1000 PH licenses each week. 

Calls for TfL to cap licenses Despite protestations by TfL, the law is innominate, in that no law exists that compels or prevents TfL from issuing licenses. The guidelines clearly state that if a person meets the criteria listed then they can then apply for a license. 

The emphasis here is on 'applying,' which does not make issuing a license compulsory. Indeed, mitigating circumstances such as the inexorable increase in motor traffic congestion, and subsequent Pollution implications, should be deterministic factors for capping licenses. 

In doing so, we openly accuse Mr Daniels of overstepping his brief by intentionally derestricting a market that already satisfied demand with supply. It is of my informed opinion also, that the stress level of those within the Trade is becoming infective, to the degree that depression could elevate to a serious organisational matter. 

In stark contrast to the haemorrhaging of Private Hire licenses, taxi drivers are being denied their democratic right to earn a living due to insufficiencies delaying the renewal of taxi drivers licenses. This resolves around the huge backlog of completing DBS checks. In the main this has been exasperated by TfL issuing an insurmountable and therefore unmanageable level of Private Hire licenses. 

Despite repeated requests, TFL have failed to resume issuing temporary licenses (Bill renewal) to taxi drivers. A driver who has completed the necessary paperwork, remunerated the relevant licensing authority, and is of previous good character, should not be denied the fundamental right to earn a living. 

Current legislation of the 1987 Transport Act (sec 17, subsection 7) states; ‘Where a person holds a licence which is in force when he applies for a new licence in substitution for it, the existing licence shall continue in force until the application for the new licence, or any appeal under this section in relation to that application, is disposed of, but without prejudice to the exercise in the meantime of any power of the licensing authority to revoke the existing licence'.

This unnecessary delay a direct result an inept and inconsistent administration and is no fault of the driver, and nor should he suffer any consequence. Probably the most serious accusation. however, is Mr Daniels' blatancy in misleading the Taxi trade, misleading the public and misleading the GLA transport committee. 

He has vehemently endorsed a commercial, off-shore, company which allows their drivers to illegally drive Private Hire vehicles, without the necessary Hire & Reward insurance. In the presence of the London Assembly, and recorded on video, Mr Daniels publicly stated 'as these vehicles are cars (PH), it's perfectly within the law to switch on and switch off the hire and reward element'. 

This is a conclusive lie. Subsequent, clarity came from the National Association of British Insurers who confirmed that no such 'on/off' insurance existed. The demonstrable level of malevolence Mr Daniels has shown the taxi trade has placed the relationship beyond reparation. 

More so, for a senior civil servant to put the safety of the public at grave risk - either with intent or deleterious ineptitude- makes Mr Daniels position at TfL is no longer tenable. 

The trade has no choice therefore, but to request Leon Daniels’ immediate removal.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dutch prosecutors raids Uber's offices in Amsterdam, in taxi probe

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. 

Renewal Chaos To Continue, After TfL Refuse To Reinstate Temporary Licenses

Almost two years ago Taxi Leaks broke the news that Sir Peter Hendy had taken it upon himself to suspend the issuing of temporary licenses to drivers waiting for renewals. We warned at that time drivers would be unable to work.
 
Taxi leaks editor wrote to Sir Peter on many occasions asking him to reconsider. But Hendy was adamant, temporary licenses (TLs) were going and drivers would have to lose work. 

Taxi Leaks have run many campaigns asking for the reinstatement of TLs  

In March 2014 Taxi Leaks wrote to Hendy pointing out the Transport Act 1985 sec17(7) and Hendy said his legal team would look at it and get back to us. 

With their usual contempt for the plight of Taxi drivers thrown out of work, unable to make a living, TfL never got back till September 30th 2014. 

Leon Daniels replied on behalf of Hendy saying that they agreed drivers could carry on working under the Transport Act, but only if a completed DBS criminal record check had been received by TfL. 

This was a none victory as it was the BDS backlog and holdup that was causing the problem. 

We have never taken our foot off the gas over this issue, we emailed every GLA member, every London MP and on numerous occasions we wrote to the Mayor. We've constantly tried to get all representative groups to take this up, but there seemed little interest. 

At the last Mayors Question Time, Val Shawcross asked Boris to take action over the alleged 37,000 licence renewal back log and suggested the reinstatement of Temporary licenses as was the case for many decades. 

    

After listening to Val Shawcross Boris said "that sounds like an immensely positive idea I will immediately take steps to ask TfL to start reissuing temporary licenses".

Unfortunately as soon as he had left the auditorium, his view of an immensely positive idea completely changed

    
        It's just one piece of bullshit after another!

Meanwhile drivers are still unable to work, still unable to make a living, still unable to feed their family.

It's not just drivers waiting for renewals, we are hearing horror stories from knowledge student who after taking 4 years to complete the KoL, they are being held back, waiting months for DBS checks before they can progress to receiving their badge. It's scandalous!

There is only one group who are taking direct action sighting this as one of the reasons their members were all balloted and voted (over 90%) to demonstrate.

If you care about the future of your trade, come to the Aldwych, 4:30 pm on Wednesday and make some noise.

The licence renewal scandal has finally started to hit the news (after nearly two years), as certain celebrities start showing their support the Licensed Taxi Trade.

The item below is taken from last nights ITV London News.
Unfortunately, when it came to the important bit....the statistics...ITV's researcher got it wrong...so we've fixed it for them. 

    


Monday, September 28, 2015

Letter To Editor: Regarding, TfL CO and CoL Police Incident At Shine Charity Event.


My Name is Tony Casey

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.

I have been a Taxi trade negotiator for over 25 years, never aggressive but sometimes firm when speaking on behalf of the Taxi Trade.

I am not frightened by authority, as they are civil servants and here to SERVE US.

Remember they WORK FOR US, WE PAY THEIR WAGES, they do not pay ours.

An official complaint is being prepaired and we are asking for a member of the TFL compliance team to be suspended pending the outcome of a false statement made to the City Police.

I can confirm that I do not drink and have not done so for 37 years. 

TfL, HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME....Bias Harassment Of Taxi Drivers At Shine.

Lighting up the night-time with an incredible parade of almost 20,000 walkers, who adorn themselves with glowsticks, bright clothes and lights, Shine is an inspiring fundraising walk for the wonderful charity Cancer Research UK.  


The walk which features both half and full Marathon walks symbolises the light their work can bring to the darkness of cancer, which affects so many lives. 

Each participant pays a £39.99 fee which goes towards the staging costs, with marshals along the rout ensuring their safety. Final destination is Old Billingsgate from where they have to make their own way home. 

We were informed that 500 minicabs had been pre booked. But it's alleged these bookings were never checked by TfL compliance. 

The PH operator who holds a dynamic licence variation for this venue, just happens to be the same one that, against TfLs own regulations, received 18 licence variations the very same week they were originally licensed, instead of having to wait the required 12 month period.

Back in 2012, when complaints were made to the directorate of John Mason and Helen Chapman at LTPH, three dodgy excuses were offered in succession, all of which were proved to be untrue. Finally we were informed that the PHV act licensing regulations, are just guidelines and not legally binding. 

This company is just one of a number who have been allowed by TfL to bend licensing regulations to suit their own agenda. 

Pre Bookings, my arse!
PH clipboard johnnies, were shepherding customers to waiting minicabs. These vehicles were being allowed to form an illegal rank in Lower Thames Street, with the help of both TfL compliance and City of London police.

Provision for a temporary Taxi rank was granted, but although in plain sight, was placed over 300 yards away down the slip road towards the Tower of London.

         Taxi rank tucked away on the corner 

     You'd need binoculars to see the rank in daylight.
          Shades of WinterWonderland perhaps?

While no restriction was placed on PHVs forming an illegal rank, TfL compliance officers were giving drivers plenty of stick and waving overflow Taxis on. Only 8 taxis at a time were being allowed on the slip road. 

It soon became apparent that all was not well. 
The walkers were being told taxis were unavailable plus exaggerated information was being given out about our prices. Potential customers were being held in a queue by PH marshals inside Old Billingsgate, some waiting for up to 90 minutes.

This whole deception was made possible by TfL COs who refused to let the Taxi marshals approach waiting customers at the venue. 

As the night wore on the word started to get to the walkers who then slowly started to use the Taxi rank. Horror stories were coming out of inflated fares as Minicab drivers tried to marry up passengers with fixed individual prices on shared journeys.

Ironically, many of the "Gold Standard" licensed Taxi drivers, from the "best Taxi service in the world", had unselfishly turned their lights off and made their way to the venue to offer reduced metered fares, with some drivers refusing payment completely. Many Taxi drivers also made donations to the charity workers.

Just a few of the marchers who got to their destinations free of charge.

In spite of the harassment from TfL compliance, using The Twitter accounts of @UCGup and @Flash_Demo, a steady stream of Taxis managed to keep the rank pretty much full, using Trinity Square as a feeder.

Special thanks to "the Mayfair Mob" who were again at the forefront of the operation, putting out dozens of requests to their members to help out. 


This biased behaviour from TfL reflects badly on the driver orgs who have attended previous Joint Ranks Committee and LCE meetings. 
Another year, another chaotic performance. 

Will we see even more last minute inadequate solutions, as we approach WinterWonderland and another News Years Eve fiasco. 
Not forgetting, the UTG trade who attend these meetings have had a year to sort it out!


Just some of the Tweets from Sunday morning at Shine.





            STOP PRESS NOTICE FROM UCG:
  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Letter To Editor Part 2 : Lack of LUL night service taxi ranks just part of the overall problem.

The problem that was put to us at the LSTC way back when TfL first took over the day to day running of the London taxi industry was that there was a lack of taxi supply within the 6 mile radius of Charing Cross. 

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

Letter To Editor : Lack of LUL night service taxi ranks just part of the overall problem.

The request for new ranks to be appointed in the London suburbs was part of the London Suburban Review, so as to increase the availability of taxis in all of the 22 London suburban boroughs, plus the 2 London Suburban extensions.

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. 

Therefore, it will not just be the London Underground booking offices, but those National Rail stations that TfL are looking to take over in the near future. 

You think CrossRail is your problem. Just wait until London Overground gets a real foothold. 

Les.

 Editorial Comment:


Taking into consideration this letter, together with the article from Val Shawcross, it just backs up what a Taxi Leaks uncovered back in December 2014. 

We said back then that it looked like TfL had an agenda to replace station staff at144 stations with 24 hour minicab satellite offices. Many are all ready in place. Obviously, if there were a Licensed Taxi rank outside the station, selling a licence variation to a minicab company would be a hard sell.

With PH licenses being dished out like sweets, there will be no shortage of drivers offering to work the stations along the night service network. 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Never Was So Much Owed.........by Semtex.

An aspirational and famous speech by Churchill, and perhaps, a little dramatic for this piece. But actually, maybe it's perfectly fitting!

Standing under the UCG's "Totally Failing London" banner at the bank yesterday, shoulder to shoulder with colleagues who really care, left me in a unfamiliar state of mind.
The same old faces, the same concerns, the same commitment...........................but all getting older !

I have been on most of our trade demos, way back since before the Victoria Coach Station one, so many years ago. And even then, it was the same old colleagues, fighting and taking their stance in hope of a better, stronger trade.

To a large extent, we achieved much. The Killer On The Knowledge success, being one that springs to mind. The thing is though, and what makes me really sad is, we could have achieved so so much more.

Since I have been a trade scribe now, which covers a fair few years, I have never commented, denounced, criticised or bad mouthed any of our trade organisations, as I was convinced that they were all trying to win a better working environment for us, albeit with varying ideas. Nothing wrong with that of course. But yesterday, and for the first time ever, I got the mephitic feeling, that maybe there were some strange vibes from within our own ranks, and after sleeping on it, have awoken this morning convinced that there are indeed ! 

For the first time ever, I publicly say that in my opinion, as a working London Taxi Driver and member of all of the organisations in my time..........................I think they have a lot to answer for.

Not just that either. I have always accused TFL and City Hall of dubious and murky goings on within their fabric, but yesterday I came away from the Bank thinking that the very same thing is happening within our own structure too. And that shouldn't be the case......should it ? If there is any truth in that, then it would explain how a group of 25000 professionals, can be in such a weak and professionally perrilous corner !

Not one official backing from any of the "others" was given to the UCG at the Bank. AND  YET, colleagues from all sides turned out in their thousands from every single one of the clubs, organisations, unions, associations and groups ! I don't understand that ! If a driver was happy with their chosen representing trade organisation, then surely he or she would be obliged and indeed, willing to take the stance of the organisation's views on the demo ?  Right ? Well, actually.........No ! They didn't ! 

From where I stood on the front line, I don't think it was just a case of supporting the UCG, but a case of supporting somebody, someone, some thing or some group, who were actually trying to DO SOMETHING to protect their livelihoods !

The banter from our colleagues was one of obvious disenchantment too. I can perfectly understand that. Why are we in this position? I am quite an anorak when it comes to studying various strategies in any form of battle or campaign, and I can confidently tell you, that any progress that our trade has made to either hold on to, or better our lot.......HAS BEEN MADE BY THE FEW!

It is a worrying but accurate fact that colleagues such as the TAG Hit Squads, the Mayfair Mob, The Club Hit Squads and other splinter groups among us, have made more progress and achieved more success than any of our trade representation, some of who hold millions of "fighting fund ?" money !  How on earth can that possibly be ?
I tell you what my opinion is shall I ? 
I think "The Few" succeed because they are resolute and genuine.

I think they succeed because they honestly don't concern themselves with playing at being politician wannabees, they ain't concerned with making enough money from membership subscriptions to prevent them from mushing a cab, and they ain't concerned with carving out an alternate cushy position in "the office" whilst masquerading as a caring colleague. They are out there to do a job...........and they do it incredibly well !

In future, before I go spouting off about Boris, Daniels, Hendy, Emmerson and the rest of that rabble, it wouldn't do us any harm to study some of our own high ranking management first ! I believe there is collusion and betrayal at the very top of our trade, just like at TFL,  that has absolutely no appetite for a safer and more secure playing field for London Taxi Drivers, rather than the longevity and comfort of the obvious gravy train that purports to represent London Taxi Driver members.

Naturally, I wouldn't want my opinion to whitewash the genuine hard working trade reps and club officials who work ridiculous long hours in a GENUINE AND HONEST effort to make progress. But don't let us kid ourselves, they're are some wrong un's flourishing from within our ranks, who have had an astonishing comfortable free ride from our trade, as it sinks slowly but surely into the Suwannee ! 

And I think it is these traitors who are deliberately leading our great London Taxi Trade along a path that will eventually replicate Operation Market Garden!

What was NOT to support yesterday's demo ?  What did the trade org's gain from a demo mutiny ? Of course, I respect the colleagues among us who disagree with the demonstration action, but what alternate assistance do they offer ? Judicial Reviews ? Court Action?  Meetings? Courts? Litigation?  Ministers support ? Yeah yeah, course we will ! Blah blah, bloody blah ! They didn't say what century ! That's the problem isn't it ?

Do you realise how much these specialist litigation briefs charge for all of this representation by the hour ? Who's gonna pay for it ? Ghostbusters? Absolute pie in the sky folks ! It ain't gonna happen that way, and if I'm alive to see TFL and City Hall in court, then lets hope we can re-create the Great Train Robbery with 6 extra coaches to pay for it ! That's all I can say !

Meanwhile, we slip very slowly into extinction. Our once great trade, which has served London, Londoners and the World's travelling public in platinum professionalism and service, reduced to a pile of rubble and merely awaiting our stall in the London Transport Museum !

May I say, that it was an incredible proud part of my life to have fought and stood in hope and staunch resistance in my time on the London Taxi front lines. The calibre of men (and women) who I have met along the way have been an inspiration to me and I am honoured to have them as friends. 

Standing at the Bank Junction yesterday may just have been another battle honour, but as I walked back to my taxi, it dawned on me that not only will we never have complete trade unity, but perhaps it was never there in the first place. My rose coloured glasses have at last lost their lenses !

To my mind and for reasons mentioned above, I can only see the UCG as becoming a stronger and even more respected force out there as time goes on, as our downtrodden colleagues view their alternatives. Len Martin is a good man, and holds the reins in confidence and skill. Perhaps all is not lost, but time is ticking by.

I must say, that the Gold Control Commander and his team from the City Of London Police, were not only incredibly fair up at the Bank yesterday, but professional and refreshingly approachable too. When we can work in democratic and compliant cohesion as we did yesterday, the whole demo has a sharper and better looking edge.

Just before I left my colleagues at the UCG and friends that I have met along my time as a proud one of "The Few", I got genuinely choked up as a roar went up for a lone Knowledge Boy, beeping the horn on his moped as he weaved among the motionless taxis at the Bank.

I know only too well the pride he was feeling. His "today's runs" were pinned to his knowledge board as he waved at the crowds of his future mates standing under the banner.
What is HIS future ? I asked myself. Will he eventually make it ? Will he be one day standing here with us as we still fight on ? Will he have a secure and respected future as a result of the trade representation who "look after" us ? Or will he be doing it all for nothing?

Either way, in mutual respect, I stood my brolly up against the wall by the tube entrance, and joined in the crowd to give our future colleague a standing ovation ! 
He didn't have to be there. He didn't have to care. He didn't even know if he would make the grade eventually. But he came ! He drove to the Bank, he cared and supported the men and women who one day God willing, will be his colleagues in trade.

What more could you ask ? Whoever you were my friend, total respect to you, well done and let's hope we can keep something for you to join us in.

And to the "Few" who know who they are, stand proud my friends, for it is only you who have managed to hold us together thus far!

London Taxi Trade Representation ?  Some of our lot couldn't spell Representation, let alone carry it out !

Never Was So Much Owed...............................

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick........................

8829 Semtex.

Val Shawcross says lack of taxi ranks will “leave passengers stranded”



A lack of taxi ranks could leave passengers stranded when the proposed 24-hour operation of some London Underground routes begins, claims Labour London Assembly Transport spokesman Val Shawcross.

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.”

Bank Junction Bought To A Standstill By Taxi Drivers Protesting Against TFL's Woeful Inadequacies.


Thousands of London's Taxi drivers defied the statement put out by certain trade orgs, that they should not attend any unsanctioned direct action. 


Drivers from ALL TRADE ORGS, fed up with their representative groups inaction, fed up with private hire licenses being dished out like sweets at a rate of 650 a week, turned out in their thousands to support the Bank Junction demonstration.


Many of the drivers who attended yesterday, spoke of their dismay at years of inaction from their respective trade org. 

"Raymond, a Taxi driver of over 30 years said;
I've been in the LTDA, LCDC for most of my time in the trade. I must have paid in thousands of pounds and all I have to show for that is a few diaries".
 
"Along come the Mayfair Mob, employing tactics known as flash demos, have managed to get new ranks and rank extensions outside major night venues and more recently, they've managed to get TfL to move marshals from places where they were not doing much good to these new ranks. I've been told by a founding member of the Mayfair Mob group that Novikov's and the Forge are to get night time marshals. And they haven't even been going six months yet".


David, who has been in the trade for over 45 years said;
I'm a member of a new group called the Save Our Black Taxis Group. It's only been going since March this year and has attracted over 17,000 members. This proves that there is something seriously wrong with our existing trade groups".


Yesterdays demo, which was called by the United Cabbies Group,  was organised after a ballot of all UCG members. A democratic process not undertaken by any other taxi trade group. With an overwhelming 90.2% vote to resume direct action, 6 demos were organised to take place over the a 6 week period. 

      .
  
                             NEXT DEMO
        
                     WITH MORE TO COME !

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inquiry launched into online platforms and the EU Digital Single Market

The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into online platforms in the EU Digital Single Market. The deadline for receipt of written submissions is Friday 16 October 2015.


Online platforms range from marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, to sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb and Uber, to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. With a billion people recently using Facebook in a single day, the extent of our use of online platforms continues to hit new heights. 

Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy 

However, in its recent >Digital Single Market Strategy< the European Commission raised concerns about the growing influence of internet platforms in some online markets, leading it to ask whether new regulation is needed. This inquiry has been launched by the Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee in order to feed into this important debate. 

Timeline

The Committee will hold oral evidence sessions for the inquiry from October until December 2015. The Committee plans to publish a report in spring 2016.

Focus of the inquiry

The inquiry will seek evidence about the benefits and problems that online platforms create for consumers and businesses, and ask if online platforms are sufficiently transparent about how they work. The inquiry will consider issues such as data use, market dominance, and relations between platforms and their suppliers, including SMEs. 

In addition, the Committee will consider the wider social and political issues raised by online platforms and ask if the EU online marketplace is good for innovative start-ups to scale up and for new platforms to emerge. 

Topics the Committee will explore include:

  • How should online platforms be defined?
  • What benefits have online platforms brought consumers, businesses that rely on platforms to sell their goods and services, and the wider economy?
  • Do online platforms cause problems and, if so, how they can be addressed?
  • Are the current tools under competition law effective for online platforms?
  • What role do data play in the business model of online platforms? Is current understanding and oversight of their collection and use of data sufficient?
  • Are these issues best dealt with at EU or member state level?

Further information

Is This The App We've All Been Waiting For ?

..


MAGICAL TAXI TOUR TO DISNEYLAND PARIS 2015..... by Sandie Goodwin


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.