Saturday, December 31, 2016

As a Hard As They've Tried To Replace Us With A One Tier System, We Are still Here...by Jim Thomas

             Andrea Clarke                                   Howard Carter 

This year has seen unprecedented support from TfL towards third party companies, one of which has had a dramatic economical effects on our trade and other licensed Taxi trades around the country. 

The biggest threat our trade has ever faced, has enjoyed a free hand to run riot over regulation and legislation laid down by Parliament. 

New regulations have been bought in but many in the trade feel rules are being changed to facilitate an interested party at the detriment of established Taxi and Private Hire drivers of many years standing.

It's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that regulations are being contravened everyday, and instead of enforcement followed by revocation (as promised by Sadiq Khan when campaigning for the job as Mayor), TfL and the Mayor's office, have resorted to actually changing and watering down regulating guidelines and in some cases, blatantly ignored current legislation.

From one TfL Managing Director, we've had the "Dear Jo" Email's, the covert un-minuted  coffee house meetings, multiple lies -on-off insurance, Uber met all requirements when first licensed, Uber has a pre booking landline- told directly to the transport committee of the GLA....and this man unbelievably, still has a job at TfL?

When fake medicals and topographical tests came to light in the Sun News paper expose', TfL said they would no be taking direct action but would be more vigilant in 3 years time, when certain PH driver's licenses were up for renewal. 

TfL's legal team, seem gutless to take on a large Private Hire operator whose philosophy is "it's easier to seek forgiveness than permission". So far, they appear to have gotten away with every rule they've broken and haven't had to seek forgiveness once. What message does this put out?

Funny thing is, this company state quite openly they are not a private hire operator but a tech company and they supply technology to the drivers who act as private hire operators. And yet TfL have chosen to licence the company as such and not the drivers.

Confused.....it gets much worse!

TfL director of legal Andrea Clarke and general counsel Howard Carter, last reviewed their advisory panel in 2012 appointing 11 new firms, including Dentons, Trowers & Hamlins and Lewis Silkin to a roster which also includes Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, K&L Gates and Gowling WLG. 

They now have a 200-strong legal team, comprising of 90 lawyers who handle TfL's core commercial work for operations which includes the capital that gets invested into the Underground, as well as diverting legal resources towards the office of the Mayor of London, the British Transport Police, the London Legacy Development Corporation. 

Firms on the payroll also advise the greater London authority, which also comes under the remit of TfL. (So no conflict of interest there then!!!

Back in 2012, when an employee from the Diamond Chauffeurs was caught blatantly touting outside a bar on Cornhill, by senior TfL staff members, their operator licenses were revoked, but they immediately appealed. TfL's legal team embarrassingly lost in the high court and decided to just leave it at that. 

     Touting on the pavement outside Tiger Tiger

Diamond can be found today openly touting with impunity  on pavements outside a number of London venues, left alone by TfLTPH enforcement. Many smaller PH firms now use the case as a precedent in defence when caught openly breaking the terms of their licence variation outside London clubs and bars.

Read the case for yourself >Click Here<

TfL's legal team waited some twelve years to get (in their words) "a water tight case". After losing the appeal, they've now been labeled "The Quality Street Gang"  by the Taxi trade. 

Trade org reps who attended the hearing, said they couldn't believe the weakness of the case bought by TfL, in light of the evidence that was available to them.

Observers have said it was exactly the same with Uber's "It's a meter, it's a smart phone?" case. 

Un-phased by the crippling affect of their woefully inadequate performance in general, TfL now operate a more relaxed approach to PH licensing. In doing so, they churn out somewhere in the region of 600 new PH licenses every week, allegedly to give Uber a steady flow of new drivers.

Issues such as: 
 • The ease in which Uber first became licensed without a landline
 •The Meter Case
 • On-off insurance policies
 • RD2.com's acquisition of PH operators licence and multiple licence variations (satellite offices), without the requirement of being in business for the minimum period of 12 months
 • Fake medicals, fake topographical test's
All now swept under the carpet.

Interestingly enough, the new commissioner of TfL, Mike Brown asked for it to go on record, that he had no part in the licensing of Uber....why would he insist on this going on record at a meeting of the Cabbies Cabinet?

So far, there's been a lot of shouting for Demo's, but not one of our trade orgs have challenged the real problem of TfL's conflict of interest with interested third party companies, (apart from the LCDC's expose's in the Badge paper).

I recently attended a meeting in Taxi House where most of our representative orgs were gathered to talk about what to do in light of the Toronto verdict. To my surprise two of the orgs hadn't even read this ground breaking story.
 
It also appears our largest trade org, has no viable plan to challenge these serious issues in the coming year. If they have, they don't seem to be letting on to anyone.

So perhaps it's time for the drivers to finally cross the line in the sand and take action for themselves.

The infighting and fragmentation has to stop and everyone has to come together under the one flag. Take the diary off the dashboard, forget the colour of the lanyard and fight for the badge that hangs from it.

At the beginning of 2016, our enemies predicted we would be gone by Christmas as with TfL's help, they double the size of their working fleet. 
But we are still in there punching our weight.
 
2017 has to be known as the year the drivers fought back.
If you don't get into the ring, you can't win the fight.

If you don't fight back now, TfL will destroy our trade and replace us with a one tier system, as per their agenda. 

Our fight back begins on January 12th at the Bank Junction and continues the following week for five days.




Friday, December 30, 2016

Update On The Card Payment Fitment Situation From Helen Chapman.


We've just received this statement from Helen Chapman regarding the London Taxi payment by card update

30 Dec 2016

It remains the case that from 1 January all taxis must be fitted with an approved device in the passenger compartment of the taxi. 

We understand through discussions with suppliers that some of them aren’t currently able to meet demand but other approved suppliers do have the stock and capacity to do this.

Vehicles being inspected at one of our inspection centres or on street after 1 January without an approved device fitted in the passenger compartment of the taxi will be dealt with on a case by case basis. 

If the vehicle owner is able to demonstrate they have made significant efforts to be compliant with the Cab Order then this will be taken into consideration. Given the extended notice period vehicle owners have had to prepare for the mandate (since February 2016) we don’t feel it is appropriate to formally extend the deadline further.

Helen Chapman

Editorial Comment :

This isn't what's been said by Darren Crowson.
In fact the sentence: 
"If the vehicle owner is able to demonstrate they have made significant efforts to be compliant with the Cab Order then this will be taken into consideration" 
sounds more like a threat and is most certainly open to abuse from COs, as we've already seen from them at ranks, station and airport. 

What is significant efforts....will we need a video on our phone begging our respective suppliers to fit a unit and them saying sorry we ain't got none left!

Helen upto now a letter from the supplier has been good enough, please explain what's wrong with this......now you want us to prove we've made significant effort.... But you don't say just what significant effort is.

Extra Comment From DaC chairman Brian Rice.

We at DaC wrote to TfL on 16 December stating that we would not quite be finished moving our PED's by the 1 January and could we have a few weeks extension, that was sent by the Operations Department at DaC.

Of course that e-mail was totally ignored, so I followed up with an e-mail on 21 December requesting a reply. 

I sent it to Alex Moffat and copied Helen Chapman, Mike Brown, Sarah Finlay, Peter Blake, Leon Daniels, Val Shawcross, John Masters and Caroline Pidgeon.

To date I have been totally ignored, not even an acknowledgement, that demonstrates the contempt in which we are held by TfL!

An Open Letter To Deputy Mayor Val Shawcross......From Sean Paul Day.



CITATION: City of Toronto v. Uber Canada Inc. et al., 2015 ONSC 3572 COURT FILE NO.: CV-14-516288  DATE: 20150703

Dear Val Shawcross

Re: the above

On the 3/ 07/ 2015, Über Technologies inc. admitted under oath that from the point where a passenger determines to find a car (and driver) to the point where the passenger is in the car they (Über) are not party to the procedure. 

A rudimentary description follows that software is downloaded in advance of the intended is activated by the passenger at the time and place of his/ her choosing.  The server then relays messages between the passenger and prospective drivers using their respective versions of the App. The driver himself then directly makes the booking.  Accordingly, none of the respondents can be described as meeting statutory regulations of either a Taxi or PHV/D business model, as set forth and arbitrated by Transport for London (TFL).

TfL Operator License terms state that a Private Hire Booking can only be accepted by a licensed operator at their registered operating centre. A driver is permitted to hold an operators license but a moving vehicle cannot be considered as a registered operating centre.

The conclusion therefore is that Über are operating outside the terms of their operators license, and because the sequence of the booking procedure is referenced regularly by TfL, the primary assumption is either Uber  are guilty of misapplication or TFL are abusing procedure by allowing Uber to operate by their own self- determined parameters. 

Although TfL are steadfast in not discussing individual circumstances that might effect their PHO license ,  I would assert that the licensing criteria, and any change thereof , is solely the province of TfL. The Operator merely obliges the criteria, or has that now changed? Any alteration made specifically to this criterion constitutes a fundamental change in the way PH are pre-booked, and I don't recall it's inclusion as part of the lengthy and thorough PH consultation? 

For reasons pertaining to safety, the remit of TfL has a concomitant responsibility to ensure the London's taxi industry, both driver and vehicle,  meet stringent licensing requirements. For the most part this has worked well, therefore I trust you will look in to this issue as the potential consequences related to further indistinction between taxis and PH is not to be welcomed. 

Regards

Sean Paul Day

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Are You Going To Sit Back And Let Them Take Your Trade Away ? Or Will You Fight....by Harry Wall.

I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas, I did, but most of all I enjoyed having a complete break from all things cab related for a few days. 


Having to come back has made me realise just how detrimental it is to my well being and I'd imagine the same for most of us. Today's my first day back and I have to say I'm dreading it. The thoughts of what's in store for me today makes me feel sick and after 23 years I should be taking it in my stride, but after the last few years of TFL's and establishment efforts to eliminate us from London's landscape I've realised I've had enough.

But rather than give up and go, it's made me even more determined to fight the bastards responsible for planting these feelings to begin with. They want me to have these thoughts but although I can't help feeling that way I refuse to succumb to them.

I also believe they're responsible for what's happening at the airport. They've orchestrated the ill feeling by allowing the influx of Somalians cab drivers who've decided to do things there own way instead of playing by the rules that have been in place for years. It's worked a treat because it's put cab drivers against cab drivers instead of those drivers recognising TFL's tactics and dealing with the problem. 


It's created disharmony which has been exploited by politically minded members of the trade who can't see the reality of an obvious TFL plan that's so specific to the "devide and rule" ethic it's tailor made for them.

Moving on, we have a war on our hands starting next week that will define our future more than anything that's gone before it and four months to fight it. We need to start the new year with a different mindset than we've had up to now. It must be one of total, complete and relentless determination to resist any attempt to ruining our lives, which WILL happen after Uber's license is renewed. Once Uber is relicensed, competition like Lyft will soon follow along with many others resulting in the London Cab trade disappearing.


The first demonstration planned for January 12th must send a clear message to the authorities that we've had enough and will stand for TFL no more. Anyone who can't be bothered to attend or be part of it can have no future opinion as they've contributed nothing. I'm not interested in whether demos have worked in the past as they've never been more important than this one and the only reason they haven't worked is because the trade's riddled with dogs who are only too willing to let others fight there fight for them. 

Near full attendance at half the demos in the past would have been enough to easily achieve our aims and secure a future for us all, so those drivers who are happy behaving this way are partly responsible for where we are today. This is the one that shows our determination to stand firm and fight for our jobs because, make no mistake, that's exactly what this fight's all about.


There is no more time for in house squabbling or any form of disharmony either, we simply don't have enough of it so if anyone has plans to feed any more of it, you're part of the problem so wise up and get on side and quickly.

I'm a member of UCG but I'm a member of the cab trade first and that being the case my allegiance is with the trade as a whole. I don't care who leads us to a brighter future so long as the sun comes out sometime. Having said that I recognise that, in my view, we have only two orgs who can make that happen. UCG and LCDC are led by the only two men I have confidence in so they both have my backing. 

Everyone knows my thoughts regarding Mac and LTDA so I won't bore you with them again suffice to say you can rest assured Mac and Co will be ok regardless of what happens to us.

The time for letting other people fight the most necessary fight in our history has gone. Everyone, and that means every cab driver, cab garage, the WCHCD, everyone attached in some way to this trade must involve themselves in this fight as no lesser effort will do.


THIS IS THE START OF THE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES.
We should have been gone by now but we're still here much to our enemies annoyance, what a shame.
We've shown a resilience and blunt refusing to yield to any bullying that should have broken us by now, and we've made life very difficult and uncomfortable for those responsible for the hardships caused by TFL. But with the latest revelation of depression and attempted suicides within the trade, the stakes have become much higher. 

It's no longer about an occupation, it's about people's lives. 
Lives that have become blighted by TFL's actions and that simply can't be tolerated.

Those who are complicit must not be forgotten either but dealt with at a later date, but for now we must concentrate on the most immediate and obvious threat which is TFL.

Start 2017 with a renewed vigour and determination that'll see us through to victory and be proud of yourself for doing it. There's no pride in giving up or letting other people fight your fight. 


This is a photo of London in the future if we give up, there's no cab in this pic, just a scab stealing our job because someone high up in society decided to make it possible for him to do so because it provides him with a healthy dividend on a regular basis.

How do you feel about that?
The clock's ticking.

Harry Wall.

AND NOW, WE HAVE TFLTPH'S ON-OFF CC FITMENT DEADLINE (LEON STYLE)

 

This afternoon we heard on the RMT Twitter account, that Darren Crowson of LTPH has confirmed drivers who are not fitted with CC terminals and printers by the 31st December deadline, will need to carry a letter confirming a future fitting and will need to be in possession of a handheld device to meet the current licensing conditions and conditions of fitness.


Apparently, all test centres will be informed of the extension and any driver who encountered a problem should contact their respective org as soon as possible. 

We've also been informed that the extension will be reviewed again at the end of January 2017.

However, TfLTPH's Twitter account apparently has no knowledge of this new extension and has put out this tweet in reply to our asking them to confirm the situation. 


Clear as mud, confused....you will be !

Typical example of TfL's one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing.

More information as and when it becomes available.

We have now been informed that the extention has been confirmed, Plus TfLTPH's Twitter feed will shortly be updated. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Major changes coming to cycle route interchange at Blackfriars next month, for five years of works.

Tideway is building a new 25km-long sewer under the Thames, as London's sewage is now at capacity. The construction site by Victoria Embankment at Blackfriars will impact drivers, cyclists and pedestrians from January 2017 until around 2021. 


Here's how your journey could be affected.

Cycling
The works affect the East-West (CS3) and North-South (CS6) cycle superhighways from 23 January 2017. After this date:

The layout shown above will be in effect throughout the works
You'll still have segregated two-way cycle lanes on the Victoria Embankment slip-road. This will link East-West and North-South
Check availability of Santander Cycles using the online docking station map, or visit our cycling section for full information on cycling in London.

Driving
The changes to the Cycle Superhighways will mean that on the Victoria Embankment slip road, westbound traffic will be diverted from Monday 2 January 2017.

A signed diversion route will be in place. For westbound access to Victoria Embankment:

Travelling north on Blackfriars Road: use Stamford Street, IMAX roundabout, Waterloo Bridge, Strand, Arundel Street and Temple Place
Travelling south on New Bridge Street: use Fleet Street, Strand, Arundel Street and Temple Place
Full closures Mon 2 - Mon 23 Jan 2017
The Victoria Embankment slip road will be fully closed to prepare for the new layout on:

Monday 2 to Friday 20 January 2017: each night 21:00-05:00
Saturday 21 January 05:00 to Monday 23 January 2017: 05:00
Westbound traffic will be diverted along Fleet Street, Strand, Arundel Street and Temple Place. Eastbound traffic will be diverted along Puddle Dock Lane and Queen Victoria Street.

Traffic in the area
Throughout the works, roads in the surrounding area will be busier than usual. Please plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey.

For the latest information on how roads are operating, see TfL traffic status updates page or follow @TfLTrafficNews on Twitter.

Uber Freight Just Launched and Trucking Will Never Be the Same


Uber has launched a website for a service called Uber Freight. 

Little has been revealed about the company’s expansion from ride-hailing, but if the announcements it’s made over the last year are any indicator, chances are good that Uber Freight is meant to prepare the world for autonomous delivery trucks. So taxi drivers leaving the trade to go back to truck driving.....think again, you could be looking for another new job next year too.

Uber acquired a startup called Otto, which planned to bring the first self-driving trucks to market, in August. Since then the company has used its trucks to deliver 50,000 cans of beerand hundreds of Christmas trees in San Francisco.

This new service won’t use those trucks, at least not at the beginning. Instead it will function much like Uber’s existing platform: Some people will sign up to drive items across the country, and others will join so they can send packages without having to sign a contract with established shipping companies. The service will likely bring “surge pricing” to trucking, too.

Uber Freight could also help Otto’s trucks by using data gathered from drivers on the platform. This would allow the self-driving vehicles to learn from experienced people while regulators figure out how to govern autonomous trucks and the technology catches up to all of the promises made by its creators. Why put off entering a whole new market — shipping and commuting don’t tend to overlap — when the company could just use human drivers until its semi-trucks are ready?

It turns out that Otto had similar plans. Business Insider reported in October that the startup eventually wanted to introduce a platform like Uber’s. The acquisition didn’t just give Otto access to more resources or help Uber work on self-driving vehicles; it let the companies work together instead of trying to compete with each other. (I suspect the more business-inclined would call this “synergy.”)

Uber Freight’s launch coincides with growing interest in trucking from many tech companies. Nikola Motor Company wants to use tech to make trucking more environmentally friendly and appealing to millennials; Tesla’s working on self-driving trucks; the list could go on.

But it will be interesting to see where Uber lands on the driver problem. Nikola has been clear in its commitment to making good drivers happy, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that automating jobs like truck-driving could lead to universal basic income. Uber Freight lands in the middle — it needs human drivers now, but it’s likely to switch to autonomous trucks as soon as mechanically possible.

Uber said it’s going to wait until the new year to elaborate on how the system works. “We don’t have any new information to share at the moment,” a spokesperson said, “but hope to in the new year so please do stay in touch.” It looks like the future of trucking — or at least one potential future — is going to take a little while longer to make its debut.

TfL Have Updated Their Website With Changes To Private Hire Regulations


Here we have TfL informing the trades, of the new regulations from July 2016, have "finally" been added to the Private Hire Vehicles act 1998. So, not only are TfL about to scrap the requirement for an advanced driving test for Taxi drivers, looks like they are watering down PH reg's as well. Sort of deregulation, by stealth.
The say that their website has been revised to show the new regulations. 

Reading through the new reg's, is like reading through the script if a new sit-com and in the words of the trades regular stand up comedian, "You just couldn't make it up". 

Taking them in order as they appear on the TfL website:

PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES

1. HIRE OR REWARD INSURANCE 
(Honest, thats what it says on their website ??? I've looked everywhere online and can only find "hire and reward". Perhaps this is another one of Leon Daniels' mythical policies, in line with his fictional on/off insurance that looks like it's going to make a come back, further down these regs)


All private hire vehicles must have hire or reward insurance in place both at the point they are licensed and for the entire time the vehicle is licensed, including when the vehicle is not in use as a private hire vehicle.

What this means for you:

If you are a new applicant or are renewing your vehicle licence,
(Get out clause no1, if you were licensed before October 2016 and don't have continuous HR insurance, this appears to be ok?
you will only pass your vehicle inspection, if you have hire or reward insurance in place at point of licensing.
(Again hire OR reward, is that just one of the two Leon)
You also need to have your hire or reward (Again) insurance available for inspection when you take your vehicle to the vehicle test centre. If you do not have the appropriate hire or reward (Again) insurance in place, you will not be issued a new or renewal licence.

If you are an existing licensee, hire or reward (One more time) insurance must be in place at all times the vehicle is licensed. 
If you fail to meet this requirement, you may face licensing action.

(And now for the get out clause no2)
This does not prevent you from having periodical hire or reward insurance (such as a weekly, monthly or quarterly policy), as long as there is no gap in the cover for the duration of the vehicle licence. (Got that?

If you are found not to have valid hire or reward (somebody tell them) insurance while the vehicle is licensed as a private hire vehicle, appropriate action will be taken which could include the revocation of your vehicle licence, and if you are also a licensed private hire operator and/or private hire driver, we may also review your fitness to hold that licence.

To support the introduction and compliance of this "new regulation", 
(Get out clause no3, this is TfL admitting they've been allowing PH to licence vehicles without hire and reward in the past, never mind nonexistent on off policies, just completely off) 
we are increasing the number of insurance checks we carry out.

2. SIGNAGE 
Signs or advertising material must not be displayed on or from a private hire vehicle,
(Get out clause no4
unless they are exempt or approved by us, and no advertising material may be displayed in the vehicle unless in accordance with our requirements.

What this means for you:

This is a change from the previous regulation, which did not allow signs or advertising material to be displayed on a private hire vehicle. The amendment to the regulations means that you can also no longer display signs or advertising material on or from a private hire vehicle "unless it is exempt or we have approved it", and no advertising material may be displayed in the vehicle unless in accordance with TfL requirements.


Our taxi advertising and PHV signage guidelines provide more information on these requirements. 

(Wait for it)
Note that these are currently under review.

3. PRIVAT HIRE OPERATORS BOOKING CONFIRMATION
Private hire operators must provide a booking confirmation to a passenger before their journey starts. 
(Get out clause no5, notice the word Pre-Booking, the bookings that Uber don't do,  doesn't appear in the revised regulations)

What this means for you:

The operator must provide a passenger booking confirmation before the journey starts. The operator is expected to request passenger contact information and offer to provide a booking confirmation for all bookings.

All operators must (at a minimum) be able to provide a booking confirmation to passengers via email, text (SMS and MMS) message and phone (regardless of what booking channels the operator offers). The booking confirmation must contain, as a minimum: 
(Get out clause no6, the requirement for an operator to have a landline has now been removed)

The vehicle registration mark
The first name of the driver
The driver's private hire licence number, as shown on the ID the driver is wearing
Where the passenger can receive it, a photo of driver.
Where the customer books in person or by landline phone, a photo must be provided if the customer requests confirmation through a communications channel that can provide an image, for example an email or smart phone.
(Is this TfL advising prospective passengers not to use a landline?)

4. PROVISION OF CONTACT FACILITIES
In Notice 10/16 (June 2016) we "indicated" that existing licensees were required to comply with this condition by 1 October 2016. 
(Now the big get out clause no7)
In light of the ongoing legal proceedings, licensees are not required to comply with this condition before either: (i) the conclusion of the proceedings or (ii) further relevant developments in the proceedings. 
We will provide a further update, should the situation change. (Don't hold your breath)

5. CHANGES TO PRIVATE HIRE OPERATING MODEL
The form of this requirement has recently changed,
(allegedly uber didn't like the way it was worded
though it remains unchanged in substance. 
Private hire operators must notify TfL of material changes to their operating model that may affect their compliance with the statutory and regulatory framework for operators or any conditions of their licence.

For further information, Notice 17/16 (November 2016) and our page on changes to operating models include the types of changes you need to notify us about, the ones you don't and details about where to send notifications.

6. BASIC DISCLOSURE CHECK FOR SOME STAFF 
Operators are recommended to ensure that all staff who have face-to-face contact with the public (for example, in a minicab office with public access) have - or have proof they have applied for - a Basic Disclosure check, which is available through Disclosure Scotland.

The requirement for private hire drivers to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check remains.

Find out more about applying for a Basic Disclosure.

What this means for you:

We recommend that all affected staff apply for their Basic Disclosure check as soon as possible.

We will issue guidance for operators to assess Basic Disclosures that they receive; however, it is ultimately the operator's responsibility to ensure that staff members are fit and proper to undertake their duties. Failure to do this or to give appropriate consideration to the results on the disclosure may raise questions about an operator's fitness to hold a licence.

(So operator staff who deal face to face with the public just need a basic disclosure. I said this would make you laugh!)

7. UPLOADING DRIVER/VEHICLE DETAILS TO TfL
Operators are required to provide us with details of the drivers and vehicles they have used to fulfil private hire bookings, or have had available to them to fulfil bookings in a specified period. We use the information provided for data analysis. We have contacted operators individually to confirm arrangements and frequency of providing the information.

Each Monday, all operators are required to provide the relevant data for the preceding week. When the Monday is a Bank Holiday, the data can be sent the next day.

The data should be sent to: TPHOperatorDataShare@tfl.gov.uk
(I can hear the excuses now, "didn't you gat my email then, it might be in your span folder")

8. RECORD KEEPING 
Operators must keep records for a minimum of 12 months. This includes records for bookings, complaints and lost property, as well as driver and vehicle records.

What this means for you:

This is a small change from the previous regulations, which requires some records to be kept for six months and others for 12 months.

9. OTHER REQUIREMENTS 
The following requirements apply:
Operators must provide their customer with an accurate fare estimate before the journey starts (unless the fare has been pre-agreed). 
Operators must record the main destination of the customer's journey, before the journey starts. 

Where a journey has multiple drop-off points, a main destination must still be provided. 
(TfL bending the rule a bit and greasing the path for UberPool and yet p they put up so many hurdles to discourage the Licensed Taxi Maxxi app)

Operators are limited to having no more than five business names attached to their operator's licence.

Not quite earth shattering, but expect these new reg's to be amended and changed again in 2017 when Uber decide they don't fit in with their global operation. 

Every day we are getting pushed further and further away from our right to rank and ply for hire 

From FaceBook post. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tribute To George Michael From London Cabby Joe Cartwright


Music and entertainment celebrities from around the world have been reacting to the news British singer George Michael has died aged 53 

Sir Elton John Said:

I am deeply shocked. I have lost a love friend the kindest most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.

Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley

"A great loss to his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx"


Boy George

"I am thinking of @GeorgeMichael's family, friends and fans right now. 

"He was so loved and I hope he knew it because the sadness today is beyond words. Devastating. 

"What a beautiful voice he had and his music will live on as a testament to his talent. I can't believe he is gone. I hope the Buddha will hold him in his arms."

James Corden

The Late Late Show host, whose regular Carpool Karaoke slot began when he did it with George Michael for Comic Relief in 2011, said: "I've loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time."

Paul Young

Singer Paul Young, who performed on the 1984 Band Aid hit Do They Know it's Christmas? with Michael, told BBC Radio 5 live that audiences "connected" with his voice.

He spoke about the time Michael joined him on stage for a Princes Trust Concert to do a duet on Young's hit Every Time You go Away. 

"He was literally straight out of the car, a quick chat on stage, no warm-ups or anything, and he just sang like a bird. Unbelievable really."

The list of tributes seemingly endless 

Below is our tribute to George, from London Cabby Joe Cartwright .... 

   



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Another Revolting Year....By I'm Spartacus


So here we are folks on the last lap, before some well earned r&r with our families.

So how's 2016 turned out, certainly not as many including  those so called experts and pollsters predicted, if they were KoL students they would all be on 84 days!

Pollution, Congestion, Illegal PFH, Touting, Accidents, Sexual Assaults, False medicals, all completely out of control with TfL clearly impotent.

As you will gather I have some insight into slave revolts and it's certainly been interesting watching the U mob attempt to hold Caesar Travis and his crew to account, quite what difference it will make to us is hard to discern but anything that affects their predatory unsustainable cost base can only be to our benefit.

I do think that the climate has recently changed and they will be under the microscope from tax and legal authorities.

I now turn to our very own Caesars at TfL, the 'Dear Jo' and Korsky correspondence clearly shows what senior individuals at TfL opinion of us is, this has been confirmed by a trade source that one of them 'hates us with a passion', just the kind of impartial even handed person NOT that should not head up a department with quasi-judicial functions.

It's untenable and Mike Brown , Mayor Khan and Val Shawcross know it.

I will let the fiasco of the Credit Cards implementation act as a trade reference for LTPH, what should have been an easy win has along with woeful enforcement of PH operators turned the vast majority of the trade from suspicion to absolute hostility towards them, that's a sorry state of affairs for all.

Another organisation on the charge sheet is the Met, whose calamitous handling of DBS processing has led to severe hardship for longstanding, honourable licensees, shortly Hogan Howe steps down, perhaps he might be gracious enough to apologise to us on his way to his peerage!

Moving swiftly on to our 'little Caesars' in the trade, it seems there's  a revolt brewing at W9 as rightly members are holding people to account, whatever organisation or union your in, do the same. 

No doubt I will have upset some with my musings, get over it, its not personal, it's politics.

Anyhow we are, despite predictions and all that others including shamefully our regulator has thrown at us, bloodied but unbowed and in the words of Nellie Pledge still 'stood standing there'.

The cycle of life moves on, loved ones leave us, some new ones to love arrive, it makes us sad or happy and sometimes both, it's ever thus.

Enjoy the precious things that matter, Be lucky!

I'm Spartacus 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Year Action??? If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail.....by Dave Davies.


I have been calling for a Public Inquiry into TFL to expose the utter corruption for many years.

I have considered the comments and concerns of the much respected Semtex and would like to share some thoughts and ideas.

 

It is essential that a clear plan is put in place with a clear strategy, message and objective.

 

I agree that the call for a Public Inquiry has some difficulties in relation to the urgent timescale needed for action.

 

The arrogance of TFL knows no bounds. We’ve seen their outrageous  actions of the last week in suspending the licence of  Sean Stockings because he challenged Leon Daniels ; something which he is perfectly entitled to do and the actions of the City Of London, aided and abetted by TFL to restrict access to the Bank junction, which clearly does not comply with Public Law.

 

The LCDC are calling for an open hearing; in my view they should be demanding that the improper action against Sean is dropped immediately.

The purpose behind this improper action by TFL is to intimidate Taxi drivers into silence, when it is their democratic right to have a voice.

 

Every single time there has been a legitimate protest organised by a Trade Organisation TFL, the media and the Police have used underhand tactics to undermine it by spouting false information or by the Police intimidating and coercing Taxi Drivers to minimize impact. They use the threat of action  targeting any individuals of the trade org who have helped to organise the protest, which is again an improper and immoral abuse of power.

 


It seems that there are growing calls for daily protests in January because the media and politicians seem to ignore single protests with ease.

It has been suggested that there needs to be protests every day and that these protests need continue until demands are met.

It also seems to be the case that any future protest will be organised as flash demos by individual groups of drivers using word of mouth and social media without the involvement of trade orgs.

Any  flash demo by small groups of drivers at different multiple locations will have an immediate impact because the streets are already gridlocked.

The trade orgs can be supportive of action without necessarily being responsible or accountable for it.

 

There needs to be a clear message and clear objective, and giving consideration to the comments from Semtex here is an idea;

 

Daily Taxi protests will take place until the ALL of the following demands are fully met;

 

1/ The media fully investigates, reports and exposes the improper and unlawful actions of TFL, to include the failure to regulate Private Hire, the issuance of tens of thousands of PH Licenses without proper background checks, medicals or insurance, the improper interference of senior politicians to allow the regulations to be disregarded and the many other issues that have been raised by Taxi drivers and their Trade Organisations.

 

2/ The Prime Minister and Government immediately initiates an urgent  Statutory Public Inquiry into the improper and unlawful conduct of TFL as detailed above and in the Press Release below

 

3/ Pending the Statutory Public Inquiry there is an immediate suspension of 

·        New Private Hire License applications

·        The Uber Private Hire operator’s License; they do not meet the regulatory requirements to hold an operator’s License (no landline/office  etc ) and Sadiq Khan promised that he would do this if he became Mayor and there was a single case of a driver being licensed improperly. There is evidence thousands of drivers have been issued licenses improperly so he needs to stand by his word.

·        The improper and unlawful Taxi Age limit which is needlessly scraping taxis on a daily basis costing drivers thousands of pounds.

·        The continued road alterations which have not complied with proper Planning Process. TFL have claimed that change of a roads use from vehicles to cycle lanes is not a change of use.

 

The details of the demands of  the daily protests could be communicated by Press Releases from Trade Orgs , Social Media and flyers handed out to drivers (there are thousands of drivers who don’t use social media and have no information about the ongoing issues).

There will be no need for representation or engagement; the protests organised by individual drivers themselves  will continue until the 3 demands are fully met.

TFL have to be exposed and there has to be a change in the regulatory body.

TFL is a web of Private Limited companies who receive £11 BILLION  a year of Taxpayers money yet are accountable to no one

 

There could also perhaps be formal protests by Trade Orgs to run alongside any unofficial protest.

I know the UCG are planning to protest against the City Of London decision to restrict the Bank junction, but it is TFL who have allowed this to happen and encouraged it. 

If there was a proper regulator in place it would be that regulator challenging the City of London

It will be good to have a clear and untied plan of action by all drivers and trade orgs

 

 

Good Luck

 


 

PRESS RELEASE

Thousands of London Taxi’s Protest  with one simple clear message calling for a Public Inquiry into TFL, The UKs Capital is gridlocked and choking with air pollution.

The traffic chaos and air pollution in London resembles that of a third world city, not that of a world leading city.

Every single person living, working and visiting London is affected by the severe congestion and toxic air pollution, as well as the dire economic impact to business and tourism.

The regulatory Public Body responsible for this unarguable failure is Transport for London.

Unfortunately TFL is not structured as a Public Body and does not act  as a Public Body  in compliance with Public Law.

It is structured as a complicated web of private Limited Companies with TFL employees as directors of those companies.

TFL has an annual budget in excess of £11 billion of Tax Payers money yet has not been  accountable for its failures in its Duty of Care to protect the public.

The structure of TFL and its lack of accountability for the unarguable failures is something which should be properly scrutinized by a Statutory Public Inquiry

The Mayor of London is Chair of TFL so is not in a position to conduct an independent investigation.

 

There are also far more serious issues as a result of that lack of accountability.

 

TFL have failed to act in compliance with Public Law on many issues

London Taxi and Private Hire –LTPH- have failed to regulate properly. 

·         They have issued tens of thousands of Private Hire Licenses without proper background checks, without proper insurance checks , without proper medical checks and with no proper regulation or enforcement.

The result is traffic congestion, air pollution and Londoners being exposed to serious safety and security risks.

·         They have introduced a Taxi Age Limit based on false evidence that the newer taxis were less polluting. More than 10,000 London Taxis have been scrapped at great expense to drivers for no proper purpose. Trade organisations were misled by TFL that this policy would reduce air pollution when the technical evidence clearly showed the older taxis were LESS polluting

·         There is no proper process or consultation with many of the other decisions made by LTPH in relation to Taxis and Private Hire

TFL have also failed on many other issues.

·         They have failed to implement a single effective air pollution strategy for many years and as a result thousands are dying each year from air pollution in London. Every single person living, working or visiting London is affected. 

·         They have failed to comply with proper planning process and proper traffic management resulting in gridlock and severe congestion. The Cycle Lanes which have contributed to the gridlocked streets and therefore more air pollution is one example. TFL ignored the Planning process claiming the project was ‘road improvements’ and not a change of use, even though they were changing the use of the road specifically for cycles. It would be positive to encourage and enable safe cycling in a proper way but the result of the current mismanaged policies are clear to see.

·         They have failed with proper procurement process. This includes the Garden Bridge project which has failed to comply with proper lawful process.

·         The number of empty buses driving in central London causing congestion and pollution has increased, and at the same time the Directors of TFL hold significant shares in the bus companies.

 

In December 2014 the GLA Transport Committee, who supposedly have the ability to hold TFL to account, filed a report about TFL following an extensive inquiry in relation to Taxi and Private Hire. 

The report listed many failings and described TFL as ‘Woefully Inadequate’. The result of that report was absolutely nothing; no action has ever been taken about the serious failings of TFL in the report. 

This confirms two things; firstly that TFL are failing and not acting in compliance with Public  Law and secondly that they are unaccountable. They just ignored the Transport Committee inquiry and report and took no action.

 

It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

 

The protests will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone

 

Q and As 

The Taxi protest is causing huge disruption and inconvenience ; Is that reasonable?

It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

 

What is the protest about?

Transport for London are a Public Body but their decisions and policies do not comply with Public Law. These decisions do not just affect taxi drivers they affect everyone.

TFL has an annual budget of £11 billion of taxpayers’ money so it is reasonable to expect them to act in the Public’s interest.

The failed policies have caused gridlock ,congestion and pollution and as a result there is harm to health and the economy.

Failure to regulate has created serious risks to personal and general security, including sexual assaults, rapes, injury to passengers and pedestrians and the fact that the capitals security in general is compromised.

 

Why has the Mayor taken no action?

TFL are accountable to no one which in itself is something which should be investigated in the format of a Public Inquiry. The Mayor is Chair of TFL and therefore could not conduct an independent investigation. The GLA are supposed to be able to scrutinize the decisions and policies of TFL but have no statutory power to take action about TFL failures. 

A GLA report in 2014 which deemed TFL to be ‘Woefully Inadequate’ has been ignored.

 

Why has the Department of Transport taken no action?

Formal complaints have been made to the DFT over a number of years and even though this is a national issue  they have continually stated that they have no jurisdiction over TFL and that it is a matter for the Mayor to deal with. The Mayor is Chair of TFL so therefore cannot taken independent action.

 

Why a Public Inquiry?

If there was a train crash and 140 people were killed there would be an immediate Public Inquiry to establish what had caused it and what steps could be taken to prevent it ever happening again.

The failed policies of TFL which are replicated throughout the UK are leading to massive air pollution  which causes 140 deaths every single day. There is also harm, injury, sexual assaults, road accidents caused by TFLs failure to regulate properly.

It is an outrageous situation and the improper and unlawful decisions need to bee scrutinized in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry to ensure that effective policies are implemented in the future and that TFL complies with Public Law and its Duty of Care to protect the Public.

 

How Long will protests last?

The protests will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone

 

Who is involved?

The protest has been organised by the United Cabbies Group but is also formally supported by the London Cab Drivers Club, the RMT, the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and thousands of individual taxi drivers throughout London and the rest of the country.

 

What are the requirements of Public Law ?

It is a requirement of Public Law that decisions made by a Public body or someone in Public Office follow correct procedure, are rational and evidence based, for proper purpose, proportionate and properly reasoned. These criteria exist to ensure that decisions made by a Public Body result in effective policies and strategies.  It is extremely important to acknowledge that these criteria are not just an obligation they are legal requirements and the failure to comply with these requirements is the reason why TFL’s decisions and  strategies have failed.

 

The legal requirements for a Public Body are to

1/Follow correct procedure

2/ Be Rational and Evidence based

3/Have proper purpose

4/to comply with the European Convention for Human Rights

5/To be Proportionate

6/To be properly Reasoned

 

TFL have failed to comply with these requirements.

 

What are the requirements for a Public Inquiry ?
It seems that the Government has taken no notice of many complaints about TFL (including by MPs) and the obvious failings, despite the clear lack of compliance with Public Law and the clear harm to the Public (from air pollution , sexual assaults, and the numerous accidents in London caused by unregulated drivers) 

The ONLY reasonable solution is for the failures to be properly investigated in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry

Certain characteristics can be identified in those public inquiries that have taken place:
·         Widespread loss of life
·         Threats to public health or safety
·         Failure by the state in its duty to protect
·         Failure in regulation
·         Shocking events
1.      Allegations of serious misconduct and prima facie merit have been made against those acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the state and
2.      Those allegations are sufficiently widespread and are being treated sufficiently seriously by those outside Government to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the State and in the rule of law and
3.      The allegations relate to a sufficiently defined event or series of events to allow an inquiry to be given proper and clear terms of reference and
An inquiry would represent the most effective means of establishing the merit of the allegations made and so of restoring public confidence.

It is the best possible way of establishing why previous TFL strategies have failed so that these mistakes are not repeated and proper effective urgent action is taken in the future.