After six demos and two all party engagements, the signs are still going up
I remember, many years ago, the Metirpolitan Public Carriage Office, writing to every licensed Taxi driver saying "their must be no, 'no go areas' in London for Taxis".
"You will be expected to go to any destination anywhere within a six mile radius or within one hour in duration and their must be no exceptions".
Now we have a Mayor, in charge of a Transport body (TfL), bent on the destruction of our 360 year old trade by creating 'no go areas' for London Taxis.
We've had 8 years of protest, demonstration, consultation after consultation, engagement and negotiation. Apart from the killer on the knowledge protests, which saw top TfL directors moved sideways, we've had little or no success.
Now, after six demonstrations and two bouts of negotiations, we are about to lose access through the Bank Junction, financed by TfL to speed up bus times.
This is about to be followed by a complete ban from Tottenham Court Road, then Oxford Street and possibly Baker Street.
But caught up in the middle of this attack on our trade, are the unfortunates, and they are the disabled and less mobile members of the public. Mayor Khan is about to steal the freedom of the disabled, to shop wherever they like, in order to give way and make more room for the able bodied shoppers who he hopes will travel forwards and backwards on the Tubes new Elizabeth line.
The most scandalous aspect of these plans being, there are two wheelchair users on the board of TfL who have said nothing in defence of the disabled's right of access and to shop on Oxford Street.
There is as always a hidden agenda and Khan obviously feels he can supply many extra passengers to the new line by making it as difficult as possible for taxis to get to popular destinations around central London.
Taxi Leaks spoke of Project Horizon several years ago and TfL flatly denied it ever existed.
We predicted back then, that under this agenda, there would be Taxi no go areas, followed by Private Hire rest ranks where drivers could wait to be hired and PH WAVs rank spaces at mainline stations.
Remember the Gold, Silver and Bronze PH ranking system? It's still there in the background as TfL never fully scrap an idea, they just shelve it till the time is right.
With Country Boy Rett Russell in charge of London's Ambulance service, it's only a matter of time before we see NHS Uber ranks at hospitals around Greater London...an going on TfL's present form, outside Greater London too.
As Harry Wall said, "History is there to learn from".
Seems our trade has learned nothing
After years of negativity and deterioration, fighting the unfair and elitist United Trade Group, did we not all cheer when Val Shawcross announced the UTG would be scrapped and the gagging order known as the engagement policy would be assigned to the shredder.
So what is plan B.
It seems the old United Trade Group is to be replaced by the new United Trade group, and the old gagging order known as the engagement policy, is to be replaced by a new gagging order called the new engagement policy. Again the right to exclude any group they see fit to exclude.
And the price for signing away the right to criticise TfL in print or on social media, is a seat at the old fold up table.
Towards the end of this year, the Taxi trade will be expected to purchase the new electric TX5, even though neither TfL, the GLA, the Mayor or our trade Orgs, have bothered to explore the health risks associated with the radiation given off from the bank of batteries inside the vehicle.
Not only has TfL put us in the predicament of not being able to afford this vehicle by selling our work to a NonDomicile company that pays little to no tax, we now learn this week that the government is likely to scrap the subsidy they were going to give Taxis and private hire to go electric.
But tell me this Sadiq, will the new electric Taxis be allowed to use all these no go areas and eventually replace the dirty buses that are running round, 100% on diesel, as replacement batteries proved to be too expensive ?
A blast from Taxi Leaks past December 2013
DEATH BY DESIGN
And no one took a blind bit of notice