Sunday, January 07, 2018

Scandal From The Past Jumps Up And Bites TfLTPH On The Arse.... By Jim Thomas.

A discussion took place on Twitter earlier today where the main point aired was over the question, if Worboys had one of the fake bills from the Penton Street move!

To be clear, the move to Palestra was in May 2010. Worboys had already been convicted by then and also the licence numbers between 33000 and 40000 are used by Suburbsn drivers.... But this brings into light another serious scandal, emanating from Palestra, involving Helen Chapman, which was swept hurriedly under the carpet!

When TfL moved from Penton Street to Palestra, the trade suddenly started hearing about fake bills turning up, almost undetectable from the genuine articles.

City Police were worried that a Taxi Bill, they were in possession of at Bishopsgate police station, didn't match with any on record, but looked and felt exactly like an original licence issued by TfL. 

There followed a terrible accident in Victoria Street where a PHV broadsided a black cab, turning it over complete with passengers on board. The roof had to be cut off by the fire service to free the trapped passengers but the driver of the Taxi (on rent from a garage in Hammersmith) absconded from the scene, and has never been traced. 

Helen Chapman made a brief statement at the time saying that the copy bill given to the cab owner was a fake. The owner said the copy bill was 'indistinguishable' from a genuine TfL bill. 

We then heard from a whistleblower at Palestra that senior staff at TfL were in turmoil as 5,000 new numbered bills had gone missing in the move, something Director John Mason strongly denied at the time....many in the Taxi trade thought, the man doth protest too much!!!

Shortly after the scandal broke, John Mason made a statement that all the missing bills from the move had been found.....apparently they had been put in the wrong cupboard!!! 

Soon after the Victoria accident, TFL's PR machine swung into action with a massive cover up, supported by a fake news story about a bill factory in a Taxi garage in East London. 

There was also another incident where a member of TfL staff was arrested by police and charged for taking cash payments over the counter at Palestra for driver bills. The Branch Secretary of the London Taxi Branch at that time was pivotal in getting the thief at Palestra convicted and gave a substantial written statement of evidence.  

The incident was reported in Taxi Leaks and TfL's legal team under instructions from John Mason tried to shut the blog down...but failed.

The episode became known as BillGate, but was swept under the carpet, much like the 13,000 fake DBS certificates of 2017 which TfL knew about in January, but said nothing about till news broke in the Sunday times after information was given to them by a team from the LCDC. 

The original blank bills from Penton Street, will have run their coarse now and were the main reason TfL were forced to change the design, adding a hologram. 

But the question still remains;

The scandals continue..... 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Garage in Hammersmith should have possession of the original bill; the driver carries the copy????