Formally The Anderson Shelter...An Around Midnight Publication ©2012-2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Night Tube Cannot Be Rushed Through To Suit Mayor Say RMT

Night Tube LU wants to start running it’s Friday and Saturday night-tube service from Sept 2015. 

With a completely new station staffing model demanding new grades and rosters to be introduced in early 2016 we are faced with months of upheaval. 

Any sane employer would delay Night Tube until 2016 but no one in LU management will stand up to Boris.

Night Tube presents real problems and RMT is fighting to ensure members best interests are catered for.

Your RMT reps are questioning LU on every aspect of Night Tube from both industrial and health & safety perspectives. RMT is not opposed to extending running hours in principle but this isn’t something that can be rushed through just so the Mayor can show off.

RMT says Night Tube is being used as a diversion from massive cuts plan

This article is taken in part, from London Calling Newsletter

Help us fight to get a Taxi rank outside ever NightTube and CrossRail station exit.

What Night Tube Means for Taxi trade.

* More of our weekend night work will disappear.

* Destinations along the network will have there ticket offices turned into minicab satellite booking centres.

* Ranks at stations could be moved 250 meters away from station exits with cars given waiting areas directly outside station exits.

Westminster's City Councils survey showed that the public will use the first form of transport they come across. 

Let's make sure the first thing they see when leaving a station is a yellow "For Hire" sign. 

The RMT are the only driver org fighting on this issue. 
Help get a rank outside every station. 
Join the RMT London Taxi Drivers Branch.  

To Join, email:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Short sighted minicab driver found guilty of killing former teacher of chef Heston Blumenthal

A short sighted minicab driver from Wembley who killed a teacher after smashing into the back of his car has been found guilty of causing his death by careless driving.

Kugannesan Balasubramaniam, 31, of Longley Avenue, collided into the classic MGB sports car driven by Nick Sennett so hard it ‘folded like a penknife’ on the A40 Westway.

Mr Sennett, who was 58-year-old and taught economics at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, died at the scene on January 15 this year.

Southwark Crown Court heard Balasubramaniam, had been speeding at 48mph on the 40mph road and had worked for 90 hours in the previous seven days for the cab hire company One to One.

The short-sighted driver also failed a basic numberplate-reading eye test when officers attended the scene.

 Editorial comment: 
How the hell did this man get a PH licence from TfL?
The licensing authority should also be held part responsible for the death of Mr Sennett.

Balasubramaniam had denied a single charge of causing death by dangerous driving and was convicted by the alternative charge of causing death by careless driving.

He will be sentenced on January 15.

Warning him he faces jail, Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC told Balasubramaniam: “You should understand that the law makes it clear that a custodial sentence is likely but as you are a man of previous good character I order a pre-sentence report for that day.’

Mr Sennett was a former teacher of chef Heston Blumenthal OBE who attended the £15,700-a-year school.

Paying tribute to him shortly after his death, he said: “What made Nick stand out was his very calm, playful banter. He was one of those teachers you could be very comfortable around. He was really lovable, really funny, chilled out.”

Editorial comment:
Again we see lazy and in incompetent journalism as the Kilburn times called the driver a Taxi driver. 
You just can't get quality in journalism these days.
If the editor of the Kilburn times would like a lesson in the difference between minicabs and Taxis, I would be only too pleased to oblige.

Taxi leaks took the liberty of correcting the article before posting.

    Source: Kilburn Times

Delta Taxis' licence to operate in Liverpool revoked by council

Liverpool council has today revoked the licence of Delta Taxis to operate in the city.

The company was issued with a new private hire operator’s licence on November 18 to enable them to take fares in the city.

But a condition of this was there had to be a dedicated telephone booking line for Liverpool, separate from the firm’s Sefton operation.

Now the authority says it has become aware that the Liverpool booking number is not operational and the only way bookings can be made is through a phone app.

Furthermore, it says the firm’s Liverpool registered vehicles have door signs which only refer to the app and do not advertise the Liverpool number.

Liverpool cabbies have been at war with the Bootle-based private hire firm, which intends to open a Liverpool office.

Mayor Joe Anderson gave his backing to claims that taxi giant Delta was unfairly “saturating” Liverpool and taking a living away from city-registered drivers.

A Liverpool council spokesman said: “In view of the breach of the condition the decision has been made to revoke the licence.

“Delta have 21 days to appeal to the magistrates’ court against this decision.

“They will be able to continue to operate in the city during this time.”

Cabbies in Liverpool have long been infuriated by Delta drivers ‘taking fares’ in the city.

Delta had intended to take advantage of a relaxation in regulations and open up an office in the city centre.

    Source: Liverpool Echo

TfL, gathering covert photographic evidence: ... By Jim Thomas.

TfL have a camera car, taking high definition, time stamped photographs, which can be used to prosecute drivers of vehicles contravening hackney carriage laws and conditions of fitness.

Guess what they've been spending their time and our money photographing?

* Touts?

* Clipboard Johnnies?

* Minicabs parked on Taxi ranks?

* Minicabs forming illegal ranks?

Last week, my friend got a phone call from his garage asking him to bring the Taxi he rents into the garage, as they have been informed in a letter from TfL, that a stop has been placed on the vehicle. 

Apparently TfL's camera car had snapped him driving home along the A40 at 4:20 am, committing the terrible atrocity of displaying an unauthorised sticker in his rear window ( I was there in the Square).

His garage was informed that the stop on the vehicle would stay in place until they had forwarded a photo of the rear window without the sticker. Amazingly, they asked the garage to supply the name of the driver, using the vehicle at the time of the photo. The fact that the driver's ID was clearly visible in the image (which we edited out on instructions from the driver) had passed over their heads.

My friend informed me that after viewing the image, it was clear that the camera car was in fact dangerously tailgating his vehicle. He said:
"I was traveling at around 40 mph on the A40 in wet conditions at 4:20am."

In our opinion, this is positive proof TfL are still harassing drivers who took part in anti TfL demonstrations which took place earlier this year.

Staff from TfL had been seen recording details of Taxis attending both demos held in Whithall and Trafalgar Square!

 Are TfL covertly collating data on militant drivers?

The driver is now considering taking legal action against TfL and the compliance team who he feels put his safety at risk. 

He told Taxi Leaks:
"This is the second time I've had a run in with compliance, the first time was when I was flagged down by them and subjected to questioning." 
A clear breach of their authority. 

Compliance officers are not police and do not have the right to harass Taxi drivers in anyway which could compromise their safety. Only a uniformed police officer has the right to pull you over when in motion, empty or POB and that includes while you are waiting at traffic signals.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Garrett Emmerson : The Final Jim Thomas.

Garrett Emmerson's arrogant performance on London Live.

Members from both the licensed Taxi and Private Hire Trades are calling for the resignation or Garrett Emmerson, after his disastrous performance in an interview on London Live. 

After being told by the elected members of Grater London Authority Transport Committee that TfL's performance was woefully inadequate, Emmerson arrogantly refused to  accept anything was/is wrong. He then added insult to injury by exaggerating past performance results and actually lied about manpower resources. 

In the interview, Caroline Pidgeon stated cab enforcement in London is woefully under resourced. Garrett countered that the overhaul status of enforcement should include not only TfL's impotent compliance, who have no authority over licensed or unlicensed touts, but also the whole metropolitan police force. He said the actual footfall of enforcement was more in the region of 400. He would have been more accurate had he said the region of Narnia. 

The proof as they say is in the pudding:
Back in November, the Chair of the LCDC sent a Text to an enforcement officer he had met in a previous meeting. The text appertained to touting being carried out at the Walkabout Pub. The reply shown below shows the true extent of Cab Enforcement in London, on a Saturday night. 

Text published on Twitter 

The text is proof, Garrett Emmerson tried to mislead Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, over the issue of enforcement manpower. 

Amazingly he also said he finds it hard to recognise that TfL need to get the basics right. As an instance, he alleged illegal touting had reduced by 37%!!!
This is nonsense, what he should have said is, the number of convictions for illegal touting fell by 37%, a completely different aspect.

He also tried to allude that it's TfL's regulatory service, that is looked upon as the Gold Standard, when in fact it is the London Taxi Trade, which is the Gold Standard, and not because of TfL but despite TfL. 

TfL never made the Taxi Service in London the best Taxi service in the world, they inherited us from the Met.

Editorial Comment:

Emmerson's denial of the problems highlighted by this report, show's his position at TfL is untenable.

Another aspect of TfL's LTPH that needs exploring is the splitting up of Taxis and Private Hire. They are two separate trades and have different operating needs and policies. 

There is no way they should be under one directorate. 

After all, we don't have London Underground and Buses. Both are separate divisions of Transport in London with two separate directorates and Managing Directors. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Four cities selected to pilot driverless forms of transport

Four areas of England have been chosen to trial driverless road vehicles in a Government-backed project. 

Greenwich in London, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry will share £10m from Innovate UK – the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – to help fund trials of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

Milton Keynes and Coventry are both part of the £19.2m three-year UK Autodrive project being led by consultant Arup. This will include on-road testing of passenger cars with increasing levels of autonomous capability, as well as developing and evaluating fully autonomous self-driving pods designed for pedestrian areas. 

The Transport Systems Catapult is already planning to put the pods on footpaths in Milton Keynes in 2015 and UK Autodrive will allow the project to be enlarged, with a fleet of around 40 pods using pedestrianised areas. 

Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director, said: “As well as developing and testing the in-car, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure technologies that will be required to drive cars autonomously on our roads in the future, the project will also place great emphasis on the role and perceptions of drivers, pedestrians and other road users. 

“Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads.”

The UK Autodrive consortium has 12 members: Arup; Coventry City Council; Milton Keynes Council; Jaguar Land Rover; Ford Motor Company; Tata Motors European Technical Centre; RDM Group; MIRA; Oxbotica; AXA; law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co; the Transport Systems Catapult; the University of Oxford; the University of Cambridge; and the Open University. 

The £8m Greenwich project, known as GATEway, will include tests of fully automated passenger shuttle transport systems and autonomous valet parking for adapted cars. It is being led by TRL. Other consortium members are the borough, Shell, Telefonica and RSA. Greenwich company Phoenix Wings will provide the automated vehicle technology. TRL’s driving simulator will also be used in the project. 

The Bristol project, known as VENTURER, is being led by consultant Atkins. Other members of the consortium are Bristol City Council; South Gloucestershire Council; AXA; Williams Advanced Engineering; Fusion Processing; the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England; the University of Bristol; and Bristol Robotics Laboratory. 

AXA Insurance, which is involved in the Coventry/Milton Keynes and Bristol projects, said the trials would inform the Government’s view of what changes to legislation are needed for semi-autonomous/autonomous vehicles, and provide an insurance template to facilitate their use.

       Source: Transport Extra