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Dunlace Taxi Services Ltd Drivers Wanted Cabs to Rent Fairways, TXI s, TXII s and TX4 s Overhauls Service and Running Repairs Units Period Works 1 Lammas Road, Leyton E10 7QT Tel: Mobile
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Dunlace Taxi Services Ltd Drivers Wanted Cabs to Rent Fairways, TXI s, TXII s and TX4 s Overhauls Service and Running Repairs Units Period Works 1 Lammas Road, Leyton E10 7QT Tel: Mobile DALSTON STEAM CLEANING Taxis Steam Cleaned & Undersprayed While You Wait To PCO Standard! Unit 17 Period Works 1 Lammas Road, Leyton E10 7QT The voice of the taxi trade s only independent organisation Issue 194 NOVEMBER 2011 INSIDE L.C.D.C WRITES TO NEW COMMISSIONER NEWS SAY HELLO TO HAILO PAGES 12 NEWS THE NUT BEHIND THE WHEEL NEWS FILM 2011 BY NORMAN BARRY PAGE 9 PAGE 12 PAGE 18 2 Issue November 2011 Editorial Grant Davis Hello To Hailo Published by The London Cab Driver s Club Ltd. Unit A 303.2, Tower Bridge Business Complex Tower Point, 100 Clements Road Southwark, London SE16 4DG Telephone: for membership enquiries: Web: Editor: Grant Davis The Badge is distributed free to the Licenced London Cab Trade. For advertising enquiries please contact the office on or All advertising in The Badge is accepted under our terms and condidtions. These are available at the LCDC office. Before entering into any commitment, financial or otherwise, always remember to seek professional advice. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarity those fo the Editor or of the Management Committee of the London Cab Driver s Club. Contributions for publication are welcomed and should be sent to the Editor at the above address. The London Cab Driver s Club Ltd. Tariff Discussions I have recently taken part in Tariff negotiations at Palestra with the LTDA, and Unite. Due to the rising cost of Insurance, fuel, and our vehicles, the increase looks to be over 5%. In lasts months edition, we reported that other trade Organisations have asked LT&PH for an Olympic Tariff that will come into effect during the Olympics to encourage drivers to work during the games. As I have said in the past, we at the LCDC sometimes agree to disagree, and this is a case in point as we have stated to LT&PH that we do not agree with this request and I believe, if this was implemented, we would be seen as greedy opportunist and seriously damage the reputation of the worlds best taxi service. They say that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, and I believe that with the new Taxi app Hailo this is exactly what the trade has down in these difficult times. I have recently signed up to be on Hailo, and must say that I was very impressed with the professionalism of the whole operation.. A few months ago I wrote that with the new technology on the iphones and androids, anyone with one of these phones is literally on the radio. Many drivers who are on the existing radio circuits feel uncomfortable with the union between their circuits and their new found friends in the Private Hire Industry. I know there are many drivers out there who feel very disenchanted with the fact that their circuits booking private hire through their call centres. Maybe this will provide a safe haven for all those cabbies with a conscience? Another Kick In The B*****ks From The City Of London You will read inside the Badge a story that quite frankly leaves me speechless. The City Of London Police supported the application to open a satellite office in the Anthologist Bar in Gresham St. Bearing in mind that the Corporation had paved over our taxi rank in the first place, and then allowed a private hire operator to service the club.this makes my blood boil. Perhaps the answer is for another demonstration in the City to show them our feelings. Issue November EXCLUSIVE In last Mondays Evening Standard, I read an article regarding a confidential Transport for London report that reveals plans to outsource the licensing and compliance departments of LTPH to a private company based outside of London. I immediately contacted Helen Chapman to ask her if the story was true? She confirmed this was true, and that it has all been done for one thing, saving money!. She went on to explain to me that this would deliver drivers a better service as drivers could in future obtain their licence on-line, and there would also be a question and answer service available. On the compliance side, I asked her if in future we could see companies such as the AA or the RAC take over the compliance of taxis and she said yes. According to the article in the Evening Standard, these plans could save some 44 million pounds, yet when I attended a Taxi trade for sale! recent tariff meeting we were informed that LTPH would be adding a 5.00 fee, on top of every cab drivers licence to help pay for any future ranks being installed in the Capital. So one has to ask, who benefits from the savings this scheme is meant to bring? I bet its notus in the licensed taxi trade. Boris`s bike scheme alone cost in excess of 120 million pounds and he is still looking for money to expand it. We in the licensed trade have already seen our own Public Carriage Office turn into a bike Depot, we are now done to one floor at Palestra The way we are going, we will soon be running the cab trade from a portakabin! If the Mayor thinks that he can maintain a World Class taxi service on peanuts, we strongly advise him to think again. These recommendations are going to the TFL Finance and Policy Committee in November, and if agreed, then these will go to the TFL board on the 7th December for rubber stamping. Any drivers out there who feel as strongly as we do about this then I suggest they contact their trade representatives. 4 Issue November 2011 Return of the cowboys? (A private hire operator s view of satellite offices) Reproduced by permission from Private Hire and Courier Magazine Issue November 6 Issue November 2011 Issue November Airport Matters BY PETER THE CANNON L.C.D.C AIRPORT REP Towards the end of November, Transport for London is expected to respond to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act. The purpose of the request is to identify the source of HALTS authority to charge pre-paid fixed fares for compellable journeys commencing from Heathrow s taxi ranks. TfL made no attempt to meet or consult senior Heathrow trade reps before the introduction of HALTS fixed fare schemes. Surprisingly, taxi trade records show that TfL officials have consistently stated in the clearest possible terms that HALTS prepaid fixed fares must not result in passengers paying more than would normally be payable for metered fares. If by any chance TfL officials have informally agreed in private that HALTS passengers may be charged more than metered fares when they take a cab from the airport s ranks, then this is an issue that demands to be brought into public domain. It will have to be thrashed out with TfL decision-makers and in the LCDC s view, whatever HALTS may or may not charge passengers at Heathrow is a matter on which only TfL has the authority to make final rulings. Although BAA is the operator of Heathrow Airport, it has no legal entitlement whatsoever under either the Airports Act or London Hackney Carriage law to have a definitive say on HALTS fixed fares schemes. Taxi Desk Personnel The trade s long standing rule that Heathrow s taxi information desks should be manned by temporarily unfit or semi-retired drivers seems to have been dropped by HALTS. The new people employed on the desks are being recruited from outside the trade in preference to people who ve spent many years of working within it. Is there anything sinister behind this blatant act of discrimination? Is it possible that HALTS is reluctant to take on anybody who s experienced enough to figure out that drivers on the ranks and passengers who come to the desks are getting less than a good deal on fares arranged by HALTS? Taxi Marshals and Police The LCDC refuses to accept that unpaid taxi marshals should patrol Heathrow s passenger terminals instead of police officers. Neither does the LCDC accept that BAA has the legal powers to disapply taxi byelaws to the marshals. There may well be a strong argument for saying that the marshals are needed in the terminals to keep the touts out. But at the same time there is only a very weak argument for saying that BAA doesn t have the money to either pay for security guards or police officers to take over from the marshals. Irrespective of the claim from Heathrow Police that effective action is being taken against the minicab touts, the touts still have a visible presence in the terminals and that s more than can be said of Heathrow Police, especially during the unsocial hours. Two years ago, Heathrow Police were challenged by the LCDC to produce written legal opinion confirming that the marshals practice of by-passing the feeder park was not a breach of the taxi byelaws. The Police said they would meet the challenge, but they never did and it s suspected that Police legal advisers were unable to come up with a suitable answer. Until they can obtain specialist legal opinion, the Police should err on the side of caution and stop aiding and abetting marshals to ignore the rules of the Taxi System. New case law on how airport operators may and may not use their byelaws is available and it shows that BAA should not be profiting by allowing taxi marshals to ignore taxi byelaws. BAA and the Police say they can t do without the essential security services provided by the marshals. The marshals in turn are not prepared to provide their unpaid services without the financial benefits that derive from by-passing the feeder parks. It shouldn t take a lawyer and an accountant to work out that services of the unpaid marshals result in huge cost savings for BAA. But when BAA holds trade meetings to discuss the cost of providing the feeder park and rank facilities, BAA refuses to talk about why it shouldn t have to pay the taxi trade for the services of forty taxi marshals. Terminal 5 Buffer Rank Two weeks ago BAA decided that drivers were to blame for the overranking on Terminal 5. Instead of recognising that rank attendants on T5 were calling for far too many cabs, BAA insisted that the main culprits were drivers arriving on T5 after doing local journeys. Anyway, BAA decided to get tough and warned that Heathrow Police would be instructed to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to drivers who found themselves unable to find a space on the T5 buffer rank. As soon drivers heard about BAA s warning, it was decided to fire a warning back at BAA. The tough talking BAA manager was advised that if any driver acting on BAA s instructions went to Terminal 5 and received an FPN, the supply of empty camps to the ranks would be cut off. It didn t take long for BAA to climb down and meekly explain that the threat to issue FPNs on Terminal 5 was all due to a misunderstanding. It will probably need five or six meetings with BAA before anybody on their side of the table will be able to work out that it would be a good idea to despatch fewer cabs to Terminal 5. Apart from overstocking the T5 buffer rank, NSL rank attendants often cause traffic chaos on the bus stops situated just before the T5 main rank when too many cabs are called over from the buffer. BAA can t grasp that drivers don t have a say in the matter. More on HALTS Vouchers Over he years, Heathrow drivers have seen HALTS red vouchers, pink vouchers, white vouchers and now the latest HALTS blue vouchers are circulating. Drivers report that passengers who buy the latest blue travel vouchers are being overcharged at the taxi information desks. This is leading to embarrassing situations on the taxi ranks when drivers explain to passengers holding blue vouchers, that they have paid too much for a pre-paid taxi fare. Drivers are quite rightly advising passengers to ignore the taxi desks and to make their travel arrangements directly with drivers on the ranks. The big question about all these shenanigans at the desks is, what particular service does HALTS offer passengers that can t be found on the ranks? Transport for London would quickly clamp down if Heathrow drivers on the ranks were to respond to enquiries from passengers by offering them fixed-price prepaid fares instead of metered fares. The very few drivers who believe that HALTS fixed prices comply with Hackney Carriage law, often cite the supposed legality of fixed fares offered to passengers by London s radio circuits. What these drivers can t get into their heads is that what radio circuits are able to legally charge their passengers isn t a like-for-like comparison with what HALTS does at the taxi desks. London s radio circuits don t conduct business at Heathrow by ambushing passengers who would otherwise arrive unimpeded at the airport s taxi ranks. Drivers Must Watch HALTS As previously reported in The Badge, airport operator BAA declines to underwrite HALTS financial services and at the time of writing this article has refused to include details of the HALT(S) levy rule in BAA s written terms and conditions for use of the Taxi System. It isn t just BAA who is refusing to put their weight behind HALTS business schemes, apparently HALTS bankers are not prepared to provide HALTS with short-term overdraft facilities, that would enable drivers to be paid out in cash on a daily basis. Let s all hope that drivers who ve signed up with HALTS, don t suffer the same fate as drivers who made the mistake of relying on the now defunct JourneyPay. Because of BAA s refusal to guarantee the reliability of HALTS services, it s essential that drivers keep their trade reps informed about any issue however minor, that could affect the smooth running of HALTS credit card processing services. Law on Fares from Ranks When a Heathrow driver on a rank is approached by a would-be taxi passenger, the driver isn t permitted to offer the passenger a fixed fare say into central London or Docklands. For example, the driver isn t allowed to say I ll take you to Canary Wharf for a prepaid fixed fare of 120. Sooner or later Transport for London is going to have to explain the source of HALTS authority to do what TfL has always forbidden Heathrow taxi drivers to do ; that is to fix fares into central London. We are not talking about capping metered fares, which is something which sensible drivers often do as a means to secure a job. The travesty of Hackney Carriage rules that apply to fares prepaid at HALTS desks have got to be sorted out before HALTS does long term damage at Heathrow. For the time being, it seems that so long as the would-be taxi passenger stops at desk before arriving at a rank, the passenger can be asked to prepay more than the metered fare for a journey, even though the passenger s journey will start from a rank - an authorised standing. There appears to be merit in the argument that if HALTS can legitimately overcharge passengers by getting them to pay up front, then what s to stop drivers on the ranks from doing exactly the same. Is there a difference between the legal rights of a consumer who enquires at a HALTS desk how much a taxi fare from a rank is likely to be and a consumer who goes directly to a rank? 8 Issue November 2011 Issue November Say hello to Hailo Hailo officially launched on the 2nd november after months of testing, allowing customers to use their iphone or Android smartphones to call nearby licensed taxis without standing in the street for hours with their arms out. There are 23,000 black cab drivers in London and so far 2,000 have signed up to the service. It is designed, according to the founders, to bring the cab into the 21st century . The app will be available to Apple and Android customers, free of charge, from tomorrow. Hailo was born out of a meeting between taxi drivers Russell Hall, Gary Jackson and Terry Runham, and internet entrepreneurs Ron Zeghibe, Caspar Woolley and Jay Bregman in a café off London's Tottenham Court Road. The drivers' previous venture, internet-based cab business Taxilight, was running out of steam, money and time according to Mr Hall. Instead they developed the concept of Hailo. He said: We realised there was Grant Davis congratulates Hailo co-founder Russell Hall a real opportunity to bring a fresh technology platform to a business that is hundreds of years old. Mr Hall said a customer's smartphone will locate their position by GPS. When they order a cab, the location will be available to the drivers and those nearby can accept the fare. The customer will know how far away the cab is, what the driver's name and registration is, and can also pay by credit or debit card. Hailo is backed by Atomico Ventures, the investment vehicle of Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, and venture capital group Wellington Partners, one of music streaming service Spotify's original backers. It currently has a team of 20 software engineers, including some who have worked at the Ministry of Defence and Google. It has completed both its driver and passenger trials and goes live tomorrow.. 10 Issue November 2011 Alan s Angle Charring Cross rank Last month finally saw the opening of a new rank in Charing Cross Rd on the corner of Bear St. This rank as been a long time coming since it was first asked for by the LCDC at a cab ranks meeting. Since its opening the rank as been well worked in the evenings with driver's even using the big rank on the other side of the road as a feeder, which it was designed to do. There as been a few sob stories from the mini cab operator in the shop that operates right outside the rank saying that he can't park his cars and were taking his trade, my Ranks update NEATHOUSE PLACE FEEDER RANK - Will drivers please be careful not to pull to far forward on the point of the rank as TFL are enforcing the red routes here. It seems in the rush to get this rank in place someone as left it a bit short with the point cab having no sight heart bleeds for him, not that his drivers have been acting illegally plying for hire for years and getting away with it. Well we are now taking our work back and its all down to the drivers that have made this happen. TFL have agreed to put their Marshall's on the rank on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm til 3am in the morning,the Marshall's even tweeted out last weekend I would like to say thank you to the drivers who worked Charing Cross rd on Fri and sat night . Just shows we can make ranks work when we get them in the right positions. Lets hope this rank last much longer lasting than the short lived experiment that line to the back of the rank in Wilton Rd. I have had phone calls with TFL to try to stop them enforcing the lines, as this oversight is now costing drivers in unwanted PCN's. LONDON ZOO RANK - The Rank at the Zoo as now been re was the Golden Fares Rank on the other side Leicester Square. We at the LCDC always felt the positioning of the rank at Leicester Square was always going to cause problems for drivers trying to access the rank and also exiting. sited some 200 yards behind the original rank to just outside the Zoological society. The zoo has moved the exit so the customers now come out of the park by the crossing which is near the rank. So please do not take the work off the zig zags as you could be taking work of the drivers that are sitting patiently waiting for work. I think someone might be surprised with their secret Santa's presents in Westminster Council this year. As there are two secondhand IPADS knocking around as a souvenir from the now defunked Golden Fares Rank... PADDINGTON STATION RANK - This month should have seen the opening of the new taxi rank I am sorry to say the opening as now been delayed until February I am a bit disappointed as the new deck is looking well but as always you can never get anything to run on time when stations are concerned. Issue November Corporation Of London Put The Boot Into The Cab Trade... again As you may have read recently in Cab Trade News, the Corporation of London has delivered another kick in the teeth to the licensed taxi trade. For many years we have had a rank in Gresham St, but follow
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