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Call Sign April 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
April’s usual ‘Numbers’ is the new fare chart, but as there will be virtually no change to the meter rate once it actually arrives for
this year, it has been replaced with another ‘What's On’. It's only as comprehensive as one page will permit, but I have tried to list
events where the finish times are known...
The fare chart for 2014 to 2016 can be found at www.nashsnumbers.co.uk/uidpt1.pdf or surf www.myfav.co.uk and
click the “taxi <-------!” link for lots of taxi related iconic links.
Call Sign April 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
purpose of carrying passengers other than
a licensed taxi or a public service vehicle.
Ok, let’s not beat around the bush... are you
1b: Operator means a person who makes
fed up with me constantly having a pop at
provision for the invitation or acceptance
London Taxis Private Hire - ie Transport for
of or who accepts private hire bookings.
London... ie Her Majesty’s Government!
However, John then continues that Section 4
Let’s face it, is there any other group of self-
(1) provides that the holder of a London private
employed workers like us in having so much of
hire vehicle operator's licence shall not in
what they do in their everyday job controlled by
London accept a private hire booking other than
outside sources, who at the same time appar-
at an operating centre specified in his licence.
ently have so little knowledge of what those
Section 1 (5) says that in this act ‘operating cen-
workers do; even worse, an authority that
tre’ means premises at which private hire book-
appear to care so little?
ings are accepted by an operator.
So yes, over the past few months I haven’t
So, asks John, where is this ‘operating cen-
stopped moaning and I can’t see myself stop-
tre’ as specified in Uber’s licence? Their
ping anytime soon. After all, name me another
organisation that puts out so many consulta-
address is 1 Aldgate Tower, 2 Leman Street E1
tions yet takes no notice of the responses and
8FA, but is this their operating address ie,
what is the address specified in the licence?
just goes ahead and does whatever they like in
such a pompous manner?
“Does this affect a booking via the App if the
We are on the verge - if not already there -
possible to be in a city such as London.
booking does not go through the official ‘oper-
of the number of licensed minicabs totalling
Other than helping someone with their
ating centre? Is a booking via the App recorded
100,000. For those of you who have only
luggage, there is no reason to leave the dri-
at their operating address or does it circle in
recently come into the trade, let me give you
ver’s cabin - or there wasn’t until LTPH ie
cyber-space and only get recorded at the operat-
a few facts: Ten years ago (2006), the number
TfL ie HMG put their oars in and told Dial-a-
ing address after the passenger has been picked
of licensed PH drivers was 31,100. At the
Cab that we will now have to place our cred-
up? The Act implies that a booking must be
same time (2006) there were 21,700 licensed
it card PEDS in the passenger compartment.
ACCEPTED (at the operating centre) before
taxi drivers. So to save you getting out your
Is that so terrible? Well, no, not if every pas-
being passed to the driver, so then what are the
calculators, over the past ten years PH drivers
senger was a respectable, nice person. Sadly
series of events when a customer books via the
have increased by around 68,000 whereas
not everyone is and it will be easy for a pas-
App? Food for thought?”
over the same period our numbers have gone
senger to say to the driver that the PED isn’t
As an expert of PCNs and parking offences,
up by around 3,500. Theirs are still increasing
working or their card is stuck and ask them
John has now published a must-have book
while our numbers are dropping and will con-
to take a look. The only way you’ll be able
that answers every question you could possi-
tinue to do so.
to do that soon is to get out of the cab and
bly have regarding the two. You can read
Yep, just to repeat that; in the past 10 years they
get into the back.
about it with details of how to get a copy
have increased by 68,000 compared to our 3,500
I don’t need to explain further. The only ques-
inside this issue...
whilst at the same time, Big Boris tells the world
tion is why LTPH ie TfL ie HMG feel that DaC’s
how hard he is trying to cap minicab numbers.
removable PEDs that can so easily be passed
Missing from TfL…
Well sorry pal, but that boat has gone and unless
through to the passenger compartment and
TfL’s proposed Budget 2016/17 and Business Plan
Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson can
which were originally passed by TfL, are no
has been published and includes the continuing
tell me that he is also looking to cancel the last
longer good enough? I know that Brian Rice
construction of Crossrail (Elizabeth line), the
30,000 or so licenses that his men have dished
argued at a meeting and followed that up in a let-
huge transformation of London Underground
out like confetti, then his term as Mayor will have
ter to LTPH ie TfL ie HMG that our PEDS had
with major stations being rebuilt and the
been an unmitigated failure. And I haven’t even
originally been passed by TfL, so why were they
Northern and Met lines being extended plus gen-
mentioned cycle lanes or roadworks!
suddenly no good placed where they were? The
eral modernisation and a new signalling system.
I’m just going to write of the small matter
answer is self-explanatory; firstly because they
Then there’s the
24 hour weekend ‘Night
of our safety while in the cab. Driving and
say so and secondly because they don’t care
being in a minicab is dangerous - dangerous
about our safety, just about their rules. No doubt
Tube’ services.
TfL are also doubling the station accessibility
for the driver who faces being attacked at any
it would be so different if our name was Rachel
fund from £75 million to £150 million, making
time and also dangerous for the passenger,
who faces being attacked at any time - by the
In an email to LTPH GM Helen Chapman, I
more stations step-free and ensuring the Mayor’s
driver! I hadn’t realised the Chairman also
explained that I had not had one single com-
target of 50 per cent of rail and Tube stations being
intended writing about it, but the subject is
plaint against me from a passenger in my 45
made step-free by 2018 is on-track. Gospel Oak to
serious enough to warrant a duel attack!
years as a licensed taxi driver, but that if the
Barking Overground line will be electrified.
Last month’s Call Sign published a list of fig-
PED was placed in the rear compartment and
They have spent a fortune on replacement
ures that we had been told should not be put into
a passenger asked me to take a look at it for
Routemaster buses - albeit some 500 are said to
the public domain as they could cause some
whatever reason, I would refuse.
be faulty and returned! They are hoping to double
“alarm!” These were the numbers of minicab dri-
I just hope that I do not hear of any DaC dri-
TfL’s Growth Fund to £600 million for regenera-
vers that had been arrested etc. Had the majority
vers being hurt in any way after being asked by a
tion across London with £250 million towards two
of those been on Addison Lee, Brunel or any of
passenger to go into the back to look at the PED,
new Overground stations at Old Oak Common,
the green vegetable variety we would have soon
because it would undoubtedly be the fault of an
providing connections to HS2, Crossrail and
heard. That means that most were on Uber. But
organisation that is supposedly there to promote
national rail stations. Then there’s the £4 billion
and protect us as well as the public, even if at the
London roads improvement, always assuming
hey, this isn’t an anti-Uber piece either - not that I
same time they do screw us out of huge amounts
they can get cyclists to give some back! Mind you,
couldn’t fill up the page about some of the miscre-
ants driving cabs with TfL’s blessing, had I wanted
of dosh. I used to respect the PCO. What that for-
they won’t need to because there is another £1 bil-
mer organisation has now become doesn’t
lion to be spent on cyclists’ safety - probably
to. This is purely about safety - our safety - some-
deserve any...
teaching their mums to make sure they don’t let
thing that I believe LTPH, ie TfL, ie HMG couldn’t
give a toss about.
them go out without a vest if it’s cold! And you can
Uber and the 1998 PH Act
read inside this issue about the absolute fortune
So I’ve finally arrived at the piece that has
Courtesy of Dial-a-Cab’s PCN expert, John
they are looking to spend on new river crossings.
upset me. I know what people say about the cost
of cabs etc, but there is one aspect that to me is
Vigus, regarding the Private Hire Vehicles
Read the above slowly. Is there one form of
hugely important. I feel a thousand times safer in
(London) Act 1998 and how it does - or should -
TfL’s transport system that gets absolutely
affect Uber...
nowt that we don’t pay for ourselves? I
a taxi than I could ever feel as a minicab driver.
1a: In the Act, PHV means a vehicle con-
thought it wasn’t just me...!
The licensed taxi driver is as protected as he/she
can be and if you always keep the front doors
structed or adapted to seat fewer than
Alan Fisher
locked, then it is as though you have a button
nine passengers, which is made available
with a driver to the public for hire for the
marked ‘safety’ because you are as safe as it is
Call Sign April 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
equipped with a PED mounted in the back of
Credit Card Mandating
the vehicle by 3 October 2016! I immediately
You are all probably aware that as from
had a meeting with TfL and the attitude was:
April 2 there will not be any extra sur-
“Don’t blame us Brian, we’re just the messen-
charges placed on the customer for using a
gers, the Board of TfL agreed it.”
Credit Card to pay their taxi fare, other
Well, that was before I saw the video of
than the fact that every customer will have
the meeting and the siting of the PED was
to pay an extra 20p on the clock drop for 12
not even mentioned! I have subsequently
months; the 20p surcharge will then be
written to everyone I can think of concern-
reviewed by TfL to see whether it is
ing this matter, attaching all the correspon-
retained or scrapped!
dence from 2011 that gave us permission.
Everyone I know has always advised TfL that
It was two weeks ago that I wrote to TfL and
the surcharge for using a Credit Card (CC)
so far I have only received an acknowledge-
should remain with the customer using the
ment of receipt from Helen Chapman; once
card and that there should be no levy on the
again it shows the contempt that most of
driver who actually gives the credit, albeit a
TfL treats the Licensed Taxi trade.
maximum customer charge could be set by TfL.
So in a nutshell, TfL believe they can rescind
However, as usual, TfL have ignored advice
ket over. However, if they do then you can
the permission they gave me back in March
from the people that know and understand the
imagine the rest!
2011 (if I was a gambling man, I’d bet that TfL
trade best and have dictated instead of negoti-
The whole scenario has been extremely
never even knew they gave it in the first place)
ated. I’m totally convinced that all the
badly administered by TfL and the views of
to have the PEDs sited in the front of the vehi-
Consultation documents issued by TfL are a
people such as Dial-a-Cab, who were the pio-
cle. Have they any idea what is involved in
total smokescreen and that they know exactly
neers of CC acceptance for the past 25 years,
recalling our whole fleet to locate new lockable
what they are going to do from day one. Why
have been totally ignored. But then again, am I
holsters in the back of the vehicle, the time and
they bother talking to us (or not) I will never
surprised by the incompetence of TfL? Not in
expense would be enormous, not to mention
know, the Consultations are just a process of
the slightest...!
the extra danger our Members would be
going through the motions and what they have
This is the first year I can ever remember that
exposed to by having the PED in the passenger
to do!
facts about CC mandating and the fare increase
So we now come to the charges for using
have come out from TfL in dribs and drabs -
What is the point of having something
a CC; as you know, all the radio circuits
extremely unusual. Consequently, I watched
passed by TfL when they can change their mind
charged the customer 10% and absorbed
the TfL Board Meeting where the Mayor was
on a whim; but are they really changing their
the Merchant Fee and without doubt, it was
present and some of the topics introduced by
mind or, if as I’d bet, they never even knew I
Dial-a-Cab’s biggest account producing a
TfL were not even discussed at the meeting!
had permission. This once again proves my
considerable income. Obviously that has
And there was me believing for all these years
point that if only TfL had spoken to me initially
disappeared and we now need another way
that everything had to be passed by the TfL
before they made the announcement, they
in which to introduce that revenue stream.
Board before it could be implemented... silly
might never have got themselves into this
We know that whatever we do will not be
predicament. Once again they have shown
popular with some. After all, some
themselves to be incompetent by not speaking
Members complained about the 10% sur-
Can TfL be trusted? Can
to the relevant people in the trade before mak-
charge to customers, now look what we
they say yes but mean no?
ing any announcement. As I have stated many
have! We should always perhaps be careful
times in the past, they don’t negotiate... just
what we wish for.
When we were in the process of re-equipping
the fleet some years ago, we decided to install
Many companies in the trade have not
a Chip and Pin or Pin Enabled Device (PED).
I just hope they stand by their initial deci-
announced what they are going to charge for
I always felt the PED should be in the front of
sion to grant the location of the PED in the
using a credit card, they are all probably wait-
the cab for driver security, that it should be
front, after all, the PEDs have been there for
ing to see what the competition charge before
kept in a holster and passed to the customer in
five years without one single complaint
announcing their own charges. However, at
the back of the vehicle or indeed through the
from a driver or member of the public. TfL
Dial-a-Cab we have announced what we intend
luggage window when needed. I was always
must honour their original decision...
to do as from 2 April, we are charging our
concerned that when mandating of Credit
Members £1 per day plus VAT (making £1.20 in
Cards by TfL was introduced and usage
total) and Dial-a-Cab will absorb all the charges
Brian Rice
increased, that there was always the possibility
made by the Banks. Before you start doing
of knowing that drivers HAD to accept them
your calculations on the back of an envelope
and the more unscrupulous in our society
(the days of fag packets being long gone), you
could use that as an excuse to inform the driver
should remember that once you’ve completed
that the PED in the back was not working. That
six trips of any description, anything to do with
could then be an attempt to get the driver to
Call Sign
a CC transaction would have been paid. Forget
leave the front of the cab with possible dire
April 2016
about who gets what, once you have complet-
consequences following.
Editor: Alan Fisher
ed those six trips then you are in front. Of
Consequently, I contacted TfL in February
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
course, we have no way of knowing how this is
2011 and sought permission to site the PED in
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
going to pan out, because if CC transactions off
the front of the vehicle in a holster. I personally
Email: callsignmag@aol.com
the street go through the roof - as some expect
attended Palestra in Blackfriars Road along
Website: www.22-callsign.co.uk
- then Dial-a-Cab could find that we took a
with our Director of IT and a taxi equipped
Printers: Premier Print Group
E6 6 LP
huge gamble by not introducing a percentage
with the PED in its holster. They passed the
Design: Aldan Publications
fee to the driver.
vehicle and had no problems with the siting of
Tel: 07958 300 428
I have heard a rumour - and I stress it’s
the PED, giving their permission by passing it a
Email: debbiefresco@googlemail.com
only a rumour at the moment - that one of
few weeks later with no adverse comments
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
the big players in the market place intends
(March 2011). I still have all the correspon-
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
to install their equipment in taxis free of
dence appertaining to the PED passing.
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
either manually or electronically without the express
charge and charge a very small percentage
So imagine my surprise when TfL
permission of the Editor.
to the driver in an attempt to take the mar-
announced that all London Taxis had to be
Call Sign April 2016
Page 5
Artemis Mercer, who with other taxi drivers’
wives started the #SaveTaxi Facebook group
last year in support of the taxi trade, launched
a drive several months ago in order to raise
£600,000 to fund the initial phase of launch-
But they need your help NOW!
ing a Judicial Review against TfL.
By the original closing date, the
only be available to licensed taxis. Artemis
Crowdfunder had raised over half the total,
said the Uber app did not implement insur-
but were then granted a 22 day extension
ance and public safety standards as rigor-
in order to raise the rest. An estimated
ously as those imposed on black taxis.
18,000 drivers have not given a penny!
Although the Crowdfunder campaign has
Artemis established Action for Cabbies as a
targeted London’s 25,000 licensed taxi drivers
private company to spearhead the
to raise the required money, many from out-
Crowdfunder.co.uk campaign. It bases the pro-
side the trade have also chipped in.
posed action on the grounds that TfL was
Action for Cabbies has warned that
wrong to grant a licence to Uber and its drivers
unless TfL's decision to grant Uber a licence
in 2012 as the licensing authority had failed to
is revoked, the black taxi industry will be
follow the correct procedures.
decimated “...and the iconic black taxi ren-
“There has always been a two-tier system
dered extinct.”
with private hire vehicles on one side and black
The latest total, which is looked after by a
cabs on the other,” Mrs Mercer, whose hus-
reputable legal firm, was well on its way to
band is a taxi driver, told Sky News. “TfL did
£400,000. But there are only a few days left
not follow those regulations in 2012: it went
with the Fund closing on Thursday 7 April. If
from being a law-enforcer to a law-maker and
you can help, go to:
in doing so it compromised public safety and
cost black cabbies the opportunity to compete
for-Cabbies and click on Pledge to support
on a level playing field.”
the fund.
The group will again repeat that Uber dri-
Your livelihoods may depend on it...
vers use a meter of the kind that should
Artemis Mercer
LTC £44m deal to go to Oz!
The London Taxi Company, owned by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, has signed a deal
worth over £44million to expand the TX4 down to Australia. A minimum order of 1,000 taxis is
to be supplied by LTC in the first five years of a ten-year distribution deal.
The deal gives London Taxi (Aust) Ltd the exclusive rights to sell and distribute the iconic TX4 throughout Australia and New Zealand,
with LTC in Coventry producing the first order of 200 cabs during 2016.
Peter Johansen, LTC CEO said: “Our vision is to see our iconic London taxis on the streets of all major cities around the world and this
agreement is another huge step towards that goal. We have enjoyed a good relationship with our outgoing Australian distributors who
have helped us to open up the Australian market and we wish them well. We now look forward to working with the new owners of
London Taxi (Aust) Limited in the coming years as we build up the London taxi brand in cities across Australia and New Zealand.”
One hundred TX4 taxis are already in use in Perth, Western Australia and LTC say it has been a “receptive market.”
London Taxi (Aust) Limited is owned by Elgan Potter and Ross Prendergast. In a statement, the duo said that nothing symbolises a
high quality professional taxi service as the London TX4 does and that they were delighted to have signed the ten-year distribution agree-
“LTC is an ambitious company with exciting future plans which bodes well for our future business development. Together, we look for-
ward to raising standards in the taxi industry in Australia.”
The London Taxi Company is currently investing £300m in product development and in the creation of brand new research, development
and production facility at Ansty Park, Coventry. They are looking to develop and produce a purpose built ultra-low emission taxi capable
of meeting London’s ambitious emission standards.
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
Drivers, we welcome you to come and join us on our outings that give
many special needs and disadvantaged children some wonderful fun-packed days out.
As well as giving a great deal of pleasure to so many children, we promise you will have a
brilliant and fun-packed day out yourself.
Without you there are no outings, so please contact our drivers' liaison:
Steve Bell on 07811 508772
Or enter your details on the volunteer page of our website:
www.ltfuc.org.uk - a Sponsor Page can also be found there...
The Hon President, Hon Chairman and Committee look forward to seeing you
Call Sign April 2016
Page 6
“Yeah Jack, they’re only cab drivers, what do they know - we’ll offer them a few hundred quid each and a free fish dinner
for their building. They’ll snap it up...”
“Not sure Charles, cos they’ve already been offered nearly £19million and that’s a lot of fish!!!”
Acceptance of Credit Cards / Handling Fees
am sure by now you have been made aware that Transport for London (TfL) has ruled
that from 2 April 2016, Credit Cards must be accepted without any additional admin-
istration / surcharge being applied, resulting in passengers paying the meter fare only.
In addition, to assist drivers to recoup the cost of accepting Credit Cards, TfL
have increased the flagfall from £2.40 to £2.60.
The Board has looked at various ways of processing your Street Hail Credit Card rides
with the sole intention of you not losing any part of the fare as a percentage processing
charge. Consequently, the most acceptable method agreed by the Board was to charge
all drivers a Credit Card processing fee of £1 per day (plus VAT), which enables you to
retain in total the cost of each Street Hail Credit Card trip. Bear in mind that you will
recover the daily processing fee within the flagfall of your first five trips of the day.
The only method open to the Society to charge the additional £7 per week is
to add this amount to your current weekly standard subscription, which will
then appear on your weekly statement. As the revised charging structure for
Hail and Ride trips will commence on Saturday 2 April 2016, your revised sub-
scriptions will be charged initially on your statement dated Friday 8 April 2016.
Credit Card trips accepted via the terminal will continue to attract a 7.5% adminis-
tration charge; however, this will not apply to any Street Hail trips.
Please also bear in mind that all signage referring to the previous charge made on
Credit/Debit card acceptance must be removed on Saturday 2 April.
Howard Pears
Finance Manager / Company Secretary
Page 7
Call Sign April 2016
Washington: Police in Michigan have said that
Shock as Michigan killer claims...
an Uber driver who carried out a shooting
spree in February has told investigators that
the ride-sharing app forced him to commit
murder! Police charged Jason Dalton, 45,
with killing six people and wounding two dur-
ing his rampage in the city of Kalamazoo, 150
Jason Dalton claimed that the
miles west of Detroit.
Uber app forced him to kill 6
Dalton confessed to the murders and
people in Michigan
said that the Uber smartphone app had
ance adjuster, to undergo a mental
instructed him where to go to shoot vic-
competency exam, prosecutors
tims after “taking over his mind and body,”
said earlier this month. He faces a
the Detroit Free Press reported citing
mandatory life sentence in prison
police reports obtained through a public
without parole.
records request.
Dalton’s shooting spree prompt-
Dalton told police that on opening the Uber
ed President Barack Obama to
app, he saw a symbol resembling a devil's head
urge governors to fight gun vio-
and claimed that’s when the problems started.
lence. However, Republican law-
The app, he claimed, would give him an
makers, many of whom are backed
assignment and would literally take over his
by the powerful National Rifle
whole body, Dalton is said to have told investi-
Association lobby group, have
blocked Obama's attempt to pass
He carried out the shootings outside an
gun control legislation.
apartment complex, a restaurant and a car
dealership between driving customers for
Uber during a five-hour period.
The police reports also said that after the car
Credit Card Signage
Dalton had planned to use failed to start, he
took another that left his wife without trans-
As of 2 April 2016, Credit Cards must be accepted without
portation. Speaking to her at his parents'
house after the first shooting, he warned she
any additional administration / surcharge being applied ie,
would not be able to return to work, their chil-
passengers paying on a card will pay the meter fare only.
dren could not go back to school and that she
All interior signage relating to the previous surcharge
would understand why by watching television
(10%) for accepting Credit/Debit card acceptance, must be
news. Investigators say they are still trying to
determine a motive.
removed by Saturday 2 April.
A judge has ordered Dalton, a former insur-
Call Sign April 2016
Page 8
By the time you read this, most
- if not all - of Dial-a-Cab’s taxi
Upgrade Underway!
fleet will have been upgraded
to accept the GPS signals.
Cabs are being converted at the rate of
around two hundred mobiles a week or even
more as circumstances at the Roman Way
depot allow, with technicians working flat
out to complete the task as soon as possible.
This, of course is in addition to regular main-
tenance tasks, new and re-fit installations
together with the odd problem-solving
The image shows just how busy the fitting
bays were at the start of the upgrade pro-
gramme, with several cabs being attended to
at the same and every square inch of floor
space being utilised to maximise the speed of
the fleet conversion while at the same time
No room to swing a cat at Roman Way! Luckily there aren't any there to swing!
minimising the down-time for drivers.
“With the economic climate for the cab trade
as tough as it is at present,” Stuart Reason
(B26) told Call Sign, “as well as full use of
regular taxi ranks, you also get ‘pop-up’ ranks
in unusual places.
“I was setting down at the Wolseley
Restaurant on Piccadilly and passed a few
cabs waiting outside the St James’s eatery as
they formed an orderly - if temporary -
queue ready to provide an instant service to
patrons of that upmarket establishment!”
Stuart continued with his story but then
gave a different slant to the problem
undoubtedly linked to the current down-
turn in our trade:
“The doorman eagerly stepped forward to
open the cab door for my passenger and
that’s when we started chatting for a few sec-
onds. It appears that he too is feeling the
effects of the downturn because it used to be
that when he stepped out into the road to hail
a passing cab for a Wolseley client, he would
often gain a tip from the punters for doing so.
Stuart Reason
Now with taxis outside his door on their infor-
mal ‘pop-up’ rank, there was no reason - at
least in the mind of the public - for him to ‘call
a cab’ because they were already right there!”
Stuart told this magazine that he hadn’t
thought how the downturn in our trade could
have an effect on the wider economy as we
usually only worried about our own situation.
After hearing Stuart’s tale, Call Sign spoke to
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
the doorman of a nearby hotel who asked that
we not mention either his name or that of the
hotel. He said that one problem they had -
Tel: 01708 553037
one that rang a bell with us and similar to the
doorman at The Wolseley - was the number of
people calling Uber because only they knew
the vehicle they were waiting for and often
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
just jumped in quickly thereby avoiding the
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
doorman’s outstretched hand!
But back to Stuart! He told us that The
TX4 servicing from £90
Wolseley was originally a car showroom back
in the 1920s and a branch of Barclay’s Bank
All Work Undertaken
until 1999, with the Grade II listed building
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
opening as a restaurant in 2003.
All TX1, TX2, TX4
“It’s surprising what you can learn talking to
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
a doorman for a few seconds,” Stuart said
with a smile!
Alan Green (E52)
Fax: 01708 551443
Web: www.PaulsTaxiSpecialists.co.uk
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2016
Page 9
DaC Board Member Mike Son met with TfL Director for Taxis and
PH Peter Blake before the TfL board meeting on 17th March and
prior to the LBC investigation into PH licensing
Topographical Skills
TfL Response: Your comments are noted.
Clearly, should TfL take forward the proposal
Assessment Centres:
to withdraw the exemption, such details will
Mike Son proposal: There are approximate-
need to be taken account of.
ly 150 Assessments Centres, of which many
In the meantime, we are adding an extra
are actually minicab offices. Applicants are
resource to check that those PHVs entering
given help with filling out the PHV Driver
the Congestion Charge Zone and that claim
Application form, possibly due to the fact
exemption, are indeed on a booked journey.
eing very aware of the hard work vari-
there may be a lack of the English language.
ous taxi trade organisations and their
There is also minimal Topographical training
representatives have been and are
given. Training is from two hours to half a day
NSL Passing Station
continuing to undertake in order to
with just map reading and no driving test. Yet
protect our taxi industry, I am, however, also
applicants are guaranteed a 100% pass rate.
Mike Son: It appears there is a 20% failure
extremely concerned about the issue of
There is negligible TfL staff monitoring of
rate when vehicles are taken to the Passing
licences to both Private Hire drivers and their
these Assessment Centres. Fees vary - as an
Station due to some drivers not having the
vehicles, in addition to the minimal checks
example, training and assessment is £129
appropriate documentation with them.
undertaken by the two groups. There are also
(including VAT) whereas assessment is only
There is a need for some resolve on this issue
other areas where I was apprehensive...
£69 (including VAT).
as it impacts the extended time it takes for an
So I decided to write to Transport for
There is no expectation that PH drivers can
appointment for taxi licencing.
London’s Taxi and Private Hire Directorate
attain the high standard of competence that the
London Licenced Taxi Driver will have
Peter Blake: As we discussed, it’s impor-
as an individual Stakeholder, with my own
achieved after 3 to 4 years of learning the
tant to know we would want to take the
personal views and some proposals.
Knowledge and the Advance Driving
opportunity to encourage compliance in the
I must stress at this point I was not repre-
first instance, before going down the route of
Proficiency training. Nevertheless, to consider
senting any organisation within the taxi
public safety and an increase in accidents that
charging for failures due to lack of docu-
trade, just my own view and concerns. With
ments. We are stepping up the message to
involve Private Hire drivers, Topographical
this in mind, I was very much surprised to
Skills Assessment training should incorporate
drivers on the need for proper documenta-
receive a reply and an invitation to meet with
tion in our communications with them, ie in
at least some basic vehicle driving training
the Director of Taxi and Private Hire Service
our OnRoute magazine and weekly emails.
before the issue of a PHV Licence.
and Compliance, Peter Blake.
We are also encouraging trade reps we
Peter Blake: We are already working to
During our meeting, the various items we dis-
engage with to spread the message to drivers
enhance the topographical test. As I am sure
cussed were as follows:
and proprietors. Should we not see an
you will know, Private Hire drivers already
improvement in the number of vehicles failed
undergo enhanced DBS checks; we will
Private Hire Operators
due to documentation in the coming months,
increase our monitoring testing and auditing of
then we will re-examine the potential use of
current test centres, as well as those centres
a financial incentive.
There are around 3000 existing PH Operators
that have moved to becoming training schools,
for which the licence fees are as follows:
which do not administer the test itself.
Mike Son: Thank you...
Small (two cars max) Standard
PH Congestion Charge Exemption
Mike Son
Licence application fee (non-refundable)
Mike Son: Withdraw the Private Hire
Congestion Charge Exemption.
DaC Board Member
Grant of licence fee (5 years)
Can you afford not to get a copy!!!
Mike Son proposal: Due to the low value
Produced by Dial-a-Cabs PCN expert, John Vigus,
of Private Hire Operator Licence fees, these
this book is all you need to know about moving
should be increased dramatically to meet
with the high demand of TfL staffing levels
raffic and parking regulations in one easy to
and the ability to check licences, establish-
read guide!
ments and monitor all PH business activities.
Licence renewals should be reduced from
five years to one year.
The Motorists Guide to Moving
Peter Blake: There are proposals on
Traffic And Parking Regulations
updating the regulations governing London’s
PH trade for TfL Board approval on 17 March
Hard copies £8. Electronic versions to
2016. One of the issues includes altering the
Dial-a-Cab drivers are £5 per copy. Orders
structure of licence fees paid by operators of
different sizes to better reflect the costs of
via Driver Services with payment deducted
compliance and enforcement activity. While
from your DaC account.
we are not proposing to change the length of
operator licence, it is something we will keep
in mind following the already planned
Can you really afford not to get a copy!!!
changes based on the size of operator.
Call Sign April 2016
Page 10
Better than before but...
was being upgraded to accept the forthcom-
my cab passed its’ annual re-licencing, when
ing GPS signal changeover.
the technician said that DaC’s current posi-
“Many years ago, I went to the South Coast
tioning of the PED card reader would not be
with a fare when we were still operating on
viable soon because under new regulations
the old analogue signal, which had a range of
coming in regarding compulsory credit card
about 30 miles if you were lucky,” the Dial-a-
apparatus, the card reader has to be ‘in a
Cab driver recalled.
fixed position within the passenger compart-
“On arrival at our destination, I had to
ment and within the field of vision of the pas-
phone in the meter reading to the dispatcher,
senger.’ He pointed out the obvious that both
who advised me that he had noted the details
ours and ComCab’s were clearly not!”
and that when returning and a bit closer to
Call Sign checked the situation and accord-
London with a recovered signal, I should
ing to a spokesperson for the Society, we had
clear the meter reading in the normal way
originally been given the OK to keep our PEDs
and he would check all was well. No such
where they are, obviously a much safer option
complicated procedures nowadays with our
because it is not only more convenient to use
present network and I look forward to the
by the passenger given its’ flexibility via the
new GPS system being even better as we
cable, it is also under the control and watchful
Robert is concerned about forthcoming won’t have to remember constantly booking
eye of the driver at all times.
PED regulations
in as we move from zone to zone, which will
The Editor and the Chairman have comment-
“This 02 network thing is fine, coverage is
be much better the before.”
ed on the situation on pages three and four...
throughout the UK- if we’re lucky enough to
Then Robert’s tone changed as he recalled
Baghwat Singh
get a trip that far,” Robert Meehan (W24)
a recent visit to his local Passing Station.
enthused to Call Sign when we met while he
“It left me a little confused, even though
Call Sign Online
Two new river crossings for East London?
ccording to a recent TfL report, East London could see two
" Vital to
new river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere to pro-
vide new, quicker road and public transport links and support
new housing developments by 2025, following overwhelming
public support in a recent TfL consultation.
Consultation on the proposals, which closed in February, showed 88
percent of those responding supporting a new crossing at Gallions
Reach to link Thamesmead and Beckton, or at Belvedere, linking it
to Rainham. Around 77 percent supported new crossings at both loca-
tions, which would cater for public transport and road users and help
secure London’s future success.
TfL’s work has shown that both proposed crossings would provide
significant benefits to local people and businesses and help support
jobs and homes on both sides of the river. The crossings would
incorporate a network of new and extended bus services and could
also provide opportunities for new walking and cycling links as well
as a potential extension of the Docklands Light Railway from
Gallions Reach across the Thames to the new station at Thamesmead.
In the meantime, TfL is extending the life of the Woolwich Ferry service. Work
was recently completed to the jetties and loading bridges on both sides of the river
and TfL has now begun the bidding process to purchase two new boats to replace
the existing 1960s vessels, to keep the service running into the 2020s.
Outgoing Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “There is no doubt that new river
crossings in the east are going to be vital to the future prosperity of our rapidly-growing city.
As well as improving transport links for all, they will unlock swathes of land for develop-
ment, leading to new jobs and homes and improve areas for businesses and communities.
Gallions Reach and Belvedere are just the start of a series of crossings that are going to
prove a real boost to the capital and I’m delighted that Londoners have given us their
unequivocal backing.”
The plans for the new crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere form part of the Mayor’s
wider proposals for the future of river crossings in the Capital. The vision, which was out-
lined last year in TfL’s Connecting the Capital report, proposes 13 new tunnels and bridges
across the Thames - increasing the total number between Imperial Wharf and Dartford
by more than a third and the number for pedestrians and cyclists by nearly 50 percent.
These include public transport crossings such as Crossrail and a number of potential pedes-
trian and cycling crossings, such as the new bridges connecting Nine Elms with Pimlico
and Rotherhithe with Canary Wharf.
Following approval at the TfL Board last month, work is now underway to submit plans to
Government for permission to start building the proposed Silvertown Tunnel. This tunnel,
which would link the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks, is vital to relieve pres-
sure at Blackwall, which is currently east London’s only major road crossing and which
would help support the delivery of thousands of new homes and jobs.
Call Sign says: New crossings are undoubtedly needed, but we can’t help wondering
whether it is the public who will end up paying never-ending fortunes to cross, just as
they do at the Dartford Crossing. And with so much investment money in their hands,
we can think of a forgotten part of the Mayor’s transport system that could use some
financial assistance...
Call Sign April 2016
Page 12
Taxi nearing its 15 year limit? Can’t afford a new one? Call Sign and the DaC Credit Union may just be
able to help your cab get an extra 5 years...
all Sign has received a stream of
and moving off is that
phone calls over the past
quietness, but I won-
months from Dial-a-Cab drivers
dered what would hap-
asking if there was any way they
pen if I put my foot
could extend their cab’s
15 year life,
down? Would it have the
because either they were too old to con-
same power that a TX4
template buying a new taxi or perhaps
has and the answer was
couldn’t justify the cost at present. So we
undoubtedly yes! From
looked into whether an LPG conversion
a gentle 20mph, my foot
and the 5 year extension that comes with it
pushed down on the
could be an answer.
throttle and the cab shot
Taxis are said to be one of the worst pol-
forward but with very lit-
luters on our roads and while we are certainly
tle engine noise. The
not alone, there is undoubtedly a substantial
feeling was of driving a
amount of truth in it. The claim is that in cen-
tral London we account for almost 35 percent
Both Paul and
of PM10 emissions and around 15 per cent of
Andrew spoke of the
NOx emissions. The new models of TX4 and
environment, some-
Vitos are much improved, but involve a huge
thing we’ve all heard
outlay and until the electric versions come out,
many times before and
then the stigma will remain. But we had been
yes, we’d all like it clean-
told that an LPG conversion would cut emis-
er; but do we take much
sions substantially - PM10 by a whopping 99
notice? Then Andrew
percent and NOx by 80 percent.
went outside and came
So Call Sign held a meeting with Paul
back with four small
Oxford and Andrew Sanders who were repre-
containers. Paul made
senting Autogas Ltd; but there was a third
the point that one rea-
guest - a 2010 TX4 that had been converted to
son the public aren’t
run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
overly bothered that
Andrew uses it as his company car, covering
much with emissions is
what he told us were many thousands of trou-
because they can’t see
The two filled jars on the left contain emissions from an
ble-free miles, including trips to Holland. The
it... but we were about
unconverted cab. The two almost empty ones are from
cab had already been to Millbrook testing sta-
to and yes, it really
the LPG cab
tion to check for improvements since convert-
shocked me!
ing. It would have been Euro 4 in 2010, but
Two of the jars contained NO2 and fine par-
London. Currently there are around 65 pumps
testing when bought second-hand showed it
ticulates gathered from taxi emissions after
but the probability is that most drivers fill up
operating then below Euro 2 emission stan-
500 miles on a TX1, whilst the other two con-
with diesel at the same garage and the same
dards. After conversion to LPG, the taxi met the
tained the NO2 and fine particulates following
would apply once you had found a local LPG
Euro 6 standards and had fuel savings of
500 miles on the LPG conversion. The results
site. I was given a list of sites and there are no
around 20%!
in the jars were staggering. Before conversion,
parts of London that don’t have LPG pumps.
looking at the two jars it was frightening to
So how far are we away from conversions
think that we were breathing that in, but to
becoming reality? Well, Autogas met with LTPH
then pick them up and feel the actual weight
the previous week and by the time you read
was just shocking. The two jars following con-
this, someone in London will be trialling a con-
version did have some NO2/particulates, but
verted TX2 before it then goes back to LTPH /
such a tiny amount that you could hardly see it!
TfL for a durability test. If successful, Call Sign
The soot is the unburnt product that comes
was thinking of possibly holding an open day
out of the exhaust to become part of the air
at the Dial-a-Cab House car park once work
around us. And those results (see photo) were
has been completed. Interested drivers would
just from 500 miles, so to then multiply it by
be able to come and test-drive the vehicle and
22,000 cabs in London... that is pretty scary!
even meet Credit Union officials if needed.
The cab starts on petrol, but once the
So to the part most drivers are interested
operative temperature is reached, automat-
in... finance! The total conversion cost includ-
ically switches over to LPG and gives the
ing the new engine and fitting etc is £8,000 +
The Editor in the converted LPG cab
average London taxi driver more than two
VAT taking the total up to £9,600. Autogas
days before needing to refill. The small
don’t provide any finance deals, so if you don’t
petrol tank would need refilling even less
want to empty your bank account then we
The conversion...
as it’s hardly used. Andrew told Call Sign
have another option. We’ve spoken to the
The conversion consists of replacing your
that the most he has had from a tank of
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union and they are pre-
diesel engine with a brand new Opel petrol
LPG was 401 miles and that equated to 12p
pared to lend any interested drivers the money
engine that is capable of 290 brake horse-
per mile at 56p per litre, but he did empha-
needed. Of course, if you aren’t a member
power, although detuned as 100mph +
sise that included a lot of motorway driving
then you will need to join (their ad is in every
taxis aren’t really needed on the North
and that driving around town with its stop-
issue). In order to borrow from any credit
Circular Road! But it will give you the same
ping and starting would obviously be less.
union, the requirement is that you have had to
torque as a TX4 but without any shudders
But even at 350 or so miles, that certainly
have saved one third of the total you want to
or vibrations and will probably sound even
removes any recharging you might have to
quieter than your car!
do on an electric taxi.
continued on page 13
The first thing you notice after starting it up
The downside is the number of filling sites in
Call Sign April 2016
Page 13
It’s always seemed to me that if
Another true story from Geoff Levene…
you eat in the same place every
day with the same crowd and
The tale of Big Dave...
then one of you changes his
hours or decides to eat else-
the luggage scam. That particular piece of
where, then it’s like they van-
chicanery had three vital elements:
1. The FX3 with its open luggage
ished off the face of the earth!
And that’s kind of like how it
2. A Geecen meter.
was with me and a guy I'll call
3. A “Connaught” - ie a stranger in town
who didn't know the ropes.
Big Dave...
So Manny was on the point of Liverpool
It was the early eighties and I was, shall we
Street and up walks a young Dutch guy with
say, in between marriages and spending a fair
a suitcase. Manny steps forward and grabs the
amount of time in the Granby Grill. I'd go in
there about eleven and again at six and Big
“Good morning sir, where would you
Dave was always in there. He was tall, thin
like to go?”
and lugubrious and reminded me a bit of
“Victoria Station,” comes the reply.
Walter Matthau. He also had an engaging
“Certainly,” says Manny, “I'll just weigh
stammer and a near permanent cigarette lit.
the case.”
He was probably 20 years older than me,
He puts the case on the “scales,” starts the
but we got along very well. He was a great
ing out of safe deposit centres. I didn't probe.
meter and presses the extras button. Because
raconteur with a lifetime fund of experi-
I just enjoyed his company.
the thing about the Geecen was you didn't
ences and stories. But not only could he
In 1945 he joined the Army, but this tall,
have to keep pressing the button, you just kept
talk - he had that rare quality - he could
skinny Jewish boy with the stammer was a tar-
your finger on it and the amount shot up.
also listen. Big Dave had a lovely laugh if
get for the bully boys. So he shacked up with
“OK,” Manny says with obvious experi-
you amused him. And he could do it with-
a girl and went AWOL, but ran out of money
ence, “that'll be one and ninepence for the
out his eyes wandering to the door to see
and came down to borrow some from a
case. Pay me when we get there.” It was all
who’d come in or breaking off to engage
friend (of whom more later). But he walked
done with courtesy, grace and charm. As he
someone else in conversation. When peo-
through Kings Cross, which crawled with
used to say: “Always leave them with a
ple do that to me, I just stop talking and
Military Police. Two of them watched him as
wait to see if they say sorry and ask what I
he walked by. Then he made a mistake - he
One last thing about Big Dave. Long before
was saying! Mostly they don't.
looked back at them and was soon back with
I met him and before it was fashionable, he
Anyway, back to Big Dave. The reason I
his "mates" and saw out the war and the rest
had gone through a messy divorce and years
opened this piece as I did, was because of
of his service there.
later was still paying her maintenance. He
Dave's unusual working methods. What he
I wanted to invite him to my wedding to
kept tabs on her because his friend was her
did was to work long days from about April to
the good lady wife, but it was in the winter so
cousin and he used to say that it was like hav-
Christmas and then disappear until the
he was off the scene. I saw him a few months
ing a spy in the enemy camp! But he would
spring. When he came back onto the scene,
later, but then one day I mentioned him and
never pay her personally - only via the Court
people would always ask him where he had
someone said that he had died. I was really
and only after receiving a final demand.
been and he would always reply that he’d
shocked and saddened. Perhaps those ciga-
“I am determined,” he said in all serious-
been to Spain. But he confided to me that it
rettes got him in the end.
ness, “to die owing her money!”
could have been Israel or the US or any-
Now what about that friend - let’s call him
I think he got his wish...!
where he fancied but told them Spain
Manny Wolf. He also became a cab driver. He
because there were so many tales about him
was, and hopefully still is, a lovely charming
always circulating. He was rumoured to be
fellow. He was also what you might call
Geoff Levene (W32)
very rich. Others claimed they saw him com-
“hooky” and famous for what was known as
Call Sign Online
continued from page 12
We asked DACCU for repaying estimates on a round £10,000 so you would need to have saved over £3,000 to get that, but you
could actually put that into your savings as a lump sum. With current interest rates so low, you really won’t be losing much in that
Paying back the loan? Well, put it this way, if you do not intend buying a new cab and your current cab is running out of time, then you’re
looking at renting an older one at up to £190 per week or £265 for a 2016 model. Or there is the Credit Union.
Borrowing £10,000 over 48 months will cost you £264 a month. If you want to repay over 36 months, the monthly cost is £333,
while drivers thinking of paying it off over 24 months are looking at a monthly cost of £470, while those that just want to get it
over with and can afford to go for 12 months, that would set you back £890 a month - pretty much the cost of an ever-increasing
TX4 rental, except that you’d be paying it for just 12 months and not forever!
Former DaC driver, Stanley Roth (ex-Y53) has driven a gas cab for many years. He told Call Sign: “Since 1957, I realised how harmful
diesel was, not just from fumes but also the noise and vibration. So I started driving petrol cabs. In 1970, garage owners W H Cook started
to buy petrol FX4s and add LPG to help cut pollution. I was the second owner-driver to convert. My present taxi is a V reg TX1 which was
converted to LPG using the Australian GasTech Engine over 5 years ago. LPG is the most practical and cleanest road fuel for a taxi as it
has the lowest NOx output and is, in fact, 90% lower than a Euro 6 diesel and also with no PM10s...”
More info as we get it...
Alan Fisher
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2016
Page 14
Well, the answer
Eddie Lambert wonders whether, just like Uber...
to the question is
that I don’t know!
I have no real
knowledge of UK
tax laws, other
than that I pay
what’s requested
from me at the
Journalist / comedian / activist, Heydon
zero rated!
end of January and July each year.
Prowse, went to the town to see if he
Once this had been done, the money was
According to specialists in tax law, UK reg-
could inspire some of the local traders to
forwarded onto the Isle of Man accounts.
ulations in tax run to around
join a project to take their businesses off-
One person from the operating company - in
pages of often conflicting rules and regu-
shore. The aim of this wasn't to reap huge
the TV programme they decided to call them-
lations, so it’s no wonder that those with
rewards for the townspeople, but to point
selves Fair Tax Town - would have to attend
huge amounts of money going through
out to HMG and the Revenue and
an AGM in Amsterdam once a year.
their hands find ways of retaining those
Customs office that current tax laws were
The operation revolves around
sums within their corporate bodies.
far too easy on the multinationals. They
“Intellectual Property Rights.” This is an
It’s fairly apparent to those of us who have
decided to set-up a “Town Company” con-
ethereal or intangible concept that can be
modest amounts of earnings that something
sisting of a handful of local businesses
hard to define and therefore difficult for
needs to be done, firstly to simplify the tax
and to go “offshore.”
tax authorities to judge. Dial-a-Cab’s busi-
system and secondly to ensure that those that
This they did by first going to the Isle of
ness model, compared to the likes of
have the most, pay the most! Hopefully, that
Man to form a corporate company - very easy
Addison Lee and the other Private Hire
would ensure that the UK has the resources
as it only took an afternoon at the Isle’s
operators out there, is based on the driver
to run properly for everyone and not just a
Financial Centre - very conveniently situated
having studied and absorbed the
small minority.
adjacent to the ferry port at Douglas. The cost
Knowledge of London. It is my contention
Back to the headline of could DaC go off-
of setting up the accounts was less than £500
that this must come under the heading of
shore just as Uber does? The question comes
plus an annual fee. Of course there was also
“Intellectual Property” as it must differ
about as the result of a BBC2 documentary
travel and accommodation costs to add on.
slightly from driver to driver.
called “The town that took on the taxman.”
The next step was to establish something
Whether it would be practical for DaC to use
The town concerned was a small one in Wales
known as a Dutch Sandwich. This involves
this route to save Corporation Tax, I don't
called Crickhowell. It was not a cloned town
travelling to Amsterdam to form ‘Holding’
know. But I do know that if it is, then it could
and apart from a Boots, there were no other
companies. These were companies in name
make a difference to DaC’s survival from the
chain stores in town - and that was the way they
only and in one example shown in the pro-
current financial situation in the form it cur-
liked it. They had already seen off one of the
gramme, there were around 28,000 compa-
rently is. It would also help put pressure of
big four supermarket chains that wanted to
nies housed in one modest three storey office
HMRC and Her Majesty’s Government to sort
open there. Nevertheless, Crickhowell has
block crammed full of computers, but with
out the current situation with regard to compa-
become famous...
only 3 people working there!
nies such as Uber, Google and Amazon etc.
This small town in Powys sits at the other
The point of the exercise was to estab-
After all, HMRC may not mind those
end of the A40
between Abergavenny
lish themselves as a Dutch company for
huge organisations getting away with
and Brecon and has found that degree of
tax purposes. Then all profits would be
some tax, but they wouldn’t want us ordi-
fame for being the first British “settlement” to
sent to Holland electronically in the first
nary folk to be able to do it as well!!!
use tax avoidance schemes that are often
instance, as this apparently removes the
used by big business in order to avoid paying
funds from any liability of Corporation
Eddie Lambert (V37)
taxes. It was said to be in protest as to how
Tax (20 percent in the UK). Usually, any
Call Sign Online
large corporations were legally allowed to
money sent abroad like this then
While DaC’s tax situation is more com-
use loopholes in order to avoid paying UK
becomes liable to something called
plicated than the above in regard to cor-
tax. Does that remind U of any particular
Withholding or Retention Tax, which is
poration tax, the principle of Eddie’s
minicab outfit?
usually 25 percent, but Holland has it
article remains relevant ...Ed
LTDA Members Lobby Parliament
On Tuesday 8 March, the largest congregation of LTDA members seen for many a year amassed
in the splendour of Central Hall at the Palace of Westminster.
The LTDA had organised a lobby of MPs with Members and MPs not letting them down. The day bode
well when with two colleagues entering the security screening area, a policeman enquired whether we
were cabbies? We owned up - only to hear him utter under his breath: “Good luck lads, get rid of them!”
And no, he wasn't referring to some of the incumbents at the House!
The exercise of this LTDA lobbying initiative was for members to persuade their MPs to com-
mit to taking action that licensing authority, TfL, had failed to do.
We had to adhere to the protocol of lobbying by making for an area where lobby cards were filled in. I
was promptly reprimanded by a rotund bobby for trying to take photos, ironically by a sign that pro-
claimed no photography! That tickled the friendly bobby!
But rules are made to be broken, Uber have conclusively proved that adage! I took a picture of my
Lobby card and promptly tweeted it to my MP, Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North. To my amazement,
Wes tweeted back saying he was on a committee but would be down soon.
We didn't have to wait too long and his taxi driving constituents, including me, weren't disap-
pointed. Wes Streeting is well-informed, engaged, energetic and very generous with his time.
He was empathetic to our plight and on March 22nd aired our grievances in the House of Commons
by introducing a 10 Minute Bill (see page 29).
Following the meeting, Wes Streeting said: “Uninsured drivers, unfair competition and poor quality
are driving black cab drivers off the road. Ilford North is home to one of the largest numbers of black
cab drivers in London and we need to make sure that there are fair conditions and everyone is on an
equal footing.”
Marc Turner (R97)
Call Sign April 2016
Page 15
Every issue of Call Sign takes a look back at ODRTS history through the pages
of the magazines of the time with a Flashback…
This month’s Flashback is from the August 1964 issue of ODRTS News Magazine...
Beat hoping to be amused
Bernard Braden, Barbara Kelly and
and entertained, BUT...!!!
R. Barnett (C37)
News Magazine published a letter in the June edition
from Mr Bernard Braden in which he criticised our use of
Reply from the
the word reliability, the cost to him of the ODRTS taxi
Control Room
service account facility and asked why our pre-booked
jobs are only called ten minutes before the booked time.
Dear Sir,
Having read the letter
He also mentioned his wife, Barbara Kelly, calling an
ODRTS cab and after it failed to appear, she had to start
from Mr Bernard Braden, I
walking until a taxi from “another circuit” picked her up
would like to bring some-
“having picked up the signal!” Since then, we have
thing to both yours and
received numerous responses and are publishing two rel-
their notice. It concerns an
incident around three
evant ones - a drivers view and a synopsis of events re
Miss Kelly’s cab from the ODRTS Control Room.
weeks ago. A cab was
Joe Toff, Editor ODRTS News Magazine
booked for Mrs Braden
(aka Barbara Kelly) at
Dear Sir,
10.55am and as is usual, the dispatcher called the job 10 minutes
With regard to Mr Braden's letter in June, we should ask ourselves
before time. A cab was in the Outer Circle and arrived at Chester
if we stand or fall as an organisation if credit facilities are not
Terrace within three minutes. We phoned to advise that the cab
taken up by the Braden household or if they seek a more reliable
was outside and was informed that Mrs Braden didn’t mind the
service elsewhere. I am confident that their absence would not be
cab being there a few minutes before time, but would the driver
noticed, but cannot say the same for the many satisfied and
stop his meter until the booked time. She was informed that this
respected clients and friends who are always ready to praise our
couldn’t be done and we were instructed to send the cab away
efforts and sometimes show their appreciation by tipping the dri-
and send another one at the booked time. We then suggested,
ver in addition to the automatic gratuity. The fabulous amount of
after dismissing the cab, that she phoned for one when she was
6s or 6s 6d for transporting Mr Braden from home to office or
ready. This she did and you know the rest...
vice versa is still 1s 6d or 1s below the lowest minimum fare
Derek Ford
ODRTS Control Room
advertised by our unlicensed and unreliable opposition. A few
weeks ago I answered a call for Chester Terrace; I gave my posi-
tion at Madam Tussauds and was asked to cover the job quickly.
On arriving at the Braden household with 2s 6d on the meter,
ther manservant asked me to wait. Mrs Braden eventually
appeared and asked to be driven to Hinde Street. After driving
about 100 yards, the meter tripped up to 3s 6d and Mrs Braden
began to complain about the amount on the meter. I explained
the run-in procedure and waiting time but she more or less insist-
ed that some sharp practice was going on. As I could make no
headway, I called the dispatcher, explained the position and told
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
him within my passenger’s earshot that I had the feeling Mrs
dedicated to DAC members only
Braden was convinced I was a dishonest person. He suggested I
make some adjustment at the other end, to which I replied in a
very loud and firm tone: “Certainly not!” By the time we reached
Hinde Street, Mrs Braden was sweetness itself, most apologetic
and rewarded me with a 1s 6d tip. But gone was the image I had
5% Discount for members
built up of a kind and homely personality, a priceless image that
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
entertainers struggle and strive for and gone for the price of a
measly bob. This incident does not seem to fall in with Mrs
Public Liability
Braden's eagerness to have a cab five minutes early rather than
Breakdown Cover
five late.
I suggest we write to Mr Braden in the nicest possible terms
Much more available
urging him to give our competitors a trial and when he is dis-
satisfied, as I am sure he soon will be, come back to us a wiser
Call below for quotations
and happier client - a little more patient during peak hiring
hours and happy in the knowledge that we will be more eager
to cover his requests for cabs if we are not treated as ”Ali Baba
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
and the Forty Cab Drivers,” that crazy old pantomime joke
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
which seems to perpetually run through his mind and his
Company Registration No: 4319231
Braden Beat show.
There was a modicum of truth to his letter, of course, as
Tel: 01322 553313
there often is when writing of dis-satisfaction at a service of
some kind. After all, how often have I been watching BBC on a
Saturday night and then turned to ITV to watch On the Braden
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign April 2016
Page 16
The DaC Sales team have been very busy speak-
ing with new prospective clients, in addition to
a large number of our existing ones.
DaC Sales Report
Now that our new Senior Sales Executive is
becoming more familiar with the industry and
the services we offer, he has begun contacting
With Keith Cain
companies and building relationships with
them. That is how this industry works within
interest. What they liked most was the one stop
the corporate sector. Nowhere have we found
shop service we offer. They knew of us and
where an account is opened at the first visit;
what we used to offer JPM on the Island and
you first make the initial contact. That in itself
were keen to explore this in more detail. Never
is hard enough, as individuals no longer allow
count your chickens... but the initial contact
their contact details to be given out. You have
was positive and I will build on it.
to be a detective by nature to find new ways of
At the time of compiling the report, we are
getting the contact information. Once you have
completing three tender documents. One is for
it, then you have to get past the rejection stage
a rail company; one is for an NHS hospital
of them not being interested.
whilst the third is for a major bank.
Again, it is the skill of knowing which
As a point of information for Call Sign read-
type of carrot to dangle, although having
ers, no one, when asking you to complete their
said that, most carrots seem to involve cost
tender, ever takes into consideration that you
- the first word we seem to hear!
may just be busy doing other things, because
of discussion relates to the approaches being
Each day, our customer service side is con-
deadlines being given to return completed ten-
made by our competitors and at the moment,
tacting existing clients informing them of our
ders are getting shorter and shorter. What is
that is Uber who are making a conservative
pricing for longer trips, whist at the same time
also rather disappointing with the tender
making updates to our account contacts. We are
effort for the corporate market.
process is the amount of information we are
also making clients fully aware of all our facili-
One Mayfair client told us that Uber were
required to supply. Questions such as how we
ties, which includes being able to book via our
offering them £33 from W1 to Heathrow
run the business with regard to our business
Smartphone App and our online booking tool.
Airport and if an invoice at the end of the
continuity plan, our environmental policy, our
General feedback has been very good and all
month was required, then a very small
Health and Safety documentation, our liability
seem very pleased with the service. In saying
administration charge is made for supply-
insurances and our data protection policy to
this, I feel there may be too many that can
ing it. Clients often admit that even with
name but a few. But of course, so often all they
relate to our early morning service, which is
the cheap Uber prices, not all their staff
really want to know is how much will the ser-
not always as impressive as our overall service.
want to use them - primarily because of the
vice cost!
We also encourage clients to allow us to
bad publicity surrounding them - and they
Every section is scored, but the pricing sec-
pay them a visit so that we can better demon-
often do not put up any objections. In one
strate and explain all the services we provide
way that’s good, but not so good in another
tion unsurprisingly scores the most! Score low
over and above putting a vehicle outside the
there and it does not matter how high you
way because no matter how we look at it,
door. And in the majority of occasions, this
the account usage with us has dropped.
score elsewhere. However, we do not refuse
has been welcomed by clients.
any opportunity to tender for business... no
I have also had meetings with a couple of
Unsurprisingly, when we get the opportunity
matter what.
very large users, one of whom is based on the
to meet with them, they open up far more than
Island. The opportunity I had to show them
Keith Cain
when speaking on the phone. A common point
exactly what we can offer was met with much
Head of Sales
An occasional review from a struggling 14 handicapper at some of the marque golf courses
I've had the privilege to play in my golf days away from the taxi…
Moor Park Golf Club: The High Course
There are two courses at Moor Park (The High and The Low ones), but the
one you want to play is the High course.
But let’s start with the Clubhouse; it was built in the late 1670s for the
Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded soon after completion -
although there is probably no connection between the building and the
beheading other than they both start with the letter B! In actual fact,
James Scott, the First Duke of Monmouth and son of Charles II was
beheaded for treason on 15 July 1685 after failing in an attempt to over-
thrown his uncle, James II, at the Monmouth Rebellion.
But where were we? Ah yes, the Clubhouse! This is probably the
most impressive clubhouse in the British Isles aside from St
Andrews. Changing hands through the centuries, it was also the
HQ for Operation Market Garden in the latter stages of WW2.
The course is a Harry Colt design, opening in 1923. Colt courses have
a common denominator - clever contoured greens, usually higher than
the holes, fairway and surrounded by bunkers.
Moor Park High course is no exception. It’s not a sloggers course; strategy off the tee will leave you in the ideal position to play your approach in.
A few holes go up and down, quite steep valleys and as it’s on clay, I'd suggest playing in between Spring and Autumn, maybe on
their ‘twilight deal’ that I think is still going.
There are some very good holes here; a particular favourite from memory is the par 3 on the back nine. 180-90 yards over a deep dell to one of the
most severe 2 tier greens I've played. A really enjoyable course...
Happy golfing
Simon Wallis (M11)
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2016
Page 17
Book Review
Book Review
Book Review
Book Review
Book Review
ohn Vigus is Dial-a-Cab’s parking
expert and the person who deals with
our PCN appeals. Over the past year,
the number of driver’s parking fines
that this Society has to pay has gone down to
virtually nil - ok, there was one last month!
We can safely say that John knows his stuff
having successfully challenged a total of over
12,000 PCNs from taxis to scaffold lorries!
So when we heard that he’d written a
book on the do’s and do nots of parking
and driving, we had to take a look. And
sure enough ‘The Motorists Guide to
Moving Traffic And Parking
Regulations’ does what it
says on the tin! There is no
situation that we as pro-
fessional drivers could
find ourselves in that isn’t
covered in this astonish-
ing book.
Published in an A4 for-
mat so that none of the
many signs we need to
recognise have to be
John Vigus explains to Call Sign how his book will help taxi drivers
squeezed in, this 116 page
book is a complete guide
to not only what you can
tions), parking bays, mov-
Moving Traffic And Parking Regulations
and can’t do, but also
ing traffic (including box
are priced at £8. Alternatively, the book can
what you should do if
junction regulations and
be made available to Dial-a-Cab drivers in
you’re naughty and
cycle boxes), bus lanes and
electronic form at a cost of £5 per copy.
caught! Do you have a
parking on private land.
Orders will be taken via Driver Services
chance with an appeal
Most of you will know
and payment can be deducted from your
that I have been readily
DaC account. Perhaps more to the point
John also explains in his own words -
available on the phone to
should be can you afford not to get a
rather than the official gobbledegook we
give advice, to assist and represent dri-
tend to get - exactly what some of the many
vers who have received PCNs and I will
parking terms used on street signs and refer-
Alan Fisher
continue to do so.”
ences on PCNs actually mean. Also there are
Call Sign Online
Hard copies of The Motorists Guide to
the numerous signs we pass each and every
day as we drive around London, often not
really understanding what they even mean!
We probably often wonder if they are made to
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
deliberately be confusing so that we don’t
understand them and consequently disobey
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
them unintentionally - but still have to pay!
variable bank interest rates?
Call Sign spoke to John recently and
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
asked him about the book...
“Since the use of CCTV for parking con-
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
traventions was seriously curtailed in
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
2015, all London enforcement
at your address also qualifies for membership!
authorities have been agressively pursu-
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
ing moving traffic violations. Many of the
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
moving traffic penalty charges that have
up to 3 times your total savings…
been issued could have been avoided and
so I produced a guide detailing the finer
The cost?
points for all motorists - with advice for
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
taxi drivers in particular. Taxi drivers are
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
on the road for hours at a time and
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
although familiar with many routes, can
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
still be caught out on occasion. Having
dealt with many thousands of adjudica-
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
tion appeals, I have learnt what adjudica-
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
tors will and will not accept as a defence.
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
The guide is in 7 parts: The legislation,
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
Registration number 213263
red routes, stopping waiting and Loading
restrictions (including bus stop regula-
Call Sign April 2016
Page 18
With PH licensing now almost at 100,000, Call Sign asked in an FOI Request...
ver the past few years, the num-
they made that up by sheer numbers and
ber of minicabs being licensed
the figure literally took off, heading
in London has been going
upwards by almost
£1.3 million
through the roof (up 68,000
£1,256,000 to be precise! To re-emphasise,
over the past 10 years). It doesn’t need
that was the increase in just 12 months!
Call Sign to tell licensed taxi drivers how
According to the FOIR, by law all the income
that has affected this trade and how in
has to be spent on licensing and TfL cannot
reality, Transport for London under the
make a profit, so licence fees “are therefore
leadership of Mayor Boris Johnson has
adjusted accordingly.”
done what even Adolph Hitler couldn’t -
So that infers that TfL spent their 2015 PH
decimate this 360 year old trade!
income of £6,505,000 on just licensing. Having
So we sent a Freedom of Information
heard how much some of the TfL Board earn,
Request to TfL to see whether the huge
could it be that Uber - probably quite happily
increase of PH licences is bad news for every-
- pay the Board’s huge salaries???
one. So, very few Dial-a-Cab drivers will be
Year Income from PHV licensing
surprised to know that our bad news was
equally good news for our licensing authority.
awful lot of minicabs! But that isn’t the whole
We asked for the itemised incomes from PH
licensing over the past three years and unsur-
Strangely, there was a decrease in 2014
prisingly, TfL’s income from 2013 to 2015 shot
thanks to a reduction of £14 in the PH vehi-
So we have to wonder what exactly TfL did
up by almost £500,000! That represents an
cle licensing fee, but by the following year
with the extra £1,256,000 in 12 months!
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose life is captured as a blog! His story
of his early days as a taxi driver is captured here as…
A Blogger’s Tale
doors and force the windows down.
tle, I’ll remind
you because
I looked in the back for some direction, but they
I had begun working a little earlier in the day -
as I looked in
were all on the floor with their hands hiding their
getting in a few hours before breakfast had
my wing mir-
faces. Miraculously, I had managed to avoid run-
become my routine and I enjoyed it. The last fare
ror I could
ning anyone over by the time I got to the traffic
before my trip to the Piccolo was a special one;
see absolutely no one, despite
lights, but they hadn’t even told me where we
once the money had changed hands, I always
there being at least a dozen press men there!
were going! I slowed as the lights turned red and
put it on the dashboard and viewed it as break-
They had disappeared in a cloud of toxic diesel
a head appeared in my rear view mirror asking for
fast. Once there, I would lean back in my seat
and mentally thank that last punter as I forced a
Later that night with my feet up on the coffee
But as I waited at the lights we had a repeat
piece of toast into my mouth before setting sail
table, I saw the whole incident again on the
performance. One of the rear windows was forced
again and starting to think about lunch!
News at Ten. I may have still been a butterboy
down and cameras were being held inside the cab,
It was in this state of mind that, as I cruised
but I’d made it. I had appeared on television at
flashes illuminating the back like a Christmas tree. I
along Newgate Street, I noticed a young lady
forced the lights to go green through sheer
waving her arms at me. She was quite breathless
To be continued…
willpower and for those who don’t remember the
as she leant into my nearside window and whis-
emissions that an FX4 could produce at full throt-
Simon Scott (O40)
pered: “Can you go around the block and wait
Call Sign Online
at the top of the Old Bailey for me please?”
Now, I do get a bit suspicious when someone
asks me to help them, especially when it’s my
job anyway; there was definitely something she
wasn’t telling me but I said of course I would
and off I went.
I positioned myself at the top of the Old Bailey
and could see the entrance clearly, there was the
usual crowd of people milling around and I won-
dered what all the secrecy was about... when all
of a sudden she came rushing out with her arms
going like a windmill. I released the handbrake
and shot off down the hill as fast as my FX4
could handle it. I noticed some movement from
the press people who had obviously seen her as
well. As I got close, she ran back to the door
and re-appeared with three people from inside
the court. All hell let loose as the rear door flew
open and slammed shut with my new occupants
inside. The press were all over my cab, flashbulbs
lighting it up; they were blocking the road in
front, the side and behind me trying to open the
Call Sign April 2016
Page 19
With Tom Quigley (Y33)
“may be a bit rough and wide, I’ll get you
What’s the point...?
Needless to say, the response I get from a lot
Another student was on their first
of trade members when I tell them in conver-
appearance; the examiner introduced
sation that I run a Knowledge college
himself and said that he would be asking
is: “What! Are people still signing up? What's
the questions. The student responded by
the point??? Have you told them the game is
introducing himself as the candidate and
dead?” You get the picture because many of
said that he would be answering them!
the comments are obviously watered down
Then there was a young guy in our group
for publishing in a family magazine such as
who turned up without a tie. He looked
Call Sign.
around the room at the other candidates with
As someone who has always tried to remain
their suits and ties on and realised his error.
positive, I have to remind the pessimists that
In a panic, he went through his pockets and
they were once in that position and the jobs -
luck was on his side, as, this being his only
or lack of them - that my students have current-
suit - one that he last wore for a funeral - and
ly got are generally worse than the career they
there was a tie in his pocket!
are trying to pursue. Or that due to the pres-
One young lady student was so nervous
sures of modern day working conditions, of 24
Yes, it may have meant less work, but at least
that she went to the toilet in a haze, only to
hour technology, mobile phones and emails,
be met outside by a female examiner asking
the playing field would have been equal...
that some of the students are perhaps looking
where she had been. Replying politely to the
for a complete change.
examiner, the young girl said she had been to
Tales from the KoL Chair
Can I remind all you Dial-a-Cab drivers out
All of us will have Knowledge memories of
the toilet. She then went bright red when
there that we are privileged; apart from the cur-
realising that she had been into the men’s
our appearances, our time in “the chair” and
rent financial restraints, we wake up each day
and that the ladies toilet was at the other side
the strange and funny stories we either
with a choice of whether or not to work, to
of the corridor!
remember or choose not to, even though
select what time we start and what time to fin-
Yes, there are horror stories to tell - some
most will be a blur! The great thing about
ish and have no emails or phone calls unless
funny, some sad. Where nerves got the best
teaching and listening to students is that I can
we choose to have them.
and worst out of the students, with hypno-
relax and chuckle at their experiences, even
We never have to phone London up and say
tists, chanting, pinching of thumbs, curling of
though it’s only been a relatively short time.
we can’t come in because our children aren’t
toes, so much so that one student was
Stories I can relate to come flooding back;
too well, neither do we have to book our holi-
requested to stop swearing silently under his
a new student who had only been with me
days in February as we can’t clash on the same
breath as the examiner could hear him!
for a week was asking advice on how to con-
weeks as our work colleagues.
Of course there are the allegedly good
Often, we just don't appreciate what we’ve
duct himself. This guy, an ex-professional
examiners and the proverbial tough ones.
footballer and reasonably successful as a City
got until it’s under threat or lost completely;
Unfortunately, in these days of social media
yes we are under attack and work is a struggle
trader, took on board my comments about
and Twitter accounts, the stories of woe are
calling the examiner Sir or Ma’am and not to
at the moment, but there are many in our busi-
instantly out there - no longer confined to the
ness who have moaned consistently through-
sit until requested to, so much so that when
Star Cafe or to your immediate cops and fel-
out my time in the trade, complaining about
the examiner called him in, he went straight
low school students. Instant news isn't always
too many drivers passing the KoL. I wonder if
in and sat down! The examiner told him he
a good thing...
they sit in their Taxis now and regret saying or
shouldn't be sitting down yet and especially
thinking that, because they are now of a mind
not there... as it was his seat and the answers
were in front of him! The same student on his
Tom Quigley
that if more people passed the Knowledge, the
less there would have been a demand for alter-
next appearance couldn’t
‘see’ the run
Call Sign Online
required but told the examiner that though it
The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled
LTBAWD Vets Visit North Cheam Sports Club
On Thursday 3rd March, The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled and a
large number of veterans were invited to The North Cheam Sports and Social Club for a
special lunch.
Committee member, Dave Hempstead, had arranged for local Yellow Badge taxi drivers
at Morden to supply a shuttle service from the station to the club, a gesture that was greatly
appreciated by all concerned and all of whom sent their thanks to Dave and the drivers.
At the club, the Vets made their way to the club bar before sitting down to a lunch of pie
or sausages and mash, followed by a delicious cheesecake - all supplied and cooked by the
staff of the sports and social club and served by the ladies of Barclays Bank. The Committee
would like to thank them all for their hard work.
The Hon Secretary of The LTBAWD, Paul Davis, then made a short speech thanking Tony
and Sue Millard and all the sponsors for helping to create such an enjoyable time. During
lunch, the visitors were entertained by two singers with many of the vets joining in and
everyone enjoyed a sing-song.
When it was time to leave, once again the local Morden taxi drivers arrived to help trans-
port guests back to the station. Again, the LTBAWD Chairman and committee cannot thank
these gentlemen enough for their help on the day as they also do to everyone at The North Cheam Sports and Social
Club for making such a wonderful day...
Derek Leone
Call Sign April 2016
Page 20
Hello Ladies & Gents,
high premiums were added to the trip with more
It is now a year since the new Fixed Price journeys
urgent messages sent out. After nine rejects and
were introduced and on the whole most of you
almost fifteen minutes after the booked time, the
fully agree with our pricing and waiting policy. As
trip was accepted but unfortunately the client could
you know, we’re dealing solely with trips to all
not wait any longer for the taxi as he was worried
Airports and journeys to and from destinations
that he and his family would miss the start of the
outside of the M25 - fixed price journeys to and
performance. The trip was cancelled and an alterna-
from inner London areas will be treated in the nor-
tive service was used. He asked me why a taxi in the
mal way and if the waiting time exceeds the accept-
vicinity, even from the ranks at Paddington or
ed levels, the fixed fare will be removed and revert
Marylebone stations, could not be sent. With a £15
to the meter. I monitor these trips very regularly
premium and increased run-in, it was difficult to
and we are definitely seeing an increase in their
give him an answer. His young son mentioned
usage. I believe that you should evaluate the trips -
Uber, but as a staunch user of DaC for many years
not just the full meter fare, but on the actual
he continued to wait for us to cover his journey -
amount of time the trip takes to complete. In this
climate, we are offering a fair price for trips that previously were covered in
My point is that irrespective of the run-in and the £15 premium, it was also
a private hire vehicle. I’m convinced that at the right price, many account
a very nice journey and with that many rejects from taxis not far away, it
clients would much prefer to travel in a DaC taxi for many obvious reasons
could eventually push him and other accounts who experience similar issues
and this allows them to travel safely and securely in one of our taxis.
from us, over to a competitor - which is not what we need in this climate!
Even in this climate, we have coverage problems in certain areas at various
I am sure you appreciate where I’m coming from and I’d urge you all once
times of the day or night. Sometimes it surprises me that lucrative work is
again to go that extra mile to cover all trips and let’s firstly keep all of the
rejected time after time.
accounts happy.
Conversely, I must also add that it is not all bad news, because we
This is the scenario
have also received emails commending our members on providing an
Two weeks ago on an early Saturday evening, a VIP client who works for a
excellent service.
major account booked a taxi from NW3 to the Southbank area. Fleet mes-
sages were sent out prior to this booking with full details of the journey. After
The Contact Centre are regularly monitoring the system, especially run-ins
a number of rejects, the run-in was increased and the first of two reasonably
and booking-ins, so I would ask you all to abide by the Procedure Rules.
Please remember that outlying zones are physical at all times and to correctly
book into inner London zones, you must be able to reach the furthest part
of the zone within fifteen minutes. Before booking in to EC5, you must be
Taxi insurance
in any of the EC areas and to book in the LHR you must be within the
perimeter road.
Allan Evans
for DaC drivers
Operations / Compliance Manager
On behalf of Dial-a-Cab, Hillier Buchan Ltd in
Bexley have negotiated exclusive rates for DaC
members. We believe our rates are competitive in
today’s market for experienced licensed Black Cab
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every driver’s circumstances are
different; therefore our policies can be tailored for the individual dri-
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Call Sign April 2016
Page 21
Marc Turner (R97) is passionate about this trade and leads all the
trade demos from the front by banging his drum. He is unsurpris-
ingly known online as the Drumslayer...
Drumslayer says...
tory, night men are finding it tougher than
ing them to move, otherwise their car reg
those on days. The 18 - 30 year olds are more
gets photographed and they get reported. In
prevalent after dark... and we all know who
the main, they acquiesce.
they are choosing to go home with. But I
So getting back to the missed trick. Are
think we’re missing a trick.
you an early morning man (or woman)?
When I'm out on weekends in the wee
Well, on a Saturday and especially Sunday
small hours, there's definitely a scarcity of
morning, why don't you venture out a few
Licensed Taxis. Private Hire is there in
hours earlier and fill the breach - and it’s
on tariff 3.
abundance and becoming ever-more
When the kids see PH touting on ranks and
brazen. Police officers from the Cab
no visible sign of enforcement, they presume
Enforcement Unit and the Met Police
all is normal. Yet when they see one of us, the
themselves are conspicuous by their
hands go up just like the old days.
absence. Transport for London has cow-
We won't win this fight if we don't turn.
obody in their right mind could
ardly retreated, thereby capitulating to
We need to make a presence... and be in it
dispute my assertion that our
to win it!
trade is currently enduring the
Private hire are creeping onto ranks, some
mother of all kipper seasons.
sheepishly, others with attitude. Who's going
Marc Turner
Probably for the first time in the trades’ his- to stop them? I give it a go by politely request-
Call Sign Online
LBC investigation shows up TfL licensing
A shock LBC investigation has shown just how easy it is
to illegally gain a private hire driver’s licence in London
and to then drive passengers around in a minicab with
Transport for London’s blessing after they issued it.
The LTDA had claimed that one in 10 London minicab drivers may have
been driving illegally, so LBC sent their Political Editor, Theo Usherwood,
to the TfL test centre at Heston - but with someone else's car, someone
else's log book, someone else's MOT and no proper insurance! Yet the
reporter left the centre with a licence and appropriate stickers “proving”
that he was a “genuine” London PHV!
Mr Usherwood, whose last appearance in Call Sign came when he was
verbally abused by the Mayor’s cycling supremo, Andrew Gilligan, after
asking what he thought about the non-usage of the first cycle lane to
open, then took his newly licensed London minicab and parked close to
Bank Station. In no time he was approached on four separate occa-
sions! On the investigation tape, Theo is heard to ask one passenger
why they approached him and he said he assumed it was a cab because of the PH
roundel. The passenger sounded amazed when LBC’s reporter explained how easily he had obtained the licence from
TfL, supposedly the taxi and private hire’s licensing authority.
The following morning, LBC’s Nick Ferrari on his morning phone-in show spoke to TfL’s Director of Service Operations for Surface
Transport, Peter Blake and showed him little mercy! Mr Blake tried to wriggle out of the situation by telling Nick that the investiga-
tion had “highlighted an issue that relates to drivers, vehicles and operators being licensed separately, which is the current legal
requirements we go through. We continue through our promotional campaign to explain to people not to get into a vehicle that isn’t
pre-booked because it wasn't safe.” Nick Ferrari told Mr Blake that he was missing the point and that it was the simplicity of
Usherwood gaining a licence that was so disconcerting! As for drivers getting their cars “passed” to avoid congestion charging, Mr
Blake made no response to Nick Ferrari when he raised the point. Did Mr Blake not know that the Mayor had said they would look to
block that loophole by making all PH vehicles pay CC?
Mayor Boris Johnson joined the debate later on when he told LBC that following their investigation, he was looking to change the
rules on those getting minicab licences. He said he was concerned about the ease with which the licences were apparently given out
and said that they were looking to make it so PHV would have to have Hire and Reward insurance at all times. Whether that would
have made any difference to Theo Usherwood getting a licence wasn’t gone into.
LTDA General Secretary, Steve McNamara, also spoke to LBC, telling the broadcaster that it was a scandal that in 2016 TfL were
unable - or unwilling - to regulate the PH industry to even minimal standards to ensure that Londoners were safe. He went on to say
that the LBC investigative report highlighted just how easy it was for anyone to get a vehicle licensed as a minicab by TfL without even
the most basic checks such as ensuring the vehicle was insured.
“Your reporter could have been released from prison that morning for any number of serious offences and been driving a TfL
licensed minicab the same evening, at best the risk to the public is that their minicab is uninsured,” Steve added.
TfL say the situation has now been changed, but the disgrace is that it was ever allowed to happen and it leaves us wondering just
how many other PH drivers got their licences that way and how many of the numerous Uber accidents happened to drivers getting
their licences that way? And how much longer must we put up with an authority like TfL who seem to be inept at anything they do?
Call Sign April 2016
Page 22
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
der form as abrasive cleaner, Bar Keepers
and were both violently sick. They were
Friend (still being produced today). It was,
kicked out. Shortly after, they were found by
and is, a useful cleaner for removing rust.
a cabman, Edward Rowse, lying in a door-
in Arms
Harry and Walter
“You know this is poisonous,” said the
way in Maiden Lane. He shook them and
chemist, “there’s enough there to kill a dozen
assisted them up. Harry could just about
Richardson did
everything together.
walk. He clutched hold of a lamp post and
“I know that,” said the Richardson brother,
exclaimed: “Rowse, old man, me and Walter
They became cab
drivers together and
“every chemist tells me it is poison. I want it
have taken oxalic acid.”
for cleaning the brasswork of my cab.”
Rowse and other cabmen assisted them
worked the same
“You’ll only need two pennyworths for
into the back of Harry Richardson’s cab.
rank, Southampton
that,” replied the chemist, after all, there
Their first thought was to treat it as some
Street in Covent
were only the lamps, handles and ‘butterfly’
kind of drunken prank and let them sleep
Garden. Harry, at 43, was the older of the two.
(a guide for the reins on the roof of the han-
it off. But it was soon plain the brothers
He lived in Wakefield Street at the top of
were not ‘larking around’. The two broth-
Grays Inn Road and worked for a proprietor
som) that needed to be cleaned in such a way.
ers were in agony and embraced each
“I want some for a pal outside,” replied the
named Alder. He was a widower and had a son
other. A cabman decided to drive the cab
fighting in the second Boer War in South
cabman. After handing over his 4d, the broth-
to the nearby Charing Cross Hospital.
er took the oxalic acid and with his sibling,
Harry was dead before he reached hospital,
Walter was four years younger. He lived in
returned to the Bedford Head. There they
Walter died shortly after being admitted.
ordered a measure of gin each and took their
East Street, Walworth and worked for a mas-
Nobody knows why they did it, but they were
ter named Barker, possibly John Barker
drinks outside.
brothers... they did everything together...
Their sister believes it was done as a bet.
from Bronti Place just off the Walworth
Road. Walter had previously had his licence
But outside the Bedford Head they poured
Sean Farrell
the oxalic acid into the gin and drunk it
revoked and it had only recently been re-
issued to him.
down. They then went back into the pub -
Call Sign Online
On January 31st 1902, they pulled onto
the Southampton Street rank for the last time.
As taxi drivers queue up for CabCams, DaC driver Eugene
Some of the regulars on the rank noticed how
they appeared to be happy, laughing and jok-
Fitzsimons tells why one particular brand is...
ing with each other. A lot of time was spent by
cabmen on this and other stands at the time.
The war in South Africa had plunged the
country into recession and, as usual, the cab
trade bore the brunt of it. Despite the lack of
Eugene Fitzsimons (L09) sounded upset as he spoke to Call
work, the two brothers spent their time whilst
Sign regarding the installation of a CabCam CCTV system to
waiting for a job doing what every other cab-
his taxi.
man seemed to do whilst waiting for a passen-
“I was renewing my cab insurance policy with Tradex when the
ger - they waited in a pub! Nearly every cab
topic of a CabCam came up for discussion and I enquired about the
rank in London at the time was close to a pub.
Novus model,” Eugene told Call Sign. “It appeared to me they had
So great was it for business that it was
a preferred model called the Taxi Witness system, which I’ve seen
widely held that the value of a pub
fitted to numerous taxis around town and have heard no complaints
increased by its proximity to a cab stand!
about, so I assume it does its job. However, these are fitted in
The pub frequented by Harry and Walter
Shepherds Bush and when I got to the address in question, there
Richardson, as well as other cabmen from
appeared to be a number of PH cars there. I wondered if this might
the stand, was the Bedford Head. It’s still
have been the same outfit that has featured in Call Sign quite recently regarding
there, but since
1984 the pub has
Uber cars. As you can imagine, I wasn’t too impressed and decided that I was not going to
changed its name to the Maple Leaf.
offer my personal details or have anything to do with that company and decided to leave!”
Eugene ended by saying that he had since made his own arrangements and was happy
Both brothers, after they had had a few
with the CCTV system he now had.
drinks, appear to have come to the attention of
Call Sign spoke to Tradex Insurance and a spokesperson confirmed that the Taxi
a policeman who was quite willing to arrest
Witness system was more suited to their requirements in so far as the footage was not
them, presumably for being drunk. The police-
viewable by unauthorised personnel and that the camera needed to be checked out every
man was talked out of doing his duty by the
six months by authorised technicians. They also said the Novus Cabcam was still an option
other cabmen on the rank who said they would
for those wishing to go with that system.
look after the pair. But instead of going to a cof-
Call Sign readers will remember that two Dial-a-Cab subscribers, Pat Keefe (G01) and
fee shop to sober up - there were plenty in
Alan Green (E52), among many others, have the Novus camera fitted to their cabs and
Covent Garden even then - they returned to
that both have used it to great effect in highlighting misadventures on the road.
the pub. After a few more drinks, one of the
In Pat Keefe’s case, he was able to capture and therefore act as a witness to a collision
brothers - it wasn’t clear which one - went back
between a coach and speeding car that had jumped a line of traffic ahead of the coach,
into Southampton Street and into a chemist,
while Alan Green has published images in Call Sign of an errant PH car driving up East
where he asked for four pennyworth of oxalic
Road close to Dial-a-Cab House against the one-way traffic and also of a bilker alighting
acid. Oxalic acid was first produced by synthe-
his cab in NW3.
sis when dissolving sugar in nitric acid; it was
The article that Eugene referred to was published in the October 2015 issue:
later to be found occurring naturally in plants
Milking the taxi trade, written by Call Sign’s Marc Turner...
such as the leaves of rhubarb. Since 1882, an
Jamie Corum, Call Sign Online
American company had been selling it in pow-
Call Sign April 2016
Page 23
You can’t please
oe Martinez (P44) sounded
down at the Docklands Hilton Hotel
when a lady came up to me and asked if
very surprised when he
I could summon a taxi.
spoke to Call Sign about
“She must have seen the quizzical look
passenger preferences
on my face, because there I was, a Vito
taxi, sitting there right in front of her
recently, admitting something
and wondering what she meant by a
that most Dial-a-Cab drivers
taxi? But she went on to explain that she
have always known - that what-
suffers from claustrophobia and needed
a taxi where the windows could be low-
ever you do, you just can’t
ered as wide as possible, allowing her to
please everyone!
feel fresh air blowing in her face.
“Yes, I was really taken aback at the
“Naturally, I tried to convince her that
The TX has windows that open whereas
time,” Joe admitted “but I guess there’s
my Vito had more passenger space than
the Vito doesn't but has excellent aircon
just no pleasing some folk. I was setting
the TX model to which she was obvious-
ly referring, in addition to an effective air
conditioning system for passenger com-
A DaC driver’s conversation with passenger Dr Max Pemberton...
fort that had the added bonus of not
blowing her neatly coiffured hair into
disarray while we were on the move! But
she was insistent about her needs and
concluded with the phrase of not closing
her in!
“So I put out a fleet message for a TX
Dial-a-Cab driver, Jon Robinson (E88), recently contact-
taxi that might be nearby to come and
ed Call Sign and started with an apology: “Sorry, it’s
pick her up! I appreciate that you can’t
just another Uber story!” However, as his passenger
please all of the people all of the time
had been the highly respected Daily Mail columnist
and that for a very few passengers, what-
and psychiatrist, Dr Max Pemberton, we thought it
ever you do will not be good enough for
had to be worth listening to...
them! But that’s life, I guess. There have
Dr Pemberton was going to The Mall in Jon’s cab and
been other times when I’ve had punters
had happily chatted away to the DaC driver during the
who were grateful for the cosy atmos-
journey. Jon was correct - it was just another Uber story - but
phere of closed windows and side vents,
given the source, certainly worth passing on to our readers. Dr Pemberton told Jon that
so I guess you just can’t please everyone
he no longer used Uber following some “iffy” journeys and after hearing what had hap-
all of the time!”
pened to three friends of his.
Joe sighed as he drove away. It was
That trip in an Uber car had involved one female and two males sitting on the back
another day and another time and he
seat; the two males were gay and one had put his arm around the other. Suddenly the
would be doing his best to please every-
Uber driver turned round while driving and repeatedly requested that he took his arm
one he met along the way...
away from around the other passenger.
While this was going on, the Uber car drove into a pedestrian on a Zebra
crossing, knocking him up into the air.
Dennis Latchett
The Uber driver then blamed the two gay passengers... but kept on driving! The pas-
Call Sign Online
sengers screamed for him to stop but he carried on while still shouting that it was the
passengers fault. One of the three passengers then called the police on their mobile
phone, saying that they were being held against their will and that the Uber driver had
knocked someone over but failed to stop.
Jon Robinson told us that Max Pemberton mentioned the occurrence to the
Daily Mail at the time and they called Uber!
“But you and I know what Uber had to say... and so does the Daily Mail now,” said
Jon with the merest hint of a smile. “Just as you would expect, the app said they had
nothing to do with the driver!”
Jon’s trip with Dr Pemberton was a fairly short one and he had related the story quick-
ly just after Jon told him how most London taxi drivers were fed up with TfL's lack of
The AGM of the Dial-a-Cab
enforcement against Uber. Jon had said that most “black cab” drivers believed there was
Credit Union will take place
a connection between Uber and the Prime Minister’s office.
“As I mentioned that part, a smile came onto Max Pemberton’s lips. I don’t suppose I’ll
at 4.30 on Wednesday
ever find out what the smile meant, because it was then that he had to leave the cab!”
13 April at DACCU’s office:
Yep, Jon’s tale was just another Uber story - but we need to make sure these
The Peterley Business Centre
true stories are repeated until everyone knows exactly what they are dealing
472 Hackney Road
with when they get into an Uber car...
Alan Fisher
London E2 9EQ
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2016
Page 24
The age-old expres-
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
sion often used by
licensed taxi drivers
‘be lucky’ per-
haps has more reso-
nance to the sport I
wish to feature this
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
month - and if you
are ever lucky enough to nab a job to take
Ally Pally racetrack
punters (an appropriate expression in this
closed in 1970
case) to go horseracing, then the chances
are you would have taken them either to
Epsom Downs, Ascot, Windsor, Kempton
Park or Sandown Park - all just outside
one furlong post once stood!
London and far enough to be a decent job.
These days, dog walkers
Epsom’s first recorded race was in 1661 and
with muddy boots and
early racegoers included King Charles II and
wellies have replaced the
Samuel Pepys. Ascot was opened in 1711 by
thunder of hooves on the
Queen Anne, Windsor started in
Haringey sports fields that
Sandown Park in 1875 and Kempton Park in
are no longer covered with
1878. Once well known, Hurst Park was
discarded betting slips.
downstream near Hampton Court Palace
The chances of this track
and began life in 1890, but ran its last race in
re-opening are not just down
It is probably only the older Dial-a-Cab
one furlong marker, of jockey Paul Cook
to investment, but any num-
ber of independent proposals for re-develop-
drivers that will have remembered that
becoming dismounted to his embarrassment
horseracing at Alexandra Park (first ever
and to some rather unsympathetic cheers from
ment jostling at the starting gate would have a
problem these days with trying to fulfil strict
race in 1868) closed down for ever in 1970.
punters who were already on the Gyspsy’s
Alexandra Park was named after a popular
Kiss (the Editor wouldn’t let me say p*ss)!!!
safety regulations laid down by the British
Horseracing Board.
Princess, Queen Consort and Queen Mother -
Today, the only reminders of race-day
Alexandra of Denmark, who was spouse to
heritage in Muswell Hill are the Victoria
Former jockey Willie Carson once
described Alexandra Palace race course as dan-
Edward VII (more commonly known as the
Stakes and Starting Gate pubs, just 7
playboy prince, Edward the Caresser). So
miles from the centre of London - and yet
gerous to both horses and riders - but my
memories of his racing colleague Paul Cook’s
perhaps her popularity was in part due to pub-
post World War Two, the racing there
lic sympathy over ‘Dirty Bertie’s’ philandering
attracted crowds of over 10,000!
unfortunate spill lives with me forever, togeth-
er with all the shouting and swearing from
(Call Sign readers looking for some Royal
The North London venue is sadly one of
scandal can find it with Stanley Weinstraub’s
many race tracks that have gone in living mem-
both riders and punters!
All of the race tracks mentioned in this
Edward the Caresser: The Man Who Would
ory after a decline in attendances - what a pity,
be Edward VII)!”
because (for instance) City workers would be
article went to the graveyard in the 20th
century, but next month I’ll feature a long
But back to the racecourse; it was inside the
only 19 minutes away on a journey from
Park and also one of the quirkiest in Great
Moorgate Station.
lost racecourse from the 19th century and
from a part of London where people may
Britain, celebrated for its atmosphere and
Racing pundit and Prince Albert Road res-
reviled for the treacherous twists and turns of
ident, John McCririck, inevitably is one of
well hail you to take them ‘off to the races!’
So be lucky...!
its shape - rightly nicknamed the Frying Pan.
those calling for the return of the old ‘Frying
My Dad took me to ‘Ally Pally’ races for an
Pan’ and has even made an after-life commit-
Bob Woodford
evening meeting in the summer of 1968 and I
ment, requesting that his Booby (wife) scatter
Call Sign Online
can remember from our vantage point by the
his ashes at the place where approximately the
“I was on my way for my cab’s six monthly MoT test and was coming into town along the North
Circular Road at a reasonable rate of knots,” Francis Robinson (G18) told Call Sign. “I glanced
down at the temperature gauge on the cab dash and that's when, to my horror, I saw the indicator
needle had gone right up into the 'red' zone! I rapidly pulled onto the hard shoulder to let the
engine cool down and waited around twenty minutes before attempting to re-start the engine. But
all I got was a groan from the starter motor as if the battery was flat and that’s when I asked for a
fleet message to be put out asking for a jump start.
“But there was no one out that way, so I patiently waited at the roadside for another fifteen or so
minutes and this time, much to my relief, the engine fired up and I was on my way again - although
at a much more sedate pace! When I finally reached the service centre they diagnosed a jammed vis-
cous fan, which is a critical part of the TX2 engine cooling system. It works on centrifugal force by
rotating the cooling fan sited behind the engine radiator to draw air through the 'rad' in order to
maintain the engine at its optimum operating temperature. Mine had become stuck solid and had to
be replaced. As an additional safeguard, the engine thermostat was also replaced as that can also
cause the engine to overheat should it fail to open fully and allow antifreeze to flow around the engine.
“The reason I was able to re-start unaided after the engine had cooled sufficiently was because it had originally become so hot that
the internal parts expanded, leaving many components within the engine that should move freely at normal temperatures, being left
too tight to budge.”
Alan Green (E52)
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2016
Page 25
n 9th March 2016, under an
As the battle against TfL continues, Call Sign went to the demo on
increasingly cloudy and darken-
9 March to witness two separate licensed taxi demonstrations
ing sky, several hundred taxi
drivers gathered in Trafalgar
merge as one at Trafalgar Square. Yes, this was...
Square before marching down
Whitehall and on to Downing Street,
to vent their anger and disappointment
at what they see as the incompetence of
Transport for London to adequately
enforce and regulate the rules with
regard to Uber and its drivers, with par-
ticular regard to the lack of enforcement
of hire and reward insurance cover, dri-
ver background character checks
(DBS/CRB) and the limited availability of
disabled access vehicles, all of which
‘black’ taxis have to comply
with. It had been organised by the UCG
and supported by the LCDC, SBT and
the RMT.
This demo was later joined by another
group calling itself Dads Defending
Daughters that started their demo out-
side Broadcasting House, before
marching down Regent Street to the
Square. The combined group then
walked down Parliament Street before
finally arriving at TfL head offices in
Victoria Street and protesting about the
lowering of standards/regulations that
have left women in danger from minicab
drivers. According to an earlier LBC
investigation, those PH drivers no longer
have to worry about being unlicensed as
Tom McCaffrey (H18) and Robert Montgomery (D18)
licences are given out like confetti!
During the demo Call Sign spoke to
several Dial-a-Cab drivers for heir
Alex Smith (J67): “It’s disgraceful! My
son Billy has been waiting eighteen
weeks for his CRB document to come
through having just passed out as a taxi
driver, but he can’t work because he
doesn’t have his CRB paperwork yet.”
Adrian Everett (T20): “There should
have been double the turn out here.
There has been advertising in cafes and
on taxi ranks. Also the Crowdfunding
contributions have been poor with
regard to supporting the necessary funds
for a possible judicial review.”
Mark D’Arcy (O44): “The disabled
lobby are not here supporting us, yet
they cannot get into a cab on Lower
Thames Street. The public expect a
L - R: Tony Herbert, Billy Smith, Alex Smith (J67) Adrian Everett (T20) and Mark
gold taxi service for
‘cheap as chips’
D'Arcy (D44)
Tom McCaffrey (H18): “The way the
licenced cab trade is generally being
treated is disgusting. Also, making PH
think they are insured yet I believe Uber
will not take pre-bookings, so no hire
and reward insurance cover because
only PH cars that are ‘pre-booked’ have
‘Hire and Reward’ insurance cover. The
travelling public think they are insured
but I think that is doubtful.”
Robert Montgomery (D18): “We are
now second class, whereas we used to
be a premium taxi service. But not any-
more, I fear.”
Meanwhile Call Sign’s Marc Turner
(R97) continues beating the cab trade’s
drum to its marching rhythm!
As an aside, on March 18, 10,000 cab
drivers blockaded Rome also as a
protest against Uber...
Marching to the beat of Marc Turner's drum!
Call Sign April 2016
Page 26
Hire and Reward insurance for Private Hire drivers???
Clipboard Johnnies? TfL needs more time to consider them!
way to tackle the issues of congestion, pollu-
* Hire and reward insurance protects pas-
tion and illegal parking that have worsened as
sengers in licenced taxis and private hire
a result of the rapid expansion of the private
vehicles. It ensures that passengers are able
hire trade. He has also successfully secured a
to reclaim loss sustained as a result of an acci-
commitment from Government for TfL to be
dent while undertaking a journey in a taxi or
able to regulate pedicabs through a change in
private hire vehicle. Without this insurance in
primary legislation.
place, passengers may not be able to reclaim
costs or claim compensation following an
* Operators must have the facility to provide
Was it a cop out?
accident or injury. Private hire vehicles were
a booking confirmation to passengers contain-
On 17 March, the TfL Board met to approve the
required to have this insurance only when
ing the photo ID and details of the vehicle
new regulations which they claimed would
undertaking bookings. The new regulations
being used to discharge the booking where
“modernise and improve the private hire
will change this.
passengers are able to receive that information
industry while making it safer and more con-
* Operators will be required to provide spec-
TfL spoke of “even more robust ‘hire and
venient for customers.” It follows a consulta-
ified information to TfL at specified intervals
reward’ insurance requirements that will
tion that was said to have attracted over
including details of all drivers and vehicles reg-
mean a policy has to be in place for the
20,000 responses.
istered with them
duration of the vehicle licence, including
The Board changes included:
* Operators must record the main destina-
when the vehicle is presented for inspec-
* Even more robust ‘hire and reward’ insur-
tion for each booking before the journey
tion to TfL.”
ance requirements that will mean a policy
Even more? Currently there is absolutely
has to be in place for the duration of the
* Operators to retain all records for a peri-
nothing and the LBC investigation (see page
vehicle licence, including when the vehicle
od of 12 months
21) showed how useless TfL’s insurance
is presented for inspection to TfL
* TfL to control the names under which
check was. What TfL should have said was that
* A formal English language requirement for
operators offer private hire services to the
the operators have to insure their whole fleets
all drivers
with Hire and Reward insurance, just as com-
* A fare estimate for customers in advance of
* Private hire drivers to be required to
panies like Addison Lee do.
their journey
demonstrate a certain standard of English.
And then there was proposal six which we
* The provision of driver and vehicle details
* Individual licence applicants to provide
would probably refer to as the Clipboard
to customers, including a photo of the driver,
National Insurance numbers to TfL
Johnnies bill. That was “deferred” because
before the start of each journey where cus-
* A driver’s private hire vehicle licence to be
they have to do more work on it. How long did
tomers are able to receive this information
considered for revocation if their private hire
they need? The whole country knew the Board
* Private hire operators will be required to
driver’s licence is revoked
meeting was scheduled for 17 March, so why
ensure that customers can speak to someone
* TfL will liaise with the Home Office on
was there no decision? Would it have interfered
in the event of a problem with their journey
introducing DBS checks on private hire oper-
with their social lives too much?
* Requiring operators to keep improved
ator staff that have face to face contact with
Perhaps the most interesting comment
records and provide driver and vehicle infor-
the public
came in a Tweet from London Assembly
mation to TfL regularly to make enforcement
* TfL to stop accepting payment for licence
member Val Shawcross during the Board
easier and more effective.
fees by postal order and cheque
meeting. It said:
TfL said:
* Drivers to carry or display a copy of insur-
@valshawcross... Good question raised
“The changes, which represented the first sig-
ance details at all times
at TfL Board as to why the VAT treats Uber
nificant amendments to the private hire regula-
* Introduce new operator licence fee struc-
bookings as taking place abroard but TfL
tions since they were first introduced, follow
ture to better reflect operator licensing costs
treats them as taken in London?
an unprecedented increase in private hire dri-
based on operator size. The specific revisions
Need we say more?
ver and vehicle numbers. The new measures
to the licence fee structure will be consulted on
will raise the standards across the industry,
ensuring Londoners can continue to move
Alan Fisher
* Amendment of regulations to give TfL the
around the Capital safely. The regulations will
Call Sign Online
power to control advertising displayed inside,
remain under review to ensure they keep pace
from, or on the outside of a private hire vehicle
with the changing industry and support a mod-
* Operators will be required to notify TfL
ern and thriving trade, given the welcome tech-
before changing their operating model
nological innovations that have increased
* Operators must ensure that customers can
choice for customers in recent years.
speak to a real person in the event of a prob-
TfL will now begin the implementation
lem with their journey
process, which will vary across the regulations.
* Private hire operators must provide an
While some changes are amendments in policy
estimated fare prior to the commencement of
that can be enacted quickly, others will require
the journey
a longer period to build the necessary infra-
* Hire and reward insurance will be required
structure. TfL has already made a number of
at the point of vehicle licensing, and for it to
The AGM of the Dial-a-Cab
changes following the first consultation in sum-
remain in place for the duration of the licence
mer 2015, including a review of topographical
Credit Union will take place
* Working with the Department for
centres and a new system for customers to
Transport to develop guidance on ridesharing
at 4.30 on Wednesday
report problems with taxi or private hire jour-
* A decision was deferred on proposal
13 April at DACCU’s office:
neys directly to TfL after the consultation
six, which stated that TfL will no longer
process showed that customers wanted TfL to
The Peterley Business Centre
issue licence variations to private hire oper-
be more involved in complaints.
ator licenses to add a late-night or tempo-
472 Hackney Road
Separately, the Mayor has asked TfL to inves-
rary event operating centres. More work
London E2 9EQ
tigate the effects of removing the Congestion
will be undertaken on this point.
Charge exemption for private hire vehicles as a
Call Sign April 2016
Page 27
magine, if you will, strolling towards a
A reproduced cartoon from Punch Magazine dated 6 March 1875
Hackney cabstand in late 19th century
recently appeared on some taxi websites, showing a woman enter-
London. Suddenly the cry
ing a taxi shelter and leaving a look of fear on the faces of the cab-
Prodgers” echoes around the streets! The
cab drivers scarper, leaving the stand empty but
men. So that raised the question: Just who was Mrs Prodgers...?
for a seemingly innocuous, overdressed
woman: Mrs Caroline Giacometti Prodgers,
nemesis of cabmen, zealous litigant and infa-
mous music hall conversation topic.
ing an alter-
Over the course of two decades, she was to
cation after
lead a one woman campaign against the notori-
she refused
ously truculent cabmen of London. She took to
to pay the full
court the publisher of a major newspaper and
penny for a
even her own cook. Her stubbornness was car-
paper, which
icatured in print and sung about in music halls.
she thought
One desperate cab driver went so far as to burn
she might be
her effigy on bonfire night!
Her first taste of life in the courts came in
in. She sued
1871, when she began proceedings to divorce
a watchmak-
her husband of ten years, an Austrian naval cap-
er for return-
tain called Giovanni Battista Giacometti. The
case set a precedent for divorces in which the
wrong watch
wife was wealthier than the husband (the
to her house.
Prodgers family found itself with a considerable
Her obses-
fortune through her mother, a wealthy heiress
whom her father, the Reverand Prodgers, had
married after rescuing her from drowning). The
bizarre activi-
details of Giacometti v Prodgers would regular-
ty in the
ly make the papers, including such oddities as
courts did
Mrs Prodgers questioning the legitimacy of her
not go unno-
own children, presumably in an attempt to try
and disinherit Giovanni from her family for-
In 1875 she had the dubious honour of hav-
nothing to alleviate the true awfulness of her
tune. Following the actual divorce, there were
ing an effigy of her burnt on bonfire night, a
character. She appears to have been as rude
other legal wranglings. It was reported that her
‘gigantic figure’ paraded around on a cab. The
to fellow members of the public as she was to
husband, Giovanni, had given up his whole
police intervened and arrested the cab driver -
porters and cab drivers.
career at Mrs Prodgers’ request and that after
rather bizarrely on the charge of ‘begging’ (the
Perhaps unsurprisingly, her obituary as
the divorce, he had taken her to court over non-
accounts don’t report if Mrs Prodgers had any
reported in foreign papers was blunt and
payment of a yearly settlement. The Prodgers
influence over the arrest). The judge dismissed
family, taking his side, agreed on an additional
the case saying that the cabbie was acting as a
Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers, the terror of
several hundred pounds per year. Mrs Prodgers
showman for the amusement of the public” and
London cabmen, is dead. Her habit was to
found herself again in court after failing to pay
that it was merely meant as a joke.
drive the fullest possible distance for the
a shorthand writer she had, debatably, hired
Mrs Giacometti Prodgers appeared sev-
money, pay the exact legal fare, and then
during the divorce proceedings.
eral times in Punch magazine. A satirical
cause the arrest of the cabman for express-
It was soon after the divorce and its vari-
piece in 1890, the year of her death, coin-
ing his feelings...
ous spin off cases that Mrs Prodgers began
cided with controversial plans to fit each
Courtesy: The Public Domain Review/
her infamous crusade against London cab
Hackney cab with a mechanical device to
Heather Tweed
drivers. Her modus operandi was to catch a
measure distances and calculate the cost
You can read more about Mrs Prodgers
cab to a specific destination to which she
of each journey:
in G.N.Georgano's history of the London
knew the exact distance (she familiarised
Sadly, first hand anecdotal evidence does
herself with the cost charts), then ask the
cabman to stop just at the point where the
fare would change. Invariably the cabman
would attempt to charge her for the next
part of the fare, which she would dispute.
One or other party would then threaten a
Want to look up something in an old issue of Call Sign?
lawsuit and she would continue to goad the
Don’t want to spend hours looking through old issues?
often irate cabman into verbal abuse and
swearing, whereupon she’d immediately
There is a simple answer - the Call Sign Internet Library!
threaten another writ.
Log on to www.dac-callsign.co.uk or www.dac-callsign.com
She was remarkably successful and ended up
Then either browse through every issue of Call Sign since
bringing over 50 cases to court - many of which
1998 by using the Search facility or type in a clue and let
descended into farce. Reports on the various
our search engine do the rest
cases are packed with amusing incidents. There
is extended banter over the use of her full name
If you want to read each complete issue with ads, you can do that.
(which she always insisted upon). One judge
Since the May 2006 issue, you just need to click on the PDF logo.
suggested that it might be cheaper for her to
purchase a carriage than keep returning to
No search facility for that but if you know the page then go to it,
press CTRL F and a box will appear. Just type in the word and the text
In addition to cab related litigations she was
on that page will be highlighted.
involved in a string of court cases regarding
other matters. She sued her dismissed cook for
There are also issues from 1967, 1977 and 1987 as a reminder of the old days!
refusing to leave her house - and continuing “to
sing about the place.” She sued a newspaper
publisher for accidentally tearing her dress dur-
Call Sign April 2016
Page 28
Camaraderie? Not here mate!
which didn’t help matters,” Grant sighed to
of the passengers to go into the terminal
Call Sign.
building to use an ATM, while I respectfully
Grant continued his story and said that
asked the second passenger to remain in the
while trying to think what he could do, he
taxi with me. It was rather embarrassing real-
suddenly saw another DaC taxi pulling up
ly. The whole saga took so much time and
delayed me so much, that I had to pay
“I really thought that this driver was going
£12.50 to leave the airport instead of the
to be my White Knight of the road and hoped
usual 10 minutes free grace time. So yes, I
he would be able to help by either spotting if
was well and truly fed up!”
I was doing something wrong or failing that,
Ending his tale of woe, Grant told this mag-
be willing to clear my passengers’ credit card
azine: “I know such behaviour is not the
through his DaC terminal, which we would
norm on our circuit, but it really left a sour
then be able to sort out with Driver Services
taste in my mouth. The other driver may have
on the following Monday morning. After all, I
had his reasons for declining assistance and I
was giving him my money to hold and not
draw comfort from knowing he is in the
asking him for a loan!”
minority of our members. But I guess that’s
Grant went over to the other driver and
life,” Grant said philosophically.
explained his situation.
If you were the driver referred to above,
“Then,” said Grant, “instead of being help-
Call Sign would be pleased to hear your
ful as I had expected of a fellow subscriber, I
explanation and give your side of the story.
Grant was shocked at a DaC driver
was just astounded at his lack of interest in
apparently not caring
my predicament or of any offer of assistance.
Alan Green
So I had no choice other than to request one
Call Sign Online
When Call Sign spoke to Grant
Adams (E84) recently, he was
still visibly upset at the lack of
Armed robbery - with
assistance offered from a fellow
Dial-a-Cab driver while at
a cop’s car behind!
Stansted Airport on a recent
Sunday evening.
“I took some passengers up to Stansted
Airport and on arrival there, for whatever
reason, I could not clear the credit card as my
PED was showing a weird message that I
could not resolve. With a very sizeable fare
showing on the meter, I was naturally con-
cerned about getting my money. Try as I
might, I just couldn’t clear the PED and there-
fore the fare. Meanwhile, the passengers
were also becoming agitated at the delay,
Immaculate White
Cab Available for
A still from the driver's CCTV camera shows the horrifying attack with a
shot of the cop behind
An armed robber who pulled a gun on cab driver was caught after a police officer ran-
domly stopped right behind the taxi.
Ralph Valletta picked up 18-year-old Victor Martinez-Herrera in Wyomissing,
Pennsylvania. The passenger then pulled the gun on Valletta and asked for his
money, but failed to notice a police car had pulled up right behind.
Deputy Sheriff Terry Ely told the local ReadingEagle paper: “The taxi driver stopped
the car at the lights and put on his emergency lights but failed to move when the
lights turned green. I got out, hit the door and then heard the driver say “please don't
shoot me,” and call out that the guy was holding a gun to his head.
“I immediately bent down and pulled my firearm out because I saw he had a hood
over his face when he looked over at me. I noticed the money in his hand and a black
Female driver
object in his right hand, so I ordered him to drop the gun and get out of the car.”
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
Herrera faces charges of robbery, terroristic threats and a weapons offence, although
Contact Debbie (W18) on
the weapon was later found out to be a pellet gun.
The whole incident was caught on Ralph Valletta’s CCTV system with the police car
07956 317040
right behind...
Call Sign April 2016
Page 29
Panicking minicab smashes into ambulance
The minicab and ambulance collided
in Stamford Hill at 01.45
raffic was bought to a halt at Stamford
Hill in the very early hours of a March
morning as a minicab driver became flus-
tered after seeing an ambulance heading in the
opposite direction towards him. But instead of
keeping to his own side of the road, the pan-
icking minicab driver drove straight into the
Call Sign’s Gary Cox (O46), who was on
his way home at around 1.45am, told us of the
strange sight as a group of orthodox Jewish
men with their long black coats and hats sur-
rounded both the ambulance and minicab try-
ing to offer assistance.
Fortunately there were no serious injuries...
The AGM of the Dial-a-Cab Credit
Union will take place at 4.30 on
Wednesday 13 April at DACCU’s
office:The Peterley Business Centre
472 Hackney Road
London E2 9EQ
Wes Streeting 10 minute bill
On 22nd March, Ilford North Labour MP Wes Streeting put a 10 minute rule bill to the House of Commons. The
subject was the future of the taxi and private hire industry. Mr Streeting said that change was needed in order to
make sure Londoners remained safe when using this form of transport and to prevent licensed taxis being put out
of business by what he referred to as the ‘wild west’ conditions of the industry.
His bill proposes that operators insure drivers rather than leaving it to the drivers themselves and that they must
pay their taxes in the UK. He also said that they should also provide training in order to gain an operator’s licence.
Wes Streeting consulted with the LTDA, RMT, Addison Lee and Hailo before putting his ten minute rule to
the House.
Call Sign April 2016
Page 30
Either write to Call Sign at
Dial-a-Cab House
or email us at
off dramatically. Let's hope it works out OK
Even twenty years on, he repeated how grate-
Selling the building?
this time.
ful he and his wife had been at the time and
Hi Alan
Bearing in mind that drivers may find
became really emotional. To be honest, I also
I always enjoy reading Call Sign every
themselves still going through quiet peri-
felt quite emotional; but above that I felt real-
month, but the March issue’s front cover
ods, the BoM have been proactive and
ly proud.
got my attention when I saw the comment
come up with a scheme to stop any bore-
Adrian Landau (T14)
that each driver’s share was worth around
dom. So when the system gets under way,
Thanks for passing that on Adrian, a love-
£20,000! I was at the AGM and heard all the
there will be a new function. This will be
ly story... Ed
talk about selling the building, but I hope
known as the FSH facility. When you click
something positive comes from all this and
on it, you will receive all the latest updates
Book review
ideally I would rather DaC continues to run
regarding Fish Street Hill. It will no longer
Good morning Alan
as a business that covers its costs and keeps
be necessary to waste airtime asking
Thanks very much for such a great review in
drivers reasonably busy. But I'm also a real-
whether you can turn left or right or what-
the March Call Sign. London Taxis in
ist and I think the time has come when
ever. Everything will be there on the
Camera has been a long time in coming to
radio circuits can't compete on costs any-
screen... plus videos and live interviews
print - I fist notified my wholesaler of the idea
more if drivers are to earn a living wage.
with drivers on the spot. I can't wait...
2011! But, it looks like it was worth the wait.
Then there are the corporate customers
Geoff Levene (W32)
Bill Munro
who used to pride themselves by using the
To save any drivers writing in, I think
Earlswood Press
black cab service, but can no longer do so
Call Sign’s regular story teller is taking
I thought LTIC was one of the best books of
due to ever mounting financial pressure at
a sideswipe at all the messages regard-
its type that I’ve seen in a long time and I
their end. They now regard the savings
ing the open/close/open agenda sur-
have many ‘taxi’ books in my library! The
made by using a cheaper service as more
rounding Fish Street Hill! As for Geoff’s
review was in the March issue and if any-
important than the standards they were
more serious point regarding GPS, I
one is interested in a very interesting read
used to. Unfortunately we can't change that
remember the moans of many RT dri-
filled with great pics, London Taxis in
mindset, which is controlled and dominat-
vers at the time who were complaining
Camera is available direct from Earlswood.
ed by accountants and budget managers
that their GPS system was offering jobs
They do a post service where you can order
who ultimately receive substantial financial
in Kilburn while drivers were in
the book online and get it for £19 (incl
rewards based on the savings they make for
Trafalgar Square! Drivers on DaC
postage) or £22 including postage for any-
their businesses.
where outside the UK for the benefit of
seemed to prefer a zonal system then
I don't know where this will all end, but
Call Sign’s 8000 + internet readers. Go to
because it virtually guaranteed you an
I hope that DaC doesn't end up on its
www.earlswoodpress.co.uk. It can also be
account ride. Nowadays and at a much
knees with no alternative but insolvency at
found on Amazon, MDS and many other
quieter period, that guaranteed job can
the end of the day. I would hate to see that
online sellers. USA readers can find it in
take much longer to achieve - albeit
scenario personally. Far better to bow out
bookstores and various outlets...
still there. However, I think a quiet peri-
gracefully at the top and who knows what
od could help our drivers get more
might happen.
work. How? Well, there won’t be more
Gary Cowderoy (N17)
Topographical test
trips in the system but those that are
The piece Gary is referring to took
there will be offered to drivers who
centres / driverless cars
place during a Q/A session between
would otherwise be booked in another
Hi Alan
Patsy McCarthy and Brian Rice. Patsy
zone that they perceive to contain more
BBC news has announced that many minicab
suggested that as we had a major asset
work. That’s caused by the fear of won-
topographical skills testing centres are to lose
in DaC House, we should sell it and split
dering whether trips would come out of
their accreditation following TfL secret cus-
the proceeds between DaC sharehold-
certain less popular zones - I know
tomer testing. Another case of closing the sta-
ers. In response, Brian said a recent val-
because I’m a driver too and have often
ble door! As you know, there were many
uation had put a value of £17.9million
booked into an adjoining zone believ-
adverts for these testing centres on social
on our building if it could go up ten
ing that would be busier than the one I
media, I made several comments about these
floors, but substantially more if it went
was in at the time. GPS, if used proper-
on Facebook and was asked by an Arsenal
higher - as the East Road building next
ly, could remove that fear ...Ed
supporting taxi driver if I was another racist
door was already doing. Brian estimat-
little Englander cab driver? I wish I could find
ed that if we got the full market value,
him on Facebook now! I also noticed on the
each member could get around £20,000
Remembering the
TfL website that many of these testing centres
are run by minicab operators; surely this is a
Hi Alan
conflict of interest?
Does anyone remember Mr & Mrs
Changing tack, I recently picked a gentle-
Dear Al
Wallenberg from around 20 years ago?
man up from the Waldorf Hotel and he was
Well, GPS is almost upon us. I'm not sure
They lived in Kensington Park Gardens
telling me he had been there for a confer-
why we're going down this path at this,
and regularly took their son, who has cere-
ence on self-driving and driverless cars. He
shall we say, rather difficult time when
bral palsy, via Dial-a-Cab drivers to St
was there for the insurance side of things and
some drivers are suggesting we sell up,
Marys Hospital, Paddington. Well, Mr
regarding who would be to blame if and
while others are pushing for this new - at
Wallenberg was in my cab this morning and
when accidents happen. The good news is
least to this circuit - form of work dispatch-
although now living in New York, he fond-
that they are at least 10 years away. So I can
ing. I experienced it on Mountview when
ly remembers the patience and dedication
carry on being a miserable grumpy London
they changed from a zonal system years in
of our drivers. He also remembered the
cabbie for another 10 years!
1998. It was very busy back in those days,
wife of one of those DaC drivers who had
Jon Robinson (E88)
but I found the work per driver dropped
knitted a woolly teddy bear for their son.
Nothing’s changed there then, Jon!!! ...Ed
Call Sign April 2016
Page 31
up... so I turned round and went back to
Credit Card
DaC App
bed! I’m please you’re not complaining
acceptance 1
though, cos I’d hate to be around if you
In reply to Brian Rice re 10% discount
Hi Alan
were! ...Ed
incentive for passengers signing up to our
Just read the letter from Howard Pears
Credit Card
App. The cost would be minimal as the dri-
relating to Credit Card trips in which he
ver would be charged 7.5% of the fare
suggests that the daily fee the Society will
acceptance 2
through DaC so DaC would be out of pock-
be charging drivers will be recouped in 5
Hi Alan,
et by 2.5% for the first three fares of the
trips. I have just done the calculation and
I suspect the latest letter from the BoM regard-
new customer. It could be trialled allowing
obtained a different figure.
ing the Credit Card processing fee will lead to
only say 100 drivers access to a code that
£7 + vat = £8.40 per week
a full mailbag, so here’s my contribution.
could be given to customers, limiting it to a
£8.40 x 52 = £436.80 per year
I fully understood that the monthly £1 sub-
certain number of customers for now and
If a driver takes 4 weeks holiday a year
scription for 30 year+ drivers was unsustain-
seeing if they reuse us. Even including DaC
plus a week of problems with the cab (which
able in the current climate, but this latest
losing drivers, 7.5% fee on say three £20
we all get) = 5 weeks. So that gives us
charge of £1 per day for CC processing will, I
fares; that would be a loss of £6 for DaC
£436.80 divided by 47 = £9.30 per week.
estimate, take my subs from £12 pa to way
revenues but a potential new customer...
£9.30 divided by 20p = 46.5 trips per
over £1000 pa! That is bad enough, but it
John Thomas (Y58)
week. Assuming we do a 5 day week, that
would appear that I will be charged well over
Brian Rice replies: John, what happens
would mean doing 9.3 flagfalls to recoup
£150 pa when not even working!
in reality is that most people accept the
the charge and not 5.
Why can’t the charge be made for working
discount and sign up but do not use the
I am not complaining at the charge, but for
days only? We’re being charged when not
App. I think you’ll find the two taxi
a Finance Director he is he a long way out...
working, which I think a little unfair especial-
Apps in the trade have discovered that
Francis Robinson (G18)
ly for part-timers.
to their cost. But your suggestion is not
Good morning Francis, yours was the
Alasdair Kay (C47)
being dismissed and perhaps something
first email I had opened after waking
See Brian Rice’s article on page 4 ...E
might transpire in the future...
The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers
The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers is the 104th Livery Company of the City of
London, having received Grant of Livery in February 2004 and earned its Royal Charter in October
2013. With our origins dating back to an original Act of Parliament in 1654, we have earned our
place as an integral part of the functioning of the historic City of London.
Today, the objectives of The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers are
more relevant than ever and are spelled out quite clearly in our Royal Charter; to raise
public awareness of the high standards of the London Hackney Carriage trade and indus-
try and to work to ensure continuous improvement in the health of the industry
through managed growth and development, ensuring that the London cab trade
remains attractive to those passengers who live or work in London and preserving the
elements of the industry that are considered irreplaceable - such as The knowledge of
We are not a union. We are not a lobbying group. We are not partisan. The membership of
The WCHCD represents every single facet of the taxi trade - from taxi drivers to vehicle manu-
facturers, fleet operators, insurers, accountants, technology providers, repairers, knowledge
tutors and, of course, most crucially, the customers who use taxis for moving around London.
Our goal is the preservation and promotion of what’s widely regarded as the most professional, most respected taxi
service in the world. We do not wish to see our historic and much-loved trade reduced to the low standard that is witnessed in many
other cities around the globe. Londoners and those who visit London, still crave the assured service, safety and accessibility that only a
licensed taxi can provide, while the rest of the United Kingdom looks up to the London taxi trade as the standard to be followed.
The WCHCD has many members from outside the capital and we must acknowledge that not all cab trade issues are
London-centric and that decisions made within London can eventually impact on other UK Cities. The WCHCD is unique;
there is no other organisation with our broad spread of membership. There is no other organisation with our knowledge
and experience of the taxi industry; there is no other organisation that enjoys such a rich history - and yet is so forward
thinking. We are available to assist those who share these ideals in any way we can, in order to protect our trade.
Our position as the most neutral, approachable and established taxi trade organisation means we continue to attract more interest
than ever before. This is appropriate, because perhaps at no other time has our historic trade faced more questions about its future.
Our position is clear; London has always needed - and continues to need - a flexible, accessible, safe, secure and utterly reliable taxi
service. London has that, but it is easily lost if we do not all strive to protect and preserve the formidable combination of knowledge-
able drivers, unique vehicles and the assuredness we all enjoy of the world’s greatest taxi service.
The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers welcomes all those who wish to join us, talk to us, or share our
truly unique perspective and insight into the historic licensed London taxi trade and industry.
Colin Evans
The Master, WCHCD
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