August 2016
< Go Back
DaC's Mark Rayner qualifies for
cycling's World Championship!
DaC SGM: Rules carried overwhelmingly!
Call Sign August 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
There’s nothing like knowing ‘What’s On’ during August - a notoriously slack month. I have only listed events
where the ‘Burst Time’ is known. For a list with about 50 other events in larger print with ‘days’ also shown, go to:
What’s On - August 2016
Call Sign August 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
Fooling the people?
that Living Streets - a charity that describes itself
Abraham Lincoln once famously proclaimed:
as being ‘for everyday walking’ - had launched a
You can fool all the people some of the time
call to the next London Mayor to pedestrianise its
and some of the people all the time, but you
1.2 miles so that it becomes what they describe as
cannot fool all the people all the time.
an “iconic, safe and enjoyable place to shop.”
Well good old Abe seemed to get that one right
In an interview with this magazine, Living
when the man who famously cocked-up London
Streets’ London Campaigns Manager Sarah
as its former Mayor, Boris
“BoJo” Johnson,
Williams told us: “The situation is about to reach
appeared to get his come-uppance when his so-
breaking point on Oxford Street. As it is, it’s horren-
called friend, Michael Gove, decided that he didn’t
dously overcrowded but with Crossrail due to
trust him enough to allow him to do the same to
open in 2018, we’re looking at a significantly bigger
the rest of the UK as he did to its capital city.
problem. We must act now to reduce overcrowd-
In his first few months as Boris’ successor,
ing, sky high pollution levels and an unsafe envi-
Sadiq Khan has already shown that he at least
ronment. For many, the experience of crowds of
has a plan for London that might hopefully work
people on Oxford Street puts them off going alto-
vers. He went on to warn TfL officials at City Hall
- unlike Boris and his stupid bike superhighways!
gether. Oxford Street is a very uncomfortable place
that Uber ignored most of their regulations
We may not like everything Sadiq does, but he
for pedestrians, leaving them feeling restricted and
before adding - tongue firmly planted in cheek -
appreciates taxis - which is more than you can say
people say the change they’d most like to see there
that if Uber was preferred, then there should be a
for his predecessor (see the Mailshot page).
is less traffic. Those who do take a trip along it end
genuine free for all, releasing taxi drivers from
But, when push comes to shove, you can’t help
up feeling flustered, frustrated and fed up. What is
their current regulations regarding the vehicles
but have a sneaking admiration for anyone who
this going to mean for future shopping on Oxford
they drive and allowing them to put “...any old
can get stabbed in the back to such a degree that
Street if nothing changes?”
piece of rubbish” onto the road!
it almost ruins his life as an MP... yet within a week
So we asked Ms Williams two pertinent ques-
In a debate held some two months later, Mr
ends up as Foreign Secretary while his backstab-
tions. Firstly, how would disabled passengers get to
Walker was again speaking in favour of London’s
ber goves - sorry, I mean goes - to the back of the
Oxford Street if we had no access? Her answer was
taxi service by claiming that there was something
queue! Or has new PM Theresa May found a
that there were 38 side streets along its length and
slightly sinister about Uber’s business practices and
clever way to keep Boris happy, while at the same
we could drop them there! There was no answer
pointing out to the Parliamentary Under Secretary
time keeping him out of the country and far away
regarding those who had to go right to the door or
of State for Transport, Andrew Jones, that in the
from trouble!
how we could even access those side streets with
USA, Uber’s board had met to discuss how to dis-
the huge amount of traffic that would be using
credit and destroy the career of an IT journalist
concerned about Uber’s business practices, before
All Party Parliamentary
going on to add that Uber also bullies local author-
The second question was where would the
Group on taxis
diverted traffic go? We mentioned the always-con-
ities and national Governments and that they
With London’s licensed minicab population well
should not be allowed to bully HMG.
gested Wigmore and Goodge Streets and Living
into 6 figures and soon set to reach 110,000, even
Also on the APPG are MPs Virendra Sharma
Streets answer was more akin to Dead Streets
a cap on numbers is at least one year too late;
and Ruth Smeeth as Vice-Chairs with Yasmin
because after suggesting the closure of Oxford
however, it will have to come with the hope that
Qureshi as Secretary and Tom Brake as
Street, they told us they hadn’t thought about the
with PH drivers suffering even more than us due
Treasurer. MPs and Lords who have been
answers but “wanted to work with retailers, TfL,
to their ultra-low prices, many will just give up
involved are Kensington and Chelsea MP (not to
engineers and planners on making Oxford Street a
and numbers may eventually start to fall. Just
mention Call Sign reader and huge taxi support-
place which puts walking first.”
because it’s reasonably busy out there, let’s not
er) Lady Victoria Borwick together with Sir
We know that Sadiq Khan is also in favour of
kid ourselves what it will be like after Christmas!
Alan Haslehurst, Kwasi Kwarteng, Eleanor
pedestrianising Oxford Street alongside Val
So when I heard that the LTDA had put
Laing, Andrew Rosindell, Stephen Metcalfe,
Shawcross and in all honesty, even we can see why
together an All Party Parliamentary Group on
Bob Neil, Dr Matthew Offord, Mark Pawsey,
they would want to do it and in a perfect world,
taxis, I took notice and the more I think
Paul Sculley together with Lord Selsdon and
we’d probably agree with them. But this world isn’t
about it, the more I feel that it could provide
Viscount Simon.
us with leverage of the kind we used to enjoy
perfect and the plan will create horrendous traffic
In an article inside this issue, LTDA General
and which has somehow vanished.
problems the like of which we will never have wit-
Secretary Steve McNamara, says that the LTDA will
There is much to discuss and hopefully take
nessed before.
be working closely with the Chair and Group offi-
forward. The subjects of ‘plying for hire’ and
So is there any other answer? Of course there is!
cers to develop the work programme for the com-
whether cars are doing exactly that via their com-
There are far too many buses using Oxford Street;
ing year that will likely include an inquiry into taxi
pany app, or the ridiculous traffic hold-ups being
most are 75 percent empty as they cruise along the
and PHV regulation and accessibility. It is hoped
caused by Boris’s hopeless cycle superhighways
narrow lanes forcing traffic to stop behind them at
that the programme will start in September when
and even how much priority the taxi trade
MPs and Lords are back after their summer recess.
each stop because there isn’t enough room to get
deserves, because we seem to be losing it.
No doubt some will criticise the initiative, but
past. The answer is obvious. Buses should only be
The APPG will bring together an informal
hey, this APPG has some real taxi supporters in it
allowed to go to either the Tottenham Court Road
cross-party group of MPs and Lords who take an
and you never know, it could help to bring to the
end or Marble Arch end before being forced to
interest in our taxi trade. Whilst they would not
fore some truth about what passengers are actu-
turn round and go back. PH (and all private cars)
have any real power to do anything, they can still
ally getting when they stand at the roadside look-
should also be banned and be forced to use those
undertake a wide variety of activities such as host-
ing at their phones waiting for a Toyota Prius
38 side streets to drop their passengers. After all,
ing an inquiry, inviting external speakers to come
and hoping it will get them to their destination
they are not wheelchair accessible so have no need
and brief the group on a specific issue or organis-
without going the wrong way up a one-way street
to go right to the door.
ing an external site visit. And with huge taxi sup-
or having an accident! It’s time for the talking to
Oxford Street itself should be left with a few
porter, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting there as
stop... and the talking to start! This could just
ferry buses that just go from one end to the other,
Chairman, we know it will be taken seriously.
make a difference...
a taxi service rank that will be able to go wherever
Also involved is Charles Walker, the MP for
the passengers want to go along the street - pos-
Broxbourne and another pro-taxi parliamentari-
Oxford Street pedestrianisation
sibly taking four people at a fixed price rate of
an. In July 2015 in a House of Commons late-
The new Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val
around £2.50 each - and delivery vans at certain
night adjournment debate, Mr Walker said that
Shawcross, is pro taxi; however, she is not just pro
times. After all, with no minicabs or cars and very
London had to choose between a ‘chaotic’ Uber
taxi and neither should anyone expect her to be.
few buses, these trips will take no time and the air
or the heavily-regulated but safe black cabs,
But if Ms Shawcross reads this then we must dis-
quality will become far more acceptable
because the two could not operate side by side.
agree with her recent comment to the London
He added that while taxi drivers had to pass the
Assembly that she would like to see the two kilo-
Knowledge as well as undergoing background
metre stretch of shopping overkill known as
Alan Fisher
and financial checks, Uber was ‘brazenly ignoring
Oxford Street closed to all traffic from 2020.
rules’ and flooding the capital with minicab dri-
In Call Sign’s January issue, we broke the news
Call Sign August 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
away on their holiday! So my best guess is we
will be totally ‘live’ with VAD sometime in
This seems to be the topic that most people
within Dial-a-Cab - and even outside - are talk-
In the meantime, we will be in a position to
ing about and it appears there is plenty advice
keep our current system V6 running in the
available from the Barrack Room lawyers out-
background for as long as we wish and if the
side of this Society. I have read several pieces
situation ever arose, we could switch back to
they have written regarding the subject - some
V6 immediately. We will probably never need
of which were in the trade press - and it is quite
to do that, but it’s nice to have it as backup
obvious that they do not have any idea of what
should we ever need it.
they are talking about! Consequently, if any
Member has any type of query on the subject,
then just approach me directly and I will be
PED latest
more than happy to deal with any questions or
You are probably all aware that we still have an
what we consider to be the best option - the
indeed information you may require.
outstanding situation with TfL regarding the
decision will then be yours.
We had our SGM on 11 July regarding the
siting of the PED in our taxis. I was given writ-
Finally on this particular topic, I have read
introduction of Proxy Voting and the Ten year
ten permission by TfL in March 2011 to have
many estimates regarding the initial purchase
rule. I must say that it went very well, with
the PEDs sited in the front of the taxi for safety
price of this building and they do vary quite
92.5% of the Members voting being in favour of
reasons, then earlier this year it was decided by
considerably; just for the record we paid
introducing Proxy Voting and 89% in favour of
TfL that all PEDs should be sited in the rear of
£3.7million at the end of 2006 and moved in
the Ten year rule. It was fairly obvious to me
the taxi. At no time did TfL enter into dialogue
from the earlier survey that most Members
May 2007. I still shudder when I think what
with us before the decision was taken, as I
was involved in the move, especially with the
would be in favour of demutualisation, conse-
could have pointed out that we at Dial-a-Cab
quently, it was decided to give you the oppor-
IT infrastructure. But fortunately we had
had already sought and obtained permission
planned it well and it went without a glitch.
tunity to introduce Proxy Voting and in that
for the equipment to be installed in the front of
way you would not have to attend either of the
However, if we had to move in the future, it
the vehicle. Anyway, after I pointed out the
two demutualisation meetings that are
would be probably be easier, especially as we
anomaly to TfL, I had a meeting with Peter
required, should you not wish to.
now have the ‘Cloud’ available.
Blake to discuss the situation and he promised
I have already entered into dialogue with our
that the topic would necessitate further discus-
financial and legal advisers and we hope to
VAD Despatch
sion within TfL.
have something to put before Members in the
We have had several pilot schemes where we’ve
As you know, rumours abound in the cab
not too distant future.
put the new system under stress testing with
trade and sometime later I was told that Peter
We are endeavouring to have our first of
the Members; you can test as much as you like
Blake along with his boss Leon Daniels were
two meetings regarding demutualisation in
on the bench, but you will never know for cer-
no longer employed by TfL. Consequently, I
the middle of September, albeit this is a
tain how something will work until the whole
immediately sent an email to Helen Chapman
fluid date as we are making representations
system is put under stress with the whole Fleet
enquiring if the rumour was correct; she came
to HMRC at the moment and our timetable
using it.
back to me within thirty minutes to state the
could be compromised depending on how
I must say it appeared to hold up quite well,
rumour was untrue and the situation regarding
long it takes them to come back to us with
with just a few bugs appearing that needed to
our PEDs was still under discussion.
a decision. However, in the meantime I
be rectified by the IT department. Of course,
So that is the latest information regarding the
have been working with our legal advisers
everyone now seems to be going away for their
PEDs, the situation is still under review by TfL!
on our Articles of Association and at the
summer holidays so it will take a little longer to
time of writing, we are preparing to present
Brian Rice
implement the new system. With those few
to the BoM at the next meeting for their
bugs ironed out, it was Sod’s Law that you’re
approval, or otherwise.
ready to go live just as IT staff are booked to go
We are not in a position at the moment to
engage an agent regarding the sale of Dial-a-
Cab House; I intend writing to several to ask
them to put together a proposal on how Dial-
a-Cab should proceed, then together with the
participation of our legal and financial advisers,
hold a beauty parade to choose an agent to
handle our business. I have seen lots of figures
bandied about regarding the worth of this
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
building, but it is only worth what someone is
prepared to pay for it.
Tel: 01708 553037
We should also bear in mind that it could
have two different values, one being today’s
value as office accommodation and another in
the future if sold with planning permission for
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
development. The planning permission would
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
probably take the best part of two years and
TX4 servicing from £90
cost up to £750k, but of course all options are
open to us and when I say us, I mean you the
All Work Undertaken
Members, because I have made it quite clear to
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
the legal advisers that it will be DaC Members
All TX1, TX2, TX4
who make the final decision on any sale and
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
not the BoM. After all, the Society belongs to
you and the BoM will hopefully be in a position
Fax: 01708 551443
to approach Members with more than one
option and just give you a recommendation on
Call Sign August 2016
Page 5
ondon now has over
licensed minicab drivers and over
85,000 PHV’s, a virtual doubling of
LTDA Form All Party
numbers in the last few years. The
effect of this massive increase in numbers in
terms of congestion, pollution and so many
other aspects of Londoner’s lives is becoming
Parliamentary Group
a major problem and a cap on PH numbers is
urgently needed. Any cap would need to be
combined with legislation covering cross bor-
Steve McNamara
der hirings; otherwise a limit on PH numbers
in London would be circumvented by
unscrupulous PH companies simply licensing
their drivers and vehicles elsewhere before
sending them to work in London.
ing Charles Walker MP,
We also urgently require a legal definition
Virendra Sharma MP and Ruth
of what constitutes ‘plying for hire’ in order
Smeeth MP as Vice-Chairs,
to provide clarity on what is and what is not
Yasmin Qureshi MP as
legal with regard to app companies showing
Secretary and Tom Brake MP
available cars on apps and accepting immedi-
as Treasurer. Outside trade
ate hirings.
organisations such as the
In order to secure this legislation and
LTDA, London Taxi Company
promote the taxi trade’s concerns and
stand and help raise awareness of a par-
and the apps can assist with
agenda on the Parliamentary stage, the
ticular topic or issue, such as hosting an
the Group’s administration and activities.
LTDA have formed an All Party
inquiry, inviting external speakers to
The LTDA will be working closely with the
Parliamentary Group (APPG) on taxis. An
come and brief the group on a specific
Chair and Group officers to develop the work
APPG is an informal cross-party group
issue or organising an external site visit.
programme for the coming year that will like-
that brings together MPs and Lords inter-
The LTDA and Ilford North MP Wes
ly include an inquiry into taxi and PHV regu-
ested in a specific topic - in this case the
- labelled the
lation and accessibility. The programme is
taxi trade. An APPG can undertake a wide
Member for the Taxi Business’ by George
likely to start in September when MPs and
variety of activities to both better under-
Osborne after he proposed a Bill on PHV
Lords are back from Summer Recess.
standards back in March - agreed to set up
The MPs involved to date are Lady
the Group. In subsequent meetings with
Victoria Borwick, Sir Alan Haslehurst,
MPs, the LTDA has encouraged others to get
Kwasi Kwarteng, Eleanor Laing, Andrew
involved and we have been able to secure the
Rosindell, Stephen Metcalfe, Bob Neil, Dr
involvement of a cross-party group of MPs
Matthew Offord, Mark Pawsey, Paul
and Lords, all keen to support the trade and
Sculley together with Lord Selsdon and
protect its future.
Viscount Simon.
The Group is run by and for parliamen-
Steve McNamara
for DaC
tarians, with Wes Streeting MP as chair
LTDA General Secretary
and a cross-party group of officers includ-
Val Shawcross on Oxford Street pedestrianisation...
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 experi-
On July 13, the Deputy Mayor
enced licensed Black Cab drivers.
for Transport, Val Shawcross,
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every driver’s
announced that vehicles would
circumstances are different; therefore our policies
be banned from Oxford Street
can be tailored for the individual driver. We offer
a 5% discount for DaC members, with additional
- the busiest and most polluted
discounts for existing protected Bonus policies.
shopping street in Europe - with-
Hillier Buchan was established in 2002 by
in four years.
David Hillier and myself with in excess of 50
The current suggestion is that
years experience as high level Brokers working in
Oxford Street will be pedestri-
the City of London for major broking houses. We
anised from Tottenham Court
have established a reputation for professionalism
Road to Portman Street by
and service in our chosen fields.
2020 in order to create “a more
We have extensive London Market contacts;
pleasant environment for shop-
consequently we are able to offer our clients a
quality of security from companies that are all
pers.” The Deputy Mayor’s office
Where will the buses go?
available in the world’s pre-eminent insurance
announced that the project
market. As a result, our clients achieve quality of
would be carried out in two stages to minimise disruption to businesses and public transport
security and service upon which we pride our-
but that the project would be completed by the end of the decade.
selves and a competitiveness of premium that
Ms Shawcross told the London Assembly that by banning vehicles along the 2000 metre
our clients find particularly attractive in today's
stretch of Oxford Street, she wanted to “sex up the walking agenda.”
There will be a Consultation this year on what to do with London's buses, vehicles that
Our philosophy is to build long-term relation-
most would agree cause the most traffic along the single lane shopping street. Oxford Street
ships using balanced service teams providing
used to be much wider until the former GLC decided to narrow it against the advice of taxi
continuity and expertise. Compare our prices
organisations. Will buses now be forced to use Wigmore Street or will Ms Shawcross’ office
and give us a call. See our ad inside this issue of
go with Camden Council’s idea to ban all traffic except buses using those streets until 8pm
Call Sign on page 15.
each evening and send taxis into the ever-more congested side streets?
Phil Buchan,
Hillier Buchan, 01322 553313
Call Sign August 2016
Page 6
“Yeah, a few blokes have asked me to be their proxy!”
Or as TfL put it, some minimal disruption is expected!
Tower Bridge will be closed in two months’ time beginning in October for three months, as
the average 21,000 vehicles a day that use the 122-year-old bridge hunt around for another
route. The City of London Corporation have authorised the job of structural repairs, includ-
ing re-waterproofing the bridge archways for the first time since the bridge was built at the
end of the 19th century. Its timber decking is also being updated while the road and walkways
will be resurfaced.
To add to the congestion to be unleashed two months from now and which will
include the busy lead-up to Christmas, Tooley Street is closed eastbound and expect-
ed to stay shut until 2018 to allow the rebuilding of London Bridge station. Yet
according to TfL, the additional impact will be “minimal.”
The Chairman of the planning and transport committee of City of London Corporation,
Chris Hayward, said that the decision to close Tower Bridge to vehicles was not taken light-
ly and only after extensive consultation and planning in conjunction with numerous stake-
holders. He added that it was the first upgrade to the bridge for 35 years.
The closure will not affect the bridge opening to allow ships through nor pedestrians
walking across it - undoubtedly many of those who would otherwise have used taxis but
who will not be prepared to pay the huge extra cost involved in diverting. It will also cause
mayhem as traffic tries to use Lower Thames Street westbound to get to Southwark
The popular taxi route for many prospective passengers from the Aldgate area to
around Shad Thames will probably increase by some £7 or £8 and even more if the “min-
imal disruption” turns out to be as bad as we expect - always assuming people still use us!
Call Sign has no qualms about Tower Bridge’s renovation having to be done and whenever it was, we realise that it
would cause inconvenience. But surely the City of London Corporation could have planned the closure either before
Tooley Street closed or after it reopens. A grasp on reality is badly needed...
Call Sign August 2016
Page 7
Wednesday 6 July saw Maldon play host once
East London Cabbies Outing
again to the East London Cabbies Outing.
These annual outings began in 1952 when
taxi driver Charles Flemwell took children
with special needs from the east end of
ELCO kids outing
London in a convoy of 8 taxis to the Essex
riverside town of Maldon. In 1984 Charles
became the Mayor of Newham but still con-
tinued his organising of the Maldon outing
almost up until he died in 1996. But his lega-
to Maldon
cy is that this yearly trip continues.
Departing from the West Ham ground
in Green Street with a pit stop in
The convoy travels along
Mountnessing at the George and Dragon
Maldon High Street
for refreshments, the 80 taxis travelled in
convoy to Plume Secondary School,
where they were greeted by teachers,
pupils, and Maldon Town Mayor, Richard
like this for these children.”
After lunch at Plume, the taxis drove -
At Promenade Park, the
again in convoy - down Maldon High Street
children watched and took
towards Promenade Park passing hundreds
part in the entertainment
of well-wishers and shops that had been spe-
that included a magic show,
cially decorated with balloons and bunting.
face painting, model bal-
Mayor Richard Miller said afterwards:
loons, a juggling show,
“What an absolutely fantastic day. It was glori-
clowns, horse riding, horse
ous weather and a spectacular event for
and cart rides and lots of
Maldon. The youngsters all looked like they
decent amount about it, but never experi-
other stuff including a Best Dressed Taxi
had a great time! This outing really is an
enced it before. But what an incredible event
award! There is also a DJ who provides music
important fixture in Maldon’s social calendar,
it was. The academy felt honoured to receive
for all the little groovers!
a really special day, not just for the children
these cabs and the pupils rose to the occa-
At 6.30 pm the police escorted the convoy
but for Maldon as a whole. It’s just lovely to
sion. Particular thanks should go to Jean
back to London with individual taxis taking
be able to work with them and put on the
Ingram and the whole community team for
groups right to their front doors to end yet
mayoral robes. It’s a great occasion.”
organising it all, and to the significant num-
another successful East London Cabbies
Carl Wakefield, head teacher at Plume
ber of students and staff who wanted to help
Outing to Maldon...
added: “This was my first taxi day, it’s been in
the cause. I’m so proud of everyone involved
More info on ELCO at www.eastlondon-
place for nearly six decades and I’d heard a
and am glad the academy could hold an event
Call Sign August 2016
Page 8
The Dial-a-Cab Special General Meeting
uly 11 2016 will prob-
wanted to attend the meetings
ably turn out to be as
or not, as legal advice had said
momentous a date as
that the Society should not
have been many others
demutualise via a postal ballot
in the 63 year history of ODRTS
as that would leave it open to
/ Dial-a-Cab; dates such as
a legal challenge that could
Sunday March 29 1953 when
make the result null and void.
a meeting took place in the
Proxy voting would mean you
back of Bonnie Martyn’s taxi
could pass your vote to a col-
parked on the Grosvenor
league or Board Member to
Gardens rank; or Sunday June
vote on your behalf in the way
Bill Cobb, Peter Murphy and Dennis Heavin were three of the
7 of that same year at the
you want to.
drivers asking questions
Albany Tavern at the top end
He then went on to talk
of Great Portland Street when a group of
uses to ply for hire for all or part of his/her
about the 10 year rule and explained that the
owner drivers led by Bonnie Martyn collected
weekly income, save that this shall not
BoM felt it was reasonable that drivers whose
£200 in a whip round amongst themselves
apply where the member has completed
cabs were close to 15 years old and didn’t
with the intention of starting a radio circuit for
10 years of service as an owner driver
want to invest in a new cab should be able to
owner drivers only.
member of the Society provided that
rent a cab while keeping the Society equip-
Then there was the first official dispatched
ment in it and still remain a member. The
trip on Tuesday 26 January 1954 when a
(i) Continues to pay his/her subscrip-
recent vote suggested that drivers were over-
gentleman whose name has been lost with
tions at the rate from time to time deter-
whelmingly in favour of such a rule.
time, phoned to go from Pentonville Road to
mined by the Board of Management; and
Those drivers that hadn’t already voted
Gamages - a once famous store close to
(ii) rents (and continues to rent) a
were asked to vote and while the Electoral
where the Prudential is now in Holborn. The
licensed taxicab which is fitted with the
Reform Services went through the count,
caller had discovered the phone number from
radio or other communications equip-
the Chairman answered questions, but
the café across the road that was actually
ment installed by the Society and which
because the meeting was purely concerned
owned by two drivers from the new circuit and
he/she uses to ply for hire for all or part of
with voting and questions on any other
was also the place where ODRTS Board meet-
his/her weekly income.”
topic were not supposed to be asked, we
ings were often held!
will not be reporting on who asked what.
Also important was the official launch the
However, questions brought up mainly
The Resolution: To
following year on Tuesday 8 March 1955
involved the payout should we demutu-
when Sir Ian Fraser MP dispatched a job and
introduce Proxy Voting:
announced that ODRTS was here! Sir Ian was
That Rules 9(j) to 9(o) inclusive of the
There were questions on what would hap-
a hugely respected MP who had been blinded
pen to drivers whose cabs were on the verge
rules of the Society should be deleted and
during active service in WW1 and who worked
replaced by new rules 9(j) to 9(r) inclu-
of being 15 years old, would drivers retiring
tirelessly to promote welfare for blind people
after this meeting be entitled to a share of any
and ex-servicemen. But the reason Bonnie
money received from a sale and would every-
Because the new rule takes up over two
Martyn - by then the founding Chairman - was
pages, Call Sign hasn’t repeated it all here,
one get the same amount. One question bring-
prepared to wait for a year was because Sir Ian
ing a smile asked whether anyone would be
but DaC members received a copy with their
was national President of the Royal British
getting a “consultancy fee!”
‘Notice of Special General Meeting 2016’ pack
Legion - an organisation that helped many
The answers were similar for most of the
dated 22 June 2016. The first few sentences
war WW2 veterans become licensed taxi dri-
questions - once the vote has been registered,
probably explain what the new rule is about:
then any DaC member having to rent but
(j) Members shall be provided with an
Of course there was also Monday 11 June
keeping on as a DaC member with our equip-
alternative to voting in person at each
1984 when this Society decided to rename
ment fitted would still be a member. Also any
General Meeting of the Society. This alter-
itself as Dial-a-Cab and Saturday 29 April
driver after the vote who had to retire for any
native shall be either Postal Voting or
1989 when DaC made its second attempt to
reason, would be entitled to their share pro-
Voting by Proxy (but not both). The alter-
launch a data dispatch system after the first
viding that they were genuinely retired and
native to be adopted shall be specified in
attempt failed. It has stayed on ever since.
not working for anyone or anywhere else. As
the notice of meeting.
Finally, there was our first home at 172
to amounts, everyone from drivers to Board
(k) A member is deemed to have attend-
Pentonville Road, which we bought on
members had just the one share and no one
ed and voted at a General Meeting if
Thurs 24 November 1953 for £2400 before
would be getting any consultancy fee!
he/she has voted:
moving onto 144 Shirland Road (Monday
Regarding proxy voting, the obvious ques-
(i) By post in respect of that meeting
8th March 1965) and then to Brunswick
tion was asked as to how drivers would know
accordance with rule 9(l) (if postal voting
House (Wednesday 11 August 1984) before
that the proxy they passed their vote over to
is available for the relevant meeting); or
finally landing at our current home of Dial-a-
would vote as the person wanted them to? The
(ii) Via a “proxy” for the relevant mem-
Cab House on Saturday 5 May 2007.
answer is that anyone wanting to vote in that
ber duly appointed in accordance with
We bought this building outright for
way could pass their vote over to the
rule 9(m) if Proxy voting is available for
around £3.7million - it is now worth an
Chairman or a colleague.
the relevant meeting).
estimated £18million and that was one of
The meeting closed after around 50 minutes
the reasons some 90 or so DaC drivers
The meeting began at 6pm and opened with
with the final voting results:
turned up at the Central Foundation Boys
Chairman Brian Rice explaining what the
School in Cowper Street! The official rea-
meeting was about. He began by saying that
The 10 Year Rule:
son was to pass one new Rule and one new
the recent unofficial driver’s vote to demutu-
Infavour 926... Against 110
alise the Society had been overwhelmingly in
Proxy Voting Resolution:
favour of that route and that as the procedure
In favour 956... Against 77
The 10 year Rule: 5(e):
involved more than one meeting, the Board
“(e) A member shall cease to be a member
felt that it would make life much easier for
if he/she ceases to be an owner or part-
subscribers if Proxy voting was brought in so
Both were carried and will be put into the
owner of a licensed taxicab which he/she
that members could then decide whether they
rule book.
Call Sign August 2016
Page 9
1st July saw the 100th anniversary of the
Jim Rainbird’s niece passed out as an officer in the Royal Navy last
Battle of the Somme, the worst battle of
year, but recently she was honoured in front of the Queen, Duke of
World War One and where 20,000 British
Edinburgh and then PM, David Cameron, by taking part in a
troops were killed on the first day alone. The
remembrance service to the Battle of the Somme...
centre of remembrance was obviously the
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in
France, but it was also commemorated at
Westminster Abbey with a service on the
Westminster Abbey
evening of 30th June. It was attended by The
Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and the-then
Prime Minister, David Cameron.
‘Unknown Warrior’ vigil
It was followed by an overnight vigil by
both members of the armed forces and
civilians around the tomb of The
Unknown Warrior and
the very first member of
the vigil guard was the
niece of Jim Rainbird
(T25), a Sub-Lieutenant
in The Royal Navy, the
'Senior Service', who led
the first watch out in
front of The Queen and
other dignitaries.
She had previously
been Guard Officer dur-
duties while training at
the Britannia Royal
Naval College in
Jim's niece on the far right with the cap on during the overnight vigil
inset pic: Passing out as a Royal Navy officer last year
recently, she was cho-
sen for this important
role. The guard was changed regularly during
Bulwark whilst it was engaged in
late grandfather, my dad, was a Chief Petty
the night and she was on watch three times
rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean
Officer on the aircraft carrier HMS
throughout the vigil. She is currently on HMS
last year.
Illustrious in WW2 and he would have been,
Diamond and has previously been on HMS
Jim Rainbird told Call Sign: “My niece’s as are the whole family, so very proud of her.”
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Call Sign August 2016
Page 10
When Call Sign bumped into John Wiles
“The guys at Stanway managed to free
(C60) recently, he didn’t look much like a
the seized component so that it mov
happy bunny and told us why!
smoothly again, then bled the brake syste
“I don’t drive fast at the best of times, but
of air by pumping brake fluid through th
when I suddenly heard a metallic, grinding
pipes, and got me back on the road wit
noise coming from around the front wheels
the minimum of fuss,” John told us wit
every time I applied the brakes, it didn’t take
the smile returning to his face.
me too long to figure out that something
“I can usually get around 18 months o
wasn’t right, but as I was nearing the end of my
use out of a set of brake pads and regular
shift I managed to complete the stint, albeit dri-
servicing helps to keep tabs on the wear,
ving even more carefully than usual!
otherwise you can find yourself not only
“The cab was fine while it was actually run-
replacing the worn pads, but if left unat-
ning, but at slower speeds the noise would
tended they wear down so far that the
begin to materialise. There was no tell-tale
metal base of the pads can rub against
pulling of the brakes to the left or right as I
the metal brake disc itself, and you end
applied the footbrake, so I felt confident in
up having to replace the brake disc as
continuing to work out the shift. But admitted-
well - and that’s an expensive exercise.
ly, it was a bit like ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ until I
Eighty percent of the braking effort is
got to my regular service agent, Stanway
taken by the front brakes, and with a 2
Engineering at Chingford the following
tonne taxi you can see that they must
morning. I admit that part of me was rather
take a lot of punishment!”
relieved that I actually made it uneventfully to
With that, John - a happy bunny
again - drove off into the sunset, albeit
The source of John’s trouble was a seized
a rather grey one!
brake piston. These are sited either side of
Stanway Engineering is at 14A
the brake disc within the brake calliper and
Chingford Ind. Centre, Hall Lane
apply pressure to the brake pads, which in
E4 8DJ Tel: 020 8559 4988
turn squeeze the brake disc to slow the taxi
to a stop when the pedal is pushed down. Alan Green, Call Sign Online
“So far as I am concerned, this must be the
best Mercedes Vito taxi ever,” Dial-a-Cab driver
John Davis (V41) told Call Sign after road test-
ing the vehicle at high speeds of up to 90mph
at the Millbrook testing station in
Mercedes-Benz Vans are almost ready to launch
their all-new Vito Taxi to succeed the vehicle that
took the industry by storm when first released and
which has sold over 3,000 units since that 2008
launch. This latest Vito is said to offer unrivalled
levels of space and refined comfort for the driver
and up to six passengers.
Currently available in a national specifica-
tion only, from later this year a London spec
version will be available for taxi drivers that incorporates
the rear steering axle to allow it to meet the 25ft turning
circle, a powerful e114CDI engine with a 114hp Euro 6
engine as standard, together with the 7G-Tronic seven-speed
automatic gearbox that is now controlled using a steering col-
umn mounted lever offering easy gear selection.
Standard equipment also includes fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY measures that feature an engine Start/Stop function, air conditioning for driver
and passengers, electric folding mirrors, improved electrically operated sliding doors on both sides, an electrical nearside step in addition to an
additional off-side step and with lighting for both.
Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, commented: “We are passionate about supporting the UK’s taxi drivers and are
delighted to be offering the most fuel-efficient, modern, comfortable, reliable vehicle ever seen in the market.”
Vito driver John Davis (V41) told Call Sign: “I love my Vito, but this new one is even better than my one. It feels smoother, quieter and
quicker - even the automatic doors are quieter! There is a solid feel to the vehicle and however much my current Vito looks and feels ultra-
modern, this latest Euro 6 version is better. It also has an improved cockpit with the controls put on the dashboard in a form of a video screen,
including the satnav, radio and even assisted parking - not that I need that of course! One of the few complaints I have with my current Vito
concerns the placement of control buttons all over the show - but no longer!
Another bugbear of mine was the rear lighting that kept going off when you pulled away with passengers - even if they wanted to keep it
on! That has now been improved and no longer goes off when you pull away, unless the passenger wants it to!
“I have to say it again - this Euro Six Vito is undoubtedly the best taxi ever to hit the road!”
Call Sign August 2016
Page 12
Brazil Calling
merging. This along with
The future is not yet written...
the figure of 40 percent in
This article comes five days after the first of a series of meetings and
favour of creating a smaller
votes that you, the shareholder, will be called upon to make. Both
leaner Dial-a-cab tells me
votes, as I’m sure has been mentioned elsewhere in this issue, were
that there is an appetite to
returned with an approximate majority of 9 to 1, showing in no uncer-
continue trading within the
tain terms the direction we as Board Members have been called upon
market or accepting a merg-
to take.
er. This will be open for fur-
I believe the demutualisation of Dial-a-Cab will come before
ther discussion in the near
the end of the year; we will then have moved from an industrial
future and a merger, if prof-
and provident umbrella to the structure of a limited company
fered, will be at the behest of the membership to accept or refuse.
listed at Companies House. With a team of city lawyers for guid-
If we are to sell wholesale, I believe some members will be looking
ance, we will be able to direct the Society towards an outcome
to the future and saying: “I don’t want my income to be governed at
that I believe will be favoured by the majority.
any juncture by a company that has not necessarily got my best inter-
It is still just a relatively short time since I stood at the lectern at the
ests at heart.” So a leaner Dial-a-Cab may offer protection.
Honourable Artillery Company and spoke of what I believed was the
If asked, I would say that my personal preference would be to cre-
true value of Dial-a-Cab and its building; the figure I gave of £18.5mil-
ate that smaller leaner company. Its structure would have to be app-
lion for the building was thought of as incredulous at the time, but
based with fewer staff, but still maintaining its premium service and
has since been borne out by a market valuation given independently
the pricing that reflects that premium product. From a premises that
as £17.9million. This kick-started a conversation on the day that has
at a future point could again be sold with profits distributed to the
reverberated throughout my tenure and profound decisions now
members, you as shareholders would again profit.
have to be made - the most profound of them being whether we want
Should the new premises increase in value, just as ours has now
Dial-a-Cab to continue?
jumped over four times the purchase price from its 2007 figure of
Radio Taxis on its merger with Gett were given a market capi-
£4.3m up to £17.9m now, this will entice many drivers to stay with
talisation figure in excess of £4.3million. This figure was for the
Dial-a-Cab and invest in our future together. However, if a complete
business as it stood after selling their primary asset, the build-
sale of all assets is sought, then the best price possible must be the
ing, for approximately £5million after which they then had to
goal of all concerned.
repay monies owed or outstanding. The buyers of the former RT
As with all these options, you the driver and shareholder will deter-
site then subsequently offered it back up for sale at £6.75mil-
mine our direction and we must be mindful to always act in your best
lion! It was a reminder of what happens when you get it wrong!
interests at all times; after all, that’s why you elected us...
We, on the other hand, maintain our full value and are in consid-
erably better shape within the market place and will be mindful
Joe Brazil
not to make the same mistakes.
DaC Board Member
The questionnaire distributed to DaC members returned a figure of
59 percent in favour of winding up the company completely…or
New Call Sign Website
all Sign has been online since the late 1990s and amazing-
ly, its website has continued year after year with very little
maintenance needed. However, it has finally been brought
back to earth by no less than Microsoft, who told us that
our website was so old that within five weeks it would no longer work
after being put temporarily onto their last Windows Server 2008.
In that time we needed to either redesign Call Sign or lose the
‘search’ capability. So thanks to our website master and mainte-
nance guru, Vince Chin, Call Sign now has that new website.
The addresses are the same ( or .com) but
everything else has been brought up-to-date. After logging on, the
10am - 11.15am & 11.30am - 12.45pm
choice is simple with the menu easily seen at the top. It will open on the
£7.00 per class
Home’ screen where you can read the latest issue by hovering over it
and clicking the PDF sign.
Minimum age of 16
You can also click on the ‘Archive’ screen; there you will see a copy
of Call Sign from every year. Hovering over the icon you will see the
Suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to
year and a message on each one to click on here to view the monthly
accomplished boxers
magazines. Click on whichever year you want and then hover over each
copy to find the month you want. Hover over the message to ‘click
Female ONLY classes subject to demand
here to see full magazine’ to see the issue but in a smaller version for
those with X-ray vision! Click the PDF sign to see the complete issue,
but in a large easy-to-read format.
You can also just go to the ‘Call Sign’ screen if you want to go
straight to the year you want and finally to the ‘Search Call Sign’ but-
ton if looking for something specific by just putting a relevant word into
the search box.
There are also issues from the 1960s/1970s and 1980s in addition
to every issue since January 1998. I hope you like the new look...
Alan Fisher
Call Sign August 2016
Page 13
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
Dunhill’s of Jermyn Street had done by using flashing lights in
order to attract empty taxis. The use of telephone ranks was
Continuing with my retrospective look at
more widely publicised in order to abate the cab whistle men-
the cab trade of 100 years ago and the
ace. There were 47 cabmen’s shelters, each connected by tele-
effect the Great War was having upon the
phone, as well as nearly 200 other cab stands. When the Home
Secretary eventually banned the use of whistling for cabs
The main complaint regarding the trade
between 10pm and 7am, it had the desired effect of making the
was not even of the trade’s doing - whistling
streets quieter again and more drivers began using the ranks.
for cabs! A shortage of taxis had made it hard-
Many saw the effect of large numbers of drivers that had volun-
er for the linkmen and porters to find a taxi
teered to serve in the forces as the reason why there was a shortage
for their customers. It had been an exasper-
of cabs and hence the cab whistle menace. But the problem could be
ating problem from before the war, now
alleviated if women were allowed to drive taxis. As an indication that
three years on and the problem was epidemic. Large numbers of casu-
misrepresentation of the trade is nothing new, the Daily Mirror pub-
alties returning from the front saw tens of thousands of wounded
lished the “Life Story of the First Woman Taxicab Driver in London.”
men being hospitalised in London. Many of these soldiers were con-
The paper, like the driver Mrs Moule, saw nothing wrong with
valescing and large buildings were handed over to the government to
a person licensed to drive a taxi in Portsmouth working in
help provide the necessary care. Many of the buildings were in central
London instead for the simple fact that there was more work.
London, close to hotels, theatres and restaurants and the cacophony
For four months she appears to have illegally worked in London,
of whistles that appeared to go on all night were severely detrimental
proudly proclaiming that the most she ever had in her cab at one
to the health and recuperation of the wounded personnel. One per-
time was eleven people!
son complained of a man blowing a whistle in Courtfield Gardens
There was a blackout imposed on London and this made for haz-
for 35 minutes after 10.30pm, a street without any taxi ranks and not
ardous driving with at least eight people being killed by taxis in 1916
likely to be used as a cut through by empty cabs.
alone. Less seriously, Ernest Hewlett sought damages against the
Some places, such as the Criterion Theatre, experimented as
Great Central Railway Company after he crashed into an unlit post
outside Marylebone Station. He was eventually awarded £50 dam-
Call Sign’s Marc Turner investigates the latest news
ages but the railway company took the case to the House of Lords
from Camden and asks...
where they found in the company’s favour.
Camden Council and
Fuel shortage
Petrol rationing was imposed for the first time during the war in 1916.
Tavistock Place - The End?
Taxi drivers were originally limited to 11/2 gallons per day, but this was
later raised to two gallons when it was found the drivers could not pos-
Thursday evening 14th July I attended Mary Ward
House - perfectly situated in Tavistock Place,
sibly earn a living on such rations. They had wanted 3 gallons per day
Bloomsbury for an exhibition of proposed revisions to
per man but this was never forthcoming. It was found, however, that if
the disastrous implementation of experimental traffic
paraffin was mixed with the petrol after the engine had been started,
changes to the area by Camden Council last year.
then the equivalent of three gallons could be achieved.
There was a respectable turnout of concerned
Getting the mileage out of the petrol mix was another problem.
cabbies, far outnumbering the local residents. But on chatting to
The British Motor Cab Co had promised its drivers they would get
those locals I was surprised to hear their lives have been blighted
20mpg, but the men found the actual consumption was closer to
even more than ours over the ill-judged 'traffic tinkering' that
18mpg. Over 1000 drivers walked out on strike, which was short-
even Camden Council concedes isn't' working! It emphasised to
lived as the company soon backed down and agreed to supply the
me that Camden local residents and London’s Taxi drivers are
men with the equivalent of 20 miles a gallon but with no added
singing off the same hymn sheet!
cost to pay for the extra petrol.
When John McBlain was flagged down by an Army captain and told
that he would be needed to drive to several army bases, McBlain replied
that he did not have sufficient petrol. The problem was solved by the
captain siphoning off petrol from his own car, which had broken down,
and pouring it into the petrol tank of the taxi. At the end of the job,
McBlain said his fare was 9s 10d, but the captain refused to pay this as
McBlain had refused to return any of the petrol - only about a quarter
of what had been added was used. The magistrate agreed with the cap-
tain and McBlain was only paid 5s 8d of his fare, the cost of the uncon-
Cab drivers look at Camden's new options
sumed petrol making the difference. McBlain was not allowed any costs
They exhibited three revised plans, but only one was preferred by the
either so the petrol proved to be quite expensive in the end.
taxi fraternity. It wasn't perfect, but certainly an improvement on what we
A major alert was sparked when a spokesman at a meeting in
and our customers are currently suffering.
Southwark told those assembled he believed his taxi driver that morn-
We all filled in a questionnaire with the welcome option of choosing for
ing was an enemy alien! Scotland Yard stated that all such people who
the failed experiment to be totally scrapped and for the area to be returned
had held licences had had them revoked. Given that a driver could over-
to the areas original layout!
hear conversations or gain access to areas where the public were usually
The exhibition was organised by Imperial London Hotels prior to Camden
denied, there was an all-out effort to locate the enemy alien. But they
Council’s Consultation document, which is expected to be in September.
found him - he was Scottish!!!
Marc Turner (R97)
Sean Farrell
Call Sign Online
Call Sign Online
Call Sign August 2016
Page 14
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
Despite the dismal performance of the
inally for the Merchant Navy. The Scottish
10 years here, the last ever game played on the
England football team this summer at Euro
firm, founded in Aberdeen in 1849, now only
Isle of Dogs was the 3-1 defeat of Portsmouth
2016, our passion for the game will be reignit-
has a moderate existence in Lowestoft. Back
on 8th October 1910.
ed once again just a week after this latest issue
then James Thomas Morten set up an enter-
Morten’s old factory was demolished in the
of Call Sign drops on your doormat! On the
prise that would eventually supply food to the
1980s when the London Docklands
ranks and shelters, bragging rights will once
Polar Expeditions led by Shackleton and
Development Corporation began the gentri-
again be claimed, while here in London we’ll
Scott and was one of the principal suppliers
fication process of E14, and the modern high-
have an ‘unlucky’ 13 teams - 14 if you include
of canned food to the armed forces during
rise yuppie pleasure dome Cascades was built
that other favourite ‘local’ club, Manchester
World War One.
on the old site.
Morten hired cheap labour from Dundee
Later on in the season I’ll explain why the
There were, of course, plenty of near misses
to work at his plant and it was those guys
club decided to relocate and develop a cabbage
and the usual disappointments in 2015/16 with
who liked to kick a football around during
patch on the other side of the river and also
only AFC Wimbledon picking up any silver-
their tea break that gave birth to Millwall
where their Lions nickname came from. I’ll
ware. But during the 2016/17 season, I shall
Rovers and their first HQ, The Islander, a
also counter an urban myth - probably next
feature most of our London clubs and their
pub in Tooke Street that was eventually a
May when the Lions have secured promotion
heritage, flagging up their previous and first
victim of The Blitz in 1940.
back to the Championship!
grounds, many having long since been victim
These Scotsmen liked to play in blue and
But next month it’s over to west London
to the wrecking ball.
white colours of course and once formed,
to explore the heritage of a club that Dial-a-
Fulham may have been the very first in
began playing local sides before becoming a
Cab Chairman, Brian Rice, will hope fea-
1879, as many pub quiz-goers will confirm,
member of the Southern League. They would
tures in the shakeup of this season’s
with Charlton Athletic the most recently
entertain islanders at four different grounds
Championship and gives him something in
founded (1905). But my first trip down
before making the move to south-east London
return for the cost of his family’s season
memory lane finds me at E14 in the year
25 years later. The Islander was ideal for
tickets - Queens Park Rangers!
1885. Every cab driver and Knowledge boy
makeshift dressing rooms in those early days
I hope your team has good fortune in the
will be able to take you to Zampa Road
when the Iona - the team’s initial nickname
coming months! Keep reading - they may fea-
SE16 or Cold Blow Lane SE14, but Millwall
after a distinctive Scottish name - played their
ture here!
Bob Woodford
Football Club had four previous grounds
first season on waste ground in Glengall Road
on the Isle of Dogs before moving to New
(off Tiller Road) in a neighbourhood once
Call Sign Online
Cross in 1910.
coined Tooke Town. Glengall Road no longer
The Millwall area was named after seven
exists due to wartime bombing and redevelop-
windmills that once stood on the western side
ment, so it is difficult trying to pinpoint its
of the Island on a bank of earth which kept the
exact whereabouts.
Thames from flooding the farmland at high
Bigger space was found and a new pitch laid
tide. You can still find evidence of that raised
out behind the Lord Nelson pub on East
bank if you explore the river end of thorough-
Ferry Road between 1886 and 1890, but the
fares like Cuba Street and Hutchings Street
landlady eventually requested the club move
just off the West Ferry Road. The last remain-
on - the pub still exists, although the area
ing of those windmills (that ground corn) was
where the pitch would have been is now hous-
the Wheatsheaf Mill, which gave the
ing. The team were then nicknamed The
McDougall brothers from Dumfries the ability
Dockers after the occupation of most of their
to self-raise flour - hence McDougall’s self-
fans. They reclaimed land a little further north
raising flour. However, the grain workers
when the Mudchute area was cleared of its
became known as toe-rags because they had to
spoil from the engineering overspill of
cover their boots with sacking!
Millwall Dock.
But it was Scotsmen from Dundee in one
This third home was known as The Athletic
of the new late 19th century factories that
Ground between 1890 and 1901, but the smell
would start up Millwall Football Club in
of reclaimed mud was apparently nauseous
1885. It was at the junction of Cuba Street and
and once caused England international Fred
West Ferry Road that existed JT Morten’s
Pelly of Corinthian Casuals to remark: “I
canning factory which supplied foodstuff orig-
don’t mind having a tumble on any football
Your old TX1 Taxi is wanted
ground, but when I fell to the ground at
Millwall, I couldn’t rid the smell for weeks!”
Quick viewing and decision
The club were forced to move on again by
the Millwall Dock Company, who wanted to
Cash waiting!
use the land for a timber yard - the ASDA
Superstore today covers the former home of
Top price paid for really clean
the Southern League’s first ever FA Cup semi-
finalists back in 1900. But by far the Club’s
most successful home on the Island between
1901 and 1910 was where Millwall Park is
Please ring Graham on
today - and a stroll around the perimeter of the
07435 562759
public park will reveal trace of the old terraces
that once housed over 20,000 for an FA Cup tie
or e-mail on
A pavement tile on the east side of
with Aston Villa. Originally an open field with
West Ferry Rd north of the junction
cattle, this was the last remaining patch of land
with Cuba Street
for a sports field on the Island and after nearly
Call Sign August 2016
Page 15
For those that don’t know Dial-
a-Cab driver Alec Wilkey (W83),
he doesn’t just drive a taxi but
in a life far away from this job,
Alec is also a much respected
trainer in professional boxing
with several of his Team Wilkey
having picked up championship
belts including the GBU
Women’s World Lightweight
Champion, Areti Mastrodouka.
Now yet another of Alec’s stable, Danny
‘Cassius’ Connor, has won a Championship
belt when at Tolworth on Saturday 16 July he
defeated tough opponent, Daniel Bazo, by a
convincing 98 - 93. Danny had been boxing to
order, but the fight then turned very physical
with no quarter given and that resulted in both
boxers being warned over a clash of heads
when Bazo received a cut in the 6th round.
But Danny won through and picked up the
Challenge Belt. Being a local lad, the sell-out
crowd cheered Danny through the roof and
created an amazing atmosphere.
Alec told Call Sign: “It was a great night
Alec (left) with Danny Connor and belt, with Alec's right hand man Johnny Sparks
with Danny following orders exactly and
deservedly coming away with the gold!”
Alec, who trains Danny at the Lansbury
Danny's management team, MGM Marbella,
Jamie Corum
Boxing Gym in Chrisp Street, went on to
and hopefully push him on for bigger titles
Call Sign Online
tell Call Sign that they will sit down with
next season.
TfL’s message to Utility companies: Don’t mismanage streetworks... or else!
TfL prosecutes second utility company in 7 days!
Transport for London, having successfully prosecuted BT for not completing roadworks on time, have
now done the same thing to Vodafone! They say this is part of their commitment to ensure roadworks are
completed on time. This was the 100th prosecution of a utility company since 2010 and the second one in
seven days. Vodafone’s offence, which followed completion of work in Tooting Bec in January, was for fail-
ing to serve a required statutory Streetworks notice. They also failed to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice issued by
TfL after the stop notice was not served. The previous week, BT was ordered to pay more than £8,000 for
dangerous and disruptive roadworks.
Vodafone pleaded guilty to the offence at Westminster Magistrates Court, was fined £1,250 and
ordered to pay £1,386.50 in prosecution costs. Although Vodafone didn’t attend the hearing, they
apologised in a letter for their “failings” and pleaded guilty. Passing sentence, the Judge said:
“Vodafone has clearly recognised the issue in this case but I am aware TfL prosecuted the company
Boris did nothing for 8 years!
only last year for offences similar in nature to the one in issue today. I take note of the early plea but
nonetheless the fine must reflect Vodafone’s overall conduct in this matter.”
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s COO for Surface Transport, said: “This is the second time in 18 months Vodafone has been prosecuted for
failing to provide required Streetworks notices. We are committed to keeping London’s roads as clear as possible preventing
unnecessary traffic build up, which disrupts people’s daily commute and worsens air quality. We will continue to push for the
toughest penalties possible for utility companies caught acting unlawfully and are pleased that Vodafone themselves have recog-
nised the need to improve.”
The fines are chickenfeed and yes, we still have so many problems with traffic. But it doesn’t do any harm for TfL to take these liberty-tak-
ing companies to court, because even if the fine is almost nothing to them, the publicity won’t do them much good! But our acknowledge-
ment of the fact doesn’t mean we are happy.
In the February 2008 Call Sign, then Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson agreed to answer questions from Dial-a-Cab drivers. One came
from Bill Kibble (K86). He asked Boris:
“There are road works and congestion all over town, especially with the renewal of water mains. These could be completed in
a third of the time if work was carried out at night as well as during the day. In many places such as the Strand, there are few
residents to disturb and in any case, surely people would prefer to get work completed quicker, rather than have heavy traffic
outside their houses for months on end. Is it something you would look at if elected?”
Boris responded with this: “We have to sort out what happens with roadworks. How many times have we all driven past a giant
hole in the road left unattended? They do roadworks at night in other major cities and I will certainly look at it, yes.”
So the question is this; Boris was asked that question well over eight years ago. Since then he became Mayor, served two terms - and did
absolutely nothing when it came to sorting out Bill’s question - other than look at it! And as he was in charge of TfL, they cannot be allowed
to think it has all been forgotten... because it hasn’t! But we’re hopeful that Sadiq Khan as Mayor will do a far better job than Boris ever did.
If the prosecutions work and cause the utilities to get their fingers out, then that’s a start.
Many of us remember the hole in the Strand that was there for so long, even Westminster Council couldn’t tell us who and
why it had been started by because by the time we asked, it had been filled in and emptied again by the gas company, the elec-
tricity company and the whoever had the water contract there - and all had returned more than once! The result saw the hole
remain there for almost two years! We don’t want a return to those bad old days! Perhaps these prosecutions are the answer to
that problem at least...
Call Sign August 2016
Page 16
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
LTFUC 2016 Southend Outing
n their 88th year, Wednesday 13th July saw the fiftieth annu-
at 10am were a number of children’s entertainers including regulars
al London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children’s
Jolly Jack, the Honey Monster and Furry Tail Folk in addition to
trip to Southend, where 300 very excited children in over
jugglers and magicians. Suddenly a big cheer went up as the first cab
100 taxis set out to have the day of their lives! The weather was
in the convoy left Chingford and everyone else followed for their day
fair and dry and stayed that way until a few drops of rain late
at the seaside.
into the afternoon.
The huge convoy arrived at Southend just after midday and drove
The day began at around 6am for the Committee and drivers -
along the sea front to be greeted by hundreds of waving onlookers,
including a number from Dial-a-Cab - that had to decorate their cabs
many who had left the beach area to come and watch the amazing
at Sainsbury’s (Low Hall), who kindly lent their car park once again.
Before too long, the excited children began arriving via various forms
Arriving at Cliffs Pavilion, the children were met by yet more chil-
of transport.
dren’s entertainers and the LTFUC have asked Call Sign to thank
On hand to keep the children occupied as they piled into their taxis them all for giving up their time making the children’s wide grins even
wider! The kids gulped down their lunch so as to get their taxi rides
down to Adventure Island for a fun filled afternoon, for which the
Fund thanks the management and staff for their help and assistance.
There were vouchers for ice creams, donuts, candyfloss and
drinks to help keep those grins wide - albeit rather ice-cream
covered grins!
At 4.30, the tired and weary drivers and children returned to the
Cliffs Pavilion for tea and a Dave Davies disco, but woke up as the
music hit! Those too tired to boogie elected to sit and have their faces
painted - even some of the drivers!
But all good things must come to an end and at 6pm a conga lead
the children out of the room! It was an amazing outing and the smiles
on the children’s faces all day long were lovely to see.
Of course, without the drivers there would be no outings at all, so
well done to all of them as well as the anonymous donor who covered
the costs of the driver’s diesel and all the sponsors. Here’s to outing
number 51...!
No prizes for guessing why they are smiling!
Ready to go!
Arriving at Southend - led by DaC’s Colin Greaves (M91)
Sim, Malcolm and Mike together with some friends!
Call Sign August 2016
Page 17
Another true story from Geoff Levene...
ight now in a favela (the Editor says
strange northern folk! I had been there once
I’m not allowed to say shanty town or
before. It was 29th April 1970; Leeds 1
slum) in Rio or Sao Paulo, someone
Chelsea 2. But enough of that...
called Joao or similar is polishing up a
I don’t know how I found my way around.
battered old Mercedes. He’s making sure all the
Did I buy a local A-Z? At one stage, a drunk
lights are working and that there is some ‘meat’
climbed in. He wouldn't believe I wasn't a local
on the tyres. He applies tape to the several knife
driver so I had to take him home. But I did it
slashes in the seats and paints over the many
At a place called Newton Le Willows, a cop-
scratches and gouges in the bodywork. Finally
per directed me to the motorway and I was on
he tests the ‘Taxi’ sign on the roof and steps
my way home. It makes you wonder how they
back to admire his handiwork!
managed years ago. How did the early flyers
He is satisfied and ready for the bonanza that
find their way around with no radios and basic
is coming. With all the money he is going to
maps? The first commercial flights to Paris start-
make, he'll be able to get Maria that new sewing
ed after the Great War. They were operated by
machine and also repair the corrugated tin roof.
Handley Page Aircraft and took off opposite
The 2016 Rio Olympics are getting closer! Well,
its factory in Claremont Road, Cricklewood. A
I wish him luck. I expect we all do because if it’s
pilot explained the route...
anything like our London 2012 Olympics, he's going to be sadly disap-
“We flew down to the Edgware Road, followed the number 16 bus
route down to Marble Arch and across country to the Channel.”
My only connections to that great 2012 Festival of Sport were
They were simpler days.
firstly when two elderly Americans with Olympic accreditation
But even with sophisticated equipment, things can still go
went from a hotel in Southwark to... another hotel in Southwark,
wrong. Like the empty Jumbo Jet en route to Heathrow whose
whilst on the very last morning I took a party to the Basketball
pilot landed at Northolt. As if that wasn't bad enough, the plane
Finals at Earls Court. And that was it. I never got to the Olympic
was too heavy to take off on the shorter runway so they had to strip
Park. Subsequently I went once to Stratford International and once
out all the seats etc to get it off the ground! Then they painted a
to Westfield.
notice on a nearby gasholder:
But a month or so ago, a chap stopped me and wanted the Press
Centre at the Olympic Park. At last! So off we went. Just to make sure, I
phoned my friend Max.
“Turn left at the Bow roundabout,” he said, “and then turn right fur-
Geoff Levene (W32)
ther up.”
Call Sign Online
“Can I go over the flyover and turn left,” I asked in reply. He said I
could but the roundabout slip road was solid with traffic, so I went
over the flyover, turned left for Westfield and looked for signs. And
looked. And drove. And looked. And nothing...!
I knew it was there behind a fence, but I just couldn’t find a
way in. Perhaps I didn't look far enough but I was getting a bit
hot and I think the passenger was wondering what was going on,
although he was very patient. Anyway, eventually I found myself
back on Stratford High Street, found the Station and stuck him in
a local cab. And I went home completely fed up. Olympic can keep it - always assuming that you can find it, that
Of course that wasn’t the first time I’ve been lost. It's not even the
first time in that general area. In my early days, it was at Euston when
in climbed three chaps and a racing greyhound. They wanted Clapton
Racetrack...or was it Hackney? Either way, I took them to the wrong
one, I think I went to Hackney and it was derelict. I now had to find
my way to the right place. It became what I called a map in the lap job.
Eventually the dog started barking.
“We must be getting close,” said one of the guys, “he can smell
the other dogs!” I resisted the urge to suggest he should walk
ahead with our four-legged friend so I could follow, but we got
there in the end.
Ever since then the words Hackney Wick or E9 or over the Marshes
get me into a cold sweat! But let’s face it; despite our famous reputa-
tion we can't know everywhere.
When I got my Badge, my brother asked me if there was an area that
I wasn’t sure about. I replied that Fulham seemed a bit complicated
with lots of little streets. And I have to admit that although I am a life-
long Chelsea fan, I still feel the same. When I get to the area bordered
by Lillie, North End, Fulham and Munster Roads, I often don't know
whether I'm facing north, south, east or wherever. Thank heaven for
the mapping facility on the Dial-a-Cab terminal.
About a thousand years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth
and I was fairly young and even more foolish than now, I did a
delivery job to Manchester one afternoon. Four packages, four
places to find and two hundred miles from home amongst
Call Sign August 2016
Page 18
An explosion at Maplin’s or is it...
It may look like an explosion in a branch of Maplin’s, but this
mess of wires was expertly put in and taken out again of the Dial-
a-Cab taxi belonging to Jim Rainbird (T25) during a film job.
Jim is often involved in filming for cinema and TV and was
recently working on a feature film that because of a non-disclo-
sure agreement, he is unable to say which one it was. The actual
filming only took around two hours, but the rigging took over
five! There were four cameras and three microphones installed
into Jim’s taxi by a rigging crew of six guys in the car park at
Brewer Street.
He then picked up the stars of the film and was closely followed
by their protection team in a second vehicle, with a third vehicle
fitted with remote video screens and carrying the director and
crew on board.
Jim told Call Sign: “I think the guys at Roman Way would
have a fit if they had to install this much gear! Thankfully, it
only took the film crew an hour to de-rig and put everything
back exactly as it had been before. Then it was back to real-
ity and booking into W1SE!”
Wires galore for Jim's filming job
London Taxi Company and Brexit...
he London Taxi
to three years. By then we will know exactly what the reg-
Company and owners
ulatory framework is and the customs and duties frame-
Geely have announced
work. We can then make a decision.”
plans to ramp up pro-
duction by the end of the
decade and to sell taxis and
vans to other major European
cities after also adding that
Britain’s decision to leave the
Forster: No
European Union would not
decision until
affect its current investment
at least 2017
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
Chairman Carl-Peter Forster said
dedicated to DAC members only
that the LTC aimed to produce around 10,000 taxis and
light commercial vehicles a year by around 2020, up
from 1,171 in 2015.
5% Discount for members
He added: “We are currently presenting the taxi to
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
major European cities. We've been to Oslo, Amsterdam,
Public Liability
Paris, Barcelona and Berlin recently and based on this
Breakdown Cover
same platform, we will offer our light commercial vehicle
Much more available
with a horizon between 2019 and 2021.”
Now in its new site, LTC said last March that they
Call below for quotations
would invest £250 million in the new site and in October,
they said it would add another £50 million pounds to the
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
Although Mr Forster also said future investments
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
Company Registration No: 4319231
would depend on the new relationship Britain forges
with the EU, he said that decisions would not need to be
Tel: 01322 553313
made until at least 2018.
“We don't have to make a decision over the next two
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign August 2016
Page 19
From Garry White
they will be hurting now along with their fami-
one was aware would happen until turning on
lies and country men and women. I know that,
their terminals and seeing a message telling
like me, you will all be thinking and praying for
them to book-off and then re-sign in on to VAD.
the French people in these very sad times.
DaC’s IT department decided that the time was
right for the pilot scheme. It was only for a day,
PH regulations
but in that short time I became used to the new
New private hire regulations have come into
functions and found them easy to work with
effect and it’s strange how PH drivers and oper-
and I’m now looking forward to it going live
ators do not like working within regulations
for real.
and have now written to Licensed Private
Hire Association Chairman Steve Wright ask-
The gold standard
Hello Ladies & Gents
ing him to contact TFL/PH to suspend the reg-
Trying to think about something positive to
Nice and Bastille Day
ulations because they are finding them too
write about our trade with all the turmoil going
I'm writing this article on the morning after the
hard to comply with!
on at the moment is challenging. However, you
terrorist attack in Nice, France, on Bastille
As we all know, if the PH trade have to meet
the drivers are what has given us our Gold
Day. This was truly shocking to watch on TV
all insurance and correct booking require-
Standard tag over the years and when talking
news coverage or listening on the radio as it
ments, it hits their business model and makes
to Knowledge boys and girls, the examiners at
was happening with customers getting in and
them far more unattractive to the occasional
Transport for London are still making sure that
out of the taxi, while trying to explain to them
worker who doesn't know his Marble Arch
before they receive their Bills, they are fully
in my own words what was happening without
from his Elephant and Castle!
equipped for challenges of what this job
causing too much alarm.
The French taxi drivers have supported us in
VAD test
The advice I would give to new taxi drivers,
our problems with disruptive technology and VAD was piloted last month - something no
if asked, is to respect what you have learned,
dress appropriately for work and join a union
or trade organisation, because these are the
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose life is
people that work on our behalf with TFL/PH.
captured as a blog. The continuing story of his time as a butterboy is…
Plying for hire
Defining ‘plying for hire’ is something that we
need to get recognised in law; disruptive tech-
nology companies have blurred this by the way
A Blogger’s Tale
they operate, with TfL unwilling or being pre-
vented from stopping E-hailing, something
which is rightfully ours by completing the KoL
The recession of the early nineties was biblical; the trade went
at great personal expense to ourselves.
from boom to bust almost overnight. At the time of writing, the
Hope you all have a great summer...
Bank of England interest rate is set at 0.5%. On the 16th
September 1992, the BoE interest rate was raised from 10 percent
Garry White
to 12 percent and later that same day, it was raised yet again to
15 percent! Some licensed taxi drivers were already up to their
DaC Board Member
eyes in debt when it struck and many lost cabs or homes, with
some losing both.
Shady punters in the dark!
Immaculate White
It was in that economic climate that I felt I had to take some drastic measures; so I decided to
work nights instead of days. I'll never forget the first dark shift I worked. I set out with an air of
Cab Available for
optimism, after all, how bad could it be?
It was two men that flagged me down in Hackney Road, I decided to pull past everyone to
establish just how much they’d had to drink and so I ground to a halt around two car lengths
passed them. One of them slowly shuffled up to the nearside window and said: “Back up,
don't turn around and angle that rear mirror up.”
I felt the urge to accelerate away, but needs must and those needs were the money! As I
pulled level with them, a third one appeared and he didn’t look well at all. A voice just told me
to go to A and E and to make it fast! With that, they helped him into the taxi and he slumped
onto the back seat. Meanwhile, ‘Mr Charisma’ blocked my view and scowled at me every time I
looked over my shoulder to check for traffic. I had a habit of leaving the radio on, but switched
it off on this occasion as I was desperate to find out what was going on. They were mumbling
and muttering to each other and even shouted at me to hurry up.
Eventually we got to the hospital and I got the same careful advice as before, but with the addi-
tional advice about grassing people up and watching my back etc. They almost lifted him out of
the cab and shuffled off towards A and E. I turned around to check the back of the cab and could-
n’t miss the pool of blood across the back seat that had begun dripping onto the floor. I glanced
back at them… they had forgotten to pay me!
Recession or not, there was no dilemma in my mind about chasing them for the fare, I just
drove away as fast as I could and went to see Doug Sherry to get the cab cleaned up. The job
had cost me money, but I learnt a good lesson. Trust your initial instincts… they are usually
Female driver
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
To be continued…
Contact Debbie (W18) on
Simon Scott (O40)
Call Sign Online
07956 317040
Call Sign August 2016
Page 20
ony Cabral is not a cab driver, yet
Call Sign’s Marc Turner meets a non-cab driver who cares passionately
he goes well beyond the call of
about this trade...
duty as regards standing up for
the London Taxi trade.
Tony hails from Madeira, coming to
London as a young man and hoping for a
new start. He entered the catering industry
where his affinity with 'London’s finest' blos-
Tony doesn't just
somed. He worked in and eventually man-
serve the cab
aged the Piccolo eatery in Hertford Street
trade, he cares
W1. He grafted many a long hour and always
about it as well...
appreciated the bonhomie and banter of his
cabbie customers.
collections for trade
After fifteen years, Tony came to the con-
charities for nigh on
clusion that as a grafter, he'd be better off
24 years. He told me
working for himself rather than tirelessly for
that he is proud to
others. So nine years ago Tony took on a new
have met/befriended
challenge, becoming proprietor of the Astral
and been a service to
Café in Regency Place SW1. But where Tony
so many cab drivers
differs from others that serve our trade is that
over the years.
he is passionate enough to down his apron
So if you find your-
and pick up a placard to join trade demos, as
self in the locality of
we legitimately protest against the unjust
the Astral Cafe, look
inside, you'll be greet-
treatment we have received from TfL and
ed warmly...
The Astral Café in
Tony has attended UCG demos, while of
assaults in the last year, including 32 rapes
late Dads Defending Daughters has also
that involved Uber drivers (Are we missing
Regency Place is open from 6am to
10:30pm, Monday to Saturday
been a cause close to his heart. Tony is the
something - July Call Sign).
father of two daughters and was horrified to
Seventy percent of Tony’s custom comes
Marc Turner
learn of a recent Daily Mirror Freedom of
from cab drivers; he has shared our trade’s
Call Sign Online
Information revelation of
154 PH sexual trials and tribulations as well as organising
A spin-off of Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group, UK Tech firm Oxbotica launches...
Driverless vehicles software!
We talk about it, but it always appeared to
Rolls-Royce revealed its vision for
be so futuristic that it probably wouldn’t really
the next generation of luxury vehi-
affect us as taxi drivers - that was until late
cles with the Vision Next 100. This
July when Oxford-based technology company
RR is stylish but also futuristic.
Oxbotica launched its new Selenium mobile
However, the two-seater was miss-
autonomy software solution with a purpose
ing something - a steering wheel or
built concept vehicle at the Culham Science
in fact, any controls whatsoever! It
Centre. In English, that spells out driverless
actually lacks any obvious control
mechanism for a manual control,
Selenium can work in pedestrianised environ-
but obviously anticipates a driverless
ments, as well as roads and motorways and is
car-filled future. And if RR is experi-
not reliant on GPS to operate it - meaning it
menting, then it’s gonna happen.
can easily transition between indoor and out-
The only question is when...
door settings, over ground or underground.
The system has been developed to be vehicle
agnostic - meaning it can be applied to cars,
Michael Toomey A Google driverless car being tested. Now RR are following
self-driving pods (eg for campuses and air-
Call Sign Online suit while Oxbotica has developed a software program
ports) and warehouse truck fleets.
The software was developed by
Oxbotica’s team of leading UK scientists,
mathematicians and engineers and is able
to provide any vehicle it is applied to with
an awareness of where it is, what sur-
rounds it and, with that knowledge in
hand, how it should move to complete a
The system uses patented algorithms that
give vehicles a next generation level of intelli-
gence to autonomously perform a range of
mobility tasks, including motion control, brak-
ing, calibration, navigation, static and dynamic
obstacle detection. Selenium is set to be
deployed at a series of autonomy trials.
Will the system be able to work in a taxi
one day? It may not be today, but tomor-
row’s today is yesterday...
Google are still testing, but at around the
same time as the Oxbotica announcement,
Call Sign August 2016
Page 21
“Yes, I was deeply disappointed,
but my wife was even more so,”
Bob Lashmar (B21J) sighed to
I nearly lost them all!
Call Sign’s reporter.
done in the digital age, whereas in the old
“My wife and I had taken two major inter-
days of film it was far less common to ‘lose’
national holidays in recent years to cele-
pictures unless the back of the camera was
brate firstly, our 45th wedding anniversary
accidently opened and then an entire roll of
by way of a cruise around the Baltics visiting
film would be lost due to unexpected expo-
many countries in the area, and then the fol-
sure! Sometimes you just can’t win!
lowing year another ‘trip of a lifetime’ to
Alan Green said: “In the age of digital
mark our joint birthdays with a cruise
cameras and other electronic devices, it
around the Med, including Spain and
pays to take many images so that if one or
two are accidently deleted, there is a good
But Bob and his wife went on the two hol-
chance the bulk of the images will remain. It
idays, so what could have gone wrong? A
is also good practice to take several memory
rather sheepish look appeared on the Dial-
cards with you on major expeditions such as
holidays or significant events like weddings
and family gatherings, so that if a memory
card does fail for whatever reason, you can
swap it quickly and continue to shoot
images. Also, always use a memory card of
slightly larger capacity than you think you
might need, because you will almost cer-
tainly end up taking many more images
Bob's disaster with digital photography
than you thought you would! Oh yes, and
always take spare batteries of the correct
type for your camera / device to avoid failure
As we prepare for electric
a-Cab driver’s face when he explained...
that could stop you taking any images at all!
“Well, I guess I wasn’t really concentrating
taxis, this is the launch of
“Most digital devices offer the opportuni-
fully on what I was doing, but somehow I
solar-powered vehicles!
pressed the wrong button on my digital
ty to delete one image at a time rather than
several images in one go, giving the user a
camera and accidentally deleted very many
chance to stop and think before actually
unrepeatable images from our journeys!
pressing the ‘delete’ button, so you do get
Although I did take a small number of pic-
the ‘are you sure?’ moment to check before
tures on my phone - so there was at least
committing your images to dust.”
something to remind us of our global
Alan Green ended by saying that users
adventures - it wasn’t really much consola-
should always read the manual and added
tion,” Bob said!
that he very rarely deletes images ‘in cam-
So with the peak holiday month of August
era’ and preferred to check them all on his
rapidly approaching, editor Alan Fisher
PC first before deciding which images to dis-
turned to resident Call Sign snapper Alan
card. Then he burns the remaining images
Green for some pointers and even he con-
onto a CD...
fided that it had happened to him on one
occasion! However, he’d saved the day by
How will a top-hatted gent get in!!!
some quick thinking and taking many ‘safety
Alan Green
shots’! But he admitted that it was easily
Call Sign Online
t the Hanergy Chinese base
in Beijing, they are currently
working on a car that
harnesses power purely from the sun.
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
These solar powered vehicles do not
need a plug-in recharging point but
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
can operate with just 6 hours of
variable bank interest rates?
sunlight, which will get the car up to
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
80 kilometres a day.
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
On July 2, Hanergy revealed four
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
purely solar-powered vehicles where
at your address also qualifies for membership!
the thin-film GaAs double-junction
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
solar cells on the cars’ surfaces convert
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
PV power to electricity.
up to 3 times your total savings…
Will they supply the taxi market?
Well the vehicle seems somewhat low
The cost?
to cover the rule about gentlemen
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
wearing top hats fitting in; and much
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
as we hate to say it... six hours
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
sunshine in a month might even be
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
pushing it!!!
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Michael Toomey
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
Call Sign Online
Registration number 213263
Call Sign August 2016
Page 22
Bike lanes are literally killing us!
Call Sign, along with most of the taxi trade, has long claimed that
ing staff in City companies to cycle, walk or run to work!
London’s bike Superhighways were undoubtedly the worst idea to have
Everything except to dismantle cycling superhighways and accept that
come from TfL under the auspices of former Mayor, Boris Johnson. We,
London is a major capital city that needs motor vehicles to get around.
on the other hand, are still suffering with the bike lanes as we watch more
And while we all ‘hum and ha... people are dying.
and more passengers get out and walk.
Now our belief has been turned into fact with recent
data provided via sensors from the King's College-led
London Air Quality Network at 30 sites around London,
showing that the worst clouds of toxic particles, which
have been linked to the early deaths of thousands of Lon-
doners, are found in the Square Mile.
How often have you been stuck in Farringdon Street
struggling to get to Blackfriars Bridge looking around you at
a main road that has been destroyed
so as to give a huge amount of the
road to cyclists? Well, the sensors
showed that one stretch of
Farringdon Street had higher levels
of fine particulates (PM2.5) than
even the northern approach to
Blackwall Tunnel - and anyone
living southeast will tell you what
that’s like every morning. But the
part of
roadway between
Smithfield and Fleet Street has
been deemed the worst in London,
except that it isn’t just mornings, it’s
pretty much at any time!
PM2.5s, which are found in diesel
fumes, easily inhaled and absorbed
by the human body - have been linked to lung cancer and car-
diovascular and respiratory diseases. An estimated 9,500
Londoners are killed each year by long-term exposure to fine
particulates and nitrogen dioxide.
Dial-a-Cab Chairman, Brian Rice, told Call Sign: “I often
go that way when going back to Waterloo in the evening
and the traffic hold-ups - both north and southbound -
caused by bike lanes are absolutely appalling. The worst
part is that they are man-made and show no thought
whatsoever for motorists. Sitting in the jams daily, it
doesn’t surprise me about the levels of poor air quality.
Of course, you could try Waterloo Bridge as many try to
do - except that the number of buses using Aldwych
Lower Thames Street at lunchtime towards Tower Hill with its usual
makes that one of London’s worst bottle-necks in the
hold-up, while the cycle lane is almost empty with just a single bike
City! The report’s findings do not surprise me in the
and a jogger in view!
slightest and even now I just cannot understand why a
inset. Farringdon Street VHT for yet another bike lane
section of road users that pay nothing are
given so much priority over motorists who
pay a small fortune in fuel and taxes.”
The report, which went to the City of London
Can you afford not to get a copy!!!
Corporation's audit and risk committee, said:
“The City experiences some of the highest
Produced by Dial-a-Cabs PCN expert, John Vigus,
levels of air pollution in the country. The
this book is all you need to know about moving
main source is diesel vehicles, particularly
buses, taxis and vans with a contribution
traffic and parking regulations in one easy to
from boilers, other combustion plants and
read guide!
also construction activity.”
Although the report added that not all the
City’s pollution actually originates within its
The Motorists Guide to Moving
boundaries, we have no doubt whatsoever that
the extra pollution is there because of traffic
Traffic And Parking Regulations
caused by the cycle superhighways - witness
eastbound along Lower and Upper Thames
Hard copies £8. Electronic versions to
Street right up until midnight and sometimes
Dial-a-Cab drivers are £5 per copy. Orders
even later - yet the City Corporation blame
via Driver Services with payment deducted
everyone and everything else except the bike
lanes claiming that they are battling pollution
from your DaC account.
by banning idling engines, introducing a
20mph zone, creating a City Air app and agree-
ing with Addison Lee to go 'electric only' in key
Can you really afford not to get a copy!!!
areas in the Square Mile - not to mention ask-
Call Sign August 2016
Page 23
Sign of the times!
We live in an era of ‘signs’ where what used to be serious
messages are now written with an amusing slant attached.
Call Sign’s photographer, Alan Green (E52), has been out and
about with his Brownie and picked out a few of his
favourites from the streets of London town...
Sent them all to Colonel Sanders?
The truth sometimes hurts!
Just what is the world coming to!
Island Ranks
Two new Island ranks have been appointed for a
trial period of 6 months. Junction Road
(Archway station) is from 19:00 to 02:00 for
Green badge and Yellow badge (Haringey) dri-
vers and Clapham High Street is from 19:00
to 07:00 for Green badge and Yellow Badge
(Clapham extension area) drivers.
Call Sign August 2016
Editor: Alan Fisher
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
Printers: Premier Print Group, E6 6 LP
Design: Aldan Publications
Tel: 07958 300 428
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or Board.
No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
either manually or electronically without the
express permission of the Editor.
Only their umbrellas and phones...!!!
Call Sign August 2016
Page 24
Mark Rayner took part in the UCI Tour of Cambridgeshire and in
doing so qualified for the World Amateur Cycling Championship -
not bad for a 58 year old taxi driver!
The medal that signified Mark has
qualified for the World Championships
ark Rayner (V57) has
been on Dial-a-Cab for
20 years and
Mark on the Tour of Cambridgeshire ride
appeared in Call Sign sev-
Cambridge ride that his finishing time of
for the day and do it against some of the
eral times over the years for his
3 hours 56 seconds for the
85 mile
world’s best cyclists.
cycling exploits
- mainly involving
course meant that he has qualified for
Mark trains regularly on his bike
charity rides. This June, Mark entered
around the Wickford area and occasional-
the Union Cycliste Internationale
Championships in his age group!
ly pops down to the Surrey Downs either
Tour of Cambridge bike ride after
The UCI Tour of Cambridgeshire is dif-
to train or compete. But the World
being asked to help complete a team
ferent to any other mass participation
Championships are another matter alto-
to raise sponsorship money for a can-
UK event because it caters for anyone -
cer charity.
whether they are Olympic standard rac-
“I very much doubt that I’ll be there
Mark was happy to help and even at 58
ers or just the guy next door who wants
this year,” Mark told Call Sign. “The
feels fit and always ready to cycle. But in
to test himself on the Cambridgeshire
problem is that it’s being held in
fact, so well did he do on the UCI
countryside where the roads are closed
Australia and that’s one hell of a journey.
But if I can qualify for next years’ World
Championships, then I’ll certainly give
that one a go as France is somewhat
more accessible!”
376 Strand, WC2
We Invite Dial-a-Cab drivers and their guests to our
restaurant where you can partake of the finest food and wine
And as a thank-you for helping our clients come
and go over the years, we are happy to be able to
offer you a genuine 25% discount on your bill
We are certain that you will be delighted
Please bring along your badge or Bill as ID
Salieri Restaurant
376 Strand, WC2
Reservations: 020 7836 1318
Call Sign August 2016
Page 25
ith the peak holiday periods of
August and September fast
approaching, there comes a
Defused taxis!
timely reminder to Call Sign
from our Roman Way techie team to hopefully
save you grief on your return to these shores,
when re-starting your cab after a week or two
on the Costa Lotta... or wherever.
“Naturally, with their human batteries
recharged, drivers are keen to get back to work
and possibly without much thought simply
jump into the cab, switch on the ignition and
hit the starter motor,” Depot manager Dana
Thananjeyan said. “But if the cab battery is
weak, perhaps a year or two old, or an electri-
cal device has been accidently left on, the bat-
tery will be drained and have insufficient
power to kick the starter motor sufficiently
quickly to bring the engine into life.
“Diesel engines take a lot of power to
turn over, especially when cold or left for
a long period of time and anything else
electrical is denied power while the
starter motor demands everything a bat-
TX fuse (in cab) and the Vito fuse (on carpet) should be disconnected before a
tery can offer to the detriment of every-
jump start
thing else” Dana added.
fuse from its holder before leaving the cab
issues and with the passage of time drivers do
“So a ‘jump start’ from a third party is usu-
idle for any length of time in order to prevent
not recall just how long a battery has been in
ally the only option and that’s when we hear
damage to the Dial-a-Cab equipment, while
service. So we also suggest gently scratching
that the cabs’ MDT is not working,” he said
also making life easier for the driver.
the date of fitting onto the battery casing as a
with a sort of half smile.
“On the TX models, we fit the in-line
reminder of how long a battery has been in
“The chances are that the main ‘in-line’
fuse close to the battery in the engine bay,
service. Of course, always keep the battery
fuse that we fit to protect the delicate data
while on the MB Vito the fuse is located
terminals and connections clean to prolong
system electronics has blown due to the
close to the MDT on the side panel of the
service life,” Dana said as he returned back to
power surge of the third party battery and
central console for easy access,” Dana
his real job of being in charge at Roman Way..
drivers then pay us a visit to sort out the
problem,” he continued.
Alan Green
“Drivers regularly attend here with power
“So my advice is to physically remove the
Call Sign Online
St Fiacre of Breuil
Patron Saint of Taxi Drivers
at Breuil where his sanctity was soon attested by the numerous
This month (August 18th) sees the 1346th
cures wrought at his tomb. His shrine there is still a resort for pil-
anniversary of the death of the Patron
grims with bodily ailments.
Saint of Taxi Drivers, St Fiacre of Breuil.
The French cab derives its name from him and he has since been
Born in Ireland at the end of the sixth
known as the Patron Saint of Taxi Drivers (and gardeners). His feast is
century, he died in August 670. Ordained
kept on the 30th of August.
as a priest, he retired to a hermitage on
Thanks to The Catholic Encyclopaedia for the info...
the banks of the Nore in what is now
County Kilkenny. Disciples flocked to
him believing he could achieve miracles,
but his only wish was for the solitude to
pray and in 628 he went to Meaux in
France where St Faro held episcopal
sway. Faro gave him a site at Brogillum
(Breuil) surrounded by forests. Here
Fiacre built an oratory in honour of the
Virgin Mary, a hospice in which he
received strangers and a cell in which he
himself lived apart. He lived a life of
prayer, fast, vigil and the manual labour
of his garden.
Disciples gathered around him and
soon formed a monastery where his fame
for miracles was widespread. He was said
to have cured all manner of diseases by
laying on his hands; blindness, polypus
and fevers are mentioned and especially
tumours or fistulas.
His remains were interred in the church
Call Sign August 2016
Page 26
DaC driver
v Satnav!
into my cab at Cannon Street asking for
into Shaftesbury Avenue, lining me up
Burlington Gardens in W1 while holding his
with Wardour Street, Noel Street and
mobile phone in my direction, I suspected
through Great Marlborough Street. I
he’d been checking the destination location
turned left onto Regent Street, right into
and sure enough he then said ‘this WAZE app
Conduit Street, left into Savile Row for
says 32 minutes via Embankment!’
Burlington Gardens and there we were!”
“So that’s when I decided to do my own
Tony grinned proudly as he told us what
Tony beat the passenger's satnav!
thing and began planning the route in my
we assumed he would - they had cut the
mind pretty quickly and almost as a chal-
Satnav’s prediction by around 8 minutes!
“There used to be a Knowledge
lenge, I told the passenger that I could get
“The passenger was delighted and I simply
School that used the motto: East
him there quicker!”
smiled, thinking that while technology does
to West, Embankment’s best.
With the passenger nodding in agreement,
have its place - and yes it can be useful - there
off they went.
is no substitute for experience and for me, it
But, of course that was before
“I knew the traffic would be bad going
was all in a days’ work!” With that, Tony drove
the former Mayor’s cycle super-
his way, so I suggested using Ludgate Hill
away to look for his next challenge as a
highways,” Tony Fairey (C44)
into Old Bailey, along High Holborn, Saint
licensed London taxi driver...
told Call Sign.
Giles High Street, left into New Compton
Dennis Latchett
“So when an American business man got
Street sliding down Saint Giles Passage
Call Sign Online
Minicab clocking putting passengers at risk...
New research and investigations from automotive experts HPI and consumer group Licensed Transport (LTU) has
revealed that private hire, minicab and chauffeur customers are at risk due to an epidemic of clocking, with hundreds of millions of
miles being removed from odometers across the UK every year.
HPI and LTU have teamed up to warn of the dangers that clocked private hire, minicab and chauffeur-driven vehicles pose to the public who may
be unwittingly putting themselves at serious risk every time they use one. The illegal practice of clocking revealed by an LTU investigation, takes
place when drivers look to cut corners by saving on maintenance costs and deliberately defraud second-hand car buyers, when the vehicle is sold
on. HPI, the UK’s leading authority on vehicle checking services, estimates that used car buyers have a one in 20 chance of purchasing a vehicle with
a mileage discrepancy, with the practice costing motorists £800 million every year according to OFT figures. An LTU investigation found hundreds of
PH, minicab and chauffeur-driven vehicles in the north west of England operating with clocked mileage. Post private hire usage, some vehicles went
to dealers and were offered for sale at inflated prices.
The investigation found that one driver removed 114,000 miles from his Toyota. A Mercedes-Benz with 180,000 miles off the clock
was on sale for £20,250 when it was really only worth £11,150 with its true mileage reading. In the worst case found as part of the
investigation, a staggering 460,000 miles had been removed from the odometer of one private hire vehicle.
Chris Hargreaves, of LTU, says: “Clocking within the private hire, minicab and chauffeur industry has reached epidemic proportions and some-
thing needs to be done to prevent this unscrupulous practice before a real tragedy happens. The 330 clocked cars we found had about 80 million
miles removed, but that was just in the north west of England. UK-wide it’s safe to say that hundreds of millions of miles must have been wiped out
thanks to clocking. It’s truly shocking to discover that reputable leasing companies are giving out lease agreements to the industry based on as little
as 10,000 miles per year - 27.3 miles per day!”
HPI and LTU believe that as pounds and pence increasingly take precedence over public safety a major clampdown is urgently required.
Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at Cap HPI, said: “Our valuation data conclusively shows the potential cost to dealers and motorists of
the clocking problem. With clockers able to add thousands of pounds onto the value of a car, unsuspecting buyers stand to lose out, as do dealers.
That’s why we advise retailers and consumers alike to conduct a vehicle history check to spot a mileage discrepancy before they buy. It can be almost
impossible to tell a clocked vehicle just by looking at it, which makes a vehicle history check an even more vital form of protection for buyers.
“A clocked vehicle could be hiding serious levels of wear and tear, especially if it has been previously used as a high mileage pri-
vate hire vehicle for a couple of years, meaning the additional cost of unexpected repairs or even a potentially serious safety threat
to driver, passengers and other road users. An HPI Check can help protect consumers from buying a vehicle with something to hide,
saving them cash and keeping them safe.”
The HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 200 million mileage readings. HPI also
confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been written off, making it the
best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit.
Barry Shorto added: “Not only should dealers make conducting mileage investigations an integral part of their business process, to protect their
reputation and their customers they need actively to promote the fact to their customers that these checks have been done. Our data confirms that
consumers are seeking peace of mind against clocking, yet some dealers are choosing to overlook this. Proof of a mileage check should be a key
part of a dealer’s sales strategy, promoting the quality of their stock, as well as highlighting the dangers of clocking for their customers.”
As part of its investigations, HPI found that whilst almost one in three (29%) of used car buyers are believed by dealers still to be unaware of the
risks of clocking, more than one in five customers now ask dealers, directly, for proof that they have validated a vehicle’s mileage. However, despite
growing consumer awareness of the dangers of clocking, only ten per cent of dealers surveyed said they actively declare that they have conducted a
mileage check on a vehicle, vitally weakening their sales proposition.
Over 52 percent of dealers said that consumers who enter their showrooms do know about clocking, but the level of concern varies significantly
while 92 per cent of dealers consider clocking a ‘terrible’ blight on the industry and a major risk to its reputation.
Call Sign August 2016
Page 27
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…
Hadley Wood Golf
Looking back at my golf course reviews over the
past year in Call Sign, I realised that most were
from south of the river so I will redress the balance
this month with the wonderful Hadley Wood GC.
Dr Mackenzie, the course designer of Augusta
and Cypress Point etc, created a very good and
enjoyable test of golfing skills. All Mackenzie
courses are rather good and Hadley Wood cer-
tainly doesn't disappoint. We played it on their
Twilight deal - which is exceptional value and
extremely well worth doing.
The course itself is immaculately kept, with
bunkering just recently having been refurbished
to the original design. The course is not overly
Hadley Wood GC
long and has some very large greens, which may
make you think scoring will be easy; but believe
me when I say it isn’t! The greens are exceedingly
16th. Elevated tee shot across a valley to falling
finer way to spend an evening in the height of
fast and undulating. Ten feet below the hole is far
right to left fairway, leaving a precise shot in, with
summer and for an exceptional price...
better than ten feet above it!
a touch of draw to a green guarded by bunkers
Happy golfing
The signature hole is probably the par 3 10th.
front left and back right! It is a clever and interest-
Simon Wallis (M11)
It is 185 yards across water and very picturesque;
ing hole that tests your shot-making abilities.
Call Sign Online
but my favourite hole has to be the short par 4
Play it on the Twilight deal, I can't think of a
not a cartoon!
In Jery Craig, Call Sign has the best
cartoonist in the trade and page 6
wouldn’t be the same without
him. But real life can occasionally
be just as funny as a cartoon and
here are three examples of real life
cartoons that only cab drivers
would understand...!
Taxi driver to passenger: “Upper and Lower
Thames Street are always solid with traffic…
which is why we used Eastcheap instead...!!!”
The last time anyone gave me Wild Beans
to eat, they made me far too much!”
Keith Reading
Professional Toastmaster
Master of Ceremonies
Tele: 01279 465 938
Mobile: 07774 860 374
Minicab 1 to minicab 2: “It must be your fault because my
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
satnav told me to go straight on!
Minicab 2 to minicab 1: “No, it must be your fault. My satnav
Fellow of the Guild of
told me to pull out!”
Policemen to both: “Er, I think you’re supposed to watch the
Professional Toastmasters
road and not your satnavs!”
Call Sign August 2016
Page 28
“Yes, it’s been a long time coming back to the
start,” Charles Levy (R61) told Call Sign’s
youngish reporter.
“I first applied to join when the ODRTS
offices were in Pentonville Road, but was
Full Circle!
turned down because I hadn’t yet actually
started on the Knowledge of London so
couldn’t drive a cab! I was very keen to
become a part of the brotherhood; my
cousin, Charlie Rubin - who died in 2009 -
was already a driver on the circuit in those
days. He would later become the Control
Room Manager at Shirland Road and he told
me to stick at it and encouraged me all along
the way until I did finally did get my All
London ‘Green Badge. I immediately joined
Lords as it became known because of the
local telephone exchange prefix.”
Charles, remembering everything, contin-
ued his story: “I worked nights and trained
Charles Levy has come full circle
Charles cousin Charlie Rubin
up on radio procedure with the night dis-
passenger £46 to go from Liverpool Street
patcher Johnny Thwaites. He was quite a
‘come back’ to old friends,” Charles
station to Swindon in Wiltshire. But it turned
character, I can tell you! In those far-off times,
enthused, clearly recalling the camaraderie
out to be Swinton in North Yorkshire and the
the fare meter would change to a higher tariff
that is the hall-mark of ODRTS / Dial-a-Cab
punter steadfastly refused to pay more than the
between midnight and 6am, so on the stroke
of today.
quoted figure! Those were the days when we
of 12 o’clock Johnny would call out: ‘Tally-Ho
“Over the years I’ve been to many places, as
used voice radio, so somewhere along the way
gents, Tally-Ho!’ That was his midnight call
you would expect after a lifetime of working a
the passengers destination must have been
and drivers would know they were on over-
taxi on the streets. However, there are two par-
misheard. Nowadays, with digital signals and
time and to put the ‘extras’ on the clock.
ticular journeys that stand out in my mind. On
trip details on the terminal screen, it minimises
“I’m coming up to 50 years in this trade
one occasion I went to Cardiff. Having set the
mistakes and makes life much easier.
and during that time I’ve done every aspect
passenger down at some early hour of the
“So here I am, having come full circle.
of the job from driving to radio dispatcher,
morning and being very tired, I thought it too
When I started out all those years ago I sat
Knowledge Instructor and anything else that
dangerous for me to continue home directly,
and listened to voices dispatching trip
has been thrown at me. I even worked a cab
so I stopped at a car park on the A4 and offered
offers, and now, here I am re-training in the
in Southend for a year, but had an uneasy
the attendant 10 shillings (50p) to wake me up
digital age! To put it mildly, changes within
experience when a passenger pulled a knife
after four hours sleep. Refreshed, I continued
our taxi industry have been momentous
on me and so I have every reason to be very
on to home. I take life a little easier nowadays,”
during those intervening years...!”
grateful for that bullet-proof division
Charles told us with a wide grin.
between the passengers and myself as fitted
“The other journey turned out a little more
Jamie Corum
to the London taxi. But after many years with
complicated due to the fact that the dispatcher
another radio taxi company, I feel I have
on my previous radio circuit had quoted the
Call Sign Online
A personal message to the Editor of Call Sign
What do you mean by even me?
Dear Mr Fisher
It has been brought to my attention that in a recent edition Call
Sign, something you laughingly refer to as a magazine, you
stated that: “Anyone would make a better Mayor than Boris -
even Bonzo the gorilla...”
Well thanks a lot! It is really very hurtful that you find the idea of a
gorilla being Mayor of London so amusing. Contrary to what you
seem to think, my colleagues and I are capable of far more than just
swinging through trees, eating fruit and leaves. And to be honest,
I'm fed up with that diet anyway. If you lot - who claim to be our
cousins - can eat steak and chips, why can't I? And if David
Attenborough turns up just once more, I swear I’ll do time! Anyway,
back to Boris...
Have I ever been seen with my hair all over the place? No. Would
I walk around with my shirt hanging out of my trousers? Never. Ride
a bike without wearing a helmet? Of course not.
Yes, I will admit that I have fathered children by different moth-
ers, even without a bike to get around at the moment, but then so
has the blonde-haired one. And now that he’s in charge of Foreign
Affairs you can probably expect a few more. And I've got another
gripe; when people complain about Uber the cab trade tends to say
that if you pay peanuts then you get monkeys. Since when has that
been a bad thing? Mr Fisher, I demand you apologise for your
remarks and promise not to repeat them. Otherwise I will cancel my
account and you will be hearing from my lawyers - Ape Mann & Co.
Yours sincerely
Bonzo (trained by Geoff Levene W32)
PS As distinct from BoJo
Call Sign August 2016
Page 29
Gas cabs come to DaC...
Jaweid Iqbal called the converted cab
The converted LPG cab returns to DaC House after another test run
Richard Gough is the lucky person who
road tests it regularly
uly 20 was one of the hottest day of
the year with temperatures up at
around 33C (almost 92F), but that was
Ian Macdonald (C64) thought it was excellent
the day Call Sign had organised its
Open Day for drivers to come to DaC House
and ask questions to the four experts we had
on hand about the possibility of converting
their older cabs to Liquefied Petroleum Gas
(LPG) and to take a test drive on a converted
With work beginning to pick up, there was
always the possibility that drivers would just go
to work instead to try and claw back some of
the money they had missed over the quiet
times. But not a bit of it with an estimated 120
drivers coming along between 11 and 4pm.
Some just came to take a look at the three LPG
cabs lined up with their bonnets and boots
open, others just wanted to ask questions
while a large number took up the offer of test
driving the gas cab and Richard Gough, the
Drivers could wander round to all 3
fuel saving. It also gives a life span of 20 years
proprietor of Rent a Taxi in Epson and the
LPG cabs, ask questions and go on a
rather than the current 15. It will give drivers
person currently road testing the cab, took out
test drive
with older cabs a completely new experience
three drivers at a time to keep queues short!
of driving taxis...”
Jaweid Iqbal’s (D65) comments were typi-
With Roger Kensit (W31) there to represent
would expect because some LPG vehicles do
cal throughout the day. He told Call Sign: “It
the DaC Credit Union and give any interested
tend to be overly fierce, but this seems well
was brilliant and I’d love to drive one perma-
drivers an idea of how much repayments
matched so far as torque goes. It just has a love-
nently! I drive a TX1 and bearing in mind that
would be if drivers used DACCU to pay for the
ly feel to it and accelerates as though it was a
this conversion was only a TX2, the difference
conversion (a four year deal to borrow the
petrol engine. It think it’s considerably better
between the two is astronomical. This one is so
£9,800 would cost around £65 a week - con-
than my cab!”
quiet, sounding similar to a car. I just hope this
siderable cheaper than renting), the day was
Richard Gough told Call Sign: “I run a taxi
passes before my TX1 passes into history...”
more than useful and helped some drivers
garage in Epsom and have been road testing
Board Member, Joe Brazil, also took a turn
realise that there might still be life in their cabs
this TX2 LPG cab for some time and I’m hoping
and was similar to Jaweid in his praise saying
after 15 years...
to be able to market them once passed by TfL.
that it was more akin to a car engine and felt
I’m used to driving TX4s and this converted
similar to the TX4 but quieter.
TX2 is just so much better. It’s light to drive
Alan Fisher
“It wasn’t as fierce at pulling away as you
and extremely economical with around a 20%
Call Sign Online
Call Sign August 2016
Page 30
Either write to Call Sign at
Dial-a-Cab House
or email us at
Credit cards
arrested, escaped from a Winnipeg jail
Is Mayor Khan better
Hi Alan
with the connivance of his lawyer and a jail
So it’s
10 weeks since the credit card
than Boris?
guard, was eventually re-arrested and ulti-
charge of £8.40 per week was added and I
Hi Alan
mately hanged. The driver knew
have done a few quick sums on my credit
Sadiq Khan has been in charge of London
Krafchenko and there was suspicion of his
card takings. In those 10 weeks I have
for several months now. Do you know if he
involvement, but he was never charged.
taken £630.70 and in those 10 weeks I have
has mentioned taxis in any positive way yet as
In other news, I tracked down the owner
been charged £84 - or just about 13.5%.
against just doing a Boris; ie calling us won-
of an FX3 in Stonewall, Manitoba but
Verifone currently charge 3.95% per trans-
derful and then doing absolutely nothing to
haven't yet been in touch with her. She
action, which would have come to
help us other than to stab us in the back,
apparently owns a gift store in Stonewall
£24.90. So it has cost me £60.90, or £6 per
killing the trade with his cycling
but doesn't seem to have an email
week, to have the credit card facility - which
address so I have written a note to her via
still does not always get a signal. I have lost
Alex Constantinou (N05)
some friends who live there. I also found
2 fares totalling £12.80 because of that, but
I asked the Mayor’s office and this is what
an ad for a second FX3 (judging by the
which I did not add to my figures. A com-
Sadiq Khan told us: “Black cabs are such
license plate) that was offered for sale in
ment would be appreciated...
an essential part of London’s transport
1978 at about the same time as the
Simon Johnson (A32)
network and the wider economy, their
Stonewall lady bought her FX3. Hopefully
Allan Evans replies: I have read your let-
special status needs to be formally recog-
she knows something about that one too.
ter Simon, but I still believe that after
nised and secured in policy. This is why
Best wishes to all at Dial-a-Cab
October we will see a larger increase in
my new Transport Strategy, which is cur-
Norman Beattie
card transactions, so I would therefore
rently being developed, will include an
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
assume that your card trips and tak-
explicit commitment to protecting and
Norman is Call Sign’s man-in-Canada
ings will follow suit. TfL did factor in
maintaining the taxi trade, which will
when it comes to the history of taxis
the extra 20p on every flag fall in the
help address the concerns raised by your
recent fare increase and although you
compared your costs to Verifone (charg-
In return, I believe we need to go out of
ing 3.95%), it is interesting to note that
Goodbye with
our way in order to stay in his good books
we are now seeing a reasonably high
number of these fares in excess of £100
every day, trips to and from Heathrow
Dear Alan
as an example, which would incur quite
I can top Patsy McCarthy’s membership
Taxis and bank robbers!
a lot more than the
£1 presently
Hi Alan
by almost five years (July Mailshot) but my
charged. So in the scheme of things, the
eyes and body - not to mention roadworks
Just read the July Call Sign Online and I
present charges that the Board agreed
particularly enjoyed the article on PISS (Doc
- have forced me to call it a day! But I leave
on compare pretty favourably to the
with some great memories!
Martin episodes have been broadcast here
others out there in the market place.
on North Dakota PBS and I bought my wife
Who remembers our account with the
BBC going to Brentford, Ealing,
five series of it as a birthday present). PISS is
my new favourite taxi company name, even
Denham, Hayes, Alexandra Palace and
Selling DaC
the TV Centre. And then there were our
better than Spittle Taxi (which is fictitious
Hi Alan
accounts with Mr Millichipe (who lived in
So the majority of members have decided
Hampstead Garden Suburb), Robin Day,
I always enjoy Sean Farrell's Brethren of
to call it a day and dissolve Dial-a-Cab. As a
Paul Ross and Terry Thomas. Many other
the Whip articles. The latest one on taxicab
31 year veteran, I do feel sad but I think the
bandits adds more evidence of the impact of
stars of TV, cinema and sport hailed my taxi
writing has been on the wall for some time.
the automobile on crime with respect to both
off the street; stars such as Shirley Bassey,
All I will say is that I think we need to ini-
the victimisation of drivers and the use of
Ed Sullivan, Sidney Poitier, Colin
tialise this process with the upmost expedi-
taxis for criminal purposes. As far as I can
Cowdrey and of course George Best who
ency, not only to cash in on the property
determine, crime in horse cab days involved
was always going to or from his Chelsea
prices in Silicon Valley, but also of the
mainly luggage robberies and the transport
home in Oakley Street.
uncertainty over Brexit. I would respectful-
of stolen goods. Drivers were rarely
Then there were some great stalwarts of
ly urge our Board to proceed with all due
attacked. Kellow Chesney's Victorian
his Society such as Jack Taylor, Dennis
Underworld has a few cab anecdotes in it;
Samuels, Manny Conway and Dave
Alan Sullivan (F20)
also see Cab Hold-up Affair on the
Kupler. And who remembers Ray Roberts
Hi Alan; the voting also suggested the site. The use of cabs in
and Peter Fennymore. They would all
possibility of merging, so your use of
bank robberies has become a standard tac-
have been saddened to read that in reply to
the word ‘dissolve’ could be somewhat
tic. I googled ‘bank robbery’ and ‘taxi’ and
Patsy McCarthy’s letter, Board member
premature. But it isn’t just by accident
got 261,000 hits! In practically all cases, the
Garry White wrote that he could have
that DaC is worth such a lot of money,
driver is an innocent victim and frequently
gone to another circuit to make it worth-
so I think we should trust those who got
unaware as well. We had an early case in
while. Garry, ODRTS, Lords and Dial-a-
such a good price for selling Brunswick
Manitoba in 1913. A bank robber named
Cab has been our whole working lives;
House, which then allowed us to pay
Krafchenko hired a ‘livery car’ to take him to
nothing else mattered. Perhaps that is
cash for DaC House and which in itself
and from a robbery in Plum Coulee,
something you may not yet understand.
is now worth around £18million. See
Brian Rice’s column on page 4 for an
MB. The unfortunate bank manager chased
Finally, may I wish the Board, drivers and
update ...Ed
after Krafchenko and was shot dead in the
staff the best of luck for the future...
street. Krafchenko was hunted down and
Gerry Webber (Ex-E11)
Call Sign August 2016
Page 31
Thanks for the letter Gerry and I’m sure
some apps are preinstalled and some that
everyone connected to DaC including
you don't need. These are called bloatware.
Call Sign wishes you a very long and
Well, to my horror on the Homepage of this
happy retirement. After 50 years (Gerry
new Smartphone was the Uber app staring at
began at Pentonville Road in 1962), you
me. Thinking about it, Google own the
have undoubtedly earned it! But I think
Android system, they also own Uber. So they
you have misunderstood Garry’s reply
have decided to preinstall that app on their
to Patsy. He didn’t say he should have
mobile phones. From a business point of
gone elsewhere, what he said was that
view, it’s a smart move; but for the licensed
taxi trade and the radio circuits, it’s another
his 50 years was a great achievement
nail in the coffin.
Hi Alan
and that it must have been worthwhile
I'm a forty five year member of DaC and
I never miss an issue of Call Sign Online
or he would have gone elsewhere.
have never known things to be so bad as they
but of late I have been rather shocked at
That’s not really the same thing.
are at the moment. The apps have won the
talk of Dial-a-Cab selling the business, with
My personal thanks for all the inter-
war. We are just a tourist attraction...
the proceeds - which sound substantial -
esting letters you have sent to the mag-
Pat Keefe (G01)
being shared among the drivers. The share-
azine, Gerry, and the best of luck for the
The problem was always about finance.
out is fine because those that have stayed
future ...Ed
Of all the radio circuits, DaC have been by
with DaC through good and bad times
far the best managed over the past two
deserve to take something out of the busi-
Another nail in the
decades and even now, with things not
ness, but things seem to have taken a turn
going well, we still have several £million
in that direction very quickly. What went
in the bank. But even when we had any-
wrong, because after all these years ODRTS
I’ve just come back from a week away with
thing up to approaching £10million, for
and our days at Pentonville Road are still in
my cousin and her husband. While away
the licensed taxi trade it was a fortune
my blood. Shalom...
they bought a new Samsung J3
but out there in the world of Google,
Jack Solomon (Ex-B96)
Smartphone; no big deal there, I hear you
Virgin and co, even £80million is a drop
Eilat, Israel
say. As this was the first Smartphone they
Hi Jack, I think the answer can be put
in the ocean and we were always going to
had used and knowing I'm a Samsung user,
be up against it one day. But hey Pat,
into one word - competition. The com-
they asked me to set it up for them with
petition is everywhere; then you have
they’ve thrown everything at us and
ringtones, contacts - all the usual stuff you
we’re still here. And tourist attractions?
Uber whose drivers are knocking them-
would expect.
Yes, but only because we’re the best and
selves out for a pittance! But hey Jack,
Now onto the Apps; you may know that that is something to be proud of ...Ed
we’re still here! And Shalom to you ...Ed
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 Flashback goes back to 1989 and something the trade had never seen before...
From Call Sign, July 1989…
A matter of DaC mechanics!
Dial-a-Cab driver Alan Fisher (F07) made a phone call to Redbridge Technical College at the tail end of 1988 regarding their advertised mechanics
course. He asked whether there were any for licensed taxi drivers as there were many of them in the surrounding Redbridge area. The answer was no,
but that he should try Barking Tech
So Alan arranged a meeting with the head of Barking Tech and asked why they couldn’t run a taxi driver mechanics course? The answer was that
no one had ever asked before! So Alan asked and was told that if he could get 10 drivers interested, then the college would find a teacher and set up
a course! Alan had the message put out on the radio and 20 drivers put their names down for what was to be called the Dial-a-Cab Mechanics
Course. The term would culminate with a City and Guilds diploma for successful candidates under the stewardship of teacher Mike Martin.
However, word about the course got out and a delegation from Computer Cab approached Alan asking if they too could go onto the course. So
he dropped the DaC prefix and the course became known as the taxi driver’s mechanics course. With news of the added drivers reaching the rest of
the taxi trade, it began running with four classes each week at Barking Tech.
At the recent 1988 DaC AGM, Alan met up again with Mary Leaming (C44)
who was not only the first woman to go on the course, but was also the first per-
son to pass it and gain a City and Guilds 3830 and the Valeting 4001 exam
accreditation. Mary told Call Sign:
“I remember thinking that Alan’s idea was brilliant and put my name down as
soon as I heard about it. I had always tinkered with our car, so I wasn’t totally green
as to what the various parts did, but I found the theory part of the taxi course to be
much easier than the practical side. When actually working on the cab, there always
seemed to be something in the way of whichever part you were trying to get to!
But I must say I enjoyed doing it and was so grateful that someone had thought of
the idea. And yes, I was proud of gaining my City and Guilds diploma.”
And does Mary still do all her own mechanics?
“No, I take it to the garage!”
Mary Leaming was first to get a City and Guilds
And Alan? Well as the founder member, he was also the first to give it up. Why?
accreditation on the mechanics course
“I didn’t like getting oil on my hands!”
The only real downside we heard was that they made a lousy cup of tea!!!
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