December 2016
< Go Back
See pages 4, 13, 14 and 25 and make
up your own mind about TfL...
PLUS… Brian Rice throws nepotistic charge at the
Institute of Economic Affairs! (See page 29)
Call Sign December 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
‘What’s On’ again; if anyone wants something different drop me a note to I can only state the burst time if
venues state their start and duration, if no duration I can only show the start times. Can I also wish you all a Merry Christmas...
What’s On: December 2016
This table only contains 106 events of the 360 I found. I encourage you to download the full listing in larger print complete with
the day of the week as well as date. It’s at
Call Sign December 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
UCG demo
Job distribution
In times past, the United Cabbies Group
At a recent meeting with Chairman Brian Rice, he
seemed to want nothing more than attack Dial-a-
told me of a letter someone had written to him
Cab while using pseudonyms. Nowadays they
that mentioned me. It wasn’t one of the more flat-
have matured as a respectable trade organisation
tering letters I had ever heard about myself - but
under the leadership of Len Martin and recently
let’s face it, not everyone in the world loves little
organised a demonstration that was attended by
old me. How can that be, you ask...yes, it’s a puz-
several hundred taxis going round and round
zle, but each to their own!
Whitehall, bringing the immediate area to a
The driver’s inference - I wasn’t told his
standstill. The reason for the demo was one Call
name - was the old chestnut that I would say
Sign has great sympathy with - TfL’s poor man-
black was white with green spots if that’s what
agement in regard to congestion and the danger
the Board said. I don’t intend trying to con-
to health that causes.
vince him otherwise, because I still have to
decided to push a different option - this was
Call Sign is also having problems with TfL; we
write an Editorial and he can either believe it
option two, which was to complain about taxi
have said that if they really insist on credit card
or not. Apparently he still reads it otherwise
or private hire drivers! Yes, dear Call Sign
PEDs being placed in the passenger compart-
he wouldn’t know what it actually said!
reader, you’re ahead of me now, aren’t you!
ment, then they should be on cables as our cur-
His beef was in regard to last month’s Editorial
There was the usual message about calls being
rent ones are so that in the case of any problem,
where I spoke of the new VAD system of job dis-
recorded and then literally within ten seconds
they can then be passed through to the driver
tribution and said I liked it. The driver - for some
someone picked the phone up! So now we know
rather than he/she having to enter the passenger
reason I’m assuming was male - claimed that he
why we have to wait so long - TfL obviously expect
compartment. But they don’t yet seem to under-
didn’t, neither did anyone else other than me and
to get complaints about us and are putting all their
stand that either.
I only did because I was scared to say otherwise!
call takers on that line. Taxi drivers can wait!
But back to the UCG demo; it was well organ-
Well I’m not and I do like it, I like the fact that I get
ised, held in a friendly atmosphere and gave their
trip offers where I don’t expect them because
The Screaming Donalds???
General Secretary, Len Martin, the opportunity to
under the V6 system, like many others I would
Going back to the early 1960s, I met David Sutch
hand-deliver a letter to Prime Minister Theresa
probably have been booked into a nearby zone
several times - albeit quite briefly - at the youth
May, a letter we have published inside this issue.
where I thought there might be a better chance of
club I attended. Knowing that he was coming, I’d
It was well written and covers all relevant topics.
a trip. But what I didn’t do - and it sounds as
rather nerdishly wait by the door and offer to help
But my question is this; I have been on many
though this unidentified driver did - was to do
carry his coffin (!!!) into the hall where we had our
demos over the years - I couldn’t guess at how
what I was actually joking about in last month’s
Sunday dances! He was a really friendly guy who
many - but I can only ever remember one that
piece. I wrote:
appeared at our “socials” every few months and
caused enough of a rumpus to get something
“I know that a small number aren’t happy with
who would always sell the place out.
done. It was many years ago and an LTDA idea
VAD because it doesn’t allow them to book into
Then at 7.30, the lights would go out, his coffin
that caused every newspaper to put the story on
EC5 from Woodford... but hey, nothing is perfect!”
would illuminate at the front of the hall just by the
as a headline.
VAD is ultra-smart. Try booking into one of the
stage, booming music that your mother wouldn’t
We all awoke early, hovered on the south side of
sub-ranks when you’re not in it. The system will
like came out of the two speakers - and the coffin
Westminster Bridge and as soon as the London
send you a polite message telling you that you
lid would suddenly open! Then out would come
County Council’s offices at County Hall opened,
aren’t there and cannot book in! So yes, some dri-
the man we’d all gone to watch and hear. David
taxis piled in and filled the car park. When LCC
vers who used to chance their arm to a much
Sutch went into the coffin, but it was Screaming
members arrived and couldn’t park their cars, there
greater degree than just booking in one or two
Lord Sutch that came out!
was absolute uproar! They weren’t used to walking!
zones from their actual position may be well
As the years went by, Screaming Lord Sutch left
I’m telling the story not because the UCG
down in trip numbers. The problem was that dri-
the world of singing and in 1964 started his own
demo wasn’t any good, it was. It’s just that I
vers who were actually in town working often lost
pirate radio station with Radio Sutch and broad-
believe that TfL, alongside the Government are
out to those who might have just been starting
casted from an old fort at Shivering Sands on the
happy to put up with a few hours inconvenience
and already booked into their favourite zone from
Thames Estuary using car batteries to try to get a
and then put it away until the next time. We really
way out.
signal. Within months, he sold it on for £5000 and
need another way of putting our point across
Look, we’ve all at some time or other
it became Radio City, whose office in Clifford
forcibly because I don’t think demos work any
booked in earlier than we should have
Street, Mayfair went on to open an account with
longer. I admit that isn’t going to be easy but it
because whilst in reality it’s true that drivers
ODRTS. Unfortunately, the partnership that started
has to be done somehow.
could legally just wait in a zone, the chances
providing taxis in December 1966 lasted only until
So called “flash” demos that are organised
are that most were on their way to the zone
8th February 1967 when a court found Dorothy
online do have an immediate effect, but again
from elsewhere.
Calvert - whose husband Reg had been shot and
very soon become tomorrow’s chip paper
If you did that regularly, then you will now be
killed on the station just 10 months earlier - guilty
because they are ignored by everyone within
down in trip numbers. You could be down even if
of broadcasting without a licence. That night at
hours of the demo. We need a few clever people
you used to work 100% straight down the middle.
midnight, Radio City closed down and by the time
to get together and dream up a way that will catch
But looking at things logically, someone must be
the ODRTS admin department asked for their
the attention of the Mayor - one where he will
doing the work because driver numbers on DaC,
money at the end of the month, the company had
have to listen. And yes, we do have some very
whilst increasing of late, haven’t gone through the
already moved on and became our first real debtor!
clever people in this trade.
roof and the job numbers are fairly stable. So the
But I’m getting waylaid! Screaming Lord Sutch
question has to be just who is doing the work?
later decided to move into the world of politics
Complaining about complaints!
Well, what is undoubtedly happening is that the
and having previously stood at the by-election to
I recently needed to phone LTPH at the number
system has become ultra-fair and trips are being
replace disgraced MP John Profumo under the
given with their Palestra address on TfL sta-
spread around and whilst still true that the longer
banner of the National Teenage Party, Sutch
tionery. Of the four options given, none applied to
you have been in a zone the better the chance of a
soon decided to form his own political party - so
me so I pressed number one for Taxi and PH
trip offer, that no longer includes just being
in 1983 was born the Monster Raving Loony
licensing and then just hung on... and on and on
booked in - but actually being there and not hav-
party! When David Sutch died in June 1999, the
while a voice kept repeating that I was in a queue
ing just left home!
BBC described him as Britain’s longest serving
and because there was a “high demand,” I might
For the record, the unidentified driver had
party leader!
have to wait.
apparently rejected almost one third of trips
So going back to the beginning of this piece,
Suddenly a voice came on the other end
offered and I’m a big boy and can answer for
it seems that following the recent US elec-
that sounded different. I was about to talk
myself had he written to me direct...
tions, had Screaming Lord Sutch been born in
when the voice just spoke over me saying that
the USA, he would probably have ended up as
I would be answered within ten minutes! I just
President rather than the Monty Pythonesk
Alan Fisher
hung up in frustration and called back several
way his party is looked on as. After all, The
hours later with exactly the same result! So I
Donald did it...
Call Sign December 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
What with the de-merger and a host of other
situations, we really didn’t need this last
No doubt you are all wondering how the situa-
episode regarding the PED software.
tion regarding the building is progressing, espe-
Regarding PEDs, I admit reluctantly sur-
cially as I wrote in the last issue of Call Sign that
rendering to TfL and it is not an episode I
you would be receiving more correspondence
will ever forget. They have completely
from me, but as yet you have not received it.
neglected the security of taxi drivers.
There are not any problems, but unfortunately
I visited a workshop with templates
we cannot move faster than the organisations
Roman Way had made, in an attempt to
with whom we’re dealing with will allow - name-
have brackets made for the PEDs; the
ly Companies House and HMRC. However, it
brackets will be attached to the grab han-
will all be resolved in the near future.
dles on the back seat so will not necessitate
In the meantime, I’ve been pressing on
with the sale of Dial-a-Cab House as hope-
any drilling of the vehicle. The brackets
fully, when your business has been de-
Anyway, the rest is history as they are now out
have been passed by TfL. I have been argu-
merged, the issue regarding the building
of business; however, as they only paid the
ing with them since March of this year
will be ready to go. I have already
minicab and taxi companies on a monthly basis,
regarding the siting of the PEDs, especially
instructed an Agent, but unfortunately
I just hope they did not owe the taxi companies
as I had written permission from TfL dating
there is more to it than just that. You also
any money for the month prior to them going
back to March 2011 giving me permission
need an Architects Feasibility Study, a
out of business. I have spoken to both Addison
to install our PEDs in the front of the taxi.
website has to be produced together with
Lee and ComCab and they both told me that
However, there came a time when I had no
a glossy brochure; then of course there is
option but to capitulate and order brackets,
Karhoo went bankrupt without owing them any
the Rights of Light Survey and an Energy
otherwise there would have come a point
money. Hmmm, that was fortunate, wasn’t it...?
Performance Certificate.
when TfL put ‘stops’ on drivers cabs. They
Last and by no means least, there’s the
knew it and that they had me over a barrel. If it
Measurement Survey and undoubtedly
was just me that was going to be affected, I
there’ll be something I have forgotten to
You will read elsewhere in this issue about the
would have carried on because they have got
mention. So as you can see, there is plenty to
enormous problems we’ve encountered with
this wrong and drivers will be put at risk. I
do whilst we’re waiting to de-merge the com-
Ingenico and Barclaycard regarding our
even enquired about a Judicial Review and
pany; but when we do, everything else will be
PEDs. There isn’t any doubt that there has been
was told it could cost up to £120,000! So it was
in place.
one tremendous blunder (not really the word I
probably easier and cheaper to surrender.
was looking for!!) by either Barclaycard or
However, I now view TfL in a different light and
Ingenico - with both parties blaming the other.
they should remember that every dog has its day...
Our IT department found out purely by
It was recently announced that another App
chance that a software upgrade was due and
has gone out of business, leaving substantial
Season Greetings
we had not been informed. I made calls to
debts behind. It was basically a price compari-
It seems that regardless of your religion,
other PED suppliers and their acquirers had
son site that was started by a man with the
this time of year will be a celebration of
informed them in September that this
rather unfortunate name of Daniel Ishag. I’ll
some kind. So either way, I send you all
upgrade was imminent.
just refer to him as Daniel! Anyway, he went
the season’s greetings. If you don’t follow
Consequently, it’s been all hands to the pump
about raising Venture Capitalists money and
any religion then I hope you just have an
in an attempt to rectify the situation before all
getting numerous minicab and taxi companies
enjoyable and financially rewarding
our PEDs ‘died’. As you can imagine, this put a
to subscribe to his site.
tremendous strain on our IT department and
The customer would enter their destination
into the App and the software would come
Roman Way and caused inconvenience to you,
Brian Rice
our Shareholders. I can only commiserate with
back with the price the cheapest companies
all three groups and just hope we have rectified
would charge for them to get to their destina-
the situation by the time you read this piece.
Dial-a-Cab Ltd
tion. My guess is that most of the time, the cus-
tomer would choose the cheapest option and I
really couldn’t see that being a licensed
London taxi. From the customers’ point of
view, they had to lodge their credit card with
Karhoo and any ride they took would be deb-
ited to their credit card. At the end of the
month, Karhoo would deduct 10 percent from
the fare and pass the remainder to the minicab
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
or taxi company.
They came to see me on three occasions in
Tel: 01708 553037
an attempt to get Dial-a-Cab to sign up to their
App. I refused on each occasion as I couldn’t
understand why on a price comparison site,
the public would not choose the cheapest
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
option because if they did not want the cheap-
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
est price, they would probably be using anoth-
TX4 servicing from £90
er App. I also couldn’t understand how if any
trips went to licensed taxis, how the taxi com-
All Work Undertaken
pany could pay the driver the metered fare and
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
then Karhoo retain 10% of that fare before pay-
All TX1, TX2, TX4
ing the remainder to the taxi company! As you
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
might expect, they told me how silly I was as
RTG were on there, along with ComCab and
Fax: 01708 551443
Addison Lee and they had also signed up City
Fleet in Singapore.
Call Sign December 2016
Page 5
n February, Call Sign wrote about a new
Were we against Karhoo? Not really... but
loaded the app and
Taxi/PH comparison site that had contact-
that was probably more to do with us being
supported what we
ed us for our view on an app they were
worn down after years of fighting against
were trying to do.”
putting out which they claimed would
minicabs. Even Mountview/Gett - they of the
Call Sign’s
compete with Uber; our first question to them
“we only work with black cabs” - went on it.
question is why,
was whether they really expected taxis to be
But although we wished Karhoo luck,
when they say that
happy to share a platform with minicabs? The
we really couldn’t see how it could work
hundreds of thou-
answer surprised us when they said that both
and that was proved right on 8 November
sands of people
Dial-a-Cab and ComCab had signed up along-
when Karhoo announced that they had
downloaded the
side Addison Lee. It turned out that they were
failed to secure the backing they required
Karhoo app, did
wrong about DaC, but that ComCab had
to keep going and had to shut up shop.
they find them-
indeed signed to go onto Karhoo, as had Addy
Their announcement said that it was with
selves in a posi-
Lee and other minicab companies.
regret that they had to close its service. They
tion where they
I also asked how they could expect black
had to cease
cabs to compete on a price comparison site
“The Karhoo staff around the world in
trading? They
with minicabs and as an example asked how
London, New York, Singapore and Tel Aviv
recently sent out
many passengers would select a taxi from
has over the past 18-months worked tirelessly
a press release
Cabot Square to Heathrow when minicab
to make Karhoo a success. Unfortunately, it
claiming London was a huge suc-
prices began at around £36.
became clear two weeks ago that the financial
cess with fleets reporting revenue increases
My problem was a feeling of concern
situation was getting dire, with Karhoo in
of up to 30 percent. They said they had signif-
that after constantly seeing black cab
urgent need of funding. Discussion with a
icant funding, a scalable model and a UK net-
fares as always showing up more expen-
potential new backer ended last night, forc-
work of more than 90,000 cabs. Either they
sive, many of our prospective customers
ing the company to stop trading. We would
lied or something serious went wrong???
might have stopped comparing and just
like to thank our staff, partners, fleets around
Jamie Corum
gone straight to minicabs. Either way,
the world that shared our vision and the hun-
we’d have lost.
dreds of thousands of
people who down-
Call Sign Online
As the House of Lords talk about driverless
GMB: PH language
technology for London
tests are ridiculous
peaking of what he referred to as “ridiculous lan-
guage tests that
forces London
A self-driving car
private hire dri-
that was described
vers to fork out at least
as a taxi and being
£180 to prove they speak
trialled in Sin-
gapore by US
English,” GMB Professional
based start-up soft-
Drivers’ Secretary Steve
ware developers
Garelick said that it could
for self-driving
see a private education
cars, nuTonomy,
has had its first
firm (Trinity College
London) pocket £20mil-
A spokesperson
said the driverless vehicle
The GMB claim that
(which actually had two engineers on board) had hit a small lorry while
the new rule has caused
driving at about four miles per hour. It described the incident as a
“small prang” and said that there had been just minor damage and
outrage among PH dri-
that neither of the two engineers was hurt.
vers, especially those
According to the BBC, the Singapore scheme was the first around
that were born and
the world to trial driverless taxis, however, the nuTonomy spokes-
raised in the UK. TfL
person added that small accidents were not unexpected during the
trial period and that the idea of the testing was to learn what went
have mandated that unless
the drivers can prove they have an English GCSE, then they
The project uses six Renault and Mitsubishi electric vehicles,
must undergo a language at a cost of around £180.
equipped with nuTonomy software and cameras. Each car uses a sys-
Mr Garelick added that in his view the tests were not only
tem of lasers that work in a similar way to radar and monitors the
unnecessary and demeaning, but would “shovel huge sums of
vehicle’s surroundings. The on-board drivers monitor the performance
and are there as a backup in case something goes wrong - as in hit-
money into Trinity College’s coffers, thanks to a virtual monopoly.”
ting a lorry! Although described as taxis, needless to say they do not
What Mr Garelick needs to understand is that there are a
pick up passengers!
great many PH drivers whose command of the English language
Most major car companies including BMW, Ford, Volvo and sev-
is little above nil and that there has to be a way of separating
eral Chinese car makers in addition to Google are currently testing
those that can from those that can’t - and a GCSE seems to
out driverless technology. One spokesperson claimed that by 2020
the technology would be good enough to put a driverless car onto
make sense as that divider.
the road.
Call Sign December 2016
Page 6
“Sorry Santa, but using a taxi instead of a sleigh still won’t make you a Dial-a-Cab shareholder!”
n late October, British classic vehicles with a combined valuation of over £19mil-
lion lined up on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to help commemorate the
90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. They were inspected on her behalf by
HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
Each of the ninety vehicles was manufactured in a specific year of the Queen’s life
and represented that year. The line-up included three London Taxis, those belonging
to Brian West, Doug Cheshire and Jimmy Waters, who were all representing the
London Vintage Taxi Association.
There were four sports-racing cars, three police cars, as well as various
models of Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Bentley, BSA, Caterham, Cooper,
Daimler, DeLorean, Ford, Jaguar, Jensen, Lea-Francis, Lotus, McLaren, MG,
Morgan, Morris, Noble, Riley, Rolls Royce, Rover, Triumph, TVR, Vauxhall,
Windsor and Wolseley in the line-up.
In the photo, HRH Prince Michael of Kent is inspecting the taxi of LVTA
Chairman Doug Cheshire as he toured the line-up of vehicles in the fore-
court of Buckingham Palace.
The line-up was made possible by the goodwill and enthusiasm of owners who
travelled from all over the UK - as well as three from Europe - to be present at the
Palace, as well as the support of both Stewart Miller and Peter James
Insurance, the UK's leading specialist classic vehicle insurance broker and H&H
Classics, Auctioneers for the Classic Collector.
Sandie Goodwin
Call Sign Online
Call Sign December 2016
Page 7
ODRTS is dead:
Long live
Dial-a-Cab Ltd!
count, it
announced that the vote
had been carried with 97.2
percent voting in favour,
meaning the Society would
now head towards becom-
ing a Company incorporat-
ed under the Companies
In May 2016, Dial-a-Cab
Act 2006.
Then on Tuesday
Members voted overwhelmingly
1st November, ODRTS /
in a survey organised by the
Board, to say that they wanted
Fieldfisher, announced
that following Member’s
to demutualise ODRTS, realise
two meetings, stage 1 of
the value in its assets and distrib-
the process to convert
ute that value to its Members.
ODRTS to a limited com-
On Sunday 18 September at the HAC
been in favour, with at least 50% voting. A
pany had been effected and registered.
Barracks in City Road, Members of the
‘yes’ vote of 95.9 percent was returned. The
That meant the entity that was formerly
Society attended the first of the two meetings
result meant a second meeting became nec-
the Society, was now a company under
needed for demutualisation to be activated.
essary and that was held three weeks later on
the name Dial-a-Cab Limited.
At that first meeting, more than 75% of those
Sunday 9 October. After Electoral Reform
So ODRTS is dead...
voting (including proxy votes) had to have
Society representatives had completed the
Long live Dial-a-Cab Ltd!
Call Sign December 2016
Page 8
ctober’s Employment Tribunal
Undoubtedly our campaign is beginning to
ruled that Uber drivers were not
change how politicians view Uber; initially
- as Uber often
almost every politician I met made a com-
claimed - but are employed, enti-
ment about competition or new technology;
tled to holiday and sick pay and the national
but now there is universal agreement about
minimum wage. Even though the decision
the damage being done and the problems
applied to just two drivers, Employment
being caused by the Uber set up. The recent
Tribunal decisions apply to ALL UK tribunals
report by the right wing Policy Exchange
and as such seen as precedents. Uber are
which highlighted Uber's tax avoidance is
appealing the decision...
shortly to be followed by another report,
Following the Tribunal result, The LTDA
again expected to criticise Uber, from the left
issued a statement to its members via the
wing Institute for Public Policy Research
Association’s General Secretary, Steve
(IPPR). Evidence of the success of our
McNamara. He said:
involvement with these reports with the
Whilst this decision has been appealed by
media and politically is that Uber is now
Uber and is likely to change, our lawyers have
becoming viewed as a 'toxic' brand and not
reviewed the transcripts of the hearing and
the friendly tech company that it was original-
consider that some aspects of the evidence
ly perceived as and wants to be again.
are relevant to Uber's continued ability to be
Steve McNamara and the LTDA will be
Uber are fully aware of what is happening
licensed in London; especially when viewed
attempting to block Uber re-licensing
and are concerned enough to be attempting
in conjunction with evidence previously pro-
next year
to obtain details of the LTDA’s meetings with
vided at the recent court hearings in
and congestion by getting the exemption to
the Mayor, senior City Hall figures, politi-
Toronto. Our first opportunity to mount a
the congestion charge removed from Private
cians, Government Ministers and advisors
legal challenge against Uber’s continued
Hire Vehicles. Our All Party Parliamentary
through a succession of Freedom of
licensing will be when they apply to TfL to be
Group will be meeting shortly to formulate a
Information Requests. I see this as further
re-licensed early next year.
strategy and I will be making these the lead
evidence that our strategy is the correct one!
The LTDA will be setting out a fully detailed
items on my upcoming meeting with
Mr McNamara added that although the
and researched case as to why Uber should
Government Transport advisors.
LTDA has been asked to support a variety of
not be re-licensed, using the same expert
At Mayoral and TfL level, our primary focus
militant actions and while they supported the
legal licensing team that we have engaged
is on highlighting and changing the disparity
sentiment behind all of them, their political
and who are currently assisting with our
between the proposals for Taxis and those for
advisors had said that supporting them
'Plying for Hire' prosecutions.
PHVs in the Ultra-Low Emission Zone
would be counter-productive to the
The primary focus of our political cam-
which starts in January 2018. How can it be
Association’s “detailed and extensive Political
paign is now on securing a requirement for
acceptable to allow 100,000+ PHVs to con-
Campaigns.” The General Secretary added
Private Hire Operators to be made responsi-
tinue to run polluting diesel vehicles whilst
that it was “...better to be inside the offices of
ble for insuring all the cars on their platform
insisting the taxi trade is compelled to buy
Government talking to the decision makers,
(Operator Insurance) and to tackle pollution
new Zero Emission Capable cabs?
rather than blocking the roads outside.”
Motorway speeding
tickets up 50,000!
And that’s just between 2010 and 2015!
New research taken between 2010 and
into attitudes around speeding cameras
2015 has revealed that fixed penalties
reveals that over a quarter (28%) of
issued on smart sections of motorways have
motorists believe that cameras are just
gone up from 2,000 to 52,000. The data
a way for the police to make money.
was taken from 12 police forces across the
Amanda Stretton, former racing driver
UK that monitor major stretches of smart
and motoring editor at said:
motorway (M1, M25, M4, M42 and
“With speeding tickets on smart motor-
M6) and revealed that 52,516 tickets had
ways rising sharply, our research shows that
Thanks to all staff and drivers who
drivers are highly cynical over the increase
supported the annual Macmillan
been issued in 2014-15 compared to just
of speeding fines. However, exceeding the
‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’
2,023 in 2010-11. There are more than 236
speed limit is dangerous and the law should
held at Dial-a-Cab House back in
miles of smart motorways in England,
be enforced. Speed cameras have been put
which use the hard shoulder and variable
in place to prevent accidents and slow
We have just received a certificate
speed limits to control traffic flow.
down drivers. If motorists are caught speed-
of thanks from Macmillan - which
Drivers are being caught out by changing
ing, they can face fines of up to £2,500
can be viewed on the Dial-a-Cab
speed limits which have been introduced at
depending on the particular speeding con-
Facebook page - in recognition of
traffic black spots to control congestion.
viction, as well as a strong chance that their
the impressive £300 raised on the
The fixed penalties mean that revenue on
car insurance premium will rise as a result.
each of the years increased to over £1.1mil-
While motorists might see speed cameras
Many thanks again for your
lion compared to £150,600 just over five
as annoying, they help to keep speeds
years ago.
down and the roads safe for motorists and
Further research by
Brian Rice
pedestrians alike.”
Call Sign December 2016
Page 9
Brazil Calling
Special General Meeting
rides from Karhoo.”
The first thing that must be mentioned in this article is of course the
This may seem a far off land
events of the 18th September 2016. Whilst as Board Members we have
to some, but Addison Lee and
been writing Call Sign articles on alternate months, therefore I have not
ComCab may be caught in the
yet had the chance to thank subscribers for their faith in returning me to
cross hairs of this debacle and
the Board - albeit as a Director. It has, in my mind, always been a great
possibly left holding the baby
privilege to represent you and it remains to be, so thank you for your
when it comes to paying dri-
votes and as I’ve said before, I’ll do everything in my power to improve
vers. Karhoo founder, Daniel
the value the Society has to each of you. My commiserations go to
Ishag, the son of a banker and
Michael Son BEM and Garry White, both good men with the cab trade
CEO of Karhoo, incidentally
coursing through their veins. Both of them will be missed, but I’m sure,
stepped down a few days
as all of you know, both will be out there fighting your corner just as they
before. A member of staff at Karhoo stated that they had ended up having to
always have.
deal with a lot of fraud prevention in their app. So much for the free ride
policy; who knew that would fail?
So what changes?
In August, The Financial Times reported on its disappointing app
Well, as the structure of the company at this time is now that of a Limited
store reviews that Daniel Ishag said were down to “not using the promo
Company, it means terms like ‘Board members’ have been surpassed by
codes properly” and that issues got resolved after they had spoken with
the term ‘Director’; in the final meetings, we should see the division of
customers. The fact is that free rides don’t buy loyalty.
Dial-a-Cab, if ratified, become two separate companies under the
The Karhoo statement ended: “The world needs Karhoo.” Well it would
umbrella of a Dial-a-Cab Limited Company.
seem that that is no longer the case and the bottom line of our competi-
This of course gives DaC the flexibility to allow for the sale of the build-
tors may prove that they didn’t need it in the first place.
ing as an asset and allow for the distribution of monies to you, the share-
holder, in the not too distant future. For many drivers this can’t come
And finally...
soon enough, but great care must be taken at this stage to ensure the best
Thanks for sticking through the article; here comes the information bit.
outcome for you, the shareholder, and with the right professional advice
I’ve had a few credit card trips requesting chargebacks from our drivers;
being in place and a motivated Chairman and Directors, we will do every-
these can sometimes be for considerable sums. Please, please keep your
thing in our power to ensure a positive outcome for all of you.
credit card receipts for six months after you have issued them. If a query
The first Directors meeting allowed for a few changes within the inter-
is raised, without the receipt it becomes very hard to argue on your behalf
nal structure. I will now be at the office two days a week, Tuesday and
for payment.
Wednesday. The duties that have now come under my remit are that of
I hope you all have a happy, peaceful Christmas and a good financial
Driver Operations, which will include an overseeing brief at Roman
one if you intend working...
Way, driver recruitment and marshalling activities. This of course will not
Joe Brazil, Director
be exclusive, and as I’m sure Allan Evans will be mentioning at some
Head of Driver Operations
point, it also allows for inclusion in the project to move the PEDS, from
the front compartment to the rear of the taxi. We have already had a visit
from TfL and agreement for a non-invasive fitting that will reduce; if not
remove, the need to drill holes in the centre partition has been given a
tentative nod. Hopefully we will have found out if approval has been
granted by the time you read this, good news for drivers leasing vehicles,
as £700 to replace a partition has been suggested by some suppliers.
The Baker Street irregulars…eliminating the
News has reached us that Karhoo, the Baker Street vendor of other com-
panies’ vehicles, has had to close its service. This App - or digital disrupter
as most of us see it - has fallen after just 18 months trading. Within a mar-
ket saturated with empty promises and false dawns, this worldwide App
or ‘website’ as it saw itself, trading in New York, Singapore, Tel Aviv and
of course London closed with job losses of around 100 people in London
alone. It was reported that UK staff were told that their employers were
unable to make the payroll. Karhoo apparently raised a huge £202 mil-
From 10.15-12.15 - £10 per pupil
lion investment round last October from Nick Gatfield, the former CEO
Minimum age of 16
of Music Entertainment and David Kowitz, the co-founder of hedge
Kids Class: 12.30-1.30pm from age 8yrs to 15yrs
fund Indus Capital Partners. However, that number has been called into
question by multiple sources who claim the company only received
£5.00 per pupil
between $10 million and $20 million according to the ‘business insider’.
Suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to
The article continued: “Since launching, the company has been
accomplished boxers
burning through cash at a phenomenal rate in a bid to grow its user
Female ONLY classes subject to demand
base, with several customers claiming they received multiple free
Watch out in the City
Several drivers have contacted Call Sign over
the past few weeks to tell us they have been
“nicked” for exceeding the City of London
20mph speed limit. One also added that he was told
he would be reported for not wearing his badge.
So beware; you may consider 20mph as being a
ridiculous speed limit at night, but it’s the law!
Call Sign December 2016
Page 10
On 8 November, a taxi demonstration along Whitehall protested against
TfL’s failure to deal with traffic congestion and the resulting air pollution
caused by their policies. At the same time, UCG General Secretary Len
Martin delivered a letter to PM Theresa May. This was the letter...
UCG Letter to Theresa May
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to you as the General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group (UCG), a trade body that represents the interests of the Hackney
Carriage drivers in London and other UK cities.
1. Our members have called upon us to arrange a formal protest today as they now have no confidence in TfL and its management
team; today, we the Licensed Taxi Trade, bring our discontent with TfL to Whitehall to raise awareness of serious threats to London.
We do not call these protests without giving serious consideration to the effects they have on the general public and we apologise for
any inconvenience our protest may cause; however, we feel we are left with no other option as we have exhausted every possible
avenue in our attempts to get Transport for London to address our concerns.
2. Whilst we have a number of unresolved issues with the day to day administration at TfL, our main focus is on health, safety and
the economy. A number of recent reports on the worrying decline in London’s air quality, coupled with excessive journey times, have
resulted in an unsustainable increase in traffic congestion; this manifests itself in pollution taking London well above safe limits.
Approximately 9,500 people are dying prematurely every year, twice as many as previously thought. London has breached EU safety
limits on NO2 for five consecutive years (source King's College London).
Oxford Street has the worst NO2 levels in the world. As working Taxi Drivers, we are exposed to this toxic pollution more than any
other road user; it is often suggested that the Taxis we drive disproportionately contribute to these levels. Whilst this is true, it is not
of the driver’s choosing. We have a very limited choice over the model of Taxi and design criteria of the vehicles we drive.
Transport for London have failed to provide the Taxi trade with an affordable choice of vehicle that is more environmentally friendly
and thereby allowing us to compete in an increasingly competitive market.
Buses (subsidised by TfL) are the highest polluters of all vehicles on London’s roads, followed by private motor cars (because of the
number of them on the roads at any time). Taxis are in third place (source King's College London).
3. Another consequence is that of massive real losses to London’s economy. We have used official figures to calculate the loss of produc-
tivity to London every year. The figures are simply staggering and costly; anybody who needs to travel for business, logistics or the emer-
gency services can attest to this. Transport for London has implemented road traffic management policies that have caused serious dam-
age to London’s health and wealth.
When Leon Daniels took on the role of Surface Transport director at TfL, road speeds in London averaged 8.98mph. This is now below
Sustrans reported in 2014 that 9.6 million trips as car driver/passenger were taken every day (this figure is rising). Based on official figures,
London is losing 1.4 billion hours every year stuck in traffic jams, creating congestion, pollution and costing UK businesses £millions of
lost income.
There are a number of other worrying issues regarding TfL and their fitness to run London’s transportation system. One of the most con-
cerning issues is the continual rise in rape and sexual assault figures pertaining to Private Hire drivers in London; TfL have failed in their
duty to protect the public and their licensing practices must be investigated. The last published figures showed 111 sexual assaults com-
mitted by Private Hire drivers; the latest figures that were due to be released in September 2016, are still unavailable and despite FOI
requests remain so. Leaked information suggests this has risen to 263 for the six months to
4. There have been several allegations of corruption at TfL, ranging from contracts awarded for underground 3G infrastructure to ten-
dering for bus contracts. There is an individual who has claimed he was directly told that unless he submits a payment, his solution to
a pollution problem will not be accepted (I have this person's details and he has repeated this accusation to me).
There are also some very dubious and questionable relationships between senior TfL staff and minicab company Uber that have been
uncovered in leaked emails, amounting to “Coaching” answers to difficult questions that would expose illegal behaviour. We believe
this was done with the sole purpose of misleading the public and the Greater London Assembly (GLA).
There is also the security risk from lack of enforcement on counter terrorism. A while ago, there was the potential for two very serious
incidences. A Private Hire Vehicle (aka minicab) was left unattended outside a London nightclub whilst filled with gas cylinders; the
vehicle was towed away (oblivious to the danger) and upon unloading at the car pound, a bomb was discovered - fortunately it failed
to detonate. A second vehicle, disguised as a minicab, was identified nearby by police - that also failed to detonate. With so many PH
vehicles parked outside venues and TfL’s total lack of effective enforcement, this could happen again but next time with unimaginable
dire consequences.
5. TfL is an organisation with a budget of £10.4bn in 2016/7 but is not accountable to anyone. Even the Mayor seems to have no
power to deal with this behemoth of an organisation that is now very apparently out of control. There is something very seriously
wrong at TfL, but this is not just our view. A recent GLA future proof report described TfL as woefully inadequate; we believe this
warrants an inquiry.
We therefore formally request that you grant a Statutory Public Inquiry for the sake of London's, health, safety and wealth.
We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you or your representatives in order to discuss our concerns in further detail.
Yours faithfully
Len Martin
General Secretary
United Cabbies Group
Call Sign December 2016
Page 11
n this series so
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
far, we’ve looked
back in time at
some London
football clubs’ previ-
ous grounds that have
in the main either
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
become victims of the
wrecking ball or cov-
ered over. But I’ve also taken a look back at
their origins, the unique heritage that each of
these famous old institutions hold dear.
We discovered that Millwall was started
up in 1855 when a group of Scottish
labourers in a tinned food factory on the
Isle of Dogs began kicking a football
around during their tea break; Queens
Park Rangers were formed by members of
a youth club who were ex-pupils of Droop
Street School in 1882, and Arsenal was
begun by munitions workers down at
Woolwich in 1886.
This month I want to feature some south-
west London stalwarts who used jumpers for
goal posts under the sails of a windmill -
these were ex-pupils of Old Central School
at Camp Road SW19 in the autumn of 1889,
who looked down at the already established
This was left after Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes!
Wimbledon Association FC at the bottom of
the hill near Parkside.
The Wimbledon Common Conservators
been a tad marshy, although 18 years later
Football in London was all the rage by
felt the last straw had arrived when the foot-
this difficult plot would not deter South
1880s, even in leafy Wimbledon,
ball hit a passing Hackney Carriage knock-
London Greyhound Racecourses Ltd
where the Old Central School was once
ing off the top hat of a seated passenger!
building a huge new London Stadium.
proud to have had William Wilberforce
New accommodation was sought and
Merging with local borough workers
among its first trustees.
found behind The Swan Pub on the
meant a new Wimbledon Borough FC was
I’ve read many London sports historians
Ridgeway, but there is no point looking for
born and in 1912 they took a leap of faith
appreciation on how the beautiful game
that old pitch now; it is covered up jointly by
and purchased some swampy land, which
exploded in the late 19th century, usually put
the Ridgeway Riding Stables and late-
had become a refuse dump on the oppo-
down to how successful the predominantly
Victorian housing on Thornton Road.
site side of the river on the corner of
Midland-based Football League was develop-
The new century was a time of change and
Plough Lane and Haydon’s Road.
ing; it was the oldest such competition in
the club moved to a brand new ground at
Immediate improvements were made, the
world football - but let’s not forget the annu-
what was then called Worple Road West (now
ground was fenced in, dressing rooms
al FA Cup Final had been up and running
named just Worple Road) at the junction of
built and a stand to seat 500 fans erected;
Pepys Road and Cottenham Park School
since 1872 in London!
welcome to the new home of Wimbledon
The fact that between 1872 and 1886 the
was used to house the changing rooms.
Football Club in Plough Lane until 1991.
It was in
1905 that ‘Old Centrals’ was
Cup Final was held continuously in the capi-
Call Sign readers will know that the old
dropped from the club’s name and the boys
tal MUST have inspired our local football
Plough Lane football ground has now been
from the Common end of town would be
clubs - The Oval in Kennington was used 16
swallowed up by private housing and not the
known simply as Wimbledon FC. But
times during that period with one Final held
originally intended Safeway supermarket
ground drainage issues in Worple Road
at the Lillie Bridge Ground (now covered
chain - Reynolds Gate Estate (named after
caused the club to experiment using other
over by a car park in Seagrave Road). The
1960s prolific goal scorer Eddie
grounds for home matches - playing fields at
game of football had come a long way in
Reynolds) has six individual blocks named
Grand Drive near Raynes Park Station, at
nearly 20 years and the new Association rules
after other star players.
The Chase in Merton Hall Road, at
dictated that ‘throttling an opponent could
How coincidental that when AFC
Burlington Road in New Malden and at
no longer be fair practice’. Forget bruised
Wimbledon was re-founded (after their
Malden Sports Ground near New Malden
shins, biting was a more common injury!
previous owners upped sticks and dis-
The Old Central held practice close to the
gracefully moved to Milton Keynes) the
Perhaps the idea of a ‘Crazy Gang’ mentali-
Windmill until they managed to arrange their
players had no choice but to train just
ty came in 1908 when a report from the
first friendly, which took place on the com-
yards away where it all started over 100
Boxing Day match said there had been ‘sick-
mon close to Robin Hood Road - the other
years earlier under the sails of that
ening scenes’ after a humbling defeat to
side of the London Scottish Golf Club
Windmill - using jumpers for goalposts!
Kingston FC and Dons star player Dave
which had been around since the 1860s.
From 2018, the Dons will be back in
Walker was brutally assaulted as he made his
History was made when a 1- 0 victory over
Plough Lane - Greyhound Racing Association
way off the pitch - so much for Christmas
Westminster FC got the ball rolling (no pun
recently sold their Stadium so that the club
intended) and further fixtures and wins over
can turn it into a football stadium. Come on
Seeking a new permanent ground, the
traveling opposition ensued. There was a
you Dons!
Club looked to the local authority for help,
happy bunch of founding fathers that would
but not for the first time the forerunners of
gather up for regular meetings at the Coffee
Wishing Call Sign readers a great
the London Borough of Merton were not
Tavern on Ridgeway. However, just as
Christmas. I shall be back in the New Year with
forthcoming - football activities were actually
Wimbledon Old Centrals were gaining
the story of London’s oldest Professional
suspended for a whole season.
increasing numbers of spectators and just
Football Club.
In 1910 the Dons joined forces with some
like our other London sides at the time, they
council workers who had a pitch at
had to seek an alternative suitable home
Coppermill Lane to the east of the River
Bob Woodford
Wandle (off Plough Lane), which may have
Call Sign Online
Call Sign December 2016
Page 12
Call Sign’s Marc Turner (R97) is also known as Drumslayer. This
month he is writing about problems between taxi drivers and the
people that use us - our customers...
However, we still have much support
respect, which borders on arrogance,
from Joe Public, despite a few of us (per-
makes him feel undervalued and unsur-
haps unwittingly) sometimes falling
prisingly added that this rudeness does
below the standards our patrons pay for
our trade no favours at all!
hilst out working and as we head
and rightly deserve.
Many cabmen obviously do not enjoy the
towards another Christmas, I'm
People often tell me that they want to put
job and feel that chatting to mates helps the
often chatting to passengers and
their hard-earned money into taxi drivers
time go quicker. But just imagine entering a
doing (unofficial)
pockets, yet suffer disappointment when
shop where the salesperson ignored you, dis-
research. Of course, these days Londoners
those drivers lack manners, good grace and
tracted by a conversation on their mobile
are so spoilt for transportation choice and I'm
customer service.
phone. Would we accept that? I doubt it! Yet
bowled over when a hand goes up because
One fellow told me how he often hails cabs
we expect our punters to do so with grace.
someone has chosen me!
where the drivers are on their mobiles and
As the old adage goes: “He who pays the
The public in general are well informed
who don’t even make eye contact with him,
piper, calls the tune.” What better song is
regarding the current precarious situation our
just beckoning him brusquely into the cab.
there than “Keep the customer satisfied!”
trade - often due to no fault of its own - finds
Then apart from ascertaining the destination
itself in. We, especially day men, still have the
they just continue with their call, not even
I wish you all the seasons greetings...
lions’ share of the work despite it feeling other-
interrupting it for payment, just offering a
wise. Night men on the other hand are feeling
Marc Turner
curt nod as a thank you.
the shift in public taste big time! Recent week-
He went on to tell me that this lack of
Call Sign Online
ends resemble a basket case.
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose life is captured as
a blog. The continuing story of his time as a butterboy is…
A Blogger’s Tale
This morning whilst thundering down the
course he has had a few well document-
A1 towards London, I listened to an inter-
ed problems.
view on the radio given by a young man
However, he is a very gifted man who it
whose career I have followed closely. He
seems has come out the other end of that
was talking about his new novel and I
experience very well balanced and philo-
couldn't help but admire his eloquent and
sophical. I'm looking forward to reading his
confident performance in front of the
microphone. I cast my mind back a number
To be continued…
of years to a job that at the time seemed a little, but not overly disturbing…
Simon Scott (O40)
I was driving along Newgate Street approaching the Old Bailey on my left, when
Call Sign Online
across the road one of the two men standing near the Viaduct Tavern put their hand up
to hail me. As I slowed and started to manoeuvre a turn, another cab travelling in the
opposite direction stopped for them. The elder of the two leant forward and said some-
thing to the driver and with a shrug of his shoulders he drove off. I pulled over and my
punter leant into the nearside window and said 'the cheeky so-and-so tried to steal your
job'. I mumbled something about bad manners but thanked him and they climbed inside.
Immaculate White
“Do you want to go to Essex, the passenger said. Well of course I did, but I main-
tained a poker face and just asked which part. He said Chigwell and off we went. Now
Cab Available for
I try not to listen to conversations in the back, preferring to listen to the radio and con-
centrate on not killing anyone along the way; I think it began to rain and that slowed us
down a bit. My mind began to wander and I glanced at them a few times in the mirror,
they seemed to be related - probably father and son I thought with the elder of the two
in his thirties and the younger in his teens. There was a strange atmosphere in the back
that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The younger man didn't say much at all, most of
the talking was coming from his father and at one point he made a phone call; I over-
heard him trying to reassure someone by telling them 'it'll be alright, don't worry'.
As we neared Chigwell, the older man asked me to wait whilst he went to buy fish
and chips, he insisted that I have some as well and he was very persuasive. I waited for
his return reading my newspaper, but with the sense of unease that I had picked up
from my two passengers. He returned and we went on our way, they got out in front of
one of the big houses that always make me envious and he turned to pay me. I remem-
ber him telling me that it was a nice journey and to take care, he gave me a big tip -
£10 over the meter - and we went our separate ways.
Some weeks or even months later, I opened a copy of the Evening Standard and
read the news that Ronnie O’Sullivan had been given a life sentence for a murder that
Female driver
took place in Soho. I looked at the accompanying photo and instantly recognised him as
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
my Chigwell bound passenger and the young man with him was his son, who would
Contact Debbie (W18) on
become the famous snooker player of the same name. I had thought many times about
how having his father imprisoned at such a young age would have affected him and of
07956 317040
Call Sign December 2016
Page 13
There’s an old saying that has
TfL: “No problems with card readers safety. If something happens
been used by cab drivers
then we’ll look again...”
throughout the years - trust
your first instinct! Of course,
that instinct could be wrong and
Mike tells his
someone you suspect of being
passengers that
up to no good could well be
they won't get
fine and someone you wouldn’t
out until they
consider capable of any wrong-
doing could actually try and
take you to the cleaners. And,
of course, when it’s a bit quiet
out there, you might be tempt-
ed to disregard that initial
That’s exactly what happened to Dial-a-
Cab driver Mike Appleby (L73). Although
Mike has been on DaC for over 14 years, he
has been driving a taxi for twice that time and
The three
when three prospective passengers tried to
get into his locked cab, Mike had a bad feel-
ing but disregarded it. Mike told Call Sign
his story...
“I always keep my doors locked and when
someone hails me, in 99.9 percent of times I
release the lock. It matters not where they are
going so long as they look like genuine cab
punters. But I broke that rule when three
young guys with hoods up tried to get in at
the Welbeck Street lights where it meets
Wigmore Street. They were rattling the han-
dles in an attempt to open the locked doors
and my instinct said not to let them in. But it
was quiet and I thought that perhaps it was
me prejudging them, so I unlocked the back
and they climbed in.
I also kept inching forward to put more pres-
“It was only later when I thought about my
“They said they wanted Knightsbridge near
Harrods with a stop on the way at a
sure on them. I then phoned the police and
offer to let them pay by credit card; what
made sure the three of them heard. By then,
would have happened had they realised we
McDonalds. So I politely explained that there
was a McDonalds just past Knightsbridge, so
the meter had gone up to almost £18 but this
all took credit cards? I read a recent piece in
there was no need to stop on the way. That’s
was all about the principle of them not get-
Call Sign and it suddenly hit me that they
when I got the first hint of an attitude problem
ting away with attempting to bilk a taxi driver
could have just said the CC reader wasn’t
and knew straight away that my initial instinct
so I was happy with the £14.
working in order to try and get me into the
had been right and there was no way that they
“The police said they were on the way and
back. Would they have then actually attacked
intended paying - or they could possible even
remained on the line while the three passen-
me? After all, they obviously had no intention
have something worse on their mind. But I’d
gers were mumbling. One even started look-
of paying; yet according to the article TfL say
come across people like these before and was-
ing in his inside pocket in a threatening way
they’ve had no incidents of it happening!
n’t overly concerned so long as my doors
and I think - very briefly - I spotted a minia-
Never mind my three bilkers, more pertinent
remained locked.
ture laser beam pen in his hands. Whether he
is whether TfL even care about us?”
“One of the three started calling me
was waiting to aim it at me I don’t know, but
Call Sign Says:
‘bro’ and asking me to be fair! So I repeat-
the middle one suddenly bent over as if to
According to TfL there have been no
ed that McDonalds was just past Harrods
clear a gap for him to aim through. I was
reported incidents of passengers deliber-
and their destination was just by there.
looking straight ahead and reiterated that the
ately luring drivers into the rear of the
But I had already picked up the signs that
police would be there in minutes and if they
cab under the pretence of the credit card
made me certain that they were going to
wanted to get out, all they had to do was pay
reader not working. So we ask whether
make a bolt for it once I let them out.
me the £14. I wasn’t worried about the rest,
that just may be because very few cabs
Then they suddenly decided they had to
it was just a matter of principle.
had the PED in the back and whether
stop at a shop along the route, but I said
“I offered them a credit card facility but
once it becomes common knowledge to
no. They said they really needed to stop
they declined. I was talking to them and
people such as the three “gentlemen” in
there so I told them the facts of life -
the police at the same time when sudden-
the above report, such incidents will
which were that as soon as I let them out
ly a £20 note came through the partition
increase. If so, they will surely be the
they would make a bolt for it!
gap. I took it and gave them a £5 note and
fault of TfL who are taking absolutely no
“Eventually we pulled up in Knightsbridge.
didn’t bother waiting to see if they would
notice of our plea and who apparently
My foot remained firmly on the footbrake so
tell me to keep the £1.00!
care very little for our safety. More and
that they couldn’t get out and told them that
“Then they got out but left the door open.
more people in this trade are now begin-
for the whole journey I had been filming
Perhaps they thought I would get out to close
ning to take notice of something we have
them. I then turned the camera round and
it but I carefully drove off with it open until I
been saying for months...
put the lights on so they knew they were
could see them walking in the other direc-
Michael Toomey
being filmed. I told them they couldn’t get
tion. Then I stopped and closed it. I also can-
out until they first paid the £14 on the meter.
celled the police.
Call Sign Online
Call Sign December 2016
Page 14
icky Marshall was on Dial-a-Cab
TfL: “No problems with card readers safety. If something happens
for many years before moving to
then we’ll look again...”
ComCab, but for the sake of this
article Micky is like all of us - a
London taxi driver. At a time when TfL appar-
ently care nothing about our safety by refus-
ing to allow a cable to be attached to rear-
mounted credit card readers so that passen-
gers with card problems can pass the reader
it happened a lot and that he would get it
through to the driver rather than force the
back off her the following day.
driver to leave his cab and enter the rear com-
That was it for me, light out and home!
partment, Call Sign will be publishing any
I was very thankful for his help but we as
article that involves passengers being prob-
cab drivers should not be put in such an
lematic as regards our safety.
awkward position. What if I had got in the
According to our licensing authority, we
do not have such problems with passen-
Go into a petrol station at night and the
gers and have no reason to fear entering
attendant is locked in the safety of his cabin,
the passenger compartment. Micky told
a bit like the front drivers compartment in a
Call Sign:
cab. Should you wish to pay by credit card, he
Someone hailed me in Commercial
pushes the terminal through to you using a
Street and asked if I could take their friend to
sliding draw and thus ensuring his safety. In
Harrow Road. She was quite drunk but
my opinion TfL should have made CCTV
where work hasn’t been that good, I agreed
monitors in a cab more compulsory than
to take her. Throughout the journey, she, like
credit cards.
most drunks, spoke absolute rubbish but was
I was one of the pioneers in accepting
still quite pleasant, although with 33 years
under my belt that somehow made me feel
credit cards over 25 years ago, but my opin-
rather uncomfortable.
ion is still the same as it was then - it is surely
At the other end, there was £23.60 on the
illegal to force either a company or sole trad-
meter. She gave me a fiver and thanked me
er to take credit cards, even though I person-
Micky Marshall: Drunk female wanted
before adding that she had no more money.
ally think all cabs should accept them - but by
him to go into the back to look at the
So I asked her for a credit card and told her to
credit card reader
put it into the passenger compartment credit
I also noted Call Sign’s interview with
card terminal and to just follow the instruc-
Helen Chapman; please pass on my
was present. She then called me a wa**er a
regards and tell her if she ever wants to
no good sh*t cu*t.
“It ain’t working,” she called out. I tell her
come out in my cab for a few hours to
it is but she is insistent and says that I will
Just as I was about to call the police, the
show her what it's really like out there, it
concierge at her swanky flats came out and
have to get in the back to show her how. I
would be my pleasure and of course... no
replied that the only way I was getting in the
apologised while asking much she owed me.
I told him and he gave me the dough. He said
back of the cab with her was if a police officer
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Call Sign December 2016
Page 15
There were two reports recently from one of
TfL: “No problems with card readers safety. If something happens
London’s most respected taxi garages of dri-
then we’ll look again...”
vers being lured into the cab’s rear compart-
ment after passengers claimed the credit card
readers were either not working or that the
Drivers attacked
passenger “didn’t know how to use it.”
Both reports came from the Long Lane
Cab Garage while owner Tony Forsythe was
because card reader
away on holiday. Karen in the garage’s office
explained to Call Sign that two of their cus-
tomers - one a female - had gone to the rear
“wasn’t working???”
compartment after being told that their pas-
sengers were having trouble with the PED.
Both were then attacked.
Unfortunately there are no further
details, but if the two drivers concerned
would like to contact Call Sign (callsign-, we would like to hear
their stories. We will respect their privacy
should they wish to remain unidentified.
We are very concerned that this could be just
the tip of the iceberg and that once those “pas-
sengers” - whose only aim in life seems to be to
do as little work as possible by robbing and
stealing from taxi drivers - realise that all they
have to do is say the PED isn’t working and dri-
vers will have to get out, then the above sce-
nario will become regular events. In addition,
attempted bilks such as the one involving Mike
Appleby (L73) (see page 13) will turn into
incidents of luring drivers into the back and
attacking them.
A spokesperson at the Mayor’s office told
Call Sign: “Under no circumstances would we
Two Long Lane customers allegedly attacked because the card reader "wasn't working!"
expect a driver to leave their cab should a
problem with the payment machine arise.
port and see whether they can fix the fault or
not have the remotest idea as to how taxis
First of all, the driver should ask the passenger
take an over-the-phone transaction. Once a
operate because we’d love to see him sit in
to try again. If the fault persists, they should
fault has been acknowledged, the vehicle
the driver’s seat with the above passengers
contact the payment device supplier for sup-
should be taken out of service until it’s fixed.
had they requested a south London back
If the card is declined or faulty then a com-
street council estate at two in the morning.
monsense approach should be taken and an
We can no longer rely on Transport for
alternative means of payment agreed upon. If
London, which has demonstrated that so
a passenger refuses to pay and an amicable
far as they are concerned, the only duty of
agreement cannot be found, this should be
care they have is to their own positions.
treated like any other instance whereby a pas-
And the ones that don’t fit!
senger refuses to pay a fare.”
Jamie Corum
We can assume from that the Mayor does
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at your address also qualifies for membership!
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over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
Many drivers with TX cabs where there
up to 3 times your total savings…
are headrests stuck onto the central parti-
The cost?
tion, have told Call Sign that the credit
card stickers sent to them by TfL/LTPH
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
do not fit. We told the licensing authority
and they sent us a photo of an approved
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
place where the notice, in the case of
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
those where the headrests stop it going
on the glass, can have them stuck. This is
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Call Sign December 2016
Page 18
’d like to tell Call Sign readers a true
Call Sign’s December issue traditionally has a Christmas story in.
story that happened to me while
This year is no exception, except that this time it’s a true one! It
doing a hospital account job on
behalf of Dial-a-Cab. It was getting
comes from DaC driver Peter Moll (K35) and while it has little to do
close to the holiday season and I was on
with the holiday season, it surely contains a “be nice to others”
my way home feeling quite happy at the
Christmas message…
approach of another Christmas. Suddenly
my terminal bleeped and a trip came up,
albeit a short one with a fairly low fixed
price, but it was going in my direction
and I accepted it.
When I arrived at the hospital, I saw a nurse
and gave her the name of the three passen-
gers I was to pick up. She directed me to a
small reception area while telling me that one
of my passengers was blind. As I got closer, I
ing a selection of people who seemed to have
started to sense a rather strong, musty smell.
found their evening’s entertainment by
I entered the reception and there, standing
watching us. We were almost at his front door
right in the middle, was my blind passenger.
when he shouted that he had left his bread in
He was holding a white stick in one hand and
the taxi!
a loaf of bread in the other. He also seemed to
So we made our way back to the cab to get
have half the contents of his last month’s din-
the bread, passing the same people who
ners on his teeshirt and joggers!
seemed to be enjoying the entertainment!
The two other passengers, an elderly lady
Then it was back to the flat again, passing
and a not-so-elderly Jamaican gentleman,
those same people yet again and who had by
were sitting nearby. I say sitting, but they had
now replaced their smiles with looks of puz-
more than probably collapsed from the pong
zlement. I was now holding one hand while
because as I got nearer to the blind gentle-
he had his loaf in the other. We turned round
man, I realised that this dreadful smell was
the first bend into the corridor of his flats. I
coming from him and the people sitting
was still holding his hand, but as I looked
down were probably trying to get as far away
back at Bert I couldn’t believe what I was see-
from him as possible! So when I informed
ing - his joggers were down to his knees and
them that we were all going home together,
he was exposing his meat and two veg! What
that was the first they realised that this very
“viewers” must have thought was
smelly and dirty person was going to share
unimaginable! I shouted to him that his
their taxi. I asked the blind passenger for his
trousers had fallen down!
first name and I’ll change it to Bert for the
He just said: “I know, I’ve lost 2 stone
every conceivable direction possible - except
sake of the story - just in case!
recently and that’s why I asked you to hold
the way he was walking! No doubt he was try-
I took the bull by the horns - or in this
the bread, so I could hold my joggers up with
ing to avoid direct nasal contact with Bert!
case by the hand! He also asked me to hold
my free hand!”
As we walked towards my taxi, I imag-
his loaf of bread, which of course I did. Bert
I took his bread again while he pulled
ined a path of fainted people lying on the
then raised one hand up into the air level
his trousers up and we took the final
ground as we passed! I was still leading
with his shoulder and pointed out to the
steps into his flat. I opened his door, guid-
Bert to the cab, with the occasional peep
front. So I took it and waited for my flock
ed him inside while holding my breath all
behind to make sure my flock were still
to follow. I felt a bit like a Messiah about to
the time! As I said goodbye, I really hoped
there. I went down a ramp and crossed a
lead my people to the Promised Land!
that I never had to pick him up, or smell
courtyard towards the cab. As we got
I started walking out of the ward, slightly in
him ever again! But I wished him a Merry
there, I turned around to check the flock
front of Bert while holding his hand so that
Christmas and he smiled back, thanking
again. I could see the Jamaican passenger,
the smell was behind me. Once we got some
both me and Dial-a-Cab for being so won-
who by now was about 20 feet behind us,
distance away from the other two passengers,
derful to people with disabilities. What a
but no sight of the lady. I thought she had
they very slowly rose from their chairs and
lovely man I thought as I walked back to
done a runner or a shuffle, when sudden-
with an incredibly reluctant look on their
the cab passing the same people who
ly I spotted her lying on the floor.
faces, began to follow. The lady didn’t seem
were now telling me how wonderful taxi
I quickly threw the loaf of bread into the
too keen on keeping up at all and wasn’t so
drivers were!
luggage compartment and told Bert to wait
much walking as sort of shuffling around five
As I arrived back at the taxi, I heard the end
there. I ran to the lady and realised that a
feet behind us. A further five feet back was
of a conversation between the remaining two
waiting ambulance had left its wheelchair
the Jamaican gentleman, who was looking in
passengers. The Jamaican was saying that
ramp down and she’d walked straight into it.
being blind shouldn’t stop him taking a bath!
I helped her up off the floor and for the first
Call Sign
time asked myself why I hadn’t just gone
I said nothing. Within five minutes I had
dropped both the other two passengers off
home! The un-Chrismaslike words stupid,
December 2016
greedy and git worked their way into my
without any further problems and headed off
Editor: Alan Fisher
back up the M11 towards home. Even with the
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
thoughts too!
Anyway, thankfully the lady was fine and I
windows open and the cold Xmas-time air
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
eventually succeeded in getting them - and
blowing all around me, the cab still stunk! Yet
the loaf of bread - into the taxi. They all lived
I was smiling and almost giggling to myself at
Printers: Premier Print Group
within a mile of the hospital and off we went.
the sight of Bert in that corridor with his jog-
E6 6 LP
First drop was Bert - there is a God I said to
gers round his ankles whilst holding his pre-
Design: Aldan Publications
cious loaf of bread! It also occurred to me that
myself! I got him to his address, a very dodgy
Tel: 07958 300 428
looking block of flats, in double quick time
I should have a bath as soon as I got home, not
and helped him from the taxi. With each
to mention get the cab fumigated - and never
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
movement of his body, there seemed to be a
to be greedy ever again…!
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
different, far worse smell emanating! I took
A happy Christmas to all...
either manually or electronically without the express
him by the hand in our now tried-out formula
Peter Moll (K35)
permission of the Editor.
and we slowly made our way to his flat, pass-
Call Sign December 2016
Page 19
By all accounts, Derric Sampson is a model
Travis Kalanick is CEO and co-founder of Uber. Although he once
driver. He has done 7,400 trips on Uber in 18
referred to taxi drivers as assholes, we forgave him because we
months and riders rate him 4.85 out of 5, above
average. The only issue: He’s served time in
know how kind and thoughtful he really is with an inbuilt desire
prison. My friends are often taken aback when I
to give even criminals a second chance in driving his passengers
tell them about Sampson. But people are
released from prison because the state accepts
around. Of course it’s nothing to do with his desire to get hold of
they have repaid their debt to society and
cheap labour; he is obviously just a lovely person!
deserve a second chance. And if prisoners can’t
find gainful employment, they’re much more
The following article comes from the San Francisco Chronicle...
likely to commit another crime, putting them
back in prison.
However, it’s amazingly hard to find work if
Travis Kalanick: “Let convicted
you are one of the 70 million-plus Americans
with a criminal record because many compa-
nies ask about your history up front. And if
prisoners drive Uber cars!”
you tick ‘yes,’ the application process ends
before the interview has even started. That is
Archie signed up with Uber after receiving
why Uber supports “Ban the Box” and has
support from A New Way of Life, an organisa-
removed this step from our hiring process.
tion that helps women coming out of prison.
But that’s just one of the many barriers peo-
But without lawmakers and corporations show-
ple face when looking for work. Some 30 per-
ing greater collective courage, her other work
cent of jobs in the United States now require a
choices are almost non-existent.
license - from being a tour guide or real estate
Crime is wrong. But once a person has served
agent to hair braiding. And many of these licens-
their time, we need to give them a second
es include some kind of criminal background
chance. Consigning millions of Americans to a
life of unemployment, with all the costs that
It’s easy to understand why we’ve gotten
entails, may be the easier option. It’s certainly
here. Certain offenders, especially those con-
not the best one for our country.
victed of violent and sexual crimes should be
Travis Kalanick
prevented from doing some jobs. But these
CEO and co-founder of Uber
types of rules have been extended to cover too
many non-violent crimes, excluding people
Three weeks after Travis Kalanick wrote
the above article for the San Francisco
Chronicle, the GMB union won their case
against Uber in London when the London
from low-skilled work for offenses such as the
Employment Tribunal determined that they
possession of marijuana. It’s about fear not fact.
had acted unlawfully by not providing dri-
Earlier this year, Uber aligned its require-
vers with basic workers’ rights.
ments with Proposition 47, which reclassified
The GMB had brought two test cases on
certain non-violent crimes as misdemeanours.
20 July 2016 and the Tribunal decided on
for DaC
As a result, 3,300 people have signed up to
28 October that Uber drivers are entitled to
drive with Uber to earn a living and stand on
receive holiday pay, a guaranteed mini-
their own two feet in one state alone. Imagine
mum wage and an entitlement to breaks.
how many more life-changing opportunities we
The Union had heard that at least one GMB
could create if other states followed suit. And
member, who worked exclusively for Uber,
the most interesting part: Prop 47 drivers have
had received just £5.03 per hour in August
the same average rating as their Californian
after costs and fees were taken into
counterparts (4.82 in August). They also appear
On behalf of Dial-a-Cab, Hillier Buchan Ltd
account - substantially below the national
to live in areas where work opportunities are
in Bexley have negotiated exclusive rates
hourly minimum wage of £7.20.
harder to find.
for DaC members. We believe our rates are
Lawyers for the drivers claimed that Uber
competitive in today’s market for experi-
I’d never really thought deeply about criminal
acts unlawfully by frequently deducting
enced licensed Black Cab drivers.
justice reform before starting Uber. Now I realise
sums from drivers’ pay, often without
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every driver’s
reform is desperately needed. For example, the
informing the drivers in advance, including
circumstances are different; therefore our policies
FBI records many companies used to do back-
when customers make complaints. And Mr
can be tailored for the individual driver. We offer
ground checks but don’t include up-to-date data
Kalanick, these drivers weren’t criminals -
a 5% discount for DaC members, with additional
discounts for existing protected Bonus policies.
on whether an arrest resulted in a charge or con-
they were just treated as though they
Hillier Buchan was established in 2002 by
viction. So if someone is arrested and subsequent- you! So unsurprisingly, the man
David Hillier and myself with in excess of 50
ly acquitted, their “record” may not show that
who cares so much for criminals has
years experience as high level Brokers working in
they’re innocent. This is a terrible injustice
appealed the decision. He probably thinks
the City of London for major broking houses. We
because a large number of arrests don’t end in a
that £5.03 per hour is too much and that
have established a reputation for professionalism
conviction. What’s more, people of colour bear
someone being released from prison would
and service in our chosen fields.
the brunt of this inequity as they are more likely
snap that up! And it may have been just two
We have extensive London Market contacts;
to be arrested than whites. Flaws in these govern-
drivers, but we should also point out that
consequently we are able to offer our clients a
ment databases are one of the reasons Uber
decisions made by employment tribunals
quality of security from companies that are all
screens drivers - and we do rigorous background
are binding across the whole of England
available in the world’s pre-eminent insurance
checks - using county court records.
and Wales.
market. As a result, our clients achieve quality of
security and service upon which we pride our-
Reforms like Prop 47 could have an outsized
Let’s hope that our trade organisations
selves and a competitiveness of premium that
impact on the life of someone like Ingrid Archi,
take a leaf out of the GMB’s book and show
our clients find particularly attractive in today's
who was convicted of drug possession in her
some steel against TfL’s ludicrous decision
20s. She was laid off when the company she had
not to allow PEDs placed in the passenger
Our philosophy is to build long-term relation-
worked for three years changed its policies to
compartment to at least be on cables, so
ships using balanced service teams providing
exclude anyone with a criminal record. Out of
drivers would not have to leave the front in
continuity and expertise. Compare our prices
work, Ingrid stole clothes for her baby. She was
the case of a malfunction - real or other-
and give us a call. See our ad inside this issue of
arrested for petty theft and having violated her
Call Sign on page 20.
probation, was sentenced to prison. Under Prop
Phil Buchan,
47, her offense was reduced and she is out of
Alan Fisher
Hillier Buchan, 01322 553313
prison and wants work.
Call Sign Online
Call Sign December 2016
Page 20
No one carries on forever, but when Bernie
Can you almost be pregnant? Can you almost read a book? Can
Silver (F13J and until recently G08) phoned
you almost pass the KoL?
to tell us that he had almost retired, we
queried what that actually meant! After all, he
had been with ODRTS / Dial-a-Cab since 1975
and although 41 years is a long time, he never
really sounded as though he was even thinking
of calling it a day.
“I’m just fed up with this job,” a sullen
Bernie told Call Sign, “you put your heart and
soul into giving a service to the public while at
the same time earning a living, but when it
comes down to it we have people in this trade
who couldn’t care less about us. There’s TfL at
the top of the pile who seem to do everything
they can to damage our pockets by licensing an
infinite number of minicabs, while blaming the
government for not putting down legislation.
But why didn’t they ask HMG to put the block
on when minicab numbers reached 50,000
rather than waiting till they reached 115,000
and even then still do nothing other than con-
tinually laying the blame elsewhere.
“Then there’s Uber being allowed to ply for
hire via the back route and an app; and whose
fault is that? Again it’s TfL who have given a
new meaning to the word infertility. They pro-
duce absolutely nothing of any use to the
licensed taxi trade and people such as me, who
So fed up is Bernie that he is almost retiring!
have given a lifetime to the trade, are just left in
Bernie the best of luck in case he goes
“As a result, this job has become worthless.
Hang on Bernie! How can there be a ‘but’
beyond an almost retirement! But please, we
We sit on ranks and watch cars picking up the
when your intention is to retire?
don’t want any Dial-a-Cab drivers writing to
passengers who used to use us, driven by peo-
“But,” said Bernie somewhat quietly, “if
the magazine saying that their other half is
ple working for £5 an hour! That’s what TfL
after three months I find myself struggling
almost preggers!!!
have done to our trade and I can no longer
too much, then I might come back! So you
Ron Yarborough
stand it. So I am going to retire at the end of
could say that I am almost retiring!”
Call Sign Online
So all Call Sign can do is to almost wish
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
dedicated to DAC members only
5% Discount for members
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
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Much more available
on Saturday 19 November and continuing until
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Call below for quotations
shalled rank placed as last year by the first two coach
bays at the Brook Gate exit to Hyde Park on Park
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so please do not over-rank.
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making sure the rank runs well.
Tel: 01322 553313
Entrance is free, but activities - including the UK’s largest
skating rink - are individually priced
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign December 2016
Page 21
Every issue of Call Sign takes a look back at ODRTS history through the pages of the
magazines of the time with a Flashback…
This month’s Flashback looks at a piece of history from the May 1998 issue of Call Sign - whether
there should be a Mayoral election for London and what they would do if there was one...
London’s Future - Your Choice
Londoners will be voting on new type of authority for the City on
Thursday 7th May 1998 - whether to elect a Mayor and Assembly
for London.
“Our plans for London are radical and innovative and will restore the
civic leadership and strategic direction which London urgently needs. It
will give Londoners a new style of local democracy with a strong Mayor,
an effective Assembly and new powers to deliver on transport, jobs and
crime,” says John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister.
The Mayor would be responsible for taxis and most main roads, whilst
controlling the underground and London buses through the new
Transport for London body (TfL), bringing an integrated approach to
travel in the capital.
The Mayor would also be responsible for regulating taxis and
approving taxi fares, a role currently performed by the Secretary
of State for Transport. TfL would handle licensing and everyday
licensing work, presently delegated to the Metropolitan Police
and the Public Carriage Office.
But if proposals to regulate London minicabs ever come to
fruition, responsibility for their licensing would rest with the Mayor.
The Mayor would also implement London-wide strategies in many other areas such as economic development, the
environment, health, sport, tourism and culture; oversee a new Fire Authority and organise action on other issues - perhaps even an
Olympic bid for example - with the Assembly agreeing or suggesting changes to proposals.
If London votes ‘Yes’ in the referendum on the 7th May, the Government would introduce legislation quickly, although
the first elections for Mayor and Assembly would not take place before Autumn ‘99.
n 1907, the First Aid Nursing
Princess Royals Volunteers Corps,
Yeomanry was formed. During
attended their annual Remembrance
World War One, it became
Service at the church.
involved by driving ambulances
The London Taxi Benevolent
and assisting in field hospitals under
Association for War Disabled was asked
dangerous conditions. At the end of
to supply transport for some of the veter-
the war, the women of the Nursing
ans to convey them to a lunch at
Yeomanry had received one Legion
the Victory Services Club afterwards.
d’Honor, 27 Croix de Guerre and 17
Thanks to all the drivers who assisted by
names of 54 of these brave women and
Military Medals.
taking these brave ladies to their lunch...
on 29th October 2016, members of the
When WW2 began, they were to
Derek Leone
Yeomanry, which is now known as the
become the motor driving companies that
formed part of the ATS, many of them
going onto top secret work in coding and
supplying administration and support at
the special training schools. They also
joined the Special Operations executive
where they served in different parts of the
world. A large number were sent into
occupied France and were captured, many
of them dying in concentration camps.
Three of them, Noor Inayat Khan,
Violette Szabo and Odette Hallowes
all received the George Cross - the
first two posthumously. A film was
later made about Violette Szabo -
Carve her name with pride - where
she was played by Virginia McKenna.
On the wall of St Pauls Church in
Knightsbridge is a memorial listing the
Call Sign December 2016
Page 22
Another true story from Geoff Levene…
A statement from the Editor:
Nevertheless, that was my chance for fame and fortune and I
was stuck in this dump. So I walked up to the window of the
When the taxi trade complains about Uber,
enclosure and hit it in frustration. Some visitors screamed so I
we tend to say that if you pay peanuts then
kicked the door at the back... and it opened! That wasn't right. I
you get monkeys. In the August Call Sign,
was in a little storeroom. There was a fridge containing guess
we published a response from Bonzo the
what - you got it in one...bananas and leaves!
Gorilla who lives at London Zoo and who
There was another door so I tried that. It wasn’t locked. Someone
asked us why that would be such a bad
had messed up. But now I was in the open. I pushed a turnstile and
thing? He demanded an apology for our
I was out on the road! This was all wrong. I tried to go back through
remarks and a promise from us not to
the turnstile but it only went one way. People were rushing about
repeat them. We were unable to give that assurance but agreed
screaming and yelling. I don't know why, I couldn't see anything
to give Bonzo a platform to express his views and also explain
unusual out there. But I was now outside so I thought I’d have a quick
about his recent escape...
look round. There was a taxi rank across the road. The first driver
Dear Mr Fisher
looked at me, went rather pale and said: “Sorry mate, I've just got a
I just thought I’d bring you up to speed on what I've been doing
Dial-a-Cab job,” and drove off! No wonder you’re losing business.
lately because there has been much talk in the press about me escap-
There was another Dial-a-Cab driver behind him and he opened the
ing from the zoo. I'd like to state categorically that I had no intention
door for me. I jumped in and asked for Hampstead Heath. It seemed
of escaping. Let me explain...
like the right sort of place because if nothing else, there were bound
I’d had a hard day. Got woken early by some animal screaming blue
to be a few leaves lying round. But I’d hardly sat down when he start-
murder - and there would have been a murder had I found out who
ed his monologue.
it was! No consideration at all. Anyway, at 6am it’s breakfast time. Yes,
Uber are in trouble. Seems their drivers ain’t self-employed after
bananas and leaves again! Can you imagine how many thousands of
all. They've got to pay holiday and sick pay. And what about National
bananas I've had! Whatever I had yesterday, it'll be the same today and
Insurance and Pensions. It’s gonna cost ‘em millions. But they’ll prob-
they're full of sugar, you know. Oh well, I thought, I'll just have to sol-
ably win the appeal and then it’s back to square one... blah, blah,
dier on as usual.
blah...Trying to drive down the Embankment? Forget it. And there’s
I had four hours until the public were due. I wandered round the
no cyclists even using it... blah, blah, blah... Just sitting there in a
enclosure, ate a few more leaves - I think I’m an addict. They do say that
cloud of pollution... blah, blah, blah... Two days guv, two days and it
if you eat too many carrots then you turn orange, so what happens if you
offered me just one job and that was on my way home. Life’s a com-
spend years and years eating leaves? I'll tell you... wind, terrible wind!
plete disaster... blah, blah, blah. Sell the building and share out the
Anyway, I climbed a tree, found a rope and swung back to a plat-
money. And then what?”
form. As Cilla Black famously sang: “I think I'm going outta my head,”
Escape? To that? Screaming people, pollution, moaning cab drivers?
although as any nerd will tell you, it was originally recorded by Little
There was only one thing left to say: “Driver, take me back to the Zoo!!!”
Anthony and the Imperials.
Bonzo (typed by Geoff Levene)
But I digress and thought you might like to know something about
Call Sign Online
my occasional partner, Bonzella. You could say we met on a blind
date - although it wasn't as romantic as that! I was sitting around one
afternoon when the door was flung open and she walked in, although
to be honest it was more like they shoved her in! I don't know who
was more shocked - me or her. Well, she looked at me and I could see
that the way she looked was way beyond compare. Someone should
put music to that...
But back to Bonzella; we were supposed to get to know each other.
And we did - in about 35 seconds. And that was it. We had a few dates
and I suppose I quite fancied her, but intellectually it was a struggle.
Cabbie Specials
I'd ask her what she thought about Brexit and all I’d get was a grunt.
Or I’d ask what she thought of apples instead of bananas. Another
grunt! So, I have to admit that I’ve gone off her. Yes, we get it together
now and then but I don't think it's going to last - well not for more
Now’s your chance to try our course. Any black cab driver who shows us their
than 35 seconds!
badge gets a 10% discount for green fees and societies on Mondays,
Then, just before the gates were open to allow the public to come
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and a discounted membership fee.
in, my phone rang.
“Bonzo speaking.”
“Hi Bonzo, it’s Phil.”
Our 9 hole course is the perfect place for you to relax and get some fresh air
Phil Collins.”
in the beautiful countryside of North-West Kent.
I'm not sure who you are.”
Renovated and restructured greens and improved fairways to play on, with
food and a bar on site to refresh yourself after a round.
“You know,” said Phil, “Su, Su, Suddio”. Another day for you
and me in Paradise. And I can hear it coming in the air at night,
oh Lord (copyright Cadburys chocolate - the ad, not the Lord)!”
For more information call Jacquie or Sue on 01474 573116 / 573113
“Of course,” I replied, “you saw me playing in the advert. Oh
A friendly welcome awaits you.
yeah, I know you.”
Corinthian Sports Club, Valley Road, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent. DA3 8LY
So Phil Collins told me he was going on tour but had done his back /
in, was unable to play the drums and having seen the ad featuring my
drumming skills, said that he needed me. Sadly I told him that I
couldn’t do it explaining how the Zoo made a big fuss when I did the
advert. But I offered to call Mick Fleetwood for him; he declined my
offer and hung up. Not much gratitude there! I hope his walking stick
Call Sign December 2016
Page 23
Well done to all those Dial-a-
Cab taxi drivers who joined
many other cabbies on Sunday
13 November to help transport
veterans from mainline sta-
tions to the Cenotaph in
Whitehall to commemorate
Armistice Day.
The closest Sunday to 11 November each
year marks the armistice signed at
Compiègne in France between the
WW1 Allies and Germany in 1918 for the
cessation of hostilities on the Western Front
and signifying the German defeat. That
took place at 11am and is remembered as
the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the
eleventh month. We now refer to it
as Remembrance Sunday.
The transportation of vets to Whitehall is
brilliantly organised each year by Mike
Hughes and is known nowadays as
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Poppycabs. In addition to driving the vets,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
many other drivers helped as marshals
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
along the way and the trade thanks them all
for caring...
We will remember them.
An occasional review from a struggling 14 handicapper at some
of the marque golf courses I've had the privilege to play in my
Book Aiden Kent
golf days away from the taxi…
for your event
...and make it go with a swing!
Liphook Golf Club
Down on the border of Hampshire and West Sussex,
there lies a gem of golfing turf. Liphook Golf Club
is a near neighbour of the previously reviewed
Hindhead. Whilst not as visually stunning as
The 18th at Liphook
Hindhead, it can arguably be said that Liphook is
fractionally better as a golf course - even though there is very little in it.
In 1922, Arthur Croome designed his one and only course. A schoolteacher by
profession, he had very little funds at his disposal facilitating the use of the
nature of the land, but nevertheless this is an extraordinary piece of golfing
Not long, perhaps, by today's standards - 6200 yards and with a par 70 - it demands
you play good golf. Indeed, for you Zen golfers reading this, it's a course that gently
whispers in your ear: “I want you to play well and think about every shot you make!”
It’s very hard to pick individual holes, as the course itself has a wonderful flow with a
well-thought out classic design. I’ll use the 18th as I took an accompanying photo. This
is a great final hole, a par 5 at just over 500 yards. The longer hitters may be able clear
the plateau ridge and get a kindly run down the hill to leave a 200 yard plus shot to
Tel: 07956 456 360
the green.
But beware that for the last 80 yards there are bunkers guarding the right, no room on
the left and out of bounds yards of the back. To add to that, the green runs back to
front and is treacherously fast - the ultimate risk and reward finish!
As you can tell, I have huge fondness for Liphook...
A happy golfing Christmas...
Simon Wallis, Call Sign Online
Call Sign December 2016
Page 24
“Probably everyone else has noticed too,”
Danny Lewis (D17) commented, “but the
Are we nearly there yet?”
traffic volume has worsened to the nth
degree lately, which not only affects our
arrival times for picking up account clients,
required yet another calming message from
but is also having a serious effect on actual
her husband…”
journey times in getting people to where they
Continuing his story, Danny said that
want to go.
he decided to use Judd Street, Great
“Last week I picked up an elderly couple
Russell Street, down through Covent
from Kings Cross going to the Chelsea
Garden and into Cranbourne Street rather
Bridge Hotel. The lady was in a wheelchair,
than Gower Street, its various road works
while the gentleman was reasonably mobile
and usual traffic hold ups.
and alert. No sooner had we got ten minutes
“During the course of that 30-minute jour-
into the journey when the lady asked - with a
ney, the lady must have commented at least
sense of urgency - if we were nearly there
four times and as we approached Chelsea
yet?’ I replied that the traffic was bad and that
Bridge, she sighed that they “really” must be
I would do the best I could, which kept her
there soon... and of course, at last we were!
quiet for just a few minutes before she
As they left he cab, a sense of peace and
repeated the same question again! I decided
quietness fell over me!”
to bite my tongue and concentrate on driving
But the DaC driver hadn’t quite finished
smoothly, all the while breaking my head as
with Call Sign, telling us about another
to how I could avoid the worst of the traffic,”
horrendous trip from Kings Cross.
husband interjected by telling his wife that
Danny said, sounding as though he were
“I took a gentleman from the station to the
there wasn’t long to go and that at least kept
doing the journey again!
Goring Hotel; the traffic was even worse
her happy for another ten minutes, after
“At that moment and much to my relief, the
than my Chelsea Bridge trip and it took the
which time the same question returned and
best part of an hour to complete it! Yet when
I apologised, explaining that every way we
could go was the same on that particular day,
the passenger was as good as gold and said it
wasn’t my fault. It makes your life so much
The August issue of Call Sign ran an interview with
London Taxi Company Chairman, Carl-Peter
Alan Green
Forster, who said the TX4 owners - Geely Holding
Call Sign Online
Group - aimed to produce 10,000 taxis and light com-
mercial vehicles a year by 2020, up from under 1,200
in 2015. He also added that Britain’s decision to leave
the European Union would not affect the company’s
current investment plans.
With their new factory at Ansty Park near
Coventry completed and with £300 million of
Geely’s money invested in the new site, Mr Forster
said that although future investments could depend
on the new relationship Britain forges with the EU,
he said that any decisions would not need to be
made until at least 2018, by which time they would
know exactly what the regulatory framework was, together with cus-
toms and duties framework etc. They could, if necessary, then make a decision.
But last month, Geely Chairman Li Shufu gave his view on Brexit and said
that he didn’t think it would have any negative impact on the relationship
between China and the UK. He added that he believed the two countries could
continue their relationship well into the future.
Geely Holding Group is China's largest privately owned car-maker and it has helped
Mr Li become a billionaire. But his wealth has been spread to the Midlands factory
where the taxi makers are said to be taking on 1,000 new workers - among them
he Ministry of Justice has
being highly skilled engineers, managers and advanced manufacturing technicians,
launched a consultation on
who will all be involved in the production of the green zero-emissions capable TX5,
proposals that could
which is due to be launched by the end of 2017.
reduce the high number of
This TX5, with its new light-weight aluminium body structure and composite pan-
whiplash claims and reduce premi-
elling, was designed in Barcelona by British designers David Ancona and Peter
ums. Whiplash claims have risen by
Horbury. It will be battery-powered but can switch over to petrol should the battery
50% over the past ten years and
get low.
cost insurance companies an esti-
The new taxi will seat six people, give more leg-room for drivers and incorporate a
mated £1bn a year.
panoramic glass roof. It will also have in-cab WiFi as well as charging points for passen-
The consultation gives details of
gers wanting to recharge batteries on their phones or lap-tops.
plans to scrap the right to compen-
Li Shufu is 53 and was the man that took Manganese Bronze out of adminis-
sation or put a cap of £425 on the
tration in 2012 at a reported cost of £11.4million, so guaranteeing the continu-
amount people can claim for minor
ation of what many recognised as the London taxi icon. In an exclusive Call
whiplash injuries - and then only
Sign interview in our October 2013 issue, Mr Li told us that Geely were in it for
after giving proof via a medical
the long-term and would be building LTC into a global business. He added that
report. The average whiplash pay-
he had a strong belief in its future and had agreed the right business plan for
out is around £1,850.
its future.
Call Sign December 2016
Page 25
hat’s not strictly true, of course,
Once again Call Sign writes to TfL about credit card readers; once
Transport for London would never
again they say...
say bog off; they just don’t reply!
But to us, that is the same. Call
Sign has been battling for many months in an
attempt to make our licensing authority
understand that forcing drivers to place cred-
it card readers in the passenger compartment
could put our lives at risk.
The latest letter we sent went to Alex
Moffat of their policy department and the
TX4s had tip-up seat headrests on the parti-
man who checked Dial-a-Cab’s new bracket
tion and consequently the signs they sent just
that will be fitted in the rear compartment
didn't fit. That said it all to me. There may well
should TfL not back down.
be some nice people at TfL but the impression
Many of our readers will undoubtedly be
is that although they are our licensing author-
getting bored by Call Sign constantly going
ity, they are run by machine and there is no
on about the danger TfL could be putting us
room for any movement. TfL says so, therefore
in, but if you have read this issue right
it is!
through you will have seen the number of
If DaC's PED was passed by TfL 5 years ago
bilks/attacks we have found in just one
at a cost to DaC of £500,000, why is it no good
month. No doubt we could have found many
now? And why is it that not one member of TfL
more had we advertised, but we now know
has answered me as to why, if the PED must go
that TfL don’t really care and in this case, we
in the back because TfL say so, why it cannot
didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply -
be on an unbreakable cable as it currently is
which to us is the same as receiving a
on DaC PEDs in the front. Then passengers
response telling us to bog off!
with problems could pass it through to the
The latest letter is printed below. Call
driver if they claim there is a problem. It could
Sign has also spoken to the two largest
possibly be more prone to damage, but better
selling newspapers in the UK - The Sun
to a machine than to us!
and Daily Mirror - and explained the situ-
The Call Sign letters and articles re TfL's
ation. Whilst they have not published the
total intransigence etc are all laid out for the
that really would be pointless).
stories, should any driver be injured due
But Alex, the above isn't the real prob-
December issue. How nice it would be to say
to this stupid mandate, then they will
in the following issue that TfL have looked at
lem because genuine passengers will
undoubtedly go to town on TfL. We have
somehow work out a way of payment. It is
the subject of driver safety and will allow PEDs
also spoken to a legal company but the
to go in the rear or the front provided it is
the few whose only aim is to rob the driver
cost to us is just too ridiculous to even
- and please don't kid yourself that they
accessible to passengers without the driver
think about. But again, should something
needing to touch the card (as DaC's is other-
aren't out there.
happen, then they will know the situation
As I said earlier, I have several more drivers
wise it would not have been passed) and the
and how often TfL were told what will
correct signage is attached.
in November writing of their problems regard-
happen to a driver eventually.
ing credit card payments. One driver was invit-
Sadly, the belief that most drivers have of
TfL - ie they could not care less about our
ed into the rear by a drunk lady passenger
who said the machine wasn't working, while
safety - will be confirmed when you either
send me the identical letter I have had from
another even sent a photo of the three young
This was the letter we sent to Mr Moffat...
men who were at the very least looking to get
many at TfL and the GLA that we shouldn't
Hi Alex
out without paying but who, had they known
leave the cab, look for a cash machine or
I don't think we have ever met but Brian Rice
that taxis accept credit cards and the machine
phone the CC company. Or you might not
has spoken of you being a nice guy. So I really
was in the back, would undoubtedly have
even reply because the days when TfL replied
have to write this to you directly, although I
tried to attack the driver after getting him to
to editors has long gone.
know Steve McNamara forwarded on my pre-
leave the front of the cab. You obviously know
Alex, if I sound rude towards you, that isn't
vious email to you.
that if a driver has to leave the front to go into
intentional. It is borne out of the sheer frustra-
As the editor of Call Sign, I am getting
the back, then he/she would not be able to
tion of banging my head against a wall. After
inundated by drivers who say that TfL don't
lock his/her door.
all, I assume the decision to place all PEDs in
care about drivers’ safety and that the only
I have letters from drivers who have written
the rear was taken at a meeting with the trade
thing that is important to the licensing author-
to their MPs and one who has Andrew
(my belief is that Steve McNamara and Grant
ity is uniformity.
Dismore promising to bring up the subject at
Davis were there - and even the founder of
In my next issue (1st November) I have sev-
the December Mayor's Question Time. As I
CabApp, an app that seems to have failed yet
eral drivers writing articles and letters regard-
write this, Caroline Pidgeon is expected to
obviously is more important than DaC so far
ing TfL changing their mind after passing the
ask Sadiq Khan at the November MQT to look
as TfL are concerned). Yet Brian Rice, the first
Dial-a-Cab PED equipment 5 years ago and it
again at the situation and the danger it pre-
Chairman of a radio circuit to mandate credit
being fine to use then in the driver's compart-
sents to taxi drivers.
card usage for all his drivers, wasn't invited
ment, because being removable from its cra-
Yet TfL in their wisdom keep pumping out
and didn't even know it had taken place until
dle and attached to a cable it could very easily
the same misinformation claiming that we
being told your decision had been taken.
be passed through to the passenger. Should
shouldn't leave the safety of our cab. But will
Why? Well, would TfL want someone there
there have been a problem with the PED or
TfL pay us to let these people off the fare
with a different point of view? Of course not!
the passenger was just unable to understand
because the advice to pay by cash is ridiculous
Hence the bruising on my head thanks to TfL.
how to use it, the driver could rectify the prob-
if they say they haven't any and even more
My sincere apologies if I have let out my
lem without the need of getting out of the cab.
pointless is to phone a CC company at 2 in the
frustration out at you Alex. It really isn't per-
I have read on several occasions the official
morning. What should a genuine passenger
sonal, but hopefully you can see my problem.
TfL response that if a passenger says the
do? Wait until the following morning?
As a driver as well as an editor, I know the sit-
machine doesn't work etc, then we shouldn't
The answer, Alex, is to put a proper sign in
uation drivers are in. TfL obviously don't...
leave the safety of the cab but either look for a
the passenger compartment that passengers
and therein lays my frustration and head bang-
cash machine (even though that could add
can't miss, saying the taxi driver accepts credit
ing requirement.
pounds onto any fare and cause even more of
cards - because TfL couldn't even do that cor-
Kind regards
a problem) or phone the suppliers (at 2am
rectly. Apparently they didn't realise that some
Alan Fisher
Call Sign December 2016
Page 26
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
very little while.” This was easy for the foreigner: “A little while,” he
Waiting Time
said, “is a very little while!”
We’ve all had the passenger at one time or
Samuel Joseph was paid his 6s 6d waiting time plus 5s expenses.
another who asked you to wait whilst they
Then spare a thought for William Tapping. Shortly after midnight
tended to their business and were then sur-
in late November 1861, he set down a fare in Brompton and
prised on their return to find that you had
watched as the two gentlemen entered a house. At 2am he saw the last
not stopped the clock! It’s really nothing
lights of the house extinguished as all inside prepared for bed.
At 5am, after sitting on the seat of his Hansom in the cold and
On the last Sunday of
1833, William
drenching rain, he knocked on the door and asked how much longer
Carrington was sitting atop of his Hackney
he was to wait. The master of the house was awoken and confronted
coach on the stand in Knightsbridge. It was a
by a thoroughly wet and bedraggled cabman in front of him. As far as
bitterly cold morning and two gentlemen approached him saying he
the passenger was concerned, he had placed the shilling fare on the
could have a fare when the Exeter coach arrived. No doubt
roof of the hansom through the communicating trap door, which was
Carrington was readily available to do any fare and once he had
right in front of the driver.
earned enough, he would be putting the horses away and placing
The passenger clearly thought the cabman was trying to pull a fast
himself in front of a nice warm fire. The two gentlemen were also cold
one. He knew the fare had been terminated but was trying his luck.
and asked if they could sit inside the coach whilst they awaited the
Magistrate Paynter felt that the passenger should have at least
arrival of their friend from Exeter. They climbed in and waited... and
informed the driver that the fare was ended, instead of putting a coin
waited! After two and a half hours they surmised the coach was
through the trap, a coin that could easily roll off the roof unseen by
unavoidably delayed and thanked Carrington for the use of his coach
the driver. Though he himself was not totally unconvinced the driver
and began to walk away.
was not pulling a fast one. Tapping only received half of the 11s he
Carrington, it can be assumed, was none too happy about this;
was trying to claim and was not allowed any costs. Both cabman and
the two gentlemen had been protected from the elements whilst
passenger were unhappy with the magistrate’s decision.
he sat in the biting wind for over two hours and without a penny
to show for it. After a lot of argument, he managed to obtain the
A very merry Christmas to all...
address of one of the gentlemen and a summons was issued.
Sean Farrell
In court, William Blacklock tried to argue that due to an irregular-
Call Sign Online
ity, the summons was invalid. Magistrate Burrell told him that as he
was in court at the moment, the summons must have done its job.
Blacklock then argued that the Hackney coachman was told he was
only going to have a fare after the Exeter coach arrived, which he had
readily agreed to. The magistrate replied that the hiring commenced
as soon as they climbed into the coach. Carrington was entitled to his
fare - 5s for the waiting time plus a further 8s 6d expenses.
1855, Samuel Joseph agreed to take a fare from
Whitechapel to Ilford and return for 7s 6d (38p). He was kept
waiting over three hours at Ilford and demanded to be paid for
his waiting time, which his German publican passenger refused
to pay. The publican had agreed that though a price was agreed
for the journey, there was no mention of waiting time.
“On your reasoning,” ventured Yardley, the magistrate, “if the cab
was detained at Ilford for a week, he was not to be paid for it.” A wit-
ness stated that the coachman was told he shouldn’t be kept waiting
at Ilford for “a great while.”
“What is your notion of a great while,” queried the Magistrate, “a
week or a month?”
“Oh no, sir,” said the witness, “that’s a long while!”
“Then what is your notion of a little while; a day, or a day and a
night,” queried Yardley.
To much laughter from those present in the court, Magistrate
Yardley was told that “...a day is a little while!”
The German publican called more witnesses, none of whom were
fluid English speakers but who were supposed to have understood
the contract between the driver and his passenger. The publican then
informed the court that “…the cabman was eating bread and cheese
and drinking beer in an alehouse in Ilford at my expense and I was
obliged to wait for him whilst he finished his meal!”
Yardley was incredulous, “What! Do you mean to say he was stuffing
himself with bread and cheese and beer for three hours and a half,”
to which the German replied in the positive.
Another witness told the court that Joseph would be detained just
for a very little while. Once again Yardley asked a witness to define “a
Call Sign December 2016
Page 27
ondon City Airport has been named
the best airport of its kind in the
London City: Best regional
world, picking up the Regional
Airport of the Year award at the CAPA
World Aviation Summit in Amsterdam on
airport in the world!
27 October.
Organisers said the award was given to the
regional airport that has been the biggest
LCA will be providing more
standout strategically, has established itself as
work in the coming year
a leader and done the most to advance the
lion passengers per year by
progress of the aviation industry. The catego-
2025, up from 4.5m today.
ry covered airports catering for up to 10 mil-
“While waiting for planning
lion passengers per year.
permission, we have experi-
Peter Harbison, CAPA Executive Chairman
enced sustained record
“London City has overcome intensify-
growth and managed this
ing competition in the London area, as well
with very constrained infra-
as political obstacles. Despite these barriers it
structure. Crucially, we have
was one of the fastest growing UK airports in
done so without compromis-
2015 with a passenger growth rate three
ing customer experience and
times the national average.”
continued to deliver our pas-
Accepting the award, Declan Collier, CEO,
for an expansion programme that will trans-
senger proposition of 20 minute check-in
London City Airport said: “This award is the
form the airport, creating additional capacity
(door to gate) and
15 minute arrival
icing on the cake of what has been a momen-
for the London airspace system, welcoming a
(plane to train). I thank CAPA for its
tous year for London City Airport. In July, the
new generation of aircraft that will open up
recognition and look forward to building
Government granted planning permission
new destinations and accommodate 6.5mil-
on the success of 2016 in the years to
London City Airport currently has ten air-
lines flying out of it, serving more than 40
Sayings of 2016!
mainly European destinations. The City
Airport Development Programme, given the
Or there’s one born every minute!!!
go ahead by Government in July 2016, will
As we approach 2017, we wanted to present two
see the construction of a parallel taxilane to
phrases from 2016 that emanated from different
increase runway capacity, seven new aircraft
departments of Transport for London and
stands and a world-class terminal extension.
which allow you, our Call Sign readers, to decide
The plans will see LCY welcoming 6.5m pas-
on as to how applicable they were to real life!
sengers per year by 2025.
1. From TfL adverts both on television and
“Every journey matters. Safety is our pri-
Call Sign: Does that include taxi drivers
who, if forced to enter the passenger com-
partment following a complaint that the
credit card reader doesn’t work, could
well be leaving themselves open to an
attack or robbery as they would also
have to leave the driver’s door
2. Boris Johnson, as Mayor, after being
asked about the appalling eastbound traffic
along Lower and Upper Thames Streets
from morning till late at night:
“Wait until the roadworks at Tower
Hill are finished and then you’ll see the difference...”
Call Sign: We’re still waiting Mr Ex-Mayor - probably in the never-ending
hold-ups along that stretch of road. At least making you Foreign Secretary
Your old TX1 Taxi is wanted
means you are out of the country more than in it! Pity you can’t take your
bike lanes with you when you go...
Quick viewing and decision
Cash waiting!
Top price paid for really clean
It’s a bit silly, we know, but since December 1997 this magazine
has celebrated Christmas / Eid / Chanukah / Zarathosht Diso /
Please ring Graham on
Rohatsu in the 1 December issue! We just have this silly feeling
that 1 January might be a bit late and in any case we missed
07435 562759
Diwali altogether. So here we are and regardless of which religion you
or e-mail on
follow, we hope your God provides you with a good December...
Alan Fisher, Call Sign Online
Call Sign December 2016
Page 28
Ladies & Gents
You will probably know by the time you read
this article, that we have been extremely busy
throughout November dealing with an urgent
upgrade on the Ingenico PEDs.
The Dial-a-Cab IT department found a
problem almost by chance and immediately
gramme. We are using the yellow grab han-
contacted Barclaycard and Ingenico who
dles as the main securing point, which allevi-
were passing the buck and blaming each other!
ates any additional drilling or fixing holes
It transpired that we had just over two weeks to
that I know many of you with lease deals
upgrade the units or they would all have liter-
were concerned about in case of possible
ally died overnight.
damage it could have caused to the taxi - but
For the upgrade to work successfully, the
no need to worry!
MDT units also needed updated software, so
You will be contacted and given a date and
you can imagine our IT Director, John Bankes
time slot at Roman Way and I’d appreciate it
and his team together with all the guys at
if you could try to keep to the time, as again
Roman Way were under severe pressure to
we are under a strict time frame of 1st
make the necessary changes in such a short
January 2017 to complete the project. We’ve
time and without the prior notice that other
already fitted a number of you with the
providers were given some two months before.
wiring prior to the fitting of the bracket,
Not an ideal situation and definitely not one of
which will reduce the fitting time substantial-
our making.
ly; unfortunately, with the above mentioned
We utilised both Roman Way and DaC
currently on target to succeed.
PED upgrade rearing its ugly head as the
The software update should and would
immediate priority, we could not fit as many
House to carry out firstly, the reprogramming
of the PEDs and secondly, asking you the
have included a gratuity box and pre-
as we originally aimed for.
Shareholders to come to either location - day
authorisations, but due to the gaping hole
or night - to have both the MDT and an updat-
in communication from Barclaycard, rec-
And finally...
tifying the current problem was high pri-
ed PED fitted in your taxis.
Can I wish all of you and your families a
At first the changes that Barclaycard made to
ority and those two updates will be com-
very happy and busy festive period. This
ing in the next release.
reactivate all PEDs did not completely solve
is also the time of year where we can all
the problem, which meant some units were
take time to reflect and think of the loved
still unworkable and more time had to be wast-
PEDs in the passenger
ones that we have lost..
ed on a project already short of time. Through
no fault of DaC, we had to hold off with even
more calls and apologies from Barclaycard
The brackets were approved by TfL very
Allan Evans
until they finally rectified the problem. Fitting
recently and are currently in production. I
DaC Operations
the fleet in such a short period was a major task
am expecting delivery very soon in readiness
Compliance Manager
and your full assistance has meant that we are
for the commencement of the fitting pro-
Alex: Give pedestrians the roadway!
“I’ve been on Dial-a-Cab for 15 years now, which means I’ve
in with Alex’s moan and he ended by
been reading about driver’s moans in Call Sign for 15 years too!
reverting to his list of moans again:
And you know what...pretty much all of the moans are deserved!”
“I do sometimes wonder whether
We wiped the sweat beads from our fevered brow as Alex
it would just be better to give
Constantinou (N05) told this magazine about the things that irri-
pedestrians the roadway too
tated him, saving his worst one till the end.
because they think they own it
“The cost of a new cab is always up there being moaned about,
anyway. Then the rest of us will all
just as is TfL placing PED’s in the back of the cab and putting our
have to go by bike because there
safety at risk. Then there are the number of licensed private hire
won’t be room for anything else!”
cars - which must be close to 120,000 by now - but way out in
After a quick moan about the weath-
front has to be the state of the traffic! It doesn’t matter where you
er, Alex left Call Sign’s reporter and
go in the daytime, because you will be just minutes away from yet
drove off in a puff of smoke!
another holdup. Every taxi driver knows about the ludicrous cycle
lanes and how they are destroying London, but my problem is
pedestrian crossings.
Keith Reading
“Traffic lights crossings that stay red forever to give
Professional Toastmaster
pedestrians time enough to have lunch and make a phone
Master of Ceremonies
call while strolling across are bad enough, but old fashioned
pedestrian crossings where people don’t wait until it’s safe
but walk straight out without even looking, pointing to the
Tele: 01279 465 938
zebra stripes on the ground after you’ve had to slam your
Mobile: 07774 860 374
brakes on, are just the worst!”
Alex had been in Ladbroke Grove in yet another hold-up when
he saw a bus that had gone into a wall on the wrong side of the
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
road. Just then a passenger jumped in and asked for Notting Hill.
He told Alex that someone just walked out onto the crossing and
Fellow of the Guild of
the bus had to swerve to avoid them. Alex didn’t know the facts
Professional Toastmasters
to issue blame, so we cannot do so in this case either, but it fitted
Call Sign December 2016
Page 29
Brian Rice throws charge of nepotism at the IEA after its ludicrous suggestion to...
The Institute of Economic Affairs,
panies to regulate themselves according to market
preferences and to level the playing field for both
an organisation famed for doing
taxis and private hire vehicles in a way which
very little other than being a
encourages competition and growth and to
thinktank for Mrs Thatcher when
improve service for consumers.”
she was Prime Minister, has come
He added that in the view of the thinktank, PHV
markets were open and competitive while taxi
back into the world with some-
markets were still heavily protected with the num-
thing they believe will get them
ber of licences capped and that minicab growth
publicity - coming up with a plan
should not be held in. He said that taxi restrictions
that would allow minicab drivers
should be lifted and a level playing field adopted.
to be able to become black cab
Dial-a-Cab Chairman, Brian Rice, told Call
Sign: “This is an absolutely preposterous sug-
drivers, but without having to go
gestion and reeks of Nepotism. The IEA was
through the Knowledge!
founded in 1955 by the late Sir Anthony
Brian Rice accuses the IEA of nepotism
They are proposing that regulations and
Fisher; a current Member of the Board and
restrictions in the taxi market get torn up so
Under the thinktank plans, it would no longer
Chairman of Network for a Free Society is the
that the number of cabs able to ply for hire,
be a requirement for new drivers to spend
daughter of Sir Anthony - her name is Linda
use taxi ranks and fly along bus lanes would
between two and four years learning London and
Whetstone. Her daughter and granddaughter
increase from its current 25,000 licensed taxi
the distinction between private hire vehicles and
of Sir Anthony is Rachel Whetstone, who is
drivers up to around the IEA’s figure of
taxis would be scrapped, allowing minicabs to
the Senior Vice President of Communications
170,000 private hire vehicles out of a total of
roam the streets and pick up street hails. If it’s
and Public Policy at none other than Uber!
242,000 - no, we don’t know where they get
quiet out - and are there that many passengers
That connection in itself should confine their
their figures from either! They also propose
around to satisfy 242,000 cabs searching for a
findings to the rubbish bin, as it reeks of
that fares be slashed.
hand going up - then minicabs could also use our
nepotism and vested interest. They are sup-
ranks. If they are lucky enough to trap a job then
posed to be a thinktank; perhaps they should
they would - according to the IEA - also be able
get the fundamentals correct before passing
to use bus lanes. The organisation considers that
Vito 2017?
an opinion.”
the main requirement for driving a taxi would be
Transport select committee member, Karl
a clean criminal record and correct car insurance
McCartney, said that IEA needed to ensure there
so that passengers were covered.
was a sustainable future for London’s iconic black
According to the IEA, the distinction
between private hire vehicles and taxis had
cabs by helping to bring the trade into the 21st
century and creating a playing field that recog-
been blurred thanks to minicabs being
booked from street corners.
nised its “unique and traditional role.”
Digi sign on the rear
Mark Littlewood is the IEA’s director general.
A Department for Transport spokesperson
of the new Vito?
He also believes the rich pay too much tax. He
said that while they recognised new technology
said: “Current regulation of the taxi market is
such as the Uber booking app as being a game
Details of the new Mercedes Benz Vito
archaic and needs urgent reform. Much of the
changer and that no one wanted to do anything
are shrouded in secrecy, but a Dial-a-Cab
new regulatory measures taken have been obvi-
that stamped out innovation and creativity,
driver who was at their premises for a
ous attempts to obstruct growth within these
“...there were no plans to change the rules so
totally different reason, got a brief look
companies. The market must be liberated from
that taxis and private hire were subject to the
at an uncovered top rear end of what
overzealous government regulation to allow com-
same regulations.”
was said to be the 2017 electric version
of the taxi.
The driver, who wanted to remain
anonymous for obvious reasons, told us:
“I asked someone why the cab was cov-
ered up and he said it was still secret, so I
assumed it was the electric version. I had
a phone in my hand but didn’t think that
Call Sign would be interested in a photo
of an old tarpaulin cover - even with a
Vito underneath it!
But suddenly one of the mechanics
called out to another and although I
couldn’t hear what was said, I could see
he was going to look at something
underneath. I really couldn’t see much,
but enough to see that the vehicle had
what looked like a digital sign-writer at
the back that would inform vehicles
behind that the doors were opening and
took a quick pic! It certainly made me
wonder what other technology was
about to be sprung on us!”
Call Sign December 2016
Page 30
Either write to Call Sign at
Dial-a-Cab House
or email us at
Hire sexual assault statistics (using the
about their dwindling pay deals, which
All online!
Public Interest Exemption) “in the coming
affect passenger transport and their food
Hi Alan
weeks.” But they never did. In response to
delivery service, Uber Eats. Uber have
Is it just me or have LTPH/TfL totally lost it!
another FOI request (August 2nd 2016),
been shown to possess an unbridled disre-
When you renew your licence you get a
TfL said they anticipated publication on
gard for the financial rights of individuals,
choice of filling the application in manually
September 20th 2016 - they still have not
backed up by a team of highly skilled per-
or doing it online and as I do not have a
done so, despite several assurances that
suasive lawyers who know what buttons to
computer, I still do it the old fashioned
they were imminent. During the interim
press and when to press them!
way. Yet when I did that, LTPH/TfL told me
period, women have been sexually
Uber are a soul devouring juggernaut that
that they couldn’t renew it unless I gave
assaulted; having had no warning from
sucks people in and spews them out. When
them an email address. So I told them I did-
TfL of the possible dangers associated with
you work for Uber, you sell your soul hook
n’t have one, but that didn’t satisfy our
using Private Hire vehicles. Having used
line and sinker. Yes, they help you obtain a
licensing authority and they said I would
Section 22 of the FOI Act to justify their
car etc at extortionate rates. They tie you
have to use someone else’s! I did do that
response, I believe TfL will shortly be in
into their contract and you are then an Uber
but it got me wondering about data protec-
breach of FOI regulations as the use of
prisoner. They own you and sin-bin you if
tion regulations and the aspect of allowing
Section 22 is conditional upon the ‘exis-
you don't follow their rules and regulations.
someone else to receive details about my
tence of intent to publish’ BEFORE the FOI
If that's being a self-employed free agent,
licence - a regulation LTPH/TfL are appar-
request is made.
then my name’s Donald Trump!
ently encouraging me to break?
I would like you, as my MP, to demand
I also know that although Uber are des-
Gerry Tobin (L32)
the immediate publication of a complete
perate to start here in Brighton with lots of
It sounds a bit weird Gerry, even for
and comprehensive statistical report of
fares waiting, they just can't get the drivers
TfL! Are you sure you didn’t tick an
the sexual assault data.
because the regulations and enforcements
incorrect box? It reminds me of a time
I appreciate your assistance,
on Private Hire and Hackney all have to
back in 1988 when I first went on email
Graham Waite
abide by the blue book of regulations... and
with Compuserve. I only knew two oth-
it's a long list with an even playing field for
ers who were on email (it was still
all! If only TfL had adopted Brighton’s
called electronic mail back then). There
A clean Christmas...
strategy instead of letting them come on
was former Board Member Steve
Hi Alan
stream so easily!
Sanders and the Editor of Las Vegas taxi
Betty is like that special aunt, the one that if
Dave Heath (Ex-W27)
magazine, Trip Sheet, Dick Kawadler.
your mum dies you've pencilled in to go to
Brighton, East Sussex
When there was nothing to say to either,
live with at the age of seven, knowing that
Come on David, admit it; you’re not
I would have to email myself just to
she can fix your bike and understand the
really Uber’s number one fan! ...Ed
check it was working. Now 28 years on,
long words in your homework. So let’s hope
TfL apparently say you have to have an
that if/when we have to move offices, we can
Rear mounted PEDs
email address whether you have a com-
hold on to the very best domestic in the
puter or not? Are we heading towards
world. So on behalf of my wife and myself,
the day when we all have electronic
happy Christmas to a lovely lady.
Hi Alan
chips surgically implanted to save us
Gary Cox (046) and his domestic, Ally
There has been a problem with rear mount-
bothering to even talk? Then TfL can
ed PEDs, which TfL should be made aware
just zap us and we’d automatically be
You have a way with words, Gary, whilst
of. Passengers, usually the ones in a big
relicensed!!! ...Ed
Ally must have an amazing amount of
hurry, are removing their Credit Cards
patience! But yes, Betty is exceptional. My
prior to the transaction being authorised. I
Sex attack statistics
only concern is how you know Betty!
have spoken to a few drivers who have had
Hi Alan
Happy Christmas anyway! ...Ed
to ask their passenger to reinsert their
You may be interested in a letter I wrote to
Cards to restart the transaction, causing
my MP, James Cleverly, last month regard-
delays to them and the following traffic. I
ing TfL’s failure to keep their word on sex
Uber, the Telegraph
personally experienced this problem today
attack statistics...
when I passed the DaC PED to my Chinese
Graham Waite (B35)
and Brighton...
passenger, who obviously couldn't under-
Graham’s letter to James Cleverly, MP
Hello Alan
stand the process. The trip was from Pall
for Braintree, is below. The figures have
In the Daily Telegraph, Richard Holt said
Mall to Little Venice on Oct 30th and is
been promised for several months but
London’s black cabs should be consigned to
recorded on my log.
at the moment have still not been
history and that Uber was the way forward.
Dave Cohen (E94)
released. The longer they take to
There are, however, a number of issues Uber
Dave, there is absolutely nothing that I
appear, the more many will assume that
drivers have with their own bosses, culminat-
haven’t told TfL either personally or via
they are so bad that the Mayor does not
ing in the recent High Court case regarding
a third party about what can and proba-
want them revealed prior to the
driver employment status. Yes, their fares are
bly will happen by moving our PEDs to
Christmas rush ... Ed
as cheap as chips for the time being, but for
the passenger compartment. They
Dear Mr Cleverly,
how long? Perhaps only as long as it takes to
range from the one we all know about
I am a licensed London Taxi Driver liv-
decimate the opposition before a radical hike
(possible attacks by passengers deliber-
ing in Braintree. In March of this year
in fares benefitting the puppeteers... sorry,
ately claiming the PED isn’t working) to
and in response to a Freedom Of
driverteers! But take a look inside the compa-
blocking our vision of nearside cyclists
Information request, Transport for
ny; see how they operate and how they treat
to possibly, in the event of a sudden
London agreed to publish Taxi / Private
their drivers who are constantly protesting
stop and the passenger not belting up,
Call Sign December 2016
Page 31
of banging their head onto the rear-
mounted unit. However, I have all but
given up on TfL actually seeing any
sense because our safety is obviously
not as important to them as the unifor-
mity of every taxi having the PED in the
same place.
the problems drivers have, you will know
Bayswater than for Bill Harris’s murder.
I have since then asked Steve
my view. But you are also right that TfL
Sean Farrell (B39)
McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, to
won’t admit that they have cocked up.
Thanks for clearing it up, Sean; I was
ask TfL why, if they insist on PEDS being
Then again they must be used to it...!
about to make a joke about hats, but
there, then why can’t they be on cables
then I remembered hearing about the
as they currently are in our cabs. Then
murder and there was nothing remotely
passengers could pass them through to
funny about it ...Ed
and sadness!
us. I did actually ask Helen Chapman
Hi Alan,
last month following our meeting, but
Re the November issue of Call Sign, many
Credit card charges
received no reply so I’m hoping that
congratulations to Al Fresco on his 50 years
Hi Alan
someone at TfL will answer Steve. For
as a Green Badge driver. I note that you have
I was very disappointed with Dial-a-Cab for
the life of me, I can’t think of a solitary
been driving for 46 years; I got my badge in
adding on a further charge of 1.5% + VAT
reason as to why they would say no;
December 1955, so between us we’ve seen
on street credit card rides. I was under the
after all, it would deal with our main
many changes in the cab trade over all those
impression that the £7 increase earlier this
problem - that of safety. I also gave
years. But never in my worst times did I ever
year was supposed to have given us sur-
details to The Sun, who several months
think the London taxi business would be so
charge-free transactions. I think we must
ago published an article on the
badly treated by its licensing authority as TfL
have the most expensive PED on the mar-
alleged Uber rapes in their cars, but
does to it.
ket at the moment.
obviously it would suit the paper far
I also read with sadness and dismay in Call
Perhaps it might be a bit fairer to the dri-
more if a black cab driver was severely
Sign that my old paper, Taxi Globe, like
vers if Dial-a-Cab could offer us a service to
beaten up first. Their “ad” for stories
many other taxi trade publications before it,
match the cost, ie payments twice a week
mentions celebrity or scandal, so I
has ceased production. Sad days indeed, but
instead of having to wait almost 2 weeks for
guess a story about our safety isn’t real-
I wish all at The Gentleman's Circuit, ie
some credit card payments to reach our
ly up their street and explains why I
ODRTS, Lords and now Dial-a-Cab, all the
bank accounts.
don’t usually read that paper. And no, I
very best and of course, be lucky!
Peter Moll (K35)
haven’t given up nagging TfL but as they
Rodney Lewis (Ex-D77)
Allan Evans replies: Hi Peter, the addi-
care about our safety little more than
Thanks Rodney; 61 years is some time to
tional amount is actually 1.5% + vat
The Sun, it really is difficult ...Ed
be connected with this trade - albeit as a
which equates to
1.8% on Credit
driver and trade newspaper editor. So
Card (Hail and Ride) Trips. As one mem-
Rear mounted PEDs
yes, who would have thought that this
ber of the new Board of Directors, I still
trade would have jumped through hoops
feel it is more than fair compared to
to get back the old PCO as against the
other providers. The additional amount
Dear Alan
licensing authority we currently have.
is merely to offset the rapid increase in
Thought you should know that I asked
But all is not totally bad, at least those at
merchant fees that DaC pays on all
Andrew Dismore, Labour London
TfL in charge of us are not starving and
transactions and as I have already men-
Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden
off our backs, are earning far more than
tioned, this fee is steadily rising.
to speak to TfL on our behalf. I don't sup-
we could dream of! ...Ed
Moving forward, we have already dis-
pose it will make much difference but there
cussed at length the payment schedule
is always hope. He said he would bring it
Formerly a diamond!
for Hail and Ride trips and it is current-
up at the December Mayor’s Question
Hi Alan
ly under consideration...
Time. I wrote:
“Dear Mr Dismore, I was wondering
I recently dropped off Bob Diamond, the
whether you would be prepared to ask TfL
man who got a £32million bonus from
not to insist that credit card readers be sit-
Barclays. I told him I remembered driving
I concur with the Editor’s comments in the
uated in the passenger compartment of
him around when he worked at Morgan
November Call Sign re the new VAD sys-
taxis. I work as a taxi driver in London and
Stanley in the late 80s. Yes, he said, they
tem being a much better system than V6
drive for Dial-a-Cab, who have had card
were happy days. And he gave me a 40p tip!
and that the amount of Credit Card work
readers with TfL permission in the driver
A true gent lol...!
has shot up enormously (although tips are
compartment since 2011 with no problems
Jon Robinson (E88)
almost no existent). But I would like to
at all. It seems to me that making us move
Shows how little you know, Jon! By the
make a plea for the next VAD update.
the readers could endanger drivers if they
time he paid tax on it, he'd be lucky to go
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make signing on
have to leave the safety of the front to help
home with £20million. And that’s why
and clearing a job to default to Available...
a passenger in the back, who may be delib-
you only got 40p!!!
erately misusing the reader just to get a dri-
Alan Nash (A95)
ver out of the front so they can rob him or
Why would you want that, Mr Numbers?
her. I think TfL are just making themselves
Wrong hat!
You may sign on but be on your way
look ridiculous over this issue; it seems
Dear Alan
somewhere and not want to be offered
they made a mistake but haven't the
Regarding the letter from Dave Cohen (E94)
a trip; while the same may apply if you
courage to admit it. Any help you can give
in last month’s Mailshot, Jack the Hat
clear a trip and decide to look for some-
us in this matter would be very much
McVitie was stabbed to death in a flat in
where you can stop for a bite to eat - or
appreciated, if you need further informa-
Evering Road by Reggie Kray, whereas Bill
in your case to search for the ‘kicking
tion please contact Dial-a-Cab.”
the Hat was the unfortunate taxi driver to have
out’ times of that month’s events! You
You never know, Alan. Maybe...
been shot and killed in Baker Street. If mem-
would then be writing to me to ask that
Alf Cook (A62)
ory serves me correct, his killer got more time
the following update did not automati-
Well done Alf; if you read this issue and
for the burglary he had just committed in
cally make you available! ...Ed