< Go Back
If you thought
cyclists were just a
nuisance, prepare
yourself for a shock!
Call Sign February 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
Let’s beat the rickshaws at their own game and pick up work from the theatres.
Here is a list of theatres, the shows and their “kicking out” time!
London Theatre Shows
Call Sign February 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
Welcome to February - notori-
ison site that ComCab had announced it was
joining, because we failed to see how our prices
ous as the most depressing
could compare to PH. The company concerned is
month of the year. That is prob-
Karhoo, a start-up that has already raised $250
million and which says it plans to raise over $1bil-
ably why even in this leap year,
lion in an ambitious attempt to take on Uber.
there are only 29 days in it! But
Karhoo was founded by British entrepreneur
Daniel Ishag who was based in New York origi-
hey ho, that’s where we are so
nally. It claims to have support from several high-
we’ll have to put up with it. So
profile partnerships and backers that include for-
mer Sony Music Entertainment Chairman and
on with the show...
Chief Executive, Nick Gatfield, who suddenly
upped and left the music giant at the end of last
Electric taxis
year. Perhaps we now know why! There are other
Many years ago I was invited to dinner at the
high profile names and companies also associated
Dukes Hotel in St James with then
with Karhoo.
Conservative Minister of Transport for London,
Going onto their platform would mean
Steve Norris. The idea was for me to throw
being on the same site as ComCab, but it
any questions I had at him and to publish his
would also mean Addison Lee and others. If
replies. But there was one question he could-
How long did TfL take to
that bothers anyone, then they won’t want to
n't answer on the day because he said he need-
ed to consult with the Chancellor of the
come up with that!
go within a million miles of it. Others may -
Exchequer. Whilst that didn’t assist any article
On February 20th the trade finally heard
and I stress may - feel that they are the less-
I was planning to write, I have to admit for that
er evil when it comes to dealing with Uber.
from Transport for London about the pri-
one brief moment I felt quite important!
vate-hire-but-really-Uber consultation that
Some might also say that the expression e-hail
I had asked that as a result of all London taxis
we were all asked to fill in. Among the
has Uber connotations. But that’s like a passenger
having to be compulsorily redesigned in order to
questions originally asked were some such
on the Titanic refusing to go in a lifeboat because
accept wheelchair passengers, then in future
as whether PH apps should be allowed to
a waiter at breakfast didn’t call him sir. Our trade
they should be free of VAT as they would then be
show vehicles that were “available for hire”
is currently on the Titanic and we can use some
specialised vehicles for the disabled.
either visibly or virtually. Then there was
help. But that doesn’t mean we should take any-
As promised, the answer came around a week
whether they should have to provide book-
thing unless we believe it can help. You tell me.
later, but I don't have to tell you what it was - unless
ing confirmation to passengers at least five
In the meantime I have asked Karhoo to give a
you have ever bought a new cab with no VAT!
minutes prior to the trip.
synopsis of their app and it is in this issue...
I obviously disagreed with the decision, but
All PH companies are supposed to provide a
there wasn’t much I could do about it as the
pre-booking service of up to seven days in
Cyclists and speeding taxis!
trade organisations I spoke to said that my stand
advance. After all, they are not allowed to ply for
This issue of Call Sign has what I would consid-
was pointless and it would never happen as it
hire so it has to be via pre-booking. But Uber
er to be one of the most shocking incidents I can
was a governmental decision. I still disagree
doesn’t allow pre-booked trips and neither does
ever remember writing about. It involves a Dial-
because, like it or not, our trade is tiny and dis-
it have an advertised landline - you’d assume a
a-Cab driver going through a red light. It wasn’t
carding VAT for us would hardly have affected the
must for minicabs and one that TfL would surely
deliberate, but the driver held her hands up when
country’s balance of payments.
sort out.
seeing still photos taken from a CCTV film - or at
If we are to assume that a new electric taxi is
Also in the consultation was that drivers should
least she assumed that where they had come
going to cost £50,000 including VAT, then one
not be allowed to work for more than one opera-
without the tax would lower the price to under
tor. We’ve all seen minicab drivers - mainly those
But she was wrong. She was filmed by what
£42,000 and with the Mayor’s subsidy offers, I’m
on Uber - with almost more phones in their car
appears to have been a cyclist camera - one of
fairly certain that they would fly out to younger
than we have computer screens in the DaC
drivers. However, it might be rather difficult as
those attached to the crash helmet. The film was
Contact Centre! It is dangerous in a car and we’ve
things stand.
then apparently passed over to the police who
all seen the accidents that Uber are involved in.
I always believed that Steve Norris would have
took stills from it and after seemingly trying to
There were also some silly ones too, such
made an excellent Mayor for the taxi trade (he
cover up where it originated from, then came out
as that all minicab drivers need to speak
stood against Ken but lost). He knew more about
and said they were happy to accept the cyclist’s
English! Ridiculous! After all, if they don’t
our business than anyone outside the trade I had
speak English then they can always keep their
film as evidence against the taxi driver!
ever met - including many cab drivers inside it!
children off school and use them to translate
We always thought that the CCTV cameras
We would have still had minicabs, but they would
their satnav into English! Call Sign has
had to be checked and calibrated before being
all have behaved themselves
- or else! He
already published two examples of that actu-
used in evidence. Are we now wrong and that in
brought in the original Green Paper on licensing
ally happening! (See page 18... Ed)
reality, anyone can film anyone else they claim
minicabs, but was never two-faced and always
So from their padded seats counting their six
is breaking the law and that film becomes per-
said he would do that. He also said he
figure salaries, TfL finally let us know their deci-
fectly ok to use in a court of law?
would protect the taxi trade and I believed him.
sion and it was so good, that all the trade organi-
But that wasn’t all. The photos sent to driver,
We now have a Conservative Mayoral candi-
sations actually got up and walked out at the
Debbie Hope (W18), showed that the lights
date in Zak Goldsmith who says that within 2 -
launch! TfL are obviously scared of what could
weren’t working correctly and that from red and
3 years most car owners will have electric vehi-
happen to them and their huge salaries if they
amber, where they should have turned green,
cles and if elected, as an incentive to purchasing
showed the balls needed to tell Uber what they
they in fact went straight back to red! The story is
them, any electric car owner would have access
can and can’t do in London. Then again, three
inside this issue...
to bus lanes. He added that if his forecast was
names keep popping up: Boris Johnson, David
correct, then “...there will be no point having bus
Cameron and his friend Rachel Whetstone...
lanes because everyone will be driving these
who happens to be the senior vice-president of
I have been amazed at the number of drivers
things around.”
Uber! Obviously a coincidence...
that remembered January as being the month
Labour Mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan,
You can read a more detailed version of the
my son Reed died. It really is hard to believe
responded that millions of Londoners used
consultation that 16,000 people wasted their
that three years have gone since that awful time.
buses every day and that their journeys should be
time in completing and his view of it from
made easier and not harder.
My sincere thanks to all the drivers that con-
Brian Rice in his Reflections of the Chairman
I voted for Boris Johnson 4 years ago. If I
tacted me at the time. Your sentiments were
on page 4...
knew then how he would set about turning our
very much appreciated...
great capital into a large park for the benefit of
cyclists, I’d rather have voted for Mickey Mouse!
Alan Fisher
Some months ago, Call Sign queried how taxi
Instead I got both...
companies could go onto a taxi/minicab compar-
Call Sign February 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
to the licence fee structure will be consulted
TfL proposals for
on separately.
London’s Private Hire
* Amendment of regulations to give TfL the
On February 20th I received a press release
power to control advertising displayed inside,
regarding TfL’s proposals for the Private Hire
from, or on the outside of a private hire vehicle.
industry, the proposals having arisen after a
* Operators will be required to notify TfL
consultation process in which TfL received
before changing their operating model.
16,000 responses. As I began reading the docu-
* Operators must ensure that customers can
ment, it seemed pretty good as there was a for-
speak to a real person in the event of a prob-
mal English requirement for drivers, an investi-
lem with their journey.
gation regarding the removal of the Congestion
* Private hire operators must provide an esti-
Charge exemption, a guaranteed fare estimate
mated fare prior to the commencement of the
for passengers in advance of their journey and
to also ensure that passengers can actually
* Private hire drivers will be required to have
speak to someone in the event of a problem
hire or reward insurance in place at all times
with their journey.
while registered to an operator.
The proposal regarding the removal of the
exemption for the Congestion Charge is due to
including details of all drivers and vehicles reg-
Proposals that will be
there being in excess of 95,000 Private Hire
istered with them.
licences issued with 1 in every 10 vehicles
* Operators must record the main destination
considered further are:
entering the Congestion Zone being a PH vehi-
for each booking before the journey com-
* Requirements for security measures for oper-
cle - an increase of over fifty per cent in the last
ators who use apps to allocate drivers to a fare
two years. The Mayor is now concerned about
* Operators to retain all records for a period
to prevent the app being used by a person other
the congestion they cause and of course how
of 12 months.
than the licensed driver.
they add to pollution.
* TfL to control the names under which oper-
* The feasibility of introducing a requirement
Regarding the proposals TfL propose to take
ators offer private hire services to the public.
for operators to indemnify their customers
forward, thirteen of them are as set out in the
* Private hire drivers to be required to demon-
against any failing of their driver to provide hire
public consultation and a further five are
strate a certain standard of English, with par-
or reward insurance.
amended proposals. Another three proposals
ticular emphasis on ability for spoken commu-
* Hire or reward insurance protects passengers
will be investigated further before any decision
nication in line with the Home Office require-
in licenced taxis and private hire vehicles. It
is taken as to whether or not they should be
ment for a B1 qualification when applying for
ensures that passengers are able to reclaim loss
taken forward.
sustained as a result of an accident while under-
But, and what a huge ‘but’ it is, there are
* Individual licence applicants to provide
taking a journey in a taxi or private hire vehi-
four proposals TfL will not be taking for-
National Insurance numbers to TfL.
cle. Without this insurance in place, passengers
ward and they just happen to be the most
* A driver’s private hire vehicle licence to be
may not be able to reclaim costs or claim com-
important proposals, certainly so far as I
considered for revocation if their private hire
pensation following an accident or injury.
am concerned. That is because they cover
driver’s licence is revoked.
All I can add is that TfL had the opportu-
the topic of immediate hire. Those four
* TfL will liaise with the Home Office on intro-
nity to appease the Licensed taxi trade, but
proposals are:
ducing DBS checks on private hire operator staff
they have not taken it; instead, all I can
* Operators having to provide booking con-
that have face to face contact with the public.
predict is that the coming months will see
firmation details to passengers at least five
* TfL to stop accepting payment for licence
more confrontation.
minutes prior to the journey commencing.
fees by postal order and cheque.
Once again, TfL have let us down...
* Having to offer the ability to pre-book up
* Drivers to carry or display a copy of insur-
to seven days in advance.
ance details at all times.
* Operators being prohibited from showing
* Introduce new operator licence fee struc-
Brian Rice
vehicles as available for immediate hire, either
ture to better reflect operator licensing costs
visibly (for example by signage on the street)
based on operator size. The specific revisions
or virtually (for example via an app).
* Finally, Private Hire drivers only able to be
registered to a single Operator at any one time.
So there you have it; TfL’s idea of a con-
sultation is to produce a public consultation
document and once you get the results, just
choose the ones you fancy and ditch the
ones you don’t! So what is the point of hav-
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
ing a consultation when you’ve already
decided the outcome of the proposals to be
forwarded to the Board on March 17th.
Tel: 01708 553037
Once again TfL have let the trade down, I
don’t know who they are frightened of but it
certainly isn’t us! Here is a list of the pro-
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
posals they will be putting forward to the
Board on March 17th.
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
* Operators must have the facility to provide a
TX4 servicing from £90
booking confirmation to passengers containing
the photo ID and details of the vehicle being
All Work Undertaken
used to discharge the booking where passen-
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
gers are able to receive that information.
All TX1, TX2, TX4
* TfL will no longer issue licence variations to
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
private hire operator licenses to add a late-
night or temporary event operating centre.
Fax: 01708 551443
Web: www.PaulsTaxiSpecialists.co.uk
* Operators will be required to provide speci-
fied information to TfL at specified intervals
Call Sign February 2016
Page 5
A Parliamentary reception hosted by Stratford-
As a converted TX4 Euro 6 LPG TX4 is presented to Parliament...
on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi has highlighted
the important role that Autogas LPG can play
in cleaning up air quality in the UK's towns and
cities. The event also delivered a strong rallying
call for the Government to introduce a more
coherent road fuel strategy that considers all
fuels equally and on a level playing field.
Court ruled that the Government must submit
To support the event and demonstrate
new plans by the end of the year about how the
the significant air quality improvements
UK can comply with EU requirements.
that can be made immediately via LPG,
Greater uptake of LPG, including Autogas’
Autogas Limited presented its newly con-
new taxi conversion, is just one way which
verted Euro 6 compliant TX4 LPG taxi on
could help the UK meet these targets. Autogas’
the Parliamentary estate. Autogas believes
new repowered TX4 black cab running on LPG
that this readily available technological
emits significantly fewer NOx emissions com-
solution could be a significant answer in
pared with a normal diesel powered version. In
helping to improve air quality in London
addition to reducing emissions, users would
and other polluted cities and towns both
also see fuel cost savings of around 20 percent
now and into the future. It would also, of
and would be able to refuel from any of the
course, provide extensions to our taxis -
existing 1,400 refuelling stations nationwide
currently the TX4, but TX1 and TX2 in the
that already offer Autogas LPG.
near future.
To find out more about how Autogas LPG
Speaking at the reception, Mr Zahawi said:
can improve air quality in the UK and help
“We have a significant air quality crisis across
users reduce their fuel bills, visit www.auto-
the UK and with the Government due to respond
to the Supreme Court’s ruling, I believe this is the
Autogas Limited is a joint venture between
moment for LPG.”
Shell and Calor. Established in 2000 with the
Speaking to Call Sign, Autogas LPG
up for it to go ahead. They will shortly be
sole aim of making automotive LPG more
Business Development Manager Paul
road-testing the converted cab.
readily available to fleet and private
Oxford said that although not yet available
The UK currently faces a growing air quality
motorists, the company now has LPG refu-
in London, the LPG conversion was ready
crisis. Since 2010, it has been breaching EU
elling installations on more than 215 petrol
to go as soon as LTPH / TfL gave the thumbs
NOx limits and in April 2015, the Supreme
forecourts throughout the UK.
Sex while driving!!!
all Sign has published results from some fairly weird
surveys over the years, but a recent one from UK inde-
pendent vehicle supply professionals, OSV, has chal-
lenged for the number one spot! The OSV national
survey questioned 500 respondents throughout the UK and
apparently found that UK drivers take part in some strange and
rather dangerous activities whilst driving!
For a start, apparently 14 percent of drivers have admitted to
“engaging in sexual activities whilst driving a car!” Men were
more willing to admit to this indiscretion with some sixty per-
cent of those that made the admission being between the ages
of 30 and 59. Ten percent of those owning up were over the
age of 60!
However, being engaged in sexual activities was not the most
popular activity choice in the survey, having been beaten into
second place by ‘picking your nose’ which came out on top.
Make your own caption!
Over 40 percent of the 500 recipients to the survey admitted
picking their nose whilst driving!
Other admissions - none of which could remotely be classi-
fied as being safe included checking social media (10%), taking
Keith Reading
a selfie (4%), driving naked (2%) and eating with utensils
Professional Toastmaster
Master of Ceremonies
Co-Founder of OSV Ltd, Debbie Kirkley said: “This survey
helps lift the lid on what people get up to whilst driving. It is
Tele: 01279 465 938
deeply worrying that so many people admit to taking part in
Mobile: 07774 860 374
these dangerous activities and shows that more needs to be
Email: kgr.2@virgin.net
done to help highlight and educate people about the dangers
that come with participating in these activities. Engaging in sex-
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
ual activities should be the last thing that people do whilst
behind the wheel...”
Fellow of the Guild of
She didn’t say what the first thing should be. Mind you, we
Professional Toastmasters
forgot to ask TfL what they thought!
Call Sign February 2016
Page 6
Well, they ARE hopeless in dry weather... so what could you expect when it’s icy!
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
In December, the committee of the
LTFUC were again out in force holding
yet another Xmas fund raising event,
this time at London's Burlington
We would like to extend our grateful thanks to the
management and staff at the Burlington Arcade and
everyone who made the day possible. Special thanks go
to Doug Cheshire for joining us with his Vintage taxi,
Clown Jolly Jack and Andrew with his team from the
City of London Rotary Club for helping with the col-
lection by coming along dressed as Santa, with his Elves
and Snowmen - which provided great fun.
We would also like to thank Donna Dawson, the
Ranks and Interchange Support Officer for the suspen-
sion of cab ranks in Burlington Gardens and Michael Day (PC 1630 CW) of the
Westminster Police Licensing Team for the Collectors Certificate.
Finally, we’d like to thank the people passing by for their wonderful donations, which included many fellow taxi drivers. The money
raised will go towards our forthcoming Christmas party in addition to many more events planned for the children in 2016.
Raymond Levy
LTFUC Press Officer
Call Sign February 2016
Page 7
A recent online investigation by taxi dri-
If you thought Mr Lycra shooting along Millbank on his bike was
ver Jim Thomas has broken the unwrit-
just in a hurry?
ten code that many Lycra-clad Tour de
France wannabees are using in order to
speed along Millbank and many other
Wrong! It’s the Millbank
roads - not just for the sake of it, but in
competition and regardless of any dan-
ger they cause to those crossing the
bike racers club!
The online code is the word ‘Strava’
and it’s the word that many speed-mad
Organised bike
cyclists now search Google for and for
riders such as the
which they download an app. Jim’s
London Prudential
search typed in
‘Strava segment
Ride are not fast
Millbank’ and up popped a map showing
enough for the
a stretch of roadway between Vauxhall
Strava racers!
and Lambeth Bridges, across the round-
about and as far as Great College Street.
In addition, the site gives names of the
fastest cyclists - both male and female -
Vauxhall cycle super-
out of a total of 278,240 actual attempts,
highway was seeing
although many were attempted several
40% of
times by the same cyclists as they num-
cyclists not using it
ber just (!!!) 34,638! The fastest was mea-
while Mr Gilligan
sured at 55.3 km per hour, which trans-
said it was 5%, clear-
lates to over 34mph - astonishing when
ly has little clue as to
you realise he had to slow down at the
what is happening in
Last year, Call Sign published the sad
Strava racers and neither will we ever
If a taxi driver can discover by simply
case of Moira Gemmill who was killed
know, but after hearing about the Strava
looking online that 34,638 cyclists are reg-
when her bike was in collision with a
site, we can never be really certain either
ularly using Millbank as a race track, then
lorry along Millbank whilst on another
why is it we haven’t heard a word about it
occasion we reported on a pedestrian
What we do know is that Mayor Boris
from Messrs Johnson and Gilligan? Because
being knocked down by a speeding
Johnson’s Cycling Commissioner,
sooner or later, there will be another
cyclist shooting in and out of the traffic
Andrew Gilligan, who referred to LBC
tragedy along that stretch of road...
at high speed. We are not claiming that
political editor Theo Usherwood live on
Ron Yarborough
either event was associated with the
air as a liar after he had reported the new
Call Sign Online
Call Sign February 2016
Page 8
Presenting on TV: Prince Charles, Ant and Dec and of course...
Stefan now dressed more MMA than
for Royalty meetings!
There can be little doubt that the recent ITV
programme on Ant and Dec following HRH
Prince Charles around for a year will still be
spoken of at the end of 2016. It was an aston-
ishing “backstage” look at how the Prince of
Wales operates, with the most unlikely of
pairings talking to him, showing Anthony
McPartlin and Declan Donnelly to be the
undoubted masters of their trade.
But there was a fourth person in the two
hour programme: Dial-a-Cab driver Stefan
Ant and Dec meet Prince Charles at Clarence House
Fitt (P88). He was seen stopping to pick up
Wapping, he had picked up the nickname
Stefan and the Prince bypassed each other
Ant and Dec and although our drivers
of the Wapping Strangler. We were afraid to
a few times but didn’t meet. Stefan had pre-
always try to look good, Stefan pulled up in
ask why but assumed that the TV produc-
viously met and spoke to HRH at an LTFUC
a shirt, tie and suit! Lucky huh!
tion team’s security weren’t told that!
anniversary party held several years ago at
Stefan has been with the Society for 15
“The whole day was just so surreal,” Stefan
Buckingham Palace.
years and is also a DaC Marshal, but he told
told Call Sign. “It was filmed last summer
“On that occasion we spoke about Carp
Call Sign that while he has had many jobs
and they actually got into the cab at Leicester
fishing,” Stefan told us. “There is a lake at
dispatched to him that have been slightly out
Square and we had a drive while they made
Buck House filled with Carp and that inter-
of the ordinary, this one left them all by the
sure the cameras were working before going
ests me. Fortunately it was one of the Price’s
wayside! It had begun some time before
to the Royal Park where we drove around to
hobbies too!”
when Brian Rice’s PA, Jacqui Chart, was
get some footage. Ant and Dec were chatting
Time was moving on and a few hours later
contacted by the company behind the pro-
to me the whole time; they asked about the
Stefan was told that he wouldn’t be required any
gramme: When Ant & Dec Met The Prince:
cab trade and lots of general stuff. The amaz-
longer as the Prince had put his Range Rover at
40 Years of the Prince’s Trust.
ing part was that just as they appear on TV,
Ant and Dec’s disposal. But he wasn’t going to
The biggest problem was one of security
that’s exactly how they are in real life. They
be allowed to forget the day because the follow-
because the driver was going to enter
feed off each other, are very funny and seem
ing morning his face was plastered all over
Clarence House in addition to being in close
genuinely interested in what you tell them. At
Facebook - everyone asking if it was really him!
proximity to members of the Royal Family
one point they joked about whether, if the
Up until then, he had kept it quiet because of
and of course, Ant and Dec! So although
Queen was to move home, she would they
signing a waiver to say he wouldn’t talk about
London taxi drivers are famous for being the
call in the removal men! It sounded so funny
the experience until after the broadcast.
most honest and trustworthy in the world,
the way they said it!
Stefan is no stranger to live TV and along-
security nowadays is paramount and Jacqui
“We then drove to Clarence House,
side Ricky Manetta has done work around the
was asked if DaC could supply someone in
where I parked and went in to have lunch
world for Dana White’s UFC (Ultimate
advance rather than the duo genuinely hail-
with Ant and Dec. The Prince was upstairs
Fighting Championship) as a fight co-ordi-
ing someone off the street. As a marshal,
being briefed on what was going to hap-
nator, where he’d walk the fighters down to
Stefan was asked if he would like to do the
pen. No, this most definitely wasn’t an
the Octagon on live television. Guys such as
job and when he agreed, the production co-
everyday trip to work and stopping for a
Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Randy Couture
ordinators swung into action even checking
sandwich! HRH’s chef did a chicken and a
and of course the gorgeous Ronda Rousey,
Stefan’s passport and taxi licence etc. Once
Caesar Salad, followed by fresh fruit with
who currently holds the UFC record for the
they were happy with him, Stefan was given
cream and coffee. There was some elder-
quickest win when defending her UFC World
his instructions
flower wine available but I passed on that.
Bantamweight Championship in just 14 sec-
They wanted a taxi with no advertising
I was told unofficially that they shopped
onds! She has now lost that title but moved
although allowing the DaC logo. And so the
at Waitrose - although I don’t think the
into movies although rumour has it that she
programme opened with Ant and Dec “hail-
Prince does it himself!
will partner The Rock at the WWE’s
ing” Stefan’s Vito! But in reality, it was a six
“After lunch, Ant and Dec interviewed
Wrestlemania 32 in Texas in a tag match
hour gig beginning at 11am with Stefan park-
Prince Charles and also Camilla, Duchess of
against the two owners of the company,
ing in Orange Street WC2 where a crew fit-
Cornwall who is also Patron of the London
Stephanie McMahon and Triple H!
ted up his cab with cameras and micro-
Taxidrivers' Fund for Underprivileged
“The WWE is a bit safer than UFC,” Stefan
phones before setting off and “amazingly”
Children. The idea of the programme was to
told us before leaving to look for his next job.
spotting Ant and Dec in the street and even-
celebrate an amazing 40 years of The Prince’s
“Where’s Jacqui Chart when you need her!!!”
tually taking them to Clarence House.
Trust; but while the interviewing was going
As a long-time member of the MMA Krav
Alan Fisher
on, I was given a tour of Clarence House!”
Maga classes run by Ricky Manetta (N16) in
Call Sign Online
Call Sign February 2016
Page 9
tephen Field (F99) told Call Sign
that he was just fed up with the way
DaC driver and the
the trade was going and the way we
are continually being pushed around.
He has been on Dial-a-Cab since 2006 and
European Court of Justice
said that the trade in general was in as bad a
state as he could ever remember but praised
Stephen Field
Chairman Brian Rice for being the first to
wrote to the
recognise the signs and referring to it at an
Euro Court
AGM several years ago as a “race to the bot-
tom” - a phrase that many in the trade later
picked up on.
Stephen also said that he was irritated that
hundreds of taxi dri-
our trade organisations didn’t appear to be
vers protested in
doing enough to stop the rot. So he wrote to
the European Court of Justice.
Uber's business prac-
“I am a licensed black cab driver. To get a
tices. Contrary to
licence I must first do the Knowledge of
what has been assert-
London. I must then undergo an enhanced
ed, this multinational
Criminal Records Bureau check and if that
company does not
is not enough, a Medical too.
have its roots in the
I must have public liability insurance so
that if I carry your partner / siblings in my
Uber is taking advan-
taxi, I am fully insured. That insurance costs
tage of this trend to
me £220 per calendar month, so it’s not
introduce new, fully
Commissioners is not that of deciding
flexible forms of employment which make it
Okay that’s me, now Uber. Those drivers
whether or not to support the sharing econ-
possible to avoid paying social security con-
should be forced to have proper insurance.
omy, but of deciding whether or not to safe-
One of their drivers had an accident at
guard fair competition.
As I said at Parliament's plenary sitting of
Trafalgar Square and then ran away leaving
In the Commission’s view, is Uber Pop a
16 September 2015, we cannot tolerate these
the passenger in the car. There was no insur-
ance, no CRB test and no licence.
transport service or a digital service and
practices. It is essential to legislate on this
will the Commission require national
matter in order to regulate this type of com-
Rumours claim that British officials have been
“bought” as the protection they are giving
courts to acknowledge the lawfulness of
pany and prevent what is a socially damaging
Uber goes far beyond what you would
the Uber Pop service?
business model from spreading.
expect, so passing this email on to British
Where does the Commission stand on this
officials would just be a waste of time so far
matter and will a roadmap be presented in
Ubers business
as the trade is concerned. What do I want?
the near future?
Uber and any son of Uber to be banned!
practices: Regulating the
Not much in the way of answers, but
If that is not possible, a European
interesting questions! But for Call Sign
‘Uberisation’ of our
Directive that all vehicles carrying fare pay-
readers who would like to watch a trans-
ing passengers have public liability insurance
port debate from the Euro Court go to the
and CRB checks. Or do nothing and be like
Our society is facing an unprecedented surge
link below. You will need to have either
everyone else...
in new technologies, which will inevitably
WMV or MP4 (MPEG-4-Moving Picture
have a far-reaching social and economic
Experts Group).
impact. Although some of these technologies
Stephen received a reply
improve lives and benefit society, others give
just a week or so later...
cause for concern. On 16 September 2015,
Dear Mr Field,
We would like to draw your attention to
the following parliamentary questions
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
raised by Members of the European
Parliament. A study to clarify EC law re
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
In response to the legal actions brought by
variable bank interest rates?
many Member States, including France,
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
Germany and Spain against Uber, the US firm
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
has decided to ask the Commission to rule on
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
the lawfulness of its operations.
at your address also qualifies for membership!
The Commission will be required, in par-
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
ticular, to determine whether Uber is a trans-
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
port undertaking, which it clearly is, given
up to 3 times your total savings…
the nature of the service it provides — its
online platform is merely a way of dealing
The cost?
with clients’ requests. If the European insti-
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
tutions do decide that Uber is a transport
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
undertaking, the US firm will be required to
comply with the rules on accreditation and
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
insurance and the drivers will become
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
employees of the firm, with all that that
implies as regards labour law.
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
If they decide otherwise, the Commission
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
could lift the ban on Uber, once again exer-
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
cising powers which rightfully rest with the
Registration number 213263
Member States. The choice facing the
Call Sign February 2016
Page 10
Last month’s Call Sign revealed
that a walking charity - Living
Now Boris is
Streets - had launched a call for
the next London Mayor to
“thinking about” traffic-
pedestrianise the 1.2 miles of
Oxford Street so that it becomes
what they describe as an iconic,
free Oxford Street!
safe and enjoyable place to shop.
You don't need to
Sarah Williams, Living Streets’ London
be 'Brain of
Campaigns Manager told Call Sign’s
Britain' to see
January issue that the situation was about to
what causes the
reach breaking point on Oxford Street. So we
Oxford Street con-
asked her two questions, neither of which
she could answer satisfactorily. Firstly we
asked how disabled people could get to the
around Oxford Street.
street if pedestrianised. She said they could
Living Streets say
get off at one of the 38 side streets!
that London is one of
We followed that up by asking Ms Williams
the most polluted
about the main alternatives to Oxford Street
cities in Europe and
ie Wigmore, Cavendish Square and through
estimates are that
to Goodge Street. We explained how con-
over 9,000 people die
gested this route already was and that if all
prematurely from
buses and taxis were forced to use it, would
exposure to high lev-
it not push emissions through the roof? The
Campaign Manager responded that they had-
Dioxide each year.
n’t thought about that yet but wanted to dis-
There was no men-
cuss it “...and work with others to ensure that
Sarah Williams said: “I’m pleased to see that
tion about the pollution just being moved sev-
we create the best solution for everyone.”
plans are being drawn up to pedestrianise
eral hundred metres further north.
She added that the charity didn’t have all of
Oxford Street. At the launch of our campaign in
Sarah Williams continued: “People want to
the answers but wanted to work with retail-
December, we recommended pedestrianising
see change on Oxford Street. It is a very
ers, TfL, engineers and planners on making
part of London’s most iconic street so it’s great
uncomfortable place for pedestrians, leaving
Oxford Street a place which puts walking
to see this is being considered. We would be
them feeling restricted. So it is of little surprise
happy to advise the Mayor about how to make
that people say the change they’d most like to
Now we hear that Mayor Boris Johnson
our national high street fit for walking. Oxford
see there is less traffic.”
has clambered on board and announced
Street is already at breaking point, horren-
Well Ms Williams, we’d like that too and
that pedestrianising Oxford Street is
dously overcrowded and with Crossrail due to
while it’s now too late to stop the stupidity of
under consideration. He said that officials
open in 2018, we’re looking at a significantly
planners who turned it into a single lane each
were drawing up plans to increase safety
bigger problem. We must act now to reduce
way many years ago, it’s not too late to stop
and improve public access there.
overcrowding, sky high pollution levels and an
every other bus route taking their empty buses
Unsurprisingly, Living Streets say that is
unsafe environment. We urge officials to think
along there. But perhaps that is too logical...
“great news for Londoners and visitors
to a positive future, where walking is put first.”
alike.” Neither they nor the Mayor made
Oxford Street is Europe’s busiest retail street
Baghwat Singh
any mention about whether the disabled
and it is claimed that every six days a person
Call Sign Online
were included - the apparent answer
gets hit by a vehicle along there and one in four
being no.
of London’s collision hotspots are in or
Immaculate White
Cab Available for
TDYCF Charity golf day
Dear Friends,
First of all I would like to wish everyone a very happy and
safe 2016.
We are holding a charity golf day on 8th June 2016
at Hendon golf club. The cost for the day is £75,
which includes 18 holes, a light breakfast in the
morning and a meal later on.
If you would like to participate, please contact TDYCF at
the address below or email for an entry form. All money
raised will be donated to the five trade charities at the
annual dinner & dance on 26th November 2016. They are the Albany
for Children with Special Needs, LTFUC, Southend Fund for Underprivileged Children, LTBAWD
(War Disabled) and East London Cabbies Outing.
I would also like to thank Crackers Radio for not only promoting our CD (We’ll take you there
by The London Cabbies), but for also promoting the licenced cabbies. If you haven’t yet heard
Crackers Radio, you can tune in and listen on 103.3FM.
Russell Poluck MBE (T55), Hon Chairman
Female driver
Please reply to: 5 St Brides Avenue, Edgware Middlesex, HA8 6BT
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
Phone/ Fax: 020 8952 1357 or mobile: 07850 056 765
Contact Debbie (W18) on
Email: brussella@talk21.com
07956 317040
Remember those less fortunate than ourselves
Call Sign February 2016
Page 12
With Tom Quigley (Y33)
whilst they may not always be fully supported
Twitter and the
by the public, there are still many tourists
that like them, helping them to remember
moaning cab trade...
I am not on Twitter. I tried it for a while but
their visit and hopefully make them want to
perhaps the time for registering your
come back. They will never understand the
thoughts to the actual thought of what I was
traffic problems these events cause, but the
registering and also the loss of translation in
fact they return goes a long way in helping
print, just never appealed to me!
our trade.
There is not a day passing when I don’t get
On the other hand, there is no doubt that
a message; did I see this or that on Twitter. I
our Twitter colleagues have helped bring
have had local radio shows phoning me up
about a sea change with Tavistock Square
for comments on some Taxi related issue -
and the Loughborough project (January
one that has generally already been com-
Call Sign).
mented on Twitter and other social media.
So Twitter etc can be useful, but moaning
The problem I found with all this instant
doesn’t always come across as a positive...
numbers attending. Well, whichever day we
media is that we come across as an occupa-
work - especially weekends - road closures,
tion that just likes to moan!
however frustrating, are just part and parcel
Butter is Dangerous!
Recently the London Lumiere displays
of the job.
The American comedian, Chris Rock, once
across London brought out a barrage of
But sometimes when we are trying to
said that no starving child in Africa would have
abuse about road closures and the lack of
attract shows and entertainment to London,
a Lactose problem. Fair comment; I know there
are a lot of people with all sorts of allergy prob-
lems in regards to what they eat.
When I order a coffee, I ask for it black
whilst my wife prefers cold milk in a jug on
the side to add to her own taste. I expect that
Pedicab rider jailed
if I want sugar, I will have the option of
uris Briedis, a pedicab rider who breached his Criminal Behaviour Order
adding it or not. If I order a steak I’ll ask for
(CBO) within three days of it being issued, has been jailed. He was found guilty
how I prefer it; I can have my eggs easy over,
and sentenced to 24 weeks imprison-
scrambled or poached - I have the choice. If I
ment at Westminster Magistrates’
order a breakfast, say egg, sausage or bacon
Court on 12 January for breaching the CB
and two slices, I understand that is again my
which banned him from riding a pedicab i
choice to select the combination.
the W1, SW1, W2 and WC2 areas.
But since when has it been the norm that
Briedis had been given a conditional dis-
when I order a bacon or sausage sandwich,
charge for 12 months and a five-year CBO
that I have the butter delivered on the side so
just days earlier at the same court after
that I have to put it on myself! In effect, I am
being found guilty of failing to comply
no longer ordering a sandwich, but purely
with a Community Protection Notice
the ingredients! The mechanics of making it
(CPN), which was issued previously after
will be mine - well not quite true as the sand-
he continued to use his pedicab in a
wich will be presented to me constructed
manner that caused anti-social
ready to eat (hopefully in a nice way) but of
course I will then have to dismantle it.
Unfortunately and unlike Micky Flanagan’s
He appeared in court with four others,
wife: “I don’t make a nice sandwich - that’s
who were also subject to a CBO with the
why I am ordering it to be made for me.”
same conditions for five years.
So now I have to remember to say: “A
Officers from Westminster were on
bacon sandwich... with butter, please!”
patrol on 10 January and spotted
Briedis on a pedicab on Bird Street,
Tom Quigley
which is within the area where he is
banned from using a pedicab. He attempt-
Call Sign Online
ed to flee but was caught and arrested. The sentence forms part of ongoing
work by the Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street neighbourhood policing
Call Sign
teams in partnership with TfL and local businesses to crackdown on the anti-social and
February 2016
criminal behaviour of some pedicab riders in Westminster. They have secured seven
Editor: Alan Fisher
Criminal Behaviour Orders in total since October 2015.
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
In addition, in the past year they have issued over 130 written warnings - which are
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
issued prior to a CPN - and 50 CPNs. These deal with particular ongoing problems or
Email: callsignmag@aol.com
nuisances which negatively affect the community’s quality of life by targeting the per-
Website: www.22-callsign.co.uk
son responsible. The notice will direct the individual, business or organisation responsi-
Printers: Premier Print Group
ble to stop causing the problem and it could also require the person responsible to take
E6 6 LP
Design: Aldan Publications
reasonable steps to ensure that it does not occur again. To date, 116 riders have been
Tel: 07958 300 428
summonsed for parking their pedicabs on the footpath or the road, causing an
Email: debbiefresco@googlemail.com
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
Over 60 people have been dispersed under section 35 of the anti-social behaviour
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
act for obstruction to the footway or highway.
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
either manually or electronically without the express
permission of the Editor.
Call Sign February 2016
Page 13
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
Tottenham Hale. The station
wreck the judge's box and tote
had closed in 1985 - a few
office! The official
years after sporting fans
wrecking ball came
once the old stadium
immediate area and before
was sold for redevelop-
the regeneration of this
ment and the site is now
part of town.
occupied by Sainsbury's
enjoyed featuring my old local
West Ham Hammers
and McDonalds - the
Speedway team New Cross Rangers in the
(1929-1972) raced at the
only remaining trace of
last issue of Call Sign, but there were many
famous Custom House
the old Stadium is a very
other local sides dotted around London
venue in Prince Regent Lane
small area of land near the
equally well supported, especially in the post
- the final season at this huge stadium saw a
Sainsbury's car park, once known as the
war year period. East London in
Speedway side from Romford race around
Haringey Stadium Slopes.
particular was a hotbed of Speedway action
the famous old track under the name of West
Wembley Lions (1929-1971) were always
and the sport in Great Britain got underway
Ham Bombers. The whole site, including
one of London's successful outfits and the red
at a meeting on Sunday 17th February behind
the massive car park, was sold for less than
and whites rode at Wembley Stadium (or the
the Kings Oak pub in Loughton, when
- peanuts these days in the
Empire Stadium as it was known in its early
15,000 crammed in to watch a series of races
Docklands environs.
years). The national stadium hosted the
by riders who would go on to form the High
The Romford Bombers (1967-1971) exist-
Speedway World Championships for many
Beech Foresters (1928-1967).
ed at Brooklands Stadium sharing with
decades and it’s hard to imagine that a massive
Hackney Wick Wolves (1934-1959) got
Romford FC who competed in the Southern
crowd of 78,000 turned out to see the Dane
things going at the old Waterden Road
League. The Bombers raced around a track
Ole Olsen triumph as recently as 1978.
Stadium - they were originally Walthamstow
with a high perimeter wall so the riders need-
The curiously named Barnet By-Passers
Wolves before moving to the Wick from the
(1929-1936) initially rode on grass with cin-
ed plenty of nerve, which was also needed
Stow and rode in colours of champagne and
ders only added once the grass had worn
when many of these stars took on the ‘wall of
claret! The Wolves tragically lost star rider
away, while in west London, White City
death’ to supplement their earnings when
Dusty Haigh in 1936 from a broken skull in
Rebels (1929-1978) rode at the old White City
fairgrounds came into town. Bizarrely,
a crash at the track when leading a race after
Stadium, which is now covered over by
a bridged ramp was erected through the
being struck by another rider's machine.
sprawled out buildings from BBC TV Centre
grandstand for the riders to enter the arena,
The newly formed Hackney Hawks (1963-
and despite being crowned British League
but when the Bombers hit a bad run of form
1983) continued once the nomadic Wolves
Champions in 1978, dwindling attendances
it became known as the Bridge over Troubled
returned home riding out to the strains of
would force the death knell of another team
Supporters! By the way, Romford FC only nar-
The Magnificent Seven - perhaps even non-
riding in Red, White and Blue. The Speedway
rowly missed out on voting for election to the
Speedway fans will now guess that 7 riders
outfit wasn’t the only sporting tenants in
Football League in
1962, missing out to
make up a team! Vic Hawkes was a popular
Wood Lane as we shall discover in a later
Oxford United, the gamble to splash cash on
local hero for the Hawks but was another
instalment; the old Stadium
- officially
new stands and floodlighting backfired and
brave rider tragically killed at a meeting
opened by King Edward VI - was demolished
sadly Brooklands is now a housing estate
(1979). In fact former rider
/ promoter
in 1985.
with only parts of the original boundary fenc-
Len Silver held a Vic Hawkes Memorial
Stamford Bridge Brigands (1928-1932)
ing remaining.
Trophy meeting every season after his death.
were initially nicknamed the Pensioners like
Walthamstow Wolves rode in Chingford
the resident Football Club, but their exis-
Road back in 1934; the Stow had only been
tence was very short lived, while Crystal
House Rockets further up the Lea Valley.
open for a year - this new Art Deco stadium
Palace Glazers (1928-1940) entertained in
The Hackney Kestrels (1984-1990) were a
by architect William Chandler will be fea-
the South London Park under the shadow of
new entity because of a merger
tured later on in this series.
the great glass structure before it was
after Crayford Kestrels were made homeless
Dagenham Daggers (1932-1947) operated
destroyed by fire.
after landlords sold the stadium for redevel-
in Ripple Road briefly before and after WW2.
London's most successful of all time was the
opment. The Red, White and Blues won 26 of
In North London, the now vanished
most recently departed, Wimbledon Dons
their 30 League matches in 1988 and won the
Haringey Stadium on Green Lanes was home
(1928-2005). A fascinating statistic from the first
National Cup, defeating fellow Londoners
to Haringey Racers (1929-1954) and racing in
post-war League meeting in 1946; it drew a
Wimbledon Dons is that year's Final.
blue and yellow leathers, they were National
huge 42,000 crowd with an estimated 10,000
The London Lions (1996) operated for just
Champions in 1952. Before WW2 they were
locked outside! The Dons attracted world class
one season at Hackney Wick when promoter
the Haringey Canaries until 1931 and then
riders over the years - Ivan Mauger, Barry
Ivan Henry moved his Essex Arena
the Haringey Tigers for a period. Haringey
Briggs and Ronnie Moore had won the world
Hammers to Waterden Road. But along with
Stadium had a bit of a reputation for crowd dis-
title 12 times between them!
the Greyhounds, everyone vacated the stadi-
turbances and on one pre-war occasion, 2,000
Thus far my first 4 articles have fea-
um that would be demolished in the next
people demanded their money back when a
tured 2 different sports which Londoners
decade to build the International Media
meeting was abandoned on safety grounds due
once enjoyed in their droves, but next
Centre for the 2012 Olympics Games.
to an accident - they had a right old tear-up
month I want to delve into some of the
Clapton Saints (1928-1939) on Lea Bridge
breaking out onto the track, smashing the
more unlikely and obscure sporting
Road struggled financially once Clapton
place up and starting a fire! They became used
events that took place in your working
Orient FC moved onto Brisbane Road and
to starting bonfires here as
8 years later
area - including a venue that is 2,000
the old
20,000 capacity stadium became
fans ran riot when a second placed dog in a
years old and which you drive over most
derelict and was demolished in the 1970s. It
Greyhound meeting was disqualified. Fuelling
days of your working life
is now an industrial site behind Lea Bridge
the fire with bits of hare trap, they proceeded
Network Rail Station and set to re-open in the
Bob Woodford
to smash lights, tear down phone wires and
spring on the line between Stratford and
Call Sign Online
Call Sign February 2016
Page 14
hen Call Sign met up with
Donald Dacas (P76) recently,
Another one bites the dust!
he was in a rather sombre mood
as he watched his old ‘V’ reg cab
engine suddenly failed to re-start and that
get stripped of its’ Dial-a-Cab equipment at
meant a new battery just days before I was
the Roman Way depot.
due to sell the cab, but I guess that’s life!”
“Yes, it’s a sad day for me,” Donald mused,
Don shrugged his shoulders.
“because after
16 years and more than
“I have a theory that cabs are like human
400,000 miles together, we finally have to
beings, made - or born - at the same time, but
part - me looking for a younger model and
fate treats each one individually, some better
this old girl going into a sort of retirement as
than others. Some people enjoy a good life,
a general run-around with a new owner,
while cabs, produced in a line on a conveyor
rather than the daily grind of London traffic.
belt one after the other can also be reliable
Sometimes I think the cab has seen more of
and rust-free like mine, while others are not
quite so lucky.” His reply sounded quite
me than my wife,” Don said with a smile,
philosophical to a reporter that was finding it
“and she would probably agree with that!”
difficult to believe that we were talking about
Taking a final look at his cab as a licensed
a metal vehicle! But Donald was serious.
vehicle, Donald continued:
“With these older cabs steadily being
“These TX1’s are fitted with the Nissan
retired, it is becoming increasingly difficult to
engine and for me that has proven to be total-
find a decent vehicle to go to work in. They
ly bullet-proof and never let me down.
are like gold dust as more and more cabs are
Components around it, yes perhaps, have
coming off the road and drivers have to
caused a few problems. There was the time I
decide whether to rent or buy a new cab,
was half-way up the M1 on our way to Luton
Donald says goodbye to his TX1
which in these economically difficult times is
Airport with fare paying passengers and the
not that easy. So I consider myself very lucky
engine suddenly started jerking and shudder-
that I was able to grab a TX4 that has already
ing, before coming to an abrupt stop on the
preventing fuel from reaching the engine.
had quite a bit or work done to it. Personally,
hard shoulder. By chance, a local cab was
That’s why, although we failed to proceed, it
I did not want another large mortgage
passing and he stopped as I waved him down
was no fault of the engine itself! It was a silly
around my neck.”
and the driver took my people onto the air-
place to put a fuel valve, exposed to all
With that, Donald drove away with his per-
port to make sure they caught their flight. So
weathers,” he suggested as though we were
sonal quiet thoughts about his cab...
from that viewpoint, we didn’t let them
talking about yesterday, “but there you go!
down. When the AA patrolman arrived, he
“Also, just a few days ago, I started up easi-
Alan Green
discovered a rusty fuel cut-off valve under the
ly enough without any hint of trouble, did a
front of the cab just by the radiator and it was
few miles and stopped for a short time. The
Call Sign Online
An occasional review from a struggling 14 handicapper at some of the marque golf courses
I've had the privilege to play in my golf days away from the taxi…
The Berkshires - Blue course
Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? A partner who
wants to give you a day’s golf that will stay in the memory?
Then start dropping hints that you'd love to play The
Berkshires! The course is near Ascot and certainly isn’t
cheap... but if they really love you!!!
There are 2 courses here, the Red and the Blue and if
you can do it, I suggest playing the Blue in the morning
and the Red in the afternoon.
The Blue course starts, unusually, with a par 3. The tee box
is smack in front of the clubhouse breakfast room and beside
the Himalaya style practice putting green. At 210 yards and
over a sea of heather, it’s an all or nothing shot with run-
aways left and right.
Hopefully, this hole won’t destroy you as the remainder of the front nine are where you can score with
two par 5s and some short par 4s. The final five holes are all par 4s - it’s a very tough finish with no let up.
The course itself is very picturesque, as you would expect from a club where both courses rank in the top 50 UK golf guide. Both
Red and Blue courses were laid out in 1928 by Herbert Fowler - and if that name rings a bell, it’s probably because we mentioned
him in last month’s Call Sign as being the architect of the Walton Heath course!
Though the Blue is ranked as the lesser of the two courses, many prefer it to the Red. My late father did and who am I to agree with him!
Lunch here is jacket and tie. It’s a very fine carvery and if you want a personal recommendation, try the rare roast beef and fortify
yourself for the Red course! I’ll be writing about that course next month...
The photo shows the 210 yards Par 3 first hole on the Blue course.
Happy golfing
Simon Wallis (M11)
Call Sign Online
Call Sign February 2016
Page 15
them against your will.
Hello Ladies & Gents,
The Sales department headed by Keith
Now that the Christmas holiday period has
Cain is trying everything in its power to
passed and we are into a New Year, I’d again
acquire new business as well as looking after
like to wish you all a slightly belated happy
our existing account customers. Any reduc-
and healthy 2016 and trust that you’ve all had
tion in charges, no matter how small that we
time to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t
can offer clients, could help increase usage
need me to remind you of how tough the
and may also be the difference between gain-
past two years have been and it will be equal-
ing or losing a tender. With this in mind, at
ly as testing this year. Transport for London
the most recent Board Meeting it was decid-
have failed to uphold the regulatory mea-
ed that where applicable, gratuities will now
sures in London and issued thousands of pri-
be capped at a maximum of £5. Our com-
vate hire licenses month on month. Much has
petitors are offering large reductions across
already been debated, but in my opinion they
the board and in such a cut-throat environ-
have put public safety at risk and cost our
ment, it is important that we react in the cor-
trade the opportunity to compete on an
that we are competing with prices that are
rect way. The change will take place in week
equal footing - which is all we have asked for.
ultra-competitive in a highly volatile market.
commencing 5th March 2016...
There has always been a two-tier system
The fixed prices on these types of trips will
between the Licensed Taxis and Private Hire,
not be changed, but all additional waiting
but since granting Uber a licence some three
Lucas Taxi Meters
time will be calculated in minutes (equivalent
years ago, there now seems to be a three-tier
It appears that Lucas meters are being
to £27 per hour) and added to the fare on
system with Uber operating outside of the
phased out over the next few months and
completion of the journey.
legal structure.
they will be replaced with Cygnus meters. If
It is now very difficult to match competi-
you haven’t already been contacted by the
tor’s pricing, but the system is working.
relevant supplier, the changeover will be car-
Longer trips
However, without your understanding and
In my address to the membership at last
ried out at the London Taxi Company
support - which I believe we now have - it
(Brewery Road) or at Taxi World (White City
year’s AGM, I said we needed to find a work-
will be not succeed.
able solution that offered clients - both old
and Tottenham). The new meters are Sim
On many occasions we are able to agree
enabled and you will be notified by post.
and new - the option of using DaC taxis for
prices that the client is willing to undertake,
longer trips at economical prices that were
Unfortunately, spare parts for Lucas meters
but if we price them at full meter fares it is
are no longer available.
also acceptable to you, the members. We have
invariably too high and they will use an alter-
certainly offered and covered many more air-
native supplier - this we do not want. Please
port journeys and trips to and from locations
remember that you are able to reject these
Clearing credit cards
bordering the M25 over the past year, albeit
Finally, can I please remind you that if you
trips and you will never be forced to take
clear a street generated Credit Card trip that
needs to be swiped through the terminal, you
will see ‘Please Debit My Account’ appear
on the actual receipt. It is imperative that you
Artemis Mercer, who with other taxi drivers wives started the #SaveTaxi Facebook
request a signature from the customer at all
group last year in support of the taxi trade, has launched a
times, otherwise the payment will not be
drive to raise £600,000 to fund the initial phase of getting
Allan Evans
a Judicial Review against TfL. Artemis has established
DaC Operations / Compliance Manager
Action for Cabbies as a private company to spearhead
the campaign. It will use the platform of
Crowdfunder.co.uk to help the new group secure the
Judicial Review. It bases that on the grounds that TfL was
High Court
wrong to grant a licence to Uber and its drivers in 2012
as the licensing authority had failed to follow the correct
rules against
“There has always been a two-tier system with private hire vehicles on one side and
LTC taxi shape
black cabs on the other,” Mrs Mercer, whose husband is a taxi driver, told Sky News.
High court judge Mr Justice Arnold has
“TfL did not follow those regulations in 2012: it went from being a law-enforcer to a
ruled that the London taxi is not as
law-maker and in doing so it compromised public safety and cost black cabbies the
unique as many believed and said it was
opportunity to compete on a level playing field.”
“devoid of inherent distinctive character
The group will again repeat that Uber drivers use a meter of the kind that
and merely a variation of the typical
should only be available to licensed taxis. Artemis said the Uber app did not
shape of a car.” He ruled that trade-
implement insurance and public safety standards as rigorously as those
marks exclusively relating to its shape
imposed on black taxis.
should be deemed invalid.
The Crowdfunder campaign will target London’s 25,000 licensed taxi drivers to raise
The judgment followed a legal row
the required money, with further finances expected to be required if Action for Cabbies
between the London Taxi Company
is successful in securing the Judicial Review. It will also be open to others who wish to
and the Metrocab hybrid-powered
contribute, although it will be unlike many Crowdfunding efforts in that there is no
taxi developed by Frazer-Nash
prospect of a direct return on the funds invested.
Research and Ecotive.
Action for Cabbies has warned that unless TfL's decision to grant Uber a
Justice Arnold said: “In my view, the
licence is revoked, the black taxi industry will be decimated “...and the iconic
design of the black cab would have
black taxi rendered extinct.”
been perceived by the average consumer
The first day raised £31,412 of the £600,000 needed. If you can help, go to:
of taxis as merely a variation of the typi-
http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/Action-for-Cabbies and click on Pledge to sup-
cal shape of a taxi.”
port the fund.
Call Sign February 2016
Page 16
Call Sign at the LTFUC
all Sign has been attending the London
Mad Hatters Tea Party at the Great Ro
years, but this year’s bash really must ha
happy children and carers eating, drinki
ment (amazingly organised “in-house” by Maureen
hours just flew by.
The Fund celebrated their 88th year in style as th
Amanda’s students showed how singing and dancin
followed by a “real life” duo of Elsa and Anna singi
smash, Frozen. A Mad Hatters regular came on next
also put in an amazing version of Viva Las Vegas th
LTFUC Chairman Sim Yiannikaris and Secretary
before the entertainment continued with the ama
Spiderman outfits and while taking the mick out of
Act Now, a performing arts program that has ins
30+ years featured some excellent singing and danc
Artemis and Linda
how young some of the children were, because they
donate a cheque to
Once again, Gabriela and Monica
Girls and dressed in their skimpiest
biggest hits in a 20 minute set that sud
denly need an excuse to approach th
eyes for Call Sign’s editor! Their loyal
The Mad Hatters characters then
to entertain the kids and get them
Then host, Dave Davis - who has
years - introduced comedian / magicia
had reached a previous Britain’s Got
just loved him as he wound them up
LTFUC Chairman Sim
Yiannikaris with the
A young man called Tom beautifully
Lady Mayor of
he had previously sung on the West En
Not sure what to say about the next
Christabel Flight
an incredible piece of machinery, but
Just back from a tour of Romania and
adults amazed as the huge machine w
telling jokes!
Certainly as different as it’s possibl
some gorgeous young lady supporter
around in Cheer Leader formation to
The Crystal Girls also danced with t
some of the male carers would have b
Cab Board Member Mike Son got in f
Between the acts, Dave Davis intro
turned up to pose for photos and sig
former World Heavyweight boxing
Dave Davis introduces
Terry Alderton, the Eastenders tax
Frank Bruno
Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) for
Flight, the Lady Mayoress of Westmi
to speak to the children in her full reg
There were also presentations of ch
and Karen Hilbrown of Support Bla
kindly donated by one of our biggest
Ink Recruitment donated £1,150 ma
They also contributed £3,000 toward
Linda and Cher of #SaveTaxi donate
As usual, all around the Great Roo
Metropolitan Police bikes for kids to
Brigade. Face painting and balloons w
Clown Jolly Jack was always around en
The Fund have asked us to thank
do; but let’s not forget the Fund C
Weren’t you in my
such a brilliant job the whole year r
Sugar Puffs???
Call Sign February 2016
Page 17
Mad Hatters Party 2016
Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
Photos Alan Green and Alan Fisher
om of the JW Marriott Grosvenor House for many
ave been close to being the best. With around 700
ng, dancing and watching some brilliant entertain-
Levy, wife of the charity’s PR Raymond), the five
he afternoon opened with Amanda’s Action Show.
g can be done properly by young people. They were
ng ‘Let a new day dawn, let it glow’ from the Disney
as Elvis Shmelvis sang some of the King’s hits, but
at allowed children to go on the stage with him.
y Malcolm Shaffron then made a welcome speech
zing Bournemouth Carnival Band who dress in
their own playing, know how to entertain!
spired the talent of young performers over the past
cing from the musical Annie. It was amazing to hear
y were undoubtedly good enough to grace West End
The Cheeky Girls with a
Cheeky Ed!
- better known as The Cheeky
t outfits ever - performed their
denly saw many male carers sud-
e stage! But, the twins only had
lty to the Fund is amazing.
came out onto the dance floor
to join in.
been doing the show for many
n / ventriloquist Sam Jones who
t Talent semi-final. The children
with magic tricks combined with
The first Mike Son photo
sang Where is Love - a song that
Call Sign has ever taken
d stage in a production of Oliver.
where he is seen to be
guest - Titan the Robot! Not just
one that talks and answers back!
d Russia, Titan kept children and
ondered around the dance floor
e to get was the final act, when
s of Crystal Palace FC pranced
entertain everyone.
he children, although we suspect
een happy to join in, but Dial-a-
duced some celebrities who had
gn autographs. Among them was
champion Frank Bruno and
i driver who wined and dined
his own reasons!!! Christabel
inster kindly gave up her Sunday
No, you ask him if his
eques to the Fund. Cathy Beany
shirt itches!
ack Taxis passed over a cheque
supporters, Peter Stringfellow;
ade up of 5% of recruiting fees.
s the cost of the day. Artemis,
d a much appreciated £1,500.
m were things going on such as
sit on, the army and the Fire
ere also available and of course,
ntertaining somewhere.
everyone involved, which we
Elvis entertaining the kids
ommittee themselves who do
with his version of Viva
Las Vegas
Call Sign February 2016
Page 18
John’s dual identity taxi!
John’s number plate displaying both
London Taxi Company and Mercedes ID
Dial-a-Cab driver
recently called this
magazine to ask
about a TX4 number
plate she had spotted on one of
our taxis that sported the
Colindale. It was unusual, if
not unique!
Thoughts raced through her mind as to why an LTC TX4 should
team at Colchester Hospital have been absolutely fantastic, just
bear Mercedes details on it. Maybe the owner was supporting both
superb. But in the meantime I registered my nephew on DaC as a
marques as a way of countering the relentless expansion of private
journeyman driver,” John said.
hire or perhaps he was confused as to what vehicle he was driving! A
Call Sign asked A & S and they did give a logical possibility as to
multitude of possibilities raced through the driver’s mind - although
the origin of the strange duel identity number plates. A spokesman
a KGB undercover surveillance vehicle seemed unlikely!
confirmed that Jonathan has a “cherished” personal number plate that
“The answer is that I don’t know,” John Connor (S66) explained
he wanted to retain on his new cab. So he had to re-register the cab
to Call Sign! “I bought the TX4 from Jonathan Radcliffe (G09) back
with the DVLA who duly issued a replacement registration and
in April 2015 and collected it from the garage that overhauled the cab,
Jonathan would probably have had the new number plates made up
A & S Services in Hoddesdon. They are LTC authorised agents and
somewhere convenient for him.
the Mercedes details were already on the vehicle when I took it.
“There is an MB agent near Paddington - even though they state
“My part of the story is that I bought the cab on the Friday, drove it
Colindale - so we’d guess that the number plates were constructed
home on the Saturday morning and on the following Tuesday I was
there. But you never know, it could be a KGB plot!!!”
diagnosed with cancer on my tonsils. I went straight into Colchester
A & S Services can be contacted on: 01992 445 733. The KGB is
Hospital and haven’t actually worked since that day. The medical unavailable to callers but say they don’t do overhauls!
here is a vacancy for a DaC
subscriber to become a
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
Society Arbitrator. Should
dedicated to DAC members only
you wish to put your name
forward and you meet the minimum
criteria of 5 consecutive years mem-
bership, then please apply in writing
expressing your interest to be
5% Discount for members
received by me at Dial-a-Cab House
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
no later than first post on Monday
29 February 2016.
Public Liability
Should more than one driver apply, a postal ballot
Breakdown Cover
would then be conducted at a later date and the candidate
Much more available
with the highest number of votes would then be duly
Call below for quotations
Candidates who apply and who wish to send their CVs
for publication in Call Sign should send them to the
Editor, either by post or email, by the same date ie
Monday 29 February 2016 keeping to a maximum of
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
around 200 words and preferably attaching a photo as
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
well. They will then appear in the April issue.
Company Registration No: 4319231
If you have any queries regarding this process, please
do not hesitate to contact me.
Tel: 01322 553313
Howard Pears
Company Secretary
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign February 2016
Page 19
Not content with the Mayor giving them huge amounts of space...
Over the years, we at Call Sign have heard many
he could confirm that
cyclists’ helmet camera
true stories that at the time we found difficult to
footage was acceptable.
believe, but the one involving a Dial-a-Cab driver
He said that he too was
just before Christmas outside the Houses of
amazed and had never
heard of it!”
Parliament has surely moved to the very top of
Debbie, who has
the list! It also brings into play a situation that is
been with DaC for 15
not just shocking, but in reality puts our licenses
years, went on to tell
this magazine that she
and very livelihoods into the hands of our
now has a camera in
Mayor’s undoubted favourites - his fellow
her taxi and had con-
templated passing
over footage of any
Debbie Hope (W18) had been travelling along St Margaret’s
cyclist that jumped a
Street towards the Parliament Square traffic lights. Soon after - on
red light! But she
Christmas Eve in fact - she received a police letter enclosing three
added that with their
stills taken from a video camera appearing to show that Debbie’s taxi
advantage of not
had been driven through the lights whilst they were red.
needing registration
“The photos undoubtedly showed my cab going through the lights
plates, they all
on red and although I couldn’t understand how I missed them, I obvi-
looked the same
ously did and was prepared to hold my hands up,” Debbie told Call
from behind! And
Sign. “The first photo showed me a short distance away from the
lights with them showing red and amber, so the next sequence should
would probably be
have been green. But they obviously must have changed straight back
a full time job!
to red because the second photo showed the lights as being red again
“I assume that the cyclist who passed the footage of my cab over to
and my cab going through them.”
the police just didn’t like taxi drivers and has probably done it
Continuing with her story, Debbie told us: “Receiving that on
before,” said Debbie, “but I doubt that an all-out war between us
Christmas Eve was bad enough, but the police then said that on
would do anyone any good. However, I’d like to warn all Dial-a-Cab
looking at files, I did not have any insurance and that frightened me
drivers that with so many cyclists having helmet-cams, this may be just
even more! So far as I knew, I was insured with Quotax and had
the thin end of the wedge...”
never had any renewal problems. But the letter now made me won-
der if, and for how long, I had been driving while uninsured? It real-
Alan Fisher
ly did frighten me.”
Call Sign Online
Debbie phoned Quotax and they confirmed that she was
insured and that any police enquiry must have shown an incor-
rect registration. But she still faced the possibility of three
points for what their own photographic evidence proved was an
incorrect light change sequence. So Debbie then phoned the
number on the letter and they confirmed that she was indeed
being prosecuted for going through a red light. But what they
told her next not only amazed her, but should shock every sin-
gle taxi driver in London.
“I asked if I had been filmed by a yellow camera because I had never
noticed one there. When I was told no, I then asked if it was a police
hand-held camera and again the answer came back as no. So I asked
where the footage had come from and after a few moments of silence,
the voice at the other end said it had been taken by a member of the
“My husband, Duncan (R52), took a look at the photos and
said that in his view they seemed to be still shots from a video
that had been taken by a cyclist with a helmet camera who must
have been behind Debbie and passed the footage of a taxi going
through a red light over to the police!
“I was still reeling from the shock of what I had been told by both
the police and then Duncan, but pulled myself together enough to
call the police again and explain that the sequence of lights was obvi-
ously wrong and although I admitted going through a red light
because the photo showed it, surely the incorrect lights sequence was
mitigation enough for the matter to be dropped? The voice at the
other end said she would look at the footage and call straight back,
obviously hearing the concern in my voice. True to her word, she did
phone back and confirmed that I had indeed gone through a red light,
but went on to add that an incorrect sequence was no defence. She
also apologised for the police making a mistake re my insurance, but
they were not going to cancel the offence.
“Because I now believed it was probably a cyclist, I asked if that
footage was allowed as evidence for something serious enough to
carry three points if proved and she said yes! I was truly stunned and
several days later when I spotted a policeman in the street, I asked if
Call Sign February 2016
Page 20
Call Sign has made several mentions over the
past few months regarding comparison site
app, Karhoo. The first was when another taxi
company announced they were linking up to
it. I came out against because I couldn’t see
how our prices could compete to private hire.
both the supply and demand ends of their busi-
However, on the second occasion I wondered
ness. Disruption wasn’t always at the expense of
whether we could work with it and left it
livelihoods. Accommodation site, Airbnb, did-
open. So I offered Karhoo the opportunity to
n’t put family-run hotels out of business.
show us what was on offer and David
Expedia didn’t drive airlines to bankruptcy.
Goldring, Karhoo’s Head of Supplier
They saw a way to integrate smart technology to
Relations (UK), has written this exclusively for
make life better for companies and customers.
Call Sign readers... Ed
That is what we are doing.
At Karhoo, we are here to champion the incum-
What is Karhoo?
bent industry. We don’t think algorithms and GPS
Karhoo is a Licensed Taxi and Private Hire com-
should replace human beings who have worked
parison app. It works by connecting the dis-
hard to get you from A to B. Technology may have
patch system of existing fleets to let customers
tipped the playing field against the fleets and dri-
choose from nearby available cabs.
vers but smart, collaborative technology can level
It features Black Cabs, minicabs and execu-
it again. We want to support your business to
tive cars from local and regional companies
grow, not watch you suffer.
including ComCab in London and a large num-
Passengers win because the app is easy to
ber of Private Hire companies. The passenger
use, transparent and fair but, most importantly
can choose by vehicle type, specific fleet, the
world’ available on the app. It takes years of hard
lets them choose a ride that suits their needs.
closest or cheapest cab; paying the fixed or
work to learn the Knowledge, earn your badge
Fleets win because Karhoo easily integrates with
metered fare quoted through the app (no cash,
and all the trust that comes with being a Black
existing dispatch systems, is vendor neutral and
no meter anxiety). You can also pre-book (mul-
Cab Licensed Taxi driver, then seemingly from
ultimately will put idle cabs in front of more
tiple) vehicles and journeys through the app.
nowhere a billion-dollar tech start-up based
passengers. It is this approach that is being so
Other apps cut out the Licensed Taxi and
abroad comes and has a huge negative impact on
well received by regulators around the world
Private Hire companies by directly connecting
your business almost overnight.
who are openly supporting Karhoo, rather than
the customer and driver through their app.
How can you stand a chance against the tech-
trying to ban it.
Karhoo is the opposite: we don’t recruit drivers
nological and marketing spending power of
Together, we will level the playing field...
or run our own fleet of vehicles; we simply put
these Silicon Valley giants? Existing Black Cab
you, the driver, in front of more passengers.
fleets such as Dial-a-Cab and ComCab are feel-
David Goldring,
Karhoo has been in development for a year
ing the pain of this technological disruption at
Head of Supplier Relations (UK)
and went live in the App Store and Google Play
in January as part of a soft launch in London.
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose life is captured
Karhoo will also launch in New York and
as a blog! His story of when he was on the Knowledge is…
Singapore in 2016.
A Blogger’s Tale
How can an aggregator
change the world?
Finally, in the summer of 1988, the day no London Cab Driver would ever for-
What we are doing at Karhoo has never been
get arrived. Despite my ridiculous nerves, I emerged from that 'cold war'
looking PCO building in Penton Street with a very shiny green badge and
done before. We are putting your vehicle in front
the number 46587 stamped on it. I went in a Knowledge Boy and emerged
of more passengers and giving passengers more
as a licensed London taxi driver!
choice. We are levelling what has become an
I went to see Michael at the garage with my badge in hand. I walked into the
uneven playing field. We want users to have a
office feeling at least a foot taller than the last time I had been there; he was on the
choice and are delighted to have London Black
phone and looked at me with absolutely no bodily acknowledgement whatsoever.
Cabs, which are continually voted the ‘best in the
Eventually, the phone slammed down and he said: “So you want a cab, do you!”
We walked out onto the forecourt and he pointed to some dirty old cabs that were alongside a wall.
They all had adverts on and looked very unappealing; he opened the driver’s door of the first one and an A
to Z fell out of the door pocket! It stank of cigarette smoke and I found myself taking a step backwards.
“How much,” I asked?
He said it would be £140 - it was only a marginal improvement on my wangle cab. He wandered off as I shut
the door and found the oldest one. It turned out to be the cleanest with the fewest battle scars. I went to find
All members should have received the
him and we walked back to the office where he gave me a card with the date and the registration number on it;
Notice of Annual General Meeting
next to the date he had written £127.
“Pay me at the end of the week,” he said. I watched him go as a train rattled by above the old railway arch.
2015 advising that the meeting will
again be held at The HAC, Armoury
The first fare…
House, City Road on Sunday 7th
London cabbies are a superstitious lot and I had been warned time and time again to give away the first fare. In
February 2016 at 11am.
other words, the first fare is free to facilitate a long a prosperous career. But I was far more concerned that I
There is no election of officers at this
wouldn't know the first destination!
I rattled along the cobblestones towards Bethnal Green Road, switched my light on and could almost hear
year’s meeting and any Rule Changes
my heart pounding. I neared Shoreditch High Street and then I saw them. I felt sick as they spun around and
or Propositions would have had to
started waving their arms and shrieked out “Taxi!” I think I was actually reciting the Lord’s Prayer as I pulled in
have been received at Dial-a-Cab House
beside the two largish West Indian women who were so obviously excited to see me. I prayed I would know the
on or before 09:00hrs on Friday 27th
destination as one of them pressed her face into the nearside window. I waited and watched her lips as she
November 2015 as per the Notice of
mouthed the words “Lemon Road, please.”
Sh*t! Lemon Road? I repeated the words back to them to make sure I'd heard them properly. But they just
Annual General Meeting 2015 letter.
said that they wanted Lemon Road. With that, they opened the back door and climbed inside. My mind raced
There were none received by that date.
frantically; eventually I had to spin round and ask: “Where is Lemon Road then?”
Please remember that if you do not
I breathed out and felt my body suddenly relax when one of them said it was near Aldgate! I asked if they
vote by post then you should attend.
meant Leman Street. “Oh yeah, that’s right" came the reply. I pressed the big button on the front of my meter
If you do not attend or vote by post,
and off we went. They looked like they were going to molest me when I told them that the journey was free,
but I managed to escape by turning into Prescott Street and on towards the City...
you will be liable for a £50 fine.
To be continued…
Howard Pears
Simon Scott (O40)
Company Secretary
Call Sign Online
Call Sign February 2016
Page 21
The annual general meeting of
The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled
The London Taxi Benevolent
Association for War Disabled
was held on Monday 14th
December 2015 at The Royal
Assistant Secretary and Press Officer Derek
Council and the people of South
Hospital Chelsea SW3. Those
Holmwood, our halfway point of the trip for
present included former ODRTS
Also elected were Gary Hutchinson,
supplying food and drinks and for their sup-
Board and founder member,
Graham Pike, Eddie Hillary, Arron Capell and
port over the last 67 years! Another event was
Dennis Hayes.
the Chalke Valley History Festival, an excel-
Harry Joel MBE, Paul
The Chairman then invited David Clegg to
lent weekend.
Davis, Michael Husk (P41),
become a member of the committee and he
Then in July, we had the Johnny
Graham Pike, Terry Ward (W13),
was pleased to accept the position. In his
Rowlands Golf Day, a fabulous day with din-
absence, Gary Mankelow (E67) was voted
ner and some great entertainment from
Richard Goodwin, Gary Belsey,
onto the committee.
Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear! Many
Edward Hillery, Dennis James,
The London Taxi Benevolent Association
thanks Johnny!
Derek Leone, Arron Capell, Ian
for War Disabled AGM closed at 4.00pm...
In August, the Charity with the help of
London Taxi Drivers, supplied free trans-
Parsons and former DaC
Derek Leone
port for all VJ Veterans from mainline rail sta-
Secretary Trevor Clarke. Guests
tions to the VJ Day event in Central
LTBAWD Hon Press Officer
were Frances Wyhowska and
London. Well done to all those who helped
get the Veterans to the event and back to the
former DaC Board member
LTBAWD Chairman’s
stations afterwards. We also helped supply
David Clegg. The meeting
transport for the George Cross Island
Report 2015
opened at 3.15...
Association and the Royal Marines
This year so far has once again been a suc-
Association for the Korean War Memorial.
Chairman Gary Belsy opened the meeting
cessful one. This Charity is growing larg-
The Charity had an invite to Beating the
with a minute silence for those no longer
er, sadly this means more ex-servicemen
Retreat at Headley Court where we received
with us. The Chairman’s report was handed
and women need our services and our
a warm welcome from the Commanding
to committee members. It was read and
support is welcome to them.
Officer and staff. We also received thanks for
approved (see below).
Since my last report, we’ve had a
the support we gave to the servicemen and
Trevor Clarke, the charity’s long-time
Remembrance service at the Chelsea College
women there.
auditor, thanked the Chairman, Treasurer
of Arts in November, followed by a Christmas
This year we have a new web site; it has
and Committee for the good work that they
lunch at Millwall FC in December.
already been a great success with many hits
are doing for the charity. He read the financial
2015 started with a collector’s lunch in
world-wide and informative information on
report, which was approved. The Chairman
the Union Jack Club, many other luncheons
events and history of the charity.
and committee then thanked Trevor for his
have followed with the Veterans having a
I would personally like to thank my
assistance in preparing the accounts.
good old singalong! In March we had a func-
committee for their hard work over the
tion at the Cheam Sports and Social club, a
last year and to the London Taxi drivers
good time had by all. Many thanks to Tony
who gave up their time and money to
and his team.
help this Charity to become what it is
In May we celebrated VE Day and went back
today. The two words - thank you - are not
to The Netherlands for the 70th Anniversary
enough for these Veterans who gave and
of the end of WW2 and the Liberation. It was a
maintained our freedom over the years!
very successful five day trip. June saw us invit-
A big thank you to our trade organisations,
ed to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where we
the British Legion, Heroes Return,
thanked them for their support over many
Millwall FC and many others that have
years. That month also saw our annual
helped this Charity. And lastly, a special thank
Worthing trip. For the first time in 67 years,
you to our collectors over this past year for all
we held our event on the pier in the Pavilion
their hard work. Well done!
Theatre, attracting much attention with 100
plus taxis parked on the foreshore with the
Gary Belsey
many Veterans - a great day and a big success
once again. A big thank you to Worthing
LTBAWD Hon Chairman
ODRTS Founder Member, former Board
member and LTBAWD president Harry
Joel MBE
Elected Officers
President Harry Joel MBE, Chairman Gary
Belsy, Secretary Paul Davis, Treasurer Michael
Husk, Vice Chairman Ian Parsons, Vice
President Dennis James, Vice President
and Appeals Richard Goodwin, Vice President
Frances Wyhowska, Transport Terry Ward,
Call Sign February 2016
Page 22
A major new exhibition presents 1916 & WW1 as seen by Britain, France & Germany
REMEMBERING 1916 - Life on the Western Front
A new exhibition exploring World
The War at Sea looks at the Battle
War One, the battles on the
of Jutland, the largest naval battle
Western Front and the experiences
and only full-scale clash of battle-
of people on land, in the air, at sea
ships in the War. It is one of the most
and at home will open in March
controversial battles in history due to
2016. Marking the centenary of WWI
and the momentous events of 1916,
Commander, Admiral Sir John
Remembering 1916 - Life on the
Jellicoe, missed the opportunity to
Western Front presents a collection
destroy the German fleet.
of 500 original objects, many from
The War at Home shows the con-
private collections and never before
trast to the harsh reality of the
displayed in public.
Western Front. Remembering 1916
Remembering 1916 - Life on
will also create a snapshot of what
the Western Front will run from
life was like for those on the Home
12 March - 31 August 2016 at the
Front in Croydon and the South East,
Whitgift Exhibition Centre at
as well as in France and Germany.
Whitgift School, Croydon and
From letters to home and sweetheart
include stories examining battles of Verdun, Jutland and the
tokens, to air raids and the changing role of women, the impact of the
Somme and such characters as Lord Kitchener and the Red
action on the Western Front on people’s lives is clear to see. Visitors
Baron. It will reveal untold stories and uncelebrated individuals
will be able to read original letters and postcards sent between sol-
on both the Western and Home fronts.
diers and their loved ones and view many other personal mementos.
The exhibition is designed, curated, produced and run by Whitgift
In the final display, visitors will learn more about some of the 251
School. A school production in name, the exhibition is a museum-
former Whitgift pupils who sadly lost their lives during the War, with
quality project, presented with exceptionally high production values
a poppy memorial display paying tribute to each of them.
and open seven days a week to all visitors. Looking at the political and
Visitor Information: 12 March to 31 August 2016 from 10am -
social background to WWI and the events of 1916, it will draw on the
5pm, 7 days a week at the Whitgift Exhibition Centre, Whitgift
voices, recollections, writings and opinions of British, French and
School, Haling Park, South Croydon CR2 6YT.
German soldiers and their families. It will feature a large array of per-
Admission: Adults £7; Seniors £5; Children (under 16)
£3; Children
sonal items belonging to soldiers, providing an insight into their day-
(under 5) free; Family* £18
to-day lives. The exhibition themes and exhibits will reflect the
*Any family combination of up to 2 adults & accompanying children
approaches, attitudes and actions of each country.
(5-16 years) up to 5 people.
Among key exhibits will be two very rare original first issues of
More information:
British trench newspaper, The Wipers Times, a German light field
www.remembering1916.co.uk or call 020 8688 9222.
wagon, a British Battle of Jutland ensign, a rare German battleship
flag, original British, French and German uniforms, kit and equip-
There will also be an Edwardian themed café and an exhibition shop.
ment, including tank drivers’ uniforms, a rare Women’s RAF uniform
and the original train sign of Verdun station.
Parts from WW1 Zeppelins and fabric from the famous red triplane
flown by the Red Baron together with stories detailing the exploits of
the German flying ace, Manfred von Richthofen, who was the Red
Baron - in particular, his fierce dogfight with Second Lieutenant
Lionel Morris, a former Whitgift pupil. Richthofen shot down Morris’
plane, mortally wounding Morris. This was the Red Baron’s first offi-
cial ‘kill’ of the War. To mark this event, Whitgift has commissioned a
painting depicting the height of the battle, by leading aviation painter
Alex Hamilton, GAvA. The School has also commissioned a replica sil-
ver cup to match those made for the Red Baron after each of his ‘kills’.
The cup will be engraved with the date of the ‘kill’ and the name of
the aircraft.
A key feature will be the reconstruction of a British trench at
dawn, showing soldiers going ‘over the top’ and a German trench
from the Battle of the Somme at night, transporting visitors to a
Friday 26 February 2016
frenzied and terrifying moment for both sides. The Somme saw the
Friday March 18 2016
first use of tanks in the War and visitors have an opportunity to see
tank tracks from the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
09.30 Coffee & bacon roll on arrival***
The exhibition will also find its way beneath the main gallery space
10.30 Shot gun start***
with a display on tunnelling, illuminating the tactic of going under-
15.30 Presentation of Professional & Team prizes
ground to listen to the enemy and lay explosives. It will also explore
£45 per person in a team of 2 amateurs
the political and social background to key events in 1916, using the
going out with a golf professional
contemporary voices of soldiers and their families. The four main
Maximum full handicap 24 Men, 30 Ladies
themes are:
Format: Stableford 3/4 handicap. Best two scores count.
The War on Land remembers two of the key battles on the
Please telephone if you would like an
Western Front. The Battle of Verdun saw the French and German
troops pitched against each other in what turned out to be a blood-
entry form or any further information.
bath and the longest battle of the War. The Battle of the Somme was
Call Elaine Cochrane on 01992 466666 Ext. 249.
arguably the most infamous battle of the War. The Somme offensive
was meant to be a breakthrough against the German defences, but
The Hertfordshire was designed by Jack Nicklaus II. It is a par 70 spread over 6266
yards of beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, making full use of the natural
poor planning resulted in unprecedented allied losses on the open-
surroundings. The lakes and forests in the area, for example, make for wonderfully
ing day.
challenging natural hazards. With full irrigation cover of tees, fairways and greens,
The War in the Air charts the rapid development of the Royal
the course is in fantastic condition all year round. Read more about the course at
Flying Corps and explores the growing importance of aerial warfare,
both for reconnaissance and control of the land below to both sides.
Call Sign February 2016
Page 23
t was good to read the comments of the
two drivers in this month’s Mailshot
who gave their opinions regarding
DaC Sales Report
fixed prices and how one is in favour
while one is not. If a straw poll were to be
With Keith Cain
taken amongst members, I feel those com-
times can be to the detriment of members
ments would reflect the entire member-
by not keeping them as up-to-date as I
ship. No one wants to work below the
would like and I apologise for that, but the
meter, but market forces dictate that we
blame totally lies at Alan’s door for pro-
should - or at the very least - consider it.
ducing such a good magazine! (Ed’s note:
One of the letters (Geoff Levene W32J)
Blimey, talk about getting blamed for every-
stated that it was my opinion we must
thing)! When our competitors tell us that
accept fixed prices if we are to survive. I
they eagerly await each month’s issue of
am not advocating this is the only route
Call Sign, it does make you think twice
that we as an organisation must follow; all
about what you say!
I am doing is informing members what we
Make no mistake though, the market
are up against when trying to compete
place is fierce and in my opinion what has
against private hire.
made it even tougher is the pricing struc-
The other letter (Jon Robinson E88)
ture of Uber. Their charging has begun to
refers to closing the stable door etc. I’d
impact more severely on the whole of the
just like to say that we have been offering
private hire industry and the major car
fixed rate journeys for some considerable
players have had to review their journey
time and not as many may perceive, just
costs for fear of losing out to the Uber app.
started offering them now.
we have to be mindful not to give our com-
And that, of course, affects us!
With Call Sign being such a widely read
petitors any advantage over what we are
Over the past few years I have scruti-
publication within the trade and beyond, doing in Sales. I am fully aware this at
nised more car vendor journey costs than I
would ever wish to mention and was start-
ing to see the gap between private hire and
licensed taxis closing, even if it was only
DaC and the world’s top 20 taxis
marginally. But what I’ve noticed very
During a few minutes’ breather after a very busy
recently is that the gap is beginning to
pre-seasonal rush to get Call Sign out on time,
widen again and I honestly believe this is
a member of the team began idly browsing the
down to the competition within the pri-
internet while boss Alan Fisher left the room to
vate hire industry itself.
renew acquaintances with the staff canteen’s
Whether we offer no run-ins, no gratu-
coffee machine.
ities and just the meter fare or fixed rate
Suddenly Google and a laptop came togeth-
journeys below the metered fare, one
er to display the Top 20 Taxis of All Time.
thing for sure is that the car company jour-
There on the screen appeared the world
ney costs are cheaper than the meter fare,
famous shape of the London Taxi Company’s
even when you start with a dead clock.
TX series of taxicabs. Nothing surprising in
To give you an example; I recently
that, you might say, as the instantly recognisable icon of
saw a PH invoice showing journey cost-
London is often used in a story somewhere.
ings from EC2 to W2 for £17.50, EC2 to
The original image accompanying the article was shot by a foreign photographer probably
W8 for £18.20 and EC2 to W14 for
visiting London, with the featured cab being a ’55 plate TX2. But what was nice was that
- all with no administration
the snapper chose to shoot a Dial-a-Cab taxi instead of any one of the many thousands
charge added. I’ll let you work out
that transport passengers safely around our streets every day of the year.
what the meter fare would be to those
The pic was taken before our new-style door logos were released and the colours
destinations. I also had the “privilege”
of the old one may have been what attracted the Snapper; but to feature so promi-
nently and the free world-wide publicity such exposure offers, should not be
to be informed by an account client of
ours that they had been offered a fixed
Among those in the survey were some old London stalwarts such as the Beardmore, FX3
price to go from EC2 to W13 for £38...
and FX4, while at the opposite end of the scale there was the latest hybrid Metrocab taxi
that by another “black taxi company.”
currently seen on the streets of London undergoing trials before full production is expected
That is what we are up against and it is
to begin later this year. Alongside the hybrid taxi was the original electric cab - The Bersey.
not going to go away - at least not as long
It was invented by Walter Bersey and worked the London streets in the late 1890s. His
as the playing field remains so uneven. We
fleet of 75 cabs were powered by grid-plate batteries that could only be recharged at
all know about being regulated to the
Bersey's Lambeth garage, where a hydraulic lifting system allowed for quick battery
extent where we have no choice of vehicle
exchange. The taxi had a range of about 35 miles, which was more than the average horse-
or that what we have to charge is no com-
powered cab could cover. It had a top speed of 14mph - which some would say it isn’t
petition against those in a free market. I lay
much different today with all the extra traffic! But they never carried the DaC logo!
that one firmly at the door of TfL... as I’m
The survey also featured the usual array of low emission cars such as the Nissan Leaf and
sure you all do.
dare we say, the Prius, together with an array of Mercedes-Benz saloons so popular across
I will always try to get members the best
Europe. There were also some local home-grown marques in various countries around the
deal I can, but to say it is difficult is an
globe converted for what watchers would call ‘taxi’ use. We have some doubts as to
understatement! We have expanded the
whether those behind the survey know the difference between taxis and private hire, but
that doesn’t detract from any associated world-wide publicity for the DaC taxi and the
Sales department and recruited a Senior
instantly recognisable “real” ones!
Sales Executive from outside of the indus-
Also there were the gaudily decorated World War II Jeeps used in the Philippines that
try, but from an equally tough industry sec-
have been converted into taxis to carry as many people as possible at the same time by rear-
tor. He is currently on his probationary
ranging the seating along the length of either side of the vehicle - although no mention of
period and as soon as this is completed,
their emission ratings!
we will introduce him to you all.
Jamie Corum
Call Sign Online
Keith Cain
DaC Head of Sales
Call Sign February 2016
Page 24
What exactly is
Thomas the Taxi wonders about Taxi and PH regulations and asks...
it that the
media can't see
or understand
about Taxi and
Private Hire
We already
app to supply cheap booze to people out-
The Taxi trade doesn't want or need less
have sufficient
side public houses? After all, it's what the
regulation. It's there for a reason! We are
legislation called the Private
public wants! Perhaps we could perform
proud of the fact that we have all com-
cheap dentistry without any training? Got a
pleted the Knowledge of London. Yes, it
Hire Vehicles act 1998. Then
toothache? Call a cab
we can get pliers to
was hard but it produces quality drivers
Uber comes along and amazing-
do the job cheap!
who are regularly voted not just good or
ly, even though they don’t
Legislation is there to protect the public
excellent, but the best in the world!
and should always be enforced fully. Letting a
We don't need more legislation in regards to
(can’t) conform to the regula-
company come here, one that pays virtually
PH, we already have exactly what is need-
tions every other PH operator
no tax, treats its workers - who work below
ed. Why should one company be given exemp-
has to abide by, are licensed as
the minimum wage and have to be reliant on
tion from the regulations or be able to flout
benefits - like slaves, without a doubt is unfair
the law and operate in any way they see fit?
an operator???
So why has this one company, with massive
Has our licensing authority
Uber don't do bookings...
funds available for lobbying support, been
Contra to the PHV act 1998, Uber’s app allows
become corrupt?
allowed to operate outside of the very legis-
them to illegally ply for immediate hire. When
Or is our licensing authority just too terrified
lation that every other PH company has to
originally licensed in 2012, they had no proper
to take on this multi-billion dollar company?
abide by? The Legislation that is put in place
operating centre and ran their business from a
After all, when was the last time TfL’s legal
to protect the public. Surely this is a breach
rented desk space in More London. They did-
team actually had a major victory? Instead of
of all other Taxi and Private Hire operator’s
n't even have a landline to take bookings, con-
trying to fix the situation by watering down
consumer rights?
tra to regulations laid down regarding applica-
the required standards to enter the Licensed
tions for operator licences. Even now, over 3
Taxi trade, perhaps interfering politicians
years later, they still don't have a valid landline
So what is it that the media
should be investigating why our licensing
or take bookings. In fact they have no way to
authority (TfL) are not enforcing the rules
can't grasp about this?
pre-book a job.
We are told this is allowed because it's what
and regulations to the same standard as pre-
The Taxi trade call foul and ask for regula-
2012. Over to you Tom Watson...
the public want! But as LTDA General
tions to be enforced (not new or more regula-
Secretary Steve McNamara pointed out in an
All our industry asks for is to have the
tion, just enforce what we already have) and
rules and regulations that we already
ITV interview, a huge proportion of the pub-
suddenly it's a breach of Uber's consumer
lic want to be able to buy controlled sub-
have in place enforced. What part of this
rights! What about the rights of every other taxi
request does the media and interfering
stances that are illegal. But they can't because
driver or minicab operator in the industry?
there is legislation against it, just like the leg-
politicians not get?
Would it be a breach of consumer rights
islation that governs minicabs. Unfortunately,
to stop Taxi drivers selling cheap cigarettes
Jim Thomas
at present and in regards to Uber, the current
and cans of beer to passengers or set up an
Private Hire legislation isn't being enforced.
Call Sign Online
Mick Wheeler
Taxi insurance for DaC drivers
Mick Wheeler has been
advertising his mobile air con
On behalf of Dial-a-Cab, Hillier
servicing and repair service in
Buchan Ltd in Bexley have negotiated
Call Sign for several years. As
a result, Mick had many Dial-
exclusive rates for DaC members.
a-Cab drivers who knew him
We believe our rates are competitive
as always being very helpful
in today’s market for experienced
and whose work was always excellent. These
drivers became regular customers.
licensed Black Cab drivers.
We have now heard that Mick has passed
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every driver’s circumstances are different; therefore
away and his business has ceased. On behalf of
our policies can be tailored for the individual driver. We offer a 5% discount for DaC
Mick’s family, his nephew Robert told Call Sign:
members, with additional discounts for existing protected Bonus policies.
“It is with great regret that we would
Hillier Buchan was established in 2002 by David Hillier and myself with in excess of
like to inform customers, colleagues and
50 years experience as high level Brokers working in the City of London for major
friends of the death of Mick Wheeler. Mick
broking houses. We have established a reputation for professionalism and service in
was well known in the trade for repairing
our chosen fields.
air conditioning. Unfortunately Mick
We have extensive London Market contacts; consequently we are able to offer our
passed away on November 8th after a very
clients a quality of security from companies that are all available in the world’s pre-emi-
short illness with pancreatic cancer. He will
nent insurance market. As a result, our clients achieve quality of security and service
be sadly missed by all who knew him.
upon which we pride ourselves and a competitiveness of premium that our clients find
“Mick built up his business over the
years and has been working in the
particularly attractive in today's climate.
London Taxi trade for around twenty
Our philosophy is to build long-term relationships using balanced service teams pro-
years. He was extremely proud of his job
viding continuity and expertise. Compare our prices and give us a call. See our ad on
and that showed in the quality of his
page 18 inside this issue of Call Sign.
Phil Buchan, Hillier Buchan
work. Mick will be fondly remembered by
all those who knew him.”
01322 553313
Call Sign February 2016
Page 25
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
When cab driver William Ransom
the union representing the men on the other,
appeared at Hammersmith Police Court
agreed to a fixed set of daily rentals through-
charged with defaulting on his rental with his
out the year. From the Awards it can be
master, he blamed “the Season” for being
deduced that the quietest period of the year
“As flat as a kipper,”
very bad. He had originally been paying
was from around mid-August to mid-October
usually sums up the
18shillings (90p) a day but as the cab-going
when the men were expected to pay 10s a day.
public moved away from the city, this was
The rental would gradually rise until peaking
Christmas to the
mutually dropped to 10s (50p) a day. Still,
at 16s a day at the beginning of June, where it
Chelsea Flower
Ransom could not pay and owed his master,
would remain for six weeks before dropping
Show in May. Times
Mr Gard, a total of £3. For his part, Gard
down until the third week in August.
change however and
admitted that times were difficult for the dri-
So ‘the work is as flat as a kipper,’ and ‘kip-
the Kipper seems to
vers with the Season ending abruptly in mid-
pers are all a cabman could afford to eat’, have
change with those times. Ten / fifteen years
July, which coincided with The Great Stink.
both been mooted at one time or another as
ago, December was non-stop throughout the
Ransom could not afford to pay his master
the derivation of the term, as has ‘it comes
day and night, now the work seems to die off
“another farthing” and in consequence was
from the Yiddish word for coppers (pennies) -
in the run-up to Christmas, so could it be that
imprisoned for 21 days.
kaperz’, which sounds even more feasible.
The Kipper now begins before the festive
In their Street Life in London (1877)
In one of his many columns under the pen-
Thomson and Smith write that the daily
name of Jehu, Simon Hogan recalled how
And what about the Flower Show? For the
price of a rental in the dull season was on
when it was very quiet, many cabmen would
past few years, there does not appear to have
average 10s to 12s a day, but there were eight
supplement their income by sewing the spare
been any substantial increase in the work
price hikes during the year. If a cab was to
buttons for jackets onto pieces of card; when
after the show. There can be a few good
have a ‘wait and return’ to the Epsom Derby,
it was busy, they didn’t have to.
weeks in June, but come July and August, the
the master would want £2 with the driver
Last year, in an interview on the Robert
work completely dies off before picking up
charging the passenger the accepted rate of 3
Elms Show on BBC London, menswear
again in September for the run-up towards
guineas (£3 3s). They also stated that the
designer Paul Simon stated the people who
Christmas. Of course, there are some drivers
months of September and October were the
did this were paid slave wages and according
who will argue that we are in a permanent
quietest months of the year.
to the Jewish tailors who employed them,
Kipper and no doubt there are others who
In 1894, drivers went on strike over the
they were called “Kippers.”
will claim we have not had a Kipper since the
daily rental they had to pay. The matter was
And that’s why it’s the Kipper Season...
early 1990’s.
finally settled by the Home Secretary, Herbert
The Kipper is ephemeral, it moves
Asquith, with what became known as the
Sean Farrell (B39)
according to the tastes and wants of the
Asquith Awards. The masters on one side, with
Call Sign Online
cab travelling public. So what about the
Victorian Brethren of the Whip, when was
their Kipper?
It comes as no surprise that very few
Victorian cabmen kept a daily record of their
takings - if they did, very few appear to have
Call Sign found it sad when hearing that San Francisco’s largest cab compa-
survived. We do, however, have the daily
ny, Yellow, was set to file for bankruptcy due in no small part to Uber and
Lyft. We know a few drivers working over there.
rental charged to the men for the hire of a
Then we heard of two other reports concerning serious losses and you would
cab and horse. If a cabman was expected to
assume that they were all down to Uber. But even they are losing a staggering
have a good day, then his master would put
amount and by the end of the first half of 2015 had lost almost $1 billion!
up his rental accordingly. The masters were
Those losses were up from $671.4 million in the previous half year but thanks to
quick to increase rentals when they saw fit,
their backers, they still had $4.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents in the bank
but always reticent at dropping it down.
as of June 2015. However, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is the latest to
announce a bill will be passed to put a halt to Uber Canada, promising to protect the integrity and commit-
When cab rental was low, drivers were not
ment of traditional Taxi drivers.
expected to earn much.
Then we heard about Hailo, which according to the company’s auditors, might only have enough cash
For the Victorian cabbie, the best time of the
to operate as a going concern for another three months. That report came with the company’s 2014
year was ‘The Season’ - which basically
accounts. Over the course of the year, Hailo’s parent company made a loss of £21.8m, with £11.8m of that
applied from April to mid-August, usually
loss coming from the company’s now-discontinued North American business. But Hailo’s operations in the
whilst Parliament was in session. When the MPs
UK in addition to Japan, Spain and Singapore still contributed more than £10m of losses over the year.
Hailo has now warned that to continue as a going concern, it will require a new round of fundraising with-
and Lords were in town, so was society, and
in the next three months. With further cost-cutting, it could survive a further 12 months.
when society was in town they used cabs. As
Hailo says it is confident it will be able to raise the funds needed and that they expect to receive further
late as May 1966, the editor of The Steering
funding in the near future. They added that in the unlikely event that further funding cannot be identified,
Wheel, Donna Bewley, commented that “...the
they would take any necessary steps to mitigate the risk of the business running out of cash in the foresee-
season is upon us…and a taxi-man’s life
able future.
becomes more varied and lucrative.”
Representing Hailo’s Auditors, Julian Frost said that they currently do not have any committed funding,
In 1858, the Season ended earlier than
nor have they committed to any further cost reductions. These conditions indicate the existence of a mater-
ial uncertainty that could cast significant doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.
usual. The summer heat created what became
Mr Frost added that Hailo’s directors acknowledged that to continue with the current cost base, the
known as The Great Stink when the Thames
group would require a further injection of funds within the next 3 months - or 12 months if further expen-
smelt so bad due to the pollution being
diture reductions are implemented - in order to provide ongoing working and growth capital.
pumped directly into it, that the House of
With all three major London radio circuits currently losing money, the reason seems fairly obvi-
Commons had to soak their curtains in lime
ous; greed! Companies see others earning money and attempt to jump on a bandwagon that
chloride in an attempt to mask the smell!
isn’t big enough to hold all of them and leaves everyone hanging onto the sides..
Call Sign February 2016
Page 26
ell me,
Another true story from Geoff Levene…
how is
used to be
two days and
now it’s two
weeks? Time
sunbeds. Val looked puzzled but never
be anywhere. As I say, we always have a nice
approached us again.
time there, but of course there was the Great
people would
There was an area for entertainment and
Tomato Ketchup incident...
work till the
one evening a band came to play. A large
We went down to breakfast one morning
Dutch party staying nearby came in to drink
and I decided to have the traditional Canarian
brate for two
and enjoy the music. Amongst them were
dish, Huevos y judegas con tostas - better
days and be
three women of a certain age who settled at a
known perhaps as eggs and beans on toast! I
back at their
table. I'll tell you how fanciable they were - I
took a plateful and headed back to our table.
desks on the
couldn't decide if they were prison guards or
The good lady wife grabbed the sauce and we
female weight-lifters!
sat down. A forkful of scrambled egg was
they'd work until New Year's Eve, party till
Now, staying on his own at the Hotel was
halfway to my mouth when an angry voice
God knows when and then stagger back on
an odd little German guy. During the day he
declared: “This is buffet! You no take ketchup
January 1st.
tended to wear cute little denim shorts while
to table. You leave for other guests.”
But gradually, they stopped turning up on
in the evening it was a denim shirt and jeans.
I looked up to see the Chinese head chef
New Years’ Day, Government bowed to pub-
He looked like a football supporter from the
standing over me. I should mention that I
lic pressure and declared it a Bank Holiday.
seventies, minus the scarf tied round his
had been a bit disappointed with some of the
The result was that many then took off the
wrist. Anyway, we watched him approach the
food so I said to him that I was glad he
days in between.
table and ask one of the three ladies to dance.
showed his face and that I wondered what he
Ok, fair enough. In fact I've always found
They looked at each other and burst out
thought of the evening menus. I complained
those few days to be quite busy. The stations
laughing. Not exactly encouraging for the
that some of it wasn’t up to standard.
run well with all those people who can't wait
Teutonic suitor, however one of them put
“You no like, you go to different hotel,” he
to get away from their families and get back
him out of his misery and stood up and they
yelled at me! Annoyed, I just told him to
to London - and on top of that, there aren't
began to jive on a raised area about three
“clear off” back to the kitchen where he
many drivers out there.
steps above ground level. As Herr Double
belonged! And dear Call Sign reader, I defi-
But over the past few years, a new situ-
Denim got more excited, his Dutch partner
nitely said ‘clear off’!
ation has arisen. The City seems by and
spun him round. And he spun and spun and
He stormed off and I went back to my now
large to pack it in a week BEFORE
spun right off the raised area and landed with
ketchupless breakfast, while the other guests
Christmas. This year it went dead on the
a sickening thud. The good lady wife gasped
stared open-mouthed. I complained and a
18th December. It may be my birthday
in horror but the Dutch women just looked
few days later a huge basket of fruit appeared
but it's hardly a national holiday. That's
down at him, burst out laughing again and
in our room. Trouble was we were going in a
what I mean about two weeks.
went back to their drinks. He crawled off and
few days and the chambermaid got most of it.
And we all know what happens once
that was the last we saw of him!
So the moral is this: Never take ketchup to
January begins. It goes quiet for at least a
The Guyarmina Princess is on the Costa
the table and if you are going to complain, do
couple of months before... it goes a little less
Adeje, that's the other end of the strip from
it early in the holiday...
quiet if we’re lucky! So it’s the perfect time
Los Cristianos. There isn't anything particu-
Geoff Levene (W32)
for a holiday. A bit of winter sun perhaps,
larly beautiful about the area, but if you’re
somewhere you can go out without a heavy
lying on your back reading, well, you could
Call Sign Online
coat and scarf. Somewhere you don't have to
worry about ranks stretching up Harewood
The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled
Avenue, along Harrow Road or Vauxhall
Bridge Road.
Lunch at Millwall FC for LTBAWD
We like to go to the Canaries. The weather
is usually good and it’s not too far. So by the
In early December, The London Taxi Benevolent
time you read this, we'll be soaking up some
Association for War Disabled held a luncheon at Millwall
Football Club; this was to thank all our sponsors and a par-
heat at the Guyarmina Princess Hotel on
ticular group of veterans who have, over the year, collected
Tenerife. We've been there for the last few
money at various locations for the charity.
years and judging by the familiar faces I see
Guests began arriving at 11.15am, including Vice
there, it's popular with plenty of other drivers
Admiral Peter Wilkinson and Bob Gamble OBE from
in the trade. For a few years we went to Los
The Royal British Legion, with veterans arriving in
Cristianos and the Oasis Moreque, which is
taxis from London Bridge and Waterloo Stations. A num-
now part of the H10 chain (as per the one in
ber of drivers refused payment and the Committee can-
Waterloo Road). There were a couple of
not thank these drivers enough for their generosity, espe-
memorable incidents at the Oasis. The first
cially considering the lack of work on the streets.
morning we went down to the pool and Val,
The Secretary, Mr Paul Davis, welcomed everybody and
thanked them for their support over the years. Reverend
a Yorkshire woman, immediately button-
George Parson then said grace and lunch was
holed us. The first thing she told us was that
served. After lunch we were entertained by St Jude's
she was recovering from brain surgery. That
School Choir who sang Christmas Carols with everybody
should have been a clue and I shouldn't have
joining in. It was greatly appreciated and they received a rousing round of
been surprised at the strange things she said
applause; it was a really nice start to the Christmas period.
or did. But after a few days, she was making
Mr Ted Pieri is a WW2 veteran and at the age of 89 years recently made a parachute jump with
me feel that I was the one who needed the
the Red Devils Parachute Team! He raised £1700, which he donated to the Charity. This will
brain surgery. Basically, she was driving me
enable ten veterans to take part in a gliding day in 2016. National President of the Royal British
crazy... but how to avoid her?
Legion, Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO, presented Ted with a certificate to thank him.
She regularly stationed herself by the
The President, Chairman, Officers and committee thank all the sponsors and drivers who
entrance to the pool area, so I devised a cun-
have supported the charity over the year and hope we can count on your continued sup-
ning plan. We would come out of the front
port for next year.
Derek Leone, LTBAWD Hon Press Officer
door, go round the block, enter through the
back gate and settle quietly onto our
Call Sign February 2016
Page 27
Mike Son is a
DaC Board
Member and
I believe this is a very convoluted method
also a former
to determine the penalty. Maybe a simpler
way of deterring drink-drive offences should
Rather than
include both a heavy financial penalty - pos-
writing about
sibly a percentage of income -in addition to
the trade this
a custodial sentence.
month, Mike is
So here is my question: When will the UK
government bring in a zero alcohol policy
a driving sta-
for anyone driving any motorised vehicle?
tistic that ended in the death of a ballet
Many other countries have strict legislation
dancer. So often, the tragedy of people
that says if you drink, you cannot and must
like Jonathan Ollivier would just be
not drive.
part of a list of statistics...
Below is just one of many tragedies that
On average, 3,000 people are killed or
take place in London - even as this one
seriously injured each year in drink-drive
did, on a quiet Sunday morning...
Jonathan Ollivier: April 1977 - August 2015
collisions with almost one in six of all
Jonathan Ollivier was born on
deaths on the road involving drivers who
April 1977 in Northampton. He died on
is no allegation that the driver of the car
are over the legal alcohol limit.
9 August 2015 in Clerkenwell at the age
was driving while intoxicated.
The reason I write this piece is because I
The penalties for drink-driving related
of 38. Jonathan was a ballet dancer. He
offences in the UK are severe. One of the
leaves a wife, Desiré Samaai and two
met with one of the principle dancers who
most important factors determining the
young children.
performed at Jonathan’s memorial event
severity of sentences magistrates impose
On Sunday, 9 August
2015 Jonathan
which took place on 18 January at the
for drink-driving offences is based on the
Ollivier was killed in Clerkenwell, the victim
Sadler’s Wells Theatre. To the world,
Jonathan Ollivier is just another sad statis-
level of alcohol in an offender’s system at
of a collision between his motorcycle and a
the time of the offence.
car at a road junction fairly close to Sadler’s
tic. In reality he was a real person with a
Before magistrates decide on the appro-
Wells Theatre. He was on his way to that
real family and a real life.
priate sentence to impose, they will take into
theatre to prepare for his role in The Car
As you read this, the next time you see
account any relevant previous convictions as
Man, which was about to end a hugely suc-
statistics of road deaths, perhaps for a brief
moment you could think of Jonathan
well as any aggravating and/or mitigating fac-
cessful four-week summer season.
tors surrounding each individual case. They
On the day of the accident, the driver
Ollivier as an example of what a list of sta-
will also take into account the level of harm
of a black Mercedes car was arrested on
tistics really means...
that an offender caused or could have
suspicion of causing death by danger-
Mike Son
caused while committing the offence.
ous driving, although at this time there
DaC Board Member
“I guess it goes with the job,” Eugene Fitzsimons (L09) told Call Sign, referring to the numerous celebrities he has
taken around town in his taxi. “There was Tilda Swinton, the lady who played the Ice Queen in the TV series Chronicles
of Nania. I stopped for her and her family in Drayton Gardens and took them to the Haymarket Theatre to see a
show. I recognised her immediately, but it took me a few minutes to put a name to her face,” he admitted.
“On another occasion I stopped in Bryanston Square for someone I recognised instantly. There’s no mistaking come-
dienne and author Dawn French for anyone else is there! We went to Haymarket to collect some dry-cleaning before
heading back to Bryanston Square. She is a very funny lady and made me chuckle as we chatted amiably throughout the
“Then there was tough guy actor, James Cockburn,” Eugene recalled. “I took him from Harrods to outfitters
Huntsman in Savile Row. He explained that he and his wife were travelling to Scotland and she had advised him to
get a warm jacket - so that’s what we did! As he paid me off, I couldn’t help but notice his large, aged hands and fin-
gers. I think I read somewhere that he suffered with arthritis.”
James Cockburn died in 2002 and severe arthritis prevented his movie career from progressing during his later years. He
made around 70 films including many westerns and the Our Man Flint spy series.
Continuing the Eugene Hall Of Fame membership list, we moved on to the amazing Peter Ustinov. “He was an interesting passenger,” said Eugene
now in a quite matter-of-fact voice! “I collected him and his daughter from the Berkeley Hotel and during the journey he constantly asked me ques-
tions about the taxi trade. As I set him down, he asked me to take his daughter onto her home in Barnes. On the way, she sounded almost apologetic
that her father had bombarded me with questions, but explained that he was always interested in doing research for parts he might play in a film and
so, to him, it was all useful information in possibly bringing reality to a role. I told her I was honoured to be of help and looked forward to the day
when I saw him playing the character of a cab driver and I could then boast to my children that I taught him about our trade!” Eugene laughed at the
memory before adding that both father and daughter had been such lovely people. Sadly Peter Ustinov died in 2004.
“Do you remember that brilliant TV series The Good Life,” Eugene asked this Call Sign journo. “Well, I took Richard Briers home to Chiswick and
asked him what it was like working with his co-star and Dial-a-Cab regular, Felicity Kendall. He said simply that she was a real character and by
chance, sometime later I actually picked up the lady herself, taking her from a theatre where she was working to her home in Chelsea - not far from
the late David Frost’s house. It was a real loss when Richard Briers passed away in 2013.
“I could say something nice about actor Hugh Grant… but I won’t! I must have caught him on a bad day as I recall he was going through a tough
time with the media around that time. Also many years ago and on a lighter note, there was Jean Boht who played Nellie Boswell in Carla Lane’s
brilliant TV series Bread. She had been shopping in the West End and on the way back to her Barnes home we spoke on a number of different topics.
But feeling decidedly naughty as we passed Harrods, I persuaded her to shout out her Bread catchphrase of You Tart to people walking along the
street. Amazingly, she agreed, rolled the cab window down, popped her head out and bellowed it out for the world to hear once again! I saw the look
of surprise on the faces of pedestrians as we drove by!” Eugene laughed uproariously as he recalled the ‘balls’ he must have displayed in daring to ask
“A bit of rock ‘n roll next when I picked up The Who’s’ Roger Daltry from Denmark Street to take him to a regular DaC destination of some years
ago, the BBC studios in Maida Vale. He asked me about the London music scene and if I had been to any music venues. He said he visited the 100
Club in Oxford Street, but couldn’t really go clubbing because of the attention his appearance brought. But he did say there was an up and coming
band I should watch out for called The Black Eyed Peas with a new young singer called William Adams who went by the name of Will-I-Am!
With that, Eugene Fitzsimons left the building and left me starstruck!
Baghwat Singh, Call Sign Online
Call Sign February 2016
Page 28
a v i d
(A73) is
one of
A DaC driver asks his MP for answers...
longest serving
drivers and who in
April 2015, to ensure multinational companies
that Mayor Boris Johnson has called on
2017 will have
paid the right amount of UK tax. These initia-
Transport for London to be given the power
been with the
tives were all listed in a recent PQ on the
to cap PHV numbers.
Society for forty
Government’s efforts (PQ14328, 10 November
In a May 2015 article, the Evening Standard
years. Throughout
2015). If you need it, there is more detail on the
reported: Speaking to LBC this morning, Mayor
all those years, he
new Diverted Profits Tax published by HMRC.
Boris Johnson said: “I'd like to talk about the
has never been
As regards Uber themselves, the compa-
congestion threat caused by the massive
afraid of getting involved in any politics
ny have argued that they are making con-
increase in minicabs. Your listeners may be
that affect this trade. This time David wrote
siderable capital investments, which sub-
aware of this as you'll have seen it around you.
to his local MP about Uber business prac-
stantially reduce their taxable profits. For
In the last 18 months, they have gone up by 18%.
tices and specifically mentioned that Uber
example, see: ‘Uber pays £22,000 tax on
They've leapt from 65,000 minicabs to 76,000
£866,000 UK profit’ from The Guardian, 20
minicabs - and it's growing at the rate of about
does not pay UK taxes, its drivers do not
October 2015. One further point would be
1,000 a month. What we're proposing is that you
have proper insurance and that it is having
that self-employed individuals who use the
need to have some legislation and I'll be looking
a negative impact on the UK taxi industry.
Uber app to offer their driving services, will
to take that forward to restrict the number of
His MP has now replied in a private capaci-
be paying tax on the income they make
minicabs that can come on the streets.”
ty using the HoC library service, but David
from their trade.
There are still 25,000 black cabs in the capi-
has given Call Sign permission to publish,
tal, but the decline in new recruits means Uber
although we have not mentioned his MPs
drivers could soon outnumber the traditional
The constituent (David) had a further griev-
taxi drivers, as has happened in New York. The
ance against Uber, namely that whereas taxi
15 May 2015 Evening Standard wrote: “Mayor
The answer to David
drivers have to take out Hire & Reward insur-
plans to curb number of minicabs in London
There are long-standing concerns about the
ance, Uber drivers do not. It is the case that
amid drop in new black taxi recruits.”
ability of Uber and other multinationals offer-
Uber drivers do not take out specific carriage
However, the Government has not shown
ing digital services - such as Amazon, Facebook
insurance (other than Uber’s own policy,
much inclination to legislate for this. In a
and Google - to avoid corporate tax not just in
which covers some of the same ground) but I
debate on London Black Cabs in September
the UK, but in many of the countries they sup-
have found it surprisingly difficult to ascertain
2015, the Minister, Andrew Jones, said:
ply services. It has been clear for some time
whether it is true that taxi drivers have to take
* “… there is currently no legislation in
that the international tax system established
out H&R insurance. I have consulted various
London, or anywhere else in England and
almost a century ago is under severe pressure
sources but no answer has been either con-
Wales to allow the number of private hire vehi-
from globalisation and technological change.
vincing or unambiguous. Further research is
cles to be limited. Equally, officials are working
In a paper* on reforming the system published
closely with TfL on whether legislation needs to
in 2014, HM Treasury looked at the ways in
All drivers, regardless of whether they are
change—we need to consider that issue and
which multinationals had been able to exploit
taxi operators or not, are required, by
develop the required evidence. The situation is
the interaction between national tax systems to
virtue of section 143 of the Road Traffic
changing rapidly due to the numbers but as
avoid tax, including “...using structures or new
Act 1988, as amended, to have third party
things stand, there is no legislation in place.”
technologies to minimise the need for a physi-
insurance (or security bond equivalent),
(HC Deb 15 September 2015, c239WH).
cal presence within a tax jurisdiction, or to
however, there are no separate insurance
The PHV industry beyond Uber and taxis,
deliver certain functions from another geo-
provisions for taxis which would disadvan-
particularly in London, obviously oppose a
graphical location. This enables a business to
tage them as compared to Uber drivers.
new competitor into the market and the ques-
ensure that the level of its activities does not
create a permanent establishment and there-
tion of whether Uber is crowding out tradi-
fore a taxable presence in a jurisdiction where
Impact on the UK taxi
tional services will be a fraught one over the
it is not resident.”
next couple of years. It may indeed be only the
*HM Treasury: Tackling aggressive tax
first of a new wave of remote operators using
Finally, the constituent states that Uber has
planning in the global economy: UK prior-
app technology. A cap would help to deal with
“bullied” its way into the UK market “...totally
ities for the G20-OECD project for counter-
issues of congestion and possible over-supply,
ignoring the rules that currently apply to every-
ing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting,
but there is no obvious reason as to why Uber
body else; in doing so they've driven down the
March 2014 (page 5).
would suffer from this more than any other
incomes of tens of thousands of taxi and mini-
PHV company (other than the sheer volume of
The Treasury paper was the Government’s
cab drivers.”
drivers it has on the roads) - a cap could not be
submission to the so-called ‘Base Erosion &
Uber operates in 11 metropolitan areas of
seen to be directed specifically at a single com-
Profit Shifting’ (BEPS) initiative - which is an
the UK, namely Birmingham, Bristol,
pany, it would apply to all. The traditional argu-
international effort to tackle this problem. In
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London,
ment against caps has always been that the
October 2014, the Chancellor attending a
market tackles oversupply - if (usually self-
meeting of G20 Finance Ministers to discuss a
Portsmouth and Sheffield. In all of these areas
employed) drivers cannot make money by dri-
series of recommendations by the OECD to
Uber is licenced as a PHV operator and any dri-
ving, they will cease.
clampdown on this tax avoidance and as Mr
ver using the Uber app to operate a PHV ser-
Where individual Uber drivers are seen to be
Osborne said, the Government is to “...take
vice has to be individually licensed as a driver.
behaving in an illegal, disreputable or other-
new steps to introduce these new internation-
It is up to individual local licensing authorities
wise unfavourable manner, both the company
al rules into our domestic tax laws.” (HM
to decide whether applicants meet the relevant
itself and the licensing authorities have an
Treasury press notice, 9 October 2015). In addi-
requirements to be licensed. Licensing require-
interest in ensuring they are disciplined and/or
tion to this, in March last year HMRC
ments are the same for Uber as an operator
stripped of their licence. If one sees a PHV dri-
announced it was taking forward an initiative
and drivers who use its app, as they are for any
ver behaving in such a way, one should try to
to share information with other tax authorities
other PHV applicant.
make a note of their badge number and report
to tackle the particular risks posed by digital
The most recent statistics show that the
it to the local licensing authority...
multinationals (HMRC press notice, 25 March
growth in PHVs and drivers over the past two
2015). Further to this, last year the Government
years has largely been driven by London
* Since that statement, Andrew Jones has said
announced unilateral action to counter the use
(which accounts for about 35% of all licensed
that Her Majesty’s Government have no inten-
of aggressive tax planning with the introduc-
vehicles). London is clearly where the effects of
tion of bringing legislation to cap private hire
tion of a new ‘Diverted Profits Tax’ (DPT) from
Uber are being most strongly felt to the point
Call Sign February 2016
Page 29
When Call Sign Editor Alan Fisher found a
Blackberry cell phone on the rear seat of his
taxi after dropping a passenger in Dalston, he
handed it in to his local Upminster police sta-
tion as ‘property found in a cab’ and was duly
given a slip of paper to present to the Lost
Property Office in London. It contained the
usual bumph that should the item not be
without trace...
claimed within the statutory full three
ing MI5 at Vauxhall would not be much more
months after the property was deposited at a
police station, then it would be returned to
difficult because when visiting Baker Street, you
have to show your badge to the camera above
that person (or an agent) if collected within
14 days.
the shutter door before they even let you into
the building, and then security cameras follow
Time went by and the slip of paper was
presented to the Lost Property Office in
your every move.
The LPO take personal detail security very
Baker Street. But try as they might using
details gleaned from the original police
seriously, which is why you are likely to receive
a monetary award on a prescribed scale for
receipt, the item could not be found at the
LPO. The helpful staff explained that vans go
items that are quite probably full of personal
data such as laptops, cell phones, tablets etc
around to all the railway, bus and police sta-
tions every night collecting property that
rather than the item itself.
If you are unable to visit the LPO in person,
people have left behind while travelling
around London.
ensure you clearly sign the original receipt
authorising your nominated agent to claim
All property is put into sealed bags
before transit to the LPO and each seal is
the artefact on your behalf.
Lost brollys at the LPO
And the fate of Alan Fishers’ lost prop-
numbered for security purposes.
In the case of ‘property found in a cab’,
erty? In fact, it had been reclaimed from
the police station by the passenger just
when the driver hands in such property
are placed in a sealed bag in your pres-
(always assuming you can actually find a
hours after Mr Fisher had deposited it and
ence before leaving the police station.
was not included in the overnight bag col-
police station that is open) he or she should
You may also choose to discreetly note
provide where possible, such details of the
lection. Hence, no trace at the LPO.
the shoulder number of the receiving
Alan commented to this reporter:
journey as to allow the rightful owner of that
police officer.
property to legitimately re-claim their prop-
“Whoever collected it from Upminster within
When the bags are unloaded at the LPO, the
such a short period after losing it in Dalston
erty by also providing similar details, always
first thing they do is to record the serial number
assuming they know where they lost it!
was luckier than me. I had to go to the police
of each sealed bag even before it is opened and
station four times before finding it open the
Equally, you will be expected to provide per-
only then note the origin of the bag and its’ con-
sonal details such as your name and Badge
following day!
tents. Only LPO staff are allowed to break the
“And how they knew it was in Upminster
number etc.
seals on the bags. These ‘lost’ items are entered
So it is in the best interests of the taxi
Police Station classifies as a modern day mir-
onto the computer system with a description
driver to note that the item being deposit-
and stored in a highly secure location within
ed is given an accurate description, any
the LPO with access limited to specially autho-
serial numbers are recorded and most
Alan Green
rised staff only. We got the impression that visit-
importantly, the item(s) being handed in
Call Sign Online
Driverless cars closer!
We’ve heard about
Google testing driver-
Why are we
not surprised!
less cars in the
California desert, but
now Seoul National
We’ve heard
University in South
the stories that
Korea is testing a type
many Uber dri-
of “taxi” they claim
vers have such
can pick up and trans-
a poor under-
port passengers with-
standing of
out a human driver.
Basic English
Seo Seung-Woo,
that they are
director of the
Intelligent Vehicle IT
taking chil-
Research Centre says
dren out to
the university has been testing the driverless
“work” with
vehicle to transport disabled students around the campus.
them so that
The vehicle, called Snuber, has been navigating the 444,200 square foot
they can translate what the passengers - and
campus for the past six months without any accidents. It works in con-
equally as important to them - what their satnavs are say-
junction with a hailing app created by the university and uses a turret on
ing! In truth, that seemed a bit far-fetched, even for a
its roof with a scanner to search out road conditions. However, it is not
considered safe enough to drive off-campus and is limited to 18mph.
bunch of people who are so bad that they have almost
There are no traffic lights but Snuber has been programmed to search
acquired a cult following! See Editor on page 3...
for other challenges such as stop signs and pedestrian crossings. It applies
a brake at those and can scan other lanes to detect vehicles travelling
But thanks to Dial-a-Cab Account Manager, Jeni
from the opposite direction if it needs to overtake. If there is nothing
Albert, we have this Twitter screenshot showing
coming, the Snuber moves into the oncoming lane to pass the vehicle.
exactly that - an Uber driver with a child in the front
Meanwhile, South Korea’s largest carmaker, Hyundai, said it doesn’t
with him doing the translating!
expect to roll out fully automated cars until at least 2030.
Call Sign February 2016
Page 30
Either write to Call Sign at
Society on paper, which would obviously
be taken into account should there be a
Dial-a-Cab House
sale because the Society would be worth
or email us at
more than what the fixed assets showed
in our figures.
So in your hypothetical case, if your
I remember...
house is worth £300k on paper and you
Dear Al
lose £100k and you then borrow £100k,
With regard to your article in the December
your asset value is £200k, because you
Call Sign about the high price of our fares,
have taken some of the equity from your
app companies apparently continue to
I remember the first ride I ever did. It was
property to offset the £100k borrowed.
grow their business? I’m sure most DaC dri-
back in 1962 when the “drop” was 1/9 (9p
However, since you bought your house,
vers have been asked by a passenger if they
in today’s money) and my customer grum-
the value had increased to £500k, but you
are on Hailo. Many will say no, yet these
bled about our high fares. So nothing has
have never had it valued, then your asset
Hailo customers remain loyal to them even
really changed because whatever the fares
value is really £400k. But everything has
when, so I’m told, Hailo or other app sup-
are, the customers will always grumble -
to be valued to realise the true figure and
pliers don’t even always supply a taxi! Is
probably even if the fares were nothing!
you would have that done if your circum-
this because they are cheaper than a DaC
Unfortunately we will never be able to
stances changed or you decided to move
account taxi? Their coverage must be
please everyone. I keep hearing how cheap
properties. I hope I have answered your
improving all the time as private hire take
Uber are but my young cousin took an
question to your satisfaction Stephen and
our work from the streets. Some app taxi
Uber car from W1 to Elstree, Herts and the
not just confused the situation!
suppliers even tried supplying minicabs,
fare, would you believe, was
£160! He
yet most of their customers didn’t want
assured me that was the case, so are our
I don’t want fixed prices!
that. These taxi app companies all have
fares high? Hmmmm...
Hi Al
ambitions to increase their corporate
Gerald Webber (E11)
I write this letter to Call Sign in response to
share. Many DaC customers tell me they
Taxi drivers never moan Gerald; we just
Keith Cain’s reply to my last letter in the
love our taxis and our drivers but still use a
have strong opinions that happen to
January issue about reducing journey costs
car company for airport trips because they
always be right ...Ed
for this Kipper season and maybe the future.
are cheaper. These customers are corpo-
This is not a personal attack on Keith or our
rate and personal accounts, many complain
BoM, although I assume that Keith’s view
about having to pay extra to have a taxi at
Dear Alan
reflects the BoM’s view and policy on fare
their front door. DaC has many loyal Taxi
Can I ask a question? Are the Board of
pricing. Reading Keith’s reply, it would
preferring customers, but I see their loyalty
Management allowed to use collateral from
appear that he feels we must accept reduced
being tested by other taxi suppliers. So why
the building to cover any DaC losses
fixed price fares to survive and hope for a
not pre-empt that and try no run-ins and
accrued during this or any financial year? If
change in Taxi trade fortunes! I’m sorry, but
no admin charges for longer journeys
I were to make a loss then I could re-mort-
we have all been Ubered and our trade has
before our app rivals tempt our customers
gage my house to cover losses and it would
changed forever. I believe reduced fixed
away? Coverage won’t suffer if the driver
be used as collateral. Could the BoM do the
price trips mean 20% below the expected
gets the metered fare minus 7.5% subs for
same with the building?
meter fare, no run-in and no gratuity; does
a longer trip. I believe one of our Mayfair
Stephen Field (F99)
that mean 27% below meter fare once our
accounts is using Gett for Heathrow and
Brian Rice replies: I believe I under-
subs of 7.5% have been deducted (many dri-
DaC for other trips. If you were going to
stand what you are saying Stephen; we
vers have complained about these trips)? Yet
Heathrow or out of town, would you want
would treat the situation slightly differ-
Keith writes in his reply that a quote for a
to pay £4.20 + waiting time + gratuity +
ently to what you are suggesting
smaller account has two car companies offer-
admin and booking fees on top of the
because fortunately for the Society, we
ing 20% cheaper than us! These account
meter fare when others don’t charge that?
do not have any debt to service or
companies will still pay a minimal booking
What about cash paying DaC riders; they
indeed any mortgage. I believe what
fee, but if it’s that minimal why charge it at
pay a £2 booking fee and our credit card
you are asking is that because the
all? We will never compete on price with
customers an extra 10% for the privilege of
Society’s office building is accruing
minicabs. Fact! So why bother?
riding in a DaC taxi? Do we offer
value, can that be offset against any
I think reduced FP trips - ‘skinny’ fares for
reduced/discounted fares to credit card
losses? Well the simple answer is that
want of a better word - will be detrimental to
and cash paying customers? What about
we would have to get the building reval-
coverage. I don’t think I would want to run
Credit Card bookings from October with
ued to increase the fixed asset value of
from Chelsea to pick up in Putney to take a
only 3% handling fees? We might as well
the Society and I am told that once this
Skinny fare to the City in the morning rush
start now and try to gain some market
has been done, it is an exercise that is
hour when it’s a little busy on the street…
share rather than lose any regulars when
then required by HRMC on an annual
would you? So will these corporates all
they see it cheaper elsewhere.
basis - an expensive exercise that would
become Uber riders because no one can
I don’t think booking fees and run-ins
only increase our fixed asset value on
compete with their prices? Drivers are com-
are sustainable in the long term; I wonder
paper. If our situation were to change in
plaining about fixed price to LHR even at this
what the BoM’s view is on this and if our
the future, then of course the building
time of year. There’s nothing wrong with
policy on drivers with rental taxis and/or if
would be valued to obtain the ‘true’
cheap fixed price to airports and beyond the
we should seek yellow badge drivers in
fixed asset value of the Society.
M25, but SW postcode to the City? No! Fixed
problem coverage areas such as South West
So in a nutshell Stephen, from when I
prices at busy traffic times won't be covered -
London? If we can’t be competitive with
purchased our building for £3.7million,
to the detriment of DaC. Many drivers reject
service and prices within our own trade,
during the intervening years the value
W4 to WC1 for £36 in the mornings, so why
how are we going to retain existing cus-
has increased to approximately £9mil-
a booking fee on these trips? Surely we need
tomers and attract new customers?
lion (educated guess) but that increase
a larger volume of work and more drivers to
I’d also be interested on the views of
would only be realised if the building
make DaC profitable, instead of booking fees
Society members? Meanwhile, fingers
were to be valued and that would then
on every trip?
crossed for a roader…
increase the fixed asset value of the
How is it that Hailo, Gett and other taxi
Jon Robinson (E88)
Call Sign February 2016
Page 31
fixed prices, yet when I make an occa-
I want fixed prices!
sional trip upstairs to the Contact Centre
Hi Alan
or even speak to a Board Member, they
In the last issue of Call Sign, Keith Cain
give me examples of roaders where dri-
commented on a letter from Jon Robinson
vers have accepted a fixed price but then
(E88). What he ended up saying was that to
complain that it went much more on the
GPS as reported in the last Call Sign, when
get more business we need to offer fixed
meter. It’s all very well looking to offload
I was at Roman Way today (6 January), I was
prices, no gratuities and no run-ins. That's
blame, but if even the drivers can’t agree
told that the switchover was not in sight
good thinking. The annoying thing is that
on the best way forward, then how can
and the fitter had no idea why it was given
in the depths of the recession, a succession
anyone reach the right decision.
such prominent publicity so early.
of drivers (me included) suggested the
Keith Cain has written about the above
Laurence Kelvin (W88)
same thing. And each time a Board Member
two letters inside this issue and other
Dear Laurence, no one has asked me to
took his head out of the sand long enough
Board members will probably broach the
hold back on anything! They never do
to say that we can't offer lower prices
subject in future editions. The problem is
because Call Sign is uncensored except
because when things got busier customers
that no one can agree with both and I sus-
by me. Brian Rice, as Chairman, sees a
would expect the same deal. Well yes, they
pect that drivers are split fairly evenly
copy just before it gets printed and
will. Isn’t that what they call market forces?
with both too! ...Ed
other than possibly spotting a typo,
Now, at long last, it seems the BoM have
very rarely comments on the actual con-
realised that things must change. But I fear
Uber and insurance...
tents. My problem was that lengthy
it's too little too late. I just heard a strange
Hi Alan
responses from Joe and Garry would
noise. It was a bolt sliding into place as a
It seems there is a big loophole involving Uber
mean putting them in twice - last
horse thunders away...
drivers - especially considering the way they
month and then next month in an AGM
Geoff Levene (W32J)
drive (January Call Sign - A day in the life of
report - assuming they are asked. There
I’ve been doing this job (editing) for a
Uber). That is the apparent cancelling of Hire
was nothing sinister about it; I just try
long time now - but nowhere near as
and Reward insurance back to a normal poli-
to make Call Sign as interesting as I can.
long as I’ve been driving a cab. So yes, I
cy to save money after they have registered
Depending on the available stories out
know exactly what’s being said and the
with Uber. I wonder how widespread it is and
there it isn’t always possible to fill every
two above letters probably cover most
whether LTPH have a way of checking?
page with totally fascinating stuff! But
views between them. Jon doesn’t want
On a similar topic, l also read an article by
putting the same stories in twice within
fixed prices because those in town trips
Matthew Norman in The Independent
three months would result in drivers
won’t get covered, whereas Geoff does
where he wrote how wonderfully cheap Uber
asking why! But you will probably be
want them and has been saying so for
pleased to know that regardless of
was and how black cabs were finished etc. So
some time. Both have views that make
whether Joe and Garry are asked the
I sent him an email. In it I wrote: “I think you
sense to them and to many drivers out
question at next month’s meeting, they
should move to New York where the Uber cabs
there, yet both disagree on how we
are both scheduled to write columns in
are even cheaper than London. But just
should go about getting accounts to
the next issue anyway.
remember that those guys are struggling on
come back. Jon says that drivers don’t
As for the GPS, I believe that the fitter
less than the minimum wage - but I expect you
want W4 to WC1 for £36 in the morn-
shop in Primark and buy your pizzas in
is wrong. I've had the latest upgrade
ings. I assume Geoff disagrees if it
which allows me to switch to VAD and
Dominos. Rubbish products - just like the
means the customer uses us.
garbage you pedal...”
which I have done occasionally when
I haven’t worked a day shift for over
showing other drivers how the GPS part
David Heath (Ex W27)
20 years, so have no idea as to what the
Hove, East Sussex
works. But several others are actually
traffic is like and how much the fare
I’m afraid I don’t have an answer re Hire
testing the system with trips, so GPS
would normally go. But if I was within
and Reward insurance, David, and I
will come fairly soon - albeit with just
10 minutes or so of the pick-up and was
would think it to be an impossibility to
100 drivers at a time going over in case
offered it, I think I’d jump on it even if
check every single driver. However, if the
of problems.
it wasn’t quiet out there. How much
tout squad set up traps around town just
I personally believe that once up and
would it go if it was the meter with no
for Uber, I suspect that the word would
running it will offer drivers work they
run-in, no gratuity and no admin
soon get around. Sadly there isn’t a hope
might not have got before, because
charge? Well the customer would save
in hell of them doing that ...Ed
speaking with my driver’s hat on, we’ll
£1.80 on the run-in and assuming they
all be in the right zones and probably be
paid a gratuity, another 10% on the
Where’s the answer?
offered work in zones that we perhaps
total. Would there be a huge difference
Dear Alan,
would not normally book into out of
between the two? Well without knowing
At the end of November I sent you a letter
fear! Time will tell.
what the fare goes on the meter, I can’t
which you kindly published in the January
Re any merger, it seems unlikely to me
work it out. But, and it’s a big but, cus-
issue of Call Sign. I raised three specific top-
because so far as I know (and I haven’t
tomers want fixed prices and probably
ics; radio signals, plans for Dial-a-Cab and
signed any confidentiality contracts)
couldn’t give a stuffed hoot as to
issues relating to a possible merger. There
RTG have yet to respond to DaC’s pro-
whether drivers like them or not. I’m
was also a request for information about any
posals sent last year. These were in
old enough to remember when we held
practical suggestions from the two most
response to theirs, which were apparent-
the whip hand and clients had no
recent Board Members. You said that as we
ly unacceptable to us, so there was noth-
choice other than to pay what we asked.
were near an AGM, it would be better if I
ing to report - and unless something is
The shoe is now firmly on the other foot
raised these questions then. This means most
being conducted in true MI5 fashion,
and we either give them what they want
members will not be able to find out any of
then there still isn't. I suppose it’s possi-
or they go elsewhere. Liking us is no
the answers till the March issue of Call
ble that they just aren’t telling me in case
longer an important factor.
Sign. I was wondering if any Board Member
I tell anyone else...as if! But of course, if
Yet Jon is right when he writes of cov-
has had a gentle written or spoken word with
I did tell anyone else I would also tell
erage involving fixed prices. Geoff and
you asking for questions to be put on the
them not to tell anyone but if they did,
many other drivers used to write to Call
back burner?
they should tell them not to tell anyone!
Sign and say that we should try more
As regards the radio signals and move to
But you never know ...Ed
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