January 2016
< Go Back
A walking charity
wants to pedestrianise
Oxford St. Call Sign
asks its Campaign
Manager two
pertinent questions...
DaC’s IT
Director tells
Call Sign:
GPS dispatch is
ready to go!
Call Sign January 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
Happy New year to all drivers and staff, let’s hope this year is more prosperous. To help get those continental
passengers as fares, here is the new Eurostar Timetable.
Eurostar timetable: Valid until 28th May 2016
Call Sign January 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
Transport for London
A question...
I have a problem with TfL because I really want
Inside this issue is a Ron Yarborough article
to like them; contrary to some opinions I hear
about Lambeth Council cancelling the
regularly, there are some very nice, helpful peo-
Loughborough Junction traffic experiment
ple there. The problem is that like those opin-
after it became obvious that traffic congestion
ions I mentioned, added to some horrendous
caused by the scheme was bringing the area to a
stories passed over to me, I am starting to dis-
complete standstill, never mind what it was
like our licensing authority as a whole with
doing to the atmosphere in the form of added
something of a vengeance.
Last month’s Chairman’s Report where
Also in this issue are some letters sent to Call
Brian Rice went into print to voice his frustra-
Sign’s Mailshot regarding the Camden Council
tion at the lack of security drivers had by being
one-way traffic scheme at Tavistock Place that
told they had to renew their licences via credit
regularly chokes up the Russell Square area. So
cards and that cheques “could hold up the issu-
we have a question to ask our readers.
ing of a new licence,” it caused my phone to go
But before the question; Camden aren’t stop-
into meltdown for almost a week with not just
ping at Tavistock Place because they also intend
Dial-a-Cab drivers calling, but non-radio too! I
banning all traffic except buses (and bikes natu-
should have given them the Chairman’s num-
rally) from Tottenham Court Road between
ber, but hey, I’m not totally stupid - albeit occa-
As I said at the beginning, I want to like TfL
the hours of 7am and 8pm, while at the same
sionally a bit silly!
but that seems to be almost impossible, at least
time making Gower Street two-way. Of course,
So to save anyone else calling, yes, they
until they get someone there who shows even a
the Gower Street scheme will make little differ-
will accept cheques made out to London
minimal amount of commonsense...
ence as the traffic hardly moves anyway!
Taxis Private Hire. Brian also mentioned, my
Camden is then also looking at making
medical form that went adrift somewhere in
Understanding the public
Camden High Street just one single lane
Sheffield, well that has finally turned up
I get a lot of tweets passed over to me and quite
northbound. At the same time as all those
around one month after I was told it hadn’t
honestly, while I can see the possibilities for
crazy schemes, Transport for London are
arrived and that I could lose my licence if I
Twitter - especially when it comes to the night-
issuing around 2500 private hire licences to
didn’t send it!
time Mayfair Mob whose main priorities are to
drivers who haven’t a clue where they are
Then there was the driver I wrote of a few
reclaim our ranks and work from the touts -
going unless their satnavs work. And that is
issues back who was arrested by gun-toting cops
there is no way while still in my editing job that I
every single month! Whatever road space left
at Canary Wharf for not having a licence, even
could ever go onto that service. Every now and
is virtually unusable.
though he showed them the receipt he had
then, an interesting one seems to crop up, but
So to the question aimed specifically at
from the Post Office via their Check and Send
most are either silly, make you smile or contain a
both TfL and Camden: Is it true what they
service. He still hasn’t received his new licence,
traffic report. But all take time to read.
say and that there are more out than in??? To
has been told that he cannot drive a cab until he
Anyway, this isn’t an anti-Twitter piece
our readers: Yes, we know that you know,
gets it, has now been off work since July and is
but just about one Tweet that seemed to be
but do you know if they know that you know.
living on his savings - those savings that he had
I don’t know! What I do know is that both
intended keeping until his retirement! We hear
It may be that I don’t have all the information
TfL and Camden should feel ashamed at the
of temporary licences - but not for him! To me
on UberPool and how they got it past TfL.
way they are destroying a once great city.
this sounds like a ‘punishment’ for his admitted
However, while I’m not exactly sure why Maaxi
But do they even know???
stupidity in not following up the non-receipt of
Taxi never got off the ground, I do know that
his licence. Just having paid for it was obviously
they had a lot of hassle from TfL. In the end, the
not enough for TfL.
taxi sharing app seems to have got fed up and left
Last month’s Call Sign contained an article claim-
So what is it now? Well a press release has
the arena. Then along comes UberPool and
ing that the former parcel service, CityLink that
announced a congestion crackdown by TfL.
marches into that same arena, announces that it
announced it had gone bust on Xmas Eve 2014
Ok, so most of the traffic congestion has
has set up a ride sharing scheme and apparently
was behind a new coach service from St Pancras
actually been caused by TfL anyway, but it’s
that one is ok with TfL. Of course it could be that
to Stansted. This CityLink is actually owned by
never too late to make amends! So what is
we’re all wrong, but we appear to be not impor-
ComfortDelgro who also own ComCab. It has
this crackdown?
tant enough for TfL to explain anything they do.
nothing to do with the parcel business that went
Well they are introducing a new team of Road
So to the Tweet I spoke of earlier. In 45 years
bust. Sorry for misleading anyone, but they were
and Transport Enforcement Officers to watch
of being a licensed Taxi driver (before I became a
still touting for business...
key traffic routes across town to help crack
black cab driver!) I can only ever remember hear-
down on “illegal or inconsiderate behaviour
ing of one female passenger saying that she did-
Happy New Year
and other problems that cause congestion.”
n’t want her taxi driver to know where she lived.
It probably isn’t December 31st yet, but can I still
What? Yep, they have 40 officers, which appar-
She later made a complaint to this circuit because
wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.
ently will be increased to 80 by the spring.
of sexist comments the driver had made on the
Sounds ok, until you hear that these officers
2015 was a rather strange year because at one
way home. The complaint was upheld and the
will “...help deal with problems such as illegal
point it really looked as though things were pick-
driver expelled. I think we can safely say that
stopping or unloading of deliveries, which can
ing up - then Paris happened and you could see
whether they use us or not, women trust taxi dri-
cause delays to drivers and bus passengers.”
a sudden quietness descend over London.
vers to get them home safely, even though that
Don’t know about you, but to me that sounds
In Paris, despite the rhetoric about standing
involves knowing where they live.
like another name for traffic wardens and more
up to terrorism, unsurprisingly there was still an
So to the Tweet! It came from Sharon Grant
money for TfL coffers!
80% reduction in theatre bookings and I suspect
who tweeted: #UberPool - an easy way for
The team will apparently
“help to move
that whilst not as much, London has also seen a
weirdos to find out where you live. No
unlawfully stopped vehicles, issue PCN’s to ille-
reduction with many patrons not being prepared
gally parked vehicles and clear unnecessary or
to sit in an enclosed space.
I don’t know who Sharon Grant is, but I thank
poorly set-up roadworks!” Yep, definitely traffic
There is little doubt that the world has
her - not for supporting London Taxis, but for
changed and I’m not sure that it will ever return
bringing commonsense into our arena and for
What London needs is simple; traffic lights
to a period of peace. But hey ho, we’re British
showing TfL what the genie that have let out of
that give traffic the chance to move before turn-
and we carry on regardless! So yes, let’s hope
the bottle is thought of.
ing red again, time for pedestrians only when
for that Happy New Year that we are always
This may well be ‘bash TfL’ month but in
they push a button requesting it and to get rid
going on about...
my view their actions make them deserved of
of those bike lanes that apparently even cyclists
Alan Fisher
every word...
don’t want.
Call Sign January 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
themselves. It will be the fault of just two
Chairman’s Report, I assumed his
people - Mayor Boris Johnson and his
memory was slipping even fur-
Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan;
ther than usual as I confidently
the man who told Call Sign in the April 2015
issue that regardless of how much cost and
told him that he’d already had my
effort was to go into them, cyclists would not
piece for December. But no! He
have to even use them if they didn’t want to!
was already touting for a January
You sometimes have to pinch yourself to
make sure you are awake and not having a
issue that he claimed had to be
really stupid dream!
done early due to printer’s early
closing for the holiday period and
Licence saga!
If you remember, I explained last month how
that as no trade papers came out
I was endeavouring to renew my ‘Bill’ which
during the time between
expires on 19th February 2016 and how I
refused to insert my debit card details as I did
Christmas and the New Year, dri-
Assuming you could even find your way
not consider it safe to include them on the
vers would appreciate something
through the traffic on that latest TfL mess,
application form.
to read - especially those of you
you would have a job just working out
I was eventually reluctantly informed that I
where you actually were!
could make a cheque payable to London
who are, or have been, working
Taxi and Private Hire but it would mean the
One member told us of picking up a cash
during the holiday period.
processing of my application would be
trip from the Chelsea and Westminster
So I now have to give you some
delayed. After my visit to the Post Office
Hospital in Fulham Road at 9pm going to
where I produced my passport, driving
news, when in reality there is
Waterloo and then on to Hooper Street by
licence and a utility bill and my subsequent
Leman Street. Unsurprisingly, his passenger
very little because I’ve only just
conversation regarding the cheque, I
was rather shocked at the £54 cost - as
received my new ‘Bill’ exactly two weeks to
finished December! But here goes
indeed was the member who had quoted
the day after my initial visit to the Post Office!
anyway, because you wouldn’t
around £30! Fortunately his passenger didn’t
Not too bad I thought, especially as they had
blame him but had a quick curse at Boris!
like Mr Fisher when he gets
tried to frighten me at Sheffield by saying that
The Mayor’s compulsion with his cycling
my Bill would be delayed by not inserting my
superhighways is killing London and even
debit/credit card details. It just goes to show!
when the roadworks are gone, the road
Cycle Superhighways and traffic
widths will still have been hugely reduced
Happy New Year
Despite warnings from all corners, Mayor
and one day, if London isn’t to die as one of
I’d like to wish everyone associated with
Johnson has pushed ahead with his cycling
the biggest financial capitals of the world,
Dial-a-Cab a very Happy New Year.
superhighways regardless of any conse-
someone will have to pull them down and
Hopefully business will pick up with all
quences, and there have been huge numbers
throw the receipts into the rubbish bin
the effort your Sales team are putting in,
of complaints involving the taxi business and
because there isn’t room for both.
but just as importantly, I wish you all a
motorists in general, most of which have traf-
If we are to become another Amsterdam,
very healthy New Year as well...
fic hold-ups at their base.
then we’ll have to just extend the Thames
I don’t need anyone to tell me what the
and put in lots of flowers, because there will
Brian Rice
numerous roadworks have done, because
be very few financial institutions left. And
complaints from passengers have added to
whose fault will that be? Well it won’t be
our members concerns. Journeys from the
yours or mine or that of many more members
City to the West End and back are taking up
to double the usual times and along with that
comes the increase in the meter fare.
We can’t expect our members to work for
nothing, but that doesn’t pacify passengers
who ask why the fare is so much higher than
But if we thought that was bad, we also had
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
a week of the Victoria Embankment closing
from 8pm each evening so that work on the
Tel: 01708 553037
superhighway lanes could continue without
disturbance from the “nuisance” that is ordi-
nary cars and taxis!
Reports flooded into the Dial-a-Cab
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
Contact Centre asking dispatchers to
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
inform members that with the main
TX4 servicing from £90
Embankment thoroughfare shut, that
they should also avoid Fleet Street on the
All Work Undertaken
north side of the river, along with
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
Stamford, Street, Southwark Street and
All TX1, TX2, TX4
The Cut on the south side. Holborn
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
Viaduct? Don’t bother because that was
also solid both ways. Ok then, how about
Fax: 01708 551443
Web: www.PaulsTaxiSpecialists.co.uk
heading even further south to the
Elephant & Castle? You are surely jesting!
Call Sign January 2016
Page 5
charity for everyday walking -
Hands up if you thought things couldn’t get any worse!
Living Streets - has launched a
call for the next London Mayor
to pedestrianise the 1.2 miles of
Oxford Street so that it becomes what they
describe as an iconic, safe and enjoyable
place to shop - especially at Christmas.
Sarah Williams, Living Streets’ London
along Oxford Street itself. These are not spread
Campaigns Manager told Call Sign: “The sit-
far apart. Most importantly, as London grows
uation is about to reach breaking point on
and changes we need to look for creative and
Oxford Street. As it is, it’s horrendously over-
innovative solutions to the issues of safety, over-
crowded but with Crossrail due to open in
crowding and pollution along Oxford Street.”
2018, we’re looking at a significantly bigger
2. The main alternatives to Oxford
problem. We must act now to reduce over-
Street are Wigmore Street, Cavendish
crowding, sky high pollution levels and an
Square and through to Goodge Street. This
unsafe environment. For many, the experi-
route is often very congested, so where
ence of crowds and crowds of people on
will the traffic that is banned from Oxford
Oxford Street puts them off going altogether,
Street go without pushing emissions
especially at Christmas. Oxford Street is a
through the roof and causing shop owners
Traffic free, but where will it all go to?
very uncomfortable place for pedestrians,
along that stretch of road to suffer because
leaving them feeling restricted and people
streets, public spaces, and fantastic, thriving
no one will be able to stop along there.
say the change they’d most like to see there is
town centres.
Sarah Williams replied: “We want to discuss
less traffic. Those who do take a trip along it
They add that walking offers a simple solu-
this and work with others to ensure that we cre-
end up feeling flustered, frustrated and fed
tion for the future and that by rethinking our
ate the best solution for everyone - while putting
up. What is this going to mean for future
attitude towards transport and prioritising and
people and walking first. What we need are cre-
Christmas shopping on Oxford Street if noth-
investing in walking, London can be a world-
ative and innovative solutions to the ever
ing changes?”
class city to live, visit and do business in.
increasing issues on Oxford Street. We don’t have
Living Streets have sent out a fact sheet that
all of the answers but want to work with retail-
Call Sign had two questions to ask
says Oxford Street is at the heart of London and
Sarah Williams.
ers, TfL, engineers and planners on making
should be an iconic place for tourists and resi-
Oxford Street a place which puts walking first.”
1. How will disabled people get to
dents to enjoy, but claim that current TfL pro-
It’s seems fairly safe to say that Ms
Oxford Street if the only access is by walk-
jections are that without a radically different
Williams, on behalf of Living Streets, did-
approach to our transport system, there will be
ing? Not all the stores have side street
n’t have the answers to our questions. It’s
increases in congestion of
60% in Central
entrances. Or what if they just want to see
probably just as safe to say that the
London and 25% in Inner London by 2031.
the Christmas lights but can't walk and rely
organisation has come up with an idea,
So will London be a mega city choked by
on buses or taxis?
but given very little thought to its effect
traffic, with polluted, hazardous town centres
Sarah Williams replied: “Right now, Oxford
on London’s traffic or the disabled...
and streets?
Street is dangerous and polluted and a risky
Living Streets say that it could become a
place for people walking along it. There are 38
Baghwat Singh
world-leading city with the freedom to walk,
side streets where people would be able to
Call Sign Online
breathe fresh air and experience our iconic
access taxis if no vehicles were to be allowed
Uber: “Fixed fares unfair!”
ompetition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority,
TfL say that the consultation is just floating ideas and that there are no
have taken the side of Uber in claiming that nine of the 25 propos-
definitive plans as of yet, but many outside of the licensing authority are
als put forward by TfL to regulate the private hire trade would be
concerned at the number of PH vehicles there are in London, with the num-
bad for passengers, while not serving the public interest.
ber rising by up to 2500 each month! Most of them with Uber with TfL say-
The Transport for London consultation, which closed on 23
ing they are unable to do anything about that.
December, put forward a number of requirements for London PH
With current Uber valuations giving the company a worth of anything up
vehicles - among them being suggestions such as operators need-
to $50billion, the CMA intervention is unlikely to be only one we see
ing to provide a booking confirmation to passengers at least five
between now and any final decision.
minutes before the journey commences, to offer a 7-day pre-book-
The CMA works to promote competition for the benefit of consumers,
ing facility, for TfL to no longer issue licenses for temporary events,
both within and outside the UK. They say their aim is to make markets
that operators must have a fixed landline that is always available
work well for consumers, businesses and the economy...
Jamie Corum
to the public and for operators to give a fare before the booking is
Call Sign Online
accepted. There were also requirements for drivers to have a mini-
mum English speaking ability, that they could drive for just one
operator at a time and should undergo a topographical test.
The response to the consultation from the CMA - which in theory car-
ries no more or less weight that any other one - took issue with nine of
There is a vacancy for one DaC subscriber to become an Arbitrator. Should
the 25 proposals claiming that they would “impose regulations that
you wish to put your name forward and you meet the minimum criteria of
excessively and unnecessarily weakens competition, to the overall detri-
five consecutive year’s membership, then please apply in writing expressing
ment of users of taxi and private hire services in London.”
your interest to be received by me at Dial-a-Cab House no later than first
In a dig at the licensed taxi trade, CMA Chief Exec of the CMA, Alex
post on Monday 26 January 2016.
Chisholm, wrote in the FT that he was concerned proposals such as fix-
Should more than one person apply, a postal ballot would then be con-
ing fares in advance and a five-minute wait for a minicab would artificially
ducted at a later date and the candidate with the highest number of votes
restrict competition and curb developments that would otherwise benefit
will then be duly appointed.
Candidates wishing to send their CV for publication in the 1 February
passengers. He wrote: “Defenders of the status quo can often be more
issue of Call Sign should send it to the Editor, either by post or email, by
vocal and organised than the advocates of change who could struggle to
Friday 15 January 2016 keeping to a maximum of around 200 words and
make their voices heard.”
preferably attaching a photo as well.
Money-rich Uber has had around 200,000 people signing a petition
If you have any queries regarding this process, please do not hesitate to
calling on TfL to drop the proposals, with Uber’s UK General Manager, Jo
contact me.
Bartram, rather unsurprisingly claiming that many of the proposals would
Howard Pears
take away consumer choice and be bad for competition.
Company Secretary
Call Sign January 2016
Page 6
“Can you (hic) please put the (hic) heating on driver, your taxi is really (hic) cold!”
Minicab app guilty of no PH licence
Splyt Technologies fined and ordered to pay costs
TfL has taken enforcement activity against an app-based minicab company that was operating illegally
without a private hire licence. In its role as a responsible regulator of the capital’s taxi and private hire trades,
TfL has successfully prosecuted Splyt Technologies Ltd for breaching the requirement for a London private
hire operator’s licence. Splyt, which offered private hire journeys through an app, launched their service in
April this year without an operator’s licence. TfL believed this to be in breach of legislation and Splyt ceased
their operation following correspondence. At Westminster Magistrates Court, Splyt pleaded guilty to the
charge, were fined £1,750 and ordered to pay TfL’s costs of over £5000 in full.
The District Judge remarked that it had been a complex case and that there had been extensive correspondence between TfL and
Splyt to try to resolve the matter.
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “This is a very positive result and one that shows our
commitment to tackling illegality in the private hire trade in order to protect the rights of the legitimate private hire and taxi trades in
London. We will continue to bear down on illegal activity of this kind and as this result shows, we will take action through the courts
if necessary.”
Another aspect of the work being undertaken with private hire is the current consultation into the regulations governing the
trade. The wide-ranging proposals seek to bring up-to-date the regulations governing London’s private hire sector to ensure they take
into account recent developments in technology and are fit for the future.
TfL wants to hear the views of passengers, members of both trades and all other interested parties on the proposals, so that the
regulations can be shaped in a way that benefits both drivers and passengers.
The number of private hire drivers in the capital has risen rapidly in recent years - there are now 92,049* licenced private hire dri-
vers, up from 76,249 in March 2015.
This rapid growth has given rise to a number of wider issues, including rising traffic congestion, illegal parking and impacts on air
quality. This is why the Mayor is calling for the Government to bring forward primary legislation to give TfL the power to cap minicab
Transport for London
Press Dept
*That figure was correct at the time of the press release. It is now around 94,000 ...Ed
Call Sign January 2016
Page 7
Saturday 21st November was an unusually
quite night for the time of the year, no doubt
due to the grotesque events of the previous
weekend in Paris. Ten days earlier, I had
replied to an advert in TAXI newspaper; the
LTDA were looking for members to 'Join the
Marc and Mark
Fight' by marshalling on their behalf. I was
marshalling at Winter
recruited and briefed on my marshalling
debut by no less then Bob Oddy himself.
As instructed, I turned up at Winter
cannot tell a lie - the Editor
Wonderland’s newly appointed taxi rank on
told me to say that)! In fact,
Park Lane (opposite Brook Gate) 15 minutes
had I been a few years
early, met fellow marshal and LTDA Advan day
younger, I might've run a lap
driver, Mark Curry. We'd never met before, but
of honour around Hyde Park!
over the next four hours, we bonded nicely.
To all the 'doomers and
I'd already decided that although we were at
gloomers' out there, mar-
Wonderland, so far as Uber picking up, it
shalling enlightened me to the
might as well have been named Neverland!
fact that despite rumours of
From the moment our shift started at 7pm,
our imminent demise, Joe
there was a constant demand for London’s
Public still appreciates and
finest. In fact, quite early on I needed to
desires our services in prefer-
'tweet' for reinforcements and the cavalry
ence to any inferior imita-
duly arrived. I was heartened by the success
tions. There may presently be
been “in hell,” but as a polite driver who has
of our mission, because it also proved that
been taught manners from being on Dial-a-
a lull in the game, but it's far from dead.
the assertion of Mayfair Mob founder, Mick
In conclusion, my thanks to Mark Curry
Cab, I replied sensibly: “Anywhere but here,
Smith, was correct in that if cabs show a
this is a designated World Heritage Uber-free
for showing me the ropes and to all those
presence, the public would do the rest (Ed’s
drivers that supplied the rank, not forget-
site!” You won’t believe this, but they didn't
note: See November Call Sign, page 17), that
laugh! Only one Uber driver had the temerity
ting the LTDA for the opportunity.
I whipped out a pair of sticks and indulged in
Winter Wonderland is open until Sunday
to hang it up by the point of our Taxi king-
3rd January. Times are 10am to 10pm. The 7
some impromptu drumming on a pal’s cab -
dom. He was shown no leniency by Mark and
much to the disdain of both driver and senior
cab rank operates from 10:30am and is situ-
ushered away - minus his victims!
ated opposite Brook Gate in Park Lane.
marshal! Mark Curry, with 20 marshalling
It was the coldest night of the year by far,
years behind him, reckoned we'd loaded
Wishing all drivers and their families
yet by the shift’s end we marshals were glow-
in our great trade, a happy and healthy
close to 300 cabs in just over three hours!
ing as not one single minicab pick-up had
New Year...
In all that time, just three young PH-loving,
occurred on our watch! I felt the elation of a
Marc Turner
stereotypical couples enquired where they
goalkeeper who'd kept a clean sheet, espe-
met their Uber car? My response should have
cially if he played for QPR (sorry Mr Rice! I
Call Sign Online
Call Sign January 2016
Page 8
“I’ve been driving a taxi for over fifteen years
now, nine of which have been on Dial-a-
Cab,” Roger Leithboro (K22) told Call Sign
“and it’s funny how even over a lengthy peri-
od of time, certain trips stay in your memo-
Lost in
ry…” As the words left his mouth, a smile
spread across his face.
“I had only had my Green Badge a week or
so and remember well a hiring by three
American travellers who stopped me in
Oxford Street and directed me to Notting
Hill Gate, where they would drop one pas-
yelps of joy from the back of the taxi as the
senger off and then go on to what sounded
passengers recognised it. With excited vocal
like Wheatbridge in Buckinghamshire.
directions and lots of arm waving, we slowly
I searched my mind for the final destination
approached The Fisheries Hotel via a small
as I hadn’t come across it in the Suburbs sec-
suspension bridge spanning the river.
tion of my Knowledge runs; so I questioned
It was there that I noticed a large sign
where the place was and they said it was close
advising that it was a weak bridge!
to Marlow and by the river. They said that if I
Fifteen years on and recounting the tale
could get them there, they’d be able to direct
still brought a chuckle to Roger’s voice as
me as they had been there before - albeit
well as to Call Sign’s reporter, who also saw
some years earlier. So off we went in pursuit
the funny side!
of our destination, with me still breaking my
“I learned a lot from that trip,” Roger said,
head wondering exactly where this place
“mainly not to go rushing off into the coun-
could be.”
tryside without being certain as to where
Roger told us that when they finally
you’ll end up, but such is the luck and enthu-
reached Marlow, his passengers had lost
siasm of a ‘Butter Boy!”
their previous navigational confidence
Then off he went looking for anyone who
and were now not so sure!
wanted to go to Wheatbridge. Roger knew
“So I stopped to ask a pedestrian if he
where it was...!
knew Wheatbridge, but all I got was a blank
Looking for Wheatbridge!
look that I interpreted as a no! Further down
Alan Green
the road I got off the cab to ask at the counter
much help either. So we drove to the river in
of a fish and chip shop, but they were not
search of the venue and suddenly there were
Call Sign Online
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose
life is captured as a blog! His story of when he was on the
Knowledge is…
A Blogger’s Tale
moped to mop up a few points in Bethnal Green. It was a lovely sunny day as I weaved
along the backstreets without a care in the world; I think I was whistling a song as I round-
ed a bend near Barnet Grove.
It was then that our eyes met… the biggest Rottweiler I had ever seen had just
noticed me, it must have been eight stone and looked affronted that I had dared
fter I had reached the 21 days
to try to approach it on my moped.
stage, I decided to take a ‘wan-
Although my lips were in whistle mode, the tune had dried up and I let out an expletive
gle’ cab from a local garage in
beginning with S. The dog that had been sitting on a doorstep lifted its head and fixed me
Bethnal Green. I popped in to
with his gaze. I slowed down and tried to act cool just as it stood up and gave me that
see the owner and even though he put his
'I'm going to eat you alive' look!
arm over my shoulder and told me he
I tried a smooth ‘U turn’ but the front wheel wobbled, I tried to correct it and just about
would “look after me,” I suspected he was
stayed up. I looked over my shoulder as the dog began trotting towards me, I accelerated
picking my pocket with the other hand!
and gave the little moped full throttle, but nothing happened; it just chugged along at
My initial thoughts proved to be correct;
about walking pace. He was gaining on me. I didn't feel ready to die in a Bethnal Green
he was no benevolent uncle! My new wan-
back street; I hadn't even finished the Knowledge yet! The bike was in third gear and I had
gle cab was ancient, I'm sure it only missed
a dilemma, should I take time to change gear or should I hope the bike suddenly takes off?
out on the Dalek-like roof indicators by a
I could almost smell it's nasty, slobbery, dog food breath as it closed the gap, my mind
couple of weeks. The doors didn't shut
raced. I thought about calling for help, but this was Bethnal Green in the eighties, a crowd
properly and one morning the nearside
would have gathered and they would have placed bets on how quickly the hulking brute
door opened as I made my way up
could devour me!
Queensbridge Road! I only realised
Just as I gave up all hope and was about to scream, my little moped leapt into life and
because the temperature suddenly dropped.
took off. I was so relieved I could have hugged a cyclist, I looked back and tried to give the
I also had to keep looking over my shoulder
dog a little grin, but my lips were too dry to move them. I had been seen off by a dog...
because the nearside mirror kept spinning
To be continued…
around. I got out and grumpily slammed it
Simon Scott (O40)
shut so hard that it refused to open again!
Call Sign Online
I decided to park the cab up and use the
Call Sign January 2016
Page 9
From Garry White
priority by the way they have bottled up
The reason I feel that way is because I
London with the Victoria Embankment clo-
believe a big part of the rise in the private
sures over the festive period, the ongoing
hire trade via apps are card payments. Young
changes in Aldgate and the road works at
people, businessmen and women like card
Old Street! Need I go on!
payments as the cashless society is only going
The Mayor seems not to care as he looks at
to increase and we need to join the 21st cen-
pastures new, setting his sights on Dave's job
tury. Cash Only signs in taxis really doesn't
and is positioning himself to fight it out with
add to that image.
Mr Osborne and Mrs May in 4 years’ time.
That leaves TfL to do whatever they like!
Has anybody heard Mr Brown, the new
On a more positive note, myself and a fellow
head at TfL, speak about how congestion is
Terminal upgrade
non-DaC taxi driver, Andrew Hampshire,
On the week beginning 14 December, I
killing the capital, how Uber are allowed to
recently visited our MP (Jackie Doyle-Price)
operate unchallenged and now want to intro-
began testing the latest software available
at Portcullis House, Westminster. We had an
for the Dial-a-Cab terminal from our IT
duce UberPool; as I’ve said before, Totally
interesting meeting where we put forward
failing London is a slogan that really fits...
department, which, all being well, will be
points about how we feel the government
rolled out to the fleet in the New Year.
and various minsters are not putting us - as
small businessmen and women who all pay
With Uber looking to add another nail in our
tax in the UK - into the equation when back-
coffin by introducing Uber for Business and
ing disruptive technology in London.
I’ve noticed over the past few months that
with Gett trying to operate as a fourth radio
After 90 minutes of speaking with her, she
Gett have started branding themselves on
circuit, we really need to up our game, fight
firmly believes the problems are all at the
taxis and are operating more like a radio cir-
with lower starting costs to win new business
door of Boris and Transport for London.
cuit, albeit via an app. I know in the New Year
and help retain what we have, so a good Sales
it always starts off quiet, but please don't be
team has never been more important in fight-
Festive period
tempted to join/work with Gett as it is against
ing for our share in the corporate market.
I do hope you all enjoyed the small Christmas
Society rules to work with another taxi sup-
break and those that worked got lucky. I wish
plier and I'm sure that Allan Evans will be
you all a Happy New Year for 2016.
Credit Cards
As many of you will be aware, from next
October all taxis in London will have to accept
Transport for London
credit card payments. We still wait to see the
Garry White
Where do I start! Well, TfL have certainly
Conditions of Fitness to know how this is going
decided that the night time economy isn't a
to affect us; I for one welcomed this news.
DaC Board Member
an LTC Dealership,” Michael advised. “Otherwise
you will end up with a very sore hand and per-
Give the cab a slap!
haps even be nicked for cruelty to a taxi!”
M.A.M Auto Electricians can be contacted
When Mike Kennedy (M30) couldn’t re-start his cab
on: 0207 607 3915
after stopping for a short while to run an errand for his
Alan Green
wife (yes, he’s well trained), he was rather perplexed as it
Call Sign Online
had started without hesitation earlier in the day, the
engine was still warm and he’d only been away from the
cab for a few minutes.
“My TX4 was completely dead,” Mike told Call Sign,
Immaculate White
“so I had no choice but to summon the AA breakdown
service and thankfully the patrolman arrived fairly
Cab Available for
“He tested the battery and found that to be in good
condition and fully charged, so he scratched his head a
little before reaching into his van for an electronic diagnostic
gizmo thing and plugged it into the cab via a scart socket under the steering column. There
was a selection of car makes and models to choose from and under LTI Taxi we saw Hints & Tips
for Starting displayed on the LCD screen. I peered over his shoulder in a rather inquisitive manner
and read everything I could and to my utter amazement, it read; Slap the steering column! He did it,
turned the key again and amazingly as he did so, my cab sprang into life!”
Mike’s astonishment was still obvious as he recalled the incident.
“Who would have thought there would be such an item listed in the AA patrolman’s box of
tricks,” he said smiling, “but I’d never have known if I hadn’t looked over his shoulder and I’ll bet it’s
pretty confidential info too!”
Call us cynical, but as delighted as we were that Mike got his cab going, we found it hard to
believe that a non-starting cab could be cured by slapping the steering wheel! So to try and find the
reason why the AA have this advice - one that seems to work - on their diagnostic gizmo, Call Sign
spoke to Michael at M.A.M Auto Electricians close by our own Roman Way depot for the answer.
“Ah yes,” he told us, “a very familiar and common occurrence on TX’s due to the
transponder on the steering column failing to communicate electronically with the chip in
the ignition key. That’s the little oblong plastic insert in the top of the key; it ‘talks’ to the
Female driver
transponder and sometimes there is a lack of communication between the two that causes
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
the non-start. Call it ‘lost in translation,’” Michael explained.
“Slapping the steering shroud or shaking the steering wheel usually activates the starting process,
Contact Debbie (W18) on
but if it happens frequently then the only solution is to replace the transponder and re-programme the
07956 317040
system to ensure secure communication with the ignition key, and that requires special software from
Call Sign January 2016
Page 10
“It was quite late at night, probably
CabCam, the driver, with more than a lit-
around 11pm,” Karen Menpes (E01)
tle persuasion from his passenger, reluc-
explained to Call Sign. “My passenger
tantly reversed back up the road and I
directed me into one of the many nar-
slowly and graciously pulled away con-
row streets in Fulham with cars parked
tentedly, smiling proudly towards my little
on both sides of the road. As I came to
electronic friend that had recorded the
a stop, I noticed a car come whizzing
entire scenario and almost certainly
around the corner from the opposite
defused the possibility of an otherwise
direction so that it was facing me before
nasty situation!”
coming to an abrupt stop at the corner
of the junction further up the road. I
” Call Sign Magazine MMXVI
Karen recorded the whole incident
could vaguely make out two occupants
in the vehicle and assumed, innocently
that the car had stopped to let me pass
once I had set my passenger down.”
Thanks... but no
But they weren’t quite that innocent
because as soon as Karen had been paid
off and the passenger walked away
thanks, Boris!
from her cab, meaning there were no
witnesses, the opposing car came briskly
down the road and stopped just inches
e’re not sure where this picture originated, but it was taken on the first day
from the front of the Dial-a-Cab driver’s
of a cycle superhighway - apparently Vauxhall - and is said to show Mayor
Boris Johnson just what a fellow cyclist thinks of his superhighway.
Karen continued her story. “It was as
Apparently the cyclist’s views are also shared by many other two-wheelers.
if they were confronting me over who
We’re saying nothing!
had the right of way and I got the
impression that they were telling me to
back away as this was their space, but it
would have been dangerous for me to
have done so because of the lack of
room to manoeuvre and I wasn’t about
to reverse along the lengthy stretch of
road from where I had just come.”
Karen’s thought process then won-
dered if perhaps the car contained a pri-
vate hire driver trying to be awkward, or
even a less than savoury person with
other intentions bearing in mind that the
taxi contained a lone female, late at
night with cash and other personal
effects about her person.
Karen wasn’t about to take any
chances and immediately phoned
the police before deciding that she
would get off the cab to remon-
strate with the driver as to what he
thought he was doing.
“I decided that I would confront the
This cyclist must be telling the Mayor that he is number one!
driver as politely as I could as to what
he was doing. Before I actually got out,
I checked that my ‘Novus’ CabCam
was functioning and the audio facility
was active, so that everything we did
and said would be caught on camera,
just in case the other driver decided to
put in a complaint against me. Stranger
things have happened to cab drivers
and you have to be so careful nowa-
“As I approached the car, I noticed
that the passenger was in fact another
female and when I quietly expressed my
concerns, as well as informing the male
driver that I had already called the
police, together with the fact that all
was being seen and recorded by my taxi
Call Sign January 2016
Page 12
The Chairman’s Report from
Brian Rice in the December issue
TfL, lost licences
of Call Sign seemed to have set
a number of alarm bells ringing
for Dial-a-Cab drivers who then
and a survey!
called this magazine, worried
about their licence renewal after
Forward to December
not hearing from TfL.
2015 and we were contacted
Firstly Brian had written that TfL were
by the distressed wife of a
unhappy with his decision that he wanted to
DaC driver who’d had prob-
pay by cheque rather than a credit or debit
lems regarding his medical
card. Brian wrote that in both instances TfL
form, which then seemed to
required you to submit your details in a writ-
go missing altogether and
ten format, including the card’s sixteen digit
which at the time of writing
number, the three security verification num-
still hadn’t turned up. But
bers from the back as well as the “to and
the driver’s wife - however
from” dates. Brian added that you were then
much annoyed she was at
expected to send it all by post to Sheffield
that - was even more upset
together with your name, address and date of
at receiving a phone call said
birth, not to mention a scanned copy of your
to have come from TfL
DVLA licence! The Chairman said that the
although it was probably an
process went against the Payment Card
agency on the licensing
Industry Data Security Standard advice.
authorities behalf, asking if
After what Brian referred to as a “frightener”
they would do a survey;
- ie TfL said that sending a cheque could
wanting to know how many
cause a delay - they finally agreed.
hours the husband did etc.
Unsurprisingly with so many drivers
They also said that if the sur-
being concerned at delays to their licence
vey was completed, they
and the Chairman also revealing that Editor
would be “rewarded” with a
Alan Fisher’s completed medical form -
£50 voucher!
also sent to Sheffield - had been lost some-
“What a waste of time,”
where in the TfL system and at the time of
the DaC driver told us, “they
writing still had not been found, drivers
should take £50 off the cost
were becoming increasingly concerned.
of the licence instead of
In the April
issue of Call Sign,
Palestra: Why is so much being lost?
making phone calls asking
reporter Ron Yarborough discovered that in
for all this personal informa-
2011 TfL had lost a batch of driver’s CRB dis-
I was also extremely upset to be asked
tion when they have been shown to have
closures and that around four years later, it
via a TfL phone call to send them a pho-
such lax security. They should pull their fin-
happened again when TfL admitted that a
tocopy. Surely informing me that they
gers out and sort out taxi drivers’ licence
batch of Criminal Record Bureau forms
had lost such an important document
renewal and medicals instead of them having
sent from Palestra House in Blackfriars to
and requesting a photocopy should have
to wait months for it.”
the CRB HQ in Liverpool had been lost.
come in a recorded letter?”
In 2011 it was DaC driver Marc Turner
Michael Toomey
All three drivers eventually received letters
(R97) who alerted Call Sign after TfL had
confirming that their licence renewals had
Call Sign Online
admitted to him that his application for a new
gone through.
Bill had been lost. Call Sign then discovered
that it wasn’t just Marc’s CRB, but a whole
batch that had gone missing. Marc told us at
the time that the CRB check contained per-
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
sonal information that you wouldn’t want to
get out. TfL blamed the postal service.
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
In the 2015 loss, three DaC drivers all told
us the same story - TfL had contacted them to
variable bank interest rates?
say that a batch of completed medical forms
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
had gone missing and they were asked to
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
send a photocopy.
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
One Dial-a-Cab driver told us:
at your address also qualifies for membership!
“Fortunately I kept a copy, but I was very
concerned that they could lose such an
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
important document. After all, on the
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
first page it actually says that the infor-
up to 3 times your total savings…
mation included in the form may be
The cost?
passed to law enforcement agencies if
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
criminal activity is suspected or where
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
they are otherwise required to do so by
law! You don’t need to be brain of
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
Britain to realise that is an important
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
document. Besides anything else, call me
old fashioned but I don’t want strangers
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
knowing my health details including my
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
name, where I live and my GP’s address.
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
That information could feasibly be used
Registration number 213263
against me - not to mention fraudulently.
Call Sign January 2016
Page 13
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01322 553313
Gary and “the finger!”
I'm surprised that we are still
So don't be careless and I have two tips for the New Year; one
waiting for the first cab driver
is to go and see the latest Bond film if you haven’t already and
to sue TfL for getting cancer
second, if your man is over forty, give him the finger for the New
due to passive smoking, since
for many years all the cab
I dedicate this to all the team who have put their finger on the
trade were allowed to do was
problem. If you have enjoyed this experience and on reading it
to have a 'thank you for not
would like to make a donation to my New Year fund because l have
smoking’ sign on the taxi parti-
had the finger already, send a donation to Prostate Cancer UK...
tion and if passengers wanted
to smoke, then we couldn’t
Gary Cox (O46)
stop them. So I think that it’s
Call Sign Online
only a matter of time that
someone is going to sue due to the fact that a relative died in
the back of an ambulance after being stuck in a single line of
traffic along Victoria Embankment. Spin a coin, passive smok-
ing or 999.
So as we wait for that, let's contemplate any Christmas
gifts you may have got. Top of any list must be the latest
present for men. I can almost see the ad now: “Girls and
boys, give your man the finger for Christmas!”
But stop! Let me explain myself before you get carried away in
shock and horror and complain to Call Sign. It's time to think
positive. Come on lad, man up, it’s not going to hurt. It all starts
with being given a bottle at the docs and if need be, a finger up
the Khyber Pass - or in medical terms, the rear passage, my dear.
The reason for my being an expert on the aforementioned
subject is that after more trips to the docs with a waterworks
infection than I care to remember, and every conversation going
from whether I had been near any strange women, followed on
one occasion by whether I was gay and would I like to talk about
it? Finally, letter in hand it was up to North Middlesex Hospital
with the resulting confirmation - I've got a big one! Yep, perhaps
I should explain it more clearly. My prostate is enlarged.
Nobody seems to know why men of a certain age find that it
starts to grow, but just between you and me, the doc prescribed
something called Finasteride, which is a female hormone. Until
the end of November, I didn’t know whether it worked or not, but
I have a feeling in my water that things are now looking good!
One of the upsides for me followed a visit to the disabled loo
at M&S. On leaving after a satisfactory splash, an elderly gentle-
man shouted at me in disgust that it was a disabled toilet! In
my very best Marilyn Monroe voice, I whispered into his ear:
“You see young man, I am on a female hormone and not sure
which one to go in, ladies or gents!” He suggested that I ought
to get out more!
Call Sign January 2016
Page 14
Dial-a-Cab drivers coming in or
going home on the A13 know
how appalling the traffic can be
A13: Worst Main
between Rainham and Canning
Town, with traffic jams often
taking up entire lengths between
Road in England?
the two points; eastbound in the
evening and westbound in the
morning peak hours.
But recent months have seen an escalation
in the number of serious crashes, at least two
of which Call Sign has heard where the east-
bound stretch was closed at Rainham, leaving
EB traffic not moving for over an hour with the
hold-ups going back to Tower Bridge and
Lower Thames Street.
One smash saw a lorry driver escape serious
injury by actually diving out of his cab onto the
A13 carriageway just before an HGV filled with
scrap metal ploughed into and crushed his
vehicle. It was around 9am and he had been
laying out cones. The HGV driver “escaped”
with three broken ribs and facial injuries.
Another was at the Movers Lane flyover,
Barking, when again two lorries collided and
the A13 was once again shut with the hold-ups
almost as bad as the previous
A third smash saw a tractor
driver killed at the Pitsea fly-
over, while an overturned van
caused havoc on both sides of
the carriageway close to the
One of the accidents that shut the A13
M25 junction when rubber-
Inset: DaC's John Ward got an award for saving lives
neckers slowed to see what
was happening. The result
Patricia Lees said that John’s
if he would park his taxi next to John’s so that
was one crash after another
“almost certainly
between them they could try to completely
around the roadworks that
saved lives.” He had been on
block off the two nearside lanes. Traffic was still
were already there. A num-
the A13 going home at
speeding past in the fast lane at 70 mph. A
ber of accidents continued
around 01.15 and was in the
truck then stopped and John asked the driver
for around 20 minutes of mayhem. Many
middle lane. Suddenly a BMW
to park sideways across the entire three lanes
call the A13 the worst main road in England,
640 coupe with personalised registration num-
to block the road completely and help prevent
with blame attributed to speedsters, speed lim-
ber of P1MP R ‘undertook’ John on the inside
further accidents or loss of life. The emergency
its too slow and lorries!
lane at a very high speed before pulling into a
services arrived and the BMW driver eventually
DaC driver Alex Constantinou (N05) had
BP garage. John took little notice and contin-
ended up in court.
taken a job from Canary Wharf to Dagenham.
ued his homeward journey. As he approached
John told Call Sign at the time how
He told Call Sign: “We were on the A13 and I
Rainham Marshes, the BMW came out of
amazed he had been at the lack of any appar-
knew there had been a serious eastbound acci-
nowhere - again very fast - and disappeared
ent care the BMW driver,
25-year old
dent because drivers going westbound were
out of John’s sight within seconds. In court, the
Shehzad Munir and his girlfriend showed as
sending in reports. Our problem was that we
BMW’s speed was estimated at 155mph!
the other car driver, Sukhpreet Singh
were already on the road and because we
As John approached the M25 junction, he
Chimber - a 30-year old father of three young
weren’t moving, we couldn’t pull off. We sat
saw the same BMW badly damaged, obviously
children whose wife was expecting their
stationary for over an hour and then when traf-
having been in collision with something. It had
fourth child - lay immobile in the wreckage.
fic began moving slowly, it took another 30
come to rest between the slow and middle
Munir was found guilty by jury of dangerous
minutes to creep to the exit. But the roads all
lanes of the carriageway, the whole road was
driving and jailed for seven years. He was also
around were totally stuffed as well and in the
strewn with debris and a strong smell of petrol
banned from driving for eight years.
end my passenger got out and began walking.
hung in the air. John pulled his cab across the
John was later presented with a certifi-
At least that meant I could eventually turn
two lanes at ninety degrees to the hard shoul-
cate of bravery from the High Sheriff of
round and creep back towards town!”
der, put his hazard lights on and dialled 999.
London at the United Kingdom Supreme
MP for Rainham, Jon Cruddas has called for
The BMW driver was at the passenger door
Court in Parliament Square as well as the
action to make the A13 safe and said he would
helping the young girl passenger out. John
Hitch Award by the WCHCD.
take up the matter with the relevant council
looked around in the dark and spotted anoth-
To most drivers, an accident is an inconve-
er car tipped over at a 45 degree angle to the
nience on our way home or coming into
Many believe that it isn’t so much the speed-
road and facing up the banking and saw a man
town, but each one involves real people and
ing as the speed camera placings that make dri-
slumped in the drivers’ seat.
real lives. The question is how to make the
vers suddenly brake. With average speeds com-
With fuel spilling out everywhere, John
A13 safer. Is it to cut the speed down to
ing in, that should help but what it will never
tried to force the car door open to get the
something ridiculously low or to set a faster
stop is the young speedster with a car far too
driver out. But the door had been crushed
limit than the 40 / 50mph that is currently in
powerful for him.
into the bodywork and would not give way.
force for stretches of the three lane highway?
In 2012, Dial-a-Cab driver John Ward
John wasn’t to know, but the driver was
Or is there a better way? You tell us because
(R88) gave Call Sign first-hand experience
probably already dead.
we can’t go on as it is...
of what can happen on a day that he
John ran back to the traffic - still fast moving
Baghwat Singh
described as one of the worst of his life...
although thinning out due to the hour - and
Call Sign Online
At Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge
waved down another cab and asked the driver
Call Sign January 2016
Page 15
DAC on GPS: It’s ready to go!
The replace-
ment for our
legacy V6 dis-
patch system is
now function-
ally complete
and is being
rolled out
across the DaC
fleet. Call Sign asked IT Director John
Bankes to bring us up to date with the
rollout and to describe how the new
system will work...
The new GPS dispatch system for Dial-a-Cab has
been assigned the name Volante Automated
Dispatch, or VAD for short. Volante is a name we use
for our internally developed systems and we already
have Volante Mobile, Volante Web, Volante MDT and
now Volante Dispatch. We added the word
One of the new GPS screens
‘Automated’ because we didn’t think that the acronym
for Volante Dispatch would work very well!
As you all no doubt know by now, VAD is a system that is based
Board and ensures that the transition from old to new is not only safe,
upon the GPS position of a given cab. That means that the driver
but also fair.
will no longer be required to ‘Book In’ to a zone. Trips will be
Over the next few months, you will be contacted by Drivers
distributed to drivers based on the actual position of the cab.
Services to arrange for your fitting, which should take less than
30 minutes.”
How will it be different to operate?
John Bankes
From a driver’s standpoint, the operation of VAD is simpler than the
DaC IT Director
current system. You will no longer have to book into a zone; your
MDT will do that for you automatically. Your MDT will transmit its cur-
rent GPS position data to the host every 30 seconds and a driver need
only press the ‘Available’ button to tell the host that they are available
to be offered a trip (provided that driver is not currently In-Transit or
In-Service). The host will offer a driver a trip based on the proximity
to the pickup point and the length of time a driver has been available.
The concept of manually booking into a zone has gone.
You will be pleased to know that the zone query will remain and
that it will once again refresh itself automatically. You will therefore be
able to look at where the work is and how many other drivers are in
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
that zone before driving to the area.
dedicated to DAC members only
Will I need to be retrained?
Most drivers will not need retraining. We have written the sys-
tem so that it looks and behaves very much like the one you
already have. Since there is now less work for the driver to do,
you should find it easier to use. We will also issue a ‘Quick Start’
5% Discount for members
guide to the new software to help in the transition. If, however,
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
any driver feels that they require further training on the system,
Public Liability
they can request that help from our Training Manager.
Breakdown Cover
When will we start using the VAD system?
Much more available
Maintaining a continuity of service to our drivers is our highest prior-
ity. For this reason we have taken a safe approach to the rollout by
Call below for quotations
building the system in such a way that both the old and new systems
will be available at the same time. When you receive your new soft-
ware, which will be VolanteMDT version 10, you will note that there
are two sign in buttons, one for V6 and one for VAD. This means that
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
if we do encounter teething trouble with the new system, you will
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
always be able to sign in to the old system and carry on working.
Company Registration No: 4319231
Drivers will continue to use the V6 system until enough cabs have
been fitted to make the VAD system viable. Once we reach that thresh-
Tel: 01322 553313
old, we will assign a percentage of ALL work to the VAD system. That
percentage will be adjusted weekly and will reflect the percentage of
Fax: 01322 523315
drivers able to work on VAD. This method has been approved by the
Call Sign January 2016
Page 16
Another true story from Geoff Levene...
I'm sure it's happened to you.
out of there as fast as I could! What must she have thought...
Sometimes we see ourselves as others see us. Some years ago, the
It's happened to me many
good lady wife and I spent a Bank Holiday weekend in Edinburgh. At
times and it goes something
that time you could park over the weekend in side streets around
Haverstock Hill, so we left the car in Eton Road and stood in the main
like this...
road waiting for a taxi. Soon one appeared. He didn't have his light on
I take a job to say, Greenford. On the
but I waved and he clocked the suitcase and stopped.
way back to the A40, a man stops me,
“Kings Cross, please,” I said.
gets in, closes the door, sits down and
A cloud crossed his eyes as he hesitatingly replied ok. As we
says Tavistock Terrace. That's all; no
approached Prince Of Wales Road, the driver suddenly asked if we need-
clues whatsoever. But being a licensed
ed to turn left there.
taxi driver I know exactly where it is.
I said yes as I looked for a licence plate. At that moment, an elbow hit
So off I go. Western Avenue,
me in the ribs and the wife hissed as to whether the driver knew where
Westway, Marylebone Road, Gloucester
he was going? But then we got the life story.
Place, Prince Albert Road, (the passenger just looks out of the
“You see, I've had a licence for years but worked in New Covent
window) Parkway, Camden Road, Parkhurst Road, Nags Head
Garden for a long time. I can find my way to anywhere from Waterloo!”
and left into Holloway Road. Now we pass Tufnell Park Road and
That was comforting. At the corner of St Pancras Way and Agar
Mercers Road and then at last he speaks - and of course you
Grove, he suggested turning left. I assured him going straight on would
know what he says...
be best, so we made it to the Cross and I bunged him. Then off he went,
“It's the next on the left!”
presumably to Waterloo. I was puzzled; what would a tourist have
That's right; after about 12 miles and within 25 yards of the destina-
thought? I’ve no answer.
tion, he decides to offer a bit of help! “Lucky I came this way,” says I, but
But there are other questions to which there are no answers. Firstly,
the irony is lost on him. But that's what makes this job such fun. The
what was Captain Hook’s name before the accident? Secondly, who put
public are so funny although they often don't even realise it.
the ram in the rama lama ding dong and third, when Meatloaf sings: “I
Are you familiar with the octogenarian and steadily more demented
would do anything for love but I won't do that,” what on earth is he refer-
MP Sir Gerald Kaufman. Some years ago when cigarettes were still legal
ring to?
in cabs, he got into mine, screamed that someone had been smoking in
Incidentally, I think Darryl Hall and John Oates have been seeing the
the cab and slid down all the windows. Fair enough, but what made it
same girl as Meatloaf. The reason I say that is because those two sing: “I
funny was the fact that in the 1960s, Prime Minister Harold Wilson was
would do 'most anything, but I won't go for that - no can do.”
a pipe smoker in public but a cigar chomper in private. He was said to
God knows what she was into...
be considering legislation to stop people smoking, but was dissuaded by
a young adviser who reckoned that the working classes needed their cig-
Geoff Levene (W32)
arettes. That young person was, of course, our friend Sir Gerald. Mind
you, is that funny... or just plain cynical?
Call Sign Online
How many of us can honestly say we've never said or done anything
that hasn’t caused someone to wonder if the guy was for real. Before I
started the Knowledge, I noticed a fellow down my road had got his
badge. Accompanied by his girlfriend, he proudly showed it off to the
neighbours. I didn't really know him, but strangely enough on my first
day in this game I found myself next to him in Baker Street. His name
was Eddie. A year or so later, a girl handed me a delivery in Hanover
Square. I recognised her and asked if she was Eddie's girlfriend? Her
face darkened.
“I was,” she said sharply, “but he married someone else yesterday!”
Oh God! Yesterday! What an idiot! “Sorry,” I mumbled before getting
Appeal following Kingston rape
Detectives investigating the rape of a woman in Kingston are trying to trace
two taxi drivers who may have information that could assist them. The victim,
Would Like To Wish You All
a 19-year-old woman, reported being raped in Kingston University accommo-
dation in the early hours of Thursday 12 November. Beforehand, she was
believed to have been travelling with a male passenger in a white coloured
A Very Happy New Year
taxi from Pryzm nightclub, Clarence Street, to Portland Road, Kingston at just
after 02:30 hrs.
The victim is described as white with ginger hair and was wearing a
black dress. The man with her at the time is described as a middle-
eastern man aged in his 20s with short black hair. He was wearing a
black jumper.
Officers would also like to locate a second taxi driver who drove a silver
coloured taxi and picked up the victim and two other women (one of whom
was white and the other Asian) outside the Metro Bank in Eden Street,
Kingston earlier on Wednesday 11 November at about 23:45hrs. They were
driven to Pryzm nightclub after making a slight detour to one of their homes
to fetch ID. Police are keen to identify both the taxi drivers. Detectives from
the Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command are investigating.
The drivers, or anyone with any information that could assist the
investigation, is asked to contact Detective Constable Rob Way who is
leading the investigation on 020 8721 4106.
“None walks so Tall as he who Stoops to help a Child”
A 21-year-old man from Kingston has been arrested in connection with the
investigation. He has been bailed to return on a date in February pending fur-
ther enquiries.
Call Sign January 2016
Page 17
A day in the
life of Uber
ith Uber constantly grabbing the headlines and people you’d assume would
know better, saying how wonderful Uber is without a thought for the poor dri-
vers who work for well below the minimum wage, we thought we’d grab a few
piccies from the internet. They were not from the same day, but did come from
the same week!
Why does it not astonish us that people you assumed had some semblance of brain power
should be happy to use a service that is cheap, while apparently not guaranteed to get you to
your destination in one piece! We could probably ask the Mayor, but we’ll keep our waffles for
Wrong way down Great Windmill St
the breakfast table!
Wrong way down Tottenham Court Rd Wrong way down Camden High St
"My satnav said turn left... so I did!"
The Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
Hello one and all,
We at the DaC Credit Union would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year with the
hope that you had a great Christmas and a deserved break from all the traffic, drunks
and miserable punters that we have to suffer day in and day out! So if you’re like me,
to help make things seem nicer, I go shopping and bash the old credit cards!
If you are in that position but don’t want to keep paying interest upon interest, come on down
to the Credit Union offices in downtown Hackney Road and we’ll do our best to alleviate your
financial problems; some of the drivers or members that phone in tell us that because of their cir-
cumstances, they feel a bit embarrassed about coming in. Well there really is no need for that as
we all are or have at some stage, been in the same position!
We’re all cab drivers here; some of us are retired but we still have a licence and know what’s happening out there,
so don’t be shy - come in and see us and if you want a private meeting, we have a spare office on a one-to-one basis. I
hope this article will help you make up your minds to come in...
We don’t just do loans, you can save with us and we only ask for £20 a week and these savings could provide you with money
to buy, for example, tyres from Hackney Road Taxi Tyres, which is downstairs. So a quick share withdrawal from the Credit Union
upstairs and that’s it job done - and you keep your float.
Well that’s about it from me for now; I do hope to see old and new faces alike this year. Don’t forget that this is your Credit
Union, so please use it.
That just leaves me to wish you all a Happy New year and be lucky... but be very careful out there.
John Riley
DACCU President
Call Sign January 2016
Page 18
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
drivers for the first time he had all applicants
was not seriously injured but suffered from
declare they were “well acquainted with the
stress due to the shooting. Any effects it had on
Beginnings of
streets in and about London.” What this
his wife and children who witnessed the shoot-
entailed was never explained!
ing were not recorded.
In 1845, a 16 year old butterboy of two weeks
Bowes was the only son of a widowed moth-
With the recent clo-
did not know how to get to Manchester Street
er and it had been his aim to become a cab dri-
sure of Knowledge
from Paddington, whilst in 1853 an owner dri-
ver in order to look after her and after looking
Point School in
ver, “only recently in the business,” had to be
into his affairs Sir Edward took some pity on his
Caledonian Road, I
directed from Bond Street to Hanover Square.
would-be assassin.
take a quick look at
In 1853 The Standard was calling for cabmen to
At his trial at the Old Bailey, Bowes was
the history of the
“have experience” of the city in which they work
convicted of attempted murder and sen-
topographical exami-
- the trade was on strike at the time so perhaps
tenced to 15 years. Sir Edward tried to have
nations and dedicate the same to Malcom and
the papers was calling for a clean sweep with a
the sentence reduced, but to no avail. It is at
Pat Linskey and their staff - past and present -
new broom.
this point that the story took another unex-
and for introducing me to my wife at Dame
In 1867, William Charley MP published his
pected turn.
Alice Owen back in 1986... but that’s another
book on The Law of London Cabs and
Bowes’s mother had been forced to return to
Omnibuses in which he stated that “Lieutenant
work now that her only child was imprisoned,
Colonel Paschal, on whom the duty of examin-
but according to newsreader, actor, writer and
There is a popular misconception that
ing candidates devolves, subjects them to a
Dial-a-Cab client, the late Gordon
The Knowledge came out of complaints aris-
searching examination in the topography of
Honeycombe, every now and then whilst her
ing from the influx of visitors to the Great
London, selecting various points of taking up
son was in jail Sir Edward would get his chauf-
Exhibition of 1851. There were indeed a
and setting down.” This is an ‘appearance’ in all
feur to drive him to Mrs Bowes home in Acton;
large number of complaints that year, but
but name; how searching the examination was
he would then dismiss his driver and walk the
the vast majority were either against cab-
and how many “appearances” were made by a
remaining distance where “he gave her enough
men for overcharging - or trying to - or for
candidate is not recorded, but it does go to
money to satisfy her needs and keep herself
the abuse they gave when unsuccessful in
show that The Knowledge was up and running
comfortable and warm.”
obtaining more than the legal fare!
by 1867. However, what excuse a cabman going
Sir Edward’s wife had no knowledge of his
For the cab driver and trade, the main conse-
north over Waterloo Bridge in 1881 had when
affair and it is not known if it continued after
quence of the Great Exhibition was the imple-
he asked a pedestrian: “Am I OK for the Strand?”
Alfred was released from prison in 1922, but the
mentation of the Fares Book issued by Scotland
is anybody’s guess!
ever generous Sir Edward paid for Bowes’s pas-
Yard in 1853. Distances were measured by the
When Herbert Hodge applied for a cabman’s
sage to Canada so he could start a new life...
shortest route between two points and this dis-
licence in 1928, he had to declare all his previ-
tance dictated how much the fare was to be. If a
“The Knowledge of London serves no use-
cabman went by a longer route, the passenger
ous convictions to a Carriage Officer before he
ful purpose and should be abolished.”
would only have to look at the Fares Book -
would be allowed on The Knowledge (he actu-
Department of Transport 1970
ally calls it such in his 1939 book, Cab Sir?).
either their own or the one all cabmen were now
“The Knowledge is the corner-stone of the
obliged by law to carry and which stated the fare
Hodge was warned that any undeclared
taxi trade in London. It underpins every-
for the minimum distance. So it was in the dri-
infringement of the law would result in his
thing we do.”
ver’s interest to go the shortest route - possibly
being refused a cab licence. Fortunately for
Malcolm Linskey 1990
the genesis for the Knowledge.
Hodge, the only conviction he ever had was for
Sean Farrell (B39)
In his History of The London Cab Trade,
defective lights on a cycle and after feeling like
Phil Warren believed an early form of
a “human post office directory” he completed
Call Sign Online
Knowledge was “implemented in 1851 by Sir
The Knowledge in six months.
A computer glitch that removed all question
Richard Mayne,” (Commissioner of Police,
If there had been discrepancies with his char-
marks in last month's issue causing an ultra-
although Phil was quoting a secondary source
acter, then Hodge would have received a letter
hasty re-proof, then changed the street names in
from several years later). He also quoted from a
from the Commissioner of the Metropolitan
Sean's article! It should have read
well-known London cabman of the time, John
Police stating that he did not meet the ‘fit and
Haymarket (now Cumberland Market)” [as is in
Cockram, who in 1869 thought the examina-
proper’ requirements and as such his applica-
NW1] and our rush proof changed it to
“Cumberland Market (now Haymarket)” [as in
tion “was hard enough already.”
tion would be refused.
SW1]. Apologies to Sean...
When Phil came to write his History of
One person who did receive such a letter
The London Taxi Knowledge, he found the
was Alfred Bowes, who felt his life had been
beginnings had proved to be “very elusive”
ruined by the epistle from Scotland Yard,
Call Sign
but definitive accounts begun in 1884 when
and in his anger he awaited outside the
January 2016
1214 candidates passed and 717 failed. So
Commissioner’s Campden Hill Road home
Editor: Alan Fisher
just how ‘knowledgeable’ were cab drivers
to confront him about it!
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
of the 19th century?
The Commissioner was Sir Edward Henry,
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
1823 the un-named driver of hackney
who whilst serving in India had first recognised
Email: callsignmag@aol.com
coach 620 dropped his fare off in Moor Street
that fingerprints were unique to the individual;
Website: www.22-callsign.co.uk
instead of Little St Andrews Street (now
but now as he climbed out of his chauffeur dri-
Printers: Premier Print Group
Monmouth Street), telling his passenger that
ven car on the night of November 27th 1912,
E6 6 LP
he did not know where Moor Street was and
Alfred Bowes lay in wait and he was armed with
Design: Aldan Publications
that he “was not expected to know every street
a gun. He approached Sir Henry and pleaded
Tel: 07958 300 428
in London.” For his insolence, the coachman
his case, but the Commissioner was dismissive
Email: debbiefresco@googlemail.com
was fined 20s (£1) and locked up until he could
and told him to contact the office. With that,
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
raise the money.
Bowes pulled out his gun and began shooting.
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
In 1838, Daniel Whittle Harvey was first the
After firing three shots, two of which missed
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
either manually or electronically without the express
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Public
their target, Bowes was overpowered by the
permission of the Editor.
Carriage Office; when he licensed and badged
chauffeur and a passing decorator. Sir Henry
Call Sign January 2016
Page 19
The thoughts of Joe Brazil...
nage at this junction. Yes, one death is too
roundabout will close the northwest arm of
many as all right minded people would
the newly formed junction and become a
agree; injuries are not to be wished on any-
peninsula. You will be forced anticlockwise
one but a cycle traffic light properly observed
around the junction from the west with no
would be of considerable effect, or just
right turn into City Road southbound, just in
Old Street and
directing cycles through the heavily
case you are foolhardy enough to try to escape
armoured side streets would alleviate dan-
from the inevitable traffic hold-up that strings
gers. But then again, TfL do not have control
back for Old Street east of the roundabout...
When Islington Council first muted changes
over the side streets, so even though these
err sorry, I meant junction.
at Old Street roundabout back in April 2006,
streets are virtually empty, local councils
Job done then; traffic halted, no acci-
I’m sure all taxi drivers - like myself - let out a
seem to be only too happy to watch all means
dents, your journey time is
groan of disbelief. Let’s face it, the last time
of transport being shoved off their patch of
slightly!” Top job, you say. Without doubt,
they redeveloped it from a crossroads, back
side streets and onto main routes instead of
data of collisions between pedestrians or
in the 60’s, they hardly created a monument
standing up to their responsibility to protect
cyclists will be much harder to find then.
that would ever trouble the pages of English
the travelling public.
So let’s face it, we must all stand up for the
Heritage, although I’m sure Grand Designs
It can be hard to find information
forgotten 35.2 who err….may have suf-
presenter Kevin McCloud turning up and
regarding accidents, not always, but some-
fered, although we can’t be sure as we
expounding the beauties of brutalist concrete
times. They are shrouded in misinforma-
can’t find the data!
structures, would do it the world of good!
tion. I remember Jeremy Clarkson pulling
This will allow gentrification of the junction,
It remains not much more than a creation
up previous Minister of State for Transport,
a new peninsula, coffee shops, new public
of form and function, unadmired and slowly
Stephen Ladyman, for counting a suicide
spaces, new retail units, temporary food stalls.
being dissolved into the ground with little
from a bridge as being a motorway death
Pound to a penny cyclists will hurtle through
hope of any real money or design genius ever
and so allowing speed cameras to be
un-impinged by law enforcement or road reg-
troubling its façade. So the time is nigh for a
installed on the basis of hitting some terri-
ulations. Try finding data then... no chance!
new frock and bit of a spruce up...well, a
ble target to achieve financial gain. The
This gentrification does have an upside
£25million pound facelift anyway.
truth of the matter (that has been dis-
though, Old Street will become a slightly more
As you can imagine, this will involve
closed) is that between February 2010 and
pleasant place for the pedestrian and tube
considerable upheaval; TfL in its Citizen
January 2013 there were 44 “collisions” in
traveller; Dial-a-Cab House - being in the
Space document tells us that “journey
the “vicinity.” Vague enough for you? How
vicinity - will become a nicer place to work.
times through the junction for motorists
big is the vicinity? Define collision?
Our new neighbours at the Atlas Building
and bus, coach and taxi passengers are
Collisions between whom?
with their
350 bicycle spaces that Boris
likely to change slightly.”
Well, what I can tell you is that 80 per-
Johnson described as being within the area he
Never has the term slightly been more mis-
cent involved a pedestrian or cyclist…
is going full speed ahead to change is achieved.
used, although it is interesting that we are the
that’s err…35.2 I think, over almost 3
The Atlas with its 302 apartments, ranging
only ones with passengers; I presume buses
years! How many involved vehicles and
from studios to three bedroom apartments
will be empty and no-one will be inconve-
cyclists? Vehicles and pedestrians? Cycles
starting at £580,000; if only we had a stake in
nienced, although that may just be me being
and pedestrians? Hardly carnage, but then
this improvement, if only we were in this ever-
again one is too many. Deaths? Not men-
changing tech valley vicinity, if only, if only, oh
Well, I thought, I wonder why so many
tioned, but let’s hope not.
we have! Well you can’t stop progress, can
£millions are being spent? There must be car-
So how is this to be addressed? Old Street
you; every cloud etc... You know the rest.
Let’s hope there is a benefit, after all I
do like a new peninsula every now and
then, who in their right mind wouldn’t...
Susan gets the KoL at 60!
Joe Brazil
Dial-a-Cab driver Brian
DaC Board Member
Marcantonio (R73) recently told
Call Sign about the wife of a
friend of his. Brian has known
fellow taxi driver Frank
Harrington for many years, but
the story is about Frank’s wife,
Susan Harrington, who at the
young age of 60 was about to
All makes and models
get her Green badge after
serviced and repaired
passing the Knowledge of
Mobile service - we
come to you!
Brian told us: “Susan had
got her Rec but failed her first drive on the Highway
Call Mick Wheeler on
Code! She worked really hard at the Knowledge, which is really quite amazing when
you consider that she will be 61 in March! She finally got her green badge on 9th
020 8715 0079
December, so I wonder if she is she the oldest woman to ever pass the KoL.”
Call Sign isn’t too sure about who the oldest person was, but in this month’s
Covering London
‘Brethren of the Whip’on page 18, Sean Farrell (B39) writes about how the
and the Home Counties
Knowledge of London probably came into existence.
Call Sign January 2016
Page 20
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
Welcome to the 87th
The event literally involves a whole army of
In September, we had the pleasure of being
LTFUC Chairman's
volunteers who give up their time to make this
invited to the traditional annual London Pearly
Report; yes 87 glori-
such a wonderful day and we are so grateful to
Kings & Queens Costermongers Harvest Festival
ous years of serving
them all, including the hotel staff, management,
Parade at the Guildhall and we thank all the won-
'special needs' chil-
celebrities, entertainers, face painters, baloon-
derful Pearlies for their continued support of our
dren! The children
ists, the Household Cavalry, Police, British army,
are from all walks of
sponsors and many others. The list is endless. I
As well as outings and the functions we
am also pleased to say that Sainsbury's (Low
arrange, we’re also very pleased to help very
L o n d o n
Hall) Chingford are supporting our charity in a
needy and worthwhile causes. The charity
Metropolitan area and have physical and social-
very big way and as well as raising funds for us
receives on average 100 appeals a year and
ly impaired needs. I started my second year as
all year round, they were involved at the tea
the committee investigates each claim on its
Chairman at London's Burlington Arcade in
party in so many ways, supplying and making
merits and we help as many of those appeals
December, where we were fundraising as well
hundreds of sandwiches for the guests and
that we can. Some of our donations include
as promoting the charity. Our London taxi
entertainers and allowed us to fund raise at
hospital equipment such as baby incubators,
dressed up as a reindeer was a great attraction
their store over Easter and Christmas.
sensory rooms for children, speciality equip-
with many photo opportunities to be had. In
Our next outing took place in June; that was
ment for children recovering from cancer,
addition to the trustees that were there, we
our legendary fabulous annual trip to the sea-
sailing boats specifically built for physically
were also pleased to be joined by London's
side! For almost 80 of our 87 years the charity
impaired children and even specially adapted
Pearly King & Queens and the Fulham &
has been taking children to Southend-on-
wheelchairs for individual children.
Hammersmith Choral Society.
Sea. In its modern format, this involves over
The charity is very proud to say that under 2%
January commenced with our now famous
120 vehicles in convoy including over 100 bal-
of the money raised goes towards administrative
Mad Hatter's Tea Party in the Great Room of
loon decorated taxis, with support from St
expenses. The voluntary committee on the Fund
the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel,
John's and Red Cross Ambulances, Green Flag
are 14 working taxi drivers and with the help and
where we entertained over 600 deserving chil-
recovery and the Essex and Met Police. Previous
assistance from our wives and partners, we con-
dren from many London boroughs. On arrival,
meeting points have always been Beaumont
tinue to do this work because we love trying to
the children were greeted by characters such as
Square and Victoria Park in the East End, but in
bring something special into the children's lives.
the Honey Monster, the Furry Tail Folk, Star
2015 we started the outing from the Sainsbury's
The committee would like to thank Larry
Wars characters and many others. The venue is
(Low Hall) car park in Chingford. This proved
Abrahams, who has now retired from the fund
festooned with balloons, decorations and tables
to be more convenient than Victoria Park and
and wish him good luck for the future. Along
full of food; afterwards the children are enter-
meant the journey was quicker by 30 minutes,
with his lovely wife Sue, they have both con-
tained by a variety of acts and shows culminat-
so the children had even more time to enjoy
tributed many years of hard work and dedication
ing in a huge disco. To top it all, on departure
themselves! The outing was once again a won-
helping to brighten up the lives of many deserv-
the children go through a toy grotto where they
derful event enjoyed by both the children and
ing children. Thank you both very much. I would
leave laden with various toys and goodies, plus
the drivers, even though it was on the hottest
also like to thank the trustees and their partners
some fruit for the journey home.
day for nine years!
for all their hard work throughout the year and
send best wishes to our Hon. Life President, Bill
Tyzack BEM and his wife Grace for a speedy
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
recovery and continuing good health.
Sim Yiannikaris
It is my privilege to present the Treasurer's Report for the LTFUC year
LTFUC Honorary Chairman
ending 31st October, 2015.
I am very grateful to the Fund's Trustees for taking time to provide me
with their ongoing support in respect of my role as Hon Treasurer. Last
year's Treasurer's Report mentioned two new members to the fund, who
have since stepped into their roles with relentless dedication alongside all
the other trustees, continuing to make their respective contributions to
the charity.
With the help of many donations, sponsors old and new and public
generosity, the fund has maintained reserves to enable continued sup-
port for many disadvantaged children of Greater London. General administration expenses have
been kept down again to less than 2p in the pound, allowing nearly every penny of income to be
spent on improving the quality of life for those in need. During the past year, the charity has
granted £1,200 by supplying specialised equipment for a desperately needed mobility wheelchair
and a large donation to the Haven House Children's Hospice, plus other donations large and
small to many different organisations. The cost of the annual Grosvenor House children's
Christmas party at £6,883 against the previous year figure of £11,227, shows a saving, this being
due to the previous two year's hire charges for the Great Room. The annual outing to Southend-
on-Sea cost £16,038.77, which showed a saving of £1,081.11 against the previous year's figures.
In such challenging times, the fund has been successful with street collections at events such as
the Burlington Arcade, Sainsbury's (Low Hall) Chingford and Victoria Station. Having collect-
ing boxes placed around town has helped to raise money to meet an ever increasing demand for
our help.
Because of the tremendous generosity of people's donations and sponsoring, the fund has
been able to recover all of our outlays and more, giving hundreds of disadvantaged children many
great memories to cherish.
Thank you to everyone that has supported the London Taxidrivers' Fund for
Underprivileged Children and we look forward to helping many more disadvantaged
children in the forthcoming year.
Lilian Julier
LTFUC Honorary Treasurer
Call Sign January 2016
Page 21
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
Last month in my
Another full house at
New Cross Rangers and
look at London’s lost
(inset) a 1949 New Cross
sporting heritage, I
featured those long
old stands.
lost Greyhound
Speedway down the Old
Stadiums, but over
Kent Road had originally
the next couple of
come about when South
London Promoter Fred
articles in the series, I
Mockford relocated his
would like to men-
Crystal Palace Glaziers
tion some ‘teams’
back in 1934 - and next
month I will give you the
from a different
heads-up on all of the other
sporting background
London sides, their exotic
that would have
nicknames and track venues.
It was nice to read in last
entertained thou-
month’s Mailshot where Bernie Silver (F13J) reminisced about the
sands of Londoners, but
taxi rank at Clapton Pond where punters shared the fare when head-
these were not football
ing to the old Clapton Greyhound Stadium - it’s not a straightfor-
ward journey these days, with the barrier halfway down Millfields
Road, but I would have imagined that by putting five punters in (we
Speedway provided a perfect
don’t talk about 4 seaters here!) for half a crown, it would have been
partner for Greyhound Racing
like ‘whacky races’ speeding back for the next fare!
with many Stadiums holding both
Happy New Year to ALL!
sports on separate evenings - often
Bob Woodford
to packed houses, especially in the
immediate post-war period.
Call Sign Online
If you want some idea of the enthusiasm for this once popular form
of entertainment, you would only need to watch the 1948 British clas-
sic film Once a Jolly Swagman - which starred Dirk Bogarde, Bill
‘Compo’ Owen, Thora Hurd and Sid James. It is now available on
New Cross Stadium, which was in Hornshay Street just off
Ilderton Road, was the film set for all the action, a gem that captures
genuine speedway history and highlights the popularity of the sport
at the time. Bogarde plays an up and coming young speedway star
and the movie charts his meteoric rise to the top and all of the trou-
bles as well as the inevitable romance it brings. Maybe it was a pre-
dictable plot - but the sight and sound of those old bikes (pre-
silencers) makes this a great listen, as well as a watch. It is well acted
and the action scenes from the New Cross Stadium are legendary!
The venue, which became nicknamed the The Frying Pan
because of its steep sides and the New Cross Rangers (1937 -
Friday 29 January 2016
1963) thrilled racing fans here, with former World Champion,
Friday 26 February 2016
New Zealand superstar Barry Briggs a former rider.
Friday March 18 2016
The New Cross team were originally the New Cross Lambs (1934
- 1935) before taking the name of the New Cross Tamers (in 1936)
09.30 Coffee & bacon roll on arrival***
- before the heyday of the New Cross Rangers when the Orange
10.30 Shot gun start***
and Black leathers would be crowned National League Champions
15.30 Presentation of Professional & Team prizes
twice in 1938 and 1948.
£45 per person in a team of 2 amateurs
The stadium had been around in the early 1900’s and was original-
going out with a golf professional
ly used as an athletics track, and then by Millwall Football Club as a
Maximum full handicap 24 Men, 30 Ladies
training ground (who had to move their training to Deptford Park
Format: Stableford 3/4 handicap. Best two scores count.
once the stadium closed).
Tragedy struck in 1935 when local star, Tommy Farndon, was
Please telephone if you would like an
involved in a fatal crash when colliding with a team mate during
entry form or any further information.
a meeting.
Call Elaine Cochrane on 01992 466666 Ext. 249.
The ‘Frying Pan’ was also the birthplace of oval track Stock Car
Racing and the first ever Formula One Stock Car meeting took place
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
on Good Friday 1954.
surroundings. The lakes and forests in the area, for example, make for wonderfully
When this 26,000 capacity stadium closed for good in 1969, it was
challenging natural hazards. With full irrigation cover of tees, fairways and greens,
left derelict for many years, before being demolished to create a local
the course is in fantastic condition all year round. Read more about the course at
park (Bridge House Meadows). The bowl of the stadium is still visi-
ble and lumps of concrete in the undergrowth are fragments from the
Call Sign January 2016
Page 22
With Tom Quigley (Y33)
CV or first impression...
required, otherwise why would someone get
When I grew up, if someone had asked me
in your cab and claim to be a Head-hunter if
who or what is a Curriculum Vitae my reply
the best CVs go to the best CV-er! (Man,
would probably have been the name of a
that’s heavy!...Ed)
Roman soldier in Ben Hur!
I never knew - and even today I’m not
Sam Stoller’s smoked salmon...
exactly sure - what a Portfolio is should I ever
I was with a niece who was looking for a
be asked to submit one. It would be so men-
Saturday job in our local High Street; a lead-
dacious or similar to a Frankie Howard
ing baker’s shop had an advert for a Saturday
sketch, that it just would not be taken seri-
person (of course, we can’t say Saturday girl)
ously. And that is my point...
although unless my eyes have deceived me,
On the long running TV show The
I’ve never noticed a Saturday boy serving in a
Apprentice, the candidates would all have a
bakers! She enquired about the job and was
CV and a Portfolio, plus of course a Business
told to submit a CV. My niece happens to have
Plan! I’m an ardent fan of the show, it fact I
8 O Levels plus 18 months as a junior Police
have to admit watching it and reading Sir
cadet. She never got a reply, obviously not the
Alan Sugar’s autobiography; it has taught
The name on the application could easily
skills required at a local High Street baker!
me much about business opportunities and
be used for and against the employee,
The job had probably gone to an employee’s
strategies as well as helping the Knowledge
depending on the strategy of the employer.
relative already; I have no problem with
of London students at my KoL school to
The presentation and facts on the CV are
nepotism, just don’t waste people’s time!
search out possible points.
probably not worth the paper they are writ-
In past times, if the job was advertised
However, what are CVs actually worth,
ten on. Maybe for some jobs, a CV is a neces-
you were generally given a chance - not
plus how do the different organisations use
sity but there are many other jobs at the low-
always a fair one, but a chance nonethe-
them for their own means or objectives?
est and highest paid end where a CV is not
less. But my own mum must have broken
all records of what a CV was worth...
When we were very young, the story was,
as told by mum but with quite possibly a
touch of Irish Romancing the Tale. It went
like this; as we walked home one day many
Step by Step...
years back with a pram full of shopping and
more than enough children carrying bags,
“I’ve had this MB Vito taxi for about a
mum saw a lady struggling with bags loaded
year now,” Daniel Heaven (O01) told
up with various stuff. My mother offered her
Call Sign, “and in all that time I’ve never
the chance to put the bags onto the pram to
needed to use the steps on the side of the
help the lady on her way. Thankful for the
cab that allow easier access for those less
assistance and despite different backgrounds,
mobile. It’s not that I’m picky, that’s just
there was - and still is - a certain amount of
the way it’s been!
trust. That was despite my mum’s strong
“Anyway, when I did finally need the
Northern Irish accent and the lady, who hap-
pened to be Jewish, at a time when there
step facility recently, I just couldn’t oper-
ate it and it took some effort to load my
were strong anti-Semitic feelings following
the six day war together with an anti-Irish
passenger. I’m pretty sure I was not
stance due to IRA bombings. The lady put her
shown or told the procedure to activate
bags on the pram and off they went probably
the steps when I bought the cab. Advice
not even listening to each other, but both
like looking in the owner’s manual does-
talking non-stop! This encounter led to a
n’t really wash when you’ve got a pas-
great source of income for my mum, to us as
senger waiting at the kerbside,” he
a family and to a great friendship for all of us.
Due to the first impression and equal
“I now know it is necessary to put
respect for each other, my mum became the
the gearbox into the Park position and
cleaner, driver, childminder and many other
apply the handbrake firmly before the steps will slide out
occupations to the family. The lady was Tilly
and function as intended. I’ve also done some research that suggests the step mecha-
Stoller, wife of Sam Stoller and if you have
nisms should be serviced every six months due to their being exposed to the elements
ever eaten smoked salmon on Ridley Road,
and I was quoted a cost of £120 + VAT! I now frequently spray mine myself with
you’ll have made an indirect contact with Sam!
WD40, carefully following the line of the runners to lubricate the operating mecha-
My mum’s meeting with Tilly also led to
nisms. I’m also very careful not to get the solution onto the steps themselves, as I
employment for my late sister Mary in the Egg
expect this would cause a slipping hazard, which is exactly what you do not want!
Stores of Stamford Hill, with me turning the
“I have been told that there is a YouTube instructional video showing how it’s done,
gas on and off in most of the houses in
Clapton for a shilling a time! My sisters still
and I’ve also heard of the steps being removed completely to allow the mechanisms to
look after the grandchildren of the families!
be jet-washed. I believe the steps are held into place with just three bolts, one either
A small snapshot of East End history
side and one at the back; that’s all that holds them into place, so I have to wonder if
showing that sometimes first impressions
that should best be left to the dealerships to do because if it all goes pear-shaped
are better than CVs! Can I wish everyone
through a DIY mess-up, it could be a lot more grief than drivers bargain for!”
out there a very happy, healthy and pros-
Daniel’s advice about urging caution at such an undertaking sounds sensible to us...
perous 2016...
Tom Quigley
© Call Sign Magazine MMXVI
Call Sign Online
Call Sign January 2016
Page 23
Ask any regular user of London’s road network
what they think and a large majority will say
that long-term roadworks have turned our cap-
ital into a third world city. A huge part of those
roadworks are due to Transport for London’s
plans to turn it into a cycling haven.
Last June in a speech in east London, Mayor
Boris Johnson’s Cycling Commissioner,
whether cyclists will have the choice of not using
Andrew Gilligan, praised campaigners for win-
the superhighway lanes and instead use the main
ning the PR battle against the ‘old men in limos’
section of the road reserved for cars, taxis and
- a quote he took from Olympic cyclist Chris
buses etc if they feel the cycle lane isn't moving fast
Boardman - but said that London was only in
the “foothills of becoming a great cycling city”
Andrew Gilligan: We're not going to ban
and that pressure needed to be sustained ahead
cyclists from using the road, but our experi-
of the 2016 mayoral election (due this May) “to
ence on the existing segregated track we've
ensure that the work continues.” That sounds
installed (on Stratford High Street) is that
like an early election push for him to keep his
the vast majority (97% +) use the track. The
tracks we're installing will be
4m wide
However, Mr Gilligan - a respected writer
(mostly) - enough for fast cyclists to pass and
who now seems to prefer bringing London to a
overtake slower ones within the track itself.
standstill - has now brought the word “lie” into
Call Sign: I can't really understand why, if the
the public domain, when live on LBC radio he
lanes are that wide, that 3 percent of cyclists need
accused one of their reporters of telling
to leave them (other than for an emergency).
porkies. Political Editor, Theo Usherwood had
Surely that detracts from the whole purpose -
been assigned to watch the opening of the
which is to keep them safe. Why cannot it be made
Vauxhall cycle superhighway and told Nick
compulsory for cyclists to stay within the lane?
Ferrari that 40% of cyclists weren't using it and
That would also pacify those against the lanes due
riding on the road instead. Several Dial-a-Cab
Superhighway that links The Oval to Pimlico
to the extra time some journeys will now take.
drivers phoned and emailed Call Sign to give
cost £5million when in reality it cost double
Andrew Gilligan: I don't think 3 percent
us similar results. Nick Ferrari then put
that amount.
makes much difference either way, to be
Usherwood’s figures to Andrew Gilligan.
In the April 2015 Call Sign, we questioned
honest. We're talking maybe 15 cyclists an
The Commissioner’s response was: “That
Andrew Gilligan on his plans, which at that
hour, tops.
report I've just heard is a complete lie. I
time hadn’t really started to cause the huge
Call Sign: I still fail to understand why any
think he is quite clearly lying.”
amount of congestion that they have now
cyclist that has a lane specially designated for
In response, Theo Usherwood insisted that
and we asked him the question that everyone
their use should use a section of the road desig-
his numbers had just been a conservative esti-
knows the answer to now, but caused shock
nated for motorists etc. Neither do I believe for a
mate and that he believed that in fact they were
waves back then.
single second that just 15 cyclists an hour will use
probably higher. He also returned Gilligan’s
Call Sign: It appears the plan is for the cycle
the main section of road, especially during busy
‘lie’ taunt when claiming online that the
lanes to be protected from the rest of the road and
periods. But accepting that they can do so if they
Commissioner had said the Cycling
traffic using it, by pavements. So my question is
wish, can motorists then drive in the cycle lanes?
Andrew Gilligan: Taxis have their own
special lanes, and a lot more of them than
cyclists! Are you saying that should mean
taxis shouldn't be allowed to use the rest of
the road?
The interview faded at that point with Mr
Gilligan and myself obviously miles apart in our
thinking. But even then, the Commissioner was
sticking to his view that only a tiny minority of
“I heard this terrible grinding noise as I drove along in my
cyclists would leave the lanes to use the main
TX1 and was convinced it came from the rear axle,” Michael Gurry
section of road.
(N38) told Call Sign recently, adding rather philosophically that his cab had covered over 300,000
However, unlike Mr Gilligan’s shameful treat-
miles so he was expecting the worst!
ment of Theo Usherwood, we do not call him a
“I booked the cab in to the Diff Doctor in Lammas Road, Leyton and they said they would
liar because we think that what he told Call Sign
investigate and do only what was necessary with a view to keeping costs to a minimum, which
nine months ago, he probably believed at the
sounded very fair to me,” Michael added.
time. Needless to say however, I didn’t believe
“When I got my cab back, I had a very pleasant and welcome surprise because it hadn’t been the
for a single moment that unless it was made ille-
rear axle grinding away as I thought, it turned out to be a front wheel bearing that was causing all
gal for cyclists to use the main road when a CSH
the grinding and squeaking sounds that had been echoing through the cab and doing my head in,
was available, that huge numbers of them would-
not to mention the embarrassment regarding passengers. It’s much quieter now!”
n’t leave them to join the motor vehicle section.
Mike’s obvious relief showed in his smile and the happy tone of his voice! When Call Sign
Had Mr Gilligan accepted the LBC
spoke to Jagger at Diff Doctor, he recalled Michael’s problems, suggesting that it was usually a lit-
reporter’s figures and said they would do
tle difficult to self-diagnose motion related noises as it requires the cab to be moving for accurate
something about it, then we would have to
analysis - and listening while driving is not easy.
accept that; but by calling Theo Usherwood a
“With worn or pitted wheel / axle bearings, the noise tends to vibrate throughout the cab
liar when anyone with a pair of eyes could
when it is on the move and this can be very confusing to pinpoint to the untrained ear. Obviously,
see that his report was true and regardless of
when the cab is stationary, there is no noise,” he said with a laugh!
whether it was more or less than 40%, it cer-
“As the wheel rotates when the cab is moving, uneven road surfaces tend to amplify the noise
of the worn bearing, which then transmits through the cab suspension, the steering system,
tainly was far, far more than Gilligan’s 5%
through the body panels and can echo throughout the cab in some examples of extreme wear.
(and the ridiculous 3% given to Call Sign).
However, drivers should never ignore rumbling or groaning noises because it could lead to failure
His statement to Nick Ferrari makes Andrew
of that component and leave drivers stranded and immobile, with possibly additional expense to
Gilligan a man with no shame and if he had
replace parts that may have been damaged as a ‘knock-on’ effect.
even an ounce of any, he would tender his
“Additionally, in extreme cases a bearing/s could seize up completely, with possibly catastrophic
effects if you’re moving at speed,” Jagger warned.
The photo shows a taxi wheel bearing assembly which allows the wheels to rotate
Alan Fisher
smoothly and minimises friction of the moving parts.
Diff Doctor can be contacted on: 0208 556 3134
Alan Green, Call Sign Online
Call Sign Online
Call Sign January 2016
Page 24
TfL in London or TLC in New York...
Mike Higgins drives a cab
whine that
“...we need moh
in New York, runs a radio
We already have 53,000 licensed
phone-in for cab drivers
Yellow cab drivers for only 14,000
and edits New York City’s
Yellow cabs! WTF! Incentivise them
to come back! Get them back... first!
Taxinews. Somehow he
Raise the taxi fare or a decent
also finds time to pen the
group-ride plan...maybe even put in
occasional piece for Call
two-way radio dispatch - and real
taxi Apps - into the Yellow cabs. Why
Sign! So try changing TLC
are we the only taxi service in the
for TfL and see if you can
world without two-way radio dis-
spot any difference as
patch? Otherwise you'll be turning
the Yellow cabs into a freggin sh*t
regards Uber...
show. Is that what you want?
Hey you London guys at Dial-a-
Or is that really what 'Uber'
Cab; I know about your Uber prob-
wants???!!! Maybe the Yellow cab
lems with Transport for London, but
service has gotten too good and
believe it or not, our Taxi & Limousine Commission aren’t that differ-
lowering licensing standards could be another trap orchestrated
ent! So if you don’t mind and knowing how big Call Sign’s online read-
by Uber?
ership is, I’d like to address our TLC through you, in addition to our
Please, don't frack-up this business by diluting the existing pool of
own NYC Taxinews...
great Yellow cab drivers with a dangerous flood of rookies and reject-
So hey TLC! Please do not lower the NYC Yellow cab driver
ed Uber drivers!
licensing standards. Raise the standards for the other TLC regu-
Happy holidays to all at DaC. You can catch up on New York
lated segments to meet OUR standards!
taxi news at www.nyctaxinews.com.
Passengers are finally going back to Yellow cabs because they actu-
Michael Higgins
ally think we are better now. Do not listen to the idiots who constantly
Call Sign Online
Loughborough Junction experiment fails!
Traffic ignores the signs!
ot on the heels of complaints by Dial-a-Cab drivers about the
Tavistock Place one-way scheme came those moaning about
closures in Brixton involving Loughborough, Barrington and
Traffic took up to 40 minutes longer to complete their
Lilford Roads, together with Gordon Grove. The scheme was
supposed to make the area a nicer place to live, as well as helping
cyclists to stay safe, but the result - which had been obvious to most
even when being proposed - was increased traffic everywhere else and
that meant increased emissions.
Keith Reading
Worsening traffic conditions added up to 40 minutes to journeys and
meant that many motorists were disregarding the closures and driving
Professional Toastmaster
through anyway. The council threatened to put barriers across the roads
Master of Ceremonies
and then said they were contemplating narrowing the streets and putting
flower beds in! Emergency services were naturally unhappy about that.
Tele: 01279 465 938
Even the locals, who claimed they were never consulted about it, were
Mobile: 07774 860 374
against the scheme and the council has finally abandoned it - albeit with
Email: kgr.2@virgin.net
two streets (Calais Street and Padfield Road) staying shut as yet another
Lambeth experimental scheme opens. Some years back, Lambeth’s council
earned the prefix of “loony.” Perhaps they were trying to regain the title?
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
Fellow of the Guild of
Ron Yarborough
Professional Toastmasters
Call Sign Online
Call Sign January 2016
Page 25
Guess who I picked up in my taxi!
It was just another night at the
Former Addison Lee
Chairman, John Griffin,
Arsenal - lots of Dial-a-Cab dri-
gets out of a DaC taxi!
vers there to watch the game,
knowing that there was a good
when he confirmed it, I asked
chance of getting a nice job
why he hadn’t phoned for one
after the final whistle blew. But
of his own cars, even though I
knew that he was no longer
one driver picked up someone
really involved with the com-
he never really expected to. The
pany other than in name. He
shy driver told us:
surprised me
- albeit very
“There were two of them and I thought I
pleasantly - when he said that
recognised one of them but couldn’t think
he always used ‘black cabs’
where from. Then I heard one say to the
former Chairman of Addison Lee, John
because they were so much better!
other that these were better than his own
“And contrary to reports I’ve seen over the
cabs and suddenly I realised who it was - the
“I asked him if he was John Griffin and years, he was a real gentleman!”
TfL launch congestion crackdown!
A new team of Road and Transport Enforcement Officers is being deployed to key traffic routes
across London to crack down on illegal or inconsiderate behaviour and other problems that cause
The new 40-strong Transport for London (TfL) team - rising
The team will be alerted to congestion build ups both
to 80 by Spring - will help deal with problems such as illegal
through TfL’s network of traffic cameras and through utilising
stopping or unloading of deliveries, which can cause delays to
the ‘eyes and ears’ of the almost 25,000 bus drivers, who are
drivers and bus passengers. It will work closely with the TfL-
calling in any issues to the TfL control room so that they can be
funded Metropolitan Police Roads and Transport Policing
reacted to swiftly and intelligence can be analysed to prevent
Command, which was launched by the Mayor in January and
problems from recurring.
with 2,300 officers, is the largest policing command anywhere
In addition, they will work with businesses along the routes
in the country. The team will help to move unlawfully stopped
to help improve the way they receive and manage deliveries,
vehicles, issue PCN’s to illegally parked vehicles and clear
giving advice on re-timing or consolidation to reduce the
unnecessary or poorly set-up roadworks.
impact of deliveries during peak times.
It is the first time that TfL will have its own officers who will
The new team is complemented by up-to-the-minute real-
have the power to direct traffic around congestion on London's
time journey information that TfL provides to advise road users
roads. This includes issues such as breakdowns and collisions.
of congestion and to suggest alternative routes. The
They will also access real time information and data and send
@TfLTrafficNews Twitter feed, which in November gained its
intelligence back from the street to TfL’s control room. Mayor
500,000th follower, is an immediate source of information on
of London, Boris Johnson MP, said:
traffic conditions across London. The TfL website continues to
“This is one of a number of targeted actions we’re tak-
be updated regularly with month-by-month breakdowns of the
ing to tackle congestion and reduce delays on the roads.
build programmes for all TfL schemes, showing the locations of
different phases of the builds and the areas where traffic may
In January we launched the Met’s Roads and Transport
be affected.
Policing Command and this new team will work closely
TfL is already taking a similar zero tolerance approach to
with them to help keep London moving. They will play a
issues that cause congestion at Blackwall Tunnel. In 2010,
key role in tackling problems that lead to tailbacks and
alongside the Metropolitan Police and Driver and Vehicle
take a zero-tolerance approach towards inconsiderate or
Standards Agency (DVSA), a dedicated enforcement presence
illegal behaviour that can cause unnecessary gridlock.”
was established as well as additional over-height vehicle detec-
The ten key locations the team will be deployed are on roads
tion equipment and penalties for drivers running out of fuel
that between them carry 110 different bus routes and are used
and causing unnecessary delays. Since starting the initiative,
by half a million bus passengers, in addition to 300,000 car
there has been a 32% reduction in collisions, incidents and
and taxi passenger journeys every day.
events causing congestion at Blackwall Tunnel.
They are Gracechurch Street to Bank, Eastcheap to
TfL open data policy also enables app developers to access
Leadenhall Street, Kensington High Street to Notting Hill
real time data feeds on current disruptions and planned works,
Gate, Gosport Street to Hoe Street (Walthamstow),
as well as traffic cameras across the road network, to produce
Hackney Road to Balls Pond Road, Ladywell to Loampit
travel information apps to help road users be able to plan their
Vale, Highshore Road to Heaton Road (Peckham), Manor
journeys and avoid disruption.
Park Road / Craven Park to Manor Park Road / High
See Editor’s comment (page three)...
Street (Harlesden), Columbia Avenue to Balmoral Road
Transport for London
(Worcester Park) and Gatton Road to Trevelyn Road
Press Dept
Call Sign January 2016
Page 26
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Police Service to an FOIA request, this is...
nformation sought under the guise of the
(CRIS), the MPS are not required to record the
complexity of the investigation), this would
Freedom of Information Act can be very
operator that the cab driver works for, only the
still take in excess of 30 hours.
interesting. After all, Uber is a problem that
occupation. This detail might be included in
Your request is further complicated by the
links us all - Licensed Taxis and the major-
the free text fields, but extracting reports relat-
fact that some of the information that you are
ity of Private Hire companies. In all fairness,
ing specifically to Uber by searching for the
requesting, such as Uber cars found to be dri-
you have to allow the organisation you are
company name is therefore far more difficult.
ving without insurance etc, may also be record-
requesting the info from a reasonable amount
Furthermore, as the MPS does not hold a com-
ed on different MPS systems, which would fur-
of time to respond, but the answer received
prehensive list of named drivers and the com-
ther extend the time that it would take to carry
from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
panies that they work for, we also cannot
out the searches and comply with your
following a request about crime reports in
search by named individuals. Even if this was
request. I have been informed that to get this
respect of Uber cabs takes some beating. The
possible, searches would no doubt be further
type of information an individual would be
request didn’t come from Call Sign, but
complicated by the fact that drivers can work
required to manually search of all the process
unsurprisingly the organisation that did put it
for more than one company. In addition, vic-
books / summonses and collision accident
in doesn’t want to be linked with it and per-
tims are not obliged to provide their occu-
books that were filled in by officers during the
haps didn’t want to irritate the MPS! I don’t
pation and so would not be required to
year in question in order to establish the infor-
blame them but thank them for allowing us to
inform us if they worked for Uber, for
mation that you have requested. This is
use it. Any bold print is ours. We have also had
example. Therefore, data cannot be extract-
because Uber, if mentioned at all, would be
to edit out some of the response or it would
ed on this point.
included within these paper forms as part of
have taken up half of the issue! It also shows
Given the complexities within your request
the details of the incident. There would be no
how little we are valued...
and all of the different variations on why Uber
way in ascertaining which ones might be rele-
The FOIA requested info on how many
may be mentioned, it is therefore very difficult
vant without reading them all.
crime reports were made to the Met over
to explain how such data could be extracted
As the majority of the information that you
the past 12 months in respect of Uber,
using our traditional searching methods. It
have requested would be held on CRIS, it is this
including reported incidents such as
must be remembered that our CRIS system is a
system which I have based my cost estimate on.
assaults and thefts etc, in addition to
live crime management system, as opposed to
note that the Information
reported incidents such as driving without
a statistical reporting tool and there are often
Commissioner's guidance states that 'Section 12
insurance and failure to stop at the scene
limitations on how we are able to run reports
makes it clear that a public authority does not
to extract certain data. Therefore, the only way
have to make a precise calculation of the costs
of a collision etc. It asked how many had
in which the MPS may be able to extract any
of complying with a request. Only an estimate
resulted in arrests, charges and convictions
relevant data from the CRIS system, where
is required ... what amounts to a reasonable
or in penalties being issued. It also asked
Uber had been used by either the victim or per-
estimate can only be considered on a case by
for dates and locations for each incident...
petrator of a crime in any capacity during the
case basis.' Although it is hard to arrive at a pre-
time period specified, would be to conduct a
cise calculation, especially in relation to the sec-
The reply
key word search for the exact term on the IIP,
ond half of your request, I do hope the above
“This email is to inform you that unfortu-
which is the only way in which such specula-
explanation has highlighted the extensive work
nately it will not be possible to respond to
tive searches can be conducted. This way the
which would be required to extract any perti-
your request within the cost threshold.
MPS would essentially be searching the free
nent information that is held by the MPS.
We estimate that the cost of complying with
text that is recorded on the 'details' pages of
(Eds note: Well it does show how highly our
this request would exceed the appropriate
each CRIS report that has been created during
trade is valued - obviously not very much).
limit. The appropriate limit has been specified
this period. Searching this way would result in
Therefore I am content that it would far
in regulations and for agencies outside central
a number of 'hits' where the word Uber fea-
exceed the cost threshold to locate, retrieve
Government; this is set at £450 and repre-
tured somewhere on a CRIS report. This num-
and extract any relevant information that the
sents the estimated cost of one person
ber would reflect the number of CRIS records
MPS might hold that is pertinent to your spe-
spending 18 hours (at a rate of £25 per
which mentioned the word Uber.
cific request.
hour) in determining whether the MPS holds
I can confirm that our search of IIP has
So the MPS would have agreed to spend
the information and locating, retrieving and
revealed that in the time period you specified the
£450 but not an extra £300 taking the total
extracting the information. In accordance with
word Uber featured in excess of 600 CRIS
up to £750. Three years ago, The Daily
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this
reports. Again, I must stress that this does not
Mail published a list of MPS spending over
email therefore acts as a Refusal Notice.
mean that Uber was used in the way in which
a 10 year period. It included £1billion on a
Upon allocation of your request to me,
you have requested information about in over
‘core’ IT contract with Capgemini plus
enquiries were made with the Performance
600 cases. For example, it could be an individ-
£millions on software and upgrades.
and Assurance Unit (PAU), who are responsible
ual's surname was Uber (Eds note: Really?) or that
£10.9million on animals including £7mil-
for corporate data collation and a colleague
they lived on a street which featured the word
lion to keep dangerous seized dogs in ken-
with access to the Met Integrated Information
Uber (Eds note: Really?) or that a victim simply
nels and £500,000 a year to clear horse
Platform (IIP), which enables different search
stated that earlier in their evening they had used
manure from stables. Then there was
methods to be applied to various Met IT sys-
Uber to book a cab - not that any offence has
£21million on weapons and armour,
tems. In addition, I made contact with the Met
occurred in relation to that company itself.
including £50,000 on several of the world’s
Prosecutions Unit for data on the second half
Therefore, without opening each one of these
first throwable robots that can reconnoitre
of your request about incidents concerning
'hits' and reading the associated report, the MPS
hostile environments, even in darkness.
failure to stop and driving without insurance
is unable to definitively answer your question.
How about £9.4million on food and
involving Uber. Unfortunately, all of these units
It is estimated that a trained analyst can
drink for canteens including almost £3mil-
and colleagues have confirmed that they
read 10 records an hour. If this was the
lion on sandwiches and milk or £4.6mil-
would be unable to extrapolate the data
case, to read through all of the reports
lion on market research to find out what
that you have requested from our systems
associated with the hits and extract any of
the public thought about their services! As
within the 18 hour threshold.
the additional information that you
a reminder, we were talking about an extra
In relation to the first half of your request
required, if the reports were even relevant,
300 quid!
about crime reports relating to offences occur-
would take in excess of 60 hours. Even if
We could ask how many hours were spent
ring in Uber cabs, I can provide the following
we were to say that was a high estimate and
writing the above response, because it was
explanation that was provided by the PAU.
estimated that it would take only half that
around twice as long as the parts we have pub-
Uber is a licensed Cab Operator whose
time to read the report that the hit was
lished but we were afraid it could send our
licence is issued by TfL. Although any crimes
associated with (which is extremely unlike-
readers to sleep!
committed by cab drivers would be recorded
ly given that CRIS reports can range from 1
It ends by suggesting that a FOIA request be sent
on the Crime Reporting Information system
to in excess of 10 pages depending on the
to TfL at Windsor House! TfL would love that!!!
Call Sign January 2016
Page 27
here's heather and there’s Walton
An occasional review from a struggling 14 handicapper at some of
Heath heather! I've been lucky
the marque golf courses I've had the privilege to play in my golf
enough to have played the Old
days away from the taxi…
Course at Walton Heath a few times
via a good friend with serious connections.
That might be because he always beats me,
though it’s a price well worth paying!
There are two courses at Walton Heath -
done on WH greens).
the Old and the New course. I have never
Lastly and to show how highly
played the New course, although they do
it is rated, Walton Heath hosted
intertwine with each other and it looks
the 1981 Ryder Cup and is used
just as magnificent as the Old one.
as a European qualifying venue
The club was open for play in 1904 and
for the US Open.
amazingly, James Braid was the resident pro-
It’s a course that is well worth
fessional from then until
1950! Herbert
playing. Now that I think about
Fowler was the course architect and it is golf
it, I’ve not heard from my pal for
on a grand scale.
a while - I’ll have to give him a
Many may find it quite stark as there aren’t
a multitude of trees; but there is heather and
Happy golfing and a Happy
the heather here is a bit like 'barbed wire'; go
New Year...
in it and it’s at the least one dropped shot -
in two, I've done it on more than one occa-
sion. But you have to be brave on the 16th to
The photo shows the Par3 17th at the
always assuming you can find the ball again!
If you bring your ‘A game’ then you can
take on the cunning fairway bunker on your
Walton Heath old course...
score fairly well, but over-confidence here
drive and then the cavernous green side
Simon Wallis (M11)
is a cruel mistress... it will bite back!
bunker on your second (I've three-putted
Two par 5s on the back nine are reachable twice after hitting that green in two, easily
Call Sign Online
Handel & Hendrix in London
Handel & Hendrix in London celebrates the London lives and musical legacies of two of
the most important figures in musical history, who lived, wrote and played in neighbour-
ing buildings - but 240 years apart!
The top floor Mayfair flat that Jimi Hendrix called home during a pivotal period of his life will open permanently
to the public on 10 February 2016. Following a £2.4million, 2-year period of restoration, building and develop-
ment, the upper floor rooms of 23 Brook Street will open as part of a genuinely unique new heritage site, cele-
brating the lives of two great musical figures.
Handel House at 25 Brook Street is the elegant Georgian townhouse where George Frideric Handel lived
and worked for 36 years. He wrote many of his greatest works there - including Messiah - held rehearsals and first
performances of his music and died there in his second-floor bedroom in 1759.
Handel & Hendrix in London, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other generous donors,
will present the London homes of these two remarkable men revered for their musical talent, but sep-
arated by 240 years. Tickets for the Hendrix Flat are on sale at www.handelhendrix.org.
At the heart of the Hendrix Flat will be the main living room, painstakingly restored to how it would have been
when Hendrix was in residence and giving an insight into the domestic life of an American superstar musician at
the height of his creative powers. When Jimi Hendrix moved in on 4 July 1968, he was entering a period of his
life when the musical foundations that had led him to public acclaim were no longer stable; he was considering
the next phase of his career with the release of his LP Electric Ladyland due later that summer.
His musical life thrived inside the flat; it was the scene of many hours of writing, visits from fellow musicians,
hours of playing records at high volume, countless jam sessions and the place he returned to after his sensation-
al February 1969 Albert Hall concerts.
Handel & Hendrix in London will include a new permanent exhibition tracing Hendrix’s life in London in 1968
and 1969. It will feature original exhibits, including the Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar that he bought in New
York at the end of his first US tour with the Experience and brought back to London. His girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, recalled
that Jimi had used it for everything he composed in this country, while Brook Street visitors remembered that the guitar was always within arm’s reach, usually
beside the bed and invariably played at raucous parties!
The exhibition will add new colour and detail to this time in Jimi Hendrix’s life, drawing on new interviews with some of the many visitors to
the flat, as well as people who lived and worked in the boutiques and offices in the immediate area around 23 Brook Street. Exhibits include
previously unseen or rarely-seen images of Hendrix taken at the flat and in the local area.
Visitors will enter via Brook Street, before making their way to the third floor flat and the new set of permanent exhibition spaces. The main room of the flat,
the scene of almost everything that happened there, has been designed to give the impression that Jimi and Kathy had just stepped out. The result of examina-
tion of surviving stills and film of the room, along with Kathy’s recollections and as many visitors to the flat that it had been possible to find, the room will give
a palpable sense of the everyday life of a great musical figure.
The Studio, a new, 40-seat, state-of-the-art space with climate control, interactive screen and special acoustic detail, will be a place for teaching by day and a
light and luxurious concert venue by night. Both baroque and contemporary concerts will be held there and it will include a Bruce Kennedy harpsichord made in
1998 to match an instrument that Handel owned. Full details of the learning programme will be confirmed soon, but there will be elements of musical time
travel between the work of Handel and Hendrix, as well as a series of oral history projects.
Among the most played records in Hendrix’s collection was a copy of Handel’s Messiah performed by the English Chamber Orchestra. Hendrix’s interest
in Handel clearly went well beyond the curiosity of living in the next door flat! In a gig at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco in October 1968, he can
be heard playing a loose version of the Hallelujah Chorus, evidence of the hours he spent listening to Messiah in the building where it was composed.
Jimi and Kathy’s days didn’t start until the afternoon and the curtains stayed closed most of the time, earning Jimi the nickname The Bat! The ground floor
of 23 Brook Street was taken up by Mr Love, a restaurant where Jimi and Kathy would often start the evening before heading off to the Speakeasy Club -
which older Dial-a-Cab drivers may remember was at 48 Margaret Street - for a jam session.
Visitor Information
Handel & Hendrix in London is at 25 Brook Street W1. Opening hours from 10 February are Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; Sunday 12noon-6pm; Last
admission at 5pm.
Admission: Handel House; Adult £7.50; Child £3. Hendrix Flat: Adult £7.50; Child £3 OR Handel & Hendrix; Adult £10; Child £5.
Tickets on sale at See Tickets: www.seetickets.com.
More info: www.handelhendrix.org 020 7495 1685 mail@handelhendrix.org
Call Sign January 2016
Page 28
Every issue of Call Sign takes a look back at ODRTS history through the pages
of the magazines of the time with a Flashback…
This month’s Flashback is from the December 1998 Call Sign…
Driver, please hurry up - my waters have just broken!
Be honest. Haven’t you always had a secret fear that whenever a heavily pregnant woman gets into the
cab, she will suddenly go into labour? Frank Danna (F75) had no such fears - but perhaps he should
Frank had picked up an account ride from J O Hambro in Park Place, St James to St Thomas’
Hospital SE1. His two female passengers said nothing specific other than they would like to
get there as soon as possible.
So off went Frank into Piccadilly where the traffic was at an absolute standstill. Suddenly came the
words that you just don’t want to hear in heavy traffic: “Driver, please hurry up! My waters have just
It was 11th November - Armistice Day - and traffic everywhere was crawling along at a
snail’s pace. Frank tried to chop and change and eventually found himself in Pall Mall -
where things looked even worse! But the Cavalry weren’t too far away. There, just a matter of
meters away, was a policeman on his motorbike.
Both Frank and his non-pregnant passenger shouted out in unison that there was a lady in the taxi whose water had broken and that
they were desperate to get to the hospital quickly - she to have her baby and Frank to avoid too much mess!!!
The policeman picked up the situation immediately and told Frank to put his headlights on and to follow him. With his hel-
met tightened and siren blaring, the policeman led Frank and co on a high speed, non-stop trip via Buckingham Palace and
Vauxhall Bridge.
Frank told Call Sign afterwards that he had never driven so fast through London during daylight hours and for the first time as a taxi
driver, he actually had to put his seat-belt on! Needless to say, they arrived in record time.
The next morning, Frank was told that his passenger had given birth to a seven week premature, but otherwise healthy 5lb baby boy
named Max!
Frank’s only comment afterwards? “I will never again say I’m feeling bored whilst working... boring is good!!!”
Everyone at Dial-a-Cab sends their best wishes to mum and baby - and well done Frank…
LTFUC and the Duchess!
ecoming a Christmas tradition, the London Taxidrivers Fund for Underprivileged
Children committee, together with a group of special needs children, were all invited
to Clarence House to help Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall decorate the Christmas tree
of the royal residence. This was the fourth such visit for the LTFUC and as always, they
arrived in a fleet of taxis!
report from deputy leader of
Although Prince Charles was busy and unable to attend, Camilla made the children feel
the Tory group in the GLA,
very welcome and as one Committee member told Call Sign, that is how Camilla always is
Richard Tracey, has
and that the children all take to her very quickly.
described the Knowledge of
Also there again were children from Helen & Douglas House, which was at one time the
London as “archaic” and suggested that
world’s first children’s hospice. It now takes in young adults aged 16 to 35.
it was a “major barrier” to recruiting
more taxi drivers! The report, Saving an
Icon, also suggested that we needed to
make fundamental changes in order to
keep up with app-based private hire
companies in an expanding city. He said
that the KoL was outdated in a world of
GPS navigation, that it was too expen-
sive to achieve and could take people an
average of three years to complete.
He added: “The examinations imposed
are overly comprehensive in a time of
GPS navigation and the cost of purchas-
ing the designated Hackney Carriage is a
barrier to entry in an industry which is
also rapidly ageing.”
Other suggestions were that there
should be a review of the industry's
competition and that drivers should be
helped financially to purchase taxis.
Mr Tracey is stepping down from the
London Assembly in May.
Call Sign January 2016
Page 29
harles Walker OBE is the con-
stituent MP for Call Sign’s Gary
Cox (O46). He has been MP for
Broxbourne since 2005 and was the
stepson of the former Tory MP and leader of
the-then Inner London Education Authority,
the late Chris Chataway who who was pos-
lied by any individual company. He added
sibly best remembered for his athletics
that the qualities of the taxi and PH sectors
exploits, which involved running at the 1952
and what they had delivered over many years
and 1956 Olympic Games, 1954 European
for London - in the case of Taxis, over cen-
Championships and probably most famous-
turies - should be remembered. He said both
ly for his involvement in Roger Bannister
were strong, important players and needed a
being the first athlete to ever run a mile in
protected future.
under four minutes in that magical day at
In October 2015, Mr Walker spoke follow-
Oxford University's Iffley Road track on 6
ing the High Court ruling that Uber drivers'
May 1954.
smart phones were not taxi meters and
In July 2015 in the House of Commons,
which, in reality, made their London opera-
Mr Walker said that London had to choose
tions legal. The MP said that Uber was trying
between the “chaotic” Uber or “heavily-regu-
to drive black-cab drivers out of London and
lated but safe black cabs” because the two
asked a pertinent question: “The bigger issue
could not operate side by side. He added that
is if you want a licensed black-cab trade in
while taxi drivers had to pass the
Knowledge, as well as undergoing back-
ground and financial checks, technology
Call Sign writer, Gary Cox (O46 recently
start-up company Uber was “brazenly ignor-
wrote to his Broxbourne MP...
ing rules and flooding the capital with mini-
cab drivers.”
ferred, then there should be a genuine free
Dear Mr Walker,
He warned that TfL officials at City Hall
for all, releasing taxi drivers from their cur-
I am a constituent of yours. Labour leader
was having to deal with as many as 1,200 new
rent regulations regarding the vehicles they
Jeremy Corbyn has asked his fellow political
minicab registrations each month, while Uber
drive and allow them to put “...any old piece
travellers in life to inform him of what ques-
straightforwardly ignored most of the regula-
of rubbish” onto the road!
tions they would like him to ask the Prime
tions. Mr Walker said that if Uber was pre-
He was speaking in a late-night Commons
Minister at the despatch box, so I was hoping
adjournment debate and said that for 400
you would be so kind as to ask the PM a ques-
years, London had recognised the need to
tion on my behalf.
have a properly-regulated and licensed taxi
The question is: Should companies like Uber
start paying taxes to help defend our country
“I suggest,” he said, “that our illustrious
against the ongoing terrorist threat, while at
predecessors were not fools in this matter.
the same time allow the taxi trade to start mak-
London cannot have it both ways; it can try,
ing some money so that it can keep donating to
but it will end in tears.”
the worthy causes that they have been doing
He ended by saying that without enforce-
for many years. I await your reply with a great
ment of the regulations, fares would rocket,
deal of interest.
cars would be unsafe, disability access would
Yours, G J Cox
be hit and people would be less safe.
Two months later, in September 2015, Mr
Charles Walker quickly replied to Gary:
Walker was again speaking in favour of
Dear Mr Cox,
London’s taxi service by claiming that there
I think it must be clear to you that I have
All members should have received
was something slightly sinister about Uber’s
done more to support Black Cab drivers than
the Notice of Annual General
business practices and pointed out to the
any other MP in the House of Commons, per-
Meeting 2015 advising that the
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for
haps with the exception of Zac Goldsmith.
meeting will again be held at The
Transport, Andrew Jones, that in the USA,
Of course I want Uber and its drivers to pay
HAC, Armoury House, City Road on
Uber’s board had met to discuss how to dis-
tax and I make this clear to anyone who is
Sunday 7th February 2016 at 11am.
credit and destroy the career of an IT jour-
willing to listen to me, including the Prime
There is no election of officers at
nalist concerned about Uber’s business prac-
this year’s meeting and any Rule
tices. The Broxbourne MP said he hoped Mr
Charles Walker OBE MP
Changes or Propositions would
Jones was aware of such conduct by Uber and
have had to have been received at
would take it into consideration when devel-
Gary told Call Sign afterwards: “I thanked
Dial-a-Cab House on or before
oping his thoughts on them.
Mr Walker for his swift reply and told him that
09:00hrs on Friday 27th November
Andrew Jones replied that he had
if his thoughts were as powerful as his words,
2015 as per the Notice of Annual
“...absolutely no sympathy for any company
then I welcomed his sentiments and standing
that behaves in such a way as to discredit oth-
on the matter.”
General Meeting 2015 letter. There
ers. Other colleagues in the House have high-
Call Sign has asked Zac Goldsmith to
were none received by that date.
lighted poor practice, such as on taxes. I have
explain his LBC comments regarding his
Please remember that if you do not
no sympathy for any company that dodges its
closing bus lanes within three years
vote by post then you should attend.
responsibilities, including on taxes.”
because of the new electric cars. He has
If you do not attend or vote by post,
Mr Walker responded that Uber bullies
yet to respond...
you will be liable for a £50 fine.
local authorities and national Governments
Howard Pears
and said that it should not be allowed to bully
Michael Toomey
Company Secretary
the UK Government. Andrew Jones agreed
Call Sign Online
and concurred that HMG would not be bul-
Call Sign January 2016
Page 30
Either write to Call Sign at Dial-
Uber and other minicabs aren't the danger to
our trade, it’s TfL and local councils like
a-Cab House
Camden. We need to fight for open access to
or email us at
London’s roads, not get shoved around the
block in a slow moving traffic queue while the
bus goes straight through. Euston Road out-
‘Cheque’ this out...
side UCL Hospital is a prime example. Ever
since we lost our case to Islington Council
The only way to stay in the game is to
I noted Brian Rice’s comments in the
with the bus lane at Angel, we have been
offer regular journeys at fixed rates that
December Call Sign regarding the danger
pushed aside and lumped into the same
will be below the meter, together with
of sending credit card details to TfL when
group with all the cowboys. We need to stand
extremely low administration charges.
renewing licences and it also occurred to
up and demand access to all bus gates and
As much as it pains all of us to do that,
me how irresponsible the instruction was.
lanes. There won’t be any point in hiring a
it is the only thing we can do to stay in
So I wrote to Helen Chapman at TfL. This
taxicab soon because the journey times are
the race with the hope that things will
is what I wrote...
too long. TfL is an unelected body that
change for the better. But we also need
Philip Benjamin (K20)
answers to no one other than the mayor, who
your help in covering all account trips...
Dear Ms Chapman,
is lied to and told untruths. Anyone who com-
plains is brushed aside.
Having just received my Licence renewal
Re lost and delayed paperwork such as
Signals, mergers
pack, I note you wish me to send by post
licences and medical reports (December Call
a copy of my driving licence, counterpart
and new BMs...
licence and account details. For obvious
Sign), the trade needs to sue for loss of
Dear Alan
income for drivers that can't work due to
security reasons, that would be totally irre-
It is now, as I write this, 10 months since the
sponsible and puts me in a vulnerable posi-
last AGM. One of the main issues of concern
Jon Robinson (E88)
was the poor radio signals. Do you know
Keith Cain, DaC’s Sales Manager replies:
I have no intention of paying a fee to the
what steps have been taken to improve the
You’re right Jon; the next few months are
post office for what is a simple procedure.
situation and what enhancements should
going to be a Kipper Season for sure. That
Please advise of an alternative method of
we notice?
was a phrase that up until a few years ago
payment which is totally secure.
In the October issue of Call Sign, you
was rarely used to describe the quieter
Philip Benjamin
published a letter from me suggesting that
months, but I fear it will be the talking
At publication time, Philip told Call Sign
negotiations with the Radio Taxis Group
point amongst many. Within Sales we are
that he was yet to receive a reply ...Ed
may be stalling because they could be in
often dealing with enquiries from clients
talks with other parties, or they could dis-
who were once described as the ‘bread
cover legal or financial reasons not to pro-
Special offers for
and butter’ work of our business. Their
ceed and we should have a Plan B ready. I
usage was not huge, but they paid stan-
taxi trips...
realise that negotiations cannot take place
dard charges. These types of customers
Hi Alan
in the public arena, but there has been a
are now talking about comparing admin-
It’s currently very difficult to make a living
silence for so long, I sometimes wonder if
istration charges and journey costs. In
out there and I dread the kipper this year.
we have a Plan A?
order to try and win their business, we
So I think Dial-a-Cab should have a ‘kipper
Most of the Board have been in place for
have reduced administration charges to a
special’: Accounts with no run-ins or book-
many years, but Garry White and Joe Brazil
minimum and now offer fixed rates for
ing fees, just a dead clock for all trips to and
are relative new comers. Each arrived with
journeys that are not necessarily longer
from central London to outer postcodes
enthusiasm and many promises, but now I
trips. These customers rarely have long
and all airports. It could be based on TfL
wonder what they have brought to the table
trips, but trips for example from the south
‘Fare Zones’ and perhaps go on for
(excuse the cliché). Can you please inform
west areas to the west end or city are very
3months. I for one would be happy doing
us of any practical suggestions that these
common. The argument put to us is that
that kind of work. Trips like Croydon can
board members have proposed.
the journey cost in a ‘black cab’ even if
go £50 so it’s far better than sitting around
Wishing you and all Dial-a-Cab members a
the meter starts when the passenger
doing nothing. The only coverage problem
prosperous new year and thanks to all staff
enters the taxi, is still more than prices
would probably be Canary Wharf to
who are keeping the office running efficiently.
offered by PH companies. There are some
London City Airport.
Laurence Kelvin (W88)
customers who have backed this up by
I'm currently sitting on the Waldorf rank,
Laurence, Call Sign is usually happy to
showing us invoices with the car firm’s
fingers crossed for a flyer. It’s no different
ask driver questions to Board Members
name deleted, no administration, but
than sitting on Lincolns Inn Fields rank
and publish the responses, but all your
showing the journey costs. It is obvious
(WC3) except that it moves quicker! So
questions will involve fairly lengthy
that the driver is not receiving the amount
would I do an account trip at Lincolns Inn
answers and as we are almost at the
charged and with all the expense of oper-
to LCA for a dead clock? Of course I would.
AGM, it surely makes more sense to ask
ating the vehicle etc, their earnings
Once drivers adjust to working this way, we
them there because the answers will
that’s the money they take home - is small
could maybe slowly shrink the zone. I
then go into the following issue’s AGM
for the total number of hours they work.
would prefer this to fixed price work. These
But it is the journey costs clients look at
report anyway. As for signals, there is an
cut price trips may help because it’s better
article by DaC’s IT Director, John
and look at us to match. I was recently
than doing nothing for the full price! Some
asked to price a small account having
Bankes, in this issue regarding our soon-
may say we can’t afford to do it. I say, can we
to be move to a GPS dispatch system
been given three months’ worth of jour-
afford not to.
neys. I was told that my pricing structure
Moving on, can I also comment on TfL
was 10% more expensive than they were
themselves and their new policy to compel
currently paying. I offered no run-ins and
Tavistock Place and
every taxi driver to accept cards. Why could-
no gratuity and asked to review the jour-
n't they just give every cab driver a hand
ney costs, but was informed that it would
the disability laws
held card reader? Now it will be more
be a waste of time because they now had
Hello Alan
expense and holes all over for non-radio
quotes from two car companies of 20%
“They get into this trap in Tavistock
taxis and yet another tatty TfL sticker!
less than they were already paying!
Place, but they could not possibly get out
Call Sign January 2016
Page 31
west, north or south, and that was where
TfL and Lower
they experienced difficulty.”
That wasn’t somebody musing on the
Thames Street...
effects of yet another cycle lane, but a
Hi Alan
retired newsagent in 1890. The obstruc-
Interestingly in the December Call Sign, you
tion at that time were the frequent bars and
wrote about delays to emergency services
chains put across roads - particularly at
caused by construction of BoJo's cycling
night - and it took an Act of Parliament to
superhighways. To add fuel to the fire, I have
have these hindrances removed. It's only
heard from a reliable source, a fireman, that
I wonder...
the cyclists who do not consider these lanes
Upper / Lower Thames Street is a major
Dear Al
to be an obstruction.
problem to London Fire Brigade emergency
I wonder who it was that waved Uber
I see that the cab rank outside the
vehicles departing Dowgate fire station.
through on the nod? I wonder how Boris
Tavistock Hotel has not been changed. Cabs
Makes you wonder that the clowns at TfL
got one & half billion plus to put in bike
have to face west in a street where traffic
couldn’t foresee a problem with response
lanes when George is screwing everybody
must be travelling east. The fact that the
times increasing by over 50% for some shouts.
else? I wonder if sleeping in your car
cycle lane actually goes round the rank
The recent fire station closures have made
overnight is legal? I wonder how long it
matters worse...
must indicate that Camden Council have no
takes an Uber driver (who lives in Holland)
David Cohen (E94)
provision for removing it, which does make
to get home after a day's work? I wonder
It always sounds as though we have a pop
me wonder. And I see from the December
what happened to Mr Johnson's Euro emis-
at TfL because we have nothing better to
Call Sign that anybody in a wheelchair has
sion targets after issuing over 100,000 Uber
do. If only that were true because their
to be set down in Bedford Way. So now
licences? I wonder who owns the roads, as I
decisions leave most sensible people
Camden Council has exemption from the
always thought they were public highways
scratching their heads and wandering if
disability laws. It is illegal to treat disabled
and not just bike lanes?
what they are actually seeing is real! ...Ed
people any different from able bodied peo-
The only thing that I do not wonder
ple. If abled bodied people can be set down
about is that the bike lanes will eventually
at the front entrance, then, by law, so
be dug up!
Traffic and emergency
should disabled people. And finally, I
Happy new year to all...
watched an ambulance take nearly ten min-
David Hughes (A73)
utes to get from Kings Cross to the British
Hi Alan
Hi David, I’m just wondering why you
Library, if someone dies because the emer-
I never thought that TfL policies would actu-
wonder so much, cos we all know the
ally cause me to retire, but I’m not sure I can
answers! ...Ed
gency services cannot get their quickly, will
stand the horrendous traffic conditions
the idiots who dreamt up this scheme be
caused by TfL any more. I have just had three
charged with corporate manslaughter?
consecutive jobs where the passengers have
Air pollution
Sean Farrell (B39)
exited the cab before getting to their destina-
Yes, Alan you were right (December
Makes me wonder whether we are
tion because the traffic has been so awful; so
Editorial, Call Sign). London’s air quality
telling the wrong people and perhaps a
I agree with your Editorial (December Call
pollution level of nitrogen dioxide has
word in the ear of an anti-disability
Sign) where you write that the emergency
remained pretty static in recent years,
group could have more influence than a
services are complaining about the traffic con-
despite greener engines, congestion zones
bunch of cab drivers who just moan to
ditions caused by the Mayor’s Cycling
and cycle hire. More diesel engines has
each other? ...Ed
Superhighways. I am now contemplating
given rise to fine particle pollutant pm25 -
early retirement in July purely because of the
but when you look at the bigger picture,
traffic. Yes, TfL may say that the roadworks
then London has not done too badly. The
Tavistock Place:
could be finished by then, but they will be
World Health Organisation has a list of
The answer?
replaced by the lanes that cyclists don’t even
pm2.5 levels - the worst being Delhi with a
Hi Alan
have to use, so the traffic will be the same. Do
concentration level of
153, next comes
I sound totally fed up? That’s because I am...
Beijing with 56, Los Angeles is at 20, Paris
There is a very simple solution to
Bernie Silver (F13J - formerly G08)
is on 17 with London on 16. Melbourne
Bloomsbury - Torrington Place - Tavistock
I think most drivers will sympathise with
has an ultra-low 5 - they tried super cycle
Place traffic problem. Well half of it! Reopen
your view Bernie. There are two reasons
highways ‘down under’ but dug them up
Montague Place behind the British
why the traffic is so appalling; as you
after a few years because they just were not
Museum to westbound traffic - either one
point out, the cycling superhighways are
used enough!
way or two way...
certainly one, but the other is also thanks
Like you, I just can't see the Lycra brigade
Eddie Lambert (V37)
to the Mayor and his TfL - that is the num-
being relegated to a cycle lane stuck behind
Of course Camden could just admit they
ber of PH vehicles they have licensed. So
some knob on a Boris bike admiring Big
were wrong and that the huge tailbacks
for all those who keep asking me for fig-
and increased emissions that council
ures, the current number of licensed PH
Dave Heath (Ex W27)
has caused by the stupidity of a one-way
drivers is around the 92,000 mark with
Brighton, East Sussex
system that doesn’t work make them to
around 25,300 licensed taxi drivers. In
The way the traffic is in London, you
revert to the status quo. Or they could
2005, there were 24,700 licensed taxi dri-
have to wonder whether we have all
follow your suggestion and at the same
vers and 19,000 licensed PH drivers. So in
been living under the fairy tree, because
time also reopen Thornhaugh Street at
just over 10 years, the number of licensed
suddenly, when we’ve all started to
the northwest corner of Russell Square -
minicabs has shot up in ‘real’ numbers by
accept that emission levels were getting
one that I bet most drivers don’t even
an astronomical 73,000! In case anyone
worse thanks to more and more cars,
remember ever being open.
thinks that is a typo, let me write it again.
we’re told that things aren’t really that
Read Joe Brazil’s article on cyclists in
In just over 10 years, TfL have licensed an
bad anymore - yet London is at a stand-
this issue, because it shows the stupidi-
additional 73,000 minicab drivers. Does
still. Has someone been telling porkies
ty of the current situation where every-
that tell you anything about TfL? Well they
just to get bikes in and cars out??? Stay
thing is aimed at the two-wheeled vari-
certainly think they are good, whereas we
in Brighton David, you wouldn’t like it
ety of transport ...Ed
consider them to be abject failures??? ...Ed
here ...Ed
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