< Go Back
DaC’s Ray Buckland
watched as his great, great,
great grandfather's Victoria
Cross medal was honoured
in a moving ceremony...
Call Sign May 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
My sincere apologies for April’s mess up. After spending hours constructing the article, I sent the editor the file from last year’s directory!
Hope you got the terminal message referring you to a web page which contained more information than the original article. So no, it
wasn’t an April Fool’s joke Alex Constantinou (N05)!
What’s On - May 2016
A formatted version with more content, go to www.myfav.co.uk/womay16.pdf. There is no Call Sign published in June,
but try www.myfav.co.uk/wojun16.pdf near the end of May for “What’s on” in June.
Call Sign May 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
Uber, credit cards,
worthless promises about bumper work
levels, even though he knew we would be
fraud and lies...
kept well away from where that work was
There isn’t much to laugh about regarding
sited because Call Sign asked him about
Uber’s operation, even less at TfL’s apparent
that before the Games!
love affair with that app. But occasionally
We have had promise after promise after
something comes up to at least bring a smile to
promise broken. In reality, his promises have
a situation that is happening more and more
been as useless as his Emirates London Cable
frequently - and the one involving Benjamin
Car Crossing, which takes virtually no one
Partridge had a great - or stupid - punchline,
from O2 to ExCel and then doesn’t take them
depending on your sense of humour!
back again after they didn’t go in the first place!
It’s unlikely that you will know of Benjamin;
Then there was the promise to end home-
he isn’t a cab driver but like many others, he
lessness in London by
2012. He probably
does frequent Facebook and he recently post-
meant to say that it would get worse! Or what
ed a short but pertinent piece to Uber. His
about the no strike deal he promised to get
“Some bastard just used my Uber
from rail unions or the promise not to shut any
account to get a cab across Beijing!”
fire stations. Well someone has called the rail
What made that funny was that whoever had
to splash around. How do you beat that?
unions out several times and closed 10 fire sta-
accessed his card - supposedly safe in Uber’s
Well we certainly won’t while we have TfL
tions along the way!
grubby mitts - also cashed in a ‘25% off’ pro-
at the helm. The question is who else could
All I can say is that if anyone is undecided
motion voucher that the Chinese Uber app had
do the job because we have a licensed PH
about their Euro vote, would they feel happy
been offering!
company in Uber who have been shown to
voting the way Boris suggests because if he says
Not that long ago, Linda and I were
be liars and a licensing authority that
something, then it’s bound to be wrong! But
walking along Station Road in Upminster,
thinks it’s perfectly ok to licence them.
hey, he looks great with his blond almost-
when she had a call from a number that
The phrase ‘you couldn’t make it up’ rings
combed locks... but Harrow is welcome to him.
came up as being from the fraud depart-
very true...
Just please, please, p l e a s e, don’t let him
ment of her bank.
ever come back because as a famous Mayor
“Mrs Fisher,” the voice asked,
“did you
Mountview and Gett
once said - he has given us two-thirds of diddly
spend $89 around 7 minutes ago in Brazil?”
Firstly my congratulations to Mountview
squat since we’ve known him!
Well, Linda prides itself on being quick, but
hey, no one’s that quick! So what’s the differ-
House Group Chairman, Geoffrey Riesel,
whose policy of buying up his drivers low-
Addison Lee problems
ence between Linda’s bank and Uber? Well,
priced shares has paid off handsomely and he
I have never made any secret about my views of
Linda’s bank with their multi-millions of cus-
will receive a huge six-figure sum from Gett
Addison Lee. I don’t like any form of competi-
tomers spotted the fraud in minutes. Uber,
following that company’s acquisition of the
tion, but I have to admire the way that Addy Lee
who also hold millions of credit card details
organisation formerly called Radio Taxis.
have been operated for many, many years. They
but nowhere near as many as Linda’s bank,
However, the part I can’t quite understand is
have a set of standards that they keep to. All
never seem to spot the fraudulent uses of the
where Gett say they will never use private hire,
their drivers must have the correct insurance -
many card details they hold and I only picked
on Benjamin Partridge’s problem because
yet Mountview’s only profitable section is their
they know they do because they have to buy it
there was some humour in the crook using it
One Transport booking platform... which
from Addy Lee themselves! The drivers are
actually bothering to claim the discount!
deals mainly with cars.
always smart, the cars clean and their prices
According to Gett’s European CEO, Remo
reflect the service. Yes, they are competition, but
I often wonder what TfL would do to Dial-
a-Cab if even just a handful of clients com-
Gerber, they will only be using black taxis and
at least they are legitimate competition.
plained about the safety of our account facili-
they have no interest in running a minicab
But things are apparently changing because
ties. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any
fleet, nor will they apply for a Private Hire
in an effort to keep up with Uber, they have
leaks and it is highly unlikely that any out-
operator’s licence. However, says Mr Gerber,
upset their drivers - some of whom are com-
siders would get through the hi-tec security
One Transport has “£millions of work for Black
plaining that prices have been slashed by up to
this Society uses. But Uber’s security can only
Cabs every year.” But from what I know about
50 percent in order to maintain their share of
be compared to a sieve, yet they constantly get
One T, their customers use black cabs only as
the work against the U-men. The main com-
away with it... courtesy of our licensing
part of a car option and without that, many will
plaint is that the fare reductions have been
be uninterested in maintaining an account. I’ll
taken from the drivers’ part of the fare - exactly
But then there’s the really big U-prob-
be interested to see what happens.
the same complaint as Uber drivers make about
lem, the unlimited funds they appear to
their fare reductions.
have. An example of that financial clout
Mayoral elections
Letters from both Addison Lee and the UPHD
arose recently in California where Uber
Well, it’s time to bade farewell to Boris and
Union have been leaked online and it doesn’t
were fined $10million (around £7million)
welcome his soon-to-be-elected successor.
take a lot of working out to see that relations
for misleading passengers about the
What can we say about the man who single-
between the company and its drivers are at
strength of the background checks they
handedly has been in charge of an organisation
breaking point.
use when hiring their drivers. I can’t
that has done what no one has managed in 350
As Brian Rice said last year before the trade
believe they would do that!!!
years - almost finish off the licensed taxi trade
took it up, this is truly a race to the bottom...
Many would claim the same about
so that it’s barely clinging on by its fingernails.
Transport for London’s method of back-
His policy of giving priority to cyclists has
See you in July...
ground checks for Uber drivers arriving in the
caused so much traffic congestion that passen-
As usual, Call Sign will not be publishing an
country as refugees. Regardless of the
gers are scared of getting into a taxi because of
issue in June so we hope to see you all again in
undoubted appalling situations some find
the meter going up while they are stuck in a
July. Feel free to send in any stuff you want to
themselves in, they can still get a licence with
traffic hold-up. Does anyone at TfL really
pass on as I’ll still be here and still checking
nothing other than a piece of reference paper
believe that the single eastbound lane along
every day.
from a previous employer that they have amaz-
Lower Thames Street is suddenly going to
To everyone planning a holiday, enjoy it. You
ingly avoided losing or even getting wet on
magically clear of its 18 hours-a-day hold-ups
certainly deserve it after the past few ultra-tough
their boat / walking journeys through Europe,
when the cones have gone? It will still be just
years and hopefully, things will be better when
until arriving in London and picking up their
one lane.
you get back...
first fare!
Just as the policy during the London
Alan Fisher
But Uber apparently still have $billions
Olympics almost killed us following his
Call Sign May 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
when we had our PEDs passed by TfL to be in
Credit Cards
the front of the taxi back in March 2011, the two
You are all obviously aware that as from 2 April,
reasons were that I considered the mounting of
there was no longer any surcharge to customers
the PED in the rear of the vehicle could be a
for using a Credit Card in a licensed London
threat to driver safety as drivers could be
taxi. Any charge will indirectly be passed to the
enticed out of the front of the vehicle with the
driver by the equipment suppliers, but of
passenger stating the PED was not working cor-
course the driver is going to be compensated
rectly. Secondly, passengers should always wear
because TfL have added 20p to the initial hiring
a seat belt when travelling in a taxi, but they
for one year, when it will then be reviewed.
don’t and the siting of the PED in the back
We initially had some correspondence from
could be a hazard to the passenger should the
Members concerning the £1 plus VAT per day that
taxi be involved in an accident or emergency
we charge for processing all your Credit Card
manoeuvre. I’m afraid that I am still of the opin-
transactions. We had all sorts of suggestions, such
ion the PED should be in the front and be
as only paying the £1 plus VAT on the day the
passed by the driver to the passenger in the rear
Member worked or the Member not paying the
or through the luggage window. If TfL persist
£1 plus VAT per day when they were on holiday.
with their insistence that the PED should be a
But of course that was before all the other equip-
fixture in the passenger compartment of the
tract. They agreed so then all that was needed
ment suppliers released their charges and I think
taxi, then they will be proven to be wrong - but
was for the builders to come back with a suit-
I’m correct in saying that we are the only organi-
only after a passenger or driver is injured.
able offer they’d be prepared to pay to rent the
sation that does not charge a percentage of the
Strangely enough I was sent this piece,
site. They returned with a figure of £15k per
fare to the driver on each transaction.
although I’m not sure where it originated from.
annum for three years, making a grand total of
During the first week of the new procedure, I
I assume it was a taxi drivers’ blog or forum site,
£45k for the period. I found the offer derisory
was totally amazed to see that our transactions
but at least it was signed and I am assured it is
and couldn’t contemplate negotiating with
via Credit Cards had doubled and up until the
authentic. It reflects my sentiments exactly...
them as our individual assessments for the
time of writing this, that trend has continued.
Just for info guys and the card machine
worth of the project were too far apart.
This got me thinking as I couldn’t believe that
in the back: A friend on RTG got a couple
Eventually the co-founder of the actual devel-
the public had suddenly and dramatically decid-
with 2 kids about 12 - 14 in. Mum and dad
opers of the site contacted me to see if we could
ed to increase the use of Credit Cards during
were on the back seat with kids on jump
come to some sort of agreement. I had met the
the first week of implementation. In fact, most
seats. All normal so far. However, he was
co-founder several times before as I originally
of them probably never even knew that a new
made to force a left turn to avoid an RTA.
sold Brunswick House to him and he seemed
procedure was in place!
The child in the back slid to her left and
quite keen to do business again. We had our
Anyway, I have now realised why the transac-
into the card machine, very nearly break-
meetings and finally agreed on a rent of £170k
tions we process have increased so dramatically
ing her neck. As it went into her, there was
per annum for three years making a total of
and it’s due to the fact that Members are pro-
some blood so they went to A&E. Driver has
£510k, which under the circumstances will be a
cessing all their Credit Card transactions
left details with the father, but the father
welcome income for the Society in the future.
through Dial-a-Cab as they are only paying a
says it’s clearly not his fault. However,
flat daily/weekly fee and not a percentage of the
again what has happened to so called
fee to the organisation that processes the trans-
Pin Enabled Devices
“health & safety?” Ordering us to put these
action. Consequently, it appears that in the past
in the back, I feel a death may well be on
many Members were not clearing their Credit
its way. The PCO would never have allowed
Card transactions through Dial-a-Cab but via a
All taxis in London will have to be equipped
these in the back like this. Someone should
third party as their percentage charge was less
with a PED as from 3 October and have to
look into this. Be aware... Mickey A.
than ours, but as we are now the only organisa-
process a Credit Card should the customer wish
tion not to charge a percentage, of course they
to use this method of payment. However, TfL
Brian Rice
wish to use Dial-a-Cab! The charges we make for
have stated that the PED will have to be a fixture
Credit Card transactions may have to be
in the passenger compartment of the vehicle,
reviewed in the future because when we
something I have always disagreed with. In fact,
brought the new charges in, I naively believed
that Members were clearing their Credit Cards
through us. How wrong was I!
I now have figures for the first 3 weeks of the
new system and the transactions that we have
processed have increased by 98.5 percent; if
only all transactions had gone through us in the
first place.
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
Car Park
Tel: 01708 553037
By the time you read this piece, hopefully our
car park will be back to normal, albeit with
twenty one porta-cabins situated on top! I really
can’t remember if I relayed the story to you in
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
the past, but I was originally approached by the
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
builders next door to see if they could use our
TX4 servicing from £90
car park for their project team who would be
housed in porta-cabins. I said yes - provided we
All Work Undertaken
could agree on a suitable fee for them to rent
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
the car park, but of course they would have to
All TX1, TX2, TX4
build a mezzanine floor for the cabins so that
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
we retained use of our parking facility. They
would also have to obtain all the necessary
licences and permissions and meet the cost of
Fax: 01708 551443
Web: www.PaulsTaxiSpecialists.co.uk
all expenses, together with the cost of the con-
Call Sign May 2016
Page 5
Following the LTDA’s lobby of Parliament on
March 8 (see April Call Sign) where it was
hoped to see drivers persuade their MPs to
“Ten Minute Bill”
commit to taking the action that TfL has
failed to do, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting
took up the cudgels and told Call Sign’s
runs out of time
Marc Turner (R97) at the time that he would
be putting forward a “Ten Minute Bill” on
Wes Streeting's
March 22 to publicise some this trade’s griev-
10 minute Bill ran
ances - or at least those referring to Uber.
out of minutes!
We said at the time that very few Ten
Minute Bills get a second reading due to
time restraints and sadly that was the case
for this Bill too and it has been timed out.
The LTDA and the
The Bill had asked for changes that were
many drivers attend-
obviously aimed at Uber and which some
ing Parliament on
claim would have had the opposite effect
March 22 may not
that they set out to do in giving the app’s
have had the result
drivers a far more respectable image. But it
they wanted, but
would also have made that image far more
they also showed
difficult to come by and help keep numbers
that they aren’t pre-
down, whereas currently it isn’t much more
pared to just roll
difficult to become an Uber driver than get-
over and give up.
ting out of bed.
That isn’t a failure...
Some drivers are now criticising Wes
just a delay!
Streeting’s effort, claiming they “knew it would
But few came out and said either when the Ten
Alan Fisher
be a waste of time.” Others are asking why the
Minute Bill was first granted, because the alter-
Call Sign Online
LTDA wasted their time in organising the lobby.
native was to sit back and do nothing.
Credit Cards & Stickers
As of 2 April, licensed London taxis were no longer charging a fee for
accepting credit cards and it means that passenger hailing a street cab
are now charged the amount shown on the meter, whatever their
payment method. As from October, all black cabs will be required to
accept card payments.
TfL claim that drivers are being compensated for the cost of accepting cards by a 20p extra
on the fare drop, taking the minimum fare up to £2.60.
But many Dial-a-Cab drivers have been phoning Call Sign concerning removal of
the stickers that had told passengers their driver accepted credit cards and that
there was a 10% charge for doing so. The question was how they could inform
passengers that they still accepted cards and that there was no longer a charge?
The answer was that we didn’t know, so we asked those that did - TfL - and the LTPH
Strategy and Infrastructure manager, Darren Crowson told us that they would be producing signage to advise passengers that
taxis accepted card payments and there was no charge for doing so. However, they wouldn’t be going out until sometime prior to the
October requirement of compulsory card acceptance coming into effect.
However, Mr Crowson did add that existing signage could still be used provided that information about the previous charge was no
longer displayed or was covered up.
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
Drivers, we welcome you to come and join us on our outings that give
many special needs and disadvantaged children some wonderful
fun-packed days out. As well as giving a great deal of pleasure to so many children,
we promise you will have a brilliant and fun-packed day out yourself.
Without you there are no outings, so please contact our drivers' liaison:
Steve Bell on 07811 508772
Or enter your details on the volunteer page of our website:
www.ltfuc.org.uk - a Sponsor Page can also be found there...
The Hon President, Hon Chairman and Committee look forward to seeing you
Call Sign May 2016
Page 6
“Perhaps if we look for a Mayor now who claims to be our friend... before they then double the number of licensed minicabs,
ban us from bus lanes and stations and then double the cost for taxi licenses, it might save us getting upset later!”
DBS application and temporary licences
Call Sign receives several emails each month from upset Dial-a-Cab dri-
vers who say that their new three year licence hasn’t yet arrived, that
the old one is on the verge of expiring and that they have heard of TfL
issuing temporary licences. Then comes the question... is that true?
Well sadly, the answer is no! Contrary to utterances from LTPH, there are still delays - usually
caused by the DBS - Disclosure & Barring Service - side and the only way you can get a
temporary licence is if you have been waiting over 90 days.
The application forms are sent out four months before the due date and if you do not
respond as soon as you get it, then you are taking a risk with your earning capacity because if you don’t get the licence, then you
can’t work.
If you have been waiting more than 90 days, just phone TfL and they will issue you with a temporary licence. If you
haven’t then they just will not be interested and tell you that you should have sent it back earlier.
If you don’t want to risk your licence, the DBS now have an update service that means once you receive your DBS certificate and
subscribe to the update service, then you need never apply for a new one. LTPH - or any employer come to that - will just need your
membership number and can check that there have been no changes to your original DBS without any delays.
There is a fee of £13 per year to subscribe to the update service when you apply for your DBS certificate, but it means you would no
longer be required to apply for a new DBS certificate or have the frustrating wait associated with it.
If interested, then it has to be done within 19 days of your next renewal. Once you complete the DBS form and have your applica-
tion form reference number, go to the DBS website and join. You will need a credit/debit card. If you prefer to just go through the
usual performance every three years, then that option will still be there - just make sure you return your licence application as soon as
you get the licence pack, usually around four months before expiry...
Go to the DBS website at https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service for more details. You can also track your application
at the same site...
Call Sign May 2016
Page 7
all Sign’s phone was boiling hot
over the past month ever since
revealing that we had road tested
an LPG converted taxi and how
impressed we had been with it. The article
obviously hit home with cab owners whose
eral interest surround-
taxis were closing in on the 15 year time limit
ing this LPG solution,
and some who were already on the extra year
hopefully they would
that TfL had allowed for some drivers. The
eventually come down
reason was that LPG converted cabs will get
a bit in price.
an extra five years and that even with the cost
The TX2 the com-
of conversion working out at around £9,800
pany are using for a
(including VAT), that is still much cheaper
10,000 mile TfL dura-
than buying another cab or renting.
testing is
The Dial-a-Cab Credit Union had con-
scheduled to com-
firmed to Call Sign that they would give
mence as this issue
loans to any member requiring one in
comes out.
order to convert their taxis. DACCU gave
The vehicles existing
the monthly cost of members borrowing
gearbox is used and an
£10,000 as £264 over 48 months, £333
adaptor plate is manu-
over 36 months, £470 over 24 months or
factured to marry the
£890 if you can afford to repay it over 12
would become available, warrantees, how
gearbox up to the new engine. As the new
months. Put those costs against buying or
would the existing gearbox match up to the
engine has been tuned to match the power
5 years renting and they come out as being
new Opal petrol engine, would the conversion
and torque output of the original diesel
very favourable.
become cheaper and was it true that LPG con-
engine, this means no additional strain is put
The conversion consists of replacing your
verted vehicles were banned from driving
on the existing gearbox.
diesel engine with a brand new Opel petrol
through Blackwall and Dartford Tunnels?
Converted taxis can use any UK tunnel
engine capable of
290 brake horsepower,
So, re the warrantee: All re-powering parts
except one - the Channel via the Eurostar
although it will be detuned as that is far too
are covered for a period of 12 months or
shuttle service. That is due to the French side
powerful for a taxi. But it will give you the
30,000 miles subject to service requirements
but is unlikely to affect many drivers’ daily
same torque as a TX4 without any shudders or
being observed. LPG parts are covered for a
work routine!
vibrations and will probably sound even qui-
period of 24 months or 60,000 miles subject to
The photo shows the adaptor plate,
eter than your car! After conversion to LPG,
service requirements being observed.
which is milled out of one solid piece of
taxis meet the EU Euro 6 standard and gain
Cheaper over time? It is envisaged that
aluminium, fitted into the engine bay.
fuel savings of up to 20 percent! So it wasn’t
economies of scale would kick in after 500
More info as we get it…
that surprising that we would get some ques-
units had been produced. Considering the size
Jamie Corum
tions. Among them were how long before they
of the London and UK taxi fleets, plus the gen-
Call Sign Online
Call Sign May 2016
Page 8
I’d like to relate
TfL’s decisions with taxis have caused many drivers irritation, but
my story over
one driver - former Taxi Driver of the Year Brian Marcantonio (R73)
the past 41 years
since I walked
- has decided he can’t take any more and has retired...
out of the PCO
Street clutching
Badge number
23391; other-
wise it will be as
though I was
Along the way,
I’ll give my view
3 months and if you ordered one, you’d have to
was launched giving us creature comforts that
on how the cab
go on a waiting list and wouldn’t know how
we couldn’t even dream about in our FX cabs.
trade has been sh*t on over those 41 years by the
much it was going to cost you until M&O told
But at least that led to LTI coming up with the
very people we assumed were there to look after
you that your new cab was in! So what brainchild
Fairway, which had more for the driver than
us, as well as our punters...
did Merlin Rees come up with? He awarded us a
any other LTI cab had ever come up with before.
It was Wednesday 21st May 1975 when I
10p increase and an inquiry into how much we
It also had the Nissan 2.7 engine under the
received my Bill; I was working for the Post
were earning and also how much Private Hire
bonnet, probably the best taxi engine ever. But
Office at the time as a technical officer on the
was earning.
that was eventually dropped and replaced with
telecoms side - now known as BT. I had the
Among the champagne socialists living in
the TX1...
day off and went with a man I had been train-
Highgate, Taxi drivers would be hung, drawn
The cab trades modern-day problems really
ing up to my rank and who had helped me
and quartered if we dared broom a job to
started with our controlling move from the
with my call-overs. It had taken me fifteen
Highgate for that £1-45, but when PH took
Home Office to County Hall, onto TfL and the
months - not bad compared to nowadays.
the same journey and charged them £3, then
licensing of Private Hire. Then when Mayor Ken
The following evening I rented a cab from
they were terrific blokes! If we, with our pur-
Livingstone could see a few more votes in the
Halfins at Parsons Green Lane for the night to
pose built taxis and full insurance dared to
green lobby with their sandals, grey socks and
return in the morning before I went back to work
charge £3, we would have a police helicopter
vegetarianism, came cyclists and the introduc-
at the PO. The rent was £4.80 for the night plus
and armed response unit outside our house
tion of even more cycle lanes. And THEN - wait
2p per mile for diesel, which was 45p a gallon
telling us to come out with our hands up!
for it - the biggest disaster ever for the cab trade
(around 10p per litre). My first fare was from
In 1979 the Tories with Margaret Thatcher
- BORIS, the Mayor who promised us every-
Kensington High Street’s Derry and Toms (if
were elected and she put Willie Whitelaw in
thing, gave us nothing before stabbing us in the
you remember them) to Beryl Road,
charge at the Home Office. Within a month we
back with the cycle superhighways.
Hammersmith for 40p plus a 10p tip (almost
received the fare increase we needed - 30 per-
Large companies aren’t coming to London in
everyone tipped in those days. I went on to have
cent! But the airport faces were not happy
the numbers they were, but many say they are
quite a good night with extra passengers paying
because prior to the increase the meter used to
leaving because of the congestion the cycle
an extra 3p and a midnight ‘extras’ charge of 12p.
go double after 6 miles, but it was reduced to
superhighway lanes are causing. The CEO’s
After two years driving some evenings and
only 50 percent faster. But we all gained at the
don’t go to work on the tube or bus with the
weekends on a part-time basis, I was sure I could
front end and received a large increase. Then 10
sweaty masses, they go by taxi or car and if they
do the job full-time and be able to make a decent
months later, we received another 25 percent
have difficulty getting to work as they now are,
living, so in April 1977 - Jubilee Year - I resigned
increase. After that, the motor and cycling index
they just move the company to where they can
from the Post Office and in the June of that year
was applied to our fares so we never had to go
get to work easier.
I bought a brand new FX4, having taken my
through what the previous Labour administra-
The lies and lawbreaking by the Mayor and his
superannuation contributions back from the
tion had put us through. Needless to say, the
TfL are just breathtaking - and that includes
Post Office and used it for a deposit. In August of
number of fares wanting to go to Highgate
HMG too. Crime figures for Taxis and PH being
that year I joined ODRTS at 144 Shirland Rd,
was drastically reduced.
lumped into one means that 25,000 people have
Maida Vale.
Then in 1982, M&O introduced the FX4R
been libelled. Perhaps there needs to be a law -
In 1975, the country had been facing a rag-
with a 2.2 litre engine. It was the first cab with
collective libel!
ing inflation rate of 27 percent and by 1977
an engine that didn’t deafen the driver, but it
Added to the above comes Uber, with total
the government had reduced it down to 21
was also an army reject that couldn’t climb even
inaction from TfL also being just breathtak-
percent. Everyone was getting similar wage
the slightest gradient when more than two pas-
ing. Is this another case of chums looking
increases - with the exception of taxi fares!
sengers were in the back! But of course it was
after chums? Perhaps I could mention Messrs
At the time we had a Labour government led
ok to put it into a cab because we had no choice
Cameron, Johnson and Osborne alongside
by Prime Minister Jim Callaghan with Dennis
as to what vehicle we bought. Eventually there
their membership of the Oxford thugs club,
Healey as Chancellor (his wife Edna was an
was such uproar over the FX4R that they bought
the Bullingdon... but I don’t have the time,
account client with us at a time when you
out the FX4S, a taxi that on a warm day would
space or inclination to wind myself up!
could drive your taxi up to the door of 11
see the engine often overheat and boil over.
I could hail David Cameron and George
Downing Street). In charge of taxis at the
Osbourne’s “success” in getting Google to
When drivers complained, M&O said that it was
Home Office was Merlin Reece, who gave the
cough up £130million in back tax, even though
normal! So we asked why the cab didn’t run hot
the French government is claiming £130billion
impression of knowing nothing!
enough in the winter! Eventually they gave in
for tax they claim is owed by the internet giant -
Taxi fares at that time were so low that
and bought out an optional extra for drivers to
and Google’s operation in France is smaller than
demand was almost unbelievable, but it didn't
add to their brand new taxis - a thermostatic
in the UK.
really do us any favours as a job between 2 and 8
Perish the thought that when David and
miles was almost an act of charity on behalf of
Late 1989 and into the early 1990s, the
George cease being MPs that they would do such
the driver - except for a Heathrow trip if you
country entered a severe recession and fares
a thing as take a job with Google! Mind you,
could get there and back fairly quickly. So there
became scarce - although not as bad as now.
there’s always Uber!
was a lot of brooming, which didn't do our rep-
We then had Michael Portillo in charge at the
Needless to say I can't face this job any-
utation much good. I remember one example
Home Office and were told that all taxis
more so it’s a very sad goodbye from me. I
of how low the fares were; I picked up a single
needed to be wheelchair accessible by the
wish all you Dial-a-Cab drivers the best of
passenger going from Oxford Circus to
year 2000, but that year we at least got a 9%
luck in this trade; however, I think the future
Highgate that went £1.45. The same journey on
increase with an extra 2 percent to help pay
could well be uncertain...
the tube would have cost that passenger £1.40!
for it. But at least we were given 10 years
At that time we were begging for a fare
notice, unlike changes these days.
Brian Marcantonio (now ex-R73)
increase; diesel prices were rising with inflation,
Then after years of being treated as nonenti-
the cost of a new cab was going up almost every
ties came a breath of fresh air - the Metrocab
1993 Taxi Driver of the Year
Call Sign May 2016
Page 9
to wait 6 months before he could get his
refused to give them his wallet, lying on
taxi licence back! He never did say if he
top of it until the three thugs gave up and
was joking!
left. He was back at work the following
Sid was born in the London Hospital
night, when he recounted the story and
in October 1921. He began driving in
showed off a bruise with the excitement
1939 but never passed a driving test as
of a 15 year old!
there were none in those days. He was
Sid joined Dial-a-Cab in 1965 and
in the RAF throughout the war until
left 43 years later much to the sadness
his discharge in 1946 when he went
of the girls in the call centre. Political
into radio and TV sales and repairs. He
correctness wasn’t something that Sid
worked from two different shops in
ever coveted and he would get away
Brick Lane until 1961 when he decid-
with saying the most outrageous
ed to do the Knowledge on a part-time
things to them. But they loved him.
basis so that he could also run his
But as his daughter Roberta said at
other businesses. Sid did the KoL with
Sid’s funeral: “We’re not here to mourn,
Sid at his 90th birthday party
two friends, but not on a bike - the
but to celebrate a life…”
The consecration to the memorial
trio bought an old FX3 between them
All Sid’s friends from DaC are invited to
stone of long-time Dial-a-Cab driver
and did it in that!
the consecration regardless of which reli-
Sid Gold (ex-E20) will take place on
Sid showed his toughness when at the
gion. Just remember that you need a cov-
17th at Rainham Jewish
age of 82 he was left lying on the ground
ering for your head...
Cemetery, 416 Upminster Road North,
in Cheshire Street after three yobs - one
Rainham, Essex RM13 9SB. The service
of whom held a gun to Sid’s head -
Jamie Corum
will commence at 2.45pm.
attempted to rob him of his takings. They
Call Sign Online
Sid passed away aged 94, amazingly just
knocked him to the ground but he
8 years after leaving Dial-a-Cab at the age
of 86. Even then he didn’t want to retire
because he was still passing his yearly
medicals. He told Call Sign at the time:
Vito ‘punctures’
“I’m over 86 years of age, so it’s a bit
of a responsibility. Although I have
Call Sign has been sent a message from several
regularly passed my PCO medicals
different Dial-a-Cab Vito owners saying that dri-
with flying colours, driving a radio taxi
vers should not automatically assume that a tyre
carries much responsibility with it.
deflation on the Mercedes taxi is caused by a
But Dial-a-Cab has been such a big
puncture, as they have found they actually had a
part of my life for over 40 years and I
cracked rim rather than a tyre problem.
really am so sad to let it go, however
If it is the rim, you should expect to pay around
that time had to come one day. But I
still have my cab with a plate on so I
£100 for a replacement. You should also factor in
can occasionally go out to work the
balancing and fitting costs. And of course, try not
streets and I won’t starve! I’d also like
to hit the kerb when turning!
Vito cracked rim
to thank Brian Rice and the Board for
their support over the years. Not every
company would have been so kind to
someone of my age.”
Can you afford not to get a copy!!!
Before retirement, he had been
London’s oldest driver but his appear-
Produced by Dial-a-Cabs PCN expert, John Vigus,
ances as a non-radio driver never really
began and he settled into his deserved
this book is all you need to know about moving
retirement. But he always kept in touch,
traffic and parking regulations in one easy to
insisting that he stayed on Call Sign’s
mailing list and we were even invited to
read guide!
his 90th birthday party. It was there that
he asked me to see if Brian Rice could
take him back as a driver at 90 because he
The Motorists Guide to Moving
was getting bored! I think Sid was joking
Traffic And Parking Regulations
because his 90 year old eyes still had that
Gold twinkle in them!
Hard copies £8. Electronic versions to
Just 12 months later, we heard that Sid
had a heart attack and was undergoing
Dial-a-Cab drivers are £5 per copy. Orders
open heart surgery. His chances were
via Driver Services with payment deducted
given as very slim, but he pulled through
from your DaC account.
and was eventually discharged. When
Call Sign called to see how the then 91
year old Sid was, he came onto the phone
and said that the most upsetting part was
Can you really afford not to get a copy!!!
that the heart attack meant he would have
Call Sign May 2016
Page 10
ay Buckland (P66) has been around
Dial-a-Cab a long time, beit as a dri-
The DaC driver,
ver, Marshal or dispatcher. In fact,
Call Sign has a rare video in its
library of the time when this Society went
from voice to data dispatch on 29 April
an unmarked grave
1989 and Ray is seen in his dispatching
guise wandering in and around the old
Brunswick Place call centre. But the story
and the VC
Ray recently passed over to us was as far
away from taxis as it’s possible to get and
closer to the Charge of the Light Brigade,
part of the 1854 Battle of Balaclava during
the Crimean War, that saw Lord
Cardigan’s troops accidentally sent into
battle and lose many troops against the
far superior Russian forces.
Ray’s story begins with his late uncle Peter
- who was into genealogy - together with
Ray’s mother Cynthia, tracing back Ray’s
great great great grandfather, James
Champion, who fought in the 1857 Indian
Mutiny with the Kings Irish Hussars, where
he won the Victoria Cross for valour in the
ith the vast majority of Dial-a-Cab
subscribers being owner drivers, ask
them what the biggest curse to driving
conditions is and most will say road condi-
tions - more specifically, potholes.
A recent announcement from the govern-
ment explained how their £50 million Pothole
Ray Buckland was at the ceremony to honour his great, great, great grandfather's
Action Fund is to be spent across the UK. The
VC, won for actions at the India Mutiny of 1857
Fund was first announced in the Chancellor's
Autumn Statement and was set to be split
face of the enemy. The wording for the 24-
ceremony on 20th April and said it had been
between 118 authorities.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin
year old Troop Sergeant Major was:
one of the most moving events he had ever
said the government wanted to “tackle the
For distinguished bravery at
witnessed. It tied in to a ceremony at
blight of potholes.” However, the Local
Beejapore on 8th September 1858, when
Hammersmith Old Cemetery where James’
Government Association claimed that it
both the Officers attached to the Troop
grave - that had been marked with just a
would take around £12 billion to fix
were disabled, and himself severely
- was re-laid with a fully inscribed
England's roads rather than the £50m
wounded at the commencement of the
action by a ball through his body, in hav-
Before leaving for Eastbourne, Ray admit-
The money is the first tranche of a total
ing continued at his duty forward,
ted to Call Sign that he hadn’t even heard of
£250m Pothole Action Fund and is said to have
throughout the pursuit, and disabled
James Champion before being told of the
been calculated according to the size of the
local road network in the area.
several of the Enemy with his pistol. Also
Redoubt ceremony, but he felt so proud now.
Matt Dyer, MD of LeasePlan, said:
recommended for distinguished conduct
Ray added that there was huge thanks owed
“It’s interesting to see how the government
at Gwalior.
to The Sun newspaper, which played a big
plans to divide up the pledged £50 million
Three years earlier, James also took part in
part in getting the recognition that those who
Pothole Action Fund between English councils.
have been decorated with the Victoria Cross
the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade.
Although this is a welcome first pot, there is still
so richly deserved...
Lord Cardigan, under orders from overall
an awful long way to go in repairing Britain’s
commander of the British troops, Lord
pothole-ridden roads. According to local authori-
James Champion VC MSM
Raglan, led his under-strength troops into bat-
ties last year, it will take another £10.5 billion to
1834 - 4 May 1904
fill in every single pothole that is currently on the
tle with a Russian artillery battery. But there
road. With this in mind, we might ask whether
had been a miscommunication and the Light
this ‘so called’ permanent pothole fund is
Brigade was mistakenly sent as a frontal
Call Sign
assault rather than a back-up and many British
May 2016
Filling in potholes, however, is no substitute
troops lost their lives following a hasty retreat.
Editor: Alan Fisher
for modernising Britain’s road network. Part of
Fortunately, although involved in fighting,
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
the reason why there are so many potholes in
James wasn’t in the main body of troops and
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
the first place is because the roads are aged and
survived, which enabled him to perform so
Email: callsignmag@aol.com
decrepit. Only time will tell, but with the extreme
heroically in India three years later.
Website: www.22-callsign.co.uk
wet weather, more cars on the road than ever
Printers: Premier Print Group
The VC to James Champion - later pro-
and still low fuel prices, it’s looking more like pot-
E6 6 LP
moted to Regimental Sergeant Major -
holes may be a permanent ongoing fixture on
Design: Aldan Publications
our roads.”
was honoured at the Eastbourne Redoubt
Tel: 07958 300 428
Looks like that “curse” is a long way from
where troops with sabres drawn formed a
Email: debbiefresco@googlemail.com
being removed!
guard of honour.
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
Ron Yarborough
Ray Buckland, together with his mum, sis-
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
Call Sign Online
ter and several other members of James
either manually or electronically without the express
Champion’s family, witnessed the emotional
permission of the Editor.
Call Sign May 2016
Page 12
The big
Another true story from Geoff Levene…
thing these
days is
Who Do You think I am!
On my mother's side, the 1881 census
in the morning without first covering yourself
wants to
revealed that her grandfather, Jacob, had
with goose fat to ward off the cold!
know where
been in Manchester; also showing that
So eventually they decided to leave.
they came
although he had come from Russia, he was
Grandpa saved his money and paid for a pas-
actually born in Finland, which was part of
sage to England, but when they got off the
from. Were
the Russian Empire in those days. This
ship they found themselves in New York. He
our ancestors royalty or rogues?
would account for my blond Nordic looks and
was said to be furious.
Were they criminal or clergy? In
my prowess at distance running!
“The cheats,” he screamed,
“I paid for
Ten years later he was in Wentworth Street
England and they dump us here. Back onto
Australia, descendants of English
in the east end, but after that he spent the rest
the ship!”
transportees are regarded as
of his life in various parts of Bermondsey.
Eventually they arrived in London. It wasn’t
Strangely enough, my niece - Jacob’s great-
exactly paradise with seven people in two rat-
Whole TV series are devoted to the subject.
great granddaughter - having been brought
infested rooms. In fact they were so poor that
From the BBC’s ‘Who do you think you are’
up in North West London, now lived off
there were not enough rats to go around and
we learnt that actor Alexander Armstrong
Jamaica Road.
two of my uncles had to share a rat! Aunty
and journalist Frank Gardner can both trace
But there were mysteries about that lot. I
Hetty didn’t have her own rat until she’d been
themselves back to William the Conqueror
couldn’t find birth certificates for Jacob’s four
married for two years. She had a reputation
of all people. Mind you, there must be many
children, although I found one for a fifth child
for being a bit snooty, owning twelve pairs of
who could do that if they had the resources of
of whom there is no other record. I don't sup-
bloomers - one for every month of the year!
the Beeb to help their research!
pose I'll ever find out what happened there.
But women can still be a bit hoity-toity.
So what can the average person do to
But back to my father’s side; legend has
We were chatting to a lady at a party last
find out about their history? There’s plen-
it there was an ancestor that lived in
week when she suddenly said that she had
ty to discover from the internet and if you
Babylon who made a living as a charioteer.
to rush as she was going to pick up a new
subscribe to certain websites, you can find
But he lost his license for refusing to go
Canesten Combi. So I told her that I had a
out even more. And of course there’s the
south of the Euphrates one Saturday
fifteen year old Toyota, but that it didn’t
wonderful National Archive in Kew. It was
evening. Years later, the family was to be
make me a bad person!
there I was able to track down my paternal
found in the little Polish village of
Recently, I found myself in the east end and
grandfather’s Naturalisation File from
decided to find the old place. So I went up
Mennyzeds. You won't find that on any
1935. It was embargoed until 2035 but I
map because it’s actually called something
Commercial Street, tuned right into Slime
applied under the Freedom of Information
Terrace, left into Hovel Street and right into
else that no one can pronounce as it has
Act and a few weeks later it became avail-
Bug Row - and there it was: Woodlice
got lots and lots of zeds in it... so
able. However, it felt really strange open-
Buildings... or as the dazzling steel and glass
Mennyzeds it is!
ing something that had been untouched
edifice is now known - City View Plaza.
But life in Mennyzeds was tough. Over here
for over sixty years and in all probability
I knew we should have held onto it...
in the winter we scrape ice off our wind-
will never be looked at again. I made pho-
screen... but over there you scrape it off the
Geoff Levene (W32)
tocopies for members of the family.
bed! You wouldn’t dream of leaving the house
Call Sign Online
Uniting the anti-Uber world!
It was around 5pm on 19 April and along with hundreds of other taxi drivers, we were
going round and round Kings Cross and St Pancras International until the whole area
became gridlocked, as together we demonstrated against the total inadequacy of police
operations in handling the numbers of PH cars - mainly Uber - ranking up by the Euro
So it was with some irony that Call Sign reporter Marc Turner (R97) and I were then invited
along to the Unite (the Union) headquarters in Theobald’s Road at 7pm for what we were told
was to be a two hour meeting that they described as the world’s taxi drivers uniting against Uber.
Amazingly, the meeting - conducted by Unite’s Mike Hedges - was exactly how it had been
described and while there were no definitive answers, listening to international speakers speaking
of problems they had in dealing with Uber made us realise that not only were we not on our own,
but that the Uber menace was absolutely huge!
Karim Asnoune of the CGT Taxi Union in France even joked that Uber was like the Mafia
L-R: Frank, Mac and Claire
and in a French accent that made the lady sitting next to me almost swoon, he told the meeting
about the demonstrations that Paris had, but went on to explain how different the taxi drivers were in other French Cities. The stories may have been
similar from all the other speakers, yet it felt important that we understood the destructiveness that Uber is causing everywhere. Peter Kennedy and
Bob Orr from Canada’s largest private sector union, Unifor, represent over 310,000 members across North America and both gave rundowns of
their Uber problems. They pointed out how popular Uber is with the young because of the technology they use and how young people like anything
Frank Moreels, the Federal Secretary of Transport and Logistics and Co-President of Belgische Transportbond put forward the problems that Belgium
authorities had with Uber and also explained the difference in taxi service between Brussels and Gent and compared then to other Belgium cities.
Mac Urata, the secretary of the International Transport Federation, which represents unions from India to Korea to Norway tied everything
together to make everyone realise, if they didn’t already, just how dangerous Uber is. Together with his assistant Claire, they recited true stories about
Uber and even explained how the app’s “promise” to create one million jobs for UN women had fallen flat. Yet Uber carries on unperturbed.
London Assembly member Murad Qureshi also spoke against the Uber machine, as did former Mayoral candidate Paul Tavares. However, sugges-
tions as to what to do about the app aren’t that easy. There are legal actions against them going on in many countries, as well as demonstrations and
suggestions that we should aim our ire at those putting money into Uber rather than Travis Kalanick, because without money they just could not
exist, as the huge losses they suffered last year were unsustainable without the many backers they have pumping money in, but at least it showed that
we are not alone in our fight.
Alan Fisher, Call Sign Online
Call Sign May 2016
Page 13
Bob Lashmar (B21J):
As Mayor Boris Johnson enters the final lap of his 8-year tenure in
“Overall he has been a
office, Call Sign went out onto London’s streets to gauge the views
disaster. The only thing
he promised in his elec-
of some Dial-a-Cab drivers on Boris’s value to the taxi trade...
tion manifesto and that
he has done was to get
rid of those confounded
bendy buses. But I sus-
Boris Johnson:
pect that because of the
fires that plagued their service record, they
were likely to be consigned to the scrap heap
anyway. There are road works everywhere
Success or failure???
making it difficult to get about. No, I do not
think he has helped in any way, but that’s
all. All he has given us is Uber and then
let me borrow his 12 bore shotgun!”
politicians for you. Once they have your vote,
allowed them to flourish here, when other
Paul Churchill (A04):
they go off and do whatever they like!”
European countries have banned them.”
“When Boris took over
Phil Davis (F10): “Boris
from Ken Livingstone, I
has swayed in and out of
(K39): “I was very opti-
think the spirits of taxi
supporting the cab trade
mistic when he first
drivers following the
and his indecisions have
came to office, but after
euphoria of his win were
made our job harder.
his eight years I feel very
raised. Sadly they have
The road restrictions to
disappointed. I was very
since plummeted with
facilitate incompetent
pro-Boris originally and
his legalising of Uber
cyclists are a joke and he
had high hopes that he
and their virtual plying
has let TfL run
would support the Taxi
for hire - let alone their numbers! Then there
roughshod over the
trade against Private Hire, but it seems he has
are his cycling policies which churn up the
London licensed taxi trade when really the
no control whatsoever under TfL and they
West End. I’m trying to think of something he
Deputy Mayor should have had control over
are a disaster in themselves! How it was that
has done to help this trade, but at the
them. This has caused a reduction in the
they were unable to limit the expansion of
moment I can’t think of anything!”
world renowned standards of the London
PH is a mystery to me. I have lost a lot of the
Paul Mariner (V65): “I voted for Boris but I’m
taxi trade.”
respect I once had for Boris, although I have
rather disappointed now. I think he had his
to wonder if anyone else could have done
Steve Burton (N90):
hands tied via David Cameron, although he
any better…?”
“Boris is good for telling
really has gone too far with his cycle super-
you what you want to
Jackie Kott (Y88):
highway lanes crusade. I am a cyclist, but not
hear and good at getting
don’t think he has done
in central London, that is just madness! Also,
himself out of a hole.
anything positive for us
the extensive roadworks mean you cannot get
He’s a good talker and
so far as I can recall. He
people to their destination in a reasonable
did get rid of those
is obsessed with bike
time, so overall, I’m not too happy...”
bendy buses that were
lanes - cyclists that wear
In the interest of fairness, we tried to find
unsafe and a menace.
little or no protection
someone to speak in favour but failed...
He calls us a ‘gold’ service, but treats us like
least of all something as
servants in the kitchen...”
basic as a helmet as they
roar in and out of traffic causing mayhem all
© Call Sign Magazine MMXV1
Ian Learmouth (R50)
around them - and has given us more and
said: “If he was my wife,
more buses that often have just a few passen-
I’d get a divorce on the
gers on them. If you try to pick up or set
grounds of unreason-
down in Lower Thames Street or along the
able behaviour! He has
Immaculate White
Embankment, you’ve got a problem! How
made it very difficult to
can Private Hire be allowed to continue
get around the city due
Cab Available for
expanding unhindered causing ever worsen-
to the extensive road
ing congestion, yet this very morning I was
works simply to accom-
told to move off from two ranks because the
modate cycle lanes.
length of the ranks were said to be causing
Obviously cycle lanes also have an impact on
an obstruction? Yet if we cruise the streets in
emergency services as well as taxis and other
search of fares, we are not only adding to the
road users, so I hope these narrowing of road
already heavily congested roads, we are also
lanes will not result in a loss of life or lives
adding to the pollution emissions! I have no
due to emergency vehicles being unduly
faith in any of the mayoral candidates any-
delayed. I believe this has been reported on
more and so I really do not know who to
Twitter several times, so it would seem to
vote for. Enough said!”
have a negative impact as a whole.”
Jackie Hill (S34): “Very
Gary Heath (W42): “We
little I am really thinking
used to moan about Ken
is printable in a family
Livingstone affecting
magazine such as Call
transport, but Boris has
Sign! Other than the
just screwed everything
welcome demise of
up! He has just one pol-
those bendy buses, his
icy - he is cycle mad and
Female driver
term as London Mayor
that is to the detriment
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
has been an absolute
of everybody else on the
nightmare and quite honestly, a disgrace...
Contact Debbie (W18) on
really quite deplorable. I’d like to make a
07956 317040
Ray Buckland (P66): “The cab trade is going
life-size cardboard cut-out of him and use it
down the tubes and he has not helped us at
as a shooting target, but my brother will not
Call Sign May 2016
Page 14
Above and beyond…
doubted that she even knew she was in a cab
go round in circles. Suddenly, and to my very
let alone the destination. Nevertheless, after
great relief, a local cab appeared and came
bundling her onto my back seat, they both
towards me - probably realising that I was lost.
walked briskly away.
I explained my problem, told him the address
“Anyway, it was an account trip so I decided
the woman had given me and as he began to
to make my way north and was heading up
verbally direct me through unfamiliar streets
Park Lane to join Edgware Road and eventu-
in an unfamiliar town, I suggested I follow him
ally the M1 when I heard a voice from the back
and would pay him whatever was on his
of the cab. She sort of mumbled that she need-
meter. In minutes, we were at the passengers’
ed a toilet and quickly! I made my way to the
front door and then he was gone without wait-
Landmark Hotel on Marylebone Road as
ing for any fare.
the speediest pit-stop I could think of and with
“I gingerly got the lady out of my cab and
assistance from the doorman, we got her to
walked her to her door. As she fumbled with
the Ladies. I opened the main door to the loo
her door keys, I realised that she couldn’t even
for her, but gracefully declined her request for
find the keyhole, so I slowly pointed her hand
further assistance! I just told her that I would
towards the lock and helped her twist the key.
wait outside for her.
My concern was still for her safety once inside
“She was inside the toilet for ages but then I
her own home as she was still extremely
“Yes, it was quite some journey,” Nic
heard the clicking of shoe heels shuffling
unsteady. So I pushed the door open, gently
Papadopoulos (H19) admitted to Call Sign,
around on the tiled floor. It was fairly apparent
eased her through her front door and turned
“and not one I’m likely to forget in a long
that she had finished but was so confused that
to return to my cab.
she couldn’t find the exit door, even though I
“Just as my bottom met the taxi seat, I heard
With that, Nic began his tale of a journey
was trying to guide by calling to her from the
the almightiest wailing sound come from the
that started outside the V&A Museum one
outside. Eventually there was nothing left but
house I had just left. In her stupor, the lady
evening while waiting for an account client.
for me to push open the door and bring her
had clearly omitted to turn off her house alarm
“The pavement there is fairly wide and I
out. I really hoped that she had managed to
so now the whole street knew she had
watched as two burly gentlemen were escort-
pull everything up and straighten herself
returned home, but by then I was on the move
ing an obviously very tipsy young lady across
before I swung the door open!”
back towards London - albeit by just a matter
the museum forecourt. Although I say escort,
Nic laughed out loudly at the memory
of a few yards! But figured I had more than
it was more a case of them dragging her... and
before continuing his story, which was
done my bit as a Dial-a-Cab driver in taking
in my direction! Head slumped, her feet sort
already definitely above and beyond the
the passenger from London to inside her
home in Luton and that as I didn’t have a
of followed the direction the two heavies were
call of duty - even for a valued account
pulling her. I just hoped that she wasn’t my
degree in other people’s burglar alarms, it was
time to go home!”
passenger, but I had this gut feeling that we
“Once back in the cab, I headed up the M1
With that, Nic turned round and left us
would be travelling together!”
and towards central Luton hoping the woman
with a smile that he didn’t have on that trip to
Nic’s facial look to this Call Sign hack con-
would recognise where she was when we got
firmed the direction his story was about to take.
there, because she really made very little sense
“One of the men came to the luggage win-
during the journey. When we got into Luton,
Alan Green (E52)
dow and grunted Luton and that the lady pas-
the passenger gave me some directions which
Call Sign Online
senger knew the address! Quite honestly, I
proved to be totally fruitless and which saw us
Do you drive through Ilford regularly? Can you help police trace a hit and run driver
Detectives have released a CCTV image of a car as part of an
anniversary appeal following a fail-to-stop collision that has
left a woman seriously injured.
The collision occurred at 01:48hrs on Saturday 11 April 2015 as the victim, 42-
year-old Vida Mensah-Andani of Ilford, was walking across a pedestrian crossing
outside 'easyGym' on Winston Way in Ilford. The driver of the car involved did not
stop at the scene and drove off along Winston Way towards Seven Kings. The car is
described as a dark coloured Vauxhall Vectra.
Vida was taken to an east London hospital where she was treated for serious head
injuries. One year on, she has still not fully recovered and the incident is still affecting
her day-to-day life. Vida now walks with a walking aid, has ongoing headaches and
finds it almost impossible to travel alone. This has led to the loss of her job.
Police are also keen to speak to the driver of a silver Audi which was in the
area at the time of the collision, as the driver may be able to assist with the
investigation. If you were driving your taxi close by and remember seeing any-
thing that could be connected to the incident, then that information could be useful.
Detective Sergeant Helen Lambert, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, told Call Sign:
“This collision has left a mother of three young children with life-changing injuries. A year after the incident, she is still suffering and has been
unable to live as she did. This collision has had a massive emotional impact on her work and family life. I am appealing for the driver of the vehi-
cle, or those who may know who was driving at the time of the collision, to come forward and speak to police and help us with our inquiries.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 020 8597 4874. If you wish to remain anony-
mous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Call Sign May 2016
Page 15
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose life
I had been renting
is captured as a blog. The story of his time as a butterboy is…
a cab from BeeJays
for some time and
it was one of their
nicer looking ones,
A Blogger’s Tale
bright red and the
wheels were the
Eventually, as he realised I wasn't going to
keys had been in the ignition I would have taken
normal colour. It
give up, he showed me his only available cab
it there and then but strangely they weren't. One
did however have
and it was truly awful. The tyres were too near
of his entourage wandered up and said the cab
one major flaw, it vibrated terribly!
the knuckle for my liking but were OK by him;
wasn’t ready yet, although it looked ready to me
I had put up with it for ages, but the final
the rear seat was torn but he again saw no prob-
and that all I needed were the keys.
straw came one afternoon when two very attrac-
lem with that. I had no choice but to take it, but
“Give me 10 minutes,” he said. Well, you might
tive women got in and asked to go to the
in passing I asked him when the overhaul was
well have already guessed what happened next,
Aldwych. We vibrated our way through Canon
due? “Two weeks,” he replied!
but I was young and naïve and still a butterboy.
Street, along Fleet Street until they got out by
So that meant I would get it all rectified
They jacked it up, removed the wheels and put all
Australia House. But they seemed quite happy
and had to wait just two short weeks. Sure
four old ones back on it. Then they removed the
as I started to apologise for the constant vibra-
enough, after a few tortuous days the phone
lovely new rear seat, put the old ripped one back
tion, but they burst out laughing and said that
rang and he asked me to bring the cab into
in and to add insult to injury, they even removed
they had quite enjoyed it! Well, I decided that
the garage. In return he gave me another
the fire extinguisher!
although I had made their day, I was going to
mobile ‘skip’ with a meter until the cab was
I was devastated; I threw the keys back, got my
change it and I headed back to the garage.
When I got to Dunbridge Street, I parked up
ready. When the day came to pick the cab
Bill, walked up the road to KPM and ordered a
and wandered off in search of the owner. He
up, I felt relieved that I would at last have a
new taxi…!
was an elusive little man who always had a
decent cab to drive around in - with legal
To be continued…
tyres, a fire extinguisher and a rear seat that
throng of cabbies circling him, so he wasn’t that
Simon Scott (O40)
was in one whole piece!
hard to find and within 30 minutes I had man-
At the given hour, I bombed down Wilmot
Call Sign Online
aged to get an audience and 5 minutes of his
time. He tried to persuade me that there was
Street and as I approached the garage, I spotted
nothing wrong with the cab before changing
it. I pulled up behind and jumped out to inspect
tack and saying that he had done everything he
my new improved cab. It was lovely; it had a new
rear seat and what looked like 4 new tyres. If the
could to rectify the problem.
Bank of England exhibitions
Free creative events for children at
for DaC
the Bank of England museum
Behind four great heavy bronze doors on
Threadneedle Street festooned with lions, waves,
ships, swallows and serpents, visitors to the City
of London will find not only one of the country’s
great historic institutions, but an innovative,
ever-changing, free museum. The Bank of
On behalf of Dial-a-Cab, Hillier Buchan
England Museum has confirmed a host of cre-
Ltd in Bexley have negotiated exclusive
ative events, exhibitions and displays for 2016.
rates for DaC members. We believe our
One of them sees the Museum tell the story of the
Bank from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as
rates are competitive in today’s market
the United Kingdom's central bank. Within a full-size
for experienced licensed Black Cab
reconstruction of Sir John Soane’s 18th-century
office, a large boat construction is full of interactive
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every
displays explaining how the Bank works, banknote
driver’s circumstances are different; therefore
design and security and how the Bank tries to keep the financial system on an even keel.
our policies can be tailored for the individual
The galleries feature a permanent display filled with gold, including Roman and mod-
driver. We offer a 5% discount for DaC
ern gold bars, the country’s oldest paper money and many star objects from the Bank’s
members, with additional discounts for
collections of silver, banknotes, paintings, coins, photographs and historic documents.
existing protected Bonus policies.
The Banknote Gallery itself is currently closed for refurbishment and will re-launch in
Hillier Buchan was established in 2002 by
autumn 2016.
David Hillier and myself with in excess of 50
The current exhibition, Capturing the City: Photography at the Bank of England, reveals a
years experience as high level Brokers working
wealth of previously unseen and unpublished historic photographs from the Bank’s archive, while
in the City of London for major broking houses.
events for children are inspired by the photography theme and the history of the Bank. They begin
We have established a reputation for
with early salt paper prints from the 1840s and reach forward to new images of today’s city,
professionalism and service in our chosen fields.
exploring an alternative and sometimes surprising history of the Bank, its buildings and staff, while
We have extensive London Market contacts;
also creating a history of London from the Bank’s perspective.
consequently we are able to offer our clients a
Visitors inspired by the exhibition can share their own images of London with the
quality of security from companies that are all
Bank via the Museum’s Twitter feed @boemuseum - using the hashtag #CitySnapsBoE.
available in the world’s pre-eminent insurance
Each month, the BoE Museum selects a favourite image to join the exhibition displays,
market. As a result, our clients achieve quality
instantly becoming part of the Bank’s history.
of security and service upon which we pride
Saturdays 25 June and 2 July from 10am to 5pm sees the Museum Open Day when it will
ourselves and a competitiveness of premium
open its doors to visitors as part of the City of London Festival. Enjoy banknote presentations, a
that our clients find particularly attractive in
variety of gallery talks conducted by the Museum team, including talks on the Museum’s latest
today's climate.
exhibition, Capturing the City: Photography at the Bank of England. The Bank’s Bullion team will
Our philosophy is to build long-term
also be on hand to answer any questions on gold and visitors can even hold a genuine gold bar.
relationships using balanced service teams
providing continuity and expertise. Compare our
VISITOR INFORMATION: There is no charge for admission to the Museum or for any event.
prices and give us a call. See our ad inside this
Entrance: Bartholomew Lane (off Threadneedle Street) EC2. Opening hours: Monday to Friday:
issue of Call Sign.
10am - 5pm (last entry 4.30pm). Closed Public and Bank Holidays and weekends.
Phil Buchan,
More info: www.bankofengland.co.uk/museum, 020 7601 5545, museum@bankofengland.co.uk.
Hillier Buchan, 01322 553313
Call Sign May 2016
Page 16
With just days to go, Joe Brazil looks at the “other” election and
Quantifiable and
brings the safety of children into the debate...
he Mayoral election* fast approach-
es and no doubt we will be feted by
all - but maybe not supported by
all. With many of the candidates, you can
see overt signs of support whilst others
When it comes to black cabs, not every-
resist temptation to talk for fear of alien-
thing is tangible; children’s safety and that
ation. What we hear now may not neces-
of the general public should always be para-
sarily resonate with what they’ve said in
the past. But as most applicants are
“It is hard to put a number on all that,
career politicians, you normally don’t
but it is worth something.”
have to dig too far to uncover their
TO DATE: Three police officers are now
facing a criminal investigation in the wake of
The two front runners at this time are Zac
Rotherham’s sex abuse scandal. One South
Goldsmith (Conservative), real name Frank
Yorkshire police officer is currently suspend-
(according to Wiki - I kid you not) and
ed and two others have been put on restric-
Sadiq Khan (my dad drove a bus) - that’s
tive duties. The investigations were revealed
not his name, I’m just sick of hearing it!
in a report into the handling of sexual
Zac, who in a debate on London’s black
exploitation by South Yorkshire police
Taxis at Westminster Hall in September
between 1997 and 2016.
2015, spoke with a degree of knowledge
Eric Pickles, then Secretary of State for
about our history and the damage being
tion rhetoric - ok, it’s not about Uber but
Local Government and Communities, said
done to the trade at this time. The debate -
nothing gets an election moving quicker
in the House of Commons: “My powers
also attended by Sadiq Khan - brought a raft
than a call to fix bayonets!
under section 10 of the Local Government
of comment from them and other attendees.
Act 1999 ensure the police, local health part-
Of course some of them may have fallen
Zac Goldsmith was recorded by Hansard
ners and the safeguarding Board took and
by the wayside at election time, but you
as saying of us: “Their value is not necessar-
continues to take sufficient steps to ensure
get the drift...
ily quantifiable, but is huge and real.” He
only fit and proper persons are permitted to
This leads me to the public safety debate
continued shortly afterwards by saying: “I
hold a taxi licence; and is now taking steps
and especially the safety of children and
would think nothing, personally, of deposit-
to address effectively past and current weak-
young people within the capital. London’s
ing any one of my children in a black cab at
nesses or shortcomings in the exercise of its
safety - and that of the general public are
any time as I would know absolutely that
functions and has the capacity to continue
under threat whichever way you look at it if
they would be safe.
to do so...”
the figures taken from Rotherham are any-
It is hard to put a number on all that, but
London deserves the same protection...
thing to go by, after the damning report from
it is worth something.
Alexis Jay OBE.
Joe Brazil
Sadiq Khan (Labour), in the same debate
Of Rotherham’s 800 private hire vehi-
reiterated by stating: “As the father of two
DaC Board Member
cles, 67 drivers were found to be poten-
daughters, I also fully understand his com-
tially in breach of new ‘fit and proper per-
ment about how safe we feel putting our
*Also standing for Mayor are David
son’ tests - with around 70 percent of this
children into a black cab, knowing the
Furness (BNP), Paul Golding (Britain
group having their licences revoked after
checks that take place before someone is
First), Lee Eli Harris (Cannabis is safer
case hearings. A further 171 taxi drivers
allowed to drive one.” He continued: “We
than alcohol), Ankit Love (One Love) and
in the town have had their licences sus-
do not have a level playing field and the
Sophie Walker (Women’s Equality).
pended until they complete training ses-
Minister will need to tell us why over the
sions on safeguarding children and vul-
past five years
- indeed, the past seven
nerable adults.
years - TfL and the Government have failed
This heart-breaking situation should not be
to enforce existing legislation, or to provide
visited upon London; TfL will have to be
new regulations, to ensure that new
stronger in their approach towards PHV and
entrants to the market operate fairly.
frankly any vehicle registered in the capital,
With some of the other candidates, I
not letting mealy mouthed lawyers dictate
looked specifically for comments about
that we don’t take responsibility for our
you know who…
“partners “activity.
Sian Berry (Green) has been recorded in
If these figures were extrapolated across
the past as not being pro-Uber by complain-
London, the 1400 child victims of Rotherham
ing about them parking outside St Pancras
over a 16 year period would expose the capi-
tal to an epidemic-sized risk that would stop
George Galloway (Respect): I think it
all but the most foolhardy, and make them
would be fair to say he is anti-Uber as he
think twice before ever climbing into any pri-
stated he would run them out of town “…if
vate hire vehicle.
I can.”
In an article by Fraser Nelson in the
Stephen Greenhalgh (Conservative):
Telegraph, he made the salient point that if
Well, he doesn’t seem to mind... so long as
you organise a bureaucracy so no one takes
they pay the correct tax.
responsibility, then you create the conditions
Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem): Anti-Uber;
for abuse on this scale. And no doubt Mr
likens them to rogue operators.
Goldsmith and Mr Khan would be forced to
Peter Whittle (Ukip): He wants to crack
rethink their children’s future travel arrange-
down on Uber. Concise it would seem.
ments, should we suffer demise on the altar
John Zylinski (Ind): Made headlines in
of so-called progress. Would they then wish
2015 when he challenged Nigel Farage to a
they could still say of their kin: “I would
duel over the Ukip leader's anti-mass migra-
know absolutely that they would be safe???”
Call Sign May 2016
Page 17
ou have to be male and of a certain
age to fully appreciate the innocent
Something for the Weekend, Sir...
and discreet offer posed by our title.
It relates to a bygone age when gen-
duly autographed by all four members of the
tlemen’s hairdressers would often stock con-
group. But I still didn’t realise who this
traceptives as an additional service to simply
Mike/Peter was, even though he was there
cutting hair!
cutting hair right under my scissors. I often
However, for master ladies’ hairdresser
wonder how much that album would be
Cliff Nash (V74), the question never arose.
worth now, especially with the monikers of
However, stories of an era long gone did
John, George, Paul and Ringo on it.”
come flooding back when he recently
“One morning Mike/Peter asked if I could
chatted with Call Sign, relating events
cut his hair. It was fairly usual to cut each
from the early 1960s and the time he was
other’s hair in quieter moments and it was
asked a very different question altogeth-
while I was snipping away that Mike/Peter
casually asked me if I would cut his brother’s
“I trained at the hair salon of Raymond
hair “cos he’s going on the telly.”
Bessone in Park Lane, Mayfair. He was
Naturally, I said yes and suggested the
quite a character and eventually opened sev-
brother come to the salon in central
eral salons around London. But he was prob-
Liverpool. Mike/Peter said he couldn’t do that
ably most famous for his TV appearances and
because he would be recognised and get
his catchphrase of
‘a teasy-weasy here, a
mobbed. So I asked why that would be and
teasy-weasy there’ when referring to a partic-
that’s when Mike McGear admitted that his
ular detail of a lady’s hairstyle. Eventually he
brother was Paul McCartney! I might have
Star hair-cutter Cliff!
became known internationally as Mr Teasy-
saved a lock of Paul’s hair had I known,” Cliff
Weasy! He trained Vidal Sassoon, who
whom we called Peter because there was a
told us laughing, “because nobody, not even
always sang Raymond’s praises,” Cliff added.
‘Mike’ there already. Another one was a friend
The Beatles themselves, dreamed they would
“At that time, the Liverpool music scene
of his called Lewis Collins, who later went
be so big! But that’s the music business and
was gaining world-wide recognition and if
into acting and became one of The
we sing and hear their songs even now!”
you had a London accent, and the capital
Professionals on TV among many other
Back in London, Cliff opened his own
was regarded as the fashion setter back then,
shows and also a chirpy young chap by the
hair salon in Woodford before getting fed
you could make an impact in the hairstyling
name of Jimmy Tarbuck, who was always
up coping with staff traumas, finally sell-
business! So I set off as a young man, full of
cracking jokes even then. I wonder whatever
ing the business. And no, he hasn’t
ambition and enthusiasm to take a job with
became of him,” Cliff muttered with a grin!
offered to cut Dial-a-Cab drivers hair or
Andre Bernard, who ran several salons in
“Anyway, one of the young girls also work-
provide them with something for the
the Liverpool area with a staff of some 65
ing in the salon asked this Mike/Peter if he
employees. Working alongside me - and
could get her a signed copy of The Beatles
Alan Green (E52)
under my wing so to speak as apprentice
Please Please Me album. In due course, that
hairdressers - was a young chap called Mike,
long playing vinyl album arrived in the shop,
Call Sign Online
Editor’s Big Day
Or more like his grandson Samuel’s big day!
On the weekend of April 2nd / 3rd, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Barmitzvah of Call Sign Editor Alan Fisher’s
grandson, Samuel, as he read a portion of the Torah at the South West Essex Synagogue. The following day came the cele-
bration at the Epping Forest Hotel in Woodford Green where 180 guests ate, drank and danced the evening away.
Many Dial-a-Cab drivers will remember Samuel’s dad as dispatcher Reed Fisher, who sadly passed away three years ago. So
this was a truly special weekend.
Our congratulations go to the Fisher family and mazeltov to Samuel...
Call Sign Online
Samuel with mum Lara open the ball
Samuel with sister Imogen and grandparents Linda and Alan
Call Sign May 2016
Page 18
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
The ground was measured and Castro was found to
against her only to have her pay the disputed fare
be right, with yet another defeat for Mrs Prodgers.
into court before the case was heard, so the cab-
John Challis chucked her out of his cab
man lost out on his costs.
when she refused to close the windows dur-
Charles Weedon summoned her after she
ing a storm! He alleged that his cab would be
refused to pay him his fare of 1s 6d (7.5p) from
Last month, Editor Al fore-
ruined and he did not even charge her for the
Paddington Station to Queen’s Grove. It was the
warned me that he was
distance covered. A policeman put her into
correct fare as the distance was 2 miles 90 yards.
including an abridged arti-
another cab and told Challis that his cab was
Mrs Prodgers showed him that according to her
cle by Heather Tweed on
unfit for public use as it was soaking wet. She
book of fares, the distance was under two miles.
the indomitable Caroline
summoned Challis... but lost that too.
Prodgers won, but only because the book of fares
Giacometti Prodgers - he
She obtained four summonses against one dri-
was in error. Weedon, unable to appeal against a
knew I could not resist a gauntlet being slapped in
ver, Robert Chalk. Charging her 3s 6d for a 2s
magistrate’s decision, actually had his fine
my face!
fare - she lost. For abusive language (“You are not
returned to him when the error was confirmed.
Incidentally, the illustration of the cab shel-
fit for a dung cart”) and lost. Not supplying a tick-
Out of the reported twenty-one summonses
ter in which Mrs Prodgers invades (see April’s
et or a book of fares, she actually won that. The
between her and cab drivers (there were
Call Sign) could anecdotally be the first one
victory was pyrrhic; Chalk was fined just a shilling
many more), she lost 12 of them, another five
in London - in Acacia Road, St John’s Wood,
on each.
were undecided or their outcomes unknown
not far from where Mrs Prodgers lived in
She summoned Charles Eagle for refusing to
and she could claim victory in just four of
Queen’s Grove.
pick her up, but as he drove a bus and not a cab,
them. The idea of her being the nemesis of
They say there is a fine line between being a
the charge was dismissed. She had a rare victory
the cabmen does not hold; she was a pain in
genius and being mad and according to one of
against a cabman who recognised her and
the neck but nothing more.
Prodgers’ contemporaries: “She was as mad as a
demanded his fare up front. He was fined £1 or
In 1876, a driver at the London Cabmen’s
hatter!” She had been admitted as a private
14 days if he failed to pay. Such cases highlighted
Mission declared before a large gathering that
patient to an asylum near Ware when she was 24,
the injustice of the law against cabmen. When Mrs
“She was not half so bad as she was painted.” He
which may show the way her mind was working.
Prodgers was in the wrong, she just had to pay the
was roundly booed.
To say Prodgers was forthright would be an
fare and costs, but when the driver was wrong, he
Sean Farrell
understatement. During her countless appear-
faced imprisonment. There was even greater
Call Sign Online
ances in court regarding her marriage, she was
injustice; many cabmen took summonses out
found to be in contempt for not sharing the mat-
rimonial bed with her husband and actually went
to jail because of it - until a financial settlement
Water, smelly water, everywhere!
was agreed.
“I was way back on the Kings Cross station rank when my terminal began flashing and I
It is with Heather Tweed’s assertion that
gratefully accepted a credit trip that was going to save me a long wait as the rank slowly
Prodgers would take a cab the maximum distance
inched forward. But fate saw things differently,” Antony Byrne (P29) told Call Sign with that
at the set rate, then summon the cab driver if he
look of resignation that we’ve all had on the day when nothing seems to go right.
charged more, that I disagree. Such anecdotes
As Antony finished writing down the trip details in his credit book and prepared to leave the
were indeed reported by the press at the time,
rank, feeling fairly pleased with himself, he suddenly saw steam coming
but relied more on Jonas Chuzzlewit’s idea of
out from under the bonnet... followed by the familiar smell of anti-freeze
the best fun in London: “Taking a cab to the fur-
coolant wafting its way in the cab!
thest point it could go for a shilling.” Prodgers did
not know the distances “off the top of her head,”
“I lifted the hood to check what was wrong and sure enough my
she was armed with a book of fares. So, leaving
worst fears were confirmed by the gush of coloured water every-
aside her battles with her husband, watchmakers,
where - so that was the end of my credit trip, not to mention the
editors and her cook, let’s look at her battles
rest of my shift! After alerting the call centre as to my predicament
against cabdrivers, albeit lack of space prevents
and getting the trip re-allocated, I pulled off the rank out of the way
me from going into any detail about them.
of other cabs that were then able to continue their crawl to the
Just how many times Mrs Prodgers appeared
point!” We’ve all had that feeling when it’s really quiet out
against cabmen is not known, we only have the
there and suddenly you get a radio job and others look at
published newspaper reports to go on, but one of
you with a modicum of envy as you put your meter down! But that feeling soon
the earliest cases was a dispute about waiting time
got replaced by the slightest hint of jealousy in his voice as he pulled to the side
with William Southwell. She refused to pay the
and awaited the RAC breakdown truck.
amount he asked but also refused to give him her
“Could things get worse? Well yes, because I waited four hours until the RAC came out to
name and address. She refused to do so at the
me! So I just sat there, immobile, watching other taxis come and go on a rank that had sud-
police station where she was taken and it was
denly speeded up with passengers galore piling into the backs of taxis!”
only when the desk sergeant suggested she sum-
Tony’s engine had cooled down by the time the patrolman arrived and he quickly diagnosed
moned the cabman, that she gave her details. She
a broken coolant hosepipe as the problem. Reaching into his van, he cut a length of rubber
lost. Southwell got his fare and costs. Just a few
heater hose from a large reel and fashioned it into a temporary repair, securing both ends of
days later she was back before the same magis-
the pipe with Jubilee clips. He advised Antony not to continue working, but to go to a taxi
trate, summoned by cabman Richard Jones.
garage and get a proper repair with the correct TX4 hose.
Once again the dispute was over waiting. She lost
“I made my way up to my regular service agent, Stanway Engineering in Chingford who
that one as well.
replaced the temporary hosepipe with the correct LTC version and got me back on the road
In October 1871, Edwin Castro took her from
with no fuss. I was lucky my misfortune happened early in the day and I was able to get slowly
Victoria Station to Euston. Castro demanded 4s
over to Chingford in good time for Stanway to attend to the cab. But my day was ruined and
(20p) Prodgers said that the book of fares she
the pungent coolant smell lingered for several days after the event. And I lost a good credit
always carried with her said the fare was only 3s 6d.
ride! Otherwise, it was a great day...!”
When this was checked it was found that the book
Stanway Engineering Ltd is located at 14A Chingford Industrial Centre, Hall Lane E4.
of fares, issued by the Commissioner of Police,
Tel: 020 8559 4988
Dennis Latchett
did not include any mention of Victoria Station,
Call Sign Online
even though it had already been there ten years.
Call Sign May 2016
Page 19
Hospices: The cost of looking after the terminally ill...
From 1977 up to 1983,
Pat and son Tony in
four Dial-a-Cab drivers
happier times...
- the late Ian Cameron
and Tony Jack, togeth-
Alan Fisher (F07) told us: I
er with Ken Freeborn
was proud to meet Dame Cicely
and current Call Sign
Sanders on several occasions
and listen to her stories of how
Editor Alan Fisher -
the hospice movement had pro-
ran the transport
gressed, with virtually the only
operation at St
help coming from donations
and sponsorship efforts. The last
Joseph’s Hospice in
time I met her was in 1998 at her
Mare Street, Hackney.
80th birthday, seven years before
The quartet used to
she too fell foul of cancer and
died at her St Christopher’s
ferry out-patients suf-
Hospice. I showed her a photo of the four DaC drivers performing a
fering with terminal cancer to see Dr Richard
Christmas show at St Joseph’s, when we dressed up as Uncle Henry
Lamerton every Thursday afternoon during the
and the Ovaltinies. She laughed heartily. I also told her how different
early days of a scheme that became known as the
DaC drivers had carried out sponsorships in the form of marathons etc
and the look in her eyes told me everything. She said those drivers were
Macmillan Service - something that was unknown
far more important than she, because they were still bringing in funds
outside of St Joseph’s.
without which the hospice movement would not be able to offer people
The principle of the service was to allow cancer sufferers to die in
like Pat the chance to die with dignity. To Dame Cicely, everyone was
comfort of their own homes when possible and the four DaC taxi dri-
more important than her, yet to everyone else, she was a Saint.”
vers provided the transport needed to take the patients to see the doc-
The hospice movement needs money, having to find over 30% of
tor, let them have a cup of tea and occasionally a sing-song along with
their costs. If you can help in any way, please try. You don’t need
the astonishing site of a nun playing a piano, before then ferrying
to climb Mount Everest backwards; most hospices run raffles and
them back to their homes. Previously, they would have had to enter
lotteries and general money raising schemes. Anything you can do
the hospice as in-patients. To give a more graphic idea of how hos-
to help your local hospice is welcomed, because sadly there will
pices were looked upon, St Josephs had previously been known as
always be more Pat Harveys that need help to give their final days
the Hospital for Incurables.
the dignity they deserve...
The stigma for hospices has long been removed and while terminal-
Michael Toomey
ly ill patients are probably in the majority, they also provide a philos-
ophy of care that focuses on the palliation of chronically, terminally or
Call Sign Online
seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, while also attending to
their emotional and spiritual needs.
But it all costs money and recently Tony, the son-in-law of
Call Sign Editor Alan Fisher, could only watch along with
Alan’s daughter Kim, as his dear mum Pat lay in St Francis
Hospice, Havering. Week after week, Pat clung to life even
though doctors assessed her life expectancy as being just days.
But according to Kim, who stayed with Pat all day, every day in
the very pleasant room provided, not once did anyone at the
hospice show Pat anything other than exceptional kindness
and respect. And how much do St Francis’ charge? The answer
is nothing, yet it costs them almost £700 per day per in-patient
and a yearly charge of £7.2 million to run it; yet they rely on
Kim told Call Sign: “The staff are absolutely fantastic, the nurses,
the volunteers and even cleaners. Everyone makes you feel welcome
and nothing is too much for any of them. St Francis is a truly won-
drous place and no words of mine or Tony’s could ever be enough
to describe the amazing job these people do. If you ask them, they’ll
tell you that they love their jobs, albeit being sad to lose someone
they have got to know. But with their help and support, the patient
and their family are helped through some very tough times.”
It was back in 1958 when Cicely Saunders began working at St
Joseph’s Hospice. She researched pain control and while there met
Antoni Michniewicz, a patient with whom she fell in love. His
death two years later coincided with that of Saunders's father and
also a close friend. The turmoil sent her into what she called a state
of pathological grieving. She decided to set up her own hospice that
would serve cancer patients and help give them the pain relief that
doctors refused to give. Cicely felt it was far more important to give
pain relief rather than give patients an extra few days of life, but days
filled with pain. That was the beginning of St Christopher’s
Hospice in Lewisham.
In 1979, Queen Elizabeth II honoured Cicely Saunders with
the title Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
– a title she so richly deserved.
Call Sign May 2016
Page 20
London Vintage Taxi Association
n 2003, two members of an organisation known
was indeed very strange.
as the Dutch London Taxi Club visited Dial-a-
So may I wish all our Euro club members and
Cab whilst we were still at Brunswick Place
indeed Call Sign readers, a happy stay and a won-
and were given a personal tour by DaC
derful time with your icons... and enjoy your rides!
Chairman Brian Rice. After returning to Holland,
Privately I am still an LVTA member; I have only
one of the two visitors, Hans Dooren, contacted
stepped down from the Committee and I am still
Call Sign to say that he and several others had
contactable anyway as you wish. Stepping down is
decided to leave the DLTC and set up their own
no reason to lose contact. I shall no longer do
club as the Dutch section of the worldwide
Waalwijk. This would be its 13th year in succes-
London Vintage Taxi Association (LVTA). They
sion and I thank both Carl and Steven for all the
weren’t to realise at the time just how successful
years of fantastic support. Without you both I
and influential the Dutch LVTA section was to
could not have continued for even that long. Aging
become and with the LVTA Chairman then being
is not always fun! Your assistance was perfect!
DaC driver Keith White, the contact between Hans
Thank you and Chapeau!
and Call Sign was to grow significantly and over the years Hans has kept
I shall also no longer be writing EU News and I thank Sandie for her
DaC drivers up-to-date on LVTA matters, several overseas members being
support. I felt we were a good team; as with Sybil and James who were
on the Call Sign Online mailing list.
always present - even on leave - and they did such a good job. Mark,
Over the years, we’ve also heard from many DaC drivers / LVTA mem-
above all, was an anchor; always present and used so many times to
bers who had old restored London taxis such as David Joseph (A82)
answer member’s questions. Then there is Roy, a gentleman I respect so
with his FX3D - nor to mention his restored old London bus! Keith
much and who works behind the scenes dealing with whatever he was
White had the prototype Metrocab from 1969 as well as a 1957
asked to do. Chapeau! If I have forgotten anyone, do forgive me.
For those interested, I have started privately my own Weblog at
Now, 13 years after his visit and at the age of 81, Hans Dooren
http://londontaxi. glutinum.nl and named it Dutch London
has decided to call it a day and enjoy a belated retirement, perhaps
Oldtimer Taxi News. I am writing it all in my own good time and as it
not under the circumstances he would have liked. He has now
comes (or not)! I have deleted all my work in Weblog, Facebook,
written to DaC drivers...
LinkedIn and Twitter etc and I have left a perfect Editor in Bill Munro.
On 22 March 2016, I decided to lay down my post at the LVTA
He will start it all up again and I wish him much success. I left no loose
Committee as representative of EU (mainland) members. Starting with
just 9 members, nowadays there are many more spread across 15 coun-
Finally of course, adieu to my London cab friends and members.
tries. We have made many nice fruitful contacts including UK and USA
I wish you all good health and happiness. Be lucky, keep smiling
members who have contacted me. We have enjoyed good times together
and thanks for reading and many years of companionship!
and some of those contacts will continue.
I have been engaged in one way or another with London taxis since
Hans Dooren, Netherlands
1998 and since setting up the LVTA Euro section, we have brought it up
to date including the use of group emails to replace the envelopes that
were still being used, we helped to introduce PayPal, introduced a new
Weblog with 30,000 views and of course Facebook /Twitter pages, of
which I admit I am not personally fond of, but we use it for PR reasons;
all at no cost to the LVTA.
I created my own London taxi archive and laid down the history
of taxis by multi-visits to London and aided by my friend Paul
Read, we took many photos where normally no private visitors
were allowed. As the LVTA, we were always welcomed and allowed
to take the pictures wherever we went; such was the respect the
club had developed. That made my collection special and I used it
for archiving and various publications.
Much history has come and gone and new structures have been built
and at least we have helped some cab history to be saved, but at my pre-
sent age and fitness I could not have carried on much longer. I have
always privately bought all handbooks and workshop manuals I could
find on EBay, scanned them (always with source permission) and
burned all of them onto source CD roms, which also brought an income
to the Club. I dare not count the hours that it has all taken me...!
Carl Despriet, with whom I worked lately on VT EU News and at the
annual Waalwijk show, and also Steven van den Dorpel have asked me
to write and explain why I have decided to leave. The decision, that I had
already made, was put to the membership by group email, Weblog and
Facebook. There were some innovations that I felt were necessary and I
initiated and used them as an overview and updated / corrected mem-
bers list. Then ‘things’ happened over which I had no control and of
which I was never informed about either.
So I subsequently cast my resignation as I felt there was no need to
wait for the AGM. Treated as I was, I decided on my own exit using my
own created media. I felt so sad at having to leave, as contact with mem-
bers is the spine and joy of the Association. Looking at the members list,
I felt happy about what has been achieved by all, so it adds much sad-
ness to leave it behind. But when one suddenly feels unsupported and
set aside without a hearing, then for me it is all over. I have always rep-
resented the members, but to do the job properly I needed updated
information. It was denied. Even my many emails were unanswered. It
Call Sign May 2016
Page 21
n an important development for dri-
A new EU Directive to help diabetics with
vers with diabetes, a new EU
Directive will mean that diabetics who
night-time severe Hypoglycemia
suffer with night-time *severe hypo-
glycemia will no longer automatically
lose their licenses, but will in future be
treated on a case by case basis.
A 2011 EU Directive stated that drivers who
only his taxi for
suffered very low blood glucose levels at
private use, he
night on more than one occasion in a 12-
was in the ludi-
month period had to hand over their driving
crous situation
licence, But European driving and diabetes
of being able to
experts reviewed the rules last year and voted
drive his family
overwhelmingly for amendments.
in his cab, but
This could be important for taxi drivers
not fare-paying
suffering with diabetes, with the
passengers! Call
European Commission to ask the Driver
Sign took legal
and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to
advice and Ian
overturn its ban on drivers suffering with
eventually got
night-time severe hypoglycemia
- as
his cab licence
against during the day - by January 2018.
Leading charity Diabetes UK says it has been
PCO Head at
campaigning for five years for the rules to be
the time, Roy
changed as many people have lost their
licence unnecessarily. One of these cases was
Severe night-time Hypoglycemia no longer means you have lost
highlighted in 2015 when Helen Nicholds, a
your licence forever
Call Sign and
nurse with Type 1 Diabetes won her licence
was sympathetic,
back from the DVLA. Ms Nicholds previously
dependent diabetics, claiming that it was
but had to put
had her licence revoked after informing the
the licensing authority’s case. The bottom
unfair and should be replaced by a policy
DVLA of two severe hypos she suffered whilst
based more on commonsense with each
line was that the PCO at the time were against
in a deep sleep in June 2014. She then set up
returning licences, hence the eventual court
case taken individually depending on
a petition to overturn the decision that
medical advice. Several insulin depen-
actions and their success.
reached Prime Minister David Cameron and
Eventually the decision led to a review of
dent diabetics on Dial-a-Cab later got
she was eventually back behind the wheel.
their licences back following court
PCO policy relating to insulin treated
Current guidelines do not differentiate
Diabetes, which took account of new advice
actions based on that principle.
between daytime and night-time episodes
The PCO defended their actions in court
and while anyone diagnosed with Type 1
of severe hypoglycemia and the DVLA has
Diabetes will need to surrender their
but lost each case with the exception of one,
been asked to make the necessary legisla-
a Dial-a-Cab driver who chose to use a differ-
licence, it is no longer certain that it will not
tive changes by January 2018.
be returned when proof can be obtained
ent defence to the one we had recommended
Of course, up until that time drivers with
following the legal advice we had been given.
that there is no danger to the public...
diabetes should continue to comply with the
*Severe hypoglycemia is defined as
The situation arose when DaC driver Ian
law, which means that diabetics must inform
Ross developed diabetes and had his taxi
having low blood glucose levels that
the DVLA if they experience one or more
licence taken from him. However, the
requires assistance from another person
episodes of severe hypoglycemia, including
DVLA allowed him to keep his ordinary
to treat.
when asleep, within a 12-month period and
DVLA driving licence after medical evi-
Alan Fisher
of any changes to their condition that may
dence showed that his medication made
affect their ability to drive.
him safe to drive. As Ian had no car and
Call Sign Online
Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew
said: “The European Commission is absolute-
ly right to ask the DVLA to overturn the ban
on night-time hypos and we are delighted
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
this is happening after having campaigned for
five years to get this ban lifted and to put a
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
stop to those with diabetes losing their dri-
variable bank interest rates?
ving licence unfairly.
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
“Beyond the unfairness, losing their
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
driving licence has caused all sorts of
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
unnecessary stress and anxiety to people,
at your address also qualifies for membership!
even in some cases leading to them losing
their jobs.”
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
That has applied to a number of taxi dri-
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
vers through the years but a DVLA spokesman
up to 3 times your total savings…
now says:
The cost?
“While hypoglycemia can pose a risk to
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
road safety, there are some people who only
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
suffer episodes of hypoglycemia while asleep
and under the current EU rules they would
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
not be able to drive. These changes will mean
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
that licensing can be considered individually,
based on medical evidence and risk assess-
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
ments. We’ve worked with the EU to intro-
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
duce this common-sense approach.”
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
1999, Call Sign ran a campaign
Registration number 213263
against the PCO’s stance towards insulin
Call Sign May 2016
Page 22
With Tom Quigley (Y33)
Homerton; the long ones such as Harlesden
Hot on the KOL
station to North Greenwich station and the
Not much has changed in the way of proce-
tricky “no light” runs. All my students, gener-
dures of learning the Knowledge of
ally from the East London and Essex area,
London, what stands out now is the reliance
know that I will ask a beginner of Peckham
on apps, street view maps and modern tech-
police station to Tooting Bec lido before
nology. But despite some of that being, with-
then beating them up on points in the Manor
out doubt, of great value in the classrooms
House to Gibson Square run! Apparently I
and homes of students, I have yet to see any
have a stare that drives through them! All
evidence to contradict the old adage that I
good fun, but still serious all the same...
always advocate and one that most of us
would probably stand by...
Keep calling your Blue Book, call and
DBS delays
check all the runs on the point sheets,
The Editor has told me of the number of dri-
study your maps, get off your sofa and go
vers whose licence renewals have been
out and point what's coming out! As I was
delayed thanks to the Disclosure and
told, the points may come and go but they
Barring Service (DBS) and the effect it can
won't move Haymarket!
have on us. But at least we have all probably
Conscientious as I am, I’ve found myself
So what’s coming out and what do KOL
read about and have been warned, so spare a
doing these turnarounds. Only the other day
students need to know? Strangely, something
thought for KOL students who after their
I got my bike out and rode around Westfield
I have yet to find out about but will enquire
Reqs are waiting around 130 days for clear-
(E20) and the Olympic Park pointing the
as to why Blue Plaques are no longer asked?
ance, even though the majority are not in
Velodrome and Aquatics Centre amongst
Obviously there are embassies, theatres,
work and raring to work after a number of
others and even found myself staring at the
City Livery halls, stations, hospitals and an
years on the Knowledge. They are being let
Crate Brewery in Queens Yard! Where is
unbelievable number of restaurants and
down by a poor system of not rewarding the
that you may ask? Well, White Post Lane and
bars! As we all know, London is getting big-
student for passing their exams. I could men-
Fish Island have changed a lot in recent
ger and bars are popping up in the most
tion Private Hire and how quickly they appear
times and my 18 geared Marin bike seemed
unlikely districts that around 15 years ago
to get their licence... but I won’t.
rather dated against the colourful single fixed
were almost derelict.
wheelies! Actually, it was quite a nice 20 mile
We no longer have the dirty dozen through
Tom Quigley
circuit except that this time I could afford a
Soho, due to Crossrail, but there are still the
decent cup of coffee and not a mug of Camp
Call Sign Online
tongue twisters of leaving Cherry Garden
coffee on a stall along the A12!
Pier, Cleaver Square, while depending on
But, and depending on the examiner, they
For those that don’t know, in addition to
the student’s level you still get asked if you
all have their favourites runs. There are pop-
being a DaC driver, Tom also runs a
can turn right out of Dockhead or what’s the
ular ones like Mile End Hospital to
Knowledge school
spin for Honor Oak Station?
With a hole in one winning
you a £10,000 car!
Wednesday 8 June 2016 sees the 2016
Taxi Driver of the Year Charity Fund charity
golf day at Hendon Golf Club.
The cost for the day is £70; that includes 18 holes, a light breakfast in the
morning and a meal later on. The TDY committee have also announced that the
first person to get a hole in one will win a £10,000 brand new car!
If you, your family or friends would like to participate, please contact
the TDYCF at the address below or email them for an entry form.
As usual, all the money raised will be donated to the five taxi charities sup-
ported by the fund. They are the Albany Taxi Charity Fund for Children with
Special Needs, the LTFUC, the Southend Fund for Underprivileged Children,
the London Benevolent Association for War Disabled and the East London
Cabbies Outing. The presentations will be made at the annual dinner dance
of the TDY on 26 November 2016.
Write: Russell Poluck MBE, 5 St Brides Avenue, Edgware
Middlesex HA 8 6BT.
Phone/ Fax: 020 8952 1357 - Mobile: 07850 056 765
Email: brussella@talk21.com
Call Sign May 2016
Page 23
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
The sign at St John's Church, Lansdowne Crescent
he Hippodrome Horse
Race Track of Notting
Hill was opened in
1837 - a bold, and ulti-
mately unsuccessful attempt
to rival the great established
tracks of Ascot and Epsom.
The idea initially came about because the building boom of the
1820’s didn’t last and put a hold on development of the Ladbroke
Estate. By the 1830’s, construction work in North Kensington had
ground to a halt. So property ‘wheeler dealer’ and ambitious entre-
preneur, John Whyte, leased 140 acres of land from existing develop-
ers on the slopes of Notting Hill and the meadows to the west of
This 1841 map of Kensington shows the Hippodrome
Westbourne Grove. A race track to rival Ascot? Well, some of the
press never saw it that way.
The Times described it as “a disgusting, petty botheration,” with
the article continuing: “Shame upon the residents of Kensington for
permitting it.”
However, The Sporting Life’s correspondent gave it some credit:
“The most perfect race course I have ever seen. The feature is an
emporium even more extensive and attractive than Ascot.”
The main entrance to the track was Portobello Lane, which no
longer exists but was roughly where the cab shelter is today. The
Grandstand was situated on the hill where St John’s Church in
Lansdowne Crescent stands today while the paddocks and stables
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
were a little to the north-west in Pottery Lane. This area was a noto-
rious slum known as The Piggeries! Pottery Lane brick makers were
dedicated to DAC members only
living and working alongside pig-keepers - forced to move as Central
London expanded westwards. Sanitation was poor with fresh water
scarce and many families lived with pigs in their hovels, which
inevitably became slums.
Charles Dickens described the area as “a plague spot, scarcely
5% Discount for members
equalled for its insalubrity by any other in London.” So it was
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
hardly likely to impress well-to-do racegoers!
The west side of the track (see map) became known as 'Cut Throat Lane'
Public Liability
with vagabonds and low-life seeking easy targets while brandishing their
Breakdown Cover
knives among racegoers. This really gave Whyte’s already struggling enter-
Much more available
prise a bad rap as these people were not the kind of clientele he had in mind.
The Hippodrome was short-lived, only ever staging 13 meetings,
and it was wound down in 1842. Perhaps it was ill-fated from the start
Call below for quotations
because of the Pottery Lane reputation and its history of violence,
today that stands as one of the few lasting legacies of this 19th century
lost sporting venue.
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
Next time I’ll look at a sport that will be back in full swing,
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
good old cricket and that sports’ long-lost sporting heritage. And
Company Registration No: 4319231
just in case you assumed this only ever existed in St John's Wood
Road and Harleyford Road, we can investigate that...
Tel: 01322 553313
So be lucky...!
Bob Woodford
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign Online
Call Sign May 2016
Page 24
he March issue of Call Sign pub-
We’re the world’s best and most famous taxi service...
lished (under the heading of
Hypocrisy and TfL) figures that our
licensing authority wanted to keep
secret. We didn’t publish them to make trou-
ble, but because as the trade mag with the
highest online readership, we felt that the
public should be aware of some very impor-
tant facts.
Those facts were that Transport for
London, although knowing only too well
the difference between us and licensed pri-
vate hire, does not want to differentiate
when giving out bad news!
The news they wanted to keep hidden
involved the number of sexual offences com-
mitted by PH drivers in 2015 because it could
have spoiled TfL’s ‘Safer travel at night’ cam-
paign. After all, who wants to take a risk of sav-
ing a few pounds by putting yourself in danger
of a sex attack! We pointed out that it seemed
unlikely that many of the attacks were carried
out by drivers on reputable PH circuits such as
Addison Lee or Brunel. So that just left Uber.
Of the total allegations (numbering 180),
it appeared that not one was of a licensed
The last demo outside TfL's Windsor House
taxi driver, yet according to TfL, the figures
were joint - meaning they could have
licenced vehicles in March
2015 was
refugee with no form of identification. Some
applied to either.
85,300, of which black cab drivers
may be genuine, but does anyone really
Now, six weeks after we saw those figures,
accounted for just a quarter. That is now
believe that all those signed up by Uber are of
they have reached the media and according to
said to be over 100,000.
the same calibre as licensed taxi drivers?
a press release, the number of “cab” drivers
Dial-a-Cab Chairman, Brian Rice, told Call
Sadly, Call Sign has come to the conclusion
charged with violent or sexual offences in
Sign: I have been warning against this and a
that if TfL are not lying about us, then they are
London has hit a five-year high with stats from
situation where they count us all lumped into
deliberately withholding the truth. Is there a
the Met Police Service (MPS) telling the
one big pot has now come to fruition. We all
difference, because it could be that the truth
world that 126 “taxi or private hire” drivers
know who is responsible for at least 99 per-
could save this trade, whereas a deliberate
were charged with violent or sexual offences
cent, if not 100 percent, of the attacks - and it
mistruth could destroy it. And this trade no
(which can include assault, grievous bodily
isn’t the black cab side. Yet TfL continue to not
longer lies down and rolls over to TfL threats...
harm, indecent exposure and rape) in 2015.
only licence more and more minicabs, but
They added that the figure accounted for
seem to care little as to their past records, dish-
Alan Fisher
around a third of all crime committed by the
ing out what they call Certificates of Good
drivers and that although general crime had
Behaviour if the applicant claims to be a
Call Sign Online
decreased since
2011, violent and sexual
offences had gone up.
Overall, the MPS have told an amazed
media that a total of 1,427 drivers had
been charged with a crime since 2011, of
LTDA AdVan taking no prisoners...
which 521 were for violent or sexual
offences and they further claimed that the
statistics related to individuals who had
declared their occupation as ‘taxi driver’
and so do not differentiate between
Hackney Carriage or private hire drivers.
Being of a normal disposition, we at Call
Sign have always assumed that the MPS actu-
ally check with TfL about licensing and that
they would know in seconds whether the
accused person was a minicab or black cab dri-
ver. But that apparently doesn’t happen and
after a driver has been accused of a sex attack
and he claims to be a “taxi driver” that they
make no further checks? Dare we say we find
that difficult to believe? What if an accused per-
son gave their name as Boris Johnson and
claimed to be the Mayor, would they put that
The rise of Uber and other private hire
drivers has been put as a potential cause of
Any potential Uber passengers will no longer have the excuse of saying
the increase in crime with the number of
they didn’t know, following the LTDA’s AdVan parking up in locations
PHVs in London soaring at a rate of around
where their strong message can be seen. Perhaps even TfL might look
700 each week and Department for
again at the type of service they have licensed and which we assume
Transport figures confirming an increase
they probably use. Well done LTDA...
of over 25 percent in London alone in its
2015 annual summary. The number of
Call Sign May 2016
Page 25
From Garry White
progress before the market is lost to the new
players in our market completely, because if
It seems that Transport for London is hell
investors are willing to enter the taxi business
bent on ruining our trade through bad or
and see a potential profit with an example of
misguided management. So let's all stick
confidence in the trade being Gett acquiring
together with whichever trade organisation
RTG and Sherbet buying fleets of taxis, then
you belong to. The future is bright, get
why are we declining year on year when we
behind the yellow light.
don’t need to make a profit?
Uber are the tech company that is disrupt-
I'll leave you with that thought: Is there a
ing London day and night. The RMT want to
future for the Society that has enabled you to
define what is plying for hire and I'm firmly
earn a good living? And do you want to pass
behind them in this all important definition.
that on to the next generation?
Hello Ladies & Gents
Social Media
EU referendum
Using social media as a sales tool is something
Your Society
EU in or out? Vote ‘leave’ with Boris, Nigel
the PH trade seem to do to their advantage. I
It seems that Members close to reaching
and IDS or ‘stay’ with Dave, George and
believe the Society hasn't grasped this tool to
retirement age don't want to pass the Society
Jeremy? I've made my mind up; I hope we
our advantage and could use Twitter,
onto the next generation of cab drivers, a
leave and go it alone.
Instagram and Facebook to advertise links to
Society from which they have benefited
If we vote to leave on 23rd June, it could
our app, as the young generation use these
through their years of being a Dial-a-Cab
member but are now only looking to get a
have dire consequences for David Cameron.
media platforms and want the taxi to come to
pay out to see them into retirement.
Hence why the government has spent £9 mil-
them rather than hail one in the street.
If a mutual like DaC is to progress into the
lion of taxpayer’s money on a pamphlet to
Garry White
app generation, we need to be bold and persuade you to vote to remain in the EU.
DaC Board Member
Outfoxing the fox...
“In rural Essex... well, downtown Woodford
they thought of the sight of me waving my arms at the foxes in
Green actually,” John Tyler (D81) began
my PJs at three in the morning,” John said with a giggle.
explaining to Call Sign, “there are foxes that
“Anyway, I determined that Mr Fox was not going to make
roam the streets at night - and sometimes by
a meal of my food waste any longer, so I thought about how
day as well - all looking for food. They forage
to secure the lids on the waste bins and came up with the
at the back of restaurants, other food outlets
idea of using elasticated bungee ropes with hooks at each
and domestic waste bins - no different to
end, similar to the ones you see on motorcycles to hold items
many other areas of the country I suppose, but
on such as briefcases etc.
I think I must have the biggest, fattest, well
“Sourcing bungees of a suitable length, I then drilled small
fed fox in South East England that regularly
holes in the sides of the bins to affix the hooks, slid the hooks
visits my property,” John almost boasted until
through the holes and wrapped the bungee ropes tightly
realising just what he had said!
across the tops of the lids so that they could not be opened,
“Every night between 01.00 hours and
even by a very determined animal! It seems to have worked,
04.00 hours I used to hear this scratching and
because after a few vain attempts to raid my bins, the fat
banging sound coming from our waste bins.
one got the message and now leaves me to enjoy a peaceful
I’d look out the bedroom window and see this
huge, almost obese fox plundering our bins for
nights’ sleep. I don’t suppose he goes hungry, because if he can summon up that
any morsel of food he could get to grips with.
much ingenuity, I reckon he’s giving someone else a disturbed night or maybe chasing Little Red Riding
He’d push his nose under the lid of the hinged
Hood through Epping Forest instead of hounding me!” As he spoke, John was also grinned mischie-
bin and flip his head upward until the bin lid
opened right back on its’ hinges and then
“Guess you could say I was being a bit foxy...!”
Baghwat Singh
reach up with his front paws on the rim,
Call Sign Online
standing up on his hind legs to look inside for
any scraps of food - although I doubt he’d
turn down a full three course dinner!
“Then just a few nights ago, I heard this
relentless banging sound - even noisier than
usual - coming from the bins outside, so I
peered out of the bedroom window and to my
surprise, the fat one had adopted a new tech-
nique and was repeatedly pushing at a waste
food bin on my driveway, surrounded by a few
of his mates to whom he appeared to be giving
a lesson in scrounging! To my astonishment, he
succeeded in knocking the bin over onto its side
with the contents spilling out across the drive-
way, at which point he began ripping open the
plastic bags we had so carefully tied up to con-
tain the very food scraps he was about to
savour! At that point I grabbed my dressing
gown and raced downstairs, successfully scaring
him and them off my land. My neighbours
didn’t say anything the following morning as I
cleared up the mess, but I’d love to know what
Call Sign May 2016
Page 26
Marc Turner (R97) is passionate about this trade and leads all the
trade demos from the front by banging his drum. He is unsurpris-
ingly known online as the Drumslayer...
Drumslayer says...
The last thing they really want is their
that I had at least put up one hell of a fight
workforce handling cash. Their surge pric-
before admitting defeat. It’s called pride and
ing will be fun when punters refuse to pay
that is a commodity that can't be bought.
cash fares reaching 3 or 4 times the normal
If there are any of you out there that don’t
have it, then you might as well hand your Badge
They must also be aware that the weekend
in at the first opportunity. Unless, of course, you
‘all night’ tube is due to start soon. Their
are one of those drivers who is secretly hoping
investors are probably becoming irritable... the
that others will fight your battle for you. I’ve
clock is ticking for Uber, with London having to
met some of them while getting soaked to the
be won at all costs because if they lose London,
skin, banging my drum on an infamous demo.
then their credibility is well and truly tainted.
A few were working and had the cheek to
We are the world’s last line of defence. The
give me a two finger insult while their fellow
Uber taking cash trips...
shame is the 20,000 deserters and conscien-
drivers were fighting for their future.
I personally think Uber are struggling big time,
tious objectors within our midst.
I’ve said it all along; it isn’t Boris, it isn’t TfL or
because we should have been killed off by now!
This war is winnable...!
Uber or Cameron who will be responsible for the
They no doubt had a 3 year plan to annihilate
demise of our trade. It’s our own 'cowardly' apa-
us, yet we're still here - albeit wounded and on
thy! In the doctored words of Lord Kitchener:
the ropes. So their new cash ploy is obviously
Regarding trade demos, the point is that our
designed to be the knockout blow, but they are
numbers across the trade make us a potent
running out of time.
force. I would rather lose this battle knowing
This war is winnable..
Jonathan Ross, the Editor’s sister-in-law and...
Long-time readers will know that Call Sign Editor, Alan Fisher, is the brother-in-law to Daphne Sherman and
that Daphne was the wife of one of the world’s most famous shirt producers... the man who made the but-
ton-down shirt famous, Ben Sherman!
If you are old enough to remember the early 1960s, you’ll know that before Ben came along, men wore either white
or blue shirts but thanks to Ben Sherman, shirts for teens suddenly filled with colour. All they had to do was to go to
Carnaby Street and visit Ben’s shop, while along the way they would also pop into “young people’s” shops such as Lord
John, I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet and Lady Jane.
These young people were to become known as Mods with Ben Sherman ‘button down’ shirts becoming their uniform.
Towards the end of the decade, the shirt was to become a symbol of the Skinhead culture - but either way, Ben Sherman
was laughing!
Now you can see what it was all about in an exhibition held at Camden’s Jewish Museum. According to
Jonathan Ross in his Radio 2 Arts Program when interviewing Daphne, the exhibition is amazing. You can see
for yourself until 19th June.
Moses, Mods and Mr Fish takes you on a journey from the tailoring workshops of the mid-19th century to the bou-
tique revolution and mod culture of the swinging ‘60s. For over 100 years, British menswear set trends which led the
world, with many of the most influential figures of the period being Jewish - from Montague Burton and Moses Moss
(Moss Bros) to Cecil Gee and Michael (Mr) Fish. Explore the changing male image and menswear revolution over a 150-
year period; from the 19th century formal silhouette through to the post-war period when young men stopped dressing
like their fathers, becoming detail-obsessed mods or flamboyant peacocks.
Discover more about menswear in the ‘60s; a time when swinging London was the most exciting fashion capital in the
Jonathan Ross with Daphne
world. You can explore the emergence of the mod movement and the fashion revolution that made Carnaby Street
Sherman - Mrs Button Down!
famous. See luxury clothes designed by Mr Fish, popular amongst young aristocrats and celebrities including David
Bowie and Mick Jagger. Featuring fashion, photography and memorabilia including John Lennon’s Cecil Gee suede
jacket, Moses, Mods and Mr Fish offers an unmissable opportunity to explore the menswear revolution and discover how it helped to create the high street we know today.
Daphne told Call Sign: “Nothing could beat actually being there, but Moses, Mods and Mr Fish certainly brought back the memories of an amazing period when Britain
ruled the fashion world...”
The exhibition runs until June 19th at the Jewish Museum, Albert Street NW1. Details at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/
Results of a complaints meeting that took place at DaC House on Tuesday 5 April 2016..
Name/call sign
Wayne Ford (N41)
Driver regularly soon to clears EC2 when true location is Friern Barnet
Rule 2: 1 week suspension
and New Southgate
Rule 11: 2 weeks susp.
Rules: 2, 11
John Sykes (S92)
Driver regularly books into E14, E14C, EC5 and EC2 from various locations
Rule 2: 1 week suspension
outside the correct booking-in procedure
Rule 11: 2 weeks susp.
Rules 2, 11
Darren Carter (K52)
Driver accepted an As Directed trip and then informed dispatch he was
Rule 5: 2 weeks suspension
unable to complete it. This caused a delay to client. The driver has used
Rule 12: 2 weeks susp.
excuses previously to not complete a trip
Rules 5, 12
Call Sign May 2016
Page 27
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 goes back over 60 years to February 1956 and a
Chairman’s Report from the strangely named ODRATS News…
From ODRATS News, February 1956…
Your ODRTS Chairman, Mr Martyn
Your Committee has decided that subscriptions will remain at
£1.18s.6d for the present but would still ask you to continue to not
put your meter on until your passenger has entered the taxi. This will
ensure that we build up a name as a good, trustworthy and reasonably
priced organisation. It will help to remove the myth that taxis are the
form of transport used by the upper class only.
Our aim must be to get everyone to use ODRTS taxis, which means that our prices must
be reasonable while at the same time our passengers must realise that although there is a
difference between ourselves and the number 653 London Transport trolleybus, the differ-
ence is not huge and well worth paying the extra.
We also have some advertising cards showing the cost of some longer jobs. Please
Two seconds cost Donald his ‘no
do not charge more than these prices as the passenger may pay on that occasion,
claim’ bonus!
but will not phone again. As an example, there is London Airport for £2, Gatwick
Airport for £3.7s.6d and the Royal Docks for £1.7s.6d.
Our dispatcher, Mr Defries (D03), has complained that some drivers are using profani-
When Call Sign met Donald
ties over the air and on one occasion a female telephonist overheard the driver. This is
Dacas (P76) on the road, he
unacceptable and I am asking you to remember who we are.
was in an uncharacteristical-
If any of your passengers enquire, yes, we still are members of the Holidays and Travel
ly sombre mood and not in
Association. We feel that the mentions we get from being a member outweighs the cost.
If you know of anyone who is interested in coming on to the ODRTS radio circuit,
his own cab.
let a committee member know. Fitting to our organisation is still free.
“My own silly fault,” Don admitted
My sincere thanks to Decca for sponsoring this newssheet. Many of you are now invest-
straightaway. “I rolled into the back of
ing in a television set and the choice of programmes is becoming very exciting.
another cab while looking at my Dial-a-
Bonnie Martyn, Chairman
Cab terminal. I simply wasn’t
- albeit for just two
Owner Drivers Radio Taxi Society
172 Pentonville Road, London N1, Phone TERminus 6444
seconds. But that’s all it takes I guess,”
he said rather sadly.
“I was moving slowly in traffic when
my MDT sounded off. I glanced down
Are you still watching television on a postage-sized screen?
momentarily to check the message and
Is it 8inches? Perhaps 10inches?
in that tiny space of time, the cab in
front of me had stopped... and I didn’t!
You can now watch your television on a huge Decca 12inch!
Easily done I know and I should have
known better, but we’ve all done it and
You all know us. Just imagine…
it’s not clever!
“Now I’m using a non radio cab while
A huge 12inch screen to entertain you this winter
mine is being repaired and I really miss
See you soon (next to Whitechapel Station)
the MDT, not only for the work, but for
Wally for Wireless, Whitechapel Rd, E1
the traffic info, other advisory messages
and of course the instant mapping
access. Not to mention ‘goodbye’ to my
insurance ‘no claim’ bonus.
“So maybe you can put a mention in
Call Sign about the dangers of not
concentrating on the job in hand and
driving safely. Yes, it’s obvious I know,
but I see other cabs with all sorts of
devices on the dash and I’m sure they
must distract drivers for that split
second... and that’s all it takes for
disaster,” Don suggested.
“You see PH cars with drivers
fingering their satnav and other devices
all the time, so I can’t imagine how scary
it must be for passengers sitting in the
back while the driver inputs details into
the electronics, meaning he has taken
his eyes off the road. It really is
important to get the message out there,
choose your moment to check...”
With that, Donald drove off
carefully... mirror, signal, manoeuvre!!!
Call Sign May 2016
Page 28
When people were asked about
boxing, they would traditionally
DaC driver getting
think of ‘rags to riches’ stories,
men fighting their way out of
people fighting fit!
poverty to fame and wealth -
stories made famous in movies
DaC driver and boxing ref-
like Rocky, Raging Ball and The
eree, Gary Bedford, is now
Fighter. However, times are
running boxing classes
changing and boxing is becom-
ing one of the fastest growing
“I love training people. I have
coached kids all the way up to
and most popular workout
being notable fighters in the
regimes for men and women of
IBA.” When asked who the class-
all ages and backgrounds.
es are aimed at Gary simply said:
Taking advantage of this new
“The beauty of boxing is that
trend is Dial-a-Cab driver, Gary
anyone can do it. If you have never
Bedford (T39).
put a glove on before in your life,
Having been involved in the noble art for
it really doesn’t matter. These
the past 40 years as a fighter, trainer and ref-
classes are aimed at beginners,
eree, Gary has decided to bring his wealth of
right through to accomplished
knowledge and experience to the ring once
boxers. My aim is to give people
more. He told Call Sign:
organisation because as he says, it allows the
from all walks of life the chance to
“I love the sport and couldn’t let an oppor-
average person to fulfil their dream and box
get fit whilst working at their own pace and abil-
tunity go to pass on my knowledge and train
in front of a crowd.
ity in a fun and friendly environment.”
others interested in getting fit through box-
Gary passed the Knowledge of London
The classes are at West Thurrock Boxing
nearly 30 years ago, has been on DaC since
& Fitness Gymnasium in Grays. He will
The opportunity arose because of Gary’s
2000 and knows the importance of keeping
hold two classes every Saturday, the first
link to the IBA, an independent semi-profes-
fit and exercising as a London taxi driver. He
starting at 10am through to 11.15am; the
sional boxing circuit that has opened a new
says that a healthy body gives you a healthy
second from 11.30am till 12.45pm. Each
gym in West Thurrock, where Gary will be
mind to help cope with the challenges of our
session costs £7 and anyone over 16 is
holding boxing fitness classes every Saturday.
stressful job. Gary has been training fighters
Gary has been refereeing for the IBA for the
ever since his amateur career of 25 bouts
For more information contact Gary on
past 20 years and has great respect for the
came to an end.
07811 965 176 and see ad on page 20...
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union AGM
Held on 13th April 2016, the DACCU directors opened the meeting
and once again told those present, including Call Sign, how suc-
cessful our CU is, in fact one of the most successful in the country!
Minutes of the previous AGM were read and agreed before President Terry Dodd
thanked everyone connected with DACCU for their help in running the credit union
during the year and said that it had enjoyed a good year considering the state of the
taxi trade during the past 12 months.
Treasurer Brian Flanagan had a brief report and the meeting moved to the Auditors
report presented again by Terry MacPherson of Appleby & Wood, who confirmed
the President’s view that the CU had enjoyed another successful year. He said that
loan interest had increased, the number of loans had gone up and a good surplus
was transferred to DACCU’s reserves. Terry then spoke of upcoming increases to the
capital to asset requirements for all CU’s as set by the PRA, explaining that as from
2018 credit unions of our size would need an 8 percent minimum ratio, plus 2 per-
cent buffer making a total of 10 percent needed. DACCU currently has 6.4 percent, which Terry said was fine at this
time. The accounts were passed unanimously.
Next was a discussion about a proposed 1 percent dividend. Terry Dodd said that due to the upcoming
PRA increases and the fact that a 1 percent dividend would cost over £30k, he recommended that all sur-
plus funds be put into raising the reserves to the upcoming increased requirements amount. Terry pro-
posed no dividend and it was passed unanimously.
The Loans and Supervisory committees gave reports that everything was running well. That was followed by a unani-
mous acceptance that Appleby & Wood should remain as DACCU accountants.
Finally there was a request for younger members to put themselves forward for positions on the committee as the
board were not getting any younger! They said that members are always welcome to aid in the administration of the
credit union.
Call Sign May 2016
Page 29
Either write to Call Sign at
Dial-a-Cab House
or email us at
Sharing the proceeds
Brian Rice replies: Mick, firstly let me
Mayoral candidates. As for the PS, no I
Hi Alan
stress that I am not a meter man, but I
haven’t heard that and I’d be amazed if
I was talking to my wife about retirement
was under the impression that Rate 1
it wasn’t just another unfounded
and she seems to think Call Sign reported
changed at £17.80, before going onto ‘fast
that if a driver retires, handing in his/her
clock’ Rate 4. I also believe that Rate 2
badge and bill, that said driver would be
should change at £21.40 and Rate 3 at
PEDs and safety...
entitled to a proportion of the proceeds
£26.00. So I’m not sure I agree with you
Just read two Call Sign articles about PEDs
from the sale of DaC House. Was my wife
regarding Rate
4 pushing up daytime
in the April issue by both Brian Rice and
right or is this still to be decided.
fares, because if as should happen and
yourself regarding safety issues. Apart from
Paul Tully (Y40)
you stay on Rate 1 until you have actually
the obvious dangers, imagine a situation
Hi Paul, Several drivers have asked sim-
travelled 6 miles, then (with all the traf-
where a drunken woman says she is unable
ilar questions, so here goes. What I
fic) you are on £2.59p per mile (£3.19 on
to use the PED. Because of her state, there
think your wife is referring to came
Rate 2 and £3.96 on Rate 3) instead of
is no way a driver should be in the back of
from the 6 page AGM report in the
Rate 4 which is £3.70p per mile, so I
the cab in any situation, especially a male
March issue. What it said was that if we
believe most fares would be cheaper.
driver in the above scenario...
were to sell the building, before doing
Hence this appears to be a fare decrease
Malcolm Levan (F24)
so we would have to demutualise. It was
rather than an increase. I hope that
We all know that - it’s TfL that don’t
makes sense, Mick...
then put forward by the drivers attend-
seem to understand ...Ed
ing that anyone who retired AFTER we
had demutualised, should still be eligi-
Even upside-down,
ble for a share of any profits. However,
Nash’s Numbers
Uber are on the make!
Hi Alan
that would only apply after we demutu-
Hi Alan
I look forward to Nash’s Numbers each
alised and I have heard of no immediate
On our news broadcast tonight, we have
month as it’s a real boon knowing what’s
plans to do so - although I doubt that
heard that Uber users have been having their
on and the finishing times - especially
I’d be the first to know anyway! But it
accounts hacked (surprise surprise)! One
when it is as quiet as it is at the moment. So
looks like that retirement may have to
unfortunate woman had A$7000 taken fol-
when I opened the April Call Sign and saw
be delayed Paul! ...Ed
lowing one trip in an Uber car. I have already
a ‘what’s on’ guide, I photocopied it and
posted on Australian chat sites about this
left it in the cab as I usually do. It was only
happening in the UK...
Is the new increase a
when I saw Arsenal v Liverpool on Saturday
Howard Sales (Ex-A11)
4 April with a 2.30 kick off that I became
Brisbane, Australia
suspicious as the 4th was a Tuesday and
For those that don’t remember Howard,
Hi Alan
he was one of DaC’s driver-trainers at the
besides that, they played that fixture back
There seems to be some confusion over the
in August with a 0 - 0 scoreline. So all I
time we first went over to data dispatch in
new tariff. Previously the meter changed to
1988. He later emigrated to Australia but
could think of was that this was an April
the ‘fast clock’ Tariff 4 at a fixed fare point.
keeps in touch via Call Sign Online ...Ed
Fool’s gag, but if so, as I received the mag-
Last year for Tariff 1 it was £17.40 so that if
azine on 31 March, it wasn’t a very-well
you were kept waiting or there was conges-
thought out one!
Moving home
tion (when isn't there congestion!) the
Alex Constantinou (N05)
Now that the London and Frankfurt’s stock
meter changed to ‘fast clock’ well before 6
I was absolutely inundated with phone
exchanges have merged, how long do you
miles were covered. The changeover is now
calls, emails and text messages follow-
think it will take the whole banking industry
at £18.40 which refers to Tariff 1. I don't
ing the April issue when it turned out
to move to Frankfurt? How long will banks
know the amounts for Tariff 2 and 3 as they
that Alan Nash had accidentally sent the
put up with journeys from Manchester to
are no longer shown on the TfL website,
April 2015 Nash’s Numbers! Alan called
Euston being faster than those from Euston
which now just shows the changeover at 6
me as soon as he realised and gave me a
to the City? If Mayoral candidates are serious
link to the correct column, which we
about pedal bike safety, they should enact the
TfL have decided that from 2nd April this
sent out via driver terminals. As this is
year, Tariff 4 should only start when a dis-
his first mistake in around 19 years of
a) All cyclists to wear helmets
tance of 6 miles is covered, with their web-
‘Numbers’ I have forgiven him - provid-
b) Ban cyclists wearing of headphones,
site showing Tariff
4 starting at
ing he doesn’t mention Arsenal again!
otherwise how can they hear the traffic
metres - or 6 miles in old money. However,
around them?
since the meter change my clock is chang-
c) Cyclists must be prosecuted if caught on
ing to Tariff 4 after £18.40 regardless of dis-
their phone or texting while riding.
Gett acquisition
tance. So either the tariff rates set out on
What is more important to the country:
I recently heard that Gett have announced
the TfL website are wrong or my meter is
The city of London or the cyclist?
the acquisition of Radio Taxis. There is
wrong. They can’t both be right.
PS. Sometime ago I emailed the EU re Uber.
supposedly an offer on the table for DaC
Tariff 4 has implications for us as it really
It would appear that things have moved
that many of us assumed was from Gett! If
pushes daytime fares up and I remember
on and that under EU competition law, Uber
not - which seems to be the case - then
Brian saying that it was a problem at the
is illegal. All it takes is for an organisation to
who is it and is the offer still there?
AGM. A lot of drivers don't even know it
complain to the EU - but it must be an organ-
Martin Hizer (M47)
exists as it is no longer made explicit on the
isation. Have you heard anything?
Brian Rice replies: No, Martin, it wasn’t
fare chart. Perhaps you could shed some
Stephen Field (F99)
from Gett; we would be far more expen-
light on this?
Stephen’s letter was forwarded to all the
sive than RTG purely due to our assets.
Mick Kennedy (M30)
Call Sign May 2016
Page 30
There was an offer on the table for us,
Regarding your suggestion of 50p per
but when I had the building valued and
trip, Dave, the problem is that the larger
it came to £17.9m for just the building,
the amount, the more we have to pay as a
it sort of dampened their desire a little.
Merchant Fee; for instance Amex charge
However, is the offer still there? Well it
2.85 per cent so on a £70 trip to the
could be, but the approach would have
Airport, we would have to pay Amex a
to be a little different. Who is it? Not
fraction under £2 and if we only received
I believe that Grant's problem underlines
going to tell you!
50p from you, then you can see our
the importance of not relying on just the
predicament, bearing in mind the PED’s
DaC terminal as I'm sorry to say that it can
cost £219 each.
sometimes be unreliable due to bad sig-
Also Dave, I think you will find in the
LBC is constantly harping on at why
nals. I have a back-up hand-held terminal
future that many more members of the
Donald Trump is so popular with the
that I use and would advise all of my col-
public will start to use cards; we have
masses. It’s obvious; red capitalism is not
leagues to also have a second credit card
taken a bit of a gamble on the way in
working! The rich are getting richer and
processing facility as a back-up.
which we have priced this because we
the poor poorer - an ever-increasing pool
Yaqub Rafiq (O28)
just don’t know what the ‘take-up’ will be
of cheap labour. Uber is the classic self-per-
See Allan Evans reply below ...Ed
with cards. It could be that the above sce-
petuating American business model. The
nario will suit you fine, so let’s give it a
more successful the company, the less the
while to see how things progress.
Credit card signals
drivers earn!
There are far too many of them in
Hello Alan
On hearing of the card charge being
London now, with increasing instances of
Credit Card holidays
drivers filling up in garages and not being
Hi Alan
dropped in favour of a daily charge, I was a
able to pay! I have evidence of this...
Just a quick note to see if any discussion has
bit unsure. Then I read the letter from
David Heath (Ex-W27)
taken place with the Board regarding a holi-
Helen Chapman at LTPH stating that the
Portslade, East Sussex
day break in credit card charges for drivers,
flagfall is being raised by 20p and there is
as I think it is unfair for us to have to pay this
also an overall increase of 1.6% on the rate,
which made me feel happier. Then the next
charge when on holiday and not working. I
Credit Card holidays
think a 4-week break in charges would be fair
street card job I got asked me to add a
Dear Brian
pound tip to the fare, which I did not feel at
for all drivers. Can you perhaps discuss this
I refer to your article in April’s Call Sign
with the Board and please let me have their
all guilty of doing with the Credit Card
regarding TfL now insisting that all card
charge having been dropped.
response. Many thanks...
readers be installed in the back of all cabs
Trevor Wright (G13)
But then I read Brian Rice's monthly
even though you have paperwork from 20ll
report saying the
20p flagfall may be
agreeing they could go in the front. If this
See Allan Evans reply below ...Ed
dropped in a years’ time, so now I'm not so
is the case, I feel that we should not have to
sure again! I went back to Helen Chapman’s
bear the cost and should bill TfL £7,000 at
Credit Card holidays
letter to verify if this was true and could not
£50 per cab for 1400 cabs’ installation. We
see any mention of it being reviewed in a
should give them a response time and if
I write with some concern regarding the
years’ time. Where did Brian get that info
they don't respond as they normally don’t,
implementation of the credit card facility and
from? That aside, if CC jobs increase in num-
we should seriously consider taking them
the proposed charges from DaC. Could you
ber, our biggest problem could be losing the
to the County Court. I'm sick and tired of
find out for me if, when taking holiday breaks
signal when clearing a card job if the passen-
TfL’s big brother tactics in trying to bring
for a set period, DaC still intend to charge for
ger has no other way to pay. That happened
the cab trade down.
the use of the facility even though no credit
to me recently when I accepted a street trip
While I'm on, I know you are trying hard
card charges will be accepted during that
paying by CC. When we arrived at the desti-
to please everyone regarding the £7 credit
time? We currently pay a regular weekly
nation, the terminal would not print a
card charge, but I feel it is unfair to some-
charge for the use of the DaC terminal that
receipt and therefore the job could not be
one like me who only works 5 mornings a
has always been inclusive of the credit card
authorised and cleared. The customer had
week and some weeks don’t even do a
no cash and was in a hurry to get to a meet-
credit card job. I’m sure there are a lot of
There are other points regarding condi-
ing so I had to let her go and suffer the loss.
other drivers in the same position, so in
tions of fitness and TfL rules that apply to all
In future, how should I deal with this to
cases like mine why can't we just have a
cab drivers and I have written to TfL asking
make sure I do not lose out again...?
small fee ie 50p each time the credit card is
them to clarify certain points to me as a mat-
Francis Robinson G18
used. Otherwise I feel I’m paying out for
ter of urgency ie contact with passengers,
Allan Evans responds: Trevor, Peter and
nothing. As you know, Brian, things are
failure of terminals, credit card declines,
dead signal areas etc. Should I receive a reply
Francis, within a week of the new
hard enough at the moment without added
(not expected) I will forward a copy to Call
charges starting we saw a considerable
expense. I look forward to hearing your
increase in Credit Cards being processed
Peter Dunne (A25)
through the DaC system. As a Board, we
Dave Bull (D33)
See Allan Evans reply below ...Ed
have tried to make the charges fair for
Brian Rice replies: The last eight years
everyone and in comparison to other
seem to have flown by and it’s nice to
systems that are on the market, the
see you are still punching above your
Signals and camaraderie...
weekly cost seems more than favourable
weight Dave, although anyone else read-
Hi Alan
- especially considering the steady rise
ing this - other than you and I - will not
I refer to the article 'Camaraderie? Not here
in the numbers that are now being
have a clue what I’m talking about!
mate!' in the April edition of Call Sign. I
processed free of any other additional
Regarding TfL, I couldn’t agree with
sympathise with Grant Adams (E84) about
costs to each member.
you more. Someone, somewhere will
the stressful situation he faced with the fail-
I would suggest that drivers also carry
have to stand up to them, however, if I
ure of his terminal to process a credit card
the old style manual receipts pads just in
did bill them as you suggest then 1400
payment at Stansted Airport. I would cer-
case of signal problems. You could even
cabs at £50 would come to £70,000 and
tainly have helped him had I been there,
consider having a hand-held backup sys-
not £7,000 as you suggest. I wouldn’t let
unlike the other uninterested Dial-a-Cab
tem as a last resort as Yaqub suggests.
them off as lightly as you!
The current charges are not set in
Call Sign May 2016
Page 31
stone but until we’ve had a longer period
for uptake in work is not happening and will
to judge and monitor card usage, the
probably not happen.
Board believe that the present charges
I firmly believe that the time has come to call
are more than fair.
an EGM to consult with the membership
Ed’s note: Re. the 20p. Brian Rice told Call
whether we should begin the process of demu-
Sign that the information came from TfL’s
tualisation and prepare for a considerable
Strategy and Infrastructure Manager,
downsizing exercise as mentioned at the AGM.
early days and it will be closely m
Darren Crowson and Tom Moody, the
In regard to the credit card situation, could
Head of Policy and Service Development.
we now get pre-authorisation before the jour-
As for fixed prices, it’s true that the
ney begins as I feel we could be open to con-
fares are competitive, but we have now
siderable abuse.
seen an increase in all airports and trips
Paul Hammett (V42)
to and from locations over a twenty mile
Dear Alan
distance, which was not the case a year
Allan Evans replies: Having read your let-
I feel compelled to write to you with regard
ter with interest, Paul, there are a few
ago. I speak to more members than most
to our financial situation. We are paying £12
points I’d like to clarify. You have includ-
and they understand the reasons for
subs, £8.40 credit card, £2 paper statements
ed the VAT in your calculations and unfor-
offering prices that will allow them the
(unless you take them online) and 9% on
tunately, as a Society, by law we have to
chance of longer trips that previously
jobs. If drivers on average take £200 per
include those charges. TfL have made
went into cars, which incidentally is also
week, we are now paying £40.40p per week
credit card acceptance compulsory and
the choice of many account clients.
to Dial-a-Cab. We are also losing 30% on
the £1 per day charge that members pay
Regarding pre-authorisations for credit
fixed prices, our gratuities are going and our
is more than favourable, certainly when
cards, our IT department has been talking
run-ins are being reduced. We are being
comparing it with the alternatives out
to Igenico for many months and the soft-
forced to accept credit cards at our own cost
there in the market place. We have
ware is now ready to go, but we do have
and with TfL licensing all-comers, our huge
already seen a 25 percent increase in
to go through a detailed accreditation
loss of work leaves us in a very precarious
credit card usage and I’m sure this will
with Barclaycard before any final imple-
position. When Mike Tovey was asked at the
steadily rise in the coming months. If you
mentation. Pre-auths had been only for
AGM how long he thought these losses
factor in the 20p extra on each flag fall
hotels and car hire companies previously.
could be sustained, he said that in his opin-
and the fact that you now pay no process-
There were three main points raised at
ion it could be around five years. Any com-
ing fee on any street credit card hiring
the last AGM and the Chairman will be
mercial concern would be considering what
through DaC, at this particular time the
writing to each member in due course
sensible steps could be taken, as the hoped-
BoM feel it is more than fair - but it’s still
and taking the necessary steps thereafter.
The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine...
Charles Dickens Museum 48 Doughty Street, WC1: 3 May - 20 November 2016
A new exhibition will aim to debunk a series of myths surrounding the life of Catherine Dickens, wife of
Charles Dickens. The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine, guest curated by Professor Lillian Nayder
and based on her 2011 biography of Catherine, will use a combination of rarely-seen exhibits, including many
personal items and letters to present an accurate picture of a woman who met Charles Dickens in her teens and
whose own character and achievements remain in his shadow.
The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine takes place at Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty
Street, the London townhouse where Dickens completed The Pickwick Papers and wrote Oliver Twist
and Nicholas Nickleby. It runs from 3 May - 20 November 2016.
As Charles Dickens’s fame grew quickly following the successive publications of the three novels listed above,
Catherine found herself existing increasingly in his shadow, her own identity defined by that of her husband.
The exhibition will celebrate Catherine’s life at Doughty Street, adding significant detail to a name only known
through the achievements and actions of Charles Dickens.
Catherine Hogarth married Charles Dickens in 1836. They lived together for the next 22 years, Catherine
having ten children (two of whom were born at Doughty Street) in the first sixteen of those years, as well as
travelling to America and living abroad. When they separated, Catherine moved to 70 Gloucester Crescent, Regent’s Park, where she stayed for
21 years - outliving Charles by nearly a decade. During this time, Charles Dickens painted a harshly negative portrait of his wife, suggesting
that Catherine was constantly depressed and an uncaring, unfit mother.
Addressing this issue, the exhibition will help to build a more rounded picture of a Victorian woman devoted to her children and part of a
lively social group, who enjoyed frequent visits to the theatre, concerts and late-night parties. Catherine was also a published writer; her popu-
lar cookbook, What Shall We Have for Dinner ran into several editions.
Working its way through Catherine and Charles’s home, the exhibition will explore Catherine’s childhood in Scotland, her relationship with
her sisters, the role she played in Charles’s success, her place in London’s literary scene and her musical and needlework skills. It reflects on her
experience of motherhood, as well as the effect of the loss of three of her children.
With the support of a Grant from Arts Council England, the Museum has commissioned sound artist Felicity Ford to make
Hearing Catherine, a collection of six new works which will bring Catherine’s voice back to Doughty Street. Introduced through-
out the exhibition, a subtle combination of spoken word, music and field recordings will use Catherine’s own words to give her a
presence and build something of the atmosphere that she would have known in the family home. Among the music will be
pieces by Catherine’s father, George Hogarth, while recordings will include sounds from around Catherine’s gravesite. Catherine’s
words will be taken from her letters, her published cookbook and lists and notes she kept at Doughty Street.
Among the many exhibits is her jewellery including her engagement ring, Samuel Lawrence portraits of Catherine and Charles and an 1858
draft deed of separation as well as illuminated extracts from Catherine’s last will and testament.
The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine will be open from 3 May - 20 November 2016. Opening times are Tuesday to Sunday
10am-5pm (last admission 4pm). It is closed on Mondays.
Adults £9, concessions £6, children (6-16)
£4, under 6 are free.
More info: www.dickensmuseum.com, 020 7405 2127, events@dickensmuseum.com