September 2016
< Go Back
Brian Rice on a “trade unity” shocker! See page 4
Call Sign September 2016
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
Whilst work should soon be on the up again as schools go back, again here is your ‘What’s On’ guide for
September. It lists only events where the ‘Burst’ or ‘Finish’ times are known. Another 140 events - plus those
below in larger print and with the day of the week - can be printed off at
Call Sign September 2016
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
The Mayor’s extra
character was hatching! Sad or what!!!
No brainer?
Compliance Officers
A DaC driver recently sent me a copy of the Kent
I’ve seen some of the anti-comments regarding
Messenger letters page where someone was writ-
the Mayor’s recent announcement that he is qua-
ing about the merits of Uber. They obviously
drupling the number of Compliance Officers out
knew a bit about London taxi/private hire prices
and about in town. These are the officers whose
and methods of operation, because after going
job it is to tackle touting and any illegal activity
into some detail about Medway cabs, they then
affecting the taxi and private hire trades. Mayor
aimed their ire at London before looking at TfL’s
Khan said that by this time next year, the total of
court case on smartphone/meters and the private
CO’s will increase from 82 and go up to 332 - an
prosecutions by the LTDA against individual Uber
extra 250 officers.
drivers using the smartphone app.
That is something we have been asking for over
He then said that he had used Uber cars twice in
many years and indeed, even the Evening
London and found them to be “cheap, efficient
Standard approved of the additional Officers
and punctual,” before adding how delighted he
with both mainstream TV channels reporting on
was that there was no “quandary” about needing
the decision. We should welcome it and indeed,
to tip drivers - obviously painting himself as the last
the LTDA’s Steve McNamara was on TV within
come it is and for our trade organisations to
of the big spenders! But of course, that’s his
hours saying that it was a step in the right direc-
have a meeting with him to explain the situa-
tion... and indeed it is.
tion. He appears to be a man of integrity and
But he then wrote about his daughter-in-law
The Mayor promised that he would protect this
if the e-hailing situation is explained careful-
who he said sometimes worked unsociable hours
trade when he was electioneering and for once,
ly, he should agree with us as well...
at her central London office. She, the writer said,
someone in that position has kept his word and I
had used Uber several times when there was no
applaud that. How can anyone disagree with him
Jump start
other way of getting to her home in south London
when he says that he wants Londoners to feel safe
I know that you will probably call me nasty after
and added that the prices for the trip were £50 in
when they take a taxi or minicab and that’s why
reading this, but hey-ho... if you dish it out etc!
a taxi, £30 in a minicab and £18 with Uber. He said:
he is targeting touts and illegal activities. Of
So, I was just going to pick up an account ride
“I think that's what's called a no-brainer.”
course, not all PH companies are delighted
from Savoy Place close to the Savoy Hotel, when
Almost right, Mr Whoever U Are, except that I
because it is they who are funding it via increased
a familiar call hit my ears: “Taxi!” I looked around
don’t call it a no-brainer - more like no brains. Why?
licence fees.
and suddenly a foreign sounding gentleman
Well your daughter-in-law is travelling with a com-
Mayor Khan then added that extra COs is
jumped in front of my cab.
pany that had 32 rapes allegedly carried out by its
the first part of a wider programme that
“Please, you give my minicab a jump start and I
drivers in the 12 months ending in February 2016;
would drive up standards in the industry
pay you. I have people in back and they wait to go
or how about the 154 sex assaults by PH drivers
“...and help our world famous cabbies contin-
but battery is flat.” I looked at him and then at his
with very few of the reported attacks seemingly car-
ue to thrive.”
ried out by the more reputable PH companies.
But there is one thing that hasn’t been men-
“Ok,” says I, “I have 10 minutes before I’m
Or what about the article in the Evening
tioned and that is the problem of e-hailing. Only
scheduled to pick up my job. It will be £50,” said
Standard on Frances Carbines, the British
taxis can ply for hire and that is why we spend so
this DaC driver. Suddenly the minicab driver’s
Council worker who had a nightmare trip with
long doing the Knowledge. Yes, technology is
English improved greatly.
an Uber driver who dumped her on a dual car-
moving at lightning speed, but just because we
“Fifty quid? Are you ‘effinwell joking?”
riageway after she feared he would attack her?
can control our bank accounts via a smartphone
“Yes,” says I, “I really was joking...” And with that
If your daughter-in-law has problems getting a
doesn’t mean it’s ok to go into someone else’s
I drove off to my pick-up, preferring to glance
taxi or minicab and that’s why she uses Uber, then
account. It doesn’t mean you can use someone
through the Evening Standard!!!
I’d be really sorry to hear that; but if saving money
else’s debit card because it has a contactless facil-
is the prime objective then surely that saving needs
ity. But it seems that even though private hire are
Pokemon Go tours???
to be put against any possible danger.
not allowed to ply for hire because it’s against all
Some weeks ago, two of my grandchildren,
I don’t think that Mr Whoever U Are is quite the
regulations connected to this trade, that so-called
Samuel and Imogen, dragged me out of the
expert he purports to be and I would suggest his
e-hailing is ok because according to Leon
house and took me to streets that I had never
daughter-in-law, who probably has far more com-
Daniels, technology has moved on. Yes, that’s the
been down in six years at my current residence.
mon sense than her dad-in-law if her problem is a
same Leon Daniels who is still apparently TfL's
Why? I thought they just wanted a walk, but no,
lack of availability rather than price, should get in
Managing Director of Surface Transport, even
they had seen some Pokemon Go characters
touch with Keith Cain at Dial-a-Cab, open an
though he seemed to vanish from the scene fol-
nearby on their smartphones and “needed” to
account and get a fixed price for her occasional
lowing a Freedom of Information request that
catch them.
trips to home. In fact - and I don’t say this very
purportedly showed him making 24 calls to
The following day I went to work and it was
often - I’d rather she used a reputable PH company
Uber’s Jo Bertram between June 2014 and April
stone dead! Yes, school holiday time hadn’t let us
if she doesn’t want a taxi company... anything but
down again! But whilst I was roasting on the
Uber. Now that is a no-brainer... especially when
Technology may well have moved on, but if
Kings Cross rank, I saw this little character in my
you look at the possible alternatives.
I look at my phone to see where empty Uber
head and wondered whether anyone had thought
cars are and then call one, that is plying for
of advertising Pokemon Go tours where you could
Sad Uber tale
hire. Technology doesn’t come into the equa-
hire yourself out at an hourly rate and just follow
Uber has apparently complained that the new
instructions as to where your passengers need to
English language requirement rule is harder to get
Incidentally, the FoI request also pointed to
go to catch these little Pokemons.
through than the test for British Citizenship and
another 31 calls made from TfL mobile phones
It turns out that it already happens! Taxi and PH
that it’s also easier to become a tube driver! I don’t
between December 2014 and April
firms around the country offer tours - some at £10
use the Underground very often but I know who I
Perhaps the total of 55 calls were just to enquire
an hour per person with a minimum of three per
would feel safer with should I ever need to call an
how Ms Bertram was, I really don’t care if they
cab, while others offer an all-in rate. Edinburgh
Uber car or use the tube. The ‘appers’ also moan
called 8000 times, plying for hire does not come
Taxis will take players at a low rate of £15 per
that it’s wrong that part-time drivers should need
into the realm of technology - unless it also
hour, whilst a Middlesbrough cab company do it
full-time commercial insurance regardless of
becomes legal to rob a bank provided that you do
for £20 per hour. Apparently these Pokeys turn up
whether they are working as an Uber driver. They
it via your phone.
at regular places and the tours tend to follow sim-
want drivers to insure themselves only on the days
So, yes, I think the increase in Compliance
ilar routes.
they work... but they promise to do it... honest!!!
Officers is excellent news and I thank the
I must be getting old because I remember a
Now Uber is demanding a Judicial Review.
Mayor for being the first to keep a promise.
time when people just put their hands out to get
Don’t you feel sorry for them?
What we now need is not public criticism say-
a cab from A to B and nowhere along the route did
Alan Fisher
ing what he hasn’t done, but to say how wel-
any passenger ever mention that a Pokemon Go
Call Sign August 2016
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
ting around the table with Dial-a-Cab were our
Demutualisation Update
competition, but we knew how important it was
Although I am going to give you the latest update
for the trade to put on a united face and appear
regarding the demutualisation process, you must
united. Silly us!
bear in mind that things could change slightly
The London licensed taxi industry is in dire
over the next few weeks. However, this is the cur-
straits, yet those representatives from the var-
rent position as it stands at the time of writing.
ious driver organisations could not bring
I intend sending all “eligible Members” a
themselves to at least attempt to present a
bundle during the first week of September. It
united front to TfL. These so-called trade lead-
will contain two booklets; the first is a circu-
ers would rather splinter our trade just so
lar entitled the
“Proposed Conversion of
they can preserve their dwindling power and
ODRTS” which provides details of the propos-
respectability - there can’t be too much of
als, while the second is a
“Questions &
that left!
Answers” booklet, which will hopefully
What have these political driver orgs actually
answer some of the questions Members may
done for our trade over the past few years? The
have. There will also be a covering letter to
As some of you may be aware, any increase is
answer is absolutely nothing; they have allowed
you from me and three coloured forms.
calculated via the Cost Index, which is basically a
almost 110,000 minicab licences to come to
The Green and the Yellow forms will be Proxy
basket of items that affect you such as servicing,
fruition; they have allowed Uber to flourish; they
voting forms for eligible Members to use in
meter hire, tyres and the cost of the vehicle etc.
have allowed Cycle Superhighways to be
respect of the two Special General Meetings
Not only was the fare increase due to be dis-
brought into being and have done absolutely
required should they wish to give their vote to a
cussed, but also the actual content of the Cost
nothing about pedicabs.
colleague or give their vote to me. With both sce-
Index to see whether it is still relevant to the cur-
I have no alternative other than to assume and
narios, they will have to instruct either the col-
rent situation. In my view, that meant that it was
come to the conclusion that some of these main-
league or myself as to which way to vote on their
an important discussion and one that the whole
stream driver orgs are totally impotent and only
behalf - that will be either for or against the res-
trade should consider.
interested in their own self-preservation. Of
olution to demutualise.
As I got there, ComCab had just arrived as
course, their leaders will do well while their mem-
Also on the Green form - assuming that the
had Radio Taxis, Gett and Hailo. With
bers get constantly bombarded with schemes that
relevant Member is voting by Proxy - is the
London’s traffic often causing havoc, I
involve buying policies of various assortments
opportunity to vote for three of your current
assumed that the trade organisations were
against ill-health. Well I suppose they have to do
five Board Members who will, if the
just running late and I casually enquired if
something! There are online groups doing more
Membership agrees with the demutualisation,
anyone had heard from them and how late
that these mainline orgs are doing between them.
then go forward to become Directors (togeth-
they would be. To say I was astounded
But I’m not being fair because I should have
er with me as Chairman) of the new organisa-
would be an understatement when TfL
pointed out that there is one instance where
tion. I should point out that Members do not
informed everyone present that these very
they can really show their muscle. That is by
have to vote for three, but UP TO three.
trade orgs that so often criticise each other
refusing to sit around the table with col-
Should the Society demutualise, the Pink form
for disrupting any hope of trade unity, were
leagues from their own industry!
then becomes extremely important as eligible
not coming as they all refused to sit around
This failure to attend not only shows how impo-
Members need to complete that form in order to
the table with the Radio Circuits and Apps.
tent they are, but how downright rude and that
receive their shares in the new organisation. If
As I write this, I still find it hard to believe
any concern they have for their own industry
they do not complete that form, they will not
that it actually happened!
involves just them. It’s just a case of my dad is big-
receive any shares and will only receive their orig-
Who do these people representing the driver
ger than your dad!
inal £50 back. So as you can see, it is absolutely
orgs think they are? Well, they obviously consider
Trade unity? What trade unity... they are just
imperative that they complete and return the
that they are far too important to sit down with
absolutely pathetic...
form if they want to receive shares.
the rest of us in a joint uniformed approach to
I have used the phrase “eligible Members”
Brian Rice
TfL! As a result, TfL had to have two meetings with
above. This is because as per the waiver, which
the trade - one with the driver orgs and one with
new joiners have been asked to sign since the
the rest of us ie radio circuits and apps. Those sit-
arrangement was introduced in 2008, Members
who have been fully paid-up Members for less
than two years on the date of the notice to con-
vene the first meeting will not be entitled to par-
ticipate in the meetings or receive shares on the
demutualisation. Instead, should demutualisa-
tion proceed, those Members will cease to be
Members and will receive back their £50 member-
ship fee. They will, however, remain drivers on
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
the circuit.
As I wrote at the beginning, the above scenario
will hopefully be the order of events, but because
Tel: 01708 553037
I am compiling it approximately one month
before the first meeting is scheduled, events
could change slightly but I am keen to give you
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
some idea of what will be happening.
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
I have purposely not included the proposed
dates of the two meetings as they could be
TX4 servicing from £90
subject to change, but both meetings will be
All Work Undertaken
held on a Sunday.
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
Unity? What unity...
All TX1, TX2, TX4
On Monday 8th August I attended a Transport
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
for London fares review at Blackfriars Road;
the purpose of the meeting was to discuss
Fax: 01708 551443
any fare increase that will come into effect
next April.
Call Sign September 2016
Page 5
ast month’s Call Sign published
details of the proposal put to
Oxford Street: Residents
London Assembly members by Val
Shawcross, London’s Deputy Mayor
for Transport, to pedestrianise Oxford Street
view of proposed closure...
by closing it to all traffic.
This followed a meeting in June when
London Assembly’s Transport
improve Oxford Street... but without
Committee heard from West End businesses, as
adding to the already high levels of pol-
well as TfL and Westminster City Council. All
lution and congestion in nearby streets.
three considered that the aim should be to
They suggested that Mayor Khan
reduce the traffic flow rather than banning it alto-
should look at reducing motor traffic in
gether because that would just move the prob-
the neighbouring areas and not just
lem to the surrounding streets such as Welbeck
Oxford Street. But they feared that Val
and Goodge Streets - a point that this magazine
Shawcross’ pedestrianisation sugges-
had emphasised when speaking to the walking
tion - pencilled in to take place piece-
charity that first proposed pedestrianisation of
meal over the next four years - would
Oxford Street, Living Streets. Quite astonishing-
push buses and taxis into diverting
ly they told us they hadn’t thought that far ahead!
along Wigmore Street, Mortimer
According to Val Shawcross, she doesn’t want
Street and Goodge Street.
to lose any resources overall for buses.
Wendy Shillam of the Fitzrovia
“But I can tell you,” she told the LA meeting,
West Neighbourhood Forum wrote to
“there is plenty of demand for more buses and
Val Shawcross saying that if pedestrian-
frequencies further out and so we have been
isation of Oxford Street resulted in a
looking at doing a very complex job of combing
permanent diversion of taxis and bus
the buses out. That would mean, basically, not
routes along neighbouring streets,
going to Westminster and saying that all those
1890 Oxford Circus and still solid with traffic!
then it would be devastating to the area
buses that are running this way are going to run
whereas Jace Tyrell of the New West
much more substantially - certainly in advance of
End Company which represents traders in
down Wigmore Street! What we are doing is
the opening of the Crossrail station in 2018
Oxford Street was cautious about the plans:
going back and saying that if we look at a heat
because there will be massive pedestrian conges-
“We look forward to seeing and discussing
map around Oxford Street for some distance, we
tion - but then to deliver on Oxford Street. That
detailed proposals for Oxford Street following
need to reduce the bus movements in that area
means more interchanges, turn-backs and
Ms Shawcross’s statements, but feel very strongly
changes to the routes, but it is a complex prob-
that any form of vehicle free zones must lead to a
lem because we also have to deliver people to
genuine reduction of traffic, rather than large
work and to shop at Oxford Street. As soon as
scale re-routing down smaller residential or com-
you start trying to plan buses in central London
mercial streets. In addition, it must be accompa-
around a smarter approach, it does liberate quite
nied by a full economic assessment to measure
a lot of thinking about giving ground back to
the impact on businesses and the shoppers and
pedestrians - not just in Oxford Street but in adja-
workers that travel to the West End every day via
cent areas and improving the public realm.”
public transport.”
for DaC
Since then, local residents have put their
Unsurprisingly, campaigners for a traffic-free
points of view to the Assembly, but also spoke to
Oxford Street have welcomed the plan
the area’s local paper, Fitzrovia News. The view
but Westminster City Council claimed that the
of most was that they welcome the Mayor’s
plans as described by Ms Shawcross were current-
desire to reduce congestion and pollution and
ly unachievable without significant impact on
want to work together to realise his aim to
those who live, visit or run a business in the area...
On behalf of Dial-a-Cab, Hillier Buchan Ltd
in Bexley have negotiated exclusive rates
for DaC members. We believe our rates are
competitive in today’s market for experi-
enced licensed Black Cab drivers.
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every driver’s
circumstances are different; therefore our policies
can be tailored for the individual driver. We offer
a 5% discount for DaC members, with additional
discounts for existing protected Bonus policies.
Hillier Buchan was established in 2002 by
t a meeting with TfL at City Hall on 28 July, the licensing authority led on
David Hillier and myself with in excess of 50
Bus Lane access, particularly on London Bridge northbound and some
years experience as high level Brokers working in
others they control including Tooley Street (westbound), Newington
the City of London for major broking houses. We
Butts, Bishopsgate and Westminster Bridge Road.
have established a reputation for professionalism
and service in our chosen fields.
TfL said they were prepared to actively support the taxi trade if we approached the
We have extensive London Market contacts;
Boroughs for access to the Bus Lanes they control, including the City of London. They
consequently we are able to offer our clients a
were extremely positive about increasing Taxi access to Bus Lanes. The London Bridge
quality of security from companies that are all
lane would be on a 3 month trial basis initially and possibly with some times of use,
available in the world’s pre-eminent insurance
but as with some others the trade are currently banned from, TfL are now of a mind to
market. As a result, our clients achieve quality of
security and service upon which we pride our-
increase access. This was undoubtedly the most positive meeting on a range of issues
selves and a competitiveness of premium that
for many years and there really seems to be a change in attitude at City Hall!
our clients find particularly attractive in today's
So it looks like a done-deal on some of their own Bus Lanes, although a deal
would insinuate a compromise. But this was an announcement by TfL after
Our philosophy is to build long-term relation-
years of our demanding access, however, only the recent change of regime
ships using balanced service teams providing
continuity and expertise. Compare our prices
and personnel allowed this change of attitude.
and give us a call. See our ad inside this issue of
Together with a promised substantial increase in Compliance Officers, this could be a
Call Sign on page 15.
lead-in to a new era because Bus Lane access is a huge advantage to this trade and
Phil Buchan,
the more of them we are allowed to get into, the better. Let’s hope so..
Hillier Buchan, 01322 553313
Call Sign September 2016
Page 6
“Yeah, a few blokes have asked me to be their proxy!”
Uber legalised as Premier offers A$100m assistance package to taxi industry
Former Dial-a-Cab driver and Data Dispatch trainer, Howard Sales (ex-A11), left the UK
many years ago to settle in Australia but still has the blood of a London taxi driver flow-
ing through his veins and often keeps Call Sign in touch with events down under.
But this latest item brought a feeling of sadness to this office when the Queensland
State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk along with Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe
announced that Uber and similar ride-booking services would be legalised from
September 5. Almost as a sop to any feelings of guilt, the duo then came up with an
A$100 million assistance package for the taxi industry.
The offer consists of a one-off payment of $20,000 per taxi licence (capped at two).
Taxis will also continue to have exclusive access to street hails and ranks with the maxi-
mum age limit for taxis to be removed and annual renewal fees being waived for 12
months. A hardship fund of A$26.7million was also announced, which possibly shows
how the QLD government think the situation will end up!
Ms Palaszczuk said it was time the Government created a level playing field
for taxis, limousines and Uber. However, some things don’t change and it was
also announced that State Government will regulate to allow Uber to operate from this
month without a special licence, with a new licence system coming in next year.
Mr Hinchliffe said the reforms would deliver an estimated A$474 million benefit to the State when it “opens up the market and create opportu-
nities for new and existing participants to respond to market changes, which will ultimately drive competition.”
He could also have added that it means the end of the taxi trade in Queensland. The Taxi Council’s CEO, Ben Wash, referring to a review into
personalised transport last year, called it a waste of millions of dollars.
“It appears as though the Government has deceived Queenslanders by pretending to establish an independent review, when the results were
clearly predetermined!”
Meanwhile, in a celebratory mood, Uber thanked everyone concerned with the review, saying it would provide more choice...
Ron Yarborough
Call Sign Online
Call Sign September 2016
Page 7
But who are MyTaxi?
London taxi app Hailo has agreed to a “merg-
er” with Mercedes Benz Daimler ride-sharing
Hailo Swallowed
app MyTaxi, which has been part of Daimler
Mobility Services since 2014 when MBD were
said to have paid around £100million!
The new deal is said to be cashless and sees
By MyTaxi
Daimler take a 60% stake in Hailo and con-
trolling seats on the Board. Within
months, the Hailo name will vanish and be
MyTaxi use licensed taxis
re-branded as MyTaxi. Hailo have had finan-
cial problems since being forced to pull out
only... but at 50% of the
of North America in 2014 following a price
war and battle for market share.
Poland etc. Yes, they do
Hailo will now be run from the MyTaxi
claim to only work with
office in Hamburg, Germany with
licensed taxis, but since
Daimler Financial Services Chairman,
they have a huge market-
Klaus Entenmann, claiming the merger
will make MyTaxi a “leader of mobility
ing budget, they often try
“bend” the law
solutions and platforms.”
Call Sign spoke to an experienced com-
although they can’t any-
petitor of MyTaxi in Germany. We agreed
more in Germany.
not to publish any names. He told us:
Incidentally, MyTaxi and
“MyTaxi was originally a startup, claiming a
Hailo are claiming they will
niche - one of the first to do so in the German
now have the largest taxi app
taxi sector. Its founder and former CEO,
MyTaxi has tried its best in many European
network in Europe, but I believe that to be
Niclaus Mewes, grew up in a family dealing
cities such as Paris and Switzerland, but has
incorrect since the Berlin and Vienna based
with a special kind of fleet management -
yet to make a success in most of them. The
taxi network,, is already active in 13
shipping! But the new company grew quite
only strong market besides Germany is in
countries with well over
170.000 drivers
fast, relying on taxis only with Deutsche
Spain. So coupling with Hailo makes some
throughout Europe.”
Telekom and Car2Go being some of the first
sense there.
Hailo never really recovered after applying for
They have had some problems in
a PH license but not telling its subscribers. That
The MyTaxi setup is actually pretty much
Germany where they went around aggres-
was later discovered by a trade organisation and
the same as you’ll find with Hailo, Gett and
sively “buying” customers at half fare. You
within hours spread through social networks
others. They bypass the traditional taxi dis-
should prepare yourselves for that in
and led to a mass departure by drivers…
patchers and build direct contact between
London as well, since a 50 percent price
Ron Yarborough
the drivers and customer.
tag on all trips is still active in Spain and
Call Sign Online
Call Sign September 2016
Page 8
Known throughout the trade as Drumslayer, Call Sign’s Marc Turner
(R97) writes of something you don’t hear too often...
How to make
God laugh!
trooper I am, I continued the task and it was
my colleague behind who drew my attention
to my leg bleeding profusely.
I’d brushed the bottom of the door and cut
a long gash in a previously unblemished, val-
ued leg, ironically after spending the last 26
he evening of Monday 8th August
years avoiding being head-butted by cab
was one I won’t forget in hurry. I
doors! He with another driver convinced me
had just exchanged my soon-to-be
that a visit to an A&E department was in
overhauled cab for a pristine cour-
order; so with due haste I drove to St
tesy 06 TX2.
Thomas’s where I knew there was parking.
As soon as I looked at the cab, I was
I was there for just under three hours in all,
impressed. It was clean, as I turned the key
apparently that’s a result! The wait was made
the engine sounded great and it really drove
easier by the company of fellow cabbie (Scot)
well. Everything looked good!
who’d heard of my plight on social media
Its regular driver was on holiday and
and decided to join me.
unusually, had left an old testament Bible and
The NHS staff were splendid and Nurse
Rosary beads with the image of Jesus Christ
Sarah, who eventually treated me, warmed
hanging from the rear view mirror. The radio
the cockles of my heart with her anti-cyclists
was tuned in to a Gospel station...Hallelujah!
rants but suggested that even if they were tai-
Coincidentally, the cab had been supplied
lored, I shouldn’t go to work with shorts.
by Stable Taxis and wasn't the Son of God
Someone wasn't watching over Marc!
Nurses always know best!
born in a stable! So far so good, everything
So back to the question; how do you make
was sounding great. What could go wrong???
Drumslayer. Looking in the rear view mirror
God laugh? The answer... Make plans!!!
So I made for the Bermondsey (recently
through the Rosary beads, I noticed a familiar
relocated Tooley Street) rank ready to start a
face in the cab behind, so I sprightly alighted
Marc Turner
new week with my usual ardour, having no
my new home and immediately felt a razor
inkling of the imminent fate awaiting this
sharp sensation in my left leg. Being the
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Call Sign September 2016
Page 9
recent piece from Bloomberg
about London’s taxi fleet makes
interesting reading in that the rea-
Electric taxis:
son no one has revealed a price on
any of the three expected versions - LTC, Vito
and Metro - is because around a third of the
The battery is one
cost will actually be the battery and prices are
expected to fall sharply over the next few years.
The article points out that Walter Bersey
ran a fleet of 80 battery-powered cabs that he
third of the cost!
actually designed and which began operating
in December 1897. Sadly for Walter, they last-
ed only around two years. They had been
Brian Rice: "If battery
powered by grid-plate batteries that could
prices fall, it could make
only be recharged at Bersey's Lambeth garage
electric taxis more
where a hydraulic lifting system allowed for
affordable to younger
quick battery exchange. The taxi had a range
of about 35 miles, which was more than the
average horse-powered cab could reasonably
cover. It also had a top speed of 14mph -
which some would say it isn’t much different
today with all the extra traffic! They became
known as Hummingbirds because of the low
noise sent out by the Bersey electric engine
Now, around 120 years later, the London
Taxi Company is investing $400 million to
build electric cabs in Coventry. It has been
claimed that the transition away from all
Could the TX5 be
diesel vehicles driving in London - not
cheaper than envisaged?
just taxis - could help eliminate almost
10,000 early deaths a year caused by the
emissions they give out. Although diesel
vehicles emit less carbon dioxide than
those running on petrol, they spew out
more nitrogen dioxide, which the
would all be academic.
European Environment Agency claims
According to Bloomberg
increases respiratory conditions and car-
New Energy Finance, which
diovascular disease.
predicts that by 2040 35 per-
LTC President, Peter Johansen, has said
cent of new car sales globally
that there is a general recognition of the
will be electric, by 2025 bat-
need to improve air quality and that elec-
tery storage could fall by as
tric vehicles were the way of the future for
much as 52 percent to under
urban situations.
chase vehicles that they had mandated for
£140 per kilowatt hour.
Anyone buying a new taxi from 2018 will
With London having just 3 percent of the
have to buy one that is zero-emissions capable
“So far as the future is concerned, if the
25,000 charging points former Mayor Boris
using either pure electric or hybrid motors.
price of batteries for electric vehicle were
Johnson promised would be in place by 2015
That won’t affect old cabs at present but the
to fall substantially, that could just about
(according to Bollore SA which operates the
world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone will be
make electric taxis affordable to younger
network), Mr Johansen said they were looking
launched in central London on 7 September
drivers, assuming Mayor Khan means
at how they could provide more on a com-
2020 and will mean a congestion charge type
what he says insofar as his looking after
mercial basis along with other business part-
fee paid by any vehicle whose emissions break
London’s taxis goes.”
ners. They want to get a number of hubs in
the regulations. At this moment, we believe
The London Mayor says he wants to tighten
and around London that are for rapid charg-
that taxis will be exempt from that charge, but
up pollution regulations and has refreshed
ing, so that taxi drivers typically can top up
it could change depending on circumstances.
the City’s 60-year-old Clean Air Act, which
while having a tea break.
Dial-a-Cab are trying to give drivers with
was passed in the 1950s when London suf-
The next year or so will be interesting, to
older cabs a temporary 5-year get-out when
fered badly with smog. His office has pointed
put it mildly...
they recently organised - via Call Sign - an
out that if London’s 23,000 diesel taxis were
event at DaC House that allowed drivers to
to not eventually change to electric power,
test out an LPG gas cab. After conversion of
they would have been expected to spew
Call Sign
their old cabs, that would give drivers an extra
around one fifth of central London’s nitrogen
September 2016
five years of licensing in addition to having a
oxide emissions in 2020.
Editor: Alan Fisher
Euro 6 taxi that runs like a car and a fuel sav-
But the part of the equation most inter-
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
ing estimated at around 20 percent.
esting to London taxi drivers is how much
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
DaC Chairman Brian Rice told Call Sign:
an electric taxi will cost. Rumours abound
“If the conversion scheme takes off, it
of somewhere between
£47,000 and
would make DaC the cleanest taxi compa-
£55,000 and possibly even more. But Peter
Printers: Premier Print Group
ny in London. However, this is a problem
Johansen now says that the reason they
E6 6 LP
for the trade as a whole and not just us; so
Design: Aldan Publications
have not given out even any approximate
we take the situation regarding emissions
Tel: 07958 300 428
cost is because LTC expects falling battery
very seriously and there is an obvious
prices over the next 18 months to make
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
need to clean up our trade. But the prob-
the electric TX5 more attractive and added
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
lem has not been through the fault of dri-
that with the battery currently about one-
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
vers, more the authorities that insisted
third of the cost of a vehicle, there is no
either manually or electronically without the express
and regulated the fact that we had to pur-
permission of the Editor.
point in announcing a price because it
Call Sign September 2016
Page 10
Steve Shaller was on Dial-a-Cab for many years, as well as being a regular columnist in Call Sign. On
his retirement, he moved to Spain where he still lives. So as an ex-pat, we asked him whether he felt
the Brexit result was likely to affect him...
There are many things that I do not know, but one thing I do know for
That figure does not take
a fact that I am one of many taxi drivers who have chosen to live
into account the 400,000
abroad. As an ex-pat, I was invited by Alan Fisher to give my thoughts
retirees who, like myself,
on living abroad since the result of the Brexit vote came out as leave.
spend their state pensions
Was this curiosity or was he thinking about joining me and building
here. What country would
sand castles on the Spanish beaches!
cut their nose to spite their
It can be a difficult task to write or discuss about living abroad without get-
face and discourage we
ting involved in Brexit politics, especially when I am surrounded by neigh-
Brits to come to holiday or
bours who have come from all around Europe. My personal political views
live in the EU?
and the way I actually voted may not be of any interest to the Call Sign read-
There has been a recip-
Steve enjoys his retirement in Spain
ership, so I’ll keep those opinions to myself. But this referendum has been
rocal health arrangement for
very divisive and as a consequence I have tried to avoid speaking to my
fully paid-up pensioners between Britain and Spain for many years, so I have
friends on the subject. I prefer my warmth to come from the Spanish sun
no fear of being denied this service. Last year Ian Duncan Smith stopped
and not from a heated debate!
ex-pats from getting their Winter Fuel Allowance. Not just in Spain, but in
But in speaking to other ex-pats prior to the referendum, I found
many other countries within the EU. So you think it doesn't get cold out here
them equally split on their views regarding staying in or leaving the
in winter? Think again! If I have any concerns, it’s that our state pensions
EU. Some wanted to stay in because they feared that leaving would
could be frozen as it is for other ex-pats who live outside the EU.
affect their security, their lifestyle and with it the possibility of having
Spain can be quite a bureaucratic country, so I also would not be
to return to the UK. Others voted to leave because they felt that the
surprised if legislation were to be introduced whereby foreign resi-
sovereignty of their country came first before their own personal inter-
dents, such as myself, would have to update our residential status on
a yearly or half yearly basis. There could be a marginal increase in
There were many lies bandied about by politicians and the media from
property tax for those who have holiday homes and who are not resi-
both sides of the argument to frighten us into voting the way they would
dent or fiscal residents. Again, these are all assumptions and only time
have liked. When reading our local English speaking newspaper, I also found
will tell us if Brexit was good for those living at home and abroad.
there were many concerned ex-pats who were worried about losing their
So, even with the drop in the GBP against the Euro, people will still
entitlement to the Spanish health service. They also worried about being
travel around Europe spending their money. And what country would
asked to leave the country - even worried that their houses could be confis-
discourage tourism?
As the Catherine Tate incarnation of Lauren Cooper, might ask: “Am
I have lived on the Orihuela Costa (Costa Blanca) for 14 years and
I bovvered? Do I look bovvered? Does this face look bovvered?”
have enjoyed the lifestyle very much. Nevertheless, I shall return
Does that answer Alan’s question???
home to the UK at a later date irrespective of how Brexit will or will
not affect life out here for we ex-pats.
Steve Shaller (ex-F34J)
During these past 14 years, I have watched an enormous growth within
my area in construction of both commercial and residential property. The
general area is flourishing; the Brits, the Russians and the Scandinavians are
all here. I came here in the boom. I've seen the bust and now the reconstruc-
tion cranes adorn the horizon and the boom has returned. We have an amaz-
ing recently built hospital, a new shopping mall that can accommodate 4500
parked cars, there are restaurants and bars - both big and small, with these
businesses being built and surviving on British money from both British
retirees and holidaymakers.
Last year, British tourists spent nearly 11billion on holidays in Spain.
Addy Lee profits drop
10am - 11.15am & 11.30am - 12.45pm
by £20million!
£7.00 per class
he UK’s biggest minicab firm, Addison Lee, which is
Minimum age of 16
owned by equity firm The Carlyle Group, have
Suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to
announced a sharp drop in profits from the £32.9 they
accomplished boxers
posted up till August 2015, down to £11.6million this
past August. Like taxi companies, they have blamed Uber and
Female ONLY classes subject to demand
other similar e-hail companies.
They recently battled an uprising by their drivers, who had
demonstrated outside Carlyle Group’s London HQ at Lansdowne
House in Berkeley Square, against the reduction in fares
charged and finally winning a new contract that gave drivers an
extra 7%. The fare reduction was an attempt to compete with
It was John Griffin who started the company in South London
in 1975. It is now run by his son Liam. Two years ago, Carlyle tried
to sell Addy Lee but couldn’t find anyone bidding enough money
to compensate for the £300million they valued the minicab com-
pany at in 2013.
Call Sign September 2016
Page 12
The DaC driver and the wobbly cyclist!
“If I’m honest,” Michael Fitzgerald (W85) told Call
Sign,“ like many other road users, I have no great
love of pedal cyclists.
“I work nights, and recently in the early hours while travelling north
along Upper Woburn Place, I spied a very wobbly cyclist ahead of me
and decided to give him a wide birth as I closed the gap between us.
I came to the rapid conclusion that he was as drunk as a skunk and
passed him very carefully and slowly, taking great care not to spook
him as I overtook.
“But then a little further along the road, I was forced to stop behind
a bus as the traffic ahead was stationary. Sure enough, the drunk
cyclist who had previously been staggering from the sidewalk to the
roadway and back again, managed to navigate his way between the
kerbside and the nearside rear door of my cab. Suddenly there was an
almighty bang as the cab rocked sideways, scaring my female passen-
ger and making me jump with fright,” Michael continued. “So instead
of me worrying about spooking him, it turned out to be the other way
around - although there was no concern on his part of course!
“I went around to see what had happened and sure enough, this
drunken idiot had fallen off the bike, forcing the cycles’ handlebars
into my nearside passenger door, swiftly followed by the rest of his
shoulders and body as he collided sideways into my cab, causing con-
siderable damage to the bodywork with dents and scratches along the
door panel. My passenger had been reading a book and so was unable
to bear witness as to what exactly had occurred, confirming only that
she had heard the noise. But it was fairly obvious the guy could barely
had the entire incident recorded on it and replaced it with a fresh
stand up, let alone keep his balance on a bike,” Michael said.
memory card. This whole unfortunate experience just proves to me
“Then as if by magic, several other cyclists in the immediate
the benefits of having a little piece of camera technology sitting in the
area started remonstrating with me that I had collided with the
cab, witnessing the antics of others and protecting my own integrity
cyclist and even a couple of pedestrians nearby also alleged I
and the utter nuisance these selfish, undisciplined ******** can be!”
had crashed into the cyclist. Although I was boiling up inside, I
politely explained the facts and when the pedestrians took note
Jamie Corum
of the state of the errant cyclist, they decided to walk away clear-
Call Sign Online
ly embarrassed by their unwanted interjection. Not so the cycle
fraternity who continued their tirade.
“By this time, the wobbly cyclist had managed to gather his senses
sufficiently to pick up his cycle from the ground, take a deep breath
and walk away towards Endsleigh Gardens. At this point, the other
cyclists lost interest too and pedalled away leaving me with an unset-
tled passenger and a damaged cab. In the end I decided that as no
accusations had been made against me and the consoling factor that
my CabCam had recorded the entire scenario, I carried on to deliver
the passenger safely to her door.
“I then called my insurers at the earliest opportunity to report the
matter to cover myself and them, and they in turn sent an Autoglass
technician to remove the original SD memory card from my cab which
IC may not mean much to most drivers, but if your taxi is
insured with Cabsurance, Emrose or Quotax then you will
need to speak to the company because they all use the
Enterprise Insurance Company and it was recently declared
to be insolvent. Sutherland Insurance is unaffected.
A provisional liquidator is now managing the company’s affairs and
has said that all third party claims will still be paid out whether by EIC or
the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. But the FSCS will only pay
claims once insolvency by EIC has been confirmed and the liquidator
says that the company can no longer pay any money out.
Drivers with any of the above companies should contact their brokers
and while third party claims are safe, there can be no guarantee that
other payments will be made until EIC assets have been examined.
Currently, drivers with EIC policies can still legally drive with them, but
if you are in that position you should contact your broker immediately to
take advice. The liquidator will contact all drivers once investigations into
the Gibraltar-based company have been completed and the situation
becomes clearer.
Call Sign September 2016
Page 13
Won’t tell you? No... Can’t tell you!
Information supplied to Members with regard
to work being carried out in the Sales depart-
DaC Sales Report
ment is not always as informative as I would it
like to be. With the changes looming ahead for
With Keith Cain
the Society, I know it’s important for Dial-a-
Cab Members to know what we are doing, but
number of question fields before they can
for fear of giving just one of our competitors
make the booking. If a question filed is in what
the slightest advantage over us means that
we call a compulsory field and not completed
whilst I always try to inform you, it has to be
correctly, the booking has to be refused until
the very least that I can. You would be sur-
the correct information is filled in. The types of
prised at who is eagerly waiting to read the
instructions we receive from the client have to
next Call Sign publication and it is purely for
be programmed into the booking platform and
this reason that Members are just informed of
is part of the account security we offer. I have
the minimum and not because there is a lack of
simplified this a great deal, but if you imagine a
activity to report.
client having just four compulsory question
fields to complete, the booking process can
Fixed prices
take some time.
You are now becoming more familiar with
Where we win over our competitors - and I
the fixed rate journeys we are offering. On
a daily basis, the team receive quotes for
The functionality of Encompass allows
have no qualms about them reading this
because they already know it is a fact - our
taxi journeys and with the longer trips, we
for clients to use just a taxi account or a
are offering competitive - if not the best -
mixed fleet service. Recently we have spo-
Encompass system is the best booking platform
out there in the market today. Many knocked
journey prices. Against that, longer trips
ken with many companies, including the
numbers are going up.
two companies whom we are currently ten-
Concierge in the beginning, but that booking
tool has been the backbone to the success of
We have a core client base and having
dering for, and the total service of
had regular conversations with them, we
Encompass is meeting their requirements
the Society over recent years and is why our
clients - including some very large ones - con-
know they are totally satisfied with the ser-
and raising eyebrows. Platforms, booking
vice. So when we ask why usage has
tools - call them what you wish - provide
tinue to use us.
We use three words to describe ourselves
dropped, it is an all too common response
clients with so much more than just putting
to be told that the policy of their company
a vehicle outside the door. Believe it or not,
to clients: Agile, Attentive and Adaptable.
We are able to be flexible; we listen to their
is for staff to use public transport.
that is now the simple part of the service!
Account management, management infor-
requirements and can tailor our total ser-
vice to meet their needs in a timely fashion.
mation and security of data - I’d go as far as to
We are in the middle of two tender processes
say in a strange way - is even more at the fore-
The Sales team at Dial-a-Cab, including our
Account Managers, may be a fairly small group
that require a taxi service and which is some-
front of having an account facility with a trans-
what different from others we have participat-
port provider than the actual transport!
compared to some, but is undoubtedly also the
most proactive. With the management, our cus-
ed in recently where they are really just looking
Individuals want speed and we can provide
for a private hire service. To those we have
that, but when you are the one paying the bill
tomer service staff and our IT team in place,
the experience we have built up for over many
offered our platform, which has recently been
for everyone else, then security becomes more
renamed Encompass.
years is invaluable to take this Society for-
ward... and be reassured, it can.
Encompass, despite rumours, is a rebrand-
ing of Concierge and not a separately owned
Customer loyalty can come into question on
occasion, but client confidence and trust
company. Again, contrary to rumours, neither
Years ago, an account customer would just
does anyone within the Society have a financial
quote an account number and give a password.
means more. But not as much as COST! Get
that right and we are halfway there...
interest in it! It is the name we chose to call our
That service has totally changed to the point
booking facility, which offers clients a one-stop
where an individual has to have a specific I/D to
Keith Cain
shop service and more.
access the system, then they have to answer a
DaC Head of Sales
An occasional review from a struggling 14 handicapper at some of the marque golf courses I've
had the privilege to play in my golf days away from the taxi…
My favourite
West Hill Golf Club
hole - and it
You may have heard, if you’re a keen golfer, of Surrey’s famous
was a difficult
three 'W's - but if perchance you haven’t, then let me explain...
choice - is the
In fairly close proximity to each other, the three outstanding courses all
par 4 18th. At
beginning with letter 'W' are Woking, Worplesdon and West Hill - the
420 yards, it
latter of which I was fortunate enough to play at this past May.
plays its full dis-
West Hill golf course was laid out by the little known, but wonderfully
tance on a gen-
named Cuthbert Butchart in 1910. It was originally a ladies only course,
tle uphill slope
which suggests that there must have been some very high standard lady
to a 3 tier
golfers back at the turn of the last century because out of the 3 'W's,
green. A long
West Hill is judged by many to be the most challenging.
The 149 yard par 3 13th at West Hill
iron to the final
If they let you, as they did us on their reasonable Twilight offer (3pm),
green with the clubhouse patio a mere yard or so off the back of the
then play off the white tees. It’s not a particularly long course, indeed I
green is a real test of character!
played without my driver because my son had taken it and forgot to put
Rolling Surrey turf, heather and Scots pine... plus excellent golfing;
it back in my bag! So a well struck 3 wood is probably the best option
West Hill is highly recommended.
here anyway.
Happy golfing
The course is a series of challenges that really test your whole game;
rarely do you find a course without a weak hole, but at West Hill every
Simon Wallis (M11)
hole is interesting.
Call Sign Online
Call Sign September 2016
Page 14
If you are a day man and used
Mystery driver gets “done”
to seeing the Victoria Station
feed rank wind up Tachbrook
at Tachbrook Street!
Street from Vauxhall Bridge
Road, you will probably know
about this as warning messages
have been going out on Dial-a-
Cab terminals for some time.
Drivers used to bear right into Tachbrook
and do a u-turn to join the end of the rank.
Well you can still go into Tachbook Street -
but halfway along it becomes one-way and
our friends in blue often have their tea break
there... and if they should catch a few drivers
at the same time, then all the better!
We promised to keep the identity of the
DaC driver that got “nicked” a secret and we
will honour that promise. Just a few small
clues perhaps; he is a Board Member, recent-
ly awarded the Queen’s British Empire
Medal. The reason we are keeping it secret is
because he is also a former Magistrate who
should have known better! So our lips will
remain sealed...!!!
Halfway up are no entry signs. Inset: The mystery driver in trouble!
New exhibition at the Bank of England
he world’s earliest paper money will take its
place alongside the newest, most technologi-
cally sophisticated Bank of England note in a
new permanent gallery at the Bank of
England Museum opening on 7 September 2016.
The Banknote Gallery at the Museum will present the
story of the banknote from its earliest days, when
paper money was largely mistrusted, to the new £5
note that is packed with security features, historically
significant designs and printed on polymer rather
than paper and which launches on 13 September
with its 1943 portrait of Winston Churchill.
The exhibition is filled with original drawings, artwork, designs, notes and
sketches from the Bank’s collection. The new gallery will build a clear picture of how banknotes have changed
since the Bank was established in 1694. Among the highlights are the earliest paper notes from the Chinese Ming dynasty and the ‘run-
ning cash’ notes - as old as the Bank of England itself - accepted as payment in place of a pile of gold!
The gallery will also include the earliest Bank of England notes from the end of the 17th century and classic designs such as the white
fiver which lasted for 100 years. But as soon as banknotes appeared, so did forgeries; the story of banknote design is paralleled by an
alternative history of counterfeit development. Since its foundation, the Bank of England has been in a constant battle to stay several steps
ahead of forgers; even the simple black and white notes of the 18th century contained a whole battery of subtle security features including
complex watermarks and minute secret marks that helped Bank clerks identify genuine notes from forgeries. Many forgeries ended up at
the Bank of England.
Among those forgeries on display are brilliantly plausible notes which are surviving evidence of Operation Bernhard, the
Nazi plan to flood and ruin the economy of the British Empire in WW2. Created by prisoners at Sachsenhausen concentration
camp, the notes were intended to be dropped by plane over Britain, picked up and used by members of the public. While this
never really worked, the Bank was forced to withdraw all notes over £5 and re-design the £5 note after the forgeries began
to appear in circulation in Britain.
Also on display are earlier forgeries, many of whose creators were punished by hanging! Among these is a £5 note altered to a £50 that
was discovered when used to buy a cow at a country fair in 1850! During the Bank Restriction Period in the early 18th century, hundreds
of forgers received the death penalty for counterfeits of BoE notes.
Alongside designs that became Bank of England banknotes will be all sorts of designs submitted to the Bank in the early 19th century
after it announced a competition to make the Inimitable Note - a banknote that could not be copied. Elsewhere, the gallery will follow
the journey of a banknote from creation to destruction and eventual recycling.
The new £5 will be followed in summer 2017 by a polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen and, by 2020, a polymer £20
note featuring JMW Turner. The pairing of notes from the 1690s with the new polymer note shows how far we have come!
This exhibition is worth bringing the family to and also to recommend to passengers looking for an interesting few hours...
There is no charge for admission to the Museum or for any event at the Bank. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm
(last entry 4.30pm). Closed public, bank hols and weekends.
More info at, 020 7601 5545.
Described tours led by a Museum Guide are available for visually impaired visitors. Booking is essential. Museum entrance
via Bartholomew Lane...
Call Sign September 2016
Page 15
o you sometimes wonder if perhaps
you’re actually asleep having a night-
mare and that when you awake, life will
revert to normality for we London taxi
The figures were
drivers and our biggest battle will once again be
obtained by The
against PH companies such as Addison Lee,
Brunel plus any minicabs seemingly named after
vegetables! Then you awake, Uber is still there
numbers in a list.
and you’re left wondering if your sanity is going?
Of course, when The
Call Sign took a look at some figures we’ve
Sun published a story
acquired through Freedom of Information
following an FoI request
requests made to Transport for London
about the number of
between August 2013 and August 2016. And
rapes and sex attacks car-
for anyone wondering why we’re bothering,
ried out, they claimed,
just a reminder that ten years ago (2006)
by Uber drivers and
there were 31,100 licensed PH drivers. In
picked up by every UK
August 2016 that had reached 109,000!
newspaper, TfL said...
Firstly, there is a list of ‘convictions’ that would
well they said nothing
prohibit any prospective Taxi or PH driver appli-
that we could find!
That leads us onto another FoI request we
cant getting a licence. A TfL answer following
So back to Uber and yet another Call Sign FoI
put to TfL. This one asked for the number of
another FoI request adds that convictions not dis-
request which asked this time if there was any dif-
sex offences carried out by PH drivers. Quite
closed will show up with the enhanced
ference between the DBS checks needed for
astonishingly (or not if you believe in conspir-
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
Licensed London Taxi Drivers and drivers work-
acy theories), although a list was provided giv-
They say:
ing for London Private Hire companies and Uber
ing a ten year total of 1318 under the heading
“Every applicant for a taxi or private hire
of Cab Related Sexual Offences- an average
The answer we were given was that both taxi
driver licence in London is subject to
of over 130 each and every year of the ten -
and private hire drivers licensed by TfL undertake
enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service
the Metropolitan Police Service told us they
the same enhanced DBS check and the character
checks (previously known as enhanced CRB
did not differentiate between private hire and
requirements to obtain a taxi or PHV licence are
checks), which are repeated every three years
taxis when it came to sex offences.
the same.
upon renewal. It is also a condition of licens-
It isn’t too often that we agree with a minicab
But the response went on to add that appli-
ing that if a driver is arrested or charged with
union, but we agree with the United Private
cants who have lived in a country outside the
a criminal or driving offence, they should
Hire Drivers union who claim that TfL is with-
UK for one or more continuous periods of 12
immediately inform the licensing authority.”
holding information on the number of women
months in the three years prior to their appli-
On TfL’s website it says that if applicants have
who are sexually assaulted when they get into
cation, would instead be required to provide
any of the following convictions it is unlikely their
licensed taxis. Where we differ is that they obvi-
a Certificate of Good Conduct from the rele-
application will be successful. The list begins
ously believe black cab drivers are involved in far
vant country of residence that must have
with any conviction for a major violent offence
more sex attacks than are published, whereas we
been issued by a competent judicial or admin-
(murder, manslaughter etc) and goes on to add
know they aren’t and would like to see the figures
istrative authority. They further add that if a
that if they have had more than one conviction of
published separately to prove how dangerous an
certificate couldn’t be obtained, a Certificate
any type of violent offence in the last 10 years, if
Uber trip really is.
of Registration or a letter from the Borders
they are currently serving a custodial sentence or
I’d be astonished to find that more than 1% of
and Immigration Authority would be
even if they have been released early on licence or
the 1318 were taxi drivers. In fact I’d be aston-
required. TfL also said that they have “robust
the sentence was suspended, they won’t get a
ished it the number even reached 1 percent. But
measures in place to make certain that the
the MPS won’t tell us and the question is why.
evidence provided is legitimate and correct.”
Then, if the applicant has been convicted, cau-
Forgive us if the evidence on the streets seems
Could it be that TfL and the MPS know there
tioned or subjected to any other penalty for a seri-
to disprove that last statement.
would be panic if passengers thought that virtual-
ous sexual offence (rape, indecent assault, traf-
Their answer signs off with this statement: “The
ly 100% of attacks came in minicabs?
ficking, possession of indecent images etc), that
safety of our customers is of paramount impor-
Let’s be honest, we had John Worboys in
will prohibit them getting a licence and added to
tance to us and we hope this reassures you that
2009 and Edward Chapman three years later.
that list is if they have been convicted, cautioned
we take every possible precaution to ensure that
Both went to prison for rape and both were
or subjected to any other penalty for more than
all of our drivers are fit to hold a licence.”
licensed taxi drivers, so we are not immune.
one sexual offence of any type, irrespective of age.
Well sorry TfL; it doesn’t do that in the slightest...
However, so rare are events such as those that
So we must assume that one sex offence is prob-
reports were in every newspaper and made
ably ok. That also explains a lot when you look at
headlines on TV news channels. Even the
Alan Fisher
the number of sex attacks in what we assume
Washington Post carried a Worboys story! Sex
were minicabs last year.
Call Sign Online
attacks in private hire vehicles just end up as
RMT: “Mayor hasn’t
gone far enough!”
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, has criticised Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new plans to increase the
number of Compliance Officers by a further 250 because neither the Mayor or City Hall were will-
ing to look at the role of “e-hailing” smartphone minicab services such as Uber.
Mr Cash said: “This practice circumvents the current regulation regime which is there to
protect the travelling public. Neither TfL nor the Mayor appears to have the will to tack-
le this blatant flouting of the regulations by the likes of Uber.
“In addition, proposals laid out in a recent consultation review of Private Hire regula-
tions are to be revisited under Mayor Khan's administration. The union is deeply con-
cerned that yet again they fail to regulate the virtual plying for hire of private hire
vehicles which is now endemic on our streets.”
Call Sign September 2016
Page 16
Norman Beattie is Call Sign’s man in Canada for taxi stories and recently sent us...
Marg with two customers and (right) her red FX3
As an icon, the black cab (in all its colour varia-
tions) has become synonymous with London all
over the world, but the cab itself is often a real
and visible representative of London as it rolls
through city streets thousands of miles from
home. These are what the London Vintage Taxi
Marg and her nephew are interested in the history of the
Association calls expatriate cabs and the LVTA col-
cab before it left England, so if anyone has information,
lects information about them for its registry.
please contact Call Sign!
One of these expatriates, a red and black 1957 Austin FX3, now
lives in the town of Boissevain, Manitoba, Canada. It is still in
Norman Beattie
excellent running order and occasionally takes part in parades and
Call Sign Online
other festivities in nearby towns, such as the centennial celebra-
Manitoba, Canada
tion of Ninga a few years ago.
The cab now belongs to Boissevain businessman, Brian
Kentner, but - in Canada at least - the cab was originally owned by
his aunt, Marg Kentner, who runs The Grande Bazaar gift store
in Stonewall.
It was back in 1975; Marg had just started her business
career in Winnipeg with a gift store and gift delivery service
called ‘A Touch of Class’ and was looking for a hook that
would distinguish her from competitors. Then she hit on the
idea of using a London taxi to make deliveries.
Her friend Peter McCuaig was going on a trip to England, so
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
she asked him to see if he could find an original London cab. In
due course she received a (rather drunken) phone call from a
dedicated to DAC members only
London pub. It was Peter and in a slightly slurred voice, he told
Marg that he had found her cab! He had picked up a second-hand
one from LTI’s batch of part-exchanged cabs.
Marg had the cab shipped to Canada, but it took some time
before she actually saw it. The FX3 arrived over here by way of
Antwerp and was delayed in Montreal. Marg was afraid the cab
5% Discount for members
would be stripped by souvenir hunters before it even got to
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
Winnipeg, but it was in near-perfect condition. Even the original
Argos meter still worked!
Public Liability
Marg drove the cab around Winnipeg for around 12 years until
Breakdown Cover
she sold A Touch of Class. Later she ran the Tin Lizzie auto-muse-
um in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg. The Museum stored
Much more available
antique cars for local collectors and showed them off with Marg’s
FX3 being used to give people rides around the museum grounds.
Call below for quotations
The only real problem with the FX3 was its reluctance to
start in Winnipeg winters, but Marg had no trouble getting
neighbours or passers-by to give her a push start. Another
slight inconvenience was that local owners of Morgans,
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
Bentleys, Jaguars and other British makes would flag her
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
down to have a chat and compare notes!
Company Registration No: 4319231
The distinctive licence plate number of TXV 111 was original
with the cab. In Manitoba, it is illegal to drive without a valid front
Tel: 01322 553313
plate but when she registered the cab, the licence inspector
allowed her to drive with the London plate on the front and a
Manitoba plate on the rear. Nevertheless, on one occasion she was
Fax: 01322 523315
once ticketed for a license violation by a particularly zealous
female police officer!
Call Sign September 2016
Page 17
Looking to the future
With Mike Son
Song Title
Love you too much
Joe Witherden
Another lonely day
Chris Spangol
Chris Spangol
Haunted & hunted
Keith Waterfield
She's here to stay
Peter Hallet
David Jenkins
All night blues
Chris O’Shea
Happy ending
David Waooingham
Pete Marsh
Ivor Stein & Bands
Ivor Stein
God’s telephone
Low & behold
IanArcher/Frances Cramper
With an undoubted downturn of taxi
Cardboard city
Urban Clearway
Paul Tully
work, due in no small part to all and
Pink Cadillac
Jeff Collins
Jeff Collins
sundry jumping onto our bandwagon -
Miss America
Evans & Simpson
ColinEvans & Geoff Simpson
the latest being Daimler ride-sharing
Jeannie don’t call
La Turn Around
IanWoodcock & Chris Keltie
app, MyTaxi, which has swallowed up
The raining
Billy Clark
Hailo - and with seemingly no protec-
London Children
Jeff Collins
tion for the world’s longest-serving and
undoubtedly best licensed taxi service
lowing the British Empire Medal
from our licensing authority, TfL, the
award I was honoured to have been
previous months have seen a radical
change in the aspirations of Dial-a-Cab’s
However, I must add that this
membership with the vast majority
award is without doubt a recogni-
through voting procedures, deciding
tion of the hard work the Committee
that the days of a DaC friendly society are
as a whole of the London Taxidrivers
Fund for Underprivileged Children -
Through the sale of our valuable build-
both past and present - have under-
ing to - in all probability - a property
taken year in and year out and of
developer and together with other parts
course for the amazing help the
of DaC, it will give an opportunity for the
many drivers who support our
distribution of cash/shares to members.
efforts in transporting special needs
Should demutualisation and a sale of
and vulnerable children together
Dial-a-Cab be concluded sooner rather
with their parents and carers. To
than later, it is important to remember
everyone, we thank you most humbly
that your most recently elected Board
and sincerely...
Members will be the last Board of
Management to serve at the pleasure of
Mike Son
the membership. Many Members have
DaC Sales Dept
indicated that DaC should continue in a
reduced size and of this I am also in no
doubt. It is a well-known and much
respected brand.
These guys must be in a fortunate finan-
I am still optimistic in the future of the
Immaculate White
cial position to be able to turn down
taxi trade. I’m sure you will have noticed
fares. Get used to accepting Credit
that August, which is always a kipper
Cab Available for
Cards now.
month, has ticked over. Could it be that
some members of the public are getting
wise to the antics and adverse publicity
And looking to the past!
of Uber? Accidents caused by the drivers
Way back in 1995, together with some
looking at their satnavs rather than the
talented taxi drivers who wrote and per-
road together with reported physical and
formed their original music and Capital
homophobic attacks on passengers,
Radio, the LTFUC produced an album -
could well have sent some passengers
Hire & Reward - to help raise revenue
back to using more Licenced London
for the children’s charity. The album was
taxis. I believe that a cost factor is also
produced as a cassette; however, I’m
involved and with our Sales depart-
now able to copy the music onto CD.
ment’s fixed price scheme for longer
Having listened to the tracks, they are
journeys, there has been an increase in
great songs. Where are the band mem-
work numbers at the Society.
bers now? I’d be interested in hearing
However, although radio taxi services
from you...
are still finding it difficult to attract new
corporate customers, the use of Credit
Cards is increasing and will continue,
Female driver
especially after October 3. With Credit
Dear Dial-a-Cab Members, Staff,
Cards in mind, I have noticed that some
Board of Management colleagues
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
drivers still have a Cash Only sign in
and readers of Call Sign, I would
Contact Debbie (W18) on
their cabs, even though a Credit Card
like to take this opportunity to thank
07956 317040
reader and/or a Credit Cards Are
you all so much for the good wishes
Accepted sign is present in the cab.
and kind comments I received fol-
Call Sign September 2016
Page 18
avid Parker (N59) admitted to Call
Sign that he was pretty much at his
wits end when for some weird rea-
Frayed fan belt =
son, the big, long fan belt that drives
numerous pulleys on his TX2 kept fraying at
the edges on a regular basis, causing the Dial-
a-Cab driver to recently have to replace it fre-
frayed nerves!
quently and more recently twice in eight
weeks. These fan belts aren’t cheap and their
kicked the engine over several times on the
normal life expectancy should be many thou-
starter motor, carefully watching what was hap-
sands of miles. David told us that until recently,
pening to the fan belt. By the seventh turn of
it had never happened before and he had
the engine, he quietly turned to me and point-
280,000 miles on the clock!
ed to the steering pump pulley that was worn
“I had a new fan belt fitted when the cab
and loose, causing the fan belt itself to ‘jump’
went in for annual overhaul in May of this year
as it rotated over that pulley. It was that that
and then within weeks I broke down in
was the source of all my grief!
Northumberland Avenue - and it was the fan
“I had the steering pump and pulley
belt. Various dealerships had theories about
replaced and so confident was Richard that his
why the fan belt was fraying and what might be
diagnosis was correct, not to mention my con-
causing the problem, but after visiting several
cern that the problem really was sorted, that he
service centres and with more expense, the
gave me a 3-month warranty, which is very re-
problem continued,” David said with a sigh.
assuring. Richard also explained that all the
“A new water pump was fitted yet I still had
pulleys must be absolutely aligned as one, so
problems and within a short time the fan belt
that the fan belt does not ‘kink’ because any
would start to fray again. I was concerned
wear or free play on any pulley will have a dev-
because should the belt fail altogether, you lose
astating effect on the fan belt.”
power steering, the braking effort because
there is no servo power to the brakes and also
Dunston Taxis are at 333 Stean Street,
no charge to the battery because the alternator
Hackney E8 4ED. Phone 0207 254 1136.
Kingsland Road, whom I knew of from my
is not being driven, so that fan belt is really
earliest days of cabbing when I rented a cab
Alan Green
from them some 26 years ago. I explained the
“Eventually, and by now pretty fed up, I took
problem and without further ado Richard
Call Sign Online
the cab to Dunston Taxis in Stean Street off
Simon Scott is one of the new generation of taxi drivers whose life is captured as a blog.
The continuing story of his time as a butterboy is…
A Blogger’s Tale
the closer I got. I decided I would line up my mirror
Three Bobbies and a dented ego...
exactly level with the cab to my right, but there was some way to go yet. My
I loved my old FX4 but it did have many issues; number one on my list of
window was open and I wondered if he could smell my fear, I could certainly
anxieties being the lights, or to be precise, the lack of them! A night time
smell the fumes that were pumping out over his trousers!
trip into the wilds of Essex was seriously dicing with death and trying to
Finally I was there; I put the cab into park and pulled up the handbrake.
locate a left turn at 1am with something resembling the power of two
Just as I looked around for a round of applause, there was a sharp tap on the
candles on the front of the cab was embarrassing. They were also unpre-
window. My heart sank as he said those dreaded words: “Would you kindly
dictable; switches would regularly melt and they would work or fail on a
step out of the vehicle, sir.” I got out and he walked around to the back, sure
whim. Despite all that, I had begun to enjoy working nights. But that was
enough I'd done a magnificent job in reversing almost to the inch of where I
about to change…
wanted to be, but he pointed to the back of the cab and said my rear light
It was late one very dark night and I had answered a distress call for one
wasn't working! Now one thing my dear departed father used to say to me
more cab to go to St James Palace; the destination was still a mystery as
was never to admit to anything, but he was a bit of a rogue and I was
were the customers. So foot flat down on the accelerator pedal, I made my
nowhere near his league! So I said nothing and just banged it with the palm
way along Pall Mall. As I got closer, I noticed a line of neatly arranged
of my hand. Like magic, it came on!
cabs and three very straight backed policemen standing guard over them.
I turned to him and our eyes met as he said to me: “You knew that wasn't
I mentioned initial instincts usually being right in last month’s Call
working, didn't you?”
Sign, so you can probably guess what was going through my mind as,
I just turned round, got back into my old FX4 and silently said a little prayer
in unison, they spotted me and stiffened. The sergeant major stepped
of thanks… To be continued…
forward and did the finger pointing thing at me! I came to a grinding
Simon Scott (O40), Call Sign Online
halt and as he marched over, I noticed that there was one space that
had been left between two of the cabs. My heart sank as I had wanted
to position myself at the end in the chicken’s position! But he was hav-
Keith Reading
ing none of that:
“You took your time,” he barked at me and before I could say sorry, he
Professional Toastmaster
pointed to the vacant spot and instructed me to reverse in. There was
Master of Ceremonies
another ex-military cop standing on the pavement with his highly polished
boots shining under the lamplight; as he waved me into position, I noticed
that his toecap was overhanging the kerb stone exactly where I wanted to
Tele: 01279 465 938
put my rear cab bumper. I braced myself, our eyes met and an unsaid
Mobile: 07774 860 374
understanding passed through the air between us. I interpreted it a bit like
this: I'm not moving and if you touch my boots with your cab, then you're
With a crunch, I selected reverse and lifted my foot off the brake pedal
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
very slowly. It was just another manoeuvre, I told myself; but I could feel
the beads of sweat forming on my forehead. I didn't dare look at the other
Fellow of the Guild of
drivers as I knew that would put me off. Inch by inch the old cab moved
Professional Toastmasters
backwards and towards the policeman, who was getting larger and larger
Call Sign September 2016
Page 19
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
ishing in
Judge Butler listened and said he had no
A Grand
hesitation in sending Gachot to jail for 18
although he
months for the assault and a further
had actually
months, to run concurrently, for possession
I don’t know Eric
recorded the
of a CS canister. He was also ordered to pay
Court. I don’t even
Eric Court £500 compensation and court
know if he is still alive;
time. In court,
costs of a further £500.
but in a small way histo-
ry was changed when
Gachot plead-
His legal team said they would appeal, not
ed not guilty
only against conviction but against the sen-
he went to work one
December day in 1990.
tence as well. There was uproar in Belgium
defence bar-
where a
“Free Gachot” campaign was
On the 10th of that month, he’d been dri-
ving around Hyde Park Corner with a pas-
launched and over a thousand people
accused Eric
marched in protest through Brussels. Many
senger in the back of his cab when he
became involved with a red Alfa Romeo
compared Gachot’s sentence to those of the
that was being driven in an aggressive man-
threatening to
Liverpool supporters arrested after the
ner. The two vehicles began jockeying for
kill the racing
Heysel stadium disaster. They argued that
position, but the taxi driver held his ground
driver once he
Gachot’s sentence was far worse but nobody
much to the chagrin of the other driver who
found out where he lived in Fulham.
had died.
“That’s amusing,” replied Court. “I am a
kept close to Court’s rear bumper.
Gachot’s sentence was eventually reduced
Eventually Court had to brake, and not giv-
licensed cab driver. Do you know what they
to nine months, six of which were suspend-
would do to me?” ‘They’ probably being a
ing himself enough space, the Alfa Romeo
ed and he was immediately released having
went into the back of Court’s taxi.
reference to police and Carriage Officers
spent two months in jail and missing four
who could be a bit pernicious when it came
Both drivers got out. Fortunately, there
grand prix races. His career as a formula one
was no real damage to either vehicle but
to erring cab drivers!
racing driver was effectively over and he
After deliberating for four hours, the jury
Court asked the other driver what he was
never won another F1 race.
playing at, which is probably a polite way of
found Gachot guilty of actual bodily harm.
His imprisonment created a problem for
Before sentencing, Gachot’s defence team
putting it. The other driver just smiled and
the Jordan team who had to find a driver at
asked the judge not to pass a custodial sen-
said nothing.
short notice. They had a young German on
tence as Gachot had recently borrowed a
With no damage done, Court went to
their books who had done well in Formula 3
large sum of money in order to join the
return to his cab and continue with his
racing, but who had never competed in
Jordan-Ford racing team. He still owed
fare, but the other driver raised a hand
Formal One. In a practice session, he drove
and squirted a substance into Court’s
£250,000, a sum he was hoping to pay back
faster in one lap than Gachot had driven all
through sponsorship but a jail sentence
eye. It was Mace, CS gas, a chemical
season. His name was Michael Schumacher
developed at Porton Down and its use
would end any sponsorship deal and ruin
and the rest, as they say, is history...
his career. In addition, he was due to race at
was illegal in this country.
At this point Court admits to being terri-
his home track in the Belgian Grand Prix
Sean Farrell
that coming weekend.
fied. He grabbed hold of the other man’s tie
Call Sign Online
but the AR driver continued to spray the
Mace into Eric Court’s face.
“My face felt like it was on fire,” reported
the taxi driver afterwards.
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
The police soon arrived and the other dri-
ver was arrested, but there was no sign of
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
any canister of Mace. The driver denied the
variable bank interest rates?
assault, but police later found the canister
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
hidden in the cistern of a toilet in a nearby
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
office block.
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
It was only the following day when the
at your address also qualifies for membership!
incident was reported in the newspapers
that Court found out just who is attacker
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
was. His name was Bertrand Gachot, the
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
son of a French European Commission
up to 3 times your total savings…
official in Luxembourg, but who lived in
Belgium. He was also a leading Formula
The cost?
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
One racing driver ranked 11th in the
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
world. He had a promising career in
front of him, although due to several
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
mechanical problems he hadn’t accrued
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
many points in the Driver’s
Championship. He did, however, win the
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1990.
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
When the case came before a judge at
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
Southwark Crown Court, Gachot had just
Registration number 213263
completed the Hungarian Grand Prix fin-
Call Sign September 2016
Page 20
“Yes, my old TX1 cab was totally
reliable, even after 385,000
miles,” Eddie Smith (Y56) recalled
A hard act to follow...
to Call Sign as we chatted at
good friend.
Roman Way while his replace-
“This TX2 I’ve bought from a friend makes
ment TX2 was being fitted out
me its third owner and with just 148,000
with Dial-a-Cab equipment.
recorded miles showing, I am hopeful of a
“I bought my TX1 from Mann & Overton
good relationship between us. Certainly I’ve
second hand with 60,000 miles showing on the
heaped a lot of TLC on it so far! In fact, it was
clock and apart from the obvious and expected
not a DaC taxi in its previous life, so I had to
items of wear and tear such as occasional
peel back many layers of assorted plastic liver-
brakes, battery and regular servicing, that faith-
ies before I could make good some of the rust
ful old bus just kept going, proving itself to be
that had appeared under the adverts before a
a good, totally reliable workhorse,” Eddie said
bodywork specialist I know re-sprayed the
displaying a true belief in the longevity
paintwork, which is why it looks almost like
of his old cab.
new now!” Eddie allowed himself another
“I replaced two coolant radiators due
to silting up over the extended period I
“I used to work in the motor trade, so I was
ran the cab and with a good battery, the
familiar in dealing with damaged body panels.
engine would start at the first click
After the repairs, I generally tidied up the cab
every time. In fact, the engine and
before the annual inspection and to re-licence
gearbox were original items and con-
it in my name. I must admit that however clean
Eddie (inset) with his "new"
tinued to run just fine.” Eddie smiled
and decent it looks now, this cab will have a
TX2 before the bodywork had
as though he were talking about a
hard act to follow to catch up with - let alone
been repaired!
surpass - the excellent record of reliability of
my old TX1. I guess time will tell!”
With that, Eddie drove out of Roman Way
with his terminal and door logos and allowed
himself a hopeful smile for day one...
Dial-a-Cab golfers may be interested in a day’s golf on Wednesday 19th October 2016 at the
Baghwat Singh
Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club. It will be a Stableford scoring team event for two players per
team. A 75% handicap allowance is given per player with the maximum starting handicap of 24
Call Sign Online
for men and 30 for ladies. Play will be from the yellow tees for Men and red for Ladies.
The whole day will be organised for you, just turn up with your team. You will be
treated to tea, coffee and bacon rolls and following the competition, sit down to one of
our delicious two course carvery dinners, followed by the prize presentation. It’s all
Uber and
included in the cost of £64 per team.
You will need to arrive at least 1 hour before T-Time for refreshments and registration. Play will
be a shotgun start with the tee time at 10.30am and we anticipate the meal will be served at
St Pancras
around 3pm. A change of clothes is required after your 18 holes, ie jacket and tie etc.
If you are interested, please complete the entry form with full details of your team and return it to
us with full payment of £64 as soon as possible; confirmation of your tee time will be given at regis-
tration. Please make cheques payable to Crown Golf and return to:
f you were one of the drivers
Elaine Cochrane
The Hertfordshire Golf & Country Club, Broxbournebury Mansion
who several months ago gave
White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, EN10 7PY
up a part of your working day
Credit card payments can be taken over the phone if you prefer. If you need any further informa-
over a five day period by
tion, please contact Elaine on 01992 466666 ext 249.
demonstrating along Pancras Road
and surrounding streets against the
proliferation of Uber cars hanging up
Wednesday 19th October 2016
for jobs, your sacrifice may just be
Please complete the form below giving full players details.
paying off.
According to Matthew Little, the
Lead Contact Name:
Quality and Training Manager at
Camden Council’s PCN department,
Please provide FULL details of both players
proposed changes to a traffic order re
parking along the stretch of road
Name (1)
opposite the Kings Cross taxi rank
have now been authorised and a
redesign is about to be implemented
Contact number
E-Mail Address
and hopefully completed by the time
you read this. It will introduce a No
Name (2)
Waiting / No Loading restriction over
24 hours outside St Pancras.
Picking up or setting down will still
Contact number
E-Mail Address
be allowed, but if your passenger
isn’t there, then you will not be
allowed to wait. We also look for-
Your tee will be confirmed on receipt of your entry fee for the team of £64. Please return entry by 12th October 2016.
ward to a much more visible police
Cheques made payable to Crown Golf (UK) Ltd. Please phone if you would like to pay by Credit Card or for further
information: Elaine Cochrane on 01992 466666 ext 249
This information will only be used by Crown Golf Ltd and not issued to any other third party...
Call Sign September 2016
Page 21
Charles Rathbone lives and works in San Francisco - the place where Uber began
life just 6 years ago. He has been connected to the taxi business for many years
and was the first cab driver to use a TX2 as his work vehicle. In this article he
looks back at the Uber cycle as Call Sign goes...
Six years ago Uber offered its first taxi-like
rides to passengers in San Francisco. In 2013,
the company obtained permission to use per-
sonal vehicles in its low cost “rideshare” ser-
vice. Lightly regulated and richly funded by
investors, UberX was an instant hit with the
riding public and rapidly siphoned business
away from taxicabs, as well as from transit.
By late 2014, San Francisco taxicab drivers
were abandoning traditional taxi companies.
Drivers moved in ever larger numbers to the
new services, which offered irresistible sign-up
bonuses, guaranteed earnings, car purchase
assistance and many new customers. Taxicab
August 2016 message atop a San Francisco Yellow cab directed at Uber and Lyft
companies and individual owner-operators
drivers (pic Charles Rathbone)
have since faced a chronic shortage of drivers,
resulting in many cabs sitting idle for much of
cab is idle while insurance and other expenses
tional challenge claiming unequal treat-
the time.
keep adding up. Companies and the regulator
ment under the law will soon be heard in a
The best official estimate is that 37,000
are looking at options that can reduce the cost
San Francisco federal court.
rideshare drivers ply for hire in San
of operating a taxi.
San Francisco taxis have been six years now
Francisco, many of them part-time. By
Meanwhile the number of customers
in the eye of the storm. London taxi drivers
comparison, there are fewer than 2,000
using one form or another of taxi-like ser-
can take some consolation from the fact that
we are very definitely still here! Uber and Lyft
licensed taxicabs. By observation, the
vice is clearly much larger than it was even
copied their apps from the excellent
rideshare services appear to have reached
a few years ago. How much of the market
TaxiMagic and Cabulous apps that were used
a saturation point within the last year.
traditional taxicabs will ultimately claim
in San Francisco as early as 2008. Those taxi
Riders have many new options to choose
remains to be seen. App-based shared taxi
ehail companies are still doing well, now re-
from as the transportation sector contin-
service, which makes taxis more competi-
branded as Curb and Flywheel. Expect more
ues its rapid growth. Now fleets of private
tive with rideshare service, will be opera-
re-branding and re-positioning of taxis as we
shuttles and buses target the rideshare
tional in San Francisco this year. Permits
leverage our advantages while adapting to an
demographics and neighbourhoods, offer-
for drivers are easier to obtain now and the
ever larger market with its host of innovative
ing fares as low as $3.
process may be streamlined further. New
partners and competitors.
Traditional licensed taxicabs continue to
per-mile insurance products offer the
enjoy many advantages over the lightly regu-
prospect of reduced costs for single-shift
Charles Rathbone
lated ride services. Trust in taxis remains high
taxi operators. And an important constitu- San Francisco for Call Sign Online
because taxi driver background checks are
recognised as superior to the informal checks
performed by the new entrants. Wheelchair
accessible service and service to seniors
remain largely markets for taxis.
Licensed taxicabs are regarded as transit in
San Francisco and are accorded many transit
privileges. Special red-painted transit lanes for
buses and taxis stretch for miles along the
busiest streets. Dozens of key intersections
allow turns only by buses and taxis. Unlike any
Treatment for pain & discomfort doesn’t have to be expensive
other cars, taxicabs can pick up and drop off in
bus zones and can even stop in bike-only
The Centre offers fully qualified therapists in Physiotherapy,
Almost every high-volume pick-up point in
Osteopathy, Sports Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Remedial
the downtown area has a designated taxi
Massage, Indian Head Massage, Hydrotherm, Massage
stand, while no curb spaces are reserved for
the informal ride services. At SFO dozens of
Therapy, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
prime curb spaces at the arrivals terminal are
exclusively for waiting taxicabs.
Call us on 020 8507 8169
Police and taxi regulators are overwhelmed
or mobile 07973 639 473 for an early appointment
by the tens of thousands of rideshare vehicles.
Email: or fax: 020 8507 9650
Taxi inspectors are nonetheless regular visitors
Out of hours enquiries welcome
to nightlife districts. They issue many citations
for illegal operation with fines up to $5,000.
Barking Physical Therapy Centre
Taxi companies are making a transition away
90 Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex, IG11 8SF
from their previous high-efficiency mode in
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 9am till 8pm and Saturday 9am till 2pm
which almost every cab was in service day and
night. Now there are many hours when the
Call Sign September 2016
Page 22
he London Taxi! Board Game was
London, New York, Edinburgh and Glasgow
launched in 2015 and initial sales
considerably exceeded expectations.
On the back of this success, the team
at Taxi Game Ltd have now created three more
City versions of Taxi! and these will be avail-
able to buy in late September 2016.
The existing London Taxi board game
will now be joined by New York, Edinburgh
and Glasgow versions of the game.
And you can win a copy of the brand new New York version...
About Taxi!
Where to buy Taxi!
Taxi! is a new game full of fun and knowl-
Board Game
edge for all the family (12 years +). Created
by an Edinburgh black cab driver, the game or
was first piloted in central Scotland, out-
contact gordon@taxi-
selling Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit in for
major stores. Now, with new features and a
more information about
further redesign, three new versions of the
Taxi! The London game
Taxi! Board Game are about to be launched.
is currently available
Taxi! Board Game contains 600 local histo-
from selected London
ry and general knowledge questions about
retailers, Amazon UK,
the city and just like driving a taxi, the better, eBay and
your knowledge, the better the tips because
Gumtree etc.
All 4 versions, including
the 3 new versions of the
Taxi! Board Game will be
Is more
available to buy from the
when the fare ends, you must answer a ques-
online stores AND the new Taxi! Game online
tion to gain a tip.
shop, which launches in late August at
With news that yet
Dial-a-Cab drivers, like most taxi drivers, /shop.
another taxi app
have an opinion on every subject; land on
Call Sign has three copies of the brand
one of the ‘Sound-Off’ squares and it’s your
“run by cab drivers
new, New York Taxi! board game up for
for cab drivers” is
turn to sound-off like a cabbie! The Sound-
grabs! To win a free copy, simply answer
aiming to hit the
Off cards contain a hundred varied sub-
these 2 questions correctly - one taken
streets soon
jects. On being told the Sound-Off subject,
adding to
from each version of the game and you will
you have 30 seconds to mention as many of
Cab:app, Hailo
be entered into Call Sign’s prize draw.
the six key words printed on the card as
(soon to be
From the London Game: Which year saw
you can. Every key word you mention
MyTaxi), Gett
London host the Olympic Games for the
increases your takings.
and several others
second time?
Driving a shift in a taxi is a combination of
not including
luck and knowledge; turn left you may get a £5
From the New York Game: Which fashion
those currently
fare but turn right and you could get a £90
chain was created by New York born Donna
offered by both
tour! This is reflected in the Taxi! Board Game
Karan in 1984?
Dial-a-Cab and
by the ‘Give or Take’ squares. Keep the card
Send your entries to Call Sign by post,
ComCab, you
have to wonder where it will all lead,
for yourself or pass it to a fellow player. Is your
email to or drop it
because the first thought has to be that
luck in?
into the reception for the attention of Call
they are all fighting for the same pot of
The winner is the player who has earned the
Sign. The closing date is Monday 12
work and that pot is being diluted at a
most money at the end of the agreed shift.
September 2016...
rapid rate.
It was reported in the American TLC
magazine - that’s Taxi, Limousine and
Car and not the UK’s tender loving care -
Can you afford not to get a copy!!!
that there are at least ten new ride share
app services starting up around the USA.
Produced by Dial-a-Cabs PCN expert, John Vigus,
The article by Don McCurdy goes on to
this book is all you need to know about moving
add that “ any successful enterprise,
Uber has numerous copycats doing
traffic and parking regulations in one easy to
things a little differently but essentially
read guide!
the same. You know, kind of like Uber
does with taxicabs.”
Then just like London, Don says:
“Regulators have strapped so many regu-
The Motorists Guide to Moving
lations on taxicabs that it's a wonder
Traffic And Parking Regulations
anyone still wants to drive one when dri-
vers can drive any other number of app
Hard copies £8. Electronic versions to
driven for hire services.”
So that means fighting back, but more
Dial-a-Cab drivers are £5 per copy. Orders
to the point for London, in this tiny city
via Driver Services with payment deducted
compared to the parts of the US Don is
writing about, how many mini-Ubers can
from your DaC account.
we take - even if they are taxi based?
Michael Toomey
Call Sign Online
Can you really afford not to get a copy!!!
Call Sign September 2016
Page 23
Another true story from Geoff Levene...
sound as though I knew what I was talking about.
what to do,” she said. I kept quiet. When I got to
With that she began to cry, leaving me wander-
the set-down, she was still banging on about it.
ing just what was going on.
Under my breath I said: “For God's sake, just go!”
In a recent issue of Call Sign, Simon Scott wrote
“I've come a long way,” she said still with tears
To which she asked if I had just called her a bitch!
amusingly in his blog about an embarrassing
flooding her eyes. “Just tell me, was he a big guy?”
She’d had her say, so then it was mine: “No, I
experience with Agony Aunt Anna Raeburn.
“Not really,” said I even though I knew that he
didn't call you a bitch, I would never do that. You
Well, that sounds rather bad doesn't it; perhaps
might consider yourself one but it didn't come
that should read ‘concerning’ rather than ‘with’!
“Did he have an unusual name,” she asked still
from me.” That shut her up!
Anyway, I spent about 35 minutes with her,
searching for something.
And finally there was Marcia who ran a film
after which I needed to lie down in a darkened
“I wouldn't say so,” I replied, even though I
company in Soho making commercials. She
room with a cold compress applied to my fevered
knew that he did. “What's all this about?”
later became a confidante of Cherie Blair
brow! I'd picked her up from her pretty terraced
Then it came... “I think my husband is buying it
before starting up a fashionable restaurant in
house in West Hampstead at 6.30 one morning
with another woman!”
Great Portland Street. It wasn't what she said
to take her to Waterloo and at no point in that
I asked why she thought that and she blurted
that would make me uncomfortable, it was
journey did she stop talking - and I don't mean
out that the surveyor's report came through her
what she didn't say. She would sit, looking
chatting about the weather or politics. This was a
straight ahead watching the traffic.
full frontal
90mph assault! She wasn’t being
What a wally! He had given his home address!
One afternoon I got a job from her office going
nasty... just unstoppable, with some of it being
Needless to say the sale collapsed the next day.
to the airport. Out came a young chap, the com-
rather personal.
You'll note that women feature here in a big
pany runner. He screamed out that he was in
I think it’s pretty well-known now so it can be
way. And why not? At the moment they are domi-
trouble! They had two Company Mercedes and
repeated, but she told me - a complete stranger -
nating politics. In a few months a woman will
his boss told me him to take her case down and
that she had been in a relationship with Agony
(hopefully) be the most powerful person in the
put it in the boot, but he had put it into the wrong
Uncle Philip Hodson and that he’d dumped her
world. The glass ceiling has been well and truly
one! She was waiting at the terminal for us!
for another Agony Aunt, Ann Hooper. It was all
smashed. But I do find American businesswomen
He made it sound like he was going to his exe-
beginning to sound a bit incestuous! But perhaps
a little scary.
cution. We got to the airport and there she was.
it’s easier to tell these things to someone you can't
Like the one who got in, gave me the destina-
She walked towards him to collect the case. Her
really see - perhaps like a confessional or radio
tion and announced that she was going to lay
mouth widened into a huge smile... but it was the
phone-in programme. So in fact I had become her
smile of a python before it strikes!
Agony Uncle...
Oh dear, I thought, she's not well. But that was
And I thought the good lady wife gave me a
She wasn't the first woman to open up like
the way she liked to travel. Knees drawn up, iPad
hard time...
that. One day in Fulham, I noticed a 20-some-
balanced against them and mobile clamped to her
thing girl sobbing in the arms of an older
ear. She didn't like the route and let me know it.
Geoff Levene (W32)
woman, who in turn was flagging me down.
“I don't suppose you like women telling you
Call Sign Online
“Don't worry,” she said soothingly, “everything
will be all right. I'll call you in a couple of days.”
With that, they said their goodbyes and she got in.
Waterloo please,” she said in a soft voice,
“what a day!”
She seemed to want to talk, so almost as a cour-
tesy I asked her what had happened. And she told
376 Strand, WC2
“Me and my husband live in Dorset. He works
up here and has a flat so I thought I’d surprise
We Invite Dial-a-Cab drivers and their guests to our
him. But I found that girl there. They’d been liv-
restaurant where you can partake of the finest food and wine
ing together for 6 months and she knew nothing
about me.”
And as a thank-you for helping our clients come
I asked if her husband had also been there but
and go over the years, we are happy to be able to
she said he wasn’t. He was away on business - or
more probably, with woman number 3! Once
offer you a genuine 25% discount on your bill
again I was the sounding board and as usual, so
I’m told, the wife is the last to know.
We are certain that you will be delighted
Selling the house...
Our house was on the market in the depths of
the recession and was a real struggle to sell.
One Saturday, a couple came to look and
immediately decided to buy it. They actually
offered £5000 more than we were asking for!
Solicitors were instructed and a surveyor gave
the place a quick once over. It was all going
swimmingly. But then, a few weeks later, the
Please bring along your badge or Bill as ID
doorbell rang and a woman stood there. I
thought she was the one that was buying the
Salieri Restaurant
place, but no...
376 Strand, WC2
“Are you selling your house,” she asked?
“It's under offer,” I replied calmly.
Reservations: 020 7836 1318
“Can you tell me who's buying it?”
“I'm afraid that's confidential,” I said trying to
Call Sign September 2016
Page 24
“I’m not sure I should be telling you this,”
Breaking and entering is an illegal offence, but what about...
Robert Stutman (T63) confided to Call Sign,
“but such information is readily available on
the internet... if you know where to look!”
Entering Without Breaking!
Robert giggled rather mischievously as he
are,” he confessed with more than a slight hint
continued: “I guess the criminal fraternity
already know how to get into vehicles without
of embarrassment.
“I phoned around a few friends and they all
a key so they won’t need my help, but for an
innocent driver who inadvertently locks him
suggested I could use a simple domestic
implement to force up against the door and
or herself out of their vehicle, it could be a real
sure enough, when I did it the way I was told,
the door popped open much - as you can
Aware of the security aspects of the
information he was about to disclose,
imagine - to my very great relief.
“I have often thought about getting one of
Robert still continued with his story...
“I had accidentally locked myself out of my
those magnetic key boxes to hide outside the
cab somewhere, but never actually got round
cab. At first I hit panic mode as I looked and
saw my ignition key sitting comfortably in the
to buying one yet, so now this might be an
opportune time to do so because the thought
ignition switch of the cab when it should really
have been in my hand! Under normal circum-
of having to go through a repeat performance
of entering my own cab without the aid of the
stances you ‘d think it would be an easy
enough task to go back into the house, find
correct key, isn’t one I want to contemplate!”
The “rescue” involves a wedge and a rod!
the spare key and open up the cab door to
retrieve the original key, but I in my wisdom
Call Sign will not tell you anymore but
there are numerous YouTube videos on the
only have the one key, which makes life diffi-
cult,” Robert said shaking his head in acknowl-
subject. The best bet though, is to make
sure you always have a spare key!
edgement with himself!
“I have managed with just the one solitary
Alan Green
key for many years and my misfortune was
To save Robert's blushes, this isn't him!
Call Sign Online
something of a senior moment, but there we
n January 18th 2016, Action for
invoked. Everybody that pledged through the Crowdfunding initiative was given the opportunity to
Cabbies embarked on a
withdraw their pledge by 5pm on April 5th. Numerous announcements were made over various plat-
Crowdfunding campaign to try
forms including email, Facebook and Twitter and it was made clear that any un-cancelled pledges would
and raise an initial £600,000 so as
be used for attempting to obtain permission for the Judicial Review surrounding credit cards.
to obtain permission from the court to launch a
Certain aspects of the alternative JR had to be altered as there would have been no prospect of get-
Judicial Review against Transport for
ting a positive result, as well as aspects that were not unreasonable such as objecting to fixed payment
London for allegedly wrongly and potentially
machines, the mandated requirement to accept credit cards and the list of suppliers, to name but three.
illegally issuing Uber with a PHV Operators
An application for a Judicial Review was lodged with the court on May 3rd and some of the
License. The initial deadline for raising the
monies that had been collected were paid to Rosenblatt Solicitors as a retainer; all remaining monies
funds was set as March 18th and after several
are being dealt with via our accountants Raffingers and will be paid to Rosenblatt upon receiving a
extensions, the final deadline was April 7th. The
full and final costing.
extensions were given so as to see if we could
On July 17th we received informal notification from our solicitors that the attempt to
still make the original target and to give the
obtain a Judicial Review had failed and that we would not be given leave to challenge TfL in
LTDA time to match the £300,000 as was origi-
court. We received the official notification several days later. Naturally we are very disap-
nally agreed.
pointed with this outcome as we feel there is a strong enough case. We would like to thank
Despite our best efforts, we failed to
every single person that believed in this cause. We may have failed on this occasion, howev-
reach the £600,000 target but managed to
er the positives that have come from this are enormous - the biggest positive being that we
raise in excess of £350,000. Nobody in the
have proved that we CAN galvanise ourselves and fight back as an industry. Moving for-
history of the licensed London taxi trade
ward, we are going to continue fighting tooth and nail to help protect this industry and to
had ever managed to raise funds to this
help it flourish. We may have lost this battle, but we aim to help win the war.
level before, but sadly the original plan
Once again we wish to thank each and every one of you for your support...
was not to be.
Stronger Together
Anticipating that we might need to adopt an
Action for Cabbies
alternative plan, a Consultation was undertaken
on March 3rd by AskPOB to find out if those
who contributed to the original fund would
back an alternative plan to try and launch a judi-
cial review against TfL with regard to certain
aspects surrounding how they were implement-
ing the impending mandatory credit card initia-
tive. To that effect, we asked taxi drivers to
decide whether this would be a route they
would like us to examine and potentially under-
take. The majority voted in favour to proceed
with seeking permission for a Judicial Review in
regards to the driver paying the transaction
Upon realising that we would not reach the
£600,000 target and with a majority vote from
the Consultation, it was decided on March 31st
2 016 to switch from trying to obtain permission
for a Judicial Review in relation to Uber being
licensed, to attempting to obtain a JR in relation
to how the credit card initiative was being
Page 25
Call Sign September 2016
Every issue of Call Sign takes a look back at ODRTS history through the pages of the
magazines of the time with a Flashback…
This month’s Flashback looks at a true story from Graham West (V40) that appeared in the January
2000 issue of Call Sign…
In the November 1998 issue of Call Sign, the Editor asked for driver’s unusual items-left-in-the-cab stories. That reminded me of an incident
that happened in my taxi some time ago...
I had picked up a young couple in Shaftesbury Avenue and was told to drive them to Tedworth Square in Chelsea. On the way, the young
couple were being extremely passionate with each other. I was comparing it to the joys of spring - even though it was winter! I dropped them
off and out the corner of my eye as I was pulling away, I saw them scampered up three steps at speed - no doubt wanting to catch the end
of Coronation Street!
Several minutes later, another hand shot up and this time we were off to Croydon. We hadn’t gone too far when my passenger told me
that someone had left a briefcase in the back. I assumed it had to belong to that last young couple as I remembered the female holding it
when she got in. The passenger passed it to me and I thought that I’d have a look at the end of the trip for any ID that would confirm it to
be hers. At Croydon, my passenger paid me off and I pulled round the corner to have a quick look.
Inside the briefcase I found a mobile phone, various credit cards and £2600 in cash! There was also a business card with a Cadogan Square
address. As I wasn’t sure of the exact number in Tedworth Square that I had originally dropped the couple at, I decided to phone the number
on the card. However, there was no answer, so I left a message on th e answerphone and started making my way towards Cadogan Square.
On arrival, I rang the bell and explained to the male voice answering the intercom that a young lady had left her briefcase in my taxi going
to Tedworth Square, but that there was a business card giving this address inside. I left out the part concerning the extra-curricular activities!
The male voice said that it sounded like his girlfriend’s case and that he would come straight down.
A mental picture formed in my mind during those few seconds waiting. The young lady was very attractive and I had a pic-
ture of this guy being 30-ish, tall and handsome. Wrong! The door opened and there stood a shortish, 60-plus balding man who
looked more like her father!
He looked at the case and recognised it immediately, even explaining that there was £2600 in it to pay the wages on a day’s film shoot at
the company he was associated with. He gratefully accepted the case and gave me £60 from it. But he did display a worried frown on his
face - no doubt concerned that his girlfriend should have been so careless but possibly also wondering why she had got off at Tedworth
Square! I thought to myself how worried he might have been had he realised the circumstances in which the briefcase was left! I decided not
to add to his worries and bade him goodnight…
G.G.West (V40)
Autogas trial LPG
taxis in London
July 20th at Dial-a-Cab House saw a successful Open
Day by Autogas in association with Shell and Calor,
when they were invited by Call Sign to show DaC dri-
vers exactly what LPG meant. An estimated 120 drivers
turned up in the 5 available hours to look at three LPG
cabs, ask questions of the four experts there and test drive the
cabs. Overwhelmingly, the drivers thought t he cab was a huge improvement on their cur-
rent cabs. A full report was in the August issue.
Autogas is on the back leg of a trial in London with a licensed London taxi running on LPG.
Autogas, which has the largest network of automotive LPG refuelling pumps in the UK, is hopeful
that Transport for London will licence the cabs very soon for use later this year.
The vehicle, which has had its diesel engine replaced by a brand new Opal petrol engine con-
verted to run on LPG, is run by drivers at Epsom Cabs 24 hours a day in order to
speed up the process of a 10,000 mile durability test.
Your old TX1 Taxi is wanted
Autogas believes the LPG re-powering solution will prove attractive to licensed taxi owners that want
to extend the working life of their cabs in London, rather than invest immediately in a brand-new one.
Quick viewing and decision
Paul Oxford, the business development manager of Autogas and one of those that came to
DaC, told Call Sign: “Not everyone is going to rush out and buy a new vehicle straightaway. If
Cash waiting!
someone is coming up to retirement, for example, why would they buy a new cab?
“But by converting with an approved LPG system, they can get an extra five years of service
Top price paid for really clean
from the vehicle on top of their 15, as well as dramatically help to reduce air pollution and make
substantial savings on their fuel costs of around 20 percent.”
This provision is important in the run-up to 2018, when all new Hackney Carriages in
London will have to be zero emission capable as part of the city’s drive to reduce air pol-
lution. Taxis which are already licensed won’t be affected.
Please ring Graham on
Initial emission testing at Millbrook has shown that LPG technology produces
80% fewer NOx emissions compared with a normal diesel powered version, as well as
07435 562759
a 99% reduction in sooty particulate matter.
or e-mail on
At around 55p a litre, LPG is also cheaper than conventional fuels. Repowering of a taxi costs
around £8,000 (+ VAT) and takes around three days, although Brexit might add a small amount on.
Call Sign September 2016
Page 26
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
ne of the offerings I list on my
QPR lose to
profile for a Vancouver-based
Spurs in 1901
Travel Agency is called the
London’s Sports Stadiums Tour.
You would be surprised how much North
In 1896, the club
Americans are interested in getting
moved back to
around town to check out our stadiums.
Clifford Gardens,
However, as a born and bred Londoner
but this time to
and an historian, I am of course much
actually play at the
more interested in researching the her-
Kensal Rise Athletic
itage of our sports stadiums, both existing
Ground instead of
and dearly departed.
the waste ground
The most local team to my home is
next door. The ‘R’s
Gillingham FC, who have never played their
So what part of John Welford’s 300 acres
(known as The Royalists in those days)
home games anywhere other than Priestfield
(the equivalent of about 300 football pitches)
played their first ever professional match at
and the team closest to my heart is Millwall,
did the footballers carry their four upright
the KRAG, going down 0-1 to Spurs, and this
who are now playing at their fifth home
posts and crossbar tape to? Obviously the acre
once famous venue would regularly put on
closest to the pub! The Case is Altered was
athletics, cycling and even boxing in its hey-
But this month’s chosen London team
probably a leading candidate for London’s
day - but it was all covered over by the 1960s.
however, moved home no less than 17
most peculiar pub name, but don’t get me
At the start of the 20th century, it was time
times before they finally settled on Loftus
started on that subject as I’m already research-
to move on yet again and St Mark’s Park in
Road, true nomads and worthy of featur-
ing London’s famous Coaching Inns for
St Quintin Avenue would now host home
ing over the next 2 issues of Call Sign -
another series of articles! Don’t go looking for
games - much to the disapproval of local res-
and not just because they are the love of
the pub or QPR’s second playing surface now
idents who thought football lowered the tone
DaC Chairman Brian Rice!
- it’s all gone, but would have been just to the
of North Kensington! The players had to
Queens Park Rangers began life in 1882,
south of Kensal Rise Station near Station
change in the Latimer Arms before games,
one of the capital’s oldest clubs and its
running down the road to the ground - much
founding fathers were all ex-pupils of Droop
When construction started to swallow up
to the excitement of the local youth who ran
Street School. now Queens Park Primary
Welford’s vast farmlands, they were eventual-
with them so that they could sneak in as they
School - now a Grade II listed building and
ly absorbed into United Dairies, but these
couldn’t afford the one penny admission fee!
one of the original London School Board
entrepreneurs still charged QPR a whacking
Those complaining residents was typical of the
schools in London, built to serve the children
£8 in rent for the full season - and there was
social upheaval that football was bringing - rugby
of a newly-built residential social housing.
no sign of Tony Fernandes in the 1880s!
was considered to be the ‘gentleman’s game’ and
With the establishment of mission halls as
Incidentally, you can still see the old
the new upstart game was considered low class.
London was spreading further out, those old
Welford’s dairy building in Shirland Road if
All that was left of QPR’s ninth home
boys got together in the evenings at St Jude’s
you keep your eyes peeled out there and
ground in their first 15 years of existence was
Hall in nearby Ilbert Street under the guid-
once you’ve found that beautiful Victorian
carved up in the 1920s when the Princess
ance of mentors Jack McDonald and Fred
red brick building, check out the old archway
Louise Hospital was built and Pangbourne
Weller. These two guys had been given per-
to what would have been its yard.
Avenue created - the only remaining tracts of
mission to coach the teenagers by the Rev
Rangers, starting to become a stronger out-
land from the ground that was also shared
Gordon Young - this clergyman would have
fit and attracting a reasonable following,
with a cricket club are today at the West
had no idea what those humble beginnings
secured the London Scottish Ground at
London Bowls Club and Kensington
were going to lead to!
Brondesbury; the £20 annual rent offset by
Memorial Park at either end of the street.
When St Jude’s merged with neighbours
the ability to charge admission to spectators
The football club in some ways were to be
Christ Church Rangers to create a much
now for the first time, sharing the space with
the victim of their own success, because when
stronger local football force, it was decided to
their more illustrious rugby playing partners.
12,000 fans turned up for a match against
go forward as Queens Park Rangers as just
The famous old rugby club had its origins
Spurs, this caused the residents to petition the
about all of the original players came from
over several wee tipples in Mackay’s Tavern
estate owner to serve notice on them - not the
around the Queen’s Park district in West
off Ludgate Hill in 1878 - and just like the
first time they had found themselves in this
Rangers, the custodians of the oval shaped
Their first playing surface can be described
ball had many home grounds before finally
That old recreation ground had been built
as rudimentary at best, a piece of waste
settling down at the Richmond Athletic
over old brickfields and piggeries, not per-
ground adjacent to the more superior Kensal
haps ideal for sport, but it meant the club
Rise Athletic Ground in Clifford Gardens
But followers of both London Scottish and
were now homeless again, literally in big pig
off Chamberlayne Road. If that first playing
QPR would have to watch their side do battle
surface was very basic, their next choice (for
at new homes in 1890, because the ground
I shall pick up the story again next month,
two seasons only) was at Welford’s Fields,
sharing had caused the pitch to become
because we are still a long way off from the
farmland leased from All Souls College at
unplayable. Rugby moved out to Old Deer
legends that were Rodney Marsh, Stan
Kensal Green by Welford & Sons who were
Park while the football moved to another
Bowles and Les Ferdinand!
appointed dairymen to Queen Victoria - it
four different grounds - Home Park, Kensal
was illegal to keep cattle in the centre of
Rise Green, The Gun Club at Wormwood
Bob Woodford
town, and so this led to a rapid growth in
Scrubs and even to the Kilburn Cricket
Call Sign Online
dairy farming in the suburbs!
Ground in Harvist Road.
Call Sign September 2016
Page 27
he following letter was written
by Call Sign Editor, Alan Fisher,
but who in this instance wrote it
How important is the safety
as a driver. It was sent to the
following people: London Mayor Sadiq
Khan, Deputy Mayor for Transport Val
of London Taxi Drivers?
Shawcross, London Assembly member
Caroline Pidgeon, Minister of Transport
Chris Grayling, London’s transport
PED case in the rear. It was only at the dri-
Commissioner Mike Brown, MP for
ver’s insistence that he should have buck-
Kensington and Chelsea Lady Victoria
led up that a complaint didn't go any further.
Borwick, TfL General Manager Helen
But that isn't my complaint; I am purely
Chapman as well as TfL’s Leon Daniels,
pointing it out as a secondary reason.
Garrett Emerson and Peter Blake. A
Perhaps there have been no official reports of
copy was also sent to the Dial-a-Cab
it happening, more because our drivers are
Board and DaC driver David Lessman
excellent and unlike the competition, do not
as a former Chairman of children’s
need to look at satnavs rather than the road
charity, LTFUC...
To whom it concerns...
But that is a million miles from unnec-
I am addressing this email to everyone
essarily insisting that drivers may have to
named above and would hope that my case is
go into the passenger compartment if the
written clearly enough to understand. If it
passenger says there is a problem with
isn't, that is due in totality to the anger I feel
the PED. As I have said, it won't be me and
towards Transport for London with regard to
if I am forced to do as TfL insist, then the
the appalling treatment given to Dial-a-Cab by
world will know how I feel via our justice
an organisation that I have always assumed
system and the newspapers - one of which
wanted all transport vehicles under its umbrel-
reported on the 154 alleged sex attacks
I’m sure I don't need to explain what that
la to work in a safe environment.
on their passengers by cab drivers and of
could mean to any driver being put into that
But apparently that doesn't apply to
whom I would stake my house on that
position. Robbery? Bruising? Stabbing? I'm
London's taxi fleet, justifiably said to be the
none were taxi drivers. However, I would
not interested in whether it has or hasn't yet
world's best. And much thanks for that must
expect the number of taxi drivers being
happened. It will somewhere down the line.
go to TfL's predecessors, the Public
attacked to go up after being lured into
But why? The PED is excellently placed in a
Carriage Office. Yes, there was a certain
the rear of the cab under the pretence of
safe position and all it needs is an approved
amount of fear attached to their presence,
the CC PED not working.
sign on the passenger side of the partition
but that was in addition to respect.
I find it so difficult to understand that our
that says the driver accepts credit cards. Why
The fact that I edit Dial-a-Cab's in-house
so-called licensing authority is happy to put
should we be put in danger every time some-
magazine, Call Sign, comes second to my
us in danger, because an excuse that it hasn't
one comes up with a problem? Most are gen-
pride at being a licensed London taxi driver
happened yet is just not good enough. It will
uine and I am usually able to sort them out
for over
45 years. However, I’m also
fairly easily, but there is no way on God's
ashamed to be connected to an organisation
I used to write to TfL whenever one of my
earth that I am going to get into the back of
like TfL who have shown beyond doubt that
Call Sign readers asked me a question that I
my taxi with people I may not even trust.
they care not a jot for this trade and that if
believed they could answer, but I cannot
I often get out to help passengers with bags
any of our number were to be attacked and
remember the last time anyone from that
or women with babies and prams. But would
hurt, then that is nothing to do with them.
organisation bothered responding to me.
In other words, TfL doesn't care if we
I get into the back of a taxi with an unaccom-
However, my views are now known and
get hurt and they are attempting to
panied female passenger and take the chance
hopefully will at least be read and the feelings
prove it because if their plans go
of being accused of an offence against her
of myself and many other drivers will be
through, then some of our number will
person? No I wouldn't in either case and I
looked at sympathetically, because I just can-
be hurt - possibly seriously.
won't. If that means going to court to explain
not believe that any organisation would do
What I'm talking about in case some on
why I don’t want to put myself in danger
what TfL are proposing.
this list don't know - and I have no doubt
when it is totally unnecessary to do so
I have sent this lengthy email to several
that not everyone does - is all to do with
because our current system caters for all
people including Deputy Chair at Transport
TfL's insistence on London taxi drivers
eventualities, then that is what I will have to
Val Shawcross, TfL, Caroline Pidgeon at the
accepting credit cards.
do. I have already upset my wife when telling
Transport Committee, the Mayor's office, two
That decision is undoubtedly correct. Like
her what TfL wants us to do.
former Chairman of the London Taxi Drivers
many on Dial-a-Cab, I have already been car-
Feel free to look at my record as a taxi
Fund for Underprivileged Children, Victoria
rying out CC rides for years via our system
driver, which actually goes back several
Borwick as a hopefully interested MP and for-
and with street CC trips for several years
years before my May 1971 taxi beginning
mer member of the Transport Committee
ever since we have had fixed CC readers
encasing my time with London Transport.
and someone who knows much about how
(PEDS) fitted into our taxis with the holster
I give you all permission. You won't
this trade operates. I have also forwarded it
placed handily by our left shoulder and eas-
find one complaint. You won’t find me
to members of the DaC Board of
ily fitting through the gap in the partition for
down as a trouble maker; I am just a taxi
Management who in all fairness should know
the passenger to put in the card and insert
driver who believes that this is the best
my views as Editor.
their pin.
taxi service in the world and who does his
Any responses would be welcomed
But astonishingly, even though it was
best to provide an excellent service to
because if I get none, then I will know
TfL that passed the DaC PED in that posi-
his passengers.
that my worst fears are not just fears but
tion some five years ago at a substantial
But apparently TfL are going to force me
TfL promises...
cost to DaC, I have now been informed
into deciding whether my safety is as impor-
that TfL want the PED to be placed in the
tant as credit card acceptance. I want to
Kind regards
passenger compartment. That would
accept CCs but not if there is the possibility of
mean that if three semi-drunk passen-
putting myself in danger.
gers at two in the morning said that the
Alan Fisher
I also know of one case where a passenger
PED wasn’t working, then the driver will
that had failed to secure their seat belt was
Taxi Driver / Editor
have to get out and check it.
catapulted forward hitting their head onto a
Call Sign Magazine
Call Sign September 2016
Page 28
Stuart Cameron (R31):
TfL want to move DaC’s credit card reader to the passenger com-
“I think it would
partment, so Call Sign asked subscribers whether they would be
be scandalous to
fit it in the back.
happy with the PED moved...
Where it is now is
more convenient
because the coiled
extension allows it
to be handed
The DaC
through the port-
hole or the win-
dow as and when the situation demands -
and it can be viewed and checked by the dri-
ver. Personally, I’m not too bothered about
PED and TfL
driver safety aspect because I work days, but
I’m sure repositioning the PED to the rear
would be of great concern to those working
open to abuse if the PED was fitted in the back.
siting into the back of the taxi. No, it really is
evenings or nights and I do feel for those it
At least in the front of the cab where the doors
not a good idea at all.”
would affect.”
are locked, the driver has complete control
over the PED’s operation and their personal
And from a female perspective...
Paul Pavlou (W11):
safety. I think it is a really bad idea to re-site the
Debbie Hope (W18):
“I’m happy with
unit in the rear.”
“Yes, I would far
the card reader
prefer it stays in
where it is and
Mickey Tarbuck Jnr: (L12)
the front. I often
prefer it to be in
“Not only am I
work early morn-
the front rather
very happy where
ings and in the
than the rear
it currently is, I
winter when it is
where I would
definitely do not
dark, I admit I do
fear for my own
want it in the
safety. I work both
back! That would
sometimes. I can
days and nights
be unsafe for pas-
see that even the
and so would be hesitant about a rear siting
sengers as well as
male drivers might feel uncomfortable if the
for the reader. Also and importantly, I lost a
drivers. If it was
terminal was fitted in the rear and they had to
£50 fare because the trip was ‘voided’ and if
fitted in the back,
get out of the front to assist with processing
the card reader had been fitted in the back, I
in the case of an
the passengers’ card. I can imagine all sorts of
would not have been able to see that until
emergency stop a passenger could hit their
scenarios where driver safety could be com-
much later, for example, if I had pulled away
head on it, particularly in the dark or if they
promised. Yes, I want it to remain where it is
from the destination.”
had been drinking. I used to work nights, so
right now...”
what about setting down in a housing estate
Dennis Heavin (A01):
or a dodgy area somewhere in the middle of
Jackie Kott (Y88):
“The reader is
the night? It wouldn’t take long before the
“I want that card
absolutely superb
less savoury members of society catch on to
reader in front
where it is now - I
the fact that terminals are in the back of the
with me, not in
wouldn’t want it
cab and it would then be goodbye to driver
the back where I
anywhere else.
safety! Move it? No thanks...!”
can foresee all
What a ridiculous
sorts of reasons to
idea to site it in
David Lessman (D19):
tempt drivers away
the back. In its
“It is outrageous
from the security
current position,
that TfL can just
of the front of the
the PED can be
move the goal-
cab. As a woman
handed through the ‘pay hole’ or passed
posts like that
who works early
through the cab door window and anyway, it
when it can possi-
mornings, I would be very uncomfortable
cannot be fiddled with by children where it
bly affect the safe-
and suspicious if a passenger claimed to have
is! Furthermore, I would suggest there is an
ty of both passen-
a problem. Fitted in the front as at present, it
element of passenger safety if it was placed
ger and driver.
is the driver who has full control, can see
inside the passenger carriage as someone
Surely that aspect
what’s going on and if there is a hitch or tech-
could impact against it, especially if they had
should be para-
nical difficulty associated with the PED or
been drinking or were unsteady on their feet
mount. If it ain’t broke etc...!”
MDT the driver can resolve the situation
through health reasons. In addition, fitting it
speedily and safely.”
in its present position leaves the carriage free
David Burnetts (S43):
from obstruction to luggage and baby pram’s
“I am quite happy
Pat Graves (L53):
etc. Having worked nights, my concern
with the card read-
“Particularly as a
would be for driver safety, especially during
er device in the
woman, I do not
the early hours and for those drivers who do
front with me
want that reader
work unsociable
where I can conve-
in the back! In
times of the day or
niently pass it
fact, any driver,
through to the
male or female
passenger via the
will become vul-
Andy Closier
port hole/pay tray,
nerable because if
or even offer it
there were several
“I far prefer it in
through the cab
burly blokes in the
the front as you
door window if the need arises. I can imagine
back, anybody would feel intimidated at hav-
could otherwise
also sorts of security issues arising from a re-
leave yourself wide
continued on page 29
Call Sign September 2016
Page 29
The DaC PED and Tfl (continued from page 28)
Uber apply
ing to leave the security of the front of their
rear of the cab with two possible drunk males
cab to have to sort out a problem - beit true
or even those just looking to start trouble.
for Judicial
or false - if the card reader was situated in the
And what happens while you’re in the
rear. I could see all sorts of ramifications
back, because you won’t be able to lock the
without going into specifics. What about a
front? Someone could just get in and take
drunken/confused female passenger and a
everything! Does that explain my view???”
male driver? Or a passenger fumbling to get
Uber has launched a legal challenge
against new rules in London which
their card in the reader and needing the dri-
And finally back to males in an attempt
ver to assist? Also, I think the terminal itself
to find anyone in favour...
could require thousands of its drivers to
take an English-language test.
would be at risk of theft if sited in the rear
Paul Channing (V29):
due to its higher profile affixed to the divi-
“I’m happy with the reader in its present
According to the app’s GM, Tom
Elvidge, the legal action was a last
sion. Cab windows could be smashed to
position because I can check the fare meter
access it with all the attendant grief that can
reading and ensure everything is correct. I
resort following new rules that were
being introduced.
cause. Where it is at present is in full view
have had passenger’s void the card by press-
and in control by the driver and given the
ing the ‘cancel’ button before the transaction
“They are bad for both drivers and
tech companies like us,” Mr Elvidge
extension lead, is convenient for all con-
has gone through, so the element of fraud
cerned. We should take our hats off to Brian
possibility is something that does concern
Uber’s application for a Judicial
Rice and the DaC Board for their prudent
me. I work days but it must be tougher to
foresight in placing the PED where it current-
check everything at night.”
Review focuses on four of the new
rules that TfL announced several months
ly is. It can also easily be removed for security
reasons if the driver so wishes.
John Francis (A39):
ago following a consultation of the Taxi
and PH industry. While Uber say they
Maybe we should make up a template let-
“I’m absolutely happy where the card reader
ter for all the drivers to sign and send to
is fitted at present. Get out of the front of the
support an English-speaking and
listening test, they argue that drivers
Mayor Khan and their local M.P? It’s just an
cab to sort out an alleged problem if the card
idea, but I do feel very strongly about re-posi-
reader is fitted in the back? Are you joking!
should not have to provide a certificate
showing they have an intermediate level
tioning the card reader.”
Fitted where it is, the driver has complete
control over its use, without kids sticky and
of writing and reading. Valued recently
at around $68billion, Uber called the
Janet Ramsden (G35J):
inquisitive little fingers mucking about with
I’m happy taking
it. I would also be wary regarding driver safe-
regulation “costly and unnecessary” and
have now filed official papers with the
credit cards but
ty. Incidentally, I had my cab re-licenced at
not if the reader
Staples Corner in mid-August and was asked
court. They will be using the legal
services of Blackstone Chambers.
were to be situat-
if I had a credit card-reader fitted and when I
ed in the rear
replied it was a Dial-a-Cab unit, the techni-
Uber is said to have more than a
quarter of the PH drivers in London and
compartment. I
cian simply nodded his approval. So I guess I
was always told
should be ok for the full year of my licence
estimates that thousands of them will
be affected by the change.
that you shouldn’t
until next August. Nobody there made any
leave the front of
further comment...”
TfL say they will be “robustly
defending the legal proceedings
the cab unless you
Call Sign did try to find someone in
are specifically helping someone - certainly
favour of the suggestion and even just
brought by them in relation to the
changes to PH regulations.” They will be
not because a stranger claims their credit
not bothered but we couldn’t. Following
card is stuck in the machine or some veiled
Pat Graves suggestion of a letter to the
represented in the application by Brick
Court Chambers.
excuse that could possibly be designed to get
Mayor regarding the possible PED re-sit-
me to leave my driver’s cab. I rarely have
ing, we sent a letter to several MPs and
TfL said: “These regulations have
been introduced to enhance public
problems with the PED so why should it be
members of TfL in addition to the Deputy
moved? I remember the old PCO telling us
Mayor for Transport. You can read the
safety when using private hire services
and we are determined to create a
that we shouldn’t leave the driver’s cab in the
letter on page 27 of this issue...
case of any altercation, now their successors
vibrant taxi and private hire market with
are telling us that we might have to enter the
© Call Sign Magazine MMXVI
space for all providers to flourish.”
Uber will be challenging four of
the new rules. They are; requiring
written English tests for drivers,
having to locate its customer service
call centre in London, requiring
insurance that covers drivers when
they are not working and having to
alert TfL of changes to its business
model or app.
Addison Lee chief executive Andy
Boland said that he failed to
understand why Uber had at first agreed
and are now resisting the
implementation of the new regulations.
“The whole industry was fully
involved in the consultation and there is
a strong belief that they will benefit
both passengers and drivers.”
His view was seconded by Gett’s
Europe MD Remo Gerber. He referred
to Uber’s U-turn as “baffling.”
Call Sign September 2016
Page 30
Hello Ladies & Gents,
After receiving many calls regarding the pre-
sent situation with our Credit Card PEDs, it
built, are waiting to be shipped over to the
still staggers me that although TfL passed the
UK and I believe that S & B Autos will be the
DaC PED in its current position some five
suppliers. But in addition, apart from a cash
years ago, they have now informed us that we
‘on the road’ price, Mercedes will offer a sub-
must place the unit in the passenger compart-
sidy if you take up their finance, which I am
ment by 3rd October, a date that is fast
again told is highly competitive. S & B autos
approaching. What’s even worse is that after
will also offer a three or four year lease deal
two previous meetings with the Chairman at
with varying amounts of deposit.
Palestra and countless emails and telephone
conversations going back as far as March this
Decision time
year, at the time of writing we are still waiting
for a decision from TfL. Please be assured
that we will have a contingency plan in place,
Finally, with the imminent onset of meetings
especially for those of you that have over-
to decide the way forward for demutualisa-
hauls scheduled on or around the beginning
tion and the future of our Society, speaking to
premiums and any extra mileage that you
of October when this new ruling is due to
many Members since the questionnaire was
incur during a particular journey. We must
take effect.
returned, there are many who would like
make sure that all prices are workable for
We were fully compliant back in 2011 when
DaC to continue in a restructured format, a
both Members and clients alike in order to
the PEDs were first implemented and
much leaner slimmed down operation that I
encourage taxi usage, but these prices are -
although I am in no doubt that when all taxis
also believe is feasible. But the decision is
and will be - totally rejectable without penal-
are fully compatible, it will generate extra rev-
totally in your hands as to the route we take;
ty. I hope that will help reduce time spent in
enue for all of us, none of our Members
and an improved driver App could conceiv-
the feeder park for a trip. It’s getting more
should be subject to a situation late at night
ably help us achieve this. If used in a correct
and more difficult for the Sales team to
or come to that at any part of the day, when
way it would, in my opinion, increase rev-
acquire new accounts and I am optimistic
there’s a possibility you may be asked to get
enue for drivers and the Society.
that with your assistance, our new service will
out of the taxi in order to complete a card
On a personal note; if after demutualisation
see an increase in this type of work. Since the
transaction in the rear compartment that
and a decision on the sale of relevant assets and
introduction of our fixed price regime eigh-
could then put you in an unnecessarily dan-
distribution of funds to Members is finalised, it
teen months ago, trips to Heathrow and
gerous or inappropriate position for the obvi-
is my honest opinion that if the longest serving
other airports have increased by almost thirty
ous reasons.
radio circuit was to fade away into oblivion, it
percent over the period. Trips to areas on and
would be a sad day for our industry, probably
beyond the M25 have also seen a similar
More rides
something Uber would hope for. But it isn’t my
upturn and long may it continue in the same
As I mentioned in my last Call Sign article,
decision; it is up to you, the Members, to
positive vein.
we should soon be in a position to offer you
decide and for the Board of Management to
more rides back from all the airports, pre-
carry out your wishes...
dominately offering the account clients a taxi
Euro 6 Mercedes Vito
Allan Evans
for their return trips rather than just outward
I have recently been informed on good
DaC Operations /
bound journeys, The trips will be predomi-
authority that the new Euro 6 Mercedes is
nately on fixed rates including waiting time
almost ready to launch. The Vitos have been
Compliance Manager
Taxi Leaks Jim Thomas asks Call Sign readers a pertinent question...
London traffic chaos theory; could they really get it this wrong by accident? I totally believe there is an underlying agenda to get rid
of the London Taxi trade, going far beyond the woeful inadequacy of TfL. It’s widely believed that most of Inner London’s borough
councils are party to the conspiracy against us; you only have to look at the way we’ve been treated by Westminster, Camden
and Islington. No planning committee from any of the councils could have bought this amount of chaos to our streets by acci-
dent! The magnitude of such incompetence must surely have been mismanaged?
After witnessing the gridlocking of streets surrounding the cycle Super Highways segregated bike lanes, they are now actually set
to expand the nightmare right across the board with Cycle Super Highway 2. This man-made mayhem is to be followed by the
pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, which is likely to include a total ban on all motor vehicles (except buses and cycles) in
Tottenham Court Road and part of Baker Street. Just where are they expecting the traffic to go?
Pollution levels at present far exceed European legal limits, allegedly causing an extra 20,000 preventable deaths per annum. And it’s
about to get much worse.
Taxi drivers are gifted with a sixth sense in regard to traffic flow. We have the ability to look at proposed schemes and evaluate the likelihood of its
success. Yet neither TfL or local council planners have ever tried to seek advice from the trade. Instead they pin all their hopes on graduates, many of
whom live outside London and use computer modelling. The evidence that much of this chaos is part of an agenda, relates to the fact they generally
take no notice of consultation results and turning London into the world’s biggest building site. Virtually every street in central London has road works of
one form or another. Whose computer predicted central paving along most of the length of Oxford Street eastbound would improve the traffic flow?
Whose computer predicted that by narrowing the entrance to Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus that it would improve the chaos around
Eros? It’s just total lunacy! A ten year old child could have predicted problems from narrowing major roads, yet these planner’s computer
models missed it?
So what’s behind the chaos and mayhem?
We saw it first at the 2012 London Olympics. TfL failed to provide ranks at the Olympic Park and spectators were directed by an army of stewards from
the stadium to expanded bus assembly points and straight onto the tube. Olympic tickets came with 24 hour travel passes (the same at Lords and Excel).
Taxi ranks were moved and hidden in side streets well away from the exits, while spectators were shepherded onto public transport. Similar efforts came at
Twickenham where spectators were directed to waiting buses while Taxis were excluded from streets around the stadium. Our work has been touted by rail
staff while airside at Heathrow they used lies about Taxi fares to attract more customers onto the Heathrow Express.
continued on page 31
Call Sign September 2016
Page 31
Either write to Call Sign at
PEDs in the rear
Dial-a-Cab House
Hi Alan
Like many other drivers, I’m a bit concerned
or email us at callsign-
at the possibility of having our PED devices
placed in the passenger compartment of the
taxi. I agree with Brian Rice and yourself
ing our corner at every opportunity, but
Credit card
that moving them seems pointless when they
apparently not so. In fact it would be inter-
work perfectly well where they are, not to
esting to know if he has ever spoken in
payments and
mention the possibility - no matter how
defence of the cab trade or done anything
remote - of putting drivers into of unneces-
for it.
Hello Alan
sary danger. Have there been any develop-
Terry Farmer (Ex-T55J, retired member)
One of the biggest disappointments with
ments from TfL bigwigs on the subject...?
The MP for Eltham has long supported
the PED for credit cards is that it doesn't
Alex Constantinou (N05)
our trade. I remember the effort he put
prompt the customer to give a gratuity; I
I have written a rather lengthy letter (see
into trying - sadly unsuccessfully as it
feel this has been a massive error as all the
page 27) to several people including the
was always destined to be - gain us
other major credit card system providers
Mayor, Val Shawcross, several at TfL,
access into the special lanes during the
offer this facility. I've lost count of the
Caroline Pidgeon and Lady Victoria
London Olympics. I also remember him
amount of people who ask if they can add
Borwick MP. It has also been passed over
being involved last year when he was
a gratuity after the payment is cleared. Are
to Wes Streeting MP. We can now but hope
one of several MPs gathered in a House
there any plans to add this to the current
that common sense prevails and we can
of Commons Committee Room to meet
keep the PEDs where they are ...Ed
taxi drivers lobbying their MPs regard-
Darren Carter (K52)
ing EDM
142, an RMT initiative
Allan Evans responds: Yes Darren, plans
designed to define and enshrine in law
are in place that will enable passengers
Clive Efford
our exclusive right to ply for hire. Clive
to add a gratuity at the end of their jour-
Dear Alan
Efford was one of the first to agree to
ney should they wish to. The software
Whilst reading your piece about the group of
appear along with Ilford North MP, Wes
on the Ingenico PED (Snoopy) must be
MPs and Lords who had got together to fight
Streeting. His name has often cropped
able to read the exact cleared fare
our cause (page 5 August Call Sign), I was
up through the years but from 2011 to
including gratuities for billing purpos-
surprised to see one name missing - that of
early this year, he was the Shadow
es, consequently the supplier is work-
Labour MP Clive Efford. I understand this
Minister for Culture, Media and Sport
ing on this change at the moment and it
gentleman was once a London taxi driver so
which would have limited his chance of
will be part of the new VAD system...
one would have thought he would be fight-
speaking too often ...Ed
continued from page 30
The same thing recently happened at Edgbaston for the test match with Pakistan. Taxi ranks were replaced by a £5 per person bus service straight to
New Street Station - with the bus company using the Taxi rank as a bus stop! We’ll soon see a revolution in shopping trips to London with CrossRail,
which they say will bring so many people to Oxford Street; it will be the busiest shopping area in the world. So is that why we are being excluded from
major roads in these areas? If Taxis can’t get to the shops, people are not going to use us and they will take the tube. Our night work could drastically
reduce now that the weekend night tube has opened. Has anyone seen the new network of Taxi ranks outside night tube stations? Visit suburban stations
and see the new PH booking offices, many inside the station forecourts! TfL and Network Rail (oh look who’s their new Chairman - Sir Peter Hendy!)
have been getting away with touting our work for years, facilitated by piss-poor weak trade representative organisations and Unions who prefer to fight
amongst themselves rather than concentrating on who the true enemies are.
TfL Compliance officers currently harass Taxi drivers at mainline ranks, while turning a blind eye to touting from PHVs. Why is it we
don't see TfL COs regularly checking booking details of PHVs at stations, why do they only concentrate on Taxis? Compliance teams turn
up frequently at pop-up Taxi ranks, yet when did we ever see them at the entrance to the restaurant inside the BBC car park on Wood
Lane, or the side entrance to Westfield? Or what about the pop-up PH ranks at the Brewery and HaC Barracks when there are functions
on? It just doesn't happen.
Recently, we found PH company had been given special dispensation from TfL and the City of London Corporation to form an illegal
Taxi rank on red route double red lines so as to be available for immediate hire at a function outside Old Billingsgate. The United Trade Group
engagement policy, which held us back for four years, was always going to be scrapped after Boris exited stage right while the new Mayoral adminis-
tration looked for a way to quell the unaffiliated demonstrators. But the UTG are still there and still excluding other orgs at compliance and rank com-
mittee meetings.
Their excuse is that you have to be invited by TfL. I beg to differ on this as the Joint Taxi Ranks Committee is a self-appointed group
who sometimes invite TfL to their meetings and not the other way round. It needs to be sorted out and soon. We have to make sure
every group has representatives invited. At a recent Palestra meeting, Dial-a-Cab Chairman Brian Rice was invited, as were the apps, and
because of that, the trade organisations all refused to attend. Trade unity? That's just laughable.
We have for months seen a trend for disgruntled drivers to break away from traditional subscription based representations. New driver groups such
as the Mayfair Mob, Dads Defending Daughters and Action4Cabbies have appeared and in the case of the Mayfair Mob, are beginning to achieve
impressive results. Trade representation has always mirrored football supporters’ mentality. Loyalty to a certain colour of lanyard has held back progress
and helped keep the trade divided. But drivers are now beginning to question their own organisations apparent lack of results.
Now that the engagement policy has gone, everyone is playing in the big league. Perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of the beautiful
game and have talent scouts look for the best people from all the teams and bring them together in a united squad? ‘Taxi United’ sup-
ported across the board by every driver sounds better than a fragmented and disenchanted trade...
Jim Thomas
Taxi Leaks / Call Sign Online
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