< Go Back
DaC Ltd shareholders'
meeting decides to
de-merge the business
into two and put the
building onto the market
Special Souvenir Issue
Call Sign April 2017
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
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Call Sign April 2017
Page 3
from the editor’s desk
the local authority’s list of wheelchair accessible
A taxing question
vehicles will be subject to new requirements and
An interesting piece of info hit my desk recently
from April, drivers of Taxis and PHVs designated
from what I believe to be a very reliable source.
by the local licensing authority as being wheel-
It involves TfL, HMRC and London’s private hire
chair accessible must comply with the require-
ments of Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010,
If you remember, last month’s Call Sign
unless they have been issued with an exemp-
gave an up-to-date TfL figure for the number
tion certificate.
of licensed London minicab drivers - an hor-
What that means is that to be placed on a
rendous 117,588 compared to licensed taxi
licensing authority’s list, a vehicle must be
drivers of 24,617.
capable of carrying some - but not necessari-
The question now is whether the PH numbers
ly all - types of occupied wheelchairs. Or they
will go down once this news gets out because a
can decide not to carry any at all!
usually reliable informant has revealed that HMRC
In other words, companies such as Uber can
are comparing their list of TfL private hire drivers
pick 100 or so vehicles that take wheelchairs and
licensed to work in London compared to the list
advertise themselves as being able to carry wheel-
of private hire drivers who have minicab driving
chairs. As a result, they have now won the NHS
declared with HMRC as their chief source of
The obvious one is not to get caught in a box
transport account that ComCab used to have. See
income. Within a few months, I expect that
junction, especially where it comes under
‘shame of the NHS’ inside this issue...
117,588 to drop substantially as word gets around
Fulham and Hammersmith Council as they
that in order to work as a minicab driver in this
have a renovated flyover to pay for! Secondly,
country, you have to at least be registered with Her
both were at night so the cameras obviously work
It’s goodbye from him...
Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and pay tax...!
just as well in the dark! Finally, so far as the
Tying in with the goodbye from Call Sign is
Westfield camera is concerned, there must be a
another goodbye to both the taxi trade and the
Mobile phones
mag itself; our photographer and general sidekick
good chance that they will also spot any cabs leav-
You all know the mobile phone regulations that
for the dayshift, Alan Green (E52), is also calling
ing Westfield via the bus terminal, which as we all
came in on 1 March. You now put your licence at
it a day and riding off into the sunset with his
know is prohibited even though using the correct
risk if you use your mobile phone while driving,
Dial-a-Cab Ltd share safely tucked under his arm!
way literally adds several pounds onto passen-
at traffic lights or even just sitting in the cab at the
ger’s fares and in all probability, makes many use
For the 20 years of my reign at the mag, Alan
side of the road with the engine running. If you
cars at our expense.
has interviewed and photographed numerous
are using satnav on your phone, then you need to
drivers and captured their stories. He even had a
And, as this is my last Call Sign editorial, I sup-
set it up in advance as you must not touch the
few years with my predecessor, Jery Craig. So my
pose I can safely say this... I bet the camera oper-
phone once driving or sitting in the cab with the
sincere thanks to Alan; have a great retirement...
ators are really ugly!!!
engine running.
Thinking of playing music via your phone? If
And it’s a goodbye from him...!
you haven’t pre-set it, then you can’t whilst on the
PH and wheelchair accessibility
Well, this is it. Contrary to at least one driver,
move or as above.
Call Sign recently received a stack of phone
no... I haven’t been sacked! But after 42 years
You may also have heard of the licensed taxi
calls, text messages and emails asking us if we
involvement with the magazines of this
driver on the Kings Cross rank who was nicked
had heard Transport Minister Andrew Jones
Society - the last 20 of them as Editor - it’s
for using his phone because although not mov-
say that from April, Private Hire (and Taxis)
time for me to say goodbye. So I hope you
ing, his engine was running. The fact that he was
would be fined £1000 if they did not have
don’t mind me hijacking a few of this issue’s
surrounded by minicabs using their phones to
wheelchair accessibility. Even the usually reli-
pages for my own selfish reasons!
accept job offers and then setting SatNav coordi-
able Taxi and Private Hire Monthly reported
I thanked all my current and past contributors
nates was obviously irrelevant! Whatever TfL and
on the Minister’s dictate. So we contacted
in the March Call Sign; but there are some oth-
the Met say, we are - and always have been - an
Andrew Jones and asked him. We said:
ers that I’m not so much sure about thanking -
easy nick for them. While PHVs must not accept
“Quite rightly, taxi drivers refusing
more just to explain who they are... or were.
trips via their mobile whilst moving, I assume that
wheelchair passengers will be fined £1000.
People such as Ron Yarborough, Dennis
would also apply to Hailo and Gett drivers.
But reports of law changes announced on
Latchett, Baghwat Singh, Jamie Corum,
Either way it’s a massive 6 point penalty in addi-
February 7th that are to take place from
Michael Toomey, Ricky Peters, J.P.Duval, Mr X
tion to a £200 fine. Is it worth it?
April 6th seem to infer that private hire
and Lana Sherif. For those that didn’t know...
vehicles also have to be able to take those
yes, they were all me! Both Big Al and Senor Al
Vito parts
in wheelchairs without the need for the
came with their photos so there was never any
Several Vito drivers have asked Call Sign to ask
passenger to leave the chair. Could you
query, but I always believed that articles should
Penso if they can supply Vito suppliers and
please let me know if this applies to all PH
have a signature to give anyone complaining the
repairers, S&B, with parts and then charge them
vehicles as reports I have seen do not make
opportunity to either criticise - or even occasion-
when actually used by S&B, thereby giving their
this element clear.”
ally offer praise. But to put my name after every-
staff a chance when dealing with drivers! Penso
The Minister replied: “We want to build a
thing would have tended to make me look rather
manufactures parts for Mercedes-Benz and oth-
country that works for everyone and part of
big-headed - and I hope I have never been that.
that is ensuring disabled people have the
ers in addition to providing consultancy services.
So I came up with the above names! Hopefully no
same access to services and opportunities as
So there we are... no sooner said than done!
one out there thinks badly of me for doing it and
anyone else - including when it comes to
judging by the number of drivers who say they
Box watch
travel. Disabled people are often heavily
enjoy the mag, that seems doubtful. Those dri-
Perhaps my mind has been elsewhere, but I
reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles
ver’s comments were always so very much appre-
thought I’d mention this anyway. On
and this change to the law will mean fair
ciated. But if you did feel offended, then please
February, I stopped at the dreaded yellow box
and equal treatment for all.”
accept my apology.
junction at Harwood Road in Fulham with my
What that cop-out means is that on 7th
That’s it! Thanks to all of you that read the
front wheels just in the box. Seven days later, I
February, the Minister signed a Commencement
magazine each month and I hope to see many
was forced to stop in the yellow box between
Order to bring sections 165 and 167 of the
of you out on the road for some time to come.
Shepherds Bush Green and the Holland Park
Equality Act 2010 into force in April 2017. This
So it’s goodbye from me and it’s goodbye
roundabout where buses exit from Westfield
change provides local authorities with the powers
from him (and one her)! Keep well... and of
Shopping Centre. These are the first two box
to make lists of wheelchair accessible vehicles,
course, be lucky...
junction PCNs I’ve received for many years, so
with the drivers of those vehicles then required to
I’m not really moaning too much even though
provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropri-
Alan Fisher
they have cost me £65 each; but a few points are
ate assistance and refrain from charging extra. It
Former Editor of Call Sign Magazine
worth mentioning.
means that drivers of taxis or PHVs that appear on
Call Sign April 2017
Page 4
Reflections of the Chairman
your building went onto the market (1st
New phone penalties
March). The reason I could get the building
and DaC terminals
onto the market so quickly was because all
As many of you are probably aware, new penalties
the preparation had been achieved whilst we
have been introduced regarding legislation and
were waiting for clearance from Her
the use of mobile phones. I have been reading arti-
Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
cles concerning the new penalties and have had
regarding your tax situation. We will now
several drivers asking me whether it will affect us
have to wait and see what the reaction is
regarding the use of our terminals; the short
from the market place.
answer is that I don’t believe it will.
I will now digress just a little. I was talking to one
Our MDT is on a private Access Point
of our Shareholders recently and a friend of his is
Name (APN) and therefore does not have
in the Property Market. The friend informed him
access to the internet or indeed a public
that in a new complex close to the new American
telephone network. However, all Private
Embassy in Nine Elms, thirty one apartments
Hire drivers out there - including Uber - are
have been purchased by a Chinese lady and fifteen
just using their normal phones. That also
by an Arab gentleman from Qatar. They obviously
includes Hailo, Gett and all the others.
must have large families!
Consequently, they have access to the
So it seems the Property market is still buoy-
Internet or Public Telephone Network or
ant, although it does appear that much of it is
De-Merger Meeting
both. This legislation regarding the new
coming from foreign money and with the
We had the De-Merger meeting on the evening
penalties came out on 1st March and at first
pound devalued against some foreign curren-
of 27th February and as I explained in my let-
glance I can’t see how they will get round
cies, perhaps property in London is still seen as
ter to you regarding the meeting, it could
it... but of course they will!
a good investment.
prove to be a formality as most Shareholders
The new legislation doesn’t just apply to mobile
would probably use their Proxy vote in favour
phones, but also to “any internet device.” I believe
of the De-Merger, and that indeed was what
that in the legislation they refer to Social Media
and of course to access that you need a connec-
As I wrote last month, this will be the final issue
The overwhelming majority of Shareholders
tion to put you online, which is basically any
for now of Call Sign as our Editor, Alan Fisher,
phone, tablet, computer or other device which is
gave their vote to me with the instruction to vote
seeks retirement from editing. I gave him all the
‘For’ the two resolutions; consequently, they both
able to access the internet.
plaudits and praise last month, so it just
Police have reported an increasing num-
went through by picking up almost every vote.
remains for me to wish him well for an excellent
ber of drivers (I’m not referring to Taxi dri-
The next hour or so was spent with our
job completed over the last 20 years.
vers) caught texting, using apps such as
solicitor David Wilkinson and me answering
At the moment, we have no plans to
Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and even
Shareholders questions. That went extreme-
replace Alan as the future will probably hold
live-streaming while behind the wheel of a
ly well and hopefully we addressed any con-
a myriad of scenarios and as people say
cerns that Shareholders may have had.
when they don’t wish to make a decision,
I have also been informed that some London
So what was the purpose of the meeting and
let’s just keep our options open! And of
Taxi drivers have received comments from the
vote and what will happen both now and in the
course you know where we are should you
police regarding their mobile phones, although
future? Well, your organisation has now been split
wish to ask any questions. We will, of
I am not aware that any have been prosecuted.
in two - the Radio Circuit and the Property. They
course, keep you up to date should anything
The penalties for such an offence are the same
are both divorced from each other and without any
concerning the building occur...
as those for anyone caught using their phone
financial crossover; you, the Shareholders, hold
while driving; that means an instant six penalty
shares in both companies.
Brian Rice
points on your licence and a £200 fine.
Both Companies were registered on 28th
It’s important to remember that this also
February and the day following the meeting
counts when the driver is sitting stationary on the
Dial-a-Cab Ltd
road, for example while stopped at a junction or
at traffic lights. It’s only legal to use your phone or
device when you’re safely parked off the road and
with your engine switched off.
So in a nutshell, you must not use a hand-
held phone whilst your vehicle is in motion
or indeed if you are stationary at traffic
lights etc. You may only use the hand held
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
device if it is safely stowed in a bracket at all
times, so anyone that receives a telephone
Tel: 01708 553037
call or a trip via an App, if they can’t read
the phone whilst it is stowed in the bracket
and they pick up the phone to read it, they
could then face six points on their licence
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
and a £200 fine.
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
However, with your MDT it is a fixture in the
TX4 servicing from £90
vehicle that is not connected to a Public
Telephone Network or the Internet, because as
All Work Undertaken
I explained earlier, it is connected to an APN so
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
the above does not apply. However, the legisla-
All TX1, TX2, TX4
tion does mention the programming of SatNavs
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
whilst the vehicle is in motion, so you should
still be vigilant. Hopefully the above may come
Fax: 01708 551443
Web: www.PaulsTaxiSpecialists.co.uk
in handy should some ‘know all’ pass a remark
about your MDT.
Call Sign April 2017
Page 5
Monday 27 February saw the
final meeting in a process of
DaC De-Merger Meeting
several - beginning with the
Society’s demutualisation -
Gives Go-ahead!
which saw a huge majority of
its shareholders give Dial-a-Cab
Ltd Chairman Brian Rice the go-
explains the
ahead to de-merge the organi-
sation into two separate entities
situation to
- the radio circuit and the prop-
erty - with neither depending
on the other.
The meeting was held in the lecture
theatre of the Central Foundation
Boy’s School in Cowper Street EC2
and at the very beginning the Chairman
admitted to the 65 shareholders present
that regardless of what happened on the
night, so many driver/shareholders had
already responded by post or allocated
their ‘yes’ vote to him that the vote had
David Wilkinson assisted by Joanna
already been carried. As a result, share-
Keating, explained the situation to
holders now each hold 50
£1 shares in
those present. Brian Rice then spent
Dial-a-Cab Holdings (which holds all
an hour taking questions from drivers.
the shares in the taxi side of the busi-
The decision was registered the next day
ness) and 17,400
£1 shares in Dial-a-
at Companies House and Dial-a-Cab
Cab House Holdings, which roughly
House itself was put onto the market at a
translated means the building itself. Both
price of just under
£20million. More
companies are separate units.
details in Chairman’s report on page 4...
Acting for the Society, solicitor
he next generation of taxi - the range-extended electric TX5 - has been undergoing the most rigorous testing regime
of any cab ever built by The London Taxi
Company. It may be built at Ansty Park,
Coventry, but it needed extreme winter condi-
tions so as to focus on ensuring the highest levels of
quality, reliability and usability for its demanding taxi
usage. So the final TX5 prototypes were taken to one of
the world’s harshest environments, the Arctic Circle in
Northern Norway.
Tests were carried out in conditions below -15 degrees,
giving an opportunity to monitor battery performance
and electric range in challenging conditions, where on-
board systems are used to keep the battery at the opti-
mum operating temperature. Winter testing allowed
them to measure traction and grip on slippery surfaces
and to calibrate safety systems such as anti-lock braking
and electronic stability control. There was also fine tun-
ing for calibration of the heating and ventilation systems
to ensure they perform effectively, so no matter how bit-
ter the temperature outside, it should quickly reach and
maintain a comfortable cabin temperature for the driver
and passengers. Ensuring glass is de-frosted and de-mist-
ed rapidly also means drivers have the best possible view
of the road - regardless of outside conditions.
This regime of extreme testing is set to become even
more stringent when the vehicle is chilled to -40 degrees
in an environmental test chamber; effectively a huge
drive-in freezer - a guarantee that the vehicle will per-
form on demand, even after the coldest winter nights.
The vehicle is set to go on sale in the final quar-
ter of 2017, with this new electric taxi being the
most comprehensively tested and developed prod-
uct in LTC history. With promised financial assis-
tance from the Mayor, the price is expected to be
similar to the current model...
The Arctic Circle looks colder than Coventry!
Call Sign April 2017
Page 6
“No wonder he’s hittin’ it on the ‘ead; he’s been doin’ Call Sign for so long that he has to go away to try and
remember who he is!!!”
History of the Taxi Trade
With Call Sign bowing-out at least for now - we thought we’d publish the official history of the
London taxi trade as given to us by the PCO in 2000 together with our own ending...
1588: The first recorded use of hackney coaches carrying fare paying passengers.
1694: An Act of Parliament set up the first system for regulating and licensing hackney
1834: The Hansom cab was first introduced in London.
1850: The Public Carriage Office opened.
1897: The first electric motor cab, the Bersey "Humming Bird" was licensed on 5
1903: The first petrol driven motor cab, a Prunel, was licensed on 11 December.
1946: The last horse cab was licensed on 2 September; the licence was surrendered on 3
April 1947.
1966: The Public Carriage Office moved from 109 Lambeth Road to Penton Street on 3
2000: The PCO transferred from the Metropolitan Police Service to Transport for
London, part of the new Greater London Authority, on 3 July.
Wonder who owned this badge
2000 - 2016: Transport for London begin a campaign to equalise the London taxi trade
and who had number 1!
with that of the licensed private hire side, the result being the gradual demise of what was
long acknowledged as the finest licensed taxi service the world has ever known.
2017: TfL lose court case so that Uber do not have to always display adequate insurance nor have to have a 24x7 call centre as
everyone else does. They count as a victory that PH need an adequate grasp of English.
Lessons learned? We need the PCO back!!!
Call Sign April 2017
Page 7
Mr Ormes Parrot
odern Times Streetwise was a television documentary
first shown on BBC in 1996. The programme opened
its doors to the workings of the Knowledge of London
as administered back then by the PCO and is
remembered for the trials and tribulations of Jim Nolan's10 year
Knowledge stretch. Jim finally made it and serves the public to this
It also featured legendary examiner Mr Ormes (who is also out
there nowadays pushing his droshky), ably assisted by his Parrot.
The bird faced either in or out the window, depending on its keep-
Mr Ormes parrot sits
er’s mood! The parrot was recently unearthed in the premises of
by his office window
Stable Taxis.
at the old PCO
This trade artefact had been presented and inscribed to Ronnie
Mitchell, Stable’s founder (now in his late 80s) by John Ormes
himself - although on seeing the parrot again after all these years,
it may give many of us from that era the shudders, especially Jim
Nolan who must have seen Mr Ormes’ parrot more than most!
The documentary - still available on the BBC’s iPlayer - did
prove what we’ve missed for years: The tight ship the old PCO
once ran! If you want to see it, go to:
Marc Turner (R97)
Call Sign Online
Ronnie Mitchell of Stable Taxis now has the parrot. This photo, taken
with Call Sign's Marc Turner, shows Ronnie on his 86th birthday
Call Sign April 2017
Page 8
DaC’s Lee Pearce has
played in goal for league
and non-league football
teams as well as writing
for Call Sign about the
problems of goalkeeping at
that level. But...
Lee Pearce in taxi
utton United’s amazing FA
Cup run came to an end at
the hands (and feet) of
Arsenal, but all the after-
match publicity fell on the non-
league team’s substitute goalkeeper,
Wayne Shaw.
The 20 stone reserve goalkeeper
known by Sutton fans as the ‘roly-poly
goalie’ for obvious reasons spent much
of his working life at Sutton doing every-
thing from painting and decorating, to
giving goalkeeper training to new
recruits. The team’s fans used to smile at
Wayne Shaw in
Wayne when he took a mid-match snack
pie-eating mode!
that usually consisted of a pie or pasty.
Sadly, Wayne had to leave after the
Arsenal defeat when a TV camera
showed him eating a pasty after a few
small bets had been taken on him doing
exactly that, something that was against
Football Association and Gambling
Commission rules.
Lee Pearce (J71) has been on Dial-a-
Cab for 12 years as well as playing for
many football teams, both league and
non-league. So Call Sign asked him if
made me a burger and a cup of tea. As
he had ever been tempted to partake of
I held the tea between my hands, I
some refreshment during a match???
could feel my blood coming out of its
Book Aiden Kent
“Well I can sympathise with Wayne so
deep freeze mode! I looked at the
far as weight problems are concerned,”
burger and prepared myself to rejoin
for your event
Lee told Call Sign. “It doesn’t matter
the human race as it began the short
how much I train, weight loss seems
journey from my hand to my mouth.
...and make it go with a swing!
almost impossible and I’ve carried that
“Just inches away from heaven and
problem with me for many of the years I
I heard screaming noises calling my
have played in goal. Like Wayne, I also
name - and not in a particularly nice
train the young goalkeepers. But eating a
way. It sounded like ‘where the effing
pie? You’d expect me to say no... but I
hell is that bloody goalkeeper!’
came very close on one occasion!”
“The Hitchin goalie had gone down
Lee gave us his story. It began when he
at the centre forward’s feet to try and
was at League Two team Barnet and was
retrieve the ball and stop him scor-
sent out on loan to non-league Hitchin
ing. Unfortunately he took a kick,
had to go off and suddenly they were
“I wasn’t thrilled at having to leave
looking for me - who was standing at
a league team to go to a non-league
the pie stall holding a burger in one
outfit, but I wasn’t given much
hand and a cuppa in the other!
choice. At Barnet, I did what I always
“I quickly - albeit reluctantly bearing
do and gave
in mind the chill wind - gave both hot
Unfortunately it was at a period that
items away and ran to the goal. Those
all goalkeepers go through when
that saw where I’d been gave out with
nothing sticks to your gloves and
a few sarcastic comments and bearing
soon after arriving at Hitchin, they
in mind the poor form I’d had before
dropped me and I became resigned to
leaving Barnet, I had my fingers
being on the substitute’s bench. It
crossed - at least as far as my goalkeep-
really is on very rare occasions only
ing gloves would allow! But I needn’t
that a substitute goalie is needed
have worried. I played a blinder and
Tel: 07956 456 360
once a game has started.
had my best game for ages!
“I was on the bench for a midweek
“So that was the time I almost had a
game. It was winter and the subs
burger mid-match! Sadly Wayne went
bench was bitterly cold. Not far from
one step beyond that...”
me I could just see the snack wagon,
Web: www.aidenkent.com
so I quickly made my way there and
Alan Fisher
waited a few minutes while they
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2017
Page 9
many years at
Coventry’s Holyhead Road
- an address Call Sign read-
ers know well through the
many guided tours we organised
there - as of March the most famous
taxi manufacturing company in the
And provide a mystery over the name!
world moved a few miles down the
road to their new home at Ansty Park
and the place where the TX5 electric
cab will originate from.
The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group,
led by its Chairman Li Shufu, saved the
former LTI from going under in 2007
and there is no doubt that had Mr Li not
stepped in, there would be no London
Taxi Company now.
Several years later, he admitted that so
far as profits were con-
cerned, making the London
taxi would not be that high
up the list, but Mr Li went
on to add that although LTC
profits were a drop in the
bucket for a company that
already owned Volvo, what
he valued most was the
special status the company
Is LTC's new address named after the man that saved the
enjoyed in the UK, its addi-
company... or a battery!!!
tional service concept and brand effect.
When Call Sign interviewed him in
2013, it soon became very clear that
Li Shufu wasn’t just building a taxi;
he loved the idea of the vehicle and
what it stood for.
West Middlesex Golf Club
Moving to the present and LTC’s move
As this will be my final review, I hope you will allow me to indulge myself and say a few
to Ansty Park; in January the company
words on a club and course that has been - and still is - a large part of my golfing career
ran an in-house competition for employ-
and also my tutorage on the way
ees to name the road that LTC would
golf should be played.
have as its address. The Council had
I joined West Middlesex Golf
already said that it had to end with the
Club in around 1973/4 as a junior; if
words End or Close. The winning
I’m honest, it wasn't a game I partic-
employee that got his or her proposed
ularly enjoyed but my father had
name chosen would receive £300 to go
been a member there since the mid-
to their chosen charity.
to-late 1960s and he was keen that I
should also play.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the name
My father taught me many
of Li Close was chosen as part of the
things about golf; always obey
address. But the reason isn’t quite as
the rules, praise an opponent or
straightforward as you would think
fellow player on a good golf shot
though. Chairman Li Shufu’s name
as that good shot hasn’t
seems obvious as he was the person
happened overnight. But above
that saved the London Taxi Company
all, he taught me that no matter
and turned it into a profitable busi-
what your level is, you can
A par 3 at West Middlesex Golf Club
ness with exports going around the
compete in a fair and friendly
world. The council were happy to
manner against anyone, no matter of your ability - or indeed theirs.
accept the road being named Li Close
Founded in 1891, this hidden gem is one of the oldest clubs within the M25 still playing on its
and also invested in the new facility.
original course. Originally designed by Willie Park Junior and then redesigned by the prolific
James Braid, this is a course with an absolute abundance of character.
However, it was the employee who
Three par 5s, nine par 4s and six par 3s make up the 18 holes; there are many blind
actually suggested the road name that
shots there but if you’ve played for long enough and you trust your swing, is there any-
also pointed out that the TX5 electric
thing better than selecting the correct club with the belief that it will be the right swing
vehicles would be powered by Lithium
to achieve the result desired!
Batteries and that the chemical symbol
There are several notable holes - the par 4 9th, a blind tee shot into a gully that turns into a dog-
for Lithium is Li...!!!
leg left, leaving a short to mid-iron to a two tier green; or the 13th stroke index 1 hole with its
We prefer the former story and hope
chance for big hitters to clear the out-of-bounds powerhouse on the corner of a dog-leg right. In
that is the case as in our view Li Shufu
my younger days that was possible, nowadays and at a slightly more mature age, I try and fade the
deserves an honour for saving the
ball round the corner to leave a long iron or wood to reach the green.
company. Either way, for those that
WMGC has 2 public days (Monday and Wednesday) where the green fee is reduced and repre-
need to know, the new address is:
sents exceptional value. And it’s only 20 minutes from the Hammersmith flyover!
Lastly, my thanks go to Alan for allowing me to review the courses in Call Sign over
The London Taxi Company,
these past two and half years and of course, thank you to Dial-a-Cab’s golf lovers for
hopefully reading and enjoying them.
Li Close, Ansty Business Park,
As always, happy golfing...
Simon Wallis (M11)
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2017
Page 10
It was back in 2004 when Dial-a-
National Health Service prefers Uber to Licensed taxis...
Cab and ComCab finally realised
that fighting each other for the
then TaxiCard account was
pointless and that sharing it not
only provided a better service
for those using it, but that it
made it far more difficult for
any private hire company to
DaC had first become involved with the orig-
inal account when it was set up by the old GLC
administration under Ken Livingstone; it
began life on a test basis around the
Camberwell and Peckham areas with passen-
gers being able to travel a substantial distance
for just £1. It later grew to become the largest
taxi account in Europe, funded primarily by 32
London boroughs with supporting funds from
Transport for London.
Many years later, ComCab decided that
they wanted the whole account, offered a
ridiculously low fare and got it. Coverage
became difficult because for many trips it just
wasn’t worth the drivers running. Gradually,
The new company has "hundreds" of wheelchair accessible vehicles - we have 25,000!
some of the boroughs - led initially by
Barnet - starting using cars and the account
Hire company that had won the account was
It goes onto add: The partnership
began getting smaller. Dial-a-Cab still operat-
led by what they described as a gangster and
enables London based carers to use Uber
ed the Westminster section, but that was
they asked for the company to have its
to get to the people they are caring for as
also eventually hijacked by ComCab with
licence taken away. But they kept it and the
quickly and seamlessly as possible. It
ultra-low rates and no minimums - accompa-
NHS stayed with them. We wondered then
also gives those who need care the free-
nied again by a reduced coverage.
what was more important to the NHS - funds
dom to book cars so they can get out and
As the account got smaller, it moved fur-
or passenger safety? The NHS obviously
about when they would otherwise have
ther outwards for the taxi sections, Yellow
decided that the dosh came out as number
been housebound, or had to rely on
badge drivers became more involved and it
one on that list! Eventually the “gangster”
someone else. Disabled clients, or those
became a major part of their income. But
left, but they had the account anyway!
who need a little extra help, can book
ComCab’s price-cutting was now rebounding
Now the NHS in the south has added a
UberASSIST - or a fully wheelchair acces-
on them and eventually large usage areas
company as a partner that is the opposite
sible vehicle through UberWAV - driven
such as Redbridge started using taxis AND
of the Scottish company in that it is 100%
by one of Uber’s hundreds of fully
cars... until now when several Redbridge
legitimate and doing good work in its
licensed and top rated partner drivers
users told Call Sign that unless they specifi-
care for the elderly. There can be no
who have been through a specially
cally ask for a taxi, then they will get a car
doubt that Cera is not only reputable, but
designed disability equality training
even though taxis may be on near-by ranks
a very valued organisation. But that does-
course for this programme.
waiting for trips. Taxi takings have continued
n’t mean that everyone Cera aligns itself
Anyone with the slightest understanding of
to decline.
with is as reputable as Cera itself.
business would be able to see that Uber now
Now a press release involving our NHS
Cera’s website says: Cera takes pride in
have the NHS account, not in their name
could actually put them out of business
thoroughly supporting our stakeholders. We
directly perhaps, but using that of a well-
strive to integrate best-in-class products and
respected organisation. A service aimed at the
In 2008, Call Sign revealed that Glasgow
services into our client’s homes to support
old and disabled will now be provided by an
Taxis, a Scottish radio circuit similar in size
them as well as possible, while empowering
organisation that has a record of more attacks
and operation to DaC, had lost their NHS
our carers with pioneering technology.
on passengers by its drivers in a single year
Scotland account to a car company, even
Sounds good, so how do they transport
than licensed taxi drivers have had in the past
though the police had claimed the private
their elderly patients because according
ten and probably more years.
to the NHS, they do not use Uber? Well we
Cera say they use only the top 5% of car-
were somewhat surprised to hear a recent
ers and we’re sure that is true, but if they
Call Sign
news report on LBC claiming that Uber
have Uber as a partner, then the 5% obvi-
had won the NHS transport account using
April 2017
ously doesn’t apply to the transportation
what they called UberAssist and UberWav
Editor: Alan Fisher
aspect of their business. Their transporta-
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
and that they would now be adding the
tion company has “hundreds” of wheel-
NHS service to their portfolio.
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
chair accessible cars - ours has 25,000!
Email: callsignmag@aol.com
They can’t both be right... either Uber have
Money or safety; which is more important
Website: www.22-callsign.co.uk
won the account or they haven’t? So which
to OUR NHS? Of course, if Uber’s TfL reli-
Printers: Premier Print Group
organisation is correct? Well the NHS is only
censing application fails then the account
E6 6 LP
dealing with Cera, but that organisation says
Design: Aldan Publications
would have to be forfeited; anyone like to bet
on its website:
Tel: 07958 300 428
on that result!!! Don’t bother answering
Uber is a smartphone app that connects
Email: debbiefresco@googlemail.com
because we all know the answer.
users with licensed drivers at the push of a
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
button and is active in more than 20 towns
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
and cities across the UK. Cera and Uber
either manually or electronically without the express
Alan Fisher
have partnered exclusively to integrate
permission of the Editor.
care and transportation services.
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2017
Page 12
Returning for one final time in Call Sign...
From Garry White...
asking if I would like to make a contribution
steering the business under the structure we
to his last Call Sign magazine.
now operate in. It is in all our interests as
The trade has moved at a fast pace over the
shareholders that they get this right and that
last 6 years with disruptive technology in the
the staff work tirelessly keeping a 24/7 busi-
Private Hire industry and app providers with-
ness going.
in our own licensed trade changing the way
For my last word, I'll say that Alan Fisher
people hail taxis. It’s certainly not easy to pre-
has done a tremendous job keeping Call
dict the future of our plight while London
Sign informative and current in this modern
Taxis Private Hire/TfL oversees both trades.
age of fast moving news. I hope he enjoys his
However, I do hope we are not priced out
new found free time.
of the cab trade by having to buy hybrid or
Thanks for all the great magazines over the
full electric / battery powered taxis to comply
past 20 years. Well done Alan...
Hi Ladies & Gents
with low emissions.
PS I'm upset I never made the front cover... lol!
As a former Board member of Dial-a-Cab
who was honoured to represent you, the dri- And finally...
Garry White (L65)
vers, I was delighted when Alan got in touch I wish Brian and the Board all the best in
Former DaC Board Member
Goodbye Alan
n hearing news that
So I would like to say thank you Alan for contribut-
Alan Fisher was
ing to my happy memories and especially a big thank
stepping down as
you for the professional manner in which you - and I
Editor of Call Sign,
might add Linda - edited and produced Call Sign...
I felt compelled to mention that
having enjoyed reading it every
Allen Togwell
month for the past 35 years,
Former DaC Board member
and especially the past twenty
years under your extraordinary
editorship, I’m sure I and many
others are going to join you in what will surely be considerable
sadness in the knowledge that Call Sign after 60 odd years
will very probably no longer exist.
Fortunately you still drive a cab to occupy your time, so
you won’t be suffering from any sudden retirement syn-
drome, but nonetheless I will be surprised if you don’t
experience an enormous void in your life, especially the
natural part of your character that involved the continu-
ous sniffing like a newshound for the snippets that kept
Cabbie Specials
Call Sign both an interesting read and at the forefront of
all the other taxi trade papers and periodicals! You
should be proud of that terrific achievement.
For most of my 30 years as a Board member of Dial-a-Cab,
it was Call Sign that was responsible for the love-hate persona
Now’s your chance to try our course. Any black cab driver who shows us their
I portrayed amongst the membership, probably due at times to
badge gets a 10% discount for green fees and societies on Mondays,
my lengthy contentious articles; articles that no matter how
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and a discounted membership fee.
controversial they were, you never once withheld them going
to print, probably knowing that it would keep the Mailshot
letters section - often four or five pages long - as the first
Our 9 hole course is the perfect place for you to relax and get some fresh air
pages the members read!
in the beautiful countryside of North-West Kent.
We hear of writers’ block and there were times when I
Renovated and restructured greens and improved fairways to play on, with
used to spend a whole weekend looking at a blank
food and a bar on site to refresh yourself after a round.
screen on my PC at home, praying for inspiration know-
ing that when I arrived at my office on the Monday,
For more information call Jacquie or Sue on 01474 573116 / 573113
there would be the dreaded demand from you for my
A friendly welcome awaits you.
article before deadline time. And it pleases me to say
Corinthian Sports Club, Valley Road, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent. DA3 8LY
that I never once let you down and that included me
corinthians@billingsgroup.co.uk / jacquie@billingsgroup.co.uk
always producing a full page.
It was instances like the above that in a perverse way added
to the difficulty of my adjusting to retirement, just as it will, I’m
sure, affect you the same way when you finally give up your
badge. But in time you will adjust and be left with many terrific
memories of your time as Editor of Call Sign.
Call Sign April 2017
Page 13
Tom Whitbread has been very ill but on hearing of Alan Fisher’s
Seven of us sat in the tiny, smoke filled
imminent retirement from Call Sign, he wanted to write just one
room at 15 Penton Street. Just like the
more article to ask...
other six, my chest was bursting with
pride; I had just passed my London Taxi
Knowledge examination. As those other
six drivers stood there inhaling the nico-
tine laden air while waiting for the green
and brass coloured badge to be pressed
into their sweating hands, they finally
fumes into the air. London did have a
allowed their faces to break into a beaming
Licenced taxi service that was looked up to
smile on acceptance. Then Mr Miller
by the rest of the world, but thanks to
arrived at the seventh and last recipient
Sadiq Khan we are being reduced to a traf-
and I realised that his hands were now
fic mess not unlike Jakarta in Indonesia.
“I’m very sorry Mr Whitbread, there
seems to be a problem; could you
May I also take this opportunity to not just
return in an hour and we’ll sort it out!”
thank Alan Fisher for being the best Editor
This was the outset to my taxi career and
that I have worked under - and I have
for the next forty-odd years, this would be
penned many articles for other magazines -
the way it would continue.
but he has also supported many charities
I started the Knowledge of London
whether they be with articles or money, as
whilst crewing a London Accident
both Bob Heath and myself can verify. He
Ambulance. During that time, I got mar-
has supported our Dial-a-Dream charity,
ried to the night casualty sister at the
which makes terminally ill children’s
Whittington Hospital in Highgate. When
dreams a reality, for many years and I know
you added together both our wages, it was
that his own situation with his son Reed
very hard to live in London as anyone
And now...
gave him a soft spot for these children.
working within the NHS and London
Many was the time that Alan Fisher asked
So I would like to say on behalf of the
County Council was invariably very lowly
at the last moment for an article to help fill
children and many ODRTS drivers both
paid. So, I was always looking for another
the magazine. I never minded as I found
past and present, a big ‘thank you’ to Alan
job; then one appeared in the Evening
that he has a very inquisitive brain... or I
for a job that he has done so well for 20
News with adverts for a uniformed job
suppose it could be that he is just nosey!
working out of the Metropolitan Police
Back in 1997, we undoubtedly made the
years. Have a good rest from the keyboard
- although I’m sure that you will be pop-
Traffic Division Garage in Bow.
correct choice of a new Editor, with Alan
ping up somewhere...
It was after I started working at Bow
always finding something interesting to fill
Garage that I became aware I had to gain
the magazine with while keeping readers
Tom Whitbread
Former DaC Board Member
Commissioner to continue doing the
He and his wife Linda have become
Knowledge, as he had overall charge of the
good friends of mine and he is one of the
PCO. This was at the beginning of the
few that still keeps in touch to see how I
1970s when the PCO was very strict and
am. There are some that I worked with for
run mainly by former police officers.
many years in various office buildings that
To get permission was harder than I
I haven’t spoken to since I left the HAC
expected. The process took me almost
Barracks back in February 2014 following
two years, but I did it and passed...
the election.
except that now I didn’t have that cov-
I spent almost forty years helping to build
eted green badge like the first six had. I
up the company so that all the new faces I
finally got it 2 hours later and was able
see in Call Sign can reap the profits when
to hire a taxi from Levy’s at York Way.
the building is sold. I, like many of the older
My time with them was fairly short-
drivers who have had to leave ODRTS over
lived as I didn’t like giving up such a
the past few years, will receive nothing and
large percentage of the meter fare to
often wonder if, after the building is sold
the company.
and the money is shared out, how many dri-
Next up was to purchase a taxi from
vers will just hand in their equipment and
Mann & Overton and then apply to join
run to the hills.
the Owner Drivers Radio Taxi Service. I
Hopefully there will be a company
joined in March 1976 and stayed with the
willing to take a chance on buying DaC
Society until retiring with failing health, in
as a going concern, because it most cer-
Your old TX1 Taxi is wanted
addition to being voted off the Board of
tainly could be. But you look at the
Management in 2014. When I left, I was the
Mayor’s decision to let anyone who
Quick viewing and decision
longest serving Board Member, having
thinks they can drive have a PH licence
served under six different Chairmen and
and flood London with more cowboys...
Cash waiting!
three different Call Sign editors - the cur-
because licensed or otherwise, these
rent Editor being the longest serving and
drivers are still cowboys with no idea as
Top price paid for really
the one I enjoyed working with the most.
to what they are doing!
clean examples
He has extracted many articles and other
That leaves us with a question: How do
pieces of interest for drivers and staff and I
you know when the Mayor of London is
Please ring Graham on
am hoping that with his persuasion, if I
lying? Answer: His mouth is open! He goes
have enough time and interest, to write a
on television and radio stating he wants air
book about my life and many jobs, which
pollution cut to zero, yet grants up to 600
or e-mail on
long-time readers will know include being
private hire licences a week so that they
a driver for HM Queen Elizabeth the
can flood the capital as they fumble their
Queen Mother.
way around pumping more and more
Call Sign April 2017
Page 14
Jim Thomas is this trade’s most respected
blogger as Editor of Taxi Leaks. He is cur-
rently taking a short break from blogging,
but not before penning this piece first. Jim
adapted it from a poem by German Pastor,
Martin Niemoller, who wrote it to point out
the danger of cowardice by German intellec-
tuals following the rise to power of the Nazi
Party and after they went on to purge vari-
exploits of John Worboys.
ous groups they perceived as being danger-
And now it’s nearly all over, they say
ous to their desire of domination. The poem
“stop with the gloom and doom” while
deals with themes of persecution, guilt and
sleep walking into a one tier system that
responsibility. The most famous version of
is most certainly coming. I predicted
Niemoller’s poem goes:
years ago that when the end battle came,
First they came for the Socialists and I
all our leaders would have left the battle-
did not speak out because I was not a
field. I was wrong - it’s the army that are
Then they came for Trade Unionists
Well good night from me and God bless...
and I did not speak out because I was
it’s all yours.
not a Trade Unionist,
First they licensed Uber and I did not
Then they came for the Jews and I did
speak out because I was working.
not speak out because I was not a Jew,
Then they came for me...and there was
Then the Trade Unionists and Taxi orgs
no one left to speak for me.
called a mass demo and I did not go
You get nothing in this life given to you
because it was busy and I had to work.
on a plate. That's why you did the
Then, after realising our largest org
wledge. You had to work and fight for
touts on our ranks, young fit drivers who do
was doing nothing, two drivers stood up
that badge. Now most drivers just sit back
and say nothing. You have allowed small
shouting and rebellious but they were
and do nothing but complain that no one is
groups of individuals to take full advantage of
expelled and I did and said nothing, just
fighting for them. It’s no good blaming the
your apathy; credit card companies and an
carried on working.
orgs because when they’ve called mass
App company have stuck their greedy fingers
Then they asked for members to go to a
demos, they’ve been lucky to see 20 percent
into your money bags and are helping them-
branch meeting to vote against Judas and
of drivers turn up.
selves to part of your earnings... and you say
his WAGs but I didn’t go as I was working.
When Action4Cabbies asked for
When they finally took my Badge and
donations, only 4,000 out of 22,000 pledged
Drivers that have never complained face-to-
Bill and handed it to an Uber driver...
money. Drivers complain about the LTDA and
face with their org reps now think it’s a great
there was no one left to fight for me.
yet when asked to go to a branch meeting
time to join in with the enemy union, chaired
and vote new life into the org, only 50 drivers
by a man who rides round reporting Taxis for
Jim Tho
out of 10,000 showed up.
over-ranking and who wanted to drive an
Every night I see drivers sitting behind
AddVan through London advertising the
Taxi Leaks
And even Mike Tovey
says goodbye to Alan!
Hello Alan
As you know, I am a regular reader of your organ and was compelled to drop you
a line after seeing the March edition.
For me, the Owner-Drivers Radio Taxi Service Limited (I thought I’d use
the old handle one last time) has always been more than a client. For
years, I have enjoyed reading about the goings-on at Dial-a-Cab in the
pages of Call Sign magazine and, on more than one occasion, my attention
to the letters page has been rewarded by knowing when to duck at the
Mike at the 1999 AGM
Alan, my compliments on a job well done, and over 20 years...
All of which reminds me that my first encounter with Dial-a-Cab was back in the
1970s when I was a junior on the audit and spent weeks in the garret at Shirland
LPG Engine Replacement
Road, endlessly ticking drivers’ ledger cards, longing for lunchtime and a couple of
Last month’s Call Sign gave an update on the
pints down the road at the big pub on the roundabout.
LPG engine replacement that would give cabs
As I grew in experience and waistline, I would attend the Board meeting,
an extra 5 years beyond the 15. We have now
approving the accounts and be treated to lunch; salt beef sandwiches,
heard from Autogas in association with Shell
potato latkes and new greens!
and Calor to say the test vehicle had a success-
The hospitality budget in those days wasn’t exactly huge, but I remember it more
ful outcome to its emission testing at MIRA,
clearly than any number of ‘corporate’ lunches! I once turned the tables on the
which was witnessed by TFL. The vehicle has
Board and took them for pie and mash in Broadway Market. Happy days!
now started a 10,000 mile road test on a dou-
Enough nostalgia, got to get off to lunch at Le Gavroche...
ble shift basis which will hopefully be complet-
ed by mid / end May. After that it goes back to
Mike Tovey
MIRA for final emission testing and hopefully a
sign-off from TfL by the end of May. Autogas
Partner, Moore Stephens
should be able to start taking after that!
Call Sign April 2017
Page 15
Minicab drivers
“taking collective
John Clough (W80) joined Dial-a-Cab in March
action against
1982 when the Society was still based at Shirland
Road. Judging by the number of drivers asking why
they hadn’t seen him for some time, he was obvious-
ly a very popular member of the circuit.
The association of United Private Hire
The first time Call Sign met John was in 2000, when
Drivers has suggested to members of the
his callsign was pulled out of the hat as that month’s win-
PH organisation that they should consider
ner of the monthly logo draw and he was presented with
joining a campaign to take collective legal
a cheque for £300. He made us smile with his refusal to
action against Uber.
have a photo taken as he said he didn’t want to frighten
Founders of the UPHD, James Farrar
and Yaseen Aslam, have been backed by
But John always had a smile on his face, right up until August 2015 when he
lawyers from the GMB union - the same
appeared to stop driving the cab. Sometime before that, unbeknown to us and
ones that defeated Uber at an employment
many outside of DaC’s Driver Services, John had been diagnosed with bowel can-
tribunal court several months back - and
The first we heard was when John’s daughter Katy wrote to Call Sign to tell us that
the association is now inviting driver
her dad had died after losing his battle with cancer in October 2016.
members to sign up with Manchester law
John passed away leaving his wife Carole, three children in Angela, Katy and
firm MWG Solicitors to fight for worker
Steven and his four grandchildren Lauren, Jessica, Brandon and Libby. RIP John.
employment status and associated bene-
We’ll miss the smile...!
fits such as the national minimum wage
and holiday pay.
At a meeting in East London, Mr Farrar
told members that Uber was not obeying
employment law and that had they been in
any other business, under the conditions
they operate under as private hire drivers,
then the operators would be heavily fined
by the national minimum wage people.
“But this is not just about getting
money out of Uber,” he said, “even
though you will. It is also about pro-
tecting your rights as a worker. We are
not asking for anything more than we
are worth and the more members we
can get to sign up, the more of a differ-
ence we can make. We are now getting
to a critical mass and this whole cam-
paign is becoming an unstoppable
force. A sign to Uber, the legal commu-
James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam
nity and the politicians that we cannot
be ignored anymore.”
Mr Farrar also said that the UPHD was
making headway in persuading politicians
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
to improve the pay and working condi-
tions of licensed private hire drivers. He
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
brought up last years’ report by Labour
variable bank interest rates?
MP Frank Field (Sweated Labour - Uber
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
and the Gig Economy) and said that
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
licensing authorities and the Government
would have to take note of its recommen-
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
at your address also qualifies for membership!
Mr Field is recommending that licensing
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
authorities such as TfL should make work-
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
ers’ rights a condition of being granted a
up to 3 times your total savings…
private hire operator’s licence. If a compa-
The cost?
ny cannot respect workers’ rights, then it
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
cannot have a licence.
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
Mr Farrer added that support had also
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
come from The Green Party who asked
them to draft a resolution calling for PHV
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
drivers to be paid properly for their labour.
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
Added together, it will pose even more
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
problems for Uber than they even faced at
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
the November Employment Tribunal...
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
Registration number 213263
Call Sign April 2017
Page 16
Goodbye Al!
With this issue being the last one for Editor Alan Fisher, the Call Sign staff had a hunt round his picture files and
put together a history of Alan’s 42 year involvement in the DaC and ODRTS in-house magazines since 1975.
1983 and ig l akes his first ap earance
in Jery Craig’s first Call Sign issue
ig l grows u
d his first issue as Editor
1995 and Big Al beca e Se or l
2011 and s
till Editor
Call Sign April 2017
Page 17
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
assisted the policeman in looking for the “burglars.” The charade lasted a
good while until, with the arrival of several other policeman, Fisher was
By way of a tribute to our depart-
identified and arrested. Having already served a prison sentence of six
ing Editor, I offer an homage in
months for a previous felony - and being allowed to keep his badge -
the form of a look-back at previ-
Fisher was sentenced to three months with hard labour.
ous namesakes of the Fisher
In 1866, Charles Fisher, badge 8124, knocked over and killed a man
in Tottenham Court Road. Witnesses stated that Fisher was only driving
Of the 85 people named Fisher in
at about 5MPH and that the deceased appeared to be drunk. Fisher was
my files, the earliest entry is Richard
greatly upset, stating that “he would rather have lost his cab and two hors-
Fisher who was fined 20 shillings in
es than such a thing should have occurred.” He was released on bail and
January 1816 for abusing a gentle-
not thought to be at fault.
man who had only paid him the legal
James Fisher, badge 9987, demanded, without menace, 5s 8d as the
fare from Holloway Road to London Bridge. His passenger regularly
In 1841, John Fisher accused his
only paid 3s 6d and refused to pay the extra 2s 2d asked for by Fisher. The
passenger of attempting to bilk him.
cabman summoned the passenger for the remainder of the fare and stated
The passenger, a bricklayer
that as the journey originated beyond the 4-mile radius, he was allowed
employed on the railways denied the accusation, but in his denial, the
to charge extra. So much is true, but the dispute was whether the journey
three sovereigns (£1 coins but much bigger than the modern equivalent)
began beyond the radius. The case was then adjourned and an investiga-
that he held in his mouth “for greater security” fell to the floor. The brick-
tion launched. It appeared that Scotland Yard had moved the rank across
layer picked up two of the coins, but Fisher was seen to pick up the third.
the road, thus placing it outside the radius. The magistrate agreed that the
He was arrested and taken to a police station where he was searched with-
passenger had been duped by Scotland Yard but saw no reason for the
out the coin being found. It was only when the policeman grabbed hold
cabman to lose out, after all, he had done nothing wrong.
of Fisher by the throat, that the cabman spat out the coin and it fell to the
The passenger magnanimously agreed and paid Fisher all his
floor. Fisher was remanded but his subsequent fate is not known.
costs plus the disputed fare, saying he would demand the money in
A Mrs Eliza Fisher found herself before a magistrate in January 1843.
turn from the Commissioner of Police.
She had caught her husband in bed with another woman after having gained
entry to the other woman’s bedroom in the middle of the afternoon. She
Bye for now, thanks for reading Brethren of the Whip since March 2014
attacked her husband, a cab proprietor, and smashed several windows at the
and good luck Alan...
woman’s house. The magistrate warned her that she should have applied
Sean Farrell
herself more to her husband, rather than the windows. To much laughter in
Call Sign Online
the court, the magistrate dismissed the charge and informed Fisher that he
should settle with his girlfriend in paying for the new windows.
James Fisher had a particularly troublesome fare in September 1843.
He picked a gentleman up in Broad Street, Bloomsbury (High
Holborn/Shaftesbury Avenue) and took him to the nearby Evan’s Hotel in
Covent Garden. Fisher waited until half-three in the morning before his pas-
senger emerged from the hotel and denied having engaged him in the first
place. The passenger was arrested and taken to Bow Street police station.
After giving his name and address - both false - the passenger was
allowed to go but then engaged Fisher to take him to the Adelphi.
For some reason, Fisher agreed, but when he was bilked for a sec-
ond time, Fisher drove back to Bow Street. The passenger was
charged again and released after he had provided his details.
As he left Bow Street, Fisher followed him into Southampton Street
and as he watched the bilker walk down Maiden Lane, he drove his cab
into the Strand - where the bilker promptly hailed him! The bilker asked
to be taken to Charles Street although which one is not stated and there
were hundreds at the time. For the third time, Fisher was bilked and this
time gave a policeman a different name and address. In court the bilker
was rather aggrieved that a cabman had the audacity to drag a gentleman
into court. The magistrate ordered that he should pay Fisher 6s 8d for the
three fares and waiting time. The gentleman replied that he came to court
unprepared for such a decision and had no money on him. He was locked
up whilst the money was sent for, by which time the magistrate increased
the fine to 13s 2d (66p) to compensate Fisher for his loss of earnings for
that day. (Ed’s note: Not much has changed there then)!
Mr W.A.Fisher, badge 4233, was charged with stealing a half-crown
from his passenger, a solicitor’s clerk. A policeman testified that
Fisher was sober but the passenger was drunk and that he, the
policeman, was accused of stealing the money as well. The magis-
trate dismissed the charge against Fisher - who still had not been
paid the fare at the centre of the dispute.
Augustus William Fisher was a cabman who was also a pugilist under
the nom de guerre of ‘Long’ Fisher. When he wasn’t cabbing or boxing,
‘Long’ Fisher also dabbled in burglary! In 1850, a policeman heard cries
of “murder” and “police” emanating from a house in Buross Street,
Whitechapel. On gaining entry to the house, the policeman was
approached by Fisher, who maintained he was a lodger in the house and
Call Sign April 2017
Page 18
Goodbye Al - My favourite photos!
With this being my last issue of Call Sign, I hope you will forgive me using the magazine to re-publish
some of my favourite photos, in addition to some that just mean a lot to me from the 12,000+ I have
on file and the thousands I also have on photo paper. Twenty from thousands was a hopeless task,
but hey, where can you go to if you want to complain! So in no particular order...
Then Transport Minister for London,
DaC’s longest serving driver, Alan Lewis
Brian Rice had not long become
Steve Norris, shows Call Sign a copy of
(A44), has been with the Society since
Chairman and his son Billy was working
his Green Paper that was to see the
1962 when he joined at
in the call centre. No one can remember
licensing of private hire. At the time, the
Road under the
why, but Billy had obviously been a
taxi trade had been crying for minicabs
Chairmanship of Trixie Solomons. Even
naughty boy while working and dad
to be licensed, but after what became the
at the age of 82 Alan still hits the streets -
looks suitable unimpressed. Fortunately
Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act
albeit not quite as often as he used to! The
Billy had another ear!
1998, they gained the respectability that
photo shows Alan with his FX3 in 1960..
we had always claimed they never had.
Steve still reads the magazine, so can I
just say to him:
“Steve, I still look
younger than you!!!”
Historical photo of Florrie Culverwell
taken in 1959 as it’s one of only two
photos featuring the inside of our first
premises at 172 Pentonville Road (cor-
ner of Affleck Street) that still survive -
and both feature Florrie! She was a one-
One that means a lot to me. Ian Cameron as
woman army there, doing everything
R12 was Call Sign’s Consumer reporter. Ian,
from answering phones to clearing up
with his red hair, went round testing cab dri-
afterwards. Florrie also moved to
vers eateries and coffee haunts. More impor-
Shirland Road when the Society moved
It was at DaC’s amazing 50th anniversary
tantly, Ian was one of four DaC drivers along
on in March 1965. Her son Michael
ball held at Vinopolis in June 2003 and
with Tony Jack, Ken Freeborn and myself,
(G82) is still a DaC shareholder having
who for six years between 1977 and 1983
Alan seems to be wondering just what the
been here since 1985...
covered the transport needs of St Joseph’s
meaning of life is, while Nuala just smiles.
Hospice in Mare Street. Along with the amaz-
She obviously knows! The celebration had
ing nurses working under Dr Richard
been organised by Brian Rice’s PA Jacqui
Lamerton and the foresight of an amazing
Chart and virtually everyone connected to
lady by the name of Cicely Saunders, the ser-
the trade was there on that never to be for-
vice that allowed those with terminal cancer to
gotten night...
die in their own homes rather than a hospital
went on to become the world-famous
Macmillan Service. Sadly, Ian died of a heart
attack in 2006, but his memory and legacy are
remembered again here...
Nor sure what it is about this 1904 photo
that I love but I do! Perhaps it’s that although
Hansoms went many years ago, the Royal
Albert Hall
from the front
view still
looks the
same then as
it does now
and there is
about that...
Call Sign April 2017
Page 19
Goodbye Al - My favourite photos!
One of the most famous photos in any
This was the April Fools gag that caused
Everyone knows 4-time Olympic Gold
taxi collection. Former ODRTS and
us the most trouble. Call Sign doesn’t
medallist Laura Trott, but back in 2015
LTFUC Chairman, Jack Taylor, greets
usually run April Fools gags, but in 2007
the lovely Ms Trott was taking part in The
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
we thought we’d have a go! Because 1
Prudential’s RideLondon. But one Dial-
together with a young Prince Andrew at
April fell on a Sunday that year, we
a-Cab driver probably remembers it more
for picking up Laura and her bike! It was,
the Odeon cinema Leicester Square in
couldn’t use the magazine so the next best
so Call Sign was told, a very warm day
1971 where the LTFUC had been grant-
thing was to put out a terminal message.
and Laura was feeling the heat. So the best
ed a Royal World Premier. The movie -
And that’s what we did! At 10am and again
thing was to go home in a taxi... and that’s
Light at the Edge of the World - starred
one hour later, a message went out on
what she did! But naturally, we’re always
Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner and
data terminals claiming that new EEC reg-
pleased to help our Olympic heroes...
Samantha Eggar. At the time, it was the
ulations meant that every third issue of
biggest fund raiser for the LTFUC that
Call Sign would have to be written in
the charity had ever been awarded, but
Polish! Amazingly we received 14 calls
almost as importantly, it raised the pro-
from drivers who claimed they knew
file of this amazing taxi charity.
someone that could write in Polish for us!
However, over
50 concerned drivers
called DaC. Soon after, Call Sign’s access
to putting messages out somehow failed.
It never came back. Dunno why!
Those who are used to working on Saturdays -
and have for many years - will always associate
that day with the duo of Lou Gitlin and Ivor
Belkin (C97). Lou’s death in 2010 put an end
to the trades’ longest running radio taxi part-
nership. It began in September 1961 and
Harry Joel (Ex-B81) was not just
went right up until 2006 when Lou had to
a Board member at ODRTS in the
undergo a double cataract operation and on his
1960s, but was also involved with
return to the dispatcher’s box at Brunswick
the London Taxi Benevolent
House, found the VDU glare to be too much to
We first wrote of Tony Arnold (J01)
take. He told Call Sign at the time that he
Association for War Disabled,
back in 2002 when he was paid by a
hoped he could return when his eyes
which recently changed its name
Chinese TV company to fly a TXII to
improved, but sadly his general health also
to The Taxi Charity for Military
began to deteriorate and that opportunity
Beijing in China and then drive it all
Veterans. Besides spending many
never came about. Ivor still dispatches,
the way back to London with two
years leading the charity as
although ill-health has stopped that of late.
young Chinese passengers who had
Chairman, in
1967 Harry was
won the trip in a competition! The
hailed as a hero when he rushed
trip was to help publicise the Beijing
into a Belgium hotel in
Olympics - which were then still 6
Blankenberge before the firemen
years away. The 3-month TXII trip
had arrived and put out flames
took him through China, Outer
from two mattresses that had been
Mongolia and Russia - where at the
spotted smouldering earlier, but
border crossing of Manzhouli a local
which had suddenly burst into
restaurant offered to catch a dog and
flames. He helped holidaymakers,
cook it for him and his co-driver!
who had been overcome by
Tony declined and stuck to some-
smoke, out of the building. His
thing resembling a pizza! They drove
action was praised by the manager
Driving a cab has been my occupation since
back via the Arctic Circle, Finland,
of the Hotel Marie Jose who said
1971 so remembering how I got the
Sweden, Germany, Holland and
licence is something I need to do.
that but for Harry's action, lives
France until Tony and the TXII
However, this photo taken in 1937 shows
would have been lost. Harry, now
not only how difficult the Knowledge was
arrived safely back in London after a
92, is the charity’s Life President...
back then, but how popular the idea of
trouble free trip! Call Sign spon-
becoming a taxi driver was. Yet it took a
sored all his phone calls and in return
fraction of the time to pass out. Today, the
followed his progress each month...
KoL is said to take up to four years AND
many Knowledge boys (and girls) use sat-
nav devices on their bikes. The result?
Almost six times as many minicab drivers as
there are taxi drivers!
Call Sign April 2017
Page 20
Goodbye Al - My favourite photos!
It was Christmas 1979 and the four
Mickey Daley was someone who rarely
There have been a number of taxi dri-
Dial-a-Cab drivers running St Joseph’s
failed to make me smile. The only place I
vers throughout the years that became
Hospice transportation department for
knew I would definitely see Mickey was at
well known for... well, for being cab dri-
Thursdays - Ian Cameron, Tony Jack
the DaC AGMs, mainly in the old days
vers who could talk. Few of them could
and Ken Freeborn and the silly-looking
when there was no postal balloting and
be classified as entrepreneurs, but there
person in the dinner suit (ok, that was
1000+ people turned up at various
has been at least one licensed taxi driver
me!) were putting on their Xmas show. It
London halls to discuss matters of concern
who throughout the years has helped to
was based on the then-well-known
to the Society. Back then there would
bring this trade as up to date as much as
Radio Luxembourg programme, The
always be at least 10 people queueing up
feasibly possible. That man was George
Ovaltinies. Other than medical staff, the
to address the meeting and as soon as the
Vyse - seen on his 77th birthday in the
audience consisted of patients who were
number one speaker left, someone else
photo with Call Sign’s Marc Turner
unlikely to see another Christmas; but to
would join at the back! Mickey addressed
(R97). Over the years, George with his
hear them cheering these four drivers up
every AGM... but rarely left his seat because
distinctive H1 PCO number plate made
on the stage who were prepared to make
no matter how far back he was seated, he
trips to the old PCO and later to TfL to
fools of themselves in public just to
had the ability to make himself heard and
ask for various improvements that he
make a few dying people laugh, was
invariably raised a laugh from the hall! He
had either developed himself or seen
something I will never forget. The photo
was taken by Dr Richard Lamerton and
had views on everything - especially if it
elsewhere. It is highly probable that
not only did he put it up in his office, but
was connected to EC5! Mickey died in
without George we would still have just
wrote about it in his first book (pub-
2007 and is still much missed...
Medium wave radios! George even gave
lished in 1986) called East End Doc
Call Sign a satnav to test out years
before most drivers had even heard of
them! Of course it worked and when I
went to return it after writing a review,
George sad that because it was now sec-
ond hand, that I should keep it!
How could I possibly leave out my two
year tenure at Taxi Globe as the nasty Mr
X. It was the early 1990s and then-Editor
Rodney Lewis was looking to replace the
Some might say I am taking advantage of
adorable chatterbox otherwise known as
the position of Editor - and they would be
Lana Sherif. Lana had to stand aside
right! But my wonderful son Reed worked
when too many people realised that Lana
for Dial-a-Cab in the call centre as a dis-
Sherif was an anagram of Alan Fisher! So
patcher for 25 years, no mean feat when
she had to go, only to be replaced by a
you consider it was always his second job!
mysterious male wearing an eye mask...
His main job was as a systems analyst with
and yes, that was also me! Mr X had a his-
the Ford Motor Company. This photo
tory with the American version of profes-
was taken in July 1998 at a staff awayday
sional wrestling, having previously
and like many others on the “bonding”
worked for American movie mogul Ted
trip, Reed was presented with a prize by
Turner and his then-wife Jane Fonda at
Brian Rice, who was then into his second
Last, but certainly not least re photos, is
CNN. Ted was the paymaster for US
year as Chairman. When Reed died in
the woman behind the throne - my wife
wrestling organisation WCW (World
2013 after battling a brain
and chief Call Sign proofer, Linda.
Championship Wrestling) which was
tumour for over 3 years, DaC almost came
Getting a magazine out that was both
later bought up by the WWE. Every issue
to a standstill with so many drivers and
interesting and entertaining is one thing,
saw Mr X with another superstar from
staff at the funeral. That meant such a lot
but making it read sensibly with as few
Hulk Hogan to Mr Perfect to Sting (see
to us...
typos as possible is something else.
pic). As a bonus, I could be as nasty as I
wanted and that was something that taxi
Thanks to Linda, they were very few and
mags had never had before. And it was
far between because any mistakes are
great fun...!
very quickly pounced upon!
Call Sign April 2017
Page 21
Goodbye Al - My favourite photos!
I just had to put in the last-ever
A sense of fun,
Kupkake’s Korner; it was published
Seen through bifocals,
A fast retort,
in the May 2014 issue, four weeks
And fluid vocals!
after David died. He specifically
An honest man,
asked us not to publish it until he
Not known to flinch,
had passed away.
Swift to help,
And assist.
It was the end of an era and in a
So long Kupkake,
totally different way, so is this...
You’ve left a space,
Wherever you may be,
And in whatever place...
Remember me for what I am
Now Kupkake’s gone,
Never think I didn’t give a damn...
Never again will there be the like,
Definitely a unique one,
David Kupler
Behind wheel and mic.
Always Kupkake...
This month’s Flashback - being the last one - goes back to March 1955 and the official opening of ODRTS -
the organisation that would later become Dial-a-Cab...
From ODRTS Newssheet number 1, April 1955, Editor Bernie Lyons...
Children’s Fund, which was then known as the Norwood Fund.
Sir Ian sat next to our regular dispatcher, pushed a button to call the trip
We have come a long way since 29th January 1953 when both Mr
going from Chancery Lane to Seething Lane and then congratulated ODRTS
Bonnie Martyn and Mr Albert Hall left RODA and just three months later
on its success. It was a wonderful day.”
met in Mr Martyn’s cab parked on the Grosvenor Gardens rank along
with Mr Cutmore, Mr Duncan, Mr Naismith, Mr Stoffel, Mr Cobden and
Bernie Lyons
Mr Fiertag.
ODRTS Newssheet
We also had a magnificent collection of over £200 by those present at
the Albany Tavern on 7 June and we thank the publican for the use of his
premises at such a reasonable rate of £2.19.6d.
Then on Thursday 1st October we had Mr Duncan agreeing our phone
lines with Dial House in Shaftesbury Avenue for 172 Pentonville Road.
Within 6 weeks of that, we had the first Committee meeting at our
Chairman’s house. We would like to thank Mr Martyn for the refreshments
he made available and for which he paid for out of his own pocket.
Although the first jobs that we dispatched in December had
very poor signals, on 26 January 1954 the ODRTS equipment had
been improved to such an extent that we managed to successfully
dispatch our first job, going from Pentonville Road to Gamages.
That takes us to our official launch, which took place a substantial time
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
after we had begun working our normal schedule because we wanted Sir
Ian Fraser MP to perform the ODRTS official launch ceremony and he was
dedicated to DAC members only
not available until Tuesday 8th March 1955. We decided to wait for him
even though it meant performing the ceremony almost 15 months after
the first job. However, it does tie in with our first ever account, which has
been opened by the British Broadcasting Corporation. I have asked driver
Sam Harris to write of the day.
“It was a memorable day. Even the weather was pleasant for March.
5% Discount for members
We were all invited to 172 Pentonville Road to watch Sir Ian Fraser, MP
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
for Morecambe and the only blind member of the House of Commons
dispatch the official first job. Sir Ian was selected because he was the Vice
Public Liability
President of the London taxi drivers’ branch of the British Legion. I believe
Bonnie Martyn was the Chairman of the branch at the time and that is
Breakdown Cover
where I first met him when I joined in 1949 like many drivers before and
Much more available
since. Incidentally, Bonnie was also the Chairman of the Underprivileged
Call below for quotations
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
Mr Martyn
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
Company Registration No: 4319231
with Sir
Ian Fraser
Tel: 01322 553313
to his
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign April 2017
Page 22
London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children
Taxi Driver of the Year Charity Fund
Drivers, come and have a fun-packed day by the sea…
Drivers, we need your help to give 300 ‘special needs’ and underprivileged children a bril-
liant and memorable day out at Southend-on-Sea on Wednesday 12th July 2017.
In case you have any doubts, we welcome all drivers regardless of what colour cab you have,
whether you have radio circuit logos or advertising. This applies to all our outings. As well as giving
a great deal of pleasure to so many children, we promise you will have a brilliant and fun-packed
day out yourself.
Without you there are no outings. So please contact our driver liaison Steve Bell on 07811
508772 or enter your details on the Volunteer Page of our website.
Just go to www.ltfuc.org.uk
The Hon President, Hon Chairman and Committee would be very grateful if you could join us
and we look forward to seeing you on the day…
“None walks so tall as he who stoops to help a child”
Raymond Levy
LTFUC Press Officer
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Dial-a-Cab drivers are £5 per copy. Orders
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As usual, all money raised will be
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Call Sign April 2017
Page 23
Call Sign’s Marc Turner (R97) is also known as Drumslayer. This
Or as we call it... The
month he writes on... well er, EVERYTHING!
downfall of Uber!
As this terrific trade magazine bows out and
many in our industry experience a 'crisis of
faith', yours truly will now address some of
the issues, albeit sadly for the last time in
Call Sign.
Despite the doom and gloom naysayers,
of years’ back I stumbled on a Taxi garage
I'm seeing reasons to be optimistic. Granted
proprietor who had gone over to the dark
it’s never going to be how it was, but even
side. He was an Uber franchisee. On visiting
then we had pessimists abounding and pre-
his premises and confronting him with my
dicting the trade’s imminent demise. These
evidence and then being given sharp shrift, I
days, most are blaming our current woes on
contacted Alan.
Uber and for a while they were our main
Because of the possibility of legal reper-
threat. Reassuringly, their blitzkrieg is cur-
cussions, I wasn't sure Alan would be up
rently being halted in its tracks. And of
for exposing the miscreant. Resolute,
course we now have the Daily Mail investi-
Alan didn’t have to think about it or con-
gation into Uber, David Cameron, George
sult anybody. After I explained the situa-
Osborne and Rachel Whetstone!
tion, he just said: “You write it, I'll publish
In fact, I’d say Uber were on the verge of
it.” So I did. The exposé saw the garage
becoming a busted flush since HMG, TfL and
owner with around 600 cabs try to dis-
the media woke up to what we’ve been
perse his fleet around town. Eventually he
telling them for the last three years... not all
sold out to a respectable garage after
fabric and culture of London. Uber’s man-
that glitters is gold!
which I'm led to believe he left the trade
agement believed we would give up our
Uber have been under the microscope of
freedom and join them because that’s how it
late, resulting in much adverse publicity. But
So thank you Alan Fisher for displaying,
had worked in America. They didn't consid-
other reasons for the slow-down in business
steadfastness, integrity, courage, all the attrib-
er that the proud 363 year old London Taxi
(especially at weekends) are there before our
utes of a great editor. Dial-a-Cab has been
wouldn’t just roll over. Yes, they hurt us...
very eyes; the world is changing. A cultural
blessed to have you charting Call Signs’
but they couldn't knock us down!
come societal revolution of sorts is underway.
course for the past 20 years.
For instance, people do not need to venture
Enjoy your retirement...
out as often as they once did. They don't drink
And the Editor...
as much and they cycle more. Notice all the
Marc Turner (R97)
I’d like now to share a story regarding Call
pubs closing and gyms opening, while top food
Sign’s esteemed editor Alan Fisher. Couple
Call Sign Online
can now be delivered to their homes, saving
time and money. I always theorised that the
night time (weekend) economy was mainly
Flying cabs by 2025???
fuelled by sex! But possibly the biggest detrac-
tion of modern times was Home
irst there were
Entertainment. It encompasses interactive
games, box sets and NetFlix etc. No wonder the
minicabs, then
public aren’t going out.
it was Uber,
People went out hoping to meet new
followed by
friends, lovers and potential partners - but
self-drive cabs. Can
not anymore! With the advent of dating apps,
there be anything
Tinder and Grinder etc, that appetite has
else to follow that
been fully quenched without the need for a
(always assuming
ride in a Black cab. Not forgetting Brexit jit-
ters and the threat of terrorism. Also, how
they can get the S-D
many jobs have been lost to the night tube!
vehicles to stop at
No wonder it's quiet out there! Yet the sup-
red lights)! Well how
posed availability and cheapness of Uber has
about flying cabs?
in no way enticed the masses out.
Traffic? What’s that!
As I see it, two events of last October
Well, according to The
were game changers. In no particular
Hoversurf Project, by
order, there was the Uber drivers’
employment rights tribunal victory over
2025 they will have
their own company and Taxis mandatory
introduced a series of
acceptance of Credit Cards, something
flying cabs!
that has done us no end of good.
Hoversurf is a Russian startup that claims they will be making the wishes of
Youngsters who had deserted us are now
Star Wars - and indeed Star Trek - fans come true following its announce-
Back to Black. They had always told me that
ment that they have produced a flying motorcycle just like the Speeder bikes
Uber served their convenience needs better
from the Star Wars movies.
than us... but not anymore! Uber have recent-
Called Scorpion 3, the prototype reaches around 35 miles per hour and cur-
ly announced that their UberTaxi platform is
rently reaches a height of 30 feet. A series of prototype bikes is expected
to be disbanded; UberPool sunk without
trace and their drivers and staff are rising up
by the end of this year and Hoversurf say their plans are to turn their flying
against their bosses.
motorcycle into a flying taxi or cargo-drone, which would be ready in the next
They invaded us for the 'Jewel in the
few years.
Crown' and failed - even with facilitation of
Does that mean we will get in first and that there will be a new com-
government, TfL and the media - because
pany, LFTC - The London Flying Taxi Company!
they didn’t understand the existential
nature of our being; how we are part of the
Call Sign April 2017
Page 24
We’ve all had moments in this
Another true story from Geoff Levene...
game that we'll never forget.
Three airports in one day (yes, it
That Almost Perfect Day...
used to happen), or that long
wait and return!
“So what are the disadvantages,” I
It reminds me of the girl who became ill at
the office, so they sent her home to the country
Back in Wardour Street just the other day, a
with a colleague. You dropped her off and after
hand shot out and I couldn't believe it. It was
making sure she was ok, it was back to the
only my hero from the Sixties
- Spiro
office with her colleague. Then there’s the time
‘Spiderman’ McGee. When I first saw him
when your Dial-a-Cab terminal suddenly
live at the Whisky a Gogo, he was a callow
bleeps as you started work or when you were
youth fronting the iconic band Original
somewhere out in the wilds!
Hairy Messengers, but he later became
My own special moment came at nine-thirty
notorious for his hell-raising lifestyle. It was
on a Saturday morning around sixteen years
Spiro who spent that weekend at the Hotel
ago. I had accepted a job in Hampstead going
Splendide while appearing at the
to Paddington. I glanced at the details as you
Bridlington Roxy. He was rumoured to have
do: Booked time... OK. Address... yes.
downed 38 pints of Guinness, 3 bottles of
Passenger... and that’s when my heart started to
vodka and 2 bottles of Palwins Number 9. All
beat a little faster. Who was it that began giving
he ate was a salt beef sandwich, a latke and a
me palpitations? It was Mr. D.H.M.Cornwell.
new green cucumber!
I can just hear Call Sign readers calling
What amazed the hospital’s A&E depart-
out in unison: “So what?” Well, I knew the
“This is such a thrill,” I said, “I've read just
ment was where he found salt beef, latkes
real name of my favourite author - some-
about everything you’ve ever written.”
and a new green in Bridlington. But he's
one I had always hoped to meet. That was
With a smile, he asked: “Have you got my
changed nowadays - no more pony-tail...
David Cornwell and I was pretty sure he
latest book?”
well no hair at all actually and he sat
lived in Hampstead. In fact I was passing
I said that I hadn’t yet, but it was on my list
there reading a seed catalogue. And
some of the spots where his book action
to get that week. He went back into the house
where was the ever present hamburger?
took place. Could it be him?
and came out with a hard-back copy of ‘The
Remember, this was the man who named
I was soon approaching the pick-up and a
Constant Gardener’ in which he had written
his kids Wendy, Byron and Mac...
man was standing at the front door with his
a lovely dedication.
back to me. Then he turned, gave me a cheery
I've picked him up several times since
wave and yes, I was right... it was John Le
And finally...
then and whilst I know he probably doesn't
Carre! I leapt out of the cab - I think it had just
The other morning, a couple with overnight
remember that first time, he is always such
about stopped - and ran round to open the
bags stopped me in St John Street. They
a charming man with that rare quality - the
looked like they were going to the Eurostar
ability to listen. That, undoubtedly, is why
terminal at St Pancras but surprised me by
he is such a master of dia-
asking for Heathrow. They were taking their
logue. The papers always refer
national Airline back to Helsinki, so I sup-
to him as a ‘spy writer’ but
Because of its closure, Call Sign
pose you could say it was a job that came out
he’s much more than that. He
looks back through its files at the
of ‘finn air’...!
is a real man of letters...
cost of diesel since 1996 slightly ear-
Goodbye Call Sign, nice knowing you...
Who else has there been lately?
lier than usual...
My regular customer is the for-
Geoff Levene (W32)
mer golfer and now film produc-
1st June 1996 - 51.9p per litre - £2.36 per gallon
Call Sign Online
1st June 1997 - 54.9p per litre - £2.50 per gallon
Goldberg. He called me up and
1st June 1998 - 65.9p per litre - £3.00 per gallon
I was surprised to learn he was
1st June 1999 - 72.9p per litre - £3.72 per gallon
involved in that recent Liam
1st June 2001 - 77.9p per litre - £3.54 per gallon
Neeson film. You know the one;
1st June 2002 - 75.9p per litre - £3.45 per gallon
it’s where Hollywood finally
started to address men’s health
1st June 2003 - 77.5 per litre
- £3.52 per gallon
issues. Neeson plays a man who
1st June 2004 - 89.0 per litre
- £4.05 per gallon
has problems with his water-
1st June 2005 - 89.7 per litre
- £4.08 per gallon
works that then affects his sleep.
1st June 2006 - 96.9 per litre
- £4.41 per gallon
It's called Run all Night.
1st June 2007 - 97.9 per litre
- £4.45 per gallon
That firebrand left-wing MP,
1st June 2008 - 128.9 per litre - £5.86 per gallon
Manny Festo, was in my cab
recently. As usual, he was bang-
1st June 2009 - 101.9 per litre -
£4.61 per gallon
ing on about workers' rights etc.
1st June 2010 - 121.9 per litre - £5.51 per gallon
“Do you want to have your
1st June 2011 - 140.9 per litre - £6.37 per gallon
differentials eroded,” he
1st June 2012 - 143.9 per litre - £6.87 per gallon
asked me?
1st June 2013 - 138.9 per litre - £6.27 per gallon
“No, I do not,” I replied, “I
1st June 2014 - 135.9 per litre - £6.14 per gallon
still haven’t got over having
my assets frozen!”
1st June 2015 - 120.9 per litre - £5.46 per gallon
I also got an ear bashing from
1st June 2016 - 111.8 per litre - £5.05 per gallon
the editor of Caravanning
1st Mar 2017 - 121.9 per litre - £5.51 per gallon
Weekly, Ms. Winnie Baygo!
Female driver
She was extolling the virtues of
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
With prices varying from garage to garage, these prices
chemical toilets, the M25,
Contact Debbie (W18) on
can only be averages...
French seamen’s' strikes and
© Call Sign Magazine
07956 317040
Operation Stack.
Call Sign April 2017
Page 25
Brazil Calling
You wait 120 years for one...
other commercial fleets. But recent figures
show that could be reduced to 75. But even at
and two come along together!
the higher figure, let’s do the maths.
The first horseless carriage taxi was introduced
What can we expect? 120,000 PHVs, 18,000
by the London Electric Cab Company in
taxis, 300 charging points... not enough! That
1897; it now looks like its successors, which to
would mean it could be 115 days between
be fair have taken a while to arrive, are now
charges on the street. When you do dig deeper
close to the marketplace. The original cabs had
into the data regarding vehicle charging in
a top speed of 12mph and batteries which had
London, there is a potential 1406 charging
to be charged every 30 miles. These cabs, nick-
points, that’s almost 100 vehicles per charging
named Hummingbirds because they were
point and it doesn’t include private vehicles; I
smooth and quiet, were unreliable and expen-
can’t imagine they’ll be too happy not being
sive to maintain according to a Mr Clarkson
able to charge their vehicle because Taxis and
Senior in an early revue.
original Conditions of Fitness to be a driver in
PHVs are monopolising every charging station.
Well maybe not, but we all recognise the
London. Sam Dumitriu, head of projects at
How long to fully recharge a battery? Six
sentiment. There isn’t much to go on at the
the Adam Smith Institute, a conservative
hours at
10amps average, maybe four
moment in regard to finding out what the
think-tank, criticised the ruling.
hours on rapid, and don’t expect every
latest offering from LTC will be; the best
I’m guessing that when Sam was studying in
charger you find to have the same output
guess is that a Vauxhall Ampera engine will
Manchester for his philosophy degree, he
either. Also bear in mind that not all con-
be the power plant of the TX5. This unit of
never had much of problem explaining to a dri-
nectors are available to all vehicles at every
multiple electric motors (two) and a four
ver how to get back to his digs in Mosside
charge station.
cylinder petrol combustion engine used as
whilst wearing a traffic cone on his head, as he
I don’t doubt that some of those vehicles
a generator will keep the vehicle running
was too busy worrying that “...the unexamined
could be charged at home, but by the time you
when the batteries are exhausted. This
life is not worth living.”
install a 3 phase supply, fork out a further £300
would give the model a maximum range of
Well Sam, from your elevated position in
for a charging cable, that’s another £2000 up
300 miles, one unlikely to be attained in
your “think tank,” think about this: Power
the Suwannee. It seems to me that the only
real world conditions with a cab body
is no blessing in itself, except when it is
possible working model will be range extend-
added, also when contending with an esti-
used to protect the innocent (Jonathan
ed vehicles, the reason London isn’t filled with
mated 198kg of batteries.
Swift) and a little less about your utilitarian
electric vehicles is the obvious range anxiety
The Metrocab, built by Frazer-Nash
recreation of serfdom.
that these models suffer from; 300 charging
Research Ltd is a little more forthcoming with
points is obviously woefully inadequate in the
details. Theirs is powered by two 50Kw electric
Loves Labours Lost
same way that the existing 1406 available to the
motors producing 1032lb/ft of torque and a
Alan Fisher hanging up his quill is a sad loss
public is also.
one litre, three cylinder petrol engine driving
for not only Dial-a-Cab Ltd, but the cab trade
Whilst these new vehicles from LTC and
the generator, in short, lower expected kerb
in general. He, believe it or not, has always
Metrocab will most likely have lower running
weight in the Metrocab, similar power trains
been as nice and as decent a man as ever to
costs, they will not necessarily be cost free; new
and slightly larger petrol engine in the LTC TX5
have come through the doors at DaC. He has
battery packs could cost £5000 or upwards to
always been the cheerleader for the good and
replace, expect the rear suspension to fail con-
Mr Khan, our third glorious leader, has
willing to criticise all that he thought was
siderably quicker than normal and brakes to be
deemed it necessary to introduce a new ‘T
unjust or unfair and believe me, he rarely got it
replaced on a much more regular interval.
charge’ zone. TfL’s website still shows this now
Whilst these Hummingbirds may have torque
out-dated information: From September
Alan’s decision to retire this post, one that he
figures that will leave conventional vehicles
2020, all cars will need to meet exhaust emis-
has so wonderfully crafted over twenty years,
flagging, don’t imagine that you will end up
sion standards (ULEZ standards) or pay a daily
makes us all a little poorer. I have always
with sports car performance either, although
charge when travelling in central London. It
enjoyed his many sobriquets; Big Al and Lana
I’m willing to wager they will be considerably
will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the
Sherif stand out.
quicker than existing models.
year, including weekends /public holidays.
I wish him the very best for the future and to
I personally like the thought of a quiet
This has now been surpassed by: From 23
borrow from loves labours lost; “I suffer for the
clean electric vehicle, but if the opening
October 2017, cars, vans, minibuses, buses,
truth.” Not enough sometimes, maybe too much
selling cost exceeds £50,000 I don’t imag-
coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in
at others. Enjoy your literary retirement, Al...
ine there will be much of a queue for them
central London will need to meet minimum
unless TfL raises its game and instead of
exhaust emission standards or pay a daily £10
spending £900 million on cycle routes,
Joe Brazil
Emissions Surcharge (also known as the
they decide to give the 18,000 cabs on the
DaC Ltd Director
Toxicity Charge or T-Charge). It is in addition
road a well needed subsidy; now let’s see...
Head of Driver Operations
to the Congestion Charge. Operation hours are
18,000 Taxi’s x
Monday - Friday 07:00 - 18:00.
= £900
As you can see, there is no mention of us
million! Same as
in this short missal; I have no doubt TfL will
the cycle super
Keith Reading
treat us with the level of courtesy they usu-
ally afford us! So, in some cases you will
Professional Toastmaster
What do you say
find that even though you have bought a
Master of Ceremonies
TfL...? We’ll go
taxi in good faith and been promised a 15
year lifespan, the last five years of your new
Tele: 01279 465 938
taxis’ working life will end up costing you
English test
Mobile: 07774 860 374
in excess of £17,000 pounds for the average
court ruling
Email: kgr.2@virgin.net
I could understand if the technology was
The English test
already in place regarding charging points and
court ruling that
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
other necessary amenities, but even they have
took place in early
shamefully been reduced in number. TfL tell us
Fellow of the Guild of
they are working with suppliers to deliver 150
what in all practical
Professional Toastmasters
rapid charge points by 2018 and 300 by 2020
terms was an unfair
to support the electrification of taxis, PHVs and
omission in TfL’s
Call Sign April 2017
Page 26
found a little house
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
for him and Linda to
stay in for a short
break, but his pres-
ence in the village
caused uproar with
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
one little old lady
deciding it would be
h e n
a great idea to attack him every morn-
ing by beating him with her baguette!
emailed me a month ago to
Alan was the victim of mistaken iden-
tell me this April issue of
tity, as the lady in black thought he
Call Sign was going to be the last, my
was the owner of the house and was
initial thought was that this was some
upset with the satellite dish she didn’t
absurd April Fool’s joke - and for all I
like the look of and wanted removed!
know it may well be! (Sorry Bob... it
I can honestly say that I have thorough-
ain’t... Ed)!!!
ly enjoyed making my monthly contribu-
My second thought was Yippee, as it
tions, not least because Alan is such a
meant that for my current series - the
great bloke and also a cab trade stalwart.
origins of London’s Football Clubs - I
But above all, I shall also be forever grate-
don't have to write about West Ham
ful for Alan’s help in raising awareness for
United or Crystal Palace after all!
my fund raising appeals over the years,
Perhaps Alan will correct me, but I
perhaps most poignantly the appeal for
believe my musings here first started
Motor Neurone Disease, which was
about 17 years ago - which is frighten-
launched having lost my dear friend and
ing! I’ve had some success along the way
DaC driver Paul Bishop who left us at a
Bob with the late Paul Bishop taken in 1997
as well, as by advertising my wares I have
far too young an age.
sold copious cases of organic French
Some things are more important than
wine from the Corbierres to Dial-a-Cab
I have also persuaded some of you to
anything, thanks for everything Alan.
become London Taxi Tour Guides and
folk over the years and perhaps the case
of red I sold the Chairman was the rea-
consequently great ambassadors to
Bob Woodford
son he started losing his hair! That was
London and the trade.
Talking of France, perhaps my most
Call Sign Online
good stuff!
amusing Alan Fisher story was when I
MyTaxi takes over Hailo
n the September Call Sign, we told readers that Hailo had agreed to a “merger”
with the Mercedes Benz Daimler ride-sharing app, MyTaxi, which has been part
of Daimler Mobility Services since 2014 when MBD were said to have paid
around £100million! The deal was said to be cashless and saw Daimler take a 60%
stake in Hailo and controlling seats on its Board.
We heard that the Hailo name would vanish within 12 months and be re-branded as
MyTaxi. That has now come about. Hailo had suffered with financial problems since
being forced to pull out of North America in 2014 following a price war and battle
for market share. They also never really recovered after applying for a PH license but
keeping it secret from its subscribers. It was later discovered by Grant Davis at the
LCDC and within hours, news spread via social networks leading to a mass departure
from Hailo by its drivers, together with many of them putting signs in their wind-
screens expressing their displeasure at the new license - but not always in a very
polite way!
We also spoke to an experienced competitor of MyTaxi in Germany, but agreed not to publish any names.
He told us back in September:
“MyTaxi was originally a startup, claiming a niche - one of the first to do so in the German taxi sector. Its founder and former CEO, Niclaus
Mewes, grew up in a family dealing with a special kind of fleet management - shipping! But the new company grew quite fast, relying on
taxis only with Deutsche Telekom and Car2Go being some of the first investors. The MyTaxi setup is actually pretty much the same as you’ll
find with Hailo, Gett and others. They bypass traditional taxi dispatchers and build a direct contact between the drivers and customer.
“MyTaxi has tried its best in many European cities such as Paris and Switzerland, but has yet to make a success in most of them. The only
strong market besides Germany is in Spain. So coupling with Hailo makes some sense there.
“They’ve had some problems in Germany where they went around aggressively “buying” customers at half fare. You should
prepare yourselves for that in London as well, since a 50 percent price tag on all trips is still active in Spain and Poland etc. Yes,
they do claim to only work with licensed taxis, but since they have a huge marketing budget, they often try to “bend” the law -
although they can’t anymore in Germany.
“Incidentally, MyTaxi and Hailo are claiming they will now have the largest taxi app network in Europe, but I believe that to be incorrect
since the Berlin and Vienna based taxi network, taxi.eu, is already active in 13 countries with well over 170.000 drivers throughout Europe.”
Now 7 months after Call Sign revealed there was to be a takeover, MyTaxi has arrived and is going around trying to capture drivers at main-
line taxi stations. It also put an expensive double-paged ad in the Evening Standard, which probably confirms our report on their having a
huge marketing budget, not surprising when you consider the organisation behind it. It has also referred to itself as an alternative to Uber.
Will it replace Uber? Just as importantly, will that be achieved by doing as they did in Germany and charging 50 percent of the
meter? Will it actually just become a minicab using black cabs? Has the trade just received its last rites or is MyTaxi its saviour?
Time will tell...
Call Sign April 2017
Page 27
Michael McHale (F26) looked at
Call Sign’s not-so-young reporter
and said it, obviously meaning
Roadside Hero!
every word: “I always knew we
really were the Gentleman’s (and
“But I am also very grateful to Patrick
Ladies’) circuit, now the kindness
Walsh for his support in my time of need,
and camaraderie shown to me by
and for his generosity because he would
a fellow Dial-a-Cab driver has
not accept any payment for the food he
kindly brought to me. He restores my
proved it again.”
faith in the brother and sisterhood that is
He was referring to Patrick Walsh (V17),
Dial-a-Cab and after 25 years on the cir-
who came to Michael’s aid when his taxi
cuit, I feel well placed to know!”
broke down while travelling along
So Call Sign’s elderly reporter, on the
Bayswater Road when, without any warn-
verge of his retirement yet still eager to
ing, the cab suddenly came to a grinding halt.
impress the Editor and needing another 100
Using all his experience, Michael managed to
words (!!!), duly called Patrick Walsh for his
coast it into the kerbside so as not to affect
side of the story.
the traffic flow too much. The engine was
“Michael’s cab had been stuck there for
running, but the unhealthy noise from the
ages. I recalled seeing it parked at the kerb-
wheels suggested that this taxi was not going
side for several hours as I motored up and
to get much further!
down the Bayswater Road at various times of
“Clearly I was not going to make it to my
the day. So as soon as I was empty, I stopped
service agent, Mr Diesel in south London
to see if I could help, not knowing if the dri-
under my own steam, so I called the AA for a
ver simply needed tools to repair something
low-loader to transport the taxi there. They
or assistance to get moving again. But as he
Mike McHale: We're still the gentle-
said they were busy but would get a rescue
couldn’t leave his cab even to get some suste-
man's circuit...
truck to me as quickly as possible after I
nance, I decided I would at least do that. I’m
explained about the heavy traffic and my
moment. But sure enough, several min-
sure it was nothing more than any another
immobile cab stuck at the roadside. All the
utes later my roadside hero duly returned
Dial-a-Cab driver would do for me...”
time traffic was getting slower as it weaved its
and presented me with a huge cup of pip-
way round me and my motionless taxi.
ing hot coffee (ok, minus sugar!!!) and a
Alan Green (E52)
“I continued to call the AA back at regular
cheese sandwich. But it wasn’t just that,
Call Sign Online
intervals to see how far up the list I was get-
because it was so nice that someone took
the trouble to have a chat - you feel really
ting and they in turn, kept fobbing me off
lonely in a situation like that with people
with all sorts of excuses. Meanwhile, the time
staring at you as they slowly wind past.
was passing for me to get to south London
“So after a four-and-a-half hour wait for the
before Mr Diesel closed for the night.
recovery vehicle to arrive, I finally got to Mr
“Suddenly, another Dial-a-Cab driver
Diesel late in the afternoon. But because I
pulled up behind me and said he’d seen me
had phoned to say I was on the way, those
sitting at the roadside for several hours and
great guys - Danny, Gary and Earl - kept
asked if he could do anything to help.
their doors open for me until we got there.
Knowing that the breakdown was a major job
They quickly diagnosed the nearside front
and no driver would be able to help in that, all
wheel bearing had been damaged due to a
I could think of to say was that a hot coffee
loose screw and I got my cab back the follow-
would be nice because I couldn’t leave the cab
ing day with the repair duly completed! I’ve
un-attended. He smiled and then drove off.
been going to them for many years” Michael
“I wasn’t expecting him back; after all,
continued, “and that is just one more reason
work is hardly easy to come by at the
n a brilliant piece of publicity, The
• Immaculate Fairway taxi available
London Taxi Company/Geely adver-
for Wedding Hire
tised its new all-electric range extended
TX5 in newspapers and motoring maga-
• Covers most north, east and
zines around the globe by showing it being
central London locations
tested in the Arctic Circle. Call Sign also
• Used in Olympic closing ceremony
has a story on the test elsewhere inside this
with the Spice Girls!
What we hadn’t seen anywhere outside
• Full leather interior
of America was this New York ad that
• Discounts for DaC drivers
was illuminated in Times Square, right in
front of all the Yellow taxi drivers in their
Ring Graham (B35) on
“taxi of tomorrow” which does look rather
like the “taxi of yesterday” compared to
the TX5. Either way, the publicity coup was
or email oldlondontaxis@yahoo.co.uk
Call Sign April 2017
Page 28
n last months’ magazine, you will have
read that Call Sign Editor, Alan Fisher,
has decided to hang up his keyboard
and mouse after twenty years in the hot
(With apologies to the Two Ronnie’s)
seat and another twenty as a contributor
under both Gerald Craig and Phil Emden.
When I began writing for Call Sign exactly
28 years ago under my previous boss, Gerry
‘Jery’ Craig, it was a huge Remington mechan-
ical typewriter, itself described as a desk top
model, but which actually sat on our kitchen
table, that was the order of the day together
with white A4 paper and a sheet of blue carbon
paper sandwiched between a second sheet of
white paper that left a faint copy of my work as
I hit the typewriter keys!
It was Gerry who gave me my first break
into journalism by inviting me to con-
tribute a regular monthly column on pho-
tographic topics, both advisory and subjec-
tive, for the benefit of families going on
holiday or perhaps capturing that special
moment in their life. Film was the medium
used back then and a trip to the chemist or
photo lab for processing was invariably her-
played in an album.
as Dial-a-Cab was known back then.
Gerry was my mentor in many ways and we
When Alan Fisher took over the Call
alded by an anxious wait until the prints
came back and you could savour that
worked closely together on numerous pro-
Sign helm, he invited me to undertake
jects, either for the magazine itself, or ODRTS
stories as well as purely photographic
‘magic moment’ for evermore, possibly dis-
assignments and that’s when you, the dri-
vers and your families entered my life!
Tom Quigley (Y33) says...
Under his editorship, I have enjoyed free
reign to generate my own projects and
was allowed to get on with the job as I
hen Alan informed us of his retirement as Editor in the March Call Sign, my
thought fit. Uncensored plus!
first reaction was to thank him for the opportunity
Digitalisation, both in computing and cam-
of being allowed a regular slot in the magazine
eras, has made immense strides forward and
between September 2010 and May 2016 with
Looking at Taxi Life, together with the added adage of him
now I can be on assignment somewhere for the
never once interfering or censoring any article; basically, he
mag, shoot the images, maybe write up the
gave me the freedom to write about anything and those of
story and send it all down the line to Alan in
you that read those articles would know that I did just that!
seconds, but that didn’t necessarily stop ‘The
And I thank you for reading them...
Boss’ texting to ask where it was, as he had
As some of you may be aware, I run my own Knowledge School in
“already been waiting for several minutes!” I
Chingford E4 KOL. This has given me an opportunity to once again to
think it was just to keep me on my toes!
get involved in Adult Education; I had previously taught City and Guilds Brickwork at
Seriously though, they have both been
Waltham Forest College. But despite the doom and gloom amongst some within this trade, I have
wonderful to work with, taught me a lot,
got to meet and assist students on the way to a new career as taxi drivers - something that is very
gave me opportunities I would never have
I have witnessed a massive change from those I did the knowledge with 20 years ago. Firstly,
otherwise had or even dreamt of and I have
there are a larger number of women - I won’t say that there is a larger ethnic minority doing the
cherished every moment.
KOL as the taxi trade has always reflected the working class of the its time, be it the Jewish
Along the way, numerous service agents have
immigrants of the WW2 aftermath, the Irish as reflected by myself, the West Indians from the
readily shared their wealth of knowledge with
50s and 60s right up to the present day where my school has Turkish, Asian and Eastern
me when I have sought advice over a drivers’
European students. The whole trade has a multi-ethnic support service industry from the call cen-
cab, or allowed me to crawl over a taxi under-
tres on radio circuits to the garages and even TfL itself. Whilst not always being in the front line,
going servicing for ‘that’ photo which illustrat-
each and every person and job helps to reflect and promote the industry.
ed an elusive part, be it of an engine compo-
But the biggest change, and one that gives me more hope for the future, is that the new
crop are hungrier - virtually none of them are supported by a large redundancy payment
nent or whatever.
from a nationalised industry that poured loads of part time workers into licensed Taxis.
Particular thanks are due to the techni-
We are now getting a larger majority of workers who are sick and tired of zero hour contracts
cal staff at our Roman Way depot that
and minimum wages; younger students who are looking to put in the hours in order to get a
have over the years put up with me get-
mortgage and the older students, who unfortunately may have been through a divorce or separa-
ting under their feet on an almost daily
tion, all see this job as a sea change to earn money and are prepared to put the hours in to
basis in the relentless quest for stories or
achieve their goal. Some of the young mums that have passed out from my school are working
driver surveys. My thanks also extend to
evenings, whilst their partners take their turn to look after the children.
DaC’s management team for their faith in
The trade is now seeing drivers that are more techno savvy with apps and credit cards;
they use social media to source work, to inform and support those who are working and
me to fulfil tasks that allowed me to rep-
also to chastise (though sometimes too far) those who are letting the trade down by
resent DaC. You know who you are.
brooming etc.
Last but by no means least, special thanks
Whilst we knew our immediate COPS and very little else except maybe a point collector (as I
go to the guys and girls who have given me
once was) they are a Facebook / Instagram community, supporting each other; our own school
their time and stories, both happy or not so
has different WhatsApp groups for those studying or that passed out and are working. They sup-
happy, who patiently and graciously with-
port the green huts by eating there. They have joined trade organisations in bigger numbers than
stood my nagging of ‘turn this way, look up,
I previously knew, they are not apathetic.
look down’ as I strove to take a photo.
This Game has been injured - yes, sometimes even self-inflicted. Earnings have been hit;
And so as I say goodbye to Call Sign, I
but I’m confident that those who are joining are the saviours and it’s nowhere near dead...
thank you all very much... simple as that.
Tom Quigley (Y33)
Alan Green (E52)
Call Sign Online
Call Sign Online
Call Sign April 2017
Page 29
Alan Nash has had a ‘Nash’s Numbers in every issue of Call Sign
over the past 20 years. He now tells how he did it...
Alan's first Call Sign article
in 1997
www.nashsnumbers.co.uk in
2003, where the main purpose
was to obtain relevant materi-
al via back issues. However, it
took a lot of my time to keep
this going as well as writing
articles and sadly it has not
been updated since July 2015.
I registered www.myfav.
co.uk in 2007 as a better plat-
Alan says goodbye to Nash's Numbers
form to be useful and hold back
issues, but it was the storage
did something really silly back in 1997.
place for the multi-page docu-
Being a Butter Boy and having only
ment (UID) which not only held
gained my prized possessions of a
all the information from my
Badge and Bill in late 1996, I had no
monthly articles, but to which I
idea how much fares would be to various
added a lot of additional infor-
locations when passengers asked the ques-
them... great, easy peasy! My local ATM is in
mation. But the workload of
tion: “How much to *****...!” So I wrote a
simple program in DOS, the computer oper-
Woodford Broadway, so I requested from it
keeping this updated was horrendous and it
my nearest ATM and it came back as Clacket
hasn’t been updated since 2014, although an
ating system invented by Bill Gates in the
1970s. I entered the yardage and cost per
Lane Services on the M25! Total rubbish!
awful lot of the information is still valid today.
unit and hey presto, a list of how much 1
Banks didn’t want to release the information,
The reason for the - of late - regular ‘What’s
mile to 350 miles appeared - and that 20
but I did find at least one for every postcode.
On’ is that nearly all of us have Smart mobile
year old program still works today!
I never did issue an article on public toilets; I
phones, and it has become so easy to obtain
So what was it that I’d done that was so silly?
contacted J.D.Decoux, the suppliers of those
info on when the next Eurostar is due in and
Well I contacted Alan Fisher and asked if he
then-10p concrete monsters (now 50p), but
not just from a timetable.
wanted to put my list into Call Sign, of which
they too would not release information on their
I started with a mileage chart and every
he had just become the new editor. Well he not
whereabouts for data protection! What! Why
April that has been updated, except for the
only said yes, but muttered: “Can you do some-
would they protect where we use their loos and
past two years as the change has been so
thing like this every month?” And I agreed! I
spend 10p? I did ask in one Call Sign for dri-
minimal. And as this is the April issue, I
thought of calling it Helpful Corner, but Alan
vers to send me information on good places to
wanted to finish as I’d started, but sadly I
renamed it Nash’s Numbers. Well 220 issues
spend a penny (or 10); one useful idea came
have not had a reply from TfL - well we
later, I will be following in Alan’s footsteps and
from the editor and another from a driver who
don’t expect anything else from TfL nowa-
this month’s Nash’s Numbers will be my last.
said it was a good idea... and that was it.
days except for them to make our lives
Over the last 20 years, I’ve come to dread the
Before the wonderful email system we
harder and certainly less profitable.
14th of every month, which is my cut off date
So it’s goodbye from me and thanks for read-
have now, it was a monthly trip to the edi-
for when the following months’ copy has to be
ing Nash’s Numbers over the last 20 years...
tor’s home with a three and half inch floppy
submitted - and boy does he pester! He is even
disc. One month I produced an index of my
pestering me for this article!
old issues, Alan wasn’t too pleased but saw
Alan Nash (A95)
In the early days it was quite easy to think
the funny side! But it led me to register
Call Sign Online
up new subjects to publish, with some of
the subjects I covered being hotel chains,
restaurants, clubs, pubs and bars, street
Wednesday 22 March 2017
numbering, airport departure terminals,
Eurostar arrival time tables, City Airport
n Wednesday 22 March 2017, a coward in a car wreaked havoc on
arrival time tables, theatre burst times,
Westminster Bridge and killed three people before then killing a policeman
Heathrow hotels, postcodes, police station
who London’s taxi drivers have probably passed on numerous occasions. He
opening times, ranks at Westfield E20, car
was just doing his job inside the House of Commons.
pound addresses, Euro currency, the
The coward even attacked school children as well as tourists and Londoners going about
Complaints procedure, cash machine loca-
their daily business. It was indeed a dark day, yet London responded in the way it does best.
tions, distance chart to towns, parking hot
Medical staff from St Thomas’s Hospital rushed out to help the many injured. Uninjured
spots, ‘reclaim tout’ hot spots, Black cab
members of the public and those that had been close by, didn’t run away but stayed and
fuel card locations, Addison Lee v Taxi
helped those that hadn’t been so lucky.
prices, TaxiCard codes and my most recent
Taxi drivers leaving Waterloo and seeing the appalling scene taking place in front of them
mainstay: What’s On.
turned their meters off and ferried people to places of safety away from the carnage and as
One month I even showed how to do a
you would expect, made no charge. Uber surged to three times the fare.
Sudoku puzzle - I obviously couldn’t think of
It was a day that showed how a terrible situation failed miserably to bring London to its
anything useful that month! In the September
knees. Only one group charged for their time and we won’t waste any more breath on
1997 Call Sign, by popular request I listed
ATMs; I had found some software that listed
Call Sign April 2017
Page 30
For one final time, Mike Son gets his typing finger out and writes...
both the hard copy and online versions
Dear fellow Shareholders
being read worldwide, the result being
I must say that since leaving the Board of
that Dial-a-Cab as a company is known
Management, I didn’t think I would be
around the world as a respected taxi
writing any new articles for Call Sign.
However, now being aware that Alan
If I also remember correctly, many years
Fisher has decided to put away his quill
ago Call Sign was even quoted in one of
and retire from the position as Editor of
the highest echelons of the BBC - no less
Call Sign, I feel I must say that this is a
than in Have I got News for you in the
loss to both to Dial-a-Cab and the taxi
Missing Words round; high praise
Alan’s contribution has been tremen-
Always being aware that Call Sign was
dous - both as a talented, prolific writer
not just read by DaC members and staff,
as well as an honest one... albeit some-
but customers too, nonetheless Alan still
times controversial! Over the past 20
allowed drivers and Board Members the
years, Alan has created a well-respect-
opportunity to air their views on many
ed and influential publication with
aspects of DaC and other subjects both
within the taxi industry and outside of it. If
criticism was offered, it was usually with-
out being too rude or disrespectful, but it
was always published. Alan certainly knew
The Silent Killer
how to keep his letters pages filled with far
Don’t ignore it...
more comments that the rest of the trade
press together!
“I was aware of the recent media coverage regarding a
I am also aware the various charities
prostate cancer awareness campaign and decided that,
in the taxi industry that were extreme-
although I did not feel unwell, I might just as well get it
ly grateful for the publicity given to fur-
checked out as a matter of precaution,” Ray Whitehead
ther their aims and worthy causes they
support, so I would like to take this
(Y72) told Call Sign. “I just had an inkling that it might be
opportunity to thank Alan for his com-
a sensible thing to do and thankfully my GP agreed.”
mitment in creating one of the taxi
“A simple blood test will usually reveal if you have a high PSA (Prostate
trades’ best publications, along with
Specific Antigen) blood count that could indicate further investigation is need-
his photographers and contributors
ed. My PSA blood count went from 6 up to 7 over the course of about 2
during these many years.
months and my doctor suggested a biopsy to establish a cause. This is not a
Although Call Sign will be sorely
pleasant procedure, but very necessary,” Ray admitted.
missed, I am sure Alan Fisher will contin-
“PSA is a protein produced exclusively by prostate cells and the simple blood test
ue to write in other publications.
may help to detect early prostate cancer. Raised levels may suggest you have a problem
Thanks again Alan...
with your prostate gland, although it may not necessarily be cancer,” Ray continued.
“It’s called the ‘silent killer’ for good reason because you do not feel any pain or dis-
Michael B. Son BEM (V52)
comfort nor any symptoms that would indicate a problem. However, it’s best to get
checked regularly.”
Ray went on to tell the magazine that the results of his biopsy revealed a
problem was indeed present and he underwent surgery in December 2015,
being unable to return to work on medical advice until the end of January
2016 - some 7 weeks later.
“At this point,” Ray continued, I must thank all the medical professionals for their
care and concern for my welfare, they did a great job on me! I’m nearly 60 now, our
daughter is planning to get married next year and so my wife and I have everything to
live for. My brother is also undergoing tests as it appears he too has a problem and it
was suggested that the risk can be up to 30 percent higher in families with an heredi-
tary history of the problem. Although my brother does not drive a cab, it would appear
cab driving does not help, sat in a relatively cramped position all day. What really
amazed me as to how common the problem is was when I mentioned it to my golfing
pals, they then too got themselves checked out and now three out of the four have
also been diagnosed with a problem, so it’s not exactly an exclusive club to cab drivers.
“Since I had the surgery, I feel great and now that it’s behind me I’m getting
on with life. I’m a very positive thinking person, but it is also very important
to have a supportive, understanding family around you. In that respect, I
count myself very lucky and if you are fortunate enough to have that kind of
support, so much the better.
“But the really important message I’d like to get across is to initiate regular blood
test check-ups to ensure you stay on top, to catch potential problems early and before
these things develop.”
More info at: supportercare@prostatecancer.org or phone 0800 082 1616
Call Sign April 2017
Page 31
I certainly never
asked for - and
in my
years in the
definitely didn’t
hot seat, I
expect - so many
Thank you Danny
drivers, staff and
ever worked
And not forgetting Sally and Alan..
with two type
people to write in
setters. Sally’s
after I announced my retirement as
predecessor was Alan Tarant at John
Editor. I appreciate every single
Brown Printing. He taught me a
comment and will certainly keep
tremendous amount and just like Sally,
he had an amazing eye for any typo that
this issue of Call Sign as a lovely
Linda and I may have missed. He might
memento of my time with the
never even read this, but I still wanted to
say thanks to him.
I thanked a lot of people last month
To Danny, Sally and Alan, my hum-
but saved one for this month - my layout
ble thanks. I couldn’t have dome 20
man, Danny Fresco.
years without all your help...
Like several others connected with my
time as Editor, Danny too has been with
Alan Fisher
me since my first issue in 1997 - and
back then he wasn’t even a driver but
Call Sign Online
had just left college where he got a
To Alan... My sincere thanks for the past
degree in exactly what he does so well
20 years. It’s been a pleasure and much
for Call Sign!
fun putting up with your endless
Someone with Al Fresco as his dad
demands! It’s hard to believe it’s coming
had no choice but to go onto the
Danny Fresco has been with Call Sign
to an end. Call Sign has seen me through
Knowledge and at around that time,
since before he was a cabby
the Knowledge, my marriage to Deb, our
that’s what he did until finally getting
honeymoon and the birth of our two
his Badge and Bill in June
day before I gave it to Danny!
beautiful children. So I will always be
Unsurprisingly, when he married his
I must also thank Sally Costello at
grateful to both you and Call Sign.
gorgeous wife Debbie, he then adopt-
Premier Printing who is the person I
Layout man Danny Fresco
ed a father-in-law who was also a taxi
work with each month in making sure
driver, Dial-a-Cab’s Gerry Tobin (L32).
that the magazine you get posted to you
Alan, I shall miss working with you on
Danny and Debbie have two lovely
not only looks as good as it can, but also
Call Sign - it’s never really felt like work
children in Harrison and Ruby and I
gets to you at the allotted time of the first
as I would enjoy reading whilst working
thank all the family for putting up with
of each month. Like Danny, Sally has
through it. Good luck in your retire-
my moaning about wanting everything a
proved to be invaluable.
ment. Go to nice places. Sally.
On 20 March, Dame
Vera Lynn celebrat-
ed her 100th birth-
day. She has been
associated with the
taxi trade for many
years and actually
became Patron of
the War Disabled
From 10.15-12.15 - £10 per pupil
charity (now known
Minimum age of 16
as The Taxi
Kids Class: 12.30-1.30pm from age 8yrs to 15yrs
Charity for
£5.00 per pupil
Veterans) in 1973
Suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to
as well as also being associated with the
accomplished boxers
Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.
Female ONLY classes subject to demand
Dame Vera was born in East Ham in 1917 and began singing
at the age of seven. She made her first radio broadcast with the
Joe Loss Orchestra in 1935 and began her own radio series in
1940 where she performed songs requested for the troops sta-
tioned abroad. It was at that time that she was dubbed The
Forces Sweetheart, a name she kept right up until her last per-
sonal appearance in 1995 at Trafalgar Square to celebrate the
60th anniversary of VE Day when she joined in a chorus of
We’ll Meet Again!
Call Sign April 2017
Page 32
Hello Ladies & Gents
Gratuity upgrade
By the time you read this article, we should
already have started upgrading both the
MDT terminals and the PEDs that will now
enable your passengers to add a gratuity to
hail and ride fares. The amount of tip will
increase in five percent increments and they
you’re on the way to Heathrow and it’s impor-
will also be able to add an actual amount
tant to remember you can only book into one of
should they wish to do so.
these ranks at any one time.
The new terminal upgrade (Version 12) has a
number of enhancements to the system and var-
ious bug fixes to make your life a little easier.
Call Sign
Our IT department made the necessary changes
It seems strange that after twenty years, which
very quickly, but to gain the accreditation and
pretty much coincides with my time on the
pass the tests at Barclaycard seemed to be a
Board, that this will be not only my last article,
never-ending process that included several vis-
but also the final edition of Call Sign. The mag-
its to their HQ in Northampton. Unlike the
azine was unrivalled in the trade; it was totally
uncensored, it was truly the best and will be
upgrade before Christmas, this is not a do or
die situation, so the degree of urgency is far less
missed by all of us. I can understand why Alan
Fisher has decided to spend more time leading a
than it was last October, but it is in your own
interest not to leave getting your terminal
normal life, one which will allow him holidays
outside of May and more importantly to concen-
upgraded for too long.
trate on the normal stuff that he mentioned in his
last editorial.
matically go to taxis in the feeder park, but
Heathrow fixed prices
I will also miss him nagging me each month
the fixed rate trip will appear in the Bids
for my article and waiting in anticipation for
I mentioned a while back that whilst we’re
immediately after working its way through
him to pick up on any typos that may have
offering fixed price trips to Heathrow, it
all cabs booked into the LHFP rank - if in
appeared (hopefully there weren’t too many).
makes sense to offer the return trip to
fact there are any. But you must be able to
Alan, enjoy your time with Linda and the
clients at the same rate in an effort to gener-
reach the airport terminals within fifteen
family in your retirement from the magazine
ate additional work. I understand that some
minutes before booking-in to LHFP.
and be very lucky. It’s been a pleasure doing
of you already in the Airport taxi park who
All other non-fixed price account work will be
business with you!
may have waited for a lengthy period, may
dispatched to the feeder park (LHR) in the nor-
not wish to be offered these fixed price
mal manner and again you must be within the
Allan Evans
trips, so they will be dispatched to a virtual
qualifying zones inside the Perimeter Road or
rank, LHFP (London Heathrow Fixed
you will be unable to book into LHR. Like the
Prices). These particular trips will not auto-
old system, you cannot soon to clear when
he tireless work of Charles Dickens as a campaigner and investigative jour-
nalist will be given overdue recognition when a new exhibition opens at his
48 Doughty Street London home museum from 9 May until 29 October.
Restless Shadow will follow the footsteps of Dickens as he pounds London’s
streets, determined to make himself aware of the terrible conditions, injustices and
hardships faced by the poorest and least powerful people in society. Doughty Street is
the townhouse where Dickens completed The Pickwick Papers, wrote Oliver Twist and
Nicholas Nickleby and began Barnaby Rudge.
Drawing on the Museum’s vast and unrivalled Dickens collections, Restless Shadow will present
a powerful collection of evidence of Dickens’s writing, public speaking and campaigning, includ-
ing little-known and rarely-seen articles, speeches and letters. It will show that the social ills and
struggling working class of London were not confined to his novels, but also given life and a
Dickens: 19th century superstar!!!
spotlight in speeches and weekly magazines that reached an audience of millions.
A powerful symbol of Dickens’s activism and desire to poke into all corners of society
is also one of the star exhibits - Dickens’s wooden walking stick from the 1860s, the last decade of his life. As both a fashion accessory
and walking aid, the stick was a significant item for Dickens; he covered almost inconceivable distances every day and some nights - at
speed - in an attempt to bring himself face-to-face with people suffering on the streets in all parts of the city and beyond.
For a man with both an international audience of millions and the ear of the wealthiest and most powerful in society, his walks were vital journeys,
which brought hidden hardships out into the open and helped Dickens promote practical solutions to the problems of the downtrodden. The journeys
helped him to pioneer investigative journalism, a type of writing he saw as a kind of shadow. In a letter to John Forster in 1849, Dickens referred to
this type of journalism as one “...which may go into any place, by sunlight, moonlight, starlight, firelight, candlelight and be in all homes
and all nooks and corners, and be supposed to be cognisant of everything, and go everywhere, without the least difficulty. It may be in
the Theatre, the Palace, the House of Commons, the Prisons, the Unions, the Churches, on the Railroad, on the Sea, abroad and at
home: a kind of semi-omniscient, omnipresent, intangible creature…”
Journalism ran through Dickens’s entire career, from his early days as a parliamentary correspondent (1831-34) to his years as editor of weekly mag-
azines Household Words (1850-59) and All the Year Round (1859-1870). Each magazine allowed Dickens to entertain but also to speak out on issues
and causes that troubled him and his contemporaries. The chair used by Dickens in the editorial office of All the Year Round at 26 Wellington
Street, Strand is another highlight of the exhibition.
When Charles Dickens moved into 48 Doughty Street, he was a little-known writer still using his pen-name, Boz. By the time he left, he was an
international superstar, having written The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby as well as being a prolific cab user! The rooms are still
filled with the furniture he bought. Most of the fireplaces, doors, locks, window shutters and fittings are still in place as they were when the family
resided there.
Restless Shadow is on from 9 May - 29 October. Opening hours Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. Adults £9; concessions £7; children
£4; under 6 free. More info: www.dickensmuseum.com or events@dickensmuseum.com or 020 7405 2127.
Call Sign April 2017
Page 33
Simon Scott is one of the new generations of taxi drivers whose life is captured
as a blog. The continuing story of his time as a butterboy is…
A Blogger’s Tale
he moment is finally here, the
I’ve spent some time thinking about
last Call Sign magazine is in
the people I’ve met over the years; to me
front of you, filling your sens-
the famous ones aren't the ones that
es with its last unique Call
stick out, it’s the ordinary working folk
Sign experience.
who I enjoy the most and I've had the
My first column in 2015 was an obituary
full spectrum of punters over the years.
for a good friend; he died in 2001 when
The nasty ones, like the one who got out
the trade was very different to the way it is
and told me he wasn’t going to pay me
now and I’ve spent the past month won-
only to realise he'd left his phone on the
dering what he would make of it now.
back seat - luckily I realised a fraction
Personally, I don’t think the job has
earlier and locked the doors. “No prob-
changed at all; we take people from one
lem,” I said, “I'll keep the phone
point to another in the straightest possible
route while sitting alone in the front watch-
Then there are the completely mad ones
ing the world and all its madness go on
who burst into tears or who can’t stop
around us. I heard it called 'the theatre of
bouncing around like Tigger. The drunk ones
madness' this week and I couldn't have put
that fall into the cab backwards, forcing me
it better if I tried.
to get out and fold their legs into the back
I can't even begin to estimate how
before slamming the door shut and driving as
many books I’ve read behind the
though I had stolen it to reach the destina-
wheel, sitting in traffic, waiting on
tion quicker!
ranks and waiting for the Dial-a-Cab
The best ones are the really nice ones
terminal to light up. It’s a lonely job, of
and luckily I took a photo of one of the
that there is no doubt and my early
best punters I’ve had. They all climbed in
Simon's favourite passengers!
days were spent with a little portable
and wanted the animal hospital in
radio that I had to hide when I ranked
Clerkenwell Road; on the way they need-
up for fear the PCO would spot it and
ed a cash point, which gave me an
said of many of the others…
tell me to put it in the boot.
opportunity to take a quick photo of the
You can follow more cab blogs at:
That voice on the radio was my compan-
French Bulldog that was so well-
ion and as cabs caught up with modern
behaved, that he was allowed on the
technology, we had radios that were built
back seat! I wish I could have taken him
Be lucky... Simon Scott (O40)
into the dash with twin speakers and we
home with me… pity the same can’t be
Call Sign Online
could actually see the dial without pulling a
neck muscle.
The same can be said about electric win-
dows; in the winter when you really could-
n't work with the nearside window open,
you would have to lean across and pull
down the window every time you stopped
376 Strand, WC2
for a punter. Now that may sound insignifi-
cant, but when you've done that all day
and every day for years, it can be a bit tir-
We Invite Dial-a-Cab drivers and their guests to our
ing! I remember just beckoning punters to
restaurant where you can partake of the finest food and wine
climb in the back as I’ve never refused a job
anyway, so it made no difference to me.
And as a thank-you for helping our clients come
I hope the magazine that lands with a
and go over the years, we are happy to be able to
thud on your doormat, sending the dog into
a tailspin, returns one day. I love the smell of
offer you a genuine 15% discount on your bill
it and the anticipation I feel as I turn the pris-
tine pages and immerse myself into someone
We are certain that you will be delighted
else’s world for a short time. My children all
read from tablets or phones or laptops now
so that you can’t see what they’re reading or
watching. They listen to their music through
headphones that excludes the outside world
and if you watch people like I do, you'll
notice that society is becoming more insular. I
imagine many people don't even go out any-
more, happy to lead an online life tucked
Please bring along your badge or Bill as ID
away indoors staring at a screen. But I feel
there is a glimmer of hope that the whole
Salieri Restaurant
thing will go full cycle. After all, vinyl record
sales are up, as are sales of turntables; while
376 Strand, WC2
the second hand book business is what
Reservations: 020 7836 1318
keeps charity shops going.
Call Sign April 2017
Page 34
Part 1: By now, everyone connected to the
trade knows that Uber lost one third of their
court case following a legal challenge when
they claimed that the English Language
Requirement, which meant that you
couldn’t get a licence if you couldn’t commu-
Well, it is Uber!!!
nicate in English at what was called an appro-
priate level, was not needed and thrown out
happen on a daily basis in Uber cars.
by the judge. So Uber lost, will appeal the
1 - 1 and it’s going to penalties,
decision and few would bet against them get-
but TfL have a strong third point
ting a reversal.
and will surely win...
1 - 0 to TfL
Part 3: Yes, this will be a cakewalk because
Part 2: This refers to the eminently sensible
all private hire vehicle operators have to make
requirement that PHVs should be insured for
someone available in a call centre for passen-
hire or reward at all times and not just while
gers to speak to during operating hours in case
working. Yet TfL lost that one, even though
of any complaints about the vehicle, the book-
they later made the brave statement that pri-
ing or the driver. After all, we have published
vate hire vehicles “must still be covered by
the number of PH attacks on passengers sever-
hire or reward insurance at the point of
al times. Yet somehow TfL managed to lose this
licensing and when in use as a private hire
one as well.
vehicle.” But what they really mean is that the
It’s a shame that the UK is leaving the EU
requirement to always have the correct insur-
because after managing to do the impossi-
ance no longer applies. What type of insur-
ble and lose the two most important parts
ance company provides a policy like that? A
of the case, that would have been their best
lot of passengers are going to be in for a shock
chance of getting into Europe!
if involved in one of the many accidents that
TfL say they are
reviewing the posi-
tion. Perhaps more
to the point, some-
The Call Sign
one should review
TfL because their
With TfL in charge, could we end up
total mismanage-
with this???
Internet Library
ment is destroying
everything about
any drivers have
this trade that took
Alan Fisher
been asking what is
over 350 years to
Call Sign Online
happening to the
Call Sign Internet
website after Call Sign closes.
Well although there will be no
updates added, the website will
still continue as a reference facil-
ity with its library going back to
1967. Call Sign’s online depart-
Since 1998, Vince Chin
ment, headed by Vince Chin,
has been going since 1998 - by
far the longest of any taxi trade
magazine including the one that is apparently read by more
drivers than any other! Even though the last time we
looked, CS had almost 10,000 online readers, never mind
hard copy readers!
If you want to look up an old issue of Call Sign:
Log on to www.dac-callsign.co.uk or www.dac-call-
Then either browse through every issue of Call Sign
since 1998 by using the Search Call Sign facility at the
top right of the page, type a clue and let our search
engine do the rest. Or go straight to the issue you
want by clicking on Archive or Call Sign at the top.
They are both similar except that the Archive facility
uses covers whereas the Call Sign button uses dates.
Issues of News & Views and ODRTS Monthly from the
1960s can be clicked on.
Since the May 2006 issue, you just need to click on the
PDF logo under the issue you want to see a large text ver-
sion. Prior to that date, you can read 20 page issues.
If you’ve never been on it, take a look... but beware, just
like looking at old photos, you could easily become
Call Sign April 2017
Page 35
New account
My last few reports have been, to say the least,
very downbeat, but I have saved the good
news till last and I’m very pleased to report
DaC Sales Report
that we have been successful in obtaining a
very large account based in the City.
The whole team here at DaC House have
With Keith Cain
played a very important part in obtaining the
will result in losing the account. Our Contact
account. From Chairman Brian to the Sales
Centre staff will also be working under strict
team, our Trainer, the IT team, account man-
SLA’s and KPI’s. They too must be courteous
agers and even staff in the call centre, they have
and helpful to callers. They will be monitored
all contributed to gaining this account. The
as to the amount of time it takes to answer
process started nearly two years ago when we
the telephone and much more.
first participated in a tender to supply both cars
This is a very large and prestigious account
and taxis using the Encompass Booking Tool.
and I would like to take this opportunity to
We were asked to run the car side first and par-
thank everyone who played their part here at
ticipate in a selection process for the taxi work
Dial-a-Cab in securing the account.
at a later date. Encompass had to prove itself -
which it did - and at the end of last summer we
Goodbye to the Editor
went live.
With this being the very last edition of Call
The taxi contract was up for renewal in
Sign, I wanted to write something complimen-
April and we were asked to make a propos-
tary about our editor Alan Fisher or whatever
al, which I am very happy to report was
pseudonym he is using at the time! But I have to
accepted. The account is based in Broadgate
say that the reputation Alan has built for himself
with the pick-up being at the rear of the
in producing the best magazine in the trade is
building in Appold Street at the junction
nicated to the passenger before deviating.
totally down to him. Having had the freedom of
with Sun Street.
The passenger may request the journey to be
the content has most likely contributed to that,
If you haven’t guessed the name of the
carried out in silence and you must respect that
but the interviews Alan had with senior people
account, it is UBS. The account will hopefully
request, turn off radios etc and decline conver-
in the trade always made good reading. None
generate some 2000 trips per month and will be
sation during the journey.
more so than the recent correspondence he had
dispatched to the EC11 rank during the day and
Once you have accepted the booking, you
with reference to Credit Card readers being
EC5 after 21:00 hours. We have secured a £3.80
must carry out the journey even if the desti-
placed in the back of the taxi and his interview
run-in that in today’s climate is a good deal.
nation is changed on route or additional
with LTPH General Manager Helen Chapman.
There will not be any gratuity and there are a
stopping points have been requested. It is
When Alan comes into your office, you hide
small number of fixed price trips. Waiting time
important that drivers communicate
anything confidential because he is the only per-
on fixed price journeys will be 45p per minute
changes to the original trip information
son I know that can read documents upside
after 10 minutes charged from minute one.
with the controller.
down equally as quick as if they were the correct
Like with all major corporates, there are
Vehicles are to be clean and tidy before the
way up! He was also an expert at sleight of hand;
strict Service Level Agreements (SLA) and Key
commencement of a journey with drivers being
he’d enter the office holding his Dictaphone
Performance Indicators (KPI) in place, with
of smart appearance at all times, driving in a
close to his chest and then start talking about
fines being implemented if the service we
manner that is safe and professional. Please do
nothing really before then slipping in a contro-
provide falls short. That is where you the dri-
not use unnecessary speed and abide by the laws
versial question! He would then wait for a reac-
ver need to be aware of your responsibilities.
regarding the use of mobile phones whilst dri-
tion and before you had even finished a sen-
Drivers, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you
ving. These must not be used by drivers while the
tence, he’d press the record button! As technolo-
that you should be courteous and polite at all
passenger is on board, unless in an emergency.
gy progressed, he would be found using his
times, follow the instructions provided by the
To ensure the safety of passengers, drivers
mobile phone more and taking lots of pictures.
passenger carefully and if no instructions are
must ensure that passengers are safe at their
Alan, you were a cunning old fox but your
forthcoming, then use a route that provides the
destinations by driving as close to the designat-
actions made good reading for DaC mem-
most efficient combination of speed and dis-
ed drop-off point as possible. Drivers must wait
bers and I would like to thank you for
tance to ensure the passenger arrives in the
for their passenger to enter the relevant build-
always finding a photo of me that took at
shortest time possible. If you are carrying out a
ing before moving off.
least ten years off my age! I wish you well
fixed price trip, you can choose a route deemed
All these stipulations should come as no
for the future Alan and I thank you for doing
preferable to you. Any request by the passenger
surprise as this is the standard service we
a sterling job...
to make a deviation from the chosen one to
provide for all of our customers. It is very
their selected route may result in the fixed price
important that no driver is ever reported for
Keith Cain
being taken out and the cost of the journey may
not following those procedures. Small fines
DaC Director & Head of Sales
then be more expensive. This must be commu-
are attributed to each failing and too many
Where did it all go wrong???
Did anyone else notice the opening scenes of the Real Marigold Hotel where at the Heathrow departure point
the contestants were taken to departure in minicabs? That’s in London, one of the greatest cities in the world with
the best Taxi service and the BBC being one the most respected media organisations with its claimed a high moral
standing making programs about the exploited and GIG economy; to my eyes it makes them look very two-faced
and exploiting this perverse system for themselves. Surely one or two London taxis in the scene would have shown
they were a caring and sharing organisation? That would be spreading licence fee monies around more fairly. I
could ask the BBC for a Freedom of Information request about the matter, but I am not sure if it would be of any
use with too many trade organisations working against each other to act on it.
In a more personal vein, I am very sorry to hear Alan Fisher is packing his bags and going to take it easier with a well-deserved rest. It’s
been a pleasure to know him and read his Gold Top trade mag. Any successor will have a hard job to follow; but no doubt when they call,
Alan will put down his Chardonnay and crisps and help them out to keep up the high standard!
I will be leaving the trade in a few months; when I joined it was a great job just so long as you watched your Ps & Qs and
stayed out of trouble. It has certainly changed! But the question is: Where did it all go wrong?
Gordon Bennett (Y91)
Call Sign April 2017
Page 36
Electric taxis and
fund but also the Saudi sovereign wealth
fund! Yes, ironically from a country that bans
women from driving and is now using them
Hi Alan
as an investment product! Callous beyond
Yesterday I received a call from the
London Taxi Company asking if I was
David Heath (Ex-W27)
interested in a new taxi. I said no thank
Brighton and Gloucester
you, but did however say to the nice sales-
A spokesperson in Labour party Deputy
On street inspections
person that I would like to know more
Leader Tom Watson’s office said in a
I had an on-street inspection recently. A
about the new electric cab. He informed
rather pointless response saying nothing:
female CO says Badge and Bill! I gave her
me that it wasn't going to be for sale until
“Labour's policy on migrant exploitation
both copies of my Bill and she says in sur-
the end of the year, but I still asked if he
is clear, we will act to prevent the under-
prise: “You have two? I might have to keep
knew how much it would cost to ‘rapid
cutting of wages and to ensure fair pay
one!” So I explained what’s what and then
charge’ it on the street or a rank. He said he
for all. Migrant labour is often exploited
showed her my badge, which I wear tied to
had no idea! I don't know of any electric
and used to undercut local or industry-
my belt around my waist. I know... but after
charging points for London taxis, do you?
agreed rates of pay. It is unscrupulous
a cyclist tried to pull me out of the cab by
Looking on Google for the on-street price
employers that drive down wages, not
pulling my badge years ago, I now keep it
of charging electric cars up, it costs around
migrants. Labour would ban employment
on the belt. It’s never been a problem
£7.20 for
30 minutes. I wonder if this
agencies from only advertising UK jobs
before. She says it should be on my chest,
includes a cost for parking!
abroad and make it illegal for agency
asked for it and began fondling it. I actually
Did you see the recent issue of the
workers to undercut permanent workers.
wondered if she was going to bite it to see
LTDA’s TAXI where two of their columnists
Of course, migrants contribute to our
if it was real brass! She checked my insur-
complained about unattended cabs parked
society and to our economy - helping to
ance and finally decreed that it was my cab!
on ranks? I fear this problem has been
fill skills gaps and boost economic
Almost finished, she then checked the
caused by years of heavy PCN enforcement
growth. Labour will campaign against any
badge identifiers before finally asking me
together with a complete lack of taxi rest
dog whistle politics.”
to sign her palm pilot, apparently to say
that she had stopped me to check my
So back to original query of charging
badge and Bill. I ask what I was signing for
points; we are going to need a huge
as I didn’t think I was buying life insurance!
increase in the number of rest/charging
Last issue quiz!
I have now received a warning for not
ranks for electric cabs across London to
Dear Alan
wearing my badge and telling me how
keep an electric fleet of taxis moving. Who
With your wealth of experience, wisdom,
lucky I am not to get a £200 fine!
is going to provide the road space for these
charm and knowledge, perhaps you would
Jon Robinson (E88)
ranks - TfL or local authorities? I doubt if
be good enough to answer the following
Hmmm! Two letters Jon! There was
either will want to find space for us. So
questions in the last edition of the magazine
some interesting advice online recent-
who is going to pay for those ranks? No
that you will edit.
ly from someone I have much respect
doubt our friends at TfL will subcontract
1. If I am driving down Piccadilly, Kings
for after his battle of years gone by
Road, or Kensington High Street and see 15
the installation and day-to-day running of
against minicab touts. That advice
empty taxis coming towards me, then look in
these charging points to a private company,
from Tony Casey was to never show
my mirror and see 10 empty taxis following
who will in return want to turn a profit at
your badge/Bill to any compliance offi-
me, what should I do?
our expense.
cer who says he is from Transport for
2. In the days of the Public Carriage Office,
So I plug in my cab and accept the £7
London but shows you just their
taxis had to be kept in a very good condition
that will be debited from my bank account
deputy badge. Look-a-likes are appar-
at all times. Since TfL does not seem to be
when I get a walk-up that wants a
ently available on eBay for less than a
bothered any more, should we continue to
taxi? Naaah! I think I’ll be keeping my old
- including the leather wallet.
take as much care of our cabs?
oil burner a bit longer than TfL and the
Every compliance officer has a war-
3. After waiting for 35 minutes on the rank
Green Party would like!
rant card, the same as carried by all
at Paddington and a passenger asks for
Jon Robinson (E88)
Inverness Terrace, what is the best way to
Moaning till the end Jon! I am hoping
Tony said you should then ask to see
express my gratitude that I have at last found
that not only will the Mayor subsidise
it clearly and use your phone (make
some work?
taxi charging points, but will also
sure your engine is switched off) to take
May I wish you lots of luck in whatever you
increase the subsidy for us to buy the
a clear photo of it with the full name of
do next and enjoy the extra spare time you
new TX5. After all, even if EVERY driver
the TfL staff member. You can even film
find for yourself. You have done a great job in
bought an electric cab, TfL could afford
the whole compliance check so long as
producing a quality magazine that is informa-
it very easily ...Ed
tive, provocative at times, reliable, an enjoy-
you are parked with the engine off. If
able read and independent. Many thanks for
you are happy that they are genuine,
all the work you have put in.
then comply with their request but
Exploitation of
Laurence Kelvin (W88)
don’t sign anything. They might ask you
migrant workers
Answers: 1. Go home... 2. Yes, because we
to sign a blank screen on their PDA just
Hi Alan
are still the best... 3. Ask them if they
as Jon was. Don’t do it as it is for their
Would Jeremy Corbyn bring in legislation
knew an unexploded bomb had been dis-
performance figures and nothing to do
to stop the exploitation of migrant workers
covered there and all residents have been
with you. According to Tony, these offi-
and the undercutting of locals wages by
advised that TfL are putting them all up
cers have been ordered to turn a blind
multinationals that seem to be running the
overnight at their place in Blackfriars.
eye to PH touting and concentrate on
country in tandem with the Tory govern-
They shouldn’t have any problem getting
harassing Licensed Taxi drivers. When
ment? That exploitation currently taking
in as it appears to be just taxi drivers that
you look around, that makes a lot of
place is particularly rife in the online gig
can’t. Don’t take them via Piccadilly
sense. You only have to sit on the Kings
economy sweeping the country, with the
though as there are 25 empty cabs that
Cross rank and look to see what is hap-
likes of Uber - now not only backed up by
might get upset at you having a job!!!
pening. And TfL wonder why we have
the Goldman Sachs management wealth
become so militant! ...Ed
Call Sign April 2017
Page 37
Goodbye Alan
I would like to take this opportunity to wish
Hi Alan
you a very happy retirement as Editor of Call
This is the 'Mercenary' father Joe Connor
Sign magazine following the April issue. You
(Call Sign December 2014). Just like to
must surely hold the record for being the
thank you for producing a great mag for
longest serving editor of any taxi trade publi-
the last twenty years. As for Ross, my son,
cation. For the past twenty years you have
he is on his second book, a prequel to
produced an excellent publication, which
Mercenary (Top Hat Books) called
thank you for all the write ups and
has always been a firm favourite. Call Sign
Heretic. It will be our pleasure to send you
photos you have printed in Call Sign mag-
has been informative and enlightening,
a copy down the line when it is finished.
azine. We hope you enjoy good health and
especially regarding TfL.
Thanks again Alan and best wishes...
lots of happiness in your retirement with
Happy Holidays from now!
Joe Connor (N64)
Linda and your family.
Dave Cohen (E94)
Thank you once again...
Hi Alan
Russell (T55) and Barbara Poluck and
Just read the first few pages of the March
Hello Alan
all at the TDYCF
Call Sign, what a surprise and shock to
Just read about your retirement in Call Sign
hear you are retiring as The Editor of our
and on behalf of the London Taxidrivers’
Hi Alan
in-house mag after twenty years of being in
Fund for Underprivileged Children I’d like to
Sorry to hear you are leaving Call Sign,
the hot seat. I’m sure many would like to
thank you so much for all the help and spon-
although I understand why. You can be
thank you for the fantastic job you've done
sorship you have given to the charity over
proud of how you’ve edited the magazine
producing an enjoyable, factual and inde-
your 20 years. You will be missed...
over the past 20 years - a job well done! I’ve
pendent reading for us the membership.
Alan Cohen MBE, LTFUC
always thought Call Sign to be a very well
We both joined DaC over forty odd years
balanced read... although on the plus side,
ago and have met at every AGM since! I
Hello Alan
I was running out of prestige golf courses
have also sent in quite a few articles for
Good luck in all you do, it has been an
that I've played on!
Call Sign over the years and I must say you
incredible honour to write for the magazine
Simon Wallis (M11)
have never refused or edited any of them,
and especially for you. Thank you for the
even if they were critical of our Society, the
opportunity; I only had one ‘O’ level and that
Hi Alan
BOM or the trade in general.
was in Spanish around ten years ago, so to
Alan, enjoy your time off with Linda and
actually be able to tell people that I wrote
It is so sad to hear you are leaving Call
Sign. I always look forward to reading the
your family, you've earned it. Whoever
regular articles in a magazine is a very proud
magazine each month and you will be
takes over, the best of luck to them; they
thing for me. Then there was the fact that you
have a hard act to follow.
allowed me to write whatever I liked without
missed; having said that I hope you enjoy
the spare time you will now have. Like you,
Pat Keefe (G01)
prejudice or censorship! That is such an
endorsement of your belief as an Editor and
I also hope to start taking things a bit easier
Hi Alan
and take some more time off, so perhaps
a person. I miss the writing, but I’m sure you
I can’t blame you for wanting to hang up
it’s a blessing in disguise. Give me a toot if
will feel even worse and your poor family will
your boots but it will be a shame for what I
you see me out and about!
probably have to endure the DTs from it!
consider to be the best trade magazine -
My thanks for your support in giving me
Tom Quigley (Y33)
for which you deserve all the credit - to
advertising space in each issue...
come to an end. When I read my first copy
Debbie Hope (W18)
Hi Alan,
of Call Sign, I was struck by the fact that
Congratulations on reaching 20 years and
you published criticism and complaints,
your retirement from Call Sign. You are leav-
Dear Alan
something no other trade mag seemed will-
I’ve just received the latest Call Sign and
ing a magazine that is in excellent
ing to do. It was this that made the maga-
shape. Hope your successor understands the
read of your upcoming retirement as
zine stand out in my eyes and one that I felt
“if it ain’t broke…” rule and appreciates the
Editor. This is a fabulous magazine pro-
proud to be able to contribute to. You are
hard work you have put in, thereby making it
duced to such a high quality in both con-
ending your editorial career at a pinnacle
an easier job than it could have been for him
tent and presentation thanks to your com-
and there’s no better time to bow out than
to walk into.
mitment and dedication.
when you are at the top.
Wish you and Linda well...
My warm regards and hope you enjoy
Sean Farrell (B39)
Nigel Walters
this year's holiday free of deadlines!
Export Logistics Manager
Barrie Segal
Dear Alan,
The London Taxi Company
20 years! It seems more like 20 months that
Ansty Park, Coventry
London SW1
you started making Call Sign into a best-in-
category house magazine. Congratulations
Hi Al
Hi Alan
on doing a superb job and lasting for all that
I can't believe it’s 20 years, mate. There were
I think I speak for everyone when I say your
time in such a difficult job. Have you thought
your reports and sponsorship of our
Call Sign Editorials will be sadly missed
of now becoming a Premier League football
marathons around the world along with John
each month. Thank you also for the sup-
club manager, as you must have such survival
Dixon, Phil Stern and the much-missed Paul
port in promoting my boxing gym ses-
and learning skills!
Bishop in aid of the baby life support charity
Rodney Lewis
BLISS. Then came Call Sign en la belle France
Gary Bedford (T39)
Former Editor Taxi Globe
and it is now. Where has it all gone! So the
Dear Alan
question has to be: What does an editor hang
Hi Alan
Hearing that your Editorship at Call Sign
up - his pen or typing finger?
A colleague at Claridges passed me his copy
is to cease was a sad day. I’m not grovelling,
There’s a tinge of sadness here mate...
of your penultimate Call Sign before
but whilst you were the editor, it was the
Bob Woodford (Ex-P49)
retirement. I just wanted to congratulate
best read in the cab trade. Good luck for
Dear Alan
you for managing to "wing it" for 20 years!
the future...
On behalf of everyone at the Taxi Driver of
Enjoy your retirement and keep well
Brian Marcantonio (Ex-R73)
the Year Charity Fund, we would like to
Howard Taylor (Ex-D19)
Call Sign April 2017
Page 38
Continued from page 37
Hi Alan
to the G7 radio circuit in Paris that you
Congratulations on 20 years of great edit-
sent us on; I often have a giggle thinking
ing and thank you for your support with my
about it! I also love the fact that Call Sign
advert as a toastmaster. Over the years I
gave a voice to many that would possibly
have had a number of jobs that came as a
not have taken the time to share their
Dear Sir
direct result of the ad and those were
views. It really does seem like the end of an
I would like to express my sadness at the
always the fun jobs because they were usu-
era. I will certainly miss Call Sign and your
demise of our in-house magazine Call
ally linked to fellow cabbies and their fami-
fantastic sense of humour.
Sign. Over the last 20 years under Mr
lies. I will be sad to see Call Sign disap-
I wish you and all your family good
Fisher's Editorship, it has been very pro-
pear, but as you pointed out there is so
health and happiness for the future.
fessional and entertaining. I wish every
much competition online together with
Caroline McGowan
success to Mr Fisher and his family for the
what must be large running costs, so I sup-
DaC Customer Service Manager
future. But there will now be a vacuum
pose it may have just run its course. Many
existing for the Shareholders. Would it
of us who are more ‘mature’ of age, whilst
not be possible to have a Newssheet sent
being ok with the hand held devices, still
I’ve read the news in the March Call
out to keep us informed, after all we now
like to hold onto something more substan-
Sign that you are retiring as the magazine’s
have no voice at all in regard to our
tial without having to go through an end-
Editor. Can I thank you for the last 20 years.
Company's progress at this most impor-
less menu of options to get to where you
Good health and good luck to you and
tant time.
want to go! But it is still so sad all the same.
Linda and your family...
Once again, we have not received any
Thank you again for your support...
David Marks (R22)
information with regard to our accounts,
Keith Reading (W76)
which should have arrived to the
Dear Alan
Shareholders in January in preparation
Hi Alan,
I hope I haven't left it too late for my thanks
for our now redundant AGM in February.
Sorry to hear that you are giving up the edi-
to be published in Call Sign, if I have then
Have we reached the three year deadline
torship; you have done a really professional
that will not stop me thanking you privately
given by our accountants in regard to our
great job over the years and will be sorely
for publishing my many articles and letters
ability to stay financially viable? Another
missed, of that I have no doubt. I can fully
that you have accepted suitable for publish-
area of concern is what will happen to
understand why you need to move on and
ing over the years. I sometimes requested
our Rollerbond? Are we guaranteed pro-
concentrate on earning a living in the cab,
that if you found the content of my letters
tection or should we cease with this sys-
especially with the way things are at the
or articles unsuitable for publishing that I
tem. These are very strange and worrying
moment. I sincerely hope that Call Sign
would rather you didn't publish them if
times for all concerned and I hope that
continues in some way, shape or form as it
requiring editing. Other than possibly
the Board of Directors can address these
is very much appreciated and valued by the
improving on my grammar, you never did
and other concerns for the Shareholders.
majority that read it.
omit any of my scribblings. I thank you for
Once again my good wishes to the
Lastly a big thank you for including my
that and now that you are stepping down as
Editor for his future plans.
adverts, it has been greatly appreciated...
the editor of Call Sign, I hope to see more
Paul Hammett (V42)
Graham Waite (B35)
postings from you on Facebook.
Best wishes for the future...
Hello Alan
Steve Shaller (Ex F34J)
Congratulations on your retirement,
Sorry to hear that you are retiring as Call
Alan. Speaking from experience, this
Sign editor. It is such a well-produced mag-
phase of one’s life on this good earth is
azine and you did a really great job. As a by-
wonderful. Thanks for your consideration
Dear Alan
product, you also helped me to achieve my
Call Sign just won't be the same without
in forwarding a PDF of Call Sign so faith-
lifetime ambition
- to see my name in
you. I really hope that it continues because
fully and for the nice little “featurette” in
having a cab trade magazine sitting some-
the March issue.
Geoff Levene (W32)
where near you is part of the life of a cabby.
John Freeston
Personally I avoid reading online if I can
Vice Chairman, London Vintage Taxi
Hi Alan,
help it, preferring to hold a magazine or
Association (US section)
Another sad day looming for the cab trade!
newspaper if I can. That probably reflects
Windham, New Hampshire, USA
I can at least say that the memories I have
my age and attitude generally! Anyway, you
from 1977 till today regarding cabbing have
sound like you've earned the break and I
Dear Alan
been some of the best. I would like to thank
wish you well...
Although I live in The Netherlands, I have
you personally for the assistance and sup-
Simon Scott (O40)
been reading Call Sign Online for many
port that you as editor of Call Sign have
years and was so sorry to hear that April
afforded Dial-a-Dream over the past 25
will be the last time I shall see it. I read taxi
Dear Alan,
years - yes it’s been that long! The involve-
and private hire magazines from around
I have read your Editorial with a tear in my
ment or intermingling of Dial-a-Cab and
eye. Who’s going to have a pop at me and
the world and yours is one of the two best
Dial-a-Dream has been symbiotic.
ones alongside online magazine Wim
the French now! Huh, huh! I can see a big
I wish you and yours a very happy and
queue forming on the horizon… (I have the
Faber’s Taxi Intelligence which like Call
long life and of course... Be lucky mate!
Sign does not fill itself up with press
same wry sense of humour as you ah ah)!
Bob “the dog” Heath (Ex-F44)
Honestly, I’m sorry to hear that April will be
releases. I and my small band of drivers
your last issue as Editor in chief but I
have an online facility in our waiting room
Hi Alan
understand your reasons.
while their vehicles are being repaired and
I am truly upset that April will be your last
Kind regards
will miss you and the sense of fun you
issue of Call Sign. Like you we have seen
Denise Zemma
bring to cab driving stories.
many changes over the years, some good
DaC Account Manager
Kan uw Spurs winnen!
and some bad, but one event in particular
Willem Schouten
really sticks with me and that was our trip
Rotterdam, Holland
Call Sign April 2017
Page 39
Continued from page 38
Hi Alan
on and exposed many important issues,
Congratulations on your upcoming retire-
which over the years have needed to be
ment from Call Sign Online, it won't be
exposed. Because of so-called progress, its
the same without you. I assume that you
need is even greater today and just maybe,
have something else in the works to absorb
maybe, like as has happened in the House of
all that free time and refocus your journal-
Commons and various other important places
istic skills. Anyway, at least I still have one
Hello me
on several occasions, you may decide for say
more issue to look forward to!
So this is it eh? A sad day indeed, no more
for a limited period, that there will be a slight
Norman Beattie
chasing around day after day after day try-
stay of execution because the Editorship and
Manitoba, Canada
ing to get answers to driver’s questions; no
Alan Fisher are one - and the two go hand in
hand (sorry, but no chance! ...Ed).
more typing with one finger of each hand
Hi Alan
Anyway, Alan, I wish you and your family well
into the wee small hours to make sure that
I was shocked to hear that you are leaving
for the future and maybe, just maybe, you
a last minute article gets into the mag; no
the magazine that you have turned into the
might change your mind. God Bless and
more losing time driving my cab because
best taxi mag in the country. Thanks also for
good luck...
the mag is one page short, nothing is hap-
the articles involving me, especially those
Ronald S Colman (Ex-B13)
pening but I still need to fill it! But yes,
where I was doing something for charity.
Westcliff on Sea
amazingly I will miss it! Just as I’ll miss dri-
Even my wife reads Call Sign! Good luck
vers asking me questions that I will now no
for the future...
Hi Alan
longer have the answers to - but many of
John Davis (V41)
I was sorry to learn that you are retiring from
them have now become friends.
publishing Call Sign and that the April edi-
I’ll miss the staff at DaC House that I
Hi Alan
tion will be your last. I am, therefore, writing
have got to know so well, many of them
Just read that you are calling it a day at Call
on behalf of the Hon President, Hon
having been with the former Society
Sign. I now know what it’s like having to
Chairman and Committee of the London
almost as long as I have. I’ll miss having
plan your life around deadlines and dates.
Taxidrivers' Fund for Underprivileged
access to Board members - albeit Directors
After a few weeks of being free you will
Children to thank you most sincerely for all
nowadays - and to parts of this trade that
wonder why you ever did it. Having the
the help and support you have given to our
few visit, such as the charities. Most hear of
time to do what you want, when you want
charity over very many years. As Press Officer
of the charity, I really appreciate all the excel-
them when they put out a press release or
to, is priceless.
Bob Fisher
lent coverage you have always given us and
those that volunteer on outings, but they
will miss your great and wonderful input.
work so hard at times outside of the above
Former Editor Taxicab News
Maureen and I would like to wish you
two. I’ll certainly miss my access to the
good health and a very happy and relaxing
Chairman. Even though we sometimes dis-
Dear Alan (or should I say editor of the
agree, we too have become friends.
finest licensed cab trade magazine of all)
Raymond Levy
As a final sign-off and to answer a few
Although not an actual driver for the past
LTFUC Press Officer
questions; yes, there will be accounts avail-
12 years - I was previously B13 and founded
the Metrocab Club because of need. I have
able soon and they will be available to any
Hi Alan
read Call Sign a great deal and always found
shareholder that applies to Howard Pears
I'm sorry to hear you are going to put Call
the articles and content to be first class and
for a copy. At the time of writing, they have
Sign to bed after the April issue; was it my
very interesting, as well as always telling the
yet to be signed off but they will be fairly
fault for all these years of nagging? I don't see
truth. Then to read of the departure of you as
soon. However, there really is no point in
any adverts to replace you or is it the end of
Editor is in my humble opinion a great loss
preparing a smart brochure with the fig-
Call Sign and Dial-a-Cab? Who will I be able
for the industry, one which needs the sup-
ures in because it ends up costing £thou-
to nag in the future? Did you know that with
port of each and every one in view of the
sands and they will probably be available
predictive text on the iPhone, nagging gets
chaotic state of TfL and the years and years of
as a paper document. The roller bond will
you marriage in the options box? I recently
poor decisions and non-actions they have
be continuing and is guaranteed by the fact
sent a letter to the LTDA’s TAXI newspaper
taken. I am solely speaking about the fine
that DaC Ltd still has several £million
care of their Editor, but he didn't even reply!
and honest journalistic approaches that you
stashed away! However, shareholders will
It’s not as though they publish loads at the
have brought to the notice of all that read this
always be informed of important informa-
best of times. Never like that with Call Sign.
fine magazine and I know there will be many
tion by post, with not-so-important stuff
Moan or otherwise, it goes in!
who will be upset about you no longer par-
put out over drivers’ terminals. However,
It really is a shame you’re going, but we
ticipating in its editorship.
as only a former Editor... what do I know!!!
need clear information on whether DaC
Throughout the past 20 years you have
Seriously, my sincere thanks to everyone
House is ever sold.
written about the good, the bad and the love-
who over the years has complimented Call
ly; those lovely ‘lost ones’ that many of us can
Jon Robinson (E88)
Sign, but even more importantly, has
recall who will never be forgotten and who
helped to fill it by writing letters or articles.
Many thanks to you and Dial-a-Cab for shar-
contributed to the growth of Dial-a-Cab and
It always was your magazine, not mine,
ing news and views from the taxi capital of
truly brought the name The Gentleman’s
the world. Every issue of Call Sign promotes
and I thank each and every one of you that
Circuit to one and all and which makes us all
and celebrates professionalism in our trade.
has allowed me these past twenty years as
so proud! Sure, there were the few who total-
That professionalism is the strongest bulwark
its guardian...
ly disregarded the word ‘respect’ but they
against the onslaught of amateurs and pirates
Alan Fisher
were soon weeded out and whilst it is well
that Uber and the others have unleashed
Former Editor of Call Sign
possible that a few may still be in existence,
across the world.
Thank you Alan, but would you please
in the main they hardly exist.
Best wishes to you Alan and thank you for the
move out of the way. You’re yesterday’s
Call Sign, supported by its numerous con-
finest taxi publication anywhere!
news and you are blacking my
tributors over the years with its editorship
Charles Rathbone
entrance... Lana Sherif (Temporary
strictly controlled by you, has unquestionably
San Francisco, California
Editor until tomorrow)!
been the one instrument that has reported