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Call Sign
editor shock!
From this… to this!
Marc Turner looks at what we've
now got... see The death of deference
Call Sign March 2017
Page 2
From Alan Nash (A95)
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Call Sign March 2017
Page 3
Reflections of the Chairman
decrease in Operators and the massive
End of an Era
increase in drivers and I’m sure we can
If you have not read the page 4 Editorial yet
work out why that is!
and perhaps wondered why I have suddenly
There is one piece in the figures I do find a
been promoted to page 3, you might be sur-
bit puzzling and that is regarding their vehi-
prised to learn that our Editor, Alan Fisher, is
cles, the figure dropped to
- a
going to retire from publishing Call Sign mag-
decrease of 14 on the previous week. Yet TfL
azine after the April edition; so this is the
are saying that 523 cars were licensed that
penultimate issue.
week, so that means 539 came off the road,
I initially gave Alan the job way back in 1997,
seems quite a lot to licence and lose in one
some twenty years ago and what a good choice
week? So TfL passed an extra 539 vehicles in
I made! In my opinion it is - and always has
addition to their regular workload?
been - the best publication within our trade;
We now get onto we licensed taxi dri-
not does it only go to our Shareholders but it
vers. During the same period there was an
is also reproduced on-line where it has some
overall decrease of 19 on the previous
ten thousand regular readers, which I think
week, including the 28 new licenses that
you will agree is quite an achievement.
Finally, I would like to say a massive thank
were issued. There are now 21,330 Green
I have always given the Editor a free hand in
you to Alan from everyone at Dial-a-Cab for
badges and 3,267 Yellow badges, making
running the magazine and we are both equally
the fantastic job he has done over the last
a total of
24,597 licensed taxi drivers
proud of the fact that it is - and again always has
twenty years, I never knew Alan before he
against 117,834 minicab drivers.
been - the only uncensored publication within
started editing the magazine. I have lost an
TfL have produced figures for the last
our industry.
Editor, but gained a friend…!
seven years and the current figure of 24,597
Some years ago I was approached by the
is the lowest number of licensed taxi drivers
LTDA for permission for them to speak to Alan
Saturation Point…
during that period and of course the figure
regarding him taking over the editorship of
I have just seen the latest figures released by TfL
doesn’t include those drivers that may have
Taxi Newspaper (bit like a football club). I had
regarding Taxis and Private Hire and let us all
sought other employment without actually
no hesitation in agreeing to their request
hope the minicab industry has reached satura-
returning their licence to TfL.
because as I told them at the time, I knew he
tion point. Up to the week ending 12 February
Moving on to taxis; there was an overall
would not accept their offer no matter what
2017 there were 117,834 Private Hire Licenses
decrease in the number of vehicles, down by
they offered him because I was certain that they
in circulation, although
141 licenses were
39 although 18 new vehicles were licensed.
would not - and indeed could not - offer Alan
issued that week the total number of licenses in
Again during that same seven year period, we
the most important aspect of the job to him -
circulation actually fell by 29. I can actually
currently have the lowest number of licensed
that was to have no interference from
remember when TfL were issuing in excess of
taxis - 21,200 against 86,676 minicabs!
Management together with a totally uncen-
600 licenses a week to minicab drivers.
Surely there must be at least one person at
sored publication.
There was also a decrease in the num-
TfL that can interpret these figures and
Needless to say Alan never took up their
ber of Operators down to
2,448, a
endeavor to explain to the Managers respon-
offer and he remained firmly with the mag-
decrease of 15 on the previous week.
sible that there is a big problem within our
azine, which gave him the added pleasure
However, I remember when there were
industry that needs to be addressed.
of nagging me every month for a contribu-
Or could it be that there isn’t a soul at
3,662 Operators licensed by TfL with only
tion to Call Sign - something I believe he
65,656 drivers and that was back in
TfL that actually cares???
really enjoyed!
2013/14. So a year after Uber came into
Whilst on the topic of contributing to the
Brian Rice
existence, there were
1,214 more
magazine, I am equally proud of the fact
Operators but with 52,178 fewer drivers;
(assuming I contribute next month) that an
there must be an explanation for the
Dial-a-Cab Ltd
article has appeared from me every single
month for the last twenty years. He even bad-
gered me for an article back in 1998 when I
was unwell in hospital; I duly - albeit reluctant-
ly - complied with the request, but got my own
back by not sending it to him, but making him
come and collect it in person!
There isn’t any doubt that Alan has done a
Unit 10, Ford View Industrial Estate, 83 New Rd Rainham, RM13 8ET
really first rate job over the last twenty years
and I don’t believe anyone could have sur-
passed what Alan has achieved with the maga-
Tel: 01708 553037
zine. I know the term is used quite frequently,
but the Dial-a-Cab magazine really was/is
Alan’s baby and there is not any doubt in my
TX1 servicing from £48
TX1s, TX2s, TX4s and Vitos
mind that after a short period of time, he will
really miss editing Call Sign; it has been a way
TX2 servicing from £70
Rentals from £165 per week
of life for him and also a hobby of which I know
TX4 servicing from £90
he is justly proud.
All Work Undertaken
I know he will drive Linda absolutely nuts
because he won’t be at home editing the
Servicing - Running Repairs - Overhauls - Small Fleets Welcome - Discounts Available
All TX1, TX2, TX4
magazine, he will just be getting on her
nerves! She will probably be glad when he
Starters - Batteries - Alternators - All with 2 year Warranty
does eventually go out to work, although I
don’t really have any reservations because I
Fax: 01708 551443
Web: www.PaulsTaxiSpecialists.co.uk
know Linda can handle Alan - no problem!
Call Sign March 2017
Page 4
from the editor’s desk
when you knew him, you also discovered how
Where has it gone?
sincere he was. That came across so well just
In April 1997 I was one of three candidates
before his sad death from lung cancer in April
applying for the vacant editorship of Call Sign. I
2014 when he asked me to visit him in hospital
was amazed to get the job and I am even more
and dictated two poems to be published after his
astonished that twenty years on, I’m still here!
death - in addition to dictating his own obituary.
Where have those twenty years gone! But at least
That, after announcing that he was donating his
I guess I must have passed my six month trial!
body to medical science! How else could new
But it occurred to me recently when Linda
doctors learn if they didn’t have real people to
and I were thinking about a holiday, that for
look at rather than dummies, he asked me? A truly
those twenty years we had only ever gone
brave man.
away in May because I had the June issue off!
Putting it all together, I came to the conclu-
Love on the Internet
sion that twenty years was enough and that it
Coming more up-to-date, there was Tom
was time to step down - and that is what I
Quigley (Y33) who up until a few months ago
intend doing.
it was abbreviated to email. It was Vince who
gave his views on what the world was like as
So ladies and gents, next month’s April
organised Call Sign going online in early
against how it should be in his Looking at
issue - which completes that twenty year
1998 within months of me taking over and at
Taxi Life. But one of the most controversial
point - will be my last one... and no, it isn’t
a time when most people hadn’t even heard
series probably in any taxi mag appeared
part of an elaborate April Fools’ hoax!
of the Internet - and that includes the rest of
between 2007 and 2008. It featured the true
Leaving Call Sign will be a huge wrench; but
the trade press. We were first with the runner-
love story of a Dial-a-Cab driver and a
there have been months when it has literally taken
up coming some 10 years later!
Californian beauty that met and fell in love on
over my life with normal stuff having had to go
Astonishingly for the time, on Wednesday
the internet in 1998. Sam lived in London and
onto the back burner. But I always felt it was
12th November 1997 Vince created the UK's first
drove for Dial-a-Cab, while Jenny lived on the
important to have continuity so that drivers knew
taxicab discussion forum/list on the Internet. It
USA west coast. With their permission
that usually - barring it falling on a Sunday - that
was a first for any taxi trade in Europe; adverts
although with changed names - Call Sign pub-
on or very close to the first of the month, a copy
went out in each issue of Call Sign to try and get
lished their amazing love story. Love on the
of Call Sign would come through their letterbox.
drivers to go on email so that they could join “the
Internet was so popular that numerous dri-
Those that didn’t want to read it for whatever rea-
ver’s partners and wives wrote to ask for
son could just throw it away, but the incredible
Numbers gradually crept up and after opening
more - even Chairman’s wife, Brenda Rice,
number of letters I often received and the drivers
wrote in to say how upset she was when the
officially a few months later, the first subject to
that told me how much they enjoyed seeing it
appear on Taxicab.co.uk was the possibility of a
story ended after a year! “Jenny” is now a reg-
each month suggested that the large majority did
ular online reader, but the romance ended
Dial-a-Cab floatation!
read it and that always made the hard work worth-
Nowadays there are lots of chat sites...but
many years ago.
As Call Sign’s internet site grew in popularity,
there could only ever be one that was first!
Sometimes I look back in astonishment at
we had drivers from around the world queuing
Thanks to Vince, Call Sign now has more reg-
how the mag always came out each month;
up to write for us and another American writer
ular online readers than any other taxi maga-
there was my son Reed’s death in January
was Wendell White, who not only drove a taxi in
zine in the UK.
2013 and for the following 12 months - and
Denver, Colorado, but was also voted 2008
more - drivers seeing me around would com-
We’ve had numerous drivers over the years
TLPA International Taxi Driver of the Year! His
miserate, something I very much appreciated.
writing columns on a range of topics, as well as
‘Out and about in Denver’ appeared for around
Then there was Linda’s quadruple by-pass
those who just wrote depending on what was
a year and led to many international taxi organi-
around 6 years ago. I can’t even remember
happening around them. And it wasn’t just men.
sations enquiring about going onto our mailing
putting the following issue out, but somehow
There was young Zara Gee with her Teen World
list, which nowadays consists of PDF versions
it appeared! For so much of that, I have to
column; “older” ladies were entertained by our
emailed out.
thank Linda for encouraging me and being a
Back Seat Driver Poppy, the partner of a Dial-a-
For several years, former DaC driver Mickey
constant support to me over those 20 years.
Cab driver, with her views on life, love and the
Lappin was on the lookout for anyone connected
I know I have picked up a name among current
laundry basket!
to DaC who was also involved in music and
and past Board Members for constantly nagging
Lee Pearce (J71) kept us updated for several
Mickey’s Music became hugely successful, giving
them to put out articles, but I can’t remember a
years with his goalkeeping progress on the non-
publicity to up and coming musicians. We also had
single time when they didn’t accede to the
league football scene. We sponsored some of his
former fireman and taxi driver Richard Potter giv-
request - albeit occasionally with just minutes to
goalkeeping outfit and in return, appeared on the
ing his views on the cab trade in ‘Potter’s Wheel’.
spare! The best example of my nastiness must
BBC’s Match of the Day when Lee’s team tasted
I must also mention Ray Sorene, who died in
surely have come in 1998 after Chairman Brian
some success in early rounds of the FA Cup.
March 2015. He joined the Society when the
Rice had a major heart attack! I did give him a day
Hope Liebersohn was on the Law Society
Chairman was Eli “Trixie” Solomons (1959 -
or two but then nagged him so much that he
Personal Injuries Panel and offered advice to
1962). Ray wrote for the magazine occasionally,
finally wrote a Chairman’s report from his hospi-
any readers that may have needed it in Call Sign
but more importantly for me, if at any time my
tal bed! Mind you, he made me go to the hospital
Legal Matters. Stephen Berndes (R14) wrote his
regular photographer Alan Green (E52) was
in Tooting to collect it in person as a form of
taxi related chat inIt’s a Cabby’s Life’ while
unavailable, I only had to phone Ray and he’d be
revenge - even though I found him sitting on the
Steve Shaller (ex-R75) has had lots of stuff in
there with his camera as a stand-in.
ward balcony sunbathing and by the time I
the mag over the years ranging from taxi mechan-
As for Alan Green himself, he too has been
reached home some two hours later, he had
ics to taxi gossip, to life in both sunny Spain and
with me for all my 20 years in the Call Sign
emailed it anyway!
on the Finz!
hot seat and been my right-hand man for
But of course Call Sign is - and always has
Of course there is Jery Craig, the mag’s for-
much of that time. Alan often did day-time
been - a magazine for the drivers and large parts
mer editor as well as a cartoonist extraordi-
interviews while I concentrated on the
of it are written by those drivers. In addition to
nary. Jery has been with me for all of my 20
evenings and night-time. I only had to phone
Mailshot, there is Alan Nash with his Nash’s
years, just as I had been with him as Big Al for
Alan to ask him to chase up something and 99
Numbers that has been in the mag for the whole
his 14 year stint from 1983 and his predeces-
times out of 100 the answer would be “yes
of my 20 years. How much knowledge is there in
sor, Phil Emden, from
1975 as the first
the world to help drivers in their daily work?
boss, on my way!”
reserve poet alongside Dave Kupler.
However much there is, Alan Nash has published
A sad loss was that of Bernie Pressman, who
John Edwardes (ex-H02) was 81 when he had
died in 2002. Bernie did many pieces for Call
it at least once!
to retire through health problems and spent the
Sign - usually of an historical nature. His most
next year writing in Call Sign about his fascinat-
popular ones were those detailing London’s
Going online
ing life as a taxi driver. But the one person I can
There was Vince Chin and his Computer
blue plaques, long before Google became the
never forget is David ‘Kupkake’ Kupler who
fountain of all knowledge!
Chinchat, where from 1997 he wrote about
sent me poems about the taxi trade every single
how computers would one day be in practi-
Another thank-you has to go to former dri-
month of my 20 years. They were pertinent and
ver and ex-DaC driver Sam Harris for many
cally everyone’s home and how in the future
often poignant. David could be very deep but
we’d all be using electronic mail - well before
articles over the years detailing his exploits as
Call Sign March 2017
Page 5
from the editor’s desk
an evacuee during the war, his time command-
ning several marathons for charity and followed
took me out for lunch at the Garrick Club! He
ing HMS Vengeance on its Pacific duties whilst
that with a charity killer run across the Sahara
was - and still is - a real gentlemen and his wife
he was in the Navy and his early experiences at
Desert! He has done London tours for us, written
Victoria, the MP for Kensington and Chelsea, is
the formative ODRTS in Pentonville Road
stories about his wine growing experiences when
still a licensed taxi lover!
under the Chairmanship of Bonnie Martyn.
he moved to France and currently writes football
The Ascott Cab Co and accountants Martin
Speaking of our founder-Chairman, I consider
stories with It Is Now!
Cordell & Co have both been with the mag for
one of my most happy memories so far as Call
much of my time and I thank them both most sin-
Sign is concerned, to be after I tracked him down
cerely. But I have dealt with so many people over
and reintroduced him to Dial-a-Cab. The look on
I’ve thanked Board Members
- and that
the past twenty years that I must have left out
his face as he was shown around the Society he
includes those from past years too - for
many others; to those I apologise but thank them
founded in 1953 was just one of sheer amaze-
responding to my “hints” that their articles
ment and from that day, he became a regular vis-
are overdue, but I have to give a special men-
Just one more... I must thank the several
itor and Brian Rice made him the guest of honour
tion to Chairman Brian Rice who throughout
thousand people that have written into the
at the amazing dinner & ball organised by Brian’s
my 20 years has given me the freedom to pub-
Mailshot pages over those twenty years. I
PA Jacqui Chart in 2003 to celebrate DaC’s fiftieth
lish whatever I liked, never telling me I could-
hope those of you that required an answer got
n’t publish something. Even now after 20
one that satisfied you. If not, then sorry but I
And then there’s now, with subscribers
years, some still believe the magazine is cen-
hopefully did my best!
such as Simon Wallis (M11) who visits the
sored! Well it isn’t and never has been.
I’ll be back next month for my last issue as
best golf clubs for DaC drivers to play at;
Indeed, that was the reason that I turned
Editor and Call Sign contributor, going back to
Simon Scott (O40) who is a trade ‘blogger’
down the Editorship of TAXI Newspaper when
1975 when I wrote for then-Editor Phil Emden’s
and transferred much of his taxi talk to Call
it was offered to me because however much
Poet’s Corner in his News and Views magazine.
Sign in the form of enjoyable stories. Or taxi
of an honour it was to be approached by
My first “masterpiece” came after someone had
historian Sean Farrell (B39) whose knowl-
them, I knew I could never get the type of edi-
thrown up in my cab. It was called Sick and
edge of this trades’ history is second to none
torial freedom that I have with Call Sign.
began thus:
- even though its success brought out a copy-
I must also thank the many advertisers I’ve
Has anyone ever been sick in your cab, has
cat column in another trade magazine! If you
dealt with over the years and hope that the many
it ever happened to you? It’s always diced car-
want to know how anything in this trade
DaC drivers I helped out with freebies have found
rots and tomatoes, as if all they ate was stew!
started... just ask Sean! There is also the mag-
them to be useful. When I took the mag over in
It got worse but we’ll leave that there! I then
azine’s resident story teller, Geoff Levene
1997, I phoned Jamie - now Lord - Borwick,
became Big Al, Lana Sherif, Mr X, J.P.Duval and
(W32) with his numerous tales detailing what
then the Chairman of LTI parent company
many others - some would say I was searching for
could happen to you as a cab driver and also
Manganese Bronze Holdings to ask if LTI would
an identity! But at the end, there was just one sig-
Marc Turner (R97) who keeps readers updat-
be interested in advertising their taxis in Call
nature. It went like this...
ed with the more serious stories that affect us
Sign. He said he’d never heard of us, but if I sent
Alan Fisher
via his alter ego as the Drumslayer!
him a few copies over the following months then
Former DaC driver Bob Woodford has proba-
he’d think about it. He obviously liked it because
bly reinvented himself more times than any other
not only did Mann & Overton contact me, but so
Call Sign Magazine
driver I know! He first started writing after run-
did Sir Geoffrey Robert James Borwick - who
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Call Sign March 2017
Page 6
Wow Bill! What a brilliant way TfL have come up wiv for getting more bike lanes... no one moves anyway, so
putting vehicles on top of each other makes sense dunnit? But those taxi blokes will probably moan about it...
they moan about everyfing!!
Elephant & Castle Review
t a meeting of Borough, Bankside and Walworth
Community Council, it was revealed there was to be
a post-implementation review re works completed
in 2016 to the Elephant and Castle traffic system
that many drivers still find complicated. Residents of Harper
Road had already complained that motorists were using the
road in order to avoid the Elephant junction. Other side streets
in the area have also complained about much more traffic since
the system changed.
Southwark Council admitted receiving a large number of
complaints from residents regarding the change in traffic pat-
terns over the past 12 months and said that TfL would be
undertaking a 12 month post-implementation review of the
Elephant scheme. It will take place next month (April). The
response added that their officers would need to analyse data
How it was "sold" to the public
against prior traffic counts and consider what options might be
available in order to address any issues.
The new layout was introduced by TfL in a £25 million scheme designed to cut accidents by a third on what was described as
Britain’s most dangerous roundabout, but was criticised soon after implementation when two cyclist deaths occurred. There have also
been a number of accidents involving buses. The result is expected in mid-May...
Call Sign March 2017
Page 7
Steve the Taxi driving hero!
all Sign usually sticks to pro-
Steve helped save a lady's
moting Dial-a-Cab drivers, but
in the case of Steve Teague we
lady was rescued and taken to
feel that an exception should
a place of safety, while a shak-
be made. Details came in an Evening
ing Steve Teague drove home,
Standard article when it told how Steve
describing his feelings as being
had saved the life of a young lady who
“a bit emotional.”
was apparently attempting suicide by
jumping off Lambeth Bridge.
Commander, Richard Wood,
Steve had been driving home over
said later: “I’d like to thank
Lambeth Bridge towards the Bromley area
everyone that assisted in the
when another vehicle pulled up sharply in
rescue of a distressed young
front of him, someone got out and ran over
woman from Lambeth
to the side of the bridge where a young lady
Bridge. Several members of
was balancing on a ledge. The man was hold-
the public showed remark-
ing her back and begging not to jump.
able courage, risking their
Steve jumped straight out of his cab, bolted
girl and managed to get hold of her wrist
own safety to save her as she came per-
across the road and grabbed hold of the dis-
while she was trying to fight off the other
ilously close to falling. The London Fire
tressed woman’s arm. A third person joined
guy. I was telling her to stand up but she
Brigade and my own officers also did an
the two men; this one also holding Steve by
was really struggling. She was adamant
exceptional job in difficult circum-
his trouser belt as there was a real danger
she was going to throw herself off, but I
that the taxi driver could have been pulled
told her there was no way that I was
According to Steve, he only did what any
over and into the Thames below.
going to let her go.”
The three men successfully stopped the
licensed taxi driver in that position would
Steve added that what he called a “real
young lady’s apparent attempted suicide and
have done. Either way, the trade is proud of
hero” then turned up, a man in a business
then waited with her, holding her back, until
him and we are happy to write about it in
suit and tie who climbed over the bridge rails
police arrived and took her to safety.
Dial-a-Cab’s in-house magazine...
to get a better grip of the woman while trying
Steve told the Standard: “I jumped over
to calm her down. All those involved were
Anyone who feels they need support
the top of the bridge so I was off my feet.
holding onto each other because as Steve
because of the way they feel can call the
There was a guy behind me who was
said; if one went over then in all probability,
Samaritans on 116123, email them on
hanging onto the back of my trousers to
they would all go over!
jo@samaritans.org or visit a local
stop me going over. I was hanging over
The police arrived after around five min-
Samaritans branch.
the top of the bridge reaching over to the
utes alongside the RNLI and fire brigade. The
Go to www.samaritans.org for details.
Call Sign March 2017
Page 8
ondon’s congestion charge - ini-
tially one of the most successful
London Assembly:
IT-based public policy initiatives
for a generation - has now been
beaten by a rising tide of delivery vans
Change in road pricing?
and private hire cars, according to a
report by the London Assembly Transport
It has proposed that the charge should be
replaced by a road pricing system, charging by
distance travelled and time of day. This is one of
a package of measures in the report, London
Stalling, published by the committee in the run-
up to a new transport strategy for the capital.
Any move towards sophisticated road pric-
ing would be controversial. Plans for a
national scheme were ditched by the last
Labour government eight years ago in the
face of fierce opposition from the motoring
and civil liberties lobbies.
Excess wait time
By contrast, central London’s fixed
charge, currently £11.50 a day supported
by automatic number plate recognition
(ANPR) technology, has been seen as a
success since its introduction in 2003.
The number of cars entering central
London fell by 39% between 2002 and
2014. Meanwhile the scheme’s operator,
Transport for London, raised £168 million
when licensed with London Taxi and
'click and collect' depots at Underground and
from the charge in 2015-16, representing
Private Hire, do not. The committee rec-
rail stations. Pilot schemes involving Tesco and
5% of its income.
ommends that this exemption be
Sainsbury’s were abandoned in 2015 because
However, after a decade of success, conges-
removed. It also calls for reform to the
of a lack of interest from customers. The com-
tion seems to be rising again. A standard mea-
charging model, suggesting a driver who
mittee has asked TfL to pilot a scheme in which
sure of congestion, average vehicle speed on
has paid for the day may have an incen-
multiple retailers and/or freight operators can
major roads, fell 11% from 2012 to 2015.
tive to drive more in order to get their
deliver packages to a station for collection.
Another, “Excess wait time for buses” has
money’s worth.
In the foreword to 65 page London Stalling
risen 20% since 2012-13.
report, Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the
The report says the increase is not caused
London Assembly's transport committee,
Stockholm model
by use of private cars, which has been falling
“The recent increase in congestion should
for at least 10 years. On the other hand, the
lead to a reassessment of whether the policy
“We recommend in this report that the
number of light delivery vans and private hire
is achieving key objectives, and how it may be
Mayor should make plans now to introduce
vehicles is increasing: the number of licensed
modified or replaced,” the committee says. In
road pricing in London. This idea has long
vehicles by 70% in less than four years.
the short term, the system should be
been discussed, but until now the political
Delivery vans pay the congestion
replaced by one that charges vehicles more
will to make it happen has been lacking.
charge, whereas private hire vehicles,
for entering the zone at peak times and for
Delaying further is not an option.”
spending longer in the zone. Stockholm
already has such a charging model.
Call Sign Says:
In the longer term, the charge should
As an assist to the London Assembly, we
Immaculate White
be integrated with others that drivers pay.
have looked at our files and present the
The committee proposes that this should
following numbers collected over a ten
Cab Available for
include vehicle excise duty (road tax) -
year period in order to help them dis-
which it wants devolved to Transport for
cover just who is causing the traffic
London “so it can be replaced with a sys-
tem fairer to motorists.”
Lic PH drivers Lic Taxi drivers
The committee does not explain how such
a tax regime would work for vehicles regis-
2007 38,000 24,600
tered in London but used outside the capital.
2008 48,300 24,700
2009 58,904 24,837
Real time displays
2017 117,588 24,617
However, other solutions proposed by the
committee appear more realistic. Among
So, in
10 years, the number of
some of its recommendations are those to
licensed taxi drivers in London has
consider expanding the use of displays on
risen by 17 while the number of pri-
the outside of buses to show real time
vate hire drivers has risen by 79,588.
information about congestion. Buses on
Therefore, Call Sign asks the London
two routes already have such electronic
Assembly whether the above figures pre-
Female driver
boards, supplied by Equitech IT
sent enough evidence as to which of
10% reduction for Dial-a-Cab drivers
Solutions, which give accurate and up-to-
TfL’s two sections - ie public and private
Contact Debbie (W18) on
date traffic information taken from the
hire - gives the largest cause towards the
TfL Variable Message Sign network.
appalling road traffic conditions we
07956 317040
It also recommends trying to reduce the
have to endure on a daily basis..
number of delivery vans by reviving the idea of
Call Sign March 2017
Page 9
Taxi Driver of the Year Charity Fund
all Sign gets constant calls
from drivers with older cabs
- and indeed some with
newer models - but all
enquiring as to whether there is any
news on the promised LPG conver-
sion engine that will replace current
diesel engines with a brand new Opal
petrol engine conversion.
The conversion will give drivers an
extra five years of service on top of
the 15 allowed years for their cabs. It will also dramatically help to reduce air pollution
while making substantial savings on fuel costs of around 20 percent.
Over a five hour period at Dial-a-Cab House on July 20th at an open day held
A hole in one could win you a
jointly by Call Sign and the engine converters Autogas in association with Shell and
£10,000 car!
Calor, an estimated 120 drivers turned up to test drive and find out exactly what
ell now is your chance!
LPG converted taxis meant. There were three LPG test drive cabs and four experts
You can win a car up to
on site. A large majority of the drivers loved the performance of the converted cabs.
the value of £10,000 in
But TfL’s wheels turn very slowly and as we hadn’t heard any news for several months,
we contacted Autogas for an update. The vehicle had its Individual Vehicle Approval
the next Taxi Driver of
(IVA) inspection on 9th January and two weeks later had the TfL pre-road test inspection
the Year Charity Fund annual golf day
carried out.
on 8 June 2017.
The converted vehicle will go to Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) centre
The cost for the day is £70; that
for emission testing at around the time you read this issue of Call Sign and if successful
includes 18 holes of golf, a light breakfast
it can then begin the 10,000 mile road test.
at 10am and a meal later on. Tee off time
Once completed, the vehicle will then return to MIRA for final emission testing and
will be at 11am.
then hopefully get a final sign-off from TfL with Autogas then looking toward the begin-
The TDY committee have also
ning of May for that. Soon after that, they should be able to begin taking some orders at
announced that the first person to get
long last!
a hole in one will win a brand new
Alan Fisher
£10,000 car! The competition takes
Call Sign Online
place at the Hendon Golf Club, Ashley
Walk, Devonshire Road, Mill Hill,
London NW7 1DG.
You can enter as an individual or make
up a team of four with friends. If you,
your family or friends would like to partic-
ipate, please contact the TDYCF - details
376 Strand, WC2
are below.
As usual, all money raised will be
We Invite Dial-a-Cab drivers and their guests to our
donated to the five taxi charities sup-
ported by the Fund. They are the
restaurant where you can partake of the finest food and wine
Albany Taxi Charity Fund for Children
And as a thank-you for helping our clients come
with Special Needs, LTFUC, Southend
Fund for Underprivileged Children,
and go over the years, we are happy to be able to
London Benevolent Association for War
offer you a genuine 15% discount on your bill
Disabled and East London Cabbies
Outing. The presentations will be made
We are certain that you will be delighted
at the annual dinner dance of the TDoY
on 25 November 2017.
All cheques made payable to T.D.Y.C.F.
Please complete and return forms to: 5 St
Brides Avenue Edgware Middlesex HA8
6BT. A £10 deposit will be required with
completed forms and full payment to be
received by no later than 18 May 2017...
Please bring along your badge or Bill as ID
Write: Russell Poluck MBE,
5 St Brides Avenue,
Salieri Restaurant
Edgware, Middlesex HA8 6BT.
Phone/ Fax: 020 8952 1357
376 Strand, WC2
Mobile: 07850 056 765
Reservations: 020 7836 1318
Email: brussella@talk21.com
Call Sign March 2017
Page 10
t used to be something from spy sto-
Another true story from Geoff Levene...
ries; but nobody in the real world
had any need for one. If you had
money in a Building Society, you had
a little book in which all your transactions
were noted. If you wanted to know your
current value, then a clerk would do a
quick calculation. It's different now
find one and do the business. And of
because the fear of computer hackers
course no money was forthcoming. But as
means everything is shrouded in secrecy.
he stood there wondering what to do, his
Suppose you open a Five Year Fixed
phone rang. It was the Bank’s head office
Rate Account; you pay in once, there are
wanting him to confirm that he had just
no withdrawals and they tell you each
tried to withdraw cash. As it was such a
year how much interest it has earned.
rare thing, it was classed as an ‘unusual
That's it, nothing else to do. But then per-
transaction’ and they blocked it.
haps after four years there's something
The security was certainly impressive
you want to check. You click on, put in
and at least he remembered the number...
the account number and the dreaded
which is more than you can say about the
password, but you’re then told the pass-
young chap I picked up in Portland
word has been blocked and you have to
Place at around 7.30 one morning. He
submit a new one! But you can’t do that
wanted to go to Bushey. Nice ride,
as you can’t access the website - you no
although I should mention he was rather
longer have a valid password! When you
drunk and very tired, obviously having
finally get to speak to someone, they tell
been partying all night. The first thing he
you the password was blocked because
in order to do the Brexit thing because
did was get some money from an ATM. I
you didn't use it! Telling them that you
Brexit means Brexit, you know. What
could see he was going to be out of it
had no need to has no effect.
does Brexit mean?”
soon, so I got his address first. Sure
I've got a piece of paper full of websites
“Er... Brexit?”
enough he fell asleep and off we went.
and passwords, but I’m always amazed
“Yes, that’s spot on.”
Forty minutes later we arrived with £60
when they work. Despite all the warnings,
“Okaaay,” says Mahindra, “I’ll need
on the meter. Then the fun started.
I tend to use the same password for dif-
to ask you a few questions. Firstly,
“Wakey, wakey,” I hollered. But nothing.
ferent sites, so when I really can’t find a
your full name.”
I opened the back door. “We’re here.”
password I just try my regular one and
“Theresa Mary May.”
One eye opened and then closed again.
hey presto - it often does the trick!
“Is that May as in the month?”
“Come on, mate, pay up and you can go
But really the whole thing is crazy.
“That’s right. What's the weather like
to bed.”
At the end of the month the Prime
over there,” asks Theresa, trying to get
“Owmuchzzit?” he slurred. I told him
Minister makes a phone call to
friendly with the European official.
and he gave me the ATM money he had
Brussels. A recorded message comes
“Quite hot and sticky today.”
been clutching. It was two twenties. I said
on the line...
“Really? In Brussels and in March???”
I needed another twenty. The former par-
“Thank you for calling the European
“I'm not in Brussels, I'm in a call
tygoer had gone back to slumbering.
Commission. We are currently experienc-
centre in Calcutta. First line of your
“Take the card,” he mumbled and I
ing a high volume of calls and all our
address please?”
operators are busy helping other
shoved it in the machine.
“10 Downing Street. Do you work
Europeans. Stay on the line and we will
“Pin number?” I asked? I might as well
full time?”
have asked him to recite The Rhyme of the
deal with your call as soon as possible.
“Yes, but tomorrow I’m on national
Your call is very important to us.”
Ancient Mariner. He had completely for-
rail enquiries and Thursday it’s the
So she waits. Then another message:
gotten the PIN since earlier and was
Beth Din helpline. First and third
“Do you know that most queries can be
asleep again. I shook him and he began to
number of your security code please.”
dealt with by contacting www.gravy
come back into the real world.
“Eh? I don't think I’ve got one.”
“OK,” he said, “I'll direct you. Take the
“Yes you have, we sent it in 2003 to
Suddenly: “Thank you for calling the
next left.”
someone called A.R.P.Blair. Does he
European Commission. Mahindra speak-
We arrived at a beautiful house. He told
still work there?”
ing, how may I help you?”
me to go in with him and wait while he
“No he doesn’t. So what happens
The PM clears her throat: “I am the
looked for some cash.
Prime Minister of the UK and I should
“This is nice,” I said glancing around.
“I'll send you a temporary password
like to trigger Article 50 of the Charter
“Wanna buy it,” he asked sounding
so you can set a new security code.
quite serious!
You should get it within five working
There were photos of him with his pret-
Call Sign
days. Now is there anything else I can
ty bride, but the house was empty. Maybe
do for you?”
March 2017
that’s why he was out all night. He
“Obviously not...”
Editor: Alan Fisher
crashed about upstairs. I heard the sound
“Thank you for calling the European
Address: 39 - 47 East Rd, London N1 6AH
of drawers and cupboards opening and
Commission and have a lovely day.”
Tel: 0207 251 0581 Fax: 0207 553 7293
closing. Finally he came down and asked
Email: callsignmag@aol.com
And so the future of this country hangs
how much more I needed?
Website: www.22-callsign.co.uk
on old security codes and the vagaries of
“Well it was twenty, but it’s probably
Printers: Premier Print Group
the Post Office. I suppose the thing that
E6 6 LP
around thirty now.”
most of us have to remember on a daily
Design: Aldan Publications
“Here’s fifty,” he said, “sorry to mess
basis is the humble PIN. Four numbers
Tel: 07958 300 428
you around.”
that control our lives and once again, if
Email: debbiefresco@googlemail.com
“No problem,” replied this Dial-a-Cab
you don't use it you lose it, just like my
Views and opinion expressed in Call Sign must
driver. “Now you go to bed...”
not be assumed to represent those of the Editor or
friend Mike...
Board.No part of Call Sign may be reproduced
Dealing in cash as he does, he never
either manually or electronically without the express
Geoff Levene
had the need to use an ATM. But there
permission of the Editor.
came the day when it was necessary to
Call Sign Online
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You need reassurance and respect. It’s important to know
things like background, and where they’re coming from. But
we’re pretty sure things will work out. After all, you’re made
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Business users only. *Used Taxi Guarantee Terms and Conditions apply which can be found here: http://london-taxis.co.uk/used-vehicle-guarantee. **Finance offer available on Hire Purchase 9.9%
275 5(* //
Call Sign March 2017
Page 12
mbarking on the Knowledge
Call Sign’s Marc Turner (R97) is also known as Drumslayer. This
of London over thirty years
month he writes on how things have changed in the taxi business
ago, like all newcomers I was
more than happy to do the
since TfL took over from the PCO...
time, when required to sport a suit,
do the occasional jump through a
hoop and perhaps bow and scrape
The death of deference!
with a “Yes sir, No sir, three bags full
sir!” We knew that at the end of it all
of transport was then virtually told to go
was the exclusive prize on offer... the
and multiply as it was banned from the
right to ply for hire.
Olympic Route Network, which killed
That was an age when deference in our
London stone-dead for a month!
trade was still alive and kicking. The
As TfL managed the London Streets
Examiners were ex-police and the
Traffic Control Centre (LSTCC),
Knowledge process, with its expectations,
telling us it was nothing to do with
were those of fable and legend.
them was pointless, as it was they
Once you’d achieved your goal, a pre-
issuing the non-compliant tickets to
sumed job for life beckoned. The Public
taxi drivers!
Carriage Office - known to all as simply
We now have social media where frus-
the PCO and administered by the
trated, disconsolate drivers and their
Metropolitan Police - was the ogre we
families air their views and opinions
avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, more
forthrightly. Most posts are definitely not
often than not, they found us! Their
deferential in the least; they are straight-
Carriage Officers would appear as by
talking and hard hitting. In fact TfL have
magic at ranks eager to inspect cabs, issue
now under the auspices of Transport
retaliated by warning that in future
stop notes and generally ruin our day if all
for London. Never in our history have
licenses could be revoked or suspended
was not satisfactory. They even did early
we been so put upon, with demos
if offence is taken! Democracy and free
morning visits to our homes - often ring-
against TfL being commonplace. The
speech seem to have been thrown out of
ing your doorbell at around 7 in the morn-
old PCO at least understood the Taxi
the window by our governing body.
ing! You were a night man? Well tough!
trade and had its best interests’ at
So it appears we're all fit and proper
To give an example of how strict - even
heart, although most of us probably
persons of good character... until we
absurdly so - they were, my mechanically
never appreciated that at the time.
disagree with TfL! It’s another nail in
sound droshky was once given a ‘stop’ for
From day one, Transport for London
the coffin of deference!!!!
excessive ornithological droppings!’ That
never pretended to give a damn about
Marc Turner (R97)
reason was actually written on the stop
any aspect of our service, one that hap-
Call Sign Online
note! Yet there was always polite interac-
pens to be a feather in the cap of our
tion. They obviously had the public’s best
great city and envy of the rest of the
interests at heart. In retrospect they were
World. When Boris Johnson advertised
firm but fair. I remember going on demos
2012 London Olympics, which
back in the day, but never against the PCO.
mode of transport took centre stage dur-
Three decades on and our trade is
ing those same Games? Yet which mode
Call Sign Editor Alan Fisher and his wife Linda already have
four grandchildren, ranging from 11-year old Imogen up to 21
year old Taylor. But
they were still excit-
ed to welcome their
first great-niece,
Your old TX1 Taxi is wanted
Sofia, into the fold.
Quick viewing and decision
Born with an
amazing amount of
Cash waiting!
thick black hair,
Top price paid for really
Sofia is a first child
to Nicole and Stelios
clean examples
and first grand-
child to Alan’s
Please ring Graham on
brother and sister-
07435 562759
in-law, Derek and
or e-mail on
Call Sign March 2017
Page 13
“I’m really rather disappointed,”
Paul Campbell (W68) told Call
Vito Power Problems?
Sign as he rolled his two day old
Vito taxi into our Roman Way
there, all the necessary paperwork was ready
and waiting and the cab was taken into the
depot sporting a very disgrun-
workshop without further ado. I was shown
tled look on his face.
every hospitality while the work was being
“I’m having real trouble with the Dial-a-
carried out... with regular apologies coming
Cab terminal playing up and displaying
along the way! It transpired that an electronic
‘error’ messages,” he sighed.
component had failed, which meant the bat-
Even though it was late on a Friday night
tery was not achieving full output and seri-
and they were busy attending other cabs, a
ously affecting the performance of delicate
techie checked out Pauls’ MDT, diagnosed a
electronics, including the Dial-a-Cab MDT!
power problem to the terminal and swiftly
“But while the MB dealership was very
replaced the errant unit. To everybody’s dis-
apologetic and did all they could to get me
may, the second monitor gave similar ‘error’
back on the road with the minimum of delay,
message as did a third terminal that was fitted
I’m not too impressed that a vehicle costing
on the assumption that the previous two
over £47,000 should be screwed up by a
units were faulty and had somehow slipped
small component wreaking such havoc!
through the ‘returns’ net with others await-
“Perhaps my experience was a ‘one-off’
ing repair.
as the Vito Euro 6 taxi is a new model on
But when the third MDT gave the same
the production line, so I mention this
problem, Depot Manager Dana Thananjeyan
episode as a warning to other MB Vito
ordered a forensic powerline check, which
New Cab - but with a problem!
owners and potential buyers if they have
showed the brand new cab’s battery was hold-
similar symptoms,” Paul emphasised.
ing just 9 volts, even with the engine running,
Cab system, there was nothing more Roman
But Call Sign checked with our Roman
instead of the usual 13.5 volt output!
Way could do. However, they pulled out all
Way technicians who confirmed that a few
“I’m very grateful to the Depot staff for
the stops trying to rectify the mysterious
Vito Euro6 cabs had indeed being subject to
their efforts to get things sorted so that I
problem and I’m grateful for that.
similar MDT symptoms.
could work over the weekend,” Paul said,
“I called Mercedes on the Saturday morn-
Alan Green
“but once the problem was pinpointed as the
ing and they offered me a booking first thing
Call Sign Online
cab battery being at fault and not the Dial-a-
the following Monday morning. When I got
Funny thing this internet
Call Sign has
he told us he enjoys reading each issue of Dial-a-Cab’s in-house
been online
magazine! As befits his position, John has sent a photo of him-
since around
self standing next to his vintage Austin FX3 taxi - Sir Leslie -
1998 and our
which John tells us is currently enjoying “its winter nap!”
Sir Leslie??? “Yes, indeed,” John told us. “It’s named
since then has
after my ancestor, Sir Leslie Brian Freeston KCMG.”
run into many
The LVTA was unsurprisingly founded in the UK, but nowa-
thousands of
days has members around the world. Most members own and
restore historic London taxis, although some belong purely
people around
because they enjoy the vehicles and its history. The oldest taxis
the world.
date from the Edwardian period, but most originate from the
Last month
1930s and go through to the 1980s. The LVTA takes part in vari-
we featured the
ous classic vehicle shows throughout the year where they exhibit
CEO/President of
their pride and joy.
San Diego com-
If you are interested in joining the LVTA, details of
what they do can be found at lvta.co.uk.
Jim Moore sup-
plied and main-
tained part of
John Freeston with Sir Leslie!
our infrastruc-
Keith Reading
ture as well as
Professional Toastmaster
our modems when we operated on a private network. Back
Master of Ceremonies
then, Jim’s American accent could often be heard around the
Dial-a-Cab IT department.
Jim is also the grandfather to the three beautiful and wonder-
Tele: 01279 465 938
fully talented girls of Southern Halo, one of America’s hottest
Mobile: 07774 860 374
country groups. Nowadays Jim settles for just reading about DaC
Email: kgr.2@virgin.net
in Call Sign.
This month we have a taxi as our guest… well, what
10% discount for DaC drivers and staff
else would you expect from the Vice Chairman of the
American section of the London Vintage Taxi Association!
Fellow of the Guild of
John Freeston hails from Windham in New Hampshire and
Professional Toastmasters
Call Sign March 2017
Page 14
DaC driver Sean Farrell (B39) looks at trade history from a different angle
Brethren of the Whip
four-wheeler cab causing £5 of damage and then
an area where over 90% of the work was to be
hit a 19th century private four-wheeled horse-
found. It was hard to enforce, but in 1928 two
drawn carriage known as a Brougham, before
drivers were each fined 5shillings for reversing
soon after coming to a complete stop.
their cabs in Wigmore Street, “which was with-
When a policeman arrived on the scene, he
in three miles of Charing Cross.”
told Newbold to get down; but the cabman
In 1959, Transport
couldn’t - he was so drunk he had tied himself
into his seat, so tight in fact that the rope had to
Marples (left) intro-
be cut to release him! He was later sentenced to
duced the Pink Zone
one month imprisonment and his licence was
in order to avoid con-
gestion before the
The cab trade threatened to strike over the
banning order. The Commissioner of Police
Empty cabs
stated that any empty cab travelling at a fast
once more banned
NO ENTRY: But only to
trot would not be stopped; but the drivers
from using certain
refuted this, stating that every empty cab
streets and were also
was stopped, regardless of speed.
prohibited from per-
With the Corporation of London trying to
The Commissioner of Police Order did not
forming U-turns, as
ban us from using Bank Junction, and
prevent Joseph Keen from being arrested for
were all other vehi-
Camden doing the same with Tottenham
causing an obstruction. Far from looking for
Court Road, the 2017 trade is facing a crisis
work, Keen was actually on his way home and as
A cabman once described loitering as “...what
that will see many of our customers resort to
he was driving along the Strand, a policeman
the police call obstruction and what we call
other forms of transport just in order to get
directed him up Bedford Street. As this was not
looking for work.” The Abstract of Laws I was
from A to B - something we have been spe-
in the direction of his home, he refused and was
given when I received my badge in 1987 stated
cialising in for over 400 years.
charged with obstruction.
that I may not “loiter” in the following streets;
Cabs and taxis have at one time or another
Keen was fined 15 shillings plus costs, but
New Bond, Old Bond, Oxford, Regent,
been banned from entering whole swathes of
as he was a member of the Cabdrivers Union,
Wigmore and Coventry Streets, as well as
central London in a bid to ease traffic conges-
an appeal was launched. Despite two Appeal
Strand, Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue,
tion. Problems with cruising cabs slowing up
Court judges thinking a miscarriage of jus-
Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court
traffic was often a frequent complaint in the let-
tice had taken place, the conviction was
Road. The restrictions were in place from 8am
ters column of The Times. Cabs at one point
allowed to stand, which in effect gave legal
every day, some until 7pm with others continu-
could only enter the central zone where all the
force to the prohibition of cabs from central
ing until midnight.
work was, if they already had a passenger on
Attempts by the authorities to ban us from
board. Those who were empty and looking for
Scheduled Streets, as the prohibitions were
the Bank and Tottenham Court Road are not
work suffered a double whammy in not being
later called, were by no means limited to the
new - but they have to be fought with as
allowed to go where the work was.
horse drawn days of the Hansom cab. In 1926,
much vigour as the trade can muster.
Any cabman accused of driving slowly - how
no taxicab could ply for hire unless on a rank
slow was slow was always a moot point - could
within the Magic Circle, an area which extend-
Sean Farrell
lead to the driver being charged with loitering.
ed three miles from Charing Cross. It enclosed
Call Sign Online
When the Marlborough Street Magistrate Knox
noted that there were 200 cabmen before him in
one week and all charged with loitering, he
asked the police to come up with a different sys-
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union
tem as an expected 10,000 cabmen charged with
loitering a year would be unfair to the trade -
Ever needed money quickly but were anxious about
and increase his own workload disproportional-
variable bank interest rates?
The answer was the Metropolitan Street
Well wonder no more! If you are a subscriber, journeyman or
Act of 1867 which gave the Home Secretary
member of staff at Dial-a-Cab, then you qualify to join the
the power to ban empty cabs from entering
Dial-a-Cab Credit Union. Any member of your family residing
central London. Why was it that only cabs
at your address also qualifies for membership!
were prohibited? The Cab Menace was a fre-
Then if you are over 18, have been a member of the Credit Union for
quent headline in the letters column of the
over 3 months and have established regular savings, you can borrow
newspapers. The Crawling Cab was deemed to
up to 3 times your total savings…
be the biggest ‘evil’ with many calling it the
evil that London faced. In truth, licensed
The cost?
taxis were the only vehicles the
Just 1% per month on the outstanding balance (or APR of 12.7%).
Commissioner of Police had control over.
Loans can be paid back early AND there can be an annual dividend on your shares.
One of the first streets to be so designated was
Drury Lane. Burton Newbold did not take
The question is: Can you afford NOT to be in it…?
kindly to being told by a policeman that he was
Call us on 020 7729 8171 or 020 7749 0585
not allowed to drive up Drury Lane whilst
empty. So angry was Newbold, that he struck the
Members of the Financial Ombudsman Service
officer on the side of his head with the butt end
Member’s funds protected up to limit set by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
of his whip, knocking him to the ground.
DaC Credit Union Ltd, Peterley Business Centre, 472 Hackney Rd E2 9EQ
Newbold then drove off at an estimated speed of
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
Registration number 213263
15mph though the crowded street. He struck a
Call Sign March 2017
Page 15
Peter v The Montcalm!
We all know the Montcalm Hotel group in London;
there’s The Brewery, two at Marble Arch, one in
City Road that they refer to as Tech City and which
is situated right behind Dial-a-Cab; now there is
one at the home of DaC’s EC5 rank... Finsbury
Other than The Brewery, they all have a rank for taxis outside and they
now want a two cab rank for their new hotel at the former Royal
London House - the problem is that it’s pretty much where Peter’s cof-
fee stall has stood for the past 26 years.
If you work from late afternoon onwards and right through the early
hours, you will probably have at least seen his stall and very likely had a
tea and sandwich there while having a chat with other like-minded taxi
drivers. But if the Montcalm get their way, Peter will be banished - along
with his business.
The new Montcalm at Finsbury Square - no sign of a tea stall!
Peter has been sent diagrams of the proposed rank and it goes exactly
where his pitch is. Of course, if you look at the Montcalm website, it
being moved is because a 5 star hotel doesn’t want them outside. You
doesn’t take you long to see that these are all either 5 star hotels or as
would have thought that the bike bays would have been much easier to
close as you can get to that status; just as if you look up the new Finsbury
move with Christopher Street being perfect for Peter. But no, too many
Square hotel and a photo of the lovely building, one thing you definitely
pedal cyclists use that route according to the council.
won’t see is any sign of a coffee stall.
Let’s hope it is sorted out soon as taxi drivers do build up a thirst
When Call Sign spoke to Peter, he told us that if the Council can-
not allocate him a new spot, then they will revoke his licence.
“I don’t want to stop a rank being put anywhere, after all, most of my
customers are taxi drivers and I want them to have as many facilities that
help their business as possible. We know how tough things are at the
moment and I would be happy to move my pitch to almost any part of
Finsbury Square. I suggested the blocked-off part of Christopher Street
but the council said no as the motorcycle parking places currently next
to my stall are going to be moved there and the old parking bays will be
replaced by double yellow lines.”
Whether it’s the hotel that didn’t want parked bikes as well as a coffee
stall outside the new hotel or just the council is unknown, but the sug-
Invitational Organisers Golf Day
gestion was made for Peter to possibly move to the south side of the
Square - where traffic comes in from Sun Street.
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
“That is by far the busiest part of the Square and I had to refuse,” Peter
Groups of up to 16 welcome, places are limited so
continued. “It would surely have put my customers in danger from pass-
your early response is requested.
ing traffic. But there must be many other parts of the Square that a small
Stableford (best 2 scores on each hole),
stall could be placed. Besides serving refreshments to London’s night
shotgun start at 10.00am (depending on numbers).
workers, it has also been my business since 1991 and to just get rid of
Coffee & bacon rolls on arrival at 9.00am. 18 Holes - Shotgun 10.00am.
me is surely wrong? I suppose they could put the rank on the other side
2 course meal following golf. Change of clothes after is optional.
of the hotel rather than on my one, but they don’t seem keen on that
Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams + individual prizes for
Nearest the Pin & Nearest the Pin in 2.
suggestion either!”
Cost per team of four is £100.00...
It does appear that the only reason Peter and the motorcycle bays are
Wednesday 22nd March 2017 Organisers Invitation Golf Day
E-mail Address:
“John Townley was an ex-sub-
scriber and long-time journeyman
from DaC’s Shirland Road days. He
Tel. No
has sadly died after a long illness.
Society Name:
John was an old fashioned night-
man who would always help out
others in trouble. He was also very
well known in many of our cab shel-
Player 1:
ters and I hope that any Dial-a-Cab
driver reading this that uses a cab
Player 2:
shelter on a regular basis, will pass
Player 3:
the sad news along so that those
who remember John but wondered
Player 4:
why they haven’t seen him for some
time, will at least now know.
Please enclose payment with entry form. Cheques made payable to - Crown Golf
John’s passing is truly sad loss.
& return to: Golf Days, The Hertfordshire Golf & Country Club, Broxbournebury
Rest in peace mate...”
Mansion, White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire EN10 7PY
Email: hertfordshire-golfdays@crown-golf.co.uk
Ray Buckland (P66)
or call Elaine Cochrane at 01992 466666 ext 249
Call Sign March 2017
Page 16
Dial-a-Cab driver Tony Dee (E97) was sit-
ting quietly
- and patiently
- on the
Notting Hill to Notting... Ham!
Hammersmith Broadway rank when a gen-
tleman with a strong Dutch accent
although I had already determined I would
approached him and asked in perfectly fluent
help him unload at his destination, right out-
English for what Tony was convinced was
side his house, of course!
Notting Hill.
“He went on to explain that he had trav-
“So off we went towards W11, Tony told
elled from afar and was tired, so would like to
Call Sign recently. “He had a great deal of
sleep and asked if I could wake him up near
baggage with him, suitcases, brief case, lap-
Nottingham when he would direct me to his
top case and assorted bags that looked like
house. So I plodded on up the the motorway,
gifts for his family. He settled back into the
waking him up as we peeled off the M1 and
cab, carefully arranging the freight so that it
sure enough he directed me to his front door
didn’t move around on the cab floor. As we
where he was eagerly greeted by his wife and
got nearer to Notting Hill itself, he suddenly
children. I assisted by taking luggage from
enquired: ‘So Nottingham is alright with you
the cab while he disappeared into the house
driver? Have you been there before?’
and emerged a few minutes later with cash to
“I took a deep breath, NottingHAM I
pay me off.
repeated, as I realised my initial mistake, to
“We bid farewell and as I turned the cab
which the passenger casually confirmed our
around to head back to London, his wife called
ultimate destination as though he did it fre-
out to thank me for bringing her husband
quently. Naturally I explained that it was a
home safely, which for some reason I found
long way from London and would be very
Well anyone can make a mistake!!!
quite touching. I finally got home at around
expensive. The passenger again confirmed it
chatted amiably and he explained that his
05.30 hours and completely shattered!”
was indeed Nottingham that we were going
wife was supposed to meet him in London
Tony admitted with a twinkle in his eyes
to, saying simply that he’d had a very bad day
but their car had broken down near their
that the next time a passenger asked him for
and just wanted to get home!
home. Because of all his luggage, a taxi was
Notting Hill, he would double check that
“So I headed up towards the M1, which,
the most practical way to travel, assuring me
they didn’t mean Nottingham...!
because of the traffic took some considerable
I would be paid when we got to his house.
Alan Green
time. As I weaved along roads taking me up
Clearly he was a businessman and a gentle-
toward Staples Corner for the motorway, we
man so I had no qualms about payment,
Call Sign Online
How much is your licence worth???
hen shock news from the
Victoria (New South
Wales) government came
into the Call Sign office,
for DaC
we were stunned. Their State govern-
ment wants to deregulate the taxi indus-
try and abolish taxi licences so that there
would only be one single registration for
taxis, hire cars, ride-share services such as
Uber and they were offering taxi drivers
a compensation package that the drivers
On behalf of Dial-a-Cab, Hillier Buchan Ltd
claimed was a long way from what the
in Bexley have negotiated exclusive rates
licences were worth to them.
for DaC members. We believe our rates are
Drivers demonstrating in Melbourne
Taxi drivers in Melbourne unsurpris-
competitive in today’s market for experi-
enced licensed Black Cab drivers.
ingly staged demonstrations in protest
At Hillier Buchan, we understand every driver’s
against the Victoria government and their plan to buy back taxi licences issued by them.
circumstances are different; therefore our policies
Several hundred taxis reportedly blocked Bolte Bridge in the Docklands area of
can be tailored for the individual driver. We offer
Melbourne as part of the protest at 8am causing huge tailbacks and major delays for
a 5% discount for DaC members, with additional
commuters for over 2 hours.
discounts for existing protected Bonus policies.
Hillier Buchan was established in 2002 by
Drivers clad in bright yellow t-shirts later gathered in streets around state parliament
David Hillier and myself with in excess of 50
demanding full licence compensation. Many carried signs emblazoned with the message:
years experience as high level Brokers working in
“Fair go for hard work in Victoria.”
the City of London for major broking houses. We
Victoria proposes to compensate taxi licence holders by paying A$100,000 for
have established a reputation for professionalism
their first licence and A$50,000 for up to three others. However, there are some
and service in our chosen fields.
licences costing up to A$500,000 with many of those licence holders fearing that
We have extensive London Market contacts;
consequently we are able to offer our clients a
the buy-back scheme will send them broke.
quality of security from companies that are all
Drivers are now planning to bring Melbourne Airport to a standstill with organiser
available in the world’s pre-eminent insurance
Linda De Melis confirming that everything was on the table and that unless the
market. As a result, our clients achieve quality of
Government stepped forward into “good faith” discussions, they would continue the dis-
security and service upon which we pride our-
selves and a competitiveness of premium that
our clients find particularly attractive in today's
Taxi driver George Goutzioulis said he would fight for proper compensation of his
family's three licences, with the current offered deal set to refund just 20percent of their
Our philosophy is to build long-term relation-
investment. He said they had bought the licences under the impression that it was a reg-
ships using balanced service teams providing
ulated industry, but now that had been ripped away from them.
continuity and expertise. Compare our prices and
The story got us thinking; how much do you think your licence is worth? Are
give us a call. See our ad on page 19 inside this
issue of Call Sign .
there any circumstances when you would consider accepting a pay-off from TfL
Phil Buchan,
in return for your licence???
Hillier Buchan, 01322 553313
Call Sign March 2017
Page 17
In early January, Call Sign was
sent a video which allegedly
Cross Border hirings and TfL
showed a London Uber driver
working in Brighton telling his
Mayor. A national change is needed to
since May 21 1971 and over those almost 46
address this issue so that all taxi and pri-
years, my record is pretty much immacu-
passenger who filmed the jour-
vate hire vehicle journeys either start or end
late. Feel free to look at my files - your
ney and resulting conversation,
in the area in which the driver, vehicle and
records on me start from 1965! I had my
that Uber told him and other
operator is licenced. As part of the Taxi
share of cursing the old PCO but always
and Private Hire Action Plan, we com-
accepted them as the authority, knowing
London drivers to go to
mitted to lobby government for a change in
they would always push the taxi trade as
Brighton to work, even though
the law and both the Mayor and the Deputy
being the best in the world of its kind. Now
they were licensed to work in
Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, have
that has changed.
raised this issue with Government Ministers
Thanks to TfL, the taxi trade is on its
and the Department for Transport.
knees while PH is taking over. If we need
The video was published by the
In the meantime, we are in the
help it's down to central government legis-
Brighton and Hove taxi section of the
process of bringing in a number of reg-
lation; PH do as they wish.
GMB Union. It shows the driver, who said
ulatory changes for all London licenced
On the plus side, your dancing at the
his name was Rashid, telling the passenger
private hire drivers, including an
TDoY dinner was almost as good as mine!!!
that he is really busy in the seaside town as
English language requirement and an
Alan Fisher
the local companies do not have enough
enhanced topographical assessment, in
Editor, Call Sign Magazine
drivers and repeated that Uber had asked
order to raise safety standards within
him to go down to Brighton. Rashid says
the industry.
My thanks to Helen Chapman for
this is his first time in Brighton, which is
responding, however, it shows that
why he has difficulty finding his way
cross border hiring now has affected
around. He admits not being licensed by
London, while TfL admit there is noth-
Brighton and Hove City Council, which
ing to stop the reverse happening. It
apparently has much stricter regulations
means private hire vehicles licensed
than London. Whilst talking to the passen-
elsewhere can legally come into
ger, Rashid goes through a red light.
London to work and we can’t do a thing
Uber was granted a Brighton and Hove
about it. Meanwhile
100s of TfL
licence last October and told the council
licensed PH drivers - mainly Uber - are
it would only use Brighton licensed dri-
working all over the country under the
vers; as a result of doing that, they would
TfL licensing banner.
be abiding by the same rules as the city’s
As I pointed out to the Taxi GM, what
existing minicab firms. However, Uber
is the point of TfL???
tried recruiting from the City’s three cab
firms, but only one driver took them up.
Rumour had it that the three cab compa-
nies told any driver that left them for
Uber that they would not be welcomed
According to GMB section secretary Andy
We were made aware of this video when
Peters, the Union were pleased that at the
it was posted online, however there is not
Uber council licensing meeting in 2015,
enough information in it for us to identify
Uber had declared they would only use
the driver. Having said that, I would like to
Brighton and Hove licensed vehicles. But he
reassure you that we are in touch with
added: “It appears that London has become
Brighton and Hove City Council about this
the licensing centre to send London mini-
cabs all over the UK, rendering local councils
Helen Chapman
redundant in taxi licensing.”
General Manager, Taxi and Private Hire
Call Sign sent a copy of the video to
several members of Transport for
Call Sign’s reply to Helen Chapman:
London including Helen Chapman, Leon
Hi Helen
Daniels, Garrett Emmerson and the
Thanks for the response.
Mayor’s Deputy for Transport, Val
I know about the regulatory changes for
Shawcross, asking if any of them would
London PH drivers. Anyone connected to
like to comment. We said the video gave
TfL that I write to 'copies and pastes' the
• Immaculate Fairway taxi available
the impression that anyone could do
same response - just as yours was!
for Wedding Hire
anything they liked
- providing they
The thing that puzzles me is this: If the
weren’t taxis! We received a response
• Covers most north, east and
Mayor and TfL have to wait for HMG to
from TfL Taxi & PH General Manager,
central London locations
bring about any changes, then what is the
Helen Chapman. She wrote:
purpose of TfL? It appears that taxis and pri-
• Used in Olympic closing ceremony
Dear Alan
vate hire are treated identically nowadays,
with the Spice Girls!
Thank you for your email of 3 January. As
yet anything that benefits taxis needs to be
you will be aware, PHVs are not legally
• Full leather interior
addressed nationally, while we all can see
restricted from taking bookings anywhere
any PH difficulty as they seem to get away
• Discounts for DaC drivers
in England and Wales, provided the vehicle,
with anything they want. Travis Kalanick
driver and operator are licenced by the
has already come out and said that Uber
same licensing authority and the booking is
Ring Graham (B35) on
will do as they want regardless of TfL.
accepted within this authority. This is com-
Re the Brighton video, I can obviously
monly referred to as ‘the triple licensing
understand problems re identification, so
what could you actually tell Brighton and
or email oldlondontaxis@yahoo.co.uk
Issues of cross border hiring are concern-
Hove City Council?
ing both for Transport for London and the
Helen, I have been a licensed taxi driver
Call Sign March 2017
Page 18
Since returning after the Christmas break, Dial-
a-Cab’s Sales team has been busy completing
some tenders and setting out our marketing
strategy for the year. We have also opened a
DaC Sales Report
small number of new accounts and seen a sub-
stantial number of personal credit cards being
registered with us.
With Keith Cain
We have also been working on one new
account for many weeks, which will be a sig-
clients who order an executive car - which can
nificant addition if we are successful. I real-
work out very expensive - if it is necessary for that
ly thought it would have been finalised by
vehicle to be taken? If there was a choice of a taxi
now so that I could make this report more
for the same price, would that be an alternative
upbeat than my last one.
option. So far we have had a good response to
The trend by all clients is to cut down on their
the question, which should start to work in our
transport spend. As well as generating new busi-
favour moving forward.
ness, we constantly speak with our existing clients
- especially those where we see their usage falling.
All say how expensive and time consuming it is to
Total ground
travel around London, with instructions being
transportation service
issued to use public transport and only take a taxi
We have been promoting our total ground trans-
if absolutely necessary.
portation service and received some good
Those clients who use both cars and taxis
enquiries asking for more information. Our
are reporting their car usage is down slightly,
Concierge service was renamed Encompass
mainly because of the time journeys take
and just to reiterate to everyone, the Encompass
with no bus lane access for them.
booking platform is another part of the Dial-a-
Cab service we offer. It is not owned by any one
Fixed prices
person within DaC; neither does any individual
We continue to offer fixed rates for all journeys in a taxi, the cheaper the journey cost is com-
benefit personally from the service it provides. It
and have been stating that the further you travel pared to private hire companies. We ask those-
is purely a tool that allows us to offer clients the
facility of ordering all their vehicles in one place,
receive one invoice and one set of management
Simon Scott is one of the new generations of taxi drivers whose life is
We have our large customers using the
captured as a blog. The continuing story of his time as a butterboy is…
Encompass platform and apart from two, their
taxi usage per day is between 75%-85% of their
total number of bookings. One client uses the
A Blogger’s Tale
facility with no car vendors’ - just 100% taxis. This
is because the Encompass facility offers so much
more than just ordering a vehicle. The manage-
Mardy Bum...Arctic Monkeys
ment information clients have at their fingertips
Now then Mardy Bum, I see your frown and it's like looking
of their usage on a daily basis is without doubt
down the barrel of a gun!
the best on offer. Our IT team designed it to be
In the 1990s, marches and road closures seemed to be far less fre-
simple, quick and intuitive to use, which clients
quent and so avoiding them was much easier than it is today. Even
like enormously. Since we introduced the total
so, when you’ve got passengers in the back, it can still be difficult to
ground transportation solution in 2004, all our
avoid a Gay Pride march that is about a mile long and steadily
accounts have been migrated to use the booking
snaking its way through central London. In 1992, it was the first
functionality part of the tool and more clients are
ever Europride march, with an estimated 100,000 people snaking
using our On-line and Smartphone app facilities
their way through the West End to Trafalgar Square.
to book their taxis.
There was no Twitter and no Google Traffic info to assist in
making life easier; you had to rely on your instincts and the occa-
sional gamble.
And an old chestnut!
You may have guessed by now where this is going; if my memory is correct then I
There is just one old chestnut that I have to
was traveling eastbound along Bayswater Road and heading towards Marble Arch
make drivers aware of... coverage! Since the
when the traffic began to slow down rather dramatically! I could feel the tension in the
introduction of dispatching work to the nearest
back rising as we edged forward very very slowly.
vehicle, we see some trips not being covered in
Eventually we reached Marble Arch and it became obvious that a highly exuberant Europride
our usual quick time; it is amazing to see drivers
march was making its way across the junction towards Park Lane - and it wasn't stopping for
who are within yards of a pickup still rejecting
anyone or anything! The drivers in front and either side of me had taken advantage of a small
the trip.
gap in the proceedings, leaving me at the head of the queue and straining at the leash to get
The old system would show how many dri-
vers looked at a trip, the new one still does but
I glanced to my left; there were thousands of brightly dressed men and women tight-
it also logs the distance a driver was from the
ly packed in, but I thought I could see a slight chink in the armour. A small gap had
pickup location when it was rejected.
opened up and I was desperate to exploit it. The tension in the back was rising steadily
Coverage is still an important part of our ser-
- I could hear the low grumbling noises and the foot stamping, but the small gap was
vice and has received many compliments from
getting nearer and nearer until eventually with the engine revving I released the hand-
customers. If we don’t service all the trips in the
brake and thundered forward.
same way, by just one having poor coverage, it
I had committed myself - I had to make that gap! But as I got closer to squeezing through, a
sets off the alarm bells because our drivers have
Margret Thatcher lookalike threw ‘himself’ in front of my cab, bringing me to a grinding halt.
set the bar extremely high when it comes to pro-
He was wearing high heels, fishnet stockings, lacy knickers, a corset and a big blonde wig. He
viding a service to our clients. Customers get
stood right in front of the cab, hand on hip and pointing his finger straight at me and then gave
used to receiving that service but if it was ‘don’t
the kind look that the Arctic Monkeys so eloquently described in the opening lines of Mardy
expect a vehicle to turn up in less than 20 min-
Bum - Now then Mardy Bum, I see your frown and it's like looking down the barrel of a gun!
utes’ then that is what they would expect.
I wanted to get out and take the tube home! The embarrassment was overwhelming as
Dial-a-Cab clients have come to expect a
dozens and dozens of marchers whistled, laughed and waved at me. I daren't look in the back; I
vehicle to arrive within 10 minutes - more
just had to wait out in the middle of the junction whilst kisses were blown at me from all angles!
often within 5 minutes - and when we don’t
Eventually I made it through and dropped the passengers off, all of us very grateful
give our normal service, it makes it look a lot
that this journey was over.
more serious than perhaps it really is...
To be continued…
Simon Scott (O40)
Keith Cain
Call Sign Online
DaC Head of Sales
Call Sign March 2017
Page 19
or those that read the financial
columns, you may have seen that
Dido Harding is stepping down as
TalkTalk CEO after around
And good riddance...
years. The fact that shares in TalkTalk
went up on the news probably says more
TalkTalk being hacked last year when a cyber-
than I can about Baroness Harding. But I
attack on its website saw nearly 157,000 cus-
will anyway.
tomers' personal details accessed, with over
An article in a 2016 online version of the
15,600 bank account numbers and sort codes
Daily Telegraph from Dido praised Uber
stolen - under Dido’s watch? And did I men-
and came out as being against any moves by
tion the Which survey published in
TfL that involved placing restrictions on the
September 2015 where 3,501 members were
PH trade. She expressed a love affair with
asked about the large brands they had inter-
what she referred to as Uber’s innovation and
acted with during the previous 12 months.
how they offered customers a solution to the
Each brand was rated on whether they made
“nightmare” problem of getting around in
their customers feel valued, knowledge of
London. The fact that customers already had
their products and services, helpfulness of
a solution called taxis or legitimate private
staff and how well they resolved customers’
hire never got a mention.
complaints and problems etc. Number 1 on
So let’s take a brief look at Diana Mary
the list and the best company to deal with
“Dido” Harding, Baroness Harding of
was cosmetics firm Lush, which was said to
Winscombe. She “earned” her title by
have very knowledgeable and welcoming
being the daughter of Lord Harding and
staff. The worst brand and in 100th place was
granddaughter of Field Marshal John
Scottish Power.
Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton
Uber user Dido Harding: Under her
They just beat Chief Executive Diana
who was deservedly immortalised for com-
Mary “Dido” Harding, Baroness Harding
watch TalkTalk was hacked and voted
manding the famous Desert Rats in WW2.
almost the worst company!
of Winscombe’s TalkTalk to the title that
So I doubt that Dido was brought up in a
no one wanted - that of worst company to
minimum wage family and undoubtedly
that approval of Uber’s drivers - many of
deal with. They finished in 97th place.
had a privileged lifestyle as a youngster.
whom are said to earn below £5 an hour, far
The Lady may not need our help, but we
She went to Oxford University and gradu-
below the minimum wage. But, of course,
certainly don’t need any advice from her
ated in Politics and Economics, studying
THAT is why people such as Diana Mary
either and bid her a not-so-fond farewell.
alongside a certain David Cameron, before
“Dido” Harding, Baroness Harding of
Look out Uber... she may want to “help” you
jetting off to the Harvard Business School
Winscombe like Uber! Hands up if you
out. Please, PLEASE, say yes to her!!!
where she gained a Master of Business
thought that slave labour ended in July 1833
Administration (MBA). She must have
when a Bill to abolish slavery was passed by
learned business practice well because she
Alan Fisher
MPs in the House of Commons!
became the CEO of TalkTalk, while offering
Back to good old Dido; anyone remember
Call Sign Online
Mayor’s dirty
diesel scrappage
adiq Khan has made air quality a top priority and con-
sulted on plans including a ‘toxic’ charge for the most
Exclusive Taxi Insurance Scheme
polluting vehicles, bringing forward the introduction of
the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and expanding it up to
dedicated to DAC members only
the North and South Circular Roads. But the Mayor says that
without a clear plan to tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, the
city’s air will not improve.
In his manifesto, he committed to put forward a proposal to
Government for a diesel scrappage scheme and has now pub-
5% Discount for members
lished a report with TfL and Cambridge Economic Policy
Additional discount for existing protected Bonus policies
Associates on its merits. The package of proposed measures
could be delivered by Government over a two-year period and
Public Liability
would help fulfil the UK’s legal obligation to comply with
Breakdown Cover
European pollution limits, incentivise ‘dirty’ diesel drivers to
Much more available
switch to cleaner vehicles and protect the health of people in
the capital and across the country, says the report.
Call below for quotations
The key recommendations have now been presented to
Chancellor Phillip Hammond, Transport Secretary Chris
Grayling and Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom.
On taxis, it says: Payments of £1,000 to help scrap up to
Hillier Buchan Ltd, 18, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent. DA5 1LU
10,000 older polluting London taxis (this is in addition to extra
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firms Ref No: 304318
TfL help for drivers to upgrade to greener taxis). Traditionally the
Company Registration No: 4319231
taxi trade has had a limited choice of heavy, polluting diesel vehi-
cles but this proposed fund would be used alongside wider exist-
Tel: 01322 553313
ing support to help drivers switch to new zero-emission models.
Fax: 01322 523315
Call Sign March 2017
Page 20
DaC driver and experienced cyclist learns an important lesson..
s a seri-
Donald finishing his story, “I don’t like to think
Don asked this magazine to pass on his
o u s
what might have happened if my head had
story and respectfully suggest to a wider audi-
a n d
struck a tree trunk - but all this was because in
ence that however careful you are, always
o n e -
one moment of excitement and speed to get
wear suitable protective head gear!
time long-distance
our bikes, I forgot to wear my cycle helmet! I
Jamie Corum
charity fund-rais-
should have known better!”
Call Sign Online
ing cyclist, Dial-a-
An occasional review from a struggling 14 handicapper at some of the
(P76), on his own
marque golf courses I've had the privilege to play in my golf days
admission, should
away from the taxi…
have known bet-
ter. However, as
he recently pointed out to Call Sign, his momen-
tary lapse into forgetfulness cost him dear.
Donald explains…
Royal Blackheath Golf Club
“It was a dry, sunny Sunday afternoon last
When you drive along
autumn. I was sitting in the house with our boys
Shooters Hill Road and
as my wife had gone out. The children seemed a
through the open expanse
bit quiet so on the spur of the moment I suggest-
of the common, spare a
ed we all got on our bikes and took a ride into the
moment to picture how a
nearby park and forest. The boys jumped at the
golf course would have
idea, so we threw our coats on, grabbed the bikes
looked over 400 years
from the shed and headed off into the country-
side. We soaked up the late sunshine, filling our
Royal Blackheath Golf Club
lungs with fresh air and observing all the wildlife
is the oldest one in the world
outside of Scotland.
out there. It was a real joy!
Reputedly, club minutes only
“But on the way back home, my youngest son
go back as far as 1745; how-
challenged me to race him home along the last
ever, there is some evidence
block of the street. He was just slightly ahead of
that a society of Scottish
me and I clearly remember my front wheel clos-
golfers, emanating from King
17th century clubhouse
ing the gap on his rear wheel as my feet pounded
James VI court enjoyed a
the pedals; but the next thing I recall is waking up
game there as early as 1608.
inside an ambulance. What happened was a com-
In 1923, it was deemed too dangerous thanks to the traffic on the A2 that travelled through the
plete blank. I remember asking the medic where
now 18 hole golf course, so a merger was agreed with Eltham Golf Club and the Royal
I was, only to be told that I’d had an accident and
Blackheath Golf Club moved to its present location.
fell off my bicycle. The ambulance crew patched
That’s the rather impressive history, so you now want to know about the golf course
me up as much as they could before taking me to
itself. Well, I have been reviewing courses in Call Sign since March 2015 - bet you didn’t
Whipps Cross Hospital for further treatment.
realise there were that many to review! But I have to say the RBGC is not the best one
“I had broken my collar bone as I fell off the
I've reviewed!
bike, bruised several ribs and needed many stitch-
In some ways and given its history, I've always thought this to be quite disappointing. It’s a fairly
es for a head wound that was gashed wide open
average course with some nice holes but which aren’t too testing; it finishes with a rather short
as I hit the ground. The consultant looked at my
par 4 that has a hedge in front of the green to stop you going for the green. That is a rather
X-Rays and told me in no uncertain terms that in
ridiculous finishing hole... that, of course, is just in my humble opinion.
his experience and with the injuries I had sus-
Let me also add that from a personal point of view it’s worth playing for the impressive
tained, I should have been in a coma! That made
17th century clubhouse with its lovely views across the course and the museum upstairs!
me feel slightly better,” Don said, “because at least
Other than that, let's just say I've played it once and whilst it was fun because it’s golf and I love
it meant I had survived!” At least Donald was smil-
golf, it’s not a course that I’d rush back too.
ing now!
As always, happy golfing...
Simon Wallis (M11)
“Talking it through afterwards with the chil-
Call Sign Online
dren, it appears most likely that my bike wheels
skidded sideways on the paving stones with the
bike going in one direction and me going in the
other. I probably landed on my shoulder and hit
my head on the stones. Apparently the boys
thought I was messing about at first and feigning
injury, but when I failed to respond to their calls
and gentle prodding, they changed their mind
and even thought I might have been dead, pan-
icked and started banging on neighbour’s doors
shouting for help while telling people I was dead.
Fortunately one kind soul dialled 999.
“I was off work for a month while my injuries
slowly healed to the point where I could move
around a little bit and I now have full movement
in my shoulder and ribcage again. But I do have a
lengthy scar on my head.” With that Don pointed
to his scalp to a rather squeamish Call Sign
reporter. Why do people like showing their scars!
“If it had happened while we were riding in
the nearby woods a few minutes earlier,” said
Call Sign March 2017
Page 21
Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over!
Bob Woodford looks at London’s long lost sporting venues
his month I want to wrap up West London’s football club’s ori-
wander too far around Fulham Broadway seeking out a boozer with
gins, having previously featured Queens Park Rangers and
that name - these days it’s called The Butcher’s Hook.
Fulham - who both have their roots based at religious institu-
The chief backer was millionaire Gus Mears, who had already con-
tions. Both St Jude’s (QPR) and St Andrew’s (Fulham) may
structed a huge, ambitious stadium across the road from the pub,
well have considered drink to be refreshment of the devil, but pubs
opened in 1877 and home to the London Athletic Club.
seem to be a common theme around the beginnings at both Brentford
Mears built up a huge arena to hold 60,000 fans and to ensure the
and Chelsea football clubs.
terraces were often well-packed, he made sure his player manager
An historian once said the first recorded instance of football in the
Jack Robertson head-hunted some of the best professionals in the
capital was when Julius Caesar kicked a skull over the River Brent after
country. Long-time buddy of Gus was Lord Cadogan, who not only
drinking copious amounts of wine - but it took another 1800 odd years
took on the role of Club President but also got the players running
before Association Rules took hold in London!
out in Eton Blue, which also happened to be his racing colours!
The Oxford and Cambridge Pub formerly of 18 Kew Bridge Road
Football’s first ever
4-page match day programme appeared at
is now demolished, but it was on land adjacent to it that a new recre-
Stamford Bridge in their debut fixture - a 4-0 demolition of Liverpool
ation ground with a pavilion was provided for the formation of a new
FC; and when promotion to the First Division (equivalent of today’s
club ground for the Brentford Rowing Club by the Brentford Local
Premier League) was achieved in just 3 seasons, the newly nicknamed
Board in 1889. The BLB is now engulfed by the London Borough of
Pensioners attracted the biggest crowds ever known in Great Britain at
Hounslow; the Rec was swallowed up by Sainsbury’s and Costa
the time.
Coffee. A quick nip around the back to The Hollows is the closest you’ll
The swagger that accompanied this fledgling club continued to
get to a playing surface these days. The nearest pub is One Over the Ait,
be very apparent and in just a few brief years the personality and
a little closer to the banks of The Thames.
character of Chelsea FC was being laid down; ambitious, wealthy
One would have thought that the rowers would have plumped
and fashionable, just the sort of pulling power needed to attract
for Rugby, but perhaps many of the 13 committee members voting
players and enough spectators for such a large stadium!
had indeed had ‘one over the eight’ - because Association Football
The Bridge has hosted various other sports down the decades - crick-
won the day by 8 votes to 5!
et, rugby, greyhound racing, speedway, baseball and even American foot-
Negotiations to utilise the land to be provided broke down just ahead
ball, but Chelsea FC have never moved ‘home’ away from their home on
of Brentford FC’s first fixture against a Kew XI from across the water,
the Fulham Road.
the clearing for the pitch never got laid out and it was the nearby Clifden
Bob Woodford
House ground that witnessed a 1-1 draw in that inaugural match. If you
Call Sign Online
want to go snooping around the back streets of Brentford looking for
the sacred turf that played hosts for the first 3 years of the clubs’ exis-
tence, I’m afraid that site is now covered by a school and housing
between Clifden Road and Lateward Road.
Brentford FC were on the lookout for a new home ground when the
owners of Clifden sold out for property development and a suitable
field (owned by a mysterious Mr Benn) was found behind the
Wesleyan Chapel on Little Ealing Lane - quite apt as many of the row-
ing forefathers worshipped here anyway - although these days many
locals worship in The Plough Inn instead!
Benn’s Fields was short lived, as was the next move to Shotters
Fields off Northfields Avenue and the following move to Boston
Manor Park where the cricket ground gave way to football in the
winter; but the cricket club came to the conclusion that getting
their field churned up wasn’t much of a tea party.
The pivotal point in Brentford FC’s history came in 1904 when they
grabbed the offer from Fullers Brewery - Fuller, Smith and Turner
back then - to take over an old orchard on Ealing Road for a nominal
peppercorn rent. Within no time, supporters fell over in the rush to cut
down the trees (they got to keep the wood!), cleared away a camp of
gypsies and fetched the grandstand from Boston Park to sit on the
Braemar Road side of the ground. The closest pub to the new home
ground was called The Griffin and so it made sense for fans to started
coining Griffin Park. London fans will now know that Griffin Park is the
only Football League ground to have a pub in each corner - The Royal
Oak, The New Inn and The Princess Royal being the others.
Millwall fans may remember back in the 70s when the game was
so dull that one of the visiting spectators lobbed a hand grenade
onto the pitch to liven things up a bit! But there is life in Brentford
FC these days, as they are holding their own in the second tier of
English football. Mind you, Millwall in the FA Cup quarter finals
against Tottenham is far from dull!
Chelsea FC fans would also know of the pub connection to their
club’s formation in 1905, one of the newer kids on the block in histori-
cal terms of London football. It was in an upstairs room at the Rising
Sun pub in Fulham Road, which saw the birth of The Blues. But don’t
Call Sign March 2017
Page 22
tephen Field (F99) has been on
Dial-a-Cab since 2006 and over
those 11 years has never been
afraid to ask pertinent questions
of Board Members or even the Chairman
via Call Sign - not to cause trouble, but to
benefit the Society in the long term.
However, in March 2016 Stephen had a
non-fault accident that left him with limit-
ed sight to such an extent that he is now no
He then went on to write about Uber.
longer deemed fit enough to continue dri-
He told them that their drivers should be
ving a taxi and as a result has had no other
forced to have proper insurance and quot-
option than to retire from the cab trade.
ed just one of many incidents involving an
Stephen’s last big campaign that he
Uber car. This involved an accident at
shared with Call Sign came, ironically,
in the February issue of the magazine -
Trafalgar Square where the driver then
just weeks before his accident - when
ran away leaving his passenger in the car. It
he felt that the only people left to write
was later discovered that there had been
to complain about this trade’s treat-
no insurance, no CRB test and no licence
ment that he hadn’t already written to
for the Uber driver.
was the European Court of Justice.
Stephen continued his diatribe with the
He told them that he and the trade in
ECJ over several months. Then the acci-
general were just fed up with the way
dent happened and everything changed.
things were going and the way we were
Stephen told Call Sign: To all Dial-a-
continually being pushed around. He said
Cab drivers and people at the DaC Credit
that the taxi trade was in as bad a state as
Union that I may have upset over the
he could ever remember, although he then
years, I apologise and wish everyone at the
Stephen has been forced to retire fol-
went on to praise Brian Rice for being the
Society a bright future. Hopefully, if there is
lowing a non-fault accident
first to recognise the signs and referring to
a dramatic improvement, my sight may
them at an AGM several years earlier as a
ver. To get a licence I must first do the
one day get good enough allowing me to
“race to the bottom” - a phrase that many
Knowledge of London. I must then
come back, but at 66 already that seems
in the trade later picked up on.
undergo an enhanced Criminal Records
very unlikely.
Stephen also told the Court that he was
Bureau check and if that is not enough, a
My sincere thanks go to Jackie and
irritated our trade organisations didn’t
medical too. I must also have public liabil-
Marie in Drivers Services. Good luck to
appear to be doing enough to stop the rot.
ity insurance so that if I carry your partner
you all at DaC...
His letter to the European Court of
or siblings in my taxi, I am fully insured.
Good luck to you too, Stephen.
Justice continued:
That insurance costs me £220 per calendar
Here’s hoping you eventually get
“I am a licensed London black cab dri-
month, so it’s not cheap!”
some good news.
From June 1997 for the next 10 years, Vince Chin wrote a monthly column in Call Sign telling readers how wonderful something called the Internet would be
for the radio circuits. They all listened eventually, but it took years. With Alan Fisher announcing his retirement as Editor next month, Vince, who still is
responsible for Call Sign Online, reprises his column for one final time...
With Vince Chin
On 21st April 1988 I passed The Knowledge; in July 1995 I graduated from the Southbank University with a 2:1 Hons in Computing and it
was in 1994 that I was introduced to the Internet at Uni. It was there that I realised it was going to be massive! I remember talking to
punters and telling them how fabulous it was going to be, streaming movies straight to our houses. I presume most people thought I was mad at that time!
What has this got to do with Call Sign, you ask? Well around 1997, I went around the Radio Circuits, trying to get them to realise the benefits of the
Internet. I remember a conversation with the “IT Guy” in a north London radio circuit (Radio Taxis...Ed) who said the Internet would never take off; how
wrong he was!
At that time, Dial-a-Cab were already well into their booking system so were not interested, however Alan Fisher quickly realised the
benefits and Call Sign Online was born. In those early days, it was very time-consuming converting a paper version to HTML and as a result a
limited number of pages were put online. Web pages consisted of simple text and images where you could spice up pages by including
animated GIFs.
Client devices were either PCs or laptops and that was it. Nowadays, there are a plethora of client devices including Mobile Phones, Tables, PCs and
Laptops where each of these devices have vastly different screens and resolutions and web pages can seem more like interactive experiences that resize
according to the screen size of the client device.
How things have changed in 20 years. Yahoo and AltaVista were the major search engines and Google was a late-comer arriving in 1998. Google now
is the search engine of choice for 80% of all browsers and is also the search engine for Call Sign Online since 2015.
I had such big ideas in those days, especially once I managed to grab the taxicab.co.uk domain name. In 1997 I started the first UK online
taxi discussion forum on taxicab.co.uk called Discuss - only the second in the world after Canadian Terry Smythe released Taxi-l onto
unsuspecting North American taxi drivers, with just Alan Fisher and myself in the early days representing the UK.
I wanted my Discuss to unite the trade in an open forum for all licensed taxi drivers, especially Londoners, because since passing the Knowledge I could
not understand why such a great trade was being ruined by in-fighting. Sadly it was just me being incredibly naïve as it didn’t last very long thanks to in-
fighting. I’m also afraid in-fighting will ruin this great trade before it unites to fight the elephant in the room, Uber.
Another area I thought would be huge was GPS and navigation software. My final year thesis was based around The Knowledge of London where you
would select a blue book run and the software would display a taxi travelling along the route on a map of London - this was in 1995! I got ‘a first’ for this
where it was deemed as one of a few final year theses’ that was actually commercially viable. After University, I approached a very well-known cartographer
who quoted £100,000 for a single licence to use their map of London in one copy of my software. That was extortionate and as a result I didn’t take it any
further. Now everyone has GPS navigation - I often wonder if I gave them the idea!
Call Sign Online was the first monthly online magazine and its readers are spread throughout the world. It has been a great pleasure
working with Alan Fisher and I will miss his monthly chaser emails asking when the mag will be online!
All the best in your retirement, Alan...
Vince Chin
Call Sign Online
Call Sign March 2017
Page 23
Last month’s Call Sign published
a two-page report on the mag-
nificent London Taxidrivers Fund
for Underprivileged Children’s
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. LTFUC
Press Officer, Raymond Levy, has
sent the following to Call Sign...
Thank you Call Sign for your coverage of
our Mad Hatters Tea Party in your February
issue. There were so many wonderful people
to thank and although you mentioned all the
performers, the Committee would be very
grateful if you could find room in your March
issue to also mention some of those that
worked so hard behind the scenes.
Following the disco finale, the children went
through our famous Toy Grotto piled high
with lots of toys, goodies and chocolates; here
we must thank Jelly Cats for their kindness
and support and Justin for his help in deliver-
ing the toys on a Sunday. Can we also thank
Hon Alderman of Westminster, Anne Mallinson
1966 Entertainment for their donation to
help pay for the toys, Mars bars and chocolates
to go in the goody bags. Thanks also to Jelly
Belly for the sweets and of course to the grot-
to’s crew of helpers.
Important additions to the party are those
who stay on the surround of the Great Room
and work tirelessly all afternoon, some without
a break; so our thanks go to Denise of Angel
Faces and her wonderful team of face painters
and balloonists, portrait artist Danny Green,
Colour Sergeant Richard Angel and his army
cadets, Soho Fire Station (Green Watch),
Oxford Street Policing ORB Team and DG
Leisure who provided the chocolate fountain.
The Army protected the Crystal Girls - lucky chaps!
Grateful thanks also go to Amanda Miller
and the Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham
& Westminster Volunteer Police Cadets who
helped keep the children safe at the party and
what a great job they did. They are a credit to
the Metropolitan Police Service.
Thank you Sainsbury’s at Waltham Cross
for sponsoring and supplying food for the
‘rink’ buffet. Special thanks going to Susan
Ramthor for organising and coordinating the
catering. Sincere thanks go to the Red Cross
and also to Ears Radio for providing two way
radios. In between acts, LTFUC Hon Chairman
Mike Son introduced Olympian Anne Wafula-
Strike MBE and we thank her for giving up her
valuable time to be with us. We must also thank
Some of the stars from Diversity on stage
the Editor of Dial-a-Cab’s Call Sign magazine,
Alan Fisher, for sponsoring Anne’s return taxi
Honey Monster, Entertainment One’s
ver’s party and it never disappoints. This year
trip, enabling her to join us.
Peppa Pig), Kent Balloons for the helium,
was no exception with great food and enter-
We were also pleased to be joined by the
magician Matthew Buckley, Maurice
tainment and of course an eye-popping treat
Hon Alderman of Westminster, Mrs Anne
Gilliam’s video, the Met Police of West End
at the end. My wife and I remarked how kind
Mallinson and her husband Terence and
Central and Miss Ballooniverse.
it is that so many people put so much effort
grateful thanks also go to Vicki Michelle for
The Hon President, Hon Chairman and
into the event with very little recognition. This
joining us. We are especially grateful to them
Committee are grateful to all the wonderful
isn’t something the taxi drivers or committee
for staying after their interviews and signing so
people who helped us to make this party such
need to do, but they do it anyway. It’s a great
many autographs for the children.
a great success and look forward to next year’s
gesture of kindness and compassion that is
There are so many wonderful people to
90 anniversary celebration! The children had a
too often lost in today’s world. The whole
thank and we apologise to anyone we may
magical afternoon that they will treasure forev-
event is a throwback to the days where people
have omitted. However, further special thanks
er. Unfortunately Hon President, Bill Tyzack
genuinely cared about each other and provid-
also go to the following:
BEM and wife Grace could not be with us
ed communal support.
Management and Staff at the Grosvenor
again and we send them our love.
Well done and thank you again. We look for-
House and Event Manager Felix Persijn, Mark
In finishing, we would like to share with you
ward to next year and will surely have a
& Sarah Cohen from Genie Events, Nick
one of the numerous letters we received after
‘Frozen’ song in our heads until then!
Thompsett of Manic Ltd, Steve Davis and the
the party…
Noah & Melissa
technicians at the Grosvenor House, John
“Dear Committee,
Raymond Levy
Lewis, Peter Jones and Harrods. Radio Taxis,
I want to thank you on behalf of my two sons.
LTFUC Press Officer
Nintendo (Mario & Luigi), Brecks Food
Each year they look forward to the taxi dri-
Call Sign March 2017
Page 24
Every issue of Call Sign takes a look back at ODRTS history through the pages of the
magazines of the time with a Flashback…
This month’s Flashback looks at the October 2001 issue of Call Sign and a football match that saw
the end of the Dial-a-Cab football team...
Near riot as DaC footballers storm off!
The reputation of the football team who were as difficult to
Lee Morland
break down as the gates to the Bank of England and who
was sent off
recently won the Champion’s Cup, took a further knock
soon after being
recently when Dial-a-Cab, said to be the best team in the City
Lunchtime 5-a-side League, fell to pieces during what looked
Inset: Joe Brazil
like being their second consecutive drubbing.
At 5-1 down against middle-of-the-table Jago - a team
said the whole
we had never lost against - DaC were refused a blatant
team might have
penalty decision by a rather weak official. Immediately,
been sent off!
the Dial-a-Cab players surrounded the ref and within the
melee, team captain Lee Morland was shown a red card
for “unbecoming conduct.” Then Paul Richards jumped in
to speak up for his captain and he too was shown a red
card leaving the DaC team with just three players - Joe
rubbish referee
Brazil (K16), Warren Barbieri (K19) and Paul Roma (G70).
and it certainly
At a signal from Lee Morland, the three remaining players
won’t be with
walked off the pitch, leaving a stunned looking Jago team
together with an equally stunned referee!
The DaC team are currently facing a 6
“No referee is perfect,” DaC captain Lee Morland told Call
week ban after the referee’s report was
Sign after the match, “but this is the third time this season
believed. The question is whether they will
that we have had this guy and he has never been better
actually return after their treatment in this
than hopeless! It may be a bit of fun for him, but we take
our football seriously.”
Both Lee Morland and Paul Richards now face automatic
Call Sign sport
three match bans, while the rest of the team may well face simi-
lar or even longer bans for failing to finish the match.
Lee had intended retiring last season when his knees started
to show unpleasant reactions to match batterings, but agreed
to continue for one extra season.
“But that’s it,” said a furious Lee, “you won’t see me on a
pitch again, not while we have referees like that. That
was my last match - I’m retiring…”
Joe Brazil chimed in: “Two sending-offs from a five man
team was a disgrace. Lee and Paul shouldn’t have sworn,
but when referees give such awful decisions - not once
but constantly - it becomes difficult to stay quiet. In all
honesty, had we not walked off, it would have been just
seconds before the whole team got their marching
DaC’s super scorer, Trevor Smith (V78), wasn’t playing in the
match, but explained to Call Sign that he often acts as a buffer
for Lee.
“Lee has a temper on the pitch, but when controlled, it works
in our favour as a hard but fair form of aggression. When I’m
From 10.15-12.15 - £10 per pupil
playing and see him about to boil over, I seem to have this way
Minimum age of 16
of calming him down, but I wasn’t in the team this time and it
just blew up. But don’t you worry, we’ll be back…”
Kids Class: 12.30-1.30pm from age 8yrs to 15yrs
Just six weeks ago, DaC were at the top of the league when
£5.00 per pupil
holidays disrupted our small but successful squad. Then we
Suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to
played the mid-table team of The Zeds. At half time, we went
accomplished boxers
in leading 3 - 0, but in the second half and for no apparent rea-
son, the previously undefeated DaC just crumbled and we held
Female ONLY classes subject to demand
on for a 4 - 4 draw.
With our confidence battered, the next match against Willis
saw DaC put in our worst-ever performance resulting in a 9 - 4
thrashing. That has now been followed by almost a riot against
another team we should have beaten easily. What’s gone wrong
with the Dial-a-Cab football team? The last word came from Lee
“At the moment, even Mountview could beat us and they are
next to useless! But have no doubt about it, the Dial-a-Cab
team are by far the best in the league and capable of beating
every single other team in it. We’ll soon be back at the top
where we belong - although hopefully it won’t be with that
Call Sign March 2017
Page 25
With Sadiq Khan approaching
his first year in office as Mayor
How is Sadiq doing as Mayor???
and head of TfL, Call Sign went
out to gauge the views of Dial-
“May I respectfully suggest that the Mayor
reduce the traffic congestion is
a-Cab drivers as to his success or
has the power to statistically separate taxis
up for debate; more traffic,
otherwise by posing a question:
from PHV and we return to the old PCO
more emissions, more pollu-
regime as TfL always group us together with
tion, so widening and increas-
private hire, even though we are the profes-
ing the cycle routes does not
Do you think Sadiq is
sionals and the old PCO supported us, main-
and has not helped! As he has
tained our high standards, understood us
only been in the job less than a year of a four-
doing a good job as
and appreciated our commitment and profes-
year term, I’m prepared to give him a chance,
but I’m not holding my breath.”
London Mayor?
Debbie Hope (W18): “Let me
Roy Phillips-Brill (O04):
Dennis Rayner (V72): “I do
ask him this: What is he doing
“From what I understand,
not really have an opinion
despite the prestige of the
from the viewpoint that I do
about the appalling traffic con-
office of Mayor of London,
not feel he has been in the job
ditions? I don’t listen to hous-
Sadiq Khan would have
long enough to have made his
ing reports - important though
they are - I’m only concerned
expected to have more control
mark. Anyway, I think his pow-
about traffic and pollution and it seems to me
than he actually does. I listen to LBC radio
ers are restricted by government statute and
and whenever he has been interviewed, he
TfL. But having said that, I am aware that the
nothing much is happening there!”
says there is little he can do about the preda-
expansion of cycle lanes and their inevitable
Phil Jacobs (D13):
tory pricing policy of Uber, whereas licenced
encroachment into valuable road space will
what exactly? Has he even
private hire has a regulated fare and pricing
seriously affect our trade.”
started? The traffic is getting
structure. He claims he does not have total
worse by the day and air pollu-
Mark Holmes (J26): “Done or
control over TfL.
doing a good job? No! If some-
tion is high; so when is he
“Change the pricing structure of Uber, reg-
one can tell me what he has
going to start doing some-
ulate their fares, demand a physical general
done, I’ll be happy to listen -
thing? Cycle lanes are ridiculously wide,
office like Dial-a-Cab or Addison Lee as an
encroaching on already limited road space
but I won’t be holding my
example - for admin, lost property, dispatch
and now there is talk of closing the Bank
breath. If he would like to
or complaints. In fact, other countries see
come out in the cab with me, I’ll show him
Junction to most road users except a select
them as illegal, so, why don’t we? And that
exactly what is going on - and I will do it for
few, which naturally includes cycles of course!
brings us back to Mayor Khan in London! If
free too!”
“We taxi drivers have to take an advanced
he is helpless, then he isn’t doing a good
” Call Sign Magazine MMXVII
driving test to ensure the safety of our travel-
ling public, and yet statistically we are lumped
David Burnetts (S43):
in with Private Hire Vehicles. We have not
would have hoped he could
knocked any one down or worse as a result of
Book Aiden Kent
have been more pro-active
poor driving, yet we are all grouped together.
We are the safest form of road transportation
than the previous incumbent
regarding traffic flow for
for your event
and have no need to constantly refer to a sat-
instance, but the cycle lanes
nav screen and so take our eyes off the road
...and make it go with a swing!
expansion seems to be going ahead with
to know where we are going. So, I think the
vigour and the mutterings about closing cer-
answer to your question of whether the
Mayor is doing a good job is... NO!”
tain roads to vehicles are very concerning. He
must surely have conversations with council
Mick Gentry (M52): “Is he
leaders regarding the closure of Bank
doing a good job? No! Totally
Junction and Camden’s cookie ideas for
ineffectual! Nothing! He must
Tottenham Court Road? Unfortunately, he
be aware that Uber are subsi-
appears to be all gas and gaiters... or should
dising fares by around 60%, ie
that be all pollution and traffic!”
passengers pay some 40% of a
James Barwick (J68): “Well,
realistic tariff. It was in the Financial Times
he’s only been in the job 5
so TfL must also be aware of their business
minutes, but I don’t think it is
model to eliminate all opposition and con-
quer. That done, then they will substantially
Mayor Khan so much as more
increase their fares to realistic levels - possi-
TfL - but he is responsible for
the cycle and bus lanes and he
bly quadrupling them - and by that time there
is talking about extending and expanding
will be no-one left to compete, as we will all
those. But in fairness to him, he has opened
have been driven out of business.
“That applies nationwide as well, going by
up some bus lanes to taxis from which we
what I read in the trade press about what is
were previously barred, so I guess he is
damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t!
going on in the provinces. As I understand it,
And it was he who introduced the English
the Mayor and TfL’s remit is to protect the trav-
Test for PHV drivers (currently been put on
elling public as well as licenced taxis and pri-
vate hire, but they seem to be doing nothing to
hold...Ed), as well as the requirement for
Tel: 07956 456 360
assist the taxi trade. If Sadiq Khan allows TfL to
PHV to display a valid insurance certificate in
the vehicle at all times.”
renew Uber’s licence in May, he will be allow-
ing TfL to fail in their ‘duty of care’ to the trav-
Jackie Kott (Y88): “I haven’t really heard of
elling public. And I haven’t even begun on the
anything he is supposed to be doing or done,
Web: www.aidenkent.com
cycle lanes, North London Cycle Route or
but in all fairness he cannot be as bad as the
Bank Junction closure. Totally ridiculous!
last two! Whether anyone can do anything to
Call Sign March 2017
Page 26
“My Dial-a-Cab
returned to his cage.
He slowly settled on
terminal gave a
the perch as Eddie
familiar beep,”
Squawk! Squawk!
carefully took him
Ergan Halil
down the rickety
staircase and placed
(Y57) - his
him on the floor in the back of the cab.
friends call him Eddie - told Call Sign,
“He seemed comfortable and was very quiet,” Eddie con-
“with the trip offer being an As
tinued. “He was looking around warily but not making any
noise, so I opened the envelope the woman had given me
Directed cash ride for Charlie. As I
containing the cash and my delivery address where I had to
like an adventure, I readily accepted
take the multi-coloured bird to and had to look twice... it
the journey from Ledbury Road in
was to a farm in Norfolk!
“I moved off carefully so as not to startle Charlie and con-
Notting Hill,” said Eddie.
tinued driving as gently as I could because I didn’t fancy the
“I rang on the doorbell and a strange looking lady
idea of him being sick on my cab floor! After an hour or so
answered dressed in a skimpy white dressing gown
into the journey, the bird had not made any noise at all - he
and silver hair piled high on her head. She beck-
was just totally silent - which certainly had not been the case
oned me to enter and I momentarily felt I was on
when we first met! So I pulled over to the kerbside and cau-
the film set of the Addams Family as we climbed
tiously looked into the back of the cab to check him out. But
the creaky stairs to meet Charlie. I entered a room
Who's a pretty boy!
I must have spooked him as he caught sight of me from those
that looked like a bomb site; litter was strewn all
beady eyes because he started jumping around inside the
across the floor, books were stacked up on the carpet and American style
cage, noisily squawking his head off and flapping his wings like crazy - a
car number plates from just about every US state adorned the walls. She
bit like a Demon in a horror movie!
pointed to a cage with a parrot perched on a bar inside and mumbled
“I was quite worried that he would hurt himself while in my care, so I
Charlie, motioning me to pick up the cage by the hook at the top.
tried to calm him down by calling his name and repeatedly asking him
“As I gently lifted the cage, Charlie decided he was not having any
‘who’s a pretty boy’ as I thought that might do the trick! Sure enough, he
of it and noisily flew out into the room and temporary freedom
eventually regained his composure with the response of ‘Charlie’s a pret-
from underneath the cage. That’s when I realised there was no floor
ty boy’!
to his cage!”
“Much to my relief, I found the farm soon after. The farmer told me that
The lady in the dressing gown coaxed Charlie down and he slowly
the lady sent Charlie to him to look after whenever she went back to the
States to visit. With a deep sigh of relief, I returned to the cab and headed
Bubbles carwash closure
back to London, far more relaxed than when I started out!”
With that, a smiling Eddie got back into his cab with a Call Sign
reporter calling out to him as he drove away... “Who’s a pretty boy then!!!”
Alan Green
There must be hundreds of Dial-a-Cab drivers that used the Bubbles
Call Sign Online
carwash in Malcolm Place off Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green.
The wash was ok, the price reasonable and within minutes you
were back in the City, as shown by the never-ending queue of taxis
But it came
out in Court
that below the
surface not
everything was
that good
when Bubbles
owner, Shaip
Nimani, was
jailed for
after one of his
workers, Sandu
Bubbles: A favourite wash for DaC drivers
Laurentiu, was
electrocuted taking a shower next door in what were described as the
dilapidated conditions provided by Nimani in premises provided under
the railway arches.
Mr Laurentiu was said to be living in cramped, rat-infested condi-
tions with five other Romanian men who all worked at the carwash. The
Court heard that the wash area was so dangerous that workers told
investigators it was not unusual for them to get electric shocks while
showering, but they believed that it was normal. It transpired that the
mains electric meter had been bypassed to avoid paying for electricity
used with electric plugs overloaded and extension leads plugged into
more extension leads. Fuses had been tampered with so they didn’t cut
out when overloaded.
Investigators also discovered that the electrical installation to the
shower had no earth connection and had not been properly maintained.
An ambulance was called to the carwash on August 19, 2015, when
Mr Laurentiu collapsed in the shower. He was taken to the Royal
London Hospital, but died later that evening.
Nimani, 52, was jailed at the Old Bailey for four years and ordered to
pay £20,000 to the family of Mr Laurentiu after being convicted of
manslaughter. He was also banned from becoming a company director
for 10 years and has to pay £20,000 costs.
Call Sign March 2017
Page 27
ook at this cover of
Call Sign presents Uber boss Travis Kalanick with an award...
Forbes Magazine and
the Travis Kalanick
quote claiming that the
Funniest story we’ve
“opportunity is in the trillions!”
That must have made those
seen this year!
banks currently owed the
money by Uber quake in their
subsidies to undercut their rivals in the
hope of one day achieving a total
In the first nine months of 2016, Uber
are said to have lost over $2.2 billion. In the
He added that since 2012, Uber’s earn-
third quarter alone, they are said to have
ings before interest, taxes, depreciation,
lost in excess of $800 million and that does-
amortisation and rent/restructuring costs
n’t include its now-defunct business in
(EBITDAR) has reportedly been worse than
China, when they came to an agreement
negative 100 per cent, with the total loss
with rival Didi Chuxing to leave the
increasing and not decreasing with time.
Chinese market in exchange for 17.5 per
Forgetting finance, Uber also has prob-
cent of the Chinese company.
lems thanks to its total disregard of
Yet Uber’s valuation has risen to almost
authority - TfL included, although they
$70 billion, although they are always reluc-
seem to go along with anything that app
tant to talk financial figures. The company
comes up with. As an example, recently
are said to have generated $3.76bn in net
Uber began testing self-drive vehicles in
revenue over those first nine months of
San Francisco, even though they failed to
2016, yet still lost that $2.2 billion and no
get a permit from state officials. Then on
matter what it does, it keeps losing money
the first day of testing several of the self-
- money that must be coming from banks
driven cars were spotted going through
and private backers who by now are proba-
red lights and committing various other
bly afraid to stop the lending process for
traffic violations. They had previously
According to Uber boss Travis Kalanick,
fear of what would happen if Uber were to
said they had a problem with the way the
the opportunity to make money is in
pull the plug.
vehicles crossed bike lanes.
the trillions! In his case - to lose them!
Writing several months ago, transport
So yes, the award must go to young
industry expert Hubert Horan (see
billions pumped into the company by
Travis for his quote that the “oppor-
January 2017 Call Sign) explained that
investors. He suggested that Uber pas-
tunity is in the trillions!” We just
Uber’s current operations depended on
sengers were only paying 41 per cent of
aren’t sure whether he is referring to
$2 billion in subsidies funded out of the
the actual cost of a trip, with Uber using
profits... or losses!!!
Cabbie Specials
Now’s your chance to try our course. Any black cab driver who shows us their
badge gets a 10% discount for green fees and societies on Mondays,
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and a discounted membership fee.
Our 9 hole course is the perfect place for you to relax and get some fresh air
in the beautiful countryside of North-West Kent.
Uber are taking one step at a time!
Renovated and restructured greens and improved fairways to play on, with
fL favourites, Uber, are apparently taking things just
food and a bar on site to refresh yourself after a round.
one step at a time as one of their drivers showed
when taking a shortcut through the Broadgate Circle.
For more information call Jacquie or Sue on 01474 573116 / 573113
Most sensible drivers would have dropped their customers at the
A friendly welcome awaits you.
nearest accessible point, but this Uber chap obviously felt that he
Corinthian Sports Club, Valley Road, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent. DA3 8LY
should take his passengers right to the door and wasn’t going to
corinthians@billingsgroup.co.uk / jacquie@billingsgroup.co.uk
let a set of steps stop him! After all, TfL had licensed him as a fit
and proper person to do whatever it was he was doing!
Uber said the driver hadn’t signed on to their app for some time
and wiped their hands of him. The driver was reported for dri-
ving without due care but not charged.
After all, he was only taking one step at a time...!
Call Sign March 2017
Page 28
Roy enjoying his pipe while making a
The Beardmore MkVII model that Roy once sold and then later drove
Channel 4 documentary on the
London taxi trade
duction restart, albeit in penny numbers com-
MkVII and Roy joined the sales staff at the
With the death of Roy Perkins at
pared to the Austin cabs of Mann and
Beardmore showroom in Great Portland
Street to sell it, the only alternative to the
the age of 100 years and 10
Roy suffered an injury to his leg as a child,
Austin FX3 and FX4 to a small number of
months, the London cab trade
which left him with a permanent limp. In
mushers. He stayed with the company until
has lost its last living connection
1938, at the age of 21, he became the first dis-
1967, when it ceased trading. He returned to
abled man to be given a London cab driver's
driving a cab full time until 1987 when his
with the pre-war years.
licence. Exempted from military service by his
wife, Alice persuaded him that, at 70 years of
Most people in the cab trade will not have
disability, he drove the prototype Oxford cab
age, it was time for him to stop.
heard of Beardmore Motors, the company
through the Second World War, covering an
Roy was also very keen motor sport fan and
with which Roy was involved for thirty years,
300,000 miles. Beardmore
until just a few years ago, also a regular pipe
but through most of the 1920s it was the
Motors subsequently took over the sales and
biggest maker of London taxis. Bad business
servicing of the Oxford at their premises at
decisions drove the parent company into
Bill Munro
The Hyde, Hendon, but when production of
administration, but a management buyout of
Earlswood Press
the Oxford stopped in 1953, Beardmore's
the taxi making and sales companies saw pro-
introduced a new model of their own - the
Can you afford not to get a copy!!!
Produced by Dial-a-Cabs PCN expert, John Vigus,
ritish Airways is offering
almost two million seats
this book is all you need to know about moving
from London City Airport
traffic and parking regulations in one easy to
this summer and launching a
read guide!
new three-times-a-week service to
Skiathos. This is the third Greek
Island route, alongside Mykonos
and Santorini, from LCA but is the
The Motorists Guide to Moving
first time BA has operated to
Skiathos, a destination favoured by
Traffic And Parking Regulations
tourists for its many pine forests and
Hard copies £8. Electronic versions to
over 60 beaches. In addition, flights
to Mykonos will increase from four
Dial-a-Cab drivers are £5 per copy. Orders
to five flights a week. Last month
via Driver Services with payment deducted
British Airways also announced the
launch of a new weekly service
from your DaC account.
between London City and
Manchester from May.
Hopefully it will mean more taxi
Can you really afford not to get a copy!!!
work to and from LCA..
Call Sign March 2017
Page 29
With the news that Alan Fisher intends stepping down as of next month from the editing role he will
have carried out for the past 20 years and together with Dial-a-Cab’s change of status, Call Sign staff
have put together some information and photos on this Society’s history...
A glimpse at the past...
The photo of the Board of Management (bottom right) is interesting because it was taken at the 1972 ODRTS dinner & ball - something that
used to happen every year. It’s interesting because it provides the last BoM with a link to very beginnings of ODRTS in 1953.
L-R: Former Chairman Jack Taylor, former Chairman Jack Russell, founder Chairman Bonnie Martyn, 1972 Chairman Martin
Gellman, founder Board Member and former Chairman Frank Duncan and former Chairman Eli “Trixie” Solomons...
Every one of the group is not just a former Board Member but also a former Chairman. Bonnie Martyn and Frank Duncan were both
in Bonnie’s cab parked on the Grosvenor Gardens rank on Sunday 29 March 1953 where they - together with Arthur Cutmore, Doug
Naismith, Albert Hall, Eric Stoffel, Alec Cobden and David Fiertag - decided that London needed an owner-drivers radio taxi circuit.
Eight months later (November 1953) we were registered...
DaC / ODRTS Chairmen, Secretaries and magazine Editors
Secretaries from 1953 to now
Bonnie Martyn
1953 - 1957
Doug Naismith
Frank Duncan
1957 - 1959
John Robinson
Eli (Trixie) Solomons
1959 -1962
Eric Ives
Frank Duncan
1962 - 1964
John Bernadout
Jack Russell
1964 - 1969
Trevor Clarke
Jack Taylor
1969 - 1972
Howard Pears
Martin Gellman
1972 - 1976
Peter Fennymore
1976 - 1984
Ken Burns
1984 - 1990
Phil Messias
1990 - 1992
Aubrey Siteman
1992 - 1996
Brian Rice
1996 - present
ODRTS Newssheet
Bernie Lyons
1955 - 1957
ODRTS News Monthly
Joe Toff
1965 - 1969
ODRTS News ‘n Views
Phil Emden
1971 - 1983
Call Sign
Jery Craig
1983 - 1997
The first two editors:
Call Sign
Alan Fisher
1997 - 2017
Bernie Lyons (left) and Joe Toff
This DaC
Can’t think
driver was
what this
told to
DaC taxi
park as
was doing
close to the
outside a
pick-up as
Soho strip
Those were
The last
the days!
BoM with a
Diesel at 2/1
link to the
per gallon,
which for
of DaC at
the 1972
works out at
dinner &
just under 6p
per litre. No
wonder they
were sold
Call Sign March 2017
Page 30
The latest in an occasional series where DaC drivers write about
what they’d like to see happen to the trade. This month: Bruno
Manfredi (F23) who joined DaC in July 1979...
What I wish for...
account for the damage they have caused.
Then there’s the poor traffic light co-ordi-
Looking back on my 44 years as a licensed
nation, road works and cycle lanes that all
taxi driver, there have been a litany of disas-
seem to be part of a concerted effort to kill
ters; starting with the type of taxis we have
had to purchase, fitted with the most obso-
If only all of our trade leaders could
lete, useless expensive-to-run engines that
unite, forget their differences and imple-
could be imagined.
ment a really serious protest. After all,
We have had to deal with overheating,
22,000 determined, angry voices might
engine fires and complete engine failures at
just get heard in the Westminster bubble.
around 70,000 miles, as many could attest to,
We have the brain power. I just hope we
including my colleague, Paul Hammett (V42).
have the courage to fight for what is left
Through all these trials and tribula-
of our future.
tions, we have had little or no support
Finally regarding Dial-a-Cab; I hope the
from our trade leaders and we’re now fac-
Board of Directors will consider sending a
ing a huge attack on diesel. All of this, as
print-out of our yearly accounts so we can see
I understand it, is our fault!
exactly what our financial position is. Attending
irstly, on looking at what has hap-
Thankfully there are some
- such as
at the office in person can prove to be really dif-
pened to our working environment,
Tommy Whitford and Georgie Pool of Pool
ficult at times due to parking restrictions...
I think it is about time the politicians
Motors - that have offered solutions and
and civil servants at TfL were held to
Bruno Manfredi (F23)
assistance to help keep us on the road.
Liverpool Mayor: We don’t want TfL cabs here!
Minicab drivers are reportedly going into Liverpool from as far away as London, making
money in the city and then heading home. Now Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has said
he is taking steps to clamp down on the “free for all” private hire trade has formed across
the city region.
The Mayor said: “We have evidence of drivers coming into Liverpool to work in the city
centre. There was an Uber driver who came from Leeds on a match day in Liverpool and
stayed to work until 3am, picking up a few hundred quid, then going back to Leeds - that
does not help Liverpool. It is a free for all at the minute, with people working here who do
not understand the city.”
One group of local taxi drivers appeared to take matters into their own hands
recently by blocking in an Uber driver who was allegedly displaying a Transport
for London licence and then “escorted him out of the city!”
Now the Mayor says he is taking steps to clamp down on the “free for all” private hire trade.
TX5 windscreens
from Croatia
Lipik Glas, one of the biggest auto
industry suppliers in Croatia, will this
year start manufacturing windscreens
for the new electric powered TX5 taxi.
Based in western Slavonia in the east
of Croatia, Lipik Glas have won the
contract to produce windscreens for
The London Taxi Company’s latest
cab, which is scheduled to arrive by
the end of this year.
Director Danijel Zadjelovic said:
“This is a very important job because for us it is a very large quantity.
The planned level of production is up to 7,000 taxis per year, which in future
will make up 10% of our income.”
This is not the first UK contract the company has had, having produced the glass
for the Aston Martin DB10, famously used in the James Bond movie, Spectre.
Call Sign March 2017
Page 31
Either write to Call Sign at
Dial-a-Cab House
Or email us at
because they have been redirected, do not
give destinations with no reject button.
LPG conversion
Hi Alan
Do we need this 10 minute delay anymore?
Brighton and Hove Council have a repu-
Would you happen to know the date that
I don’t think so and with GPS dispatch, why
tation for being tough with both taxis
the LPG engine will be approved by TfL?
can’t work in the EC zones be dispatched up
and private hire, which is why Uber are
Karen Menpes (E01)
to 21:00 at which time EC5 can be opened
finding life there so difficult and why
There is an update inside this issue,
and drivers can book in, thus alleviating “the
hardly any of the current Brighton PH
Karen; but you have to remember that
twilight zone.”
drivers wanted to join the Uber ranks.
we aren’t Uber. Anything new on our
Alan Sullivan (F20)
On the other hand, TfL have a reputa-
side of the business has to be checked
The DaC IT department now have this
tion for being tough in London... but
and double-checked before TfL double-
documented as a request. It is a rather
only with London taxis! It appears that
check the double-checking. Uber just
complicated update due to ASAP and pre-
PH can do as they wish in the capital,
tell TfL they are doing something and
bookings having to behave differently, so
while more and more London registered
then do it... Ed
it isn’t a quick change; but it is on their
PH cars are working all over the coun-
‘to do’ list... Ed
There is also the question of whether
Good question!
Uber are a transportation or technolog-
Hi Alan
Uber in Brighton
ical company and whether its drivers
Not sure if I’m going mad, but I don't seem
Dear Alan
to have seen anything in Call Sign to
It seems that Transport for London are
are self-employed or employees entitled
remind drivers about attending our AGM -
to sick/holiday pay etc. The recent
earning themselves a reputation as the ‘go to’
usually in February - or even voting in it. Is
Employment Tribunal case brought by
licensing authority for Uber private hire dri-
there one this year?
two Uber drivers has suggested that it is
vers who want to work in more lucrative
Alan Nash (A95)
areas such as Brighton, while London
the latter while Brazil is now the latest
Company Secretary Howard Pears
remains saturated. Uber, the “cheap as chips
country to say that a driver using the
responds: “Dear Alan, I can put your
get freebies while you can” ride app has been
Uber app was an employee and entitled
mind at rest and you are not going mad.
blown away - they claim - by the demand they
to workers' benefits. The Brazilian
As a result of the demutualisation of
are receiving in the south coast resort.
Judge ordered Uber to pay one driver
ODRTS Ltd, there will be no AGM this
However, there is a slight hiccup.
around 30,000 reais (£8,000) in com-
year as the entity no longer exists as a
Brighton and Hove Council are proud of
pensation for overtime, night shifts,
mutual trading organisation. I envisage
their strict high standards of licensing for
holidays and expenses such as fuel,
that the next shareholders AGM will be
both private hire and Hackney drivers, who
water and sweets for passengers!
around this time next year for Dial-a-
all have to pass a topographical knowledge
Uber will undoubtedly appeal both
Cab Limited with an accounting period
test. However, if you get licensed by a less-
decisions, but if the rulings are upheld,
end of 31 August 2017. However, once
strict regulator such as TfL, you can work
more drivers will follow suit and it will
the audited results for ODRTS Ltd for
anywhere in the UK! No wonder Brighton
be interesting to see whether TfL re-
the year to 31 August 2016 have been
cabbies are up in arms about Uber drivers
licence them next month. After all,
signed off, copies will be available for
not knowing their way around and picking
there is a huge amount in licensing fees
inspection or if necessary, individual
up and setting down their passengers on
at stake for the authority... Ed
copies can be requested and emailed
Brighton taxi ranks!
Brighton and Hove Council have said they
don't condone what is happening, but are
DaC and Southern
powerless to stop it, at least for the time
EC5 and the Twilight
being. They hold TfL in a very low light.
Uber drivers are now going to the cheapest
Hello Alan and the DaC family
councils with the lowest standard of PH reg-
Hi Alan
Wow! What a surprise! As I was looking
ulation - such as TfL - but not actually oper-
As you know, EC5 opens at 20:50 and there
through February’s Call Sign, there on
ating there! They were only granted an oper-
is a 10 minute delay between 20:50 and
page 14 I read about my three granddaugh-
ators’ licence in Brighton if they used
21:00. For those that don’t know, this was
ters who make up Southern Halo. It was
licensed Brighton drivers but have so far
brought in when EC5 was physical and it
so nice and I thank you. I am forwarding
failed to recruit any. Uber say their drivers are
allowed cabs to rank up on Finsbury
the magazine to them and I know they will
getting torrents of abuse in Brighton, just as
Square at 20:50 and book in one after the
be very impressed.
Call Sign said last month and that their dri-
other until 21:00 when EC5 started. All
Jim Moore
vers are now being imported from London to
work during these 10 minutes was dis-
President/CEO RadioMobile
work there.
patched from their own zone. Over the
San Diego, California
I spoke to someone in the Taxi and PH sec-
years and with various operating systems,
Some years back, Jim Moore used to
tion of Brighton and Hove Council and they
this 10 minute delay has been replicated.
told me they were powerless to stop London
pay regular visits to the DaC IT depart-
However, with the advent of VAD and the
licensed Uber drivers going down to
ment at Brunswick House as the CEO of
GPS dispatch system, this 10 minutes has
Brighton to work, even though they had
the company that supplied and main-
now become “the twilight zone.”
managed to worm their way around the strict
tained part of our infrastructure when
I don’t think that the new VAD system
Brighton regulations! However, they do not
we operated on a private network, in
lends itself to this delay anymore. I have
condone and certainly do not encourage
addition to supplying and maintaining
found that after booking into EC5 and get-
what’s going on. They said we should keep
our modems. Jim’s three granddaugh-
ting a queue position, any jobs in the EC
an eye on the legislation, which could soon
ters, Natalia, Christina and Hannah,
zones between 20:50 and 21:00, instead of
form hot country group Southern Halo
being dispatched from their own zones,
Dave Heath (Ex-W27)
and recently won the best up and com-
somehow get transferred into EC5 and
Brighton and Gloucester
ing new artist group in Nashville… Ed