Boris Johnson has been asked questions by members of the GLA, about TfLs stance regarding the current issue between London’s licensed Taxi trade and the SmartPhone based App Uber
Boris made the statement:
“It is absolutely vital that London should continue to be served by Taxis that have disabled access, that you can hail in the street and that will always have somebody at the wheel who knows the city and who knows what they are doing and who has the Knowledge,” he told the London Assembly.
“That is the service that the black cab trade provides and it will always continue to provide that. What you cannot do is dis-invent technology.”
But our problem is NOT with competition with apps. The Taxi trade are up in arms at the incompetent way TfL are handling the complex issues appertaining to the new wave of companies trying to operate on the outer fringes of licensing legislation.
For many years the strict enforcement of the London Cab and Private a Hire Acts kept standards high. The London Taxi trade has been renouned the world over as the pinnacle of excellence. But recently TfL have eased restrictions on PH operators and drivers. We now have minicab drivers who don’t speak a word of English, over 10,000 minicab drivers not registered with an operator. Legally, every private hire job has to go through a third party operator and dispatched to a driver after a booking is recorded. Just how do these drivers get work, if not from a licensed operator?
It is also possible for anyone to purchase a second hand minicab complete with TfL Licence Roundel, you don’t have to be a licensed driver to buy one. With minicab related serious sexual assaults including rapes currently running at around 25 per week, this just can not be right.
Lines of cars infest the Westend outside most night venues. Sexual predators use these lines of touts to find fresh victims.
TfL and the Met turn a complete blind eye to this situation with the belief, if they don’t act knowledge the situation, there is no recorded evidence and therefore no actual problem. But the problem is escalating and the problem is now being picked up by groups such as the Suzi Lamplugh trust and rape crisis centre The Heavens.
Recently we saw the Taxi trade unite and take to the streets to bring this problem to the attention of the worlds media. TfL’s PR department went into full throttle. Using placed media articles, threats against drivers, the implementation of the public order act, our message was almost lost. The theme of the demo was portrayed throughout the media as being against Uber. They even ignored 30 foot banners which advertised TfL as “Totally Failing London”.
Yes Uber is a problem, currently breaking all the rules with TfL bending over backwards to facilitate them.
But still, our main problem is the belligerent bias towards us from this incompetent licensing authority.
The only course of action open to us now is continued direct action and we again must take to the streets en masse.