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News Flash : Richmond Rank update. council meeting decision.

After a two hour meeting with local Councillors, lead engineers and police and local MP Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Licensed Taxi rank is moving away from the Richmond Station !!
The rank is being moved forward by about 80 feet and all people will see when they come out of the station is the arse end of the last cab on the new rank this rank will be trialed for 6 months with 3 cabs only and it has been agreed that it will become a 4 cab rank after the trial .
Drivers must not sit on this rank with there engine running as local shops complain about the smell.
Any further complaints and we will be gone.
The council has tried every permutation know to man to get the town to run smoothly and they agree its not the drivers fault.
But money talks and TFL hold the purse strings. 
Signage will be going in as well as the telephone system as used in the past. There will be some sort of system put in place so the drivers know when there is space available to move over from a feeder rank to the new rank.
It is felt by local drivers that this was the best they were ever going to get, but it will take time to bed in.
Local driver reps have also asked about ranking for twickenham stadium for the word cup next year and things are looking good. There is a new guy at the council who has worked with drivers before and he is on the short list to get the Job that takes in Twickenham town center and the surrounding roads at twickenham stadium.
More news as we get it .
Thanks for all your support. I must just add the Police were amazing today and backed us up all the way as well as Zac Goldsmith.
All the best.

Boris’s 100 bobbies on the street, are no more than a PR stunt…. By Jim Thomas.

The police are turning a blind eye to the root cause of minicab related sexual assaults.
Unlawful touting in the Coventry Street, Wardour Street area, is at an all time high and is being aided and abetted by the police.
After a successful Flash Mob demonstration arranged by way of social media caught the authorities by surprise, Boris hastily pushed forward a Zero Tolerance initiative (based on a successful action in New York) planned for later in the year.
But in London, it seems Zero Tolerance has a completely different definition. 
I made a special visit to the Coventry Street rank on 2nd Aug (23:30) to investigate complaints from drivers who said they had been moved off the rank by police officers, after the council removed the forward sign post on the junction of Wardour Street, indicating the bus stand becomes a Taxi Rank in the evenings.
When I arrived, the rank was unusable as one minicab and a number of rickshaw bikes had completely taken it over. There was a constable standing on the corner of Wardour, so I drive round the block, parked on the feeder rank in Oxendon Street and approach him.
I explained complaints had been made that certain police officers had moved licensed Taxis off this rank and also, they had flatly refused to move on Rickshaws and Minicabs illegally parked on the Taxi rank.
At first he said; “this is a bus stop, there is no signage”.
I informed him that a traffic management order (TMO) was in place and then bought his attention to the Taxi rank board on the corner of Rupert Street, which holds the TfL notice appointing the Bus Stand as a shared night time Taxi rank. I then asked him to clear the rank.
He said he wasn’t there for “trivial matters” and was only there to police more serious issues such as muggings, fights and stabbings (his words).
He also said he believes in “live and let live” and that in his opinion, the minicabs and rickshaws were not posing a serious problem. 
I explained as an officer of the law, he was charged to uphold the law and couldn’t choose which laws to uphold. This didn’t go down well and he summoned his Sgt.
His Sgt. emerged from a parked mobile police unit just feet away, to whom I repeated my allegations.
The Sgt. refuted his officers would try to move on Taxis unless they were unlawfully parked. I then explained about the rank (which even he had no knowledge of) and told him his officer had refused to move on the offending minicab and rickshaws.
He wasn’t pleased but made the accompanying officers move the minicab and bikes.
I made a repeat visit to the rank just after midnight and found it full of minicabs and bikes. The police officer had completely disappeared.
A few nights later, I revisited Coventry Street and found four minicabs parked with their wheels on the pavement outside the entrance to the Trocadero. As I slowly past the illegal minicab rank, I noticed a Westminster Council NSL Traffic Warden walking past, taking no notice whatsoever.
Further along, I saw two police officers on the corner of Rupert Street. I parked up and approach the officers and asked why they were allowing these four vehicles to cause a dangerous obstruction by parking on the pavement.
The answer I receive was unbelievable.
The male officer informed me he was using professional discretion to allow the vehicles to sit there, as there have been reports of women being sexually assaulted in the area and the closer the cars get to the exit the safer for young ladies leaving the Trocadero.
I was completely and utterly shocked.
I told him, if he was worried about the rapes and sexual assaults in the area, it would be advantageous to move all the touting cars on, as it was the minicabs and predators who were carrying out the attacks.
I told him he did not have the power of discretion to let people break the laws he didn’t fancy enforcing. I also told him if he did not move the vehicles, I would report him to his Sgt. just yards up the road. This seemed to do the trick and both he and his female colleague walked up to the touts and moved them on.
So Boris this is London’s Zero tolerance?
Make sure you follow @Tag_Hit_Squad and @Flash_Demo Twitter accounts,  for updates on future flash-mob hits.

Richmond Council To Revoke Station Rank: Decision Tomorrow.

On Thursday the 7th of August this week a decision will be made by the local council as to whether the rank outside Richmond station stays or goes.
It’s been there 108 years and for the last 9 years local drivers have fought to keep a presence outside the station. They have been moved from pillar to post and back again. Local activists have been to so many meetings to try and make the council see sense, that the public want and expect to walk out of Richmond station and get straight into a cab, not to go on a walk about trying to find a cab circulating the area.
Have been told that the LTDA will fight any proposals from the council to move the rank away from the station, but don’t hold your breath.
If Richmond drivers loose the fight to keep the rank outside the station, would this be the beginning of the end for the suburban trade.
Would this be followed by Kingston, Ealing, Harrow, Stratford, Romford, etc.
Will post again on Thursday and let you know the outcome.

Uber app ‘competing unfairly’, Margaret Hodge claims

Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge said she was concerned about the impact Uber was having on the “public purse”

The Uber taxi app is “competing unfairly” with London’s black cabs, senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge says.

She has written to Boris Johnson asking why Transport for London allows cars to take bookings through the app without a licence to operate in the capital.

Mrs Hodge claims the firm is “opting out of the UK tax regime” but Uber said it complied with “all applicable tax laws”.

Thousands of taxi drivers protested against the app in June.

The smartphone app works out the cost of fares using GPS. Cab drivers say it is similar to using a taxi meter, which only they are legally entitled to do.

‘Impact on livelihoods’

The app’s Dutch operating company, Uber BV, does not pay tax in the UK – but Mrs Hodge said TfL could insist that it does so.

She said: “I am particularly concerned about the tax structure that Uber and others have apparently constructed and the impact this has both on the public purse and on the livelihoods of London cabbies and private hire drivers.

“This structure allows these new entrants to unfairly undercut London operators by opting out of the UK tax regime.

“TfL allows this to happen by failing to apply the appropriate regulations to Uber.”

Taxi drivers in Whitehall on 11 June 2014Thousands of taxi drivers went on strike in London on 11 June

In the letter to Mr Johnson, the mayor of London, Mrs Hodge, who chairs the cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee, added: “Surely TfL has a duty to enforce legislation that will ensure a fair and level playing field for all taxi and private hire operators?

“I would be grateful if you could set out the steps you will take to ensure that TfL does not inadvertently allow tax avoidance in London and that all taxi and private hire drivers receive a fair deal.”

She has been backed by the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), which represents 20,000 cabbies.

‘Corporate greed’

LPHCA chairman Steve Wright said: “London’s taxi and private hire industries are being compromised by inconsistent licensing enforcement by TfL and the apparent ability for app-based operators like Uber to operate through an offshore tax regime.

“As well as the loss in revenue to the country, a whole industry that has a wonderful compliance record – unlike some of these new apps – is being undermined by foreign entities, working the UK tax system for corporate greed.”

But an Uber spokesman said: “Uber complies with all applicable tax laws, and pays taxes in all jurisdictions, such as corporate income tax, payroll tax, sales and use tax, and VAT.

“Uber London Limited is a licensed private hire vehicle operator and recently passed the largest inspection of records ever conducted by TfL.”

Chief operating officer at TfL Garrett Emmerson said he was “fully satisfied” the app was operating lawfully.

He added: “TfL’s role is to licence and regulate the taxi and private hire industry in London. We do not have any powers in relation to an operator’s corporate structure and how or where they pay tax.”


Promoting the Taxi Trade

I have said many times before that we are terrible at promoting our own trade, we promote everything else on the side and tops of our taxis and yet we never promote our own business.

There have been various calls on Twitter and around the various watering holes that we need to promote our trade, we need some sort of PR campaign to combat the PH Apps that are making inroads into our work at a dramatic rate.

With this in mind I intend to put together a working party of like minded people to explore various option to promote our trade through some form of PR campaign.

The meeting will be held at the Oak Taxi Cafe on Wednesday 27th August 2014 in the card room at the back at 8:00pm.

If anyone is interested in attending this meeting and either putting their ideas on the table or getting involved then please either leave a comment below or email me or fill in the feedback form on this site.

We already have 5 people who have committed to attend but the more the merrier in my view.

It is imperative that we was a trade do something to protect our future otherwise we are going to witness a continual degradation on our work and our ability to earn a living from the trade that we all worked so hard to become part of.

I look forward to seeing you all on the 27th August.

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