In this episode I interview Steve McNamara who is currently the General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA). Steve took over the position of General Secretary from his predecessor Bob Oddy.
Steve has been involved with the LTDA since shortly after obtaining his London Taxi Drivers license and it was joining Computer Cab which was the ultimate decider between joining the LTDA and the then TGWU Taxi Section.
Steve explains how they have been trying to change the image of the LTDA over the last few years since the sell off of Com Cab to Comfort Delgro as he explains that for some years the management of ComCab were influential over the direction of LTDA.
Steve is very knowledgeable about the London Taxi Trade and the issues and problems that it faces, he is also very passionate about the trade and strongly believes that the trade has a bright future if the drivers embrace technology and move with the times.
The LTDA have come under some criticism due to the fact that Bob Oddy who is still a member of the Com of the LTDA is also a TFL board member. During the interview I ask Steve about Bob and his position within the LTDA and TFL.
The interview lasts about 80 minutes which is quite long for a podcast but Steve goes into some depth on most issues and the interview is well worth listening to in its entirety.
This podcast started by chance when I decided to do an interview with Peter and Derek from CabApp and decided to put it out as a podcast, mmwhich become episode 1.
Shortly after we had the demo on the 11th June in Trafalgar Square where Courtney Connell, while being interviewed by LBC, had a bit of a Churchill moment which inspired me to do the 2nd podcast episode.
I only really intended for this podcast to be an occasional thing, but I have enjoyed making the SuperCabby Podcasts, interviewing people from within the trade and seeing the number of downloads and listeners to the podcast, the number of people it has reached is enough encouragement for me to carry on producing it.
So what have we got lined up for the future of SuperCabby Podcast?
I will be interviewing Steve MacNamara for the LTDA very soon for an episode of the podcast.
We have the Disney Trip this week 12th-14th September and I will be producing an episode of the SuperCabby podcast about the trip.
Other interviews that I have lined up include:
Paul White (RMT)
Mark White (@TootlesTheTaxi)
Graham Woodhouse & Dave Cannell (Cab Guide Course)
I also have a long list of people who I need to contact to see if they would consent to be interviewed for the SuperCabby Podcast.
Other issues related to the Taxi Trade
If there are any issues that you would like to see me cover in this podcast please let me know, just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also if there is anyone who you would like to hear me interview on the podcast please also send me an email.
Friday night saw another Flash Demo take place around Charing Cross Police Station to highlight the problem of Rickshaws in the West End.
The Police seem to turn a blind eye to these Rickshaws and their riders even though they park their contraptions illegally, ride along pavements endangering pedestrians, totally ignore traffic signals, and ply their illegal trade with impunity.
There have been reports of rickshaw riders charging Arabs £400 for a ride from Harrods and another of a Rickshaw charging £200 for a 1 mile journey.
We now also have the added problem of motorised rickshaws playing their trade across London, now a motorised rickshaw, no matter what type of motor is powering it, is classed as a motor vehicle and therefore should come under the same rules and regulations as a motorised taxi, it should be licensed, wheelchair accessible, and the driver should have passed the knowledge for them to be able to ply for hire in the capital.
The Metropolitan Police always state the lack of resources when taken to task over the Rickshaws, but amazingly they managed to find the resources during the flash demo to go out and seize some motorised rickshaws.
Lets hope that the Met’s new found passion for impounding rickshaws is to be a continual operation and that they were not just putting on a show to appease the demonstrating taxi drivers.
Conversations in Taxis
Udo @Odouseless has sent in a recoding of a conversation that he had with a female passenger in his cab, she tells of her experiences in trying to get taxis in London to take her home.
If anyone else would like to speak to passengers in their taxi and record the conversation you can do it with just your smartphone and any app that saves the recoding as an MP3, please also get the persons permission to use the recording, they only have to say their name and that they give their permission and that is good enough.
These conversations can then be used in the SuperCabby podcast so that drivers can get an insight into the way in which the travelling public view London’s Taxi Trade.
Magical Taxi Tour to Disneyland Paris
This weekend is the 21st annual Magical Taxi Tour to Disneyland Paris, the event is organised by the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.
The convoy of Taxis will leave Canary Wharf at 8:00am and head down the A2 to Dover to catch a P&O Ferry to Calais
We should arrive in Disneyland Paris around 6:30pm local time, then the Saturday is spent in the park and then off to the New York Hotel for the Children Gala Party.
Sunday see our return trip back to England; there will be 100 taxis and 20 support vehicles from the Police, London Ambulance Service and the AA.
A friend of mine was driving through Shoreditch on Saturday night when he noticed a taxi with Green identifiers displayed in the Window that had his badge number printed on them, basically they were a clone of his own Identifiers.
he managed to lean through the passenger window and rip the front one out of the cab, and then he followed the taxi to where it stopped to drop of its passengers.
A Police van was parked about 20 Feet away, but when they were approached and the situation explained they stated that there as nothing that they could do.
Displaying forged identifiers is basically fraud as the driver is conning people into thinking that he is something that he is not, he is duping passengers into believing that he is a green badge Taxi driver.
Its a disgrace the the Metropolitan Police refused to do nothing about this incident.
It is not known whether this particular driver is licensed at all, the Taxi Reg was LE03 MMF and was a Silver TX2, the driver is described as being “mixed race”
A driver, who has had a couple of bad experiences with renting a taxi, contacted me this week; he asked why garages are allowed to get away with renting out “shitcarts”?
I tackle this issue and explain why I think some garages do not maintain their vehicles to the best standards.
Get Taxi Advertising
Get Taxi had adverts running this week that were a bit worrying to the London Taxi Drivers who are using their system.
Get Taxi staff brushed them off stating that they were a mistake, personally I am a bit concerned about this and I explain why.
Get Taxi Google Ad
Do drivers want control of their trade and its future?
I sometimes wonder what drivers within our trade actually want? Personally I want to be in control of my future and that of the trade that I work within.
It amazed me this week when drivers started defending Get taxi over their advertising scandal and criticising me for questioning them over the issue?
A quick update on TaxiCab App, this week see the app being tested by a wider group of taxi drivers, there are still some bugs that need to be ironed out but Alex is working his way through these as quick as he can.
When we are satisfied that the testing of the app is successful, we will then go to Beta testing stage where we get even more drivers using the app to load test the code and servers and make sure that everything holds up under pressure.
Once the beta testing is complete we will then be ready to launch the app.
@TFLTPH Tweets to London Taxi Drivers
Minicab parked on a Taxi Rank in London
Those of you who are not blocked by @TFLTPH will undoubtedly still be seeing tweets aimed at London Taxi Drivers about over ranking on many of London’s taxi Ranks.
Most tweets emanating from this account seems to be aimed soley at London Taxi Drivers and yet there are very few directed towards the Private Hire trade or it’s drivers.
We rarely see a tweet telling PH drivers not to park on Taxi Ranks, it seems that an unproportionate number of tweets are aimed at Taxi drivers.
Many London Taxi drivers have now unfollowed or blocked the TFLTPH account and others like myself have been blocked, even though I have never received a message from them asking me to stop doing something or explaining why I have been blocked.
I can fully understand if drivers are being abusive in mentions towards this account but merely pointing out their inadequacies should not qualify anyone to be blocked by them.
TFL are a public service and should start to act like one.
You may have noticed that I have stopped posting news articles on this blog, I have decided to restrict this website to my blog, my own writings and articles and the SuperCabby podcast.
We do own another domain Taxi-News.co.uk that is more suited to posting news item, so any future news items will be posted on there.
Save Our Trade & Promote It Meeting
Keep Calm & Hail a London Taxi
Just a quick reminder about the meeting we have organised for Wednesday 1st October 2014 at 8pm at the Oak Taxi Cafe.
The meeting is called Save Our Trade and is for discussing possible ways that we can promote our trade and portray it in a more favourable manner to London’s travelling public.
There is a proposal to hold 2 meetings on that day, one at 4pm and another at 8pm to enable both day and night drivers to attend, please let me know if you would like a 4pm meeting in addition to the 8pm one already scheduled.
When Courtney had his Churchill moment in Trafalgar Square we decided that he would do a monthly quote to motivate and inspire London taxi Drivers.
Recently we have not managed to hook up to record these quotes but I do still intend to bring you quotes from Courtney on a monthly basis, its just the August one that we have missed.
Due to the fact that the SuperCabby Podcast has evolved into a weekly show I would like to share with you a few quotes that I have found that I think are quite relevant to the London Taxi Trade.
Each week there will be a quote in the SuperCabby Podcast from either Courtney, myself or someone else from within the trade.
If you would like to submit or read a quote for inclusion, please get in touch.
This weeks quote is
The starting point of all achievement is desire – Napoleon Hill
Here is the early warning for Remembrance Sunday which takes place on 9 November.
Those who have already attended in the past know the feelings that you get from this very special event and I need say nothing more to you.
For those who have not been before, we provide a free taxi service from all main line stations, Victory Service Club, Union Jack Club and Victoria Coach Station for the veterans going to and from the service and parade at the Cenotaph. To see the appreciation shown by the veterans for our expression of gratitude for all they have done for us is so deeply moving. Words, no mater how eloquent, cannot express what you feel – ask anyone who’s already done it in the past 4 years.
This is one time when all thoughts of animosity, personal differences, heated discussions of preference of vehicle, or any of the other threads that can cause differences on this forum are all put aside. Nothing detracts from helping the veterans. People who are otherwise at loggerheads on the forum stand shoulder to shoulder united in a common cause. It is so special. If only we could bottle it!
I’ll put more details out over the next 10 weeks but at this stage I am looking for early volunteers to build up my database (used by me alone).
In addition to drivers I’m also looking for people to act as marshals in all the stations. The usual marshals always do a superb job, but, as we discovered last year, as our service has expanded we needed extra help getting to the veterans and getting them into the Poppy Cabs. Knowledge boys/girls, Family members (especially useful inside the stations to show veterans where to go), retired or non working taxi drivers – all are welcome and needed to help our stretched band of experienced marshals.
New for 2014 our own Twitter account @PoppyCabs2014
As I go through the various preparation stages I will update you all here with an absolute minimum of one message each week as our countdown continues. Please look out for them and see how you can help.
The GLA investigation meeting kicked off in City Hall, at 10 am this morning.
Michael Galvin, late of the LTDA and Com Cab and now working for Addison Lee gave an accurate representation of the Taxi and Private hire industries.
GLA member for Merton and Wandsworth Richard Tracey asked Steve a McNamara:
“Does the Taxi trade have Union representation”.
Mr McNamara answered that the United trade Group (UTG) is made up of the three larges orgs.
Taxi Leaks would of course dispute this answer as the second biggest representative group, and the largest Union the RMT, are excluded by the leadership of the UTG, therefore prevented from inclusion with any meaningful negotiations with TfL.
Garrett Emerson told the panel that TfL’s Taxi and Private Hire have bought forward the archaic administration of the Taxi trade.
Another statement that Taxi Leaks would dispute.
Darren Johnson (AM) said that TfL needed to get basics of the trades in order by way of a consultation with trade Orgs. But look what happened with the last consultation, PH got virtually everything they asked for whilst the Taxi trade got nothing.
The panel were informed by Assembly Member Tom Copley, that with the onslaught of smart phone apps, Uber had blurred the lines between Taxis and private hire. Michael Galvin said that the registration of drivers using smart phone apps was open to fraudulent abuse. He also remarked that PH have no desire to pick up off the street and that the present two tiered system should remain.
(Really Mike, take a look at the touting hot spots around London and see the desire to pick up there!)
Tom Copley AM then added that TfL have failed to act on pedicabs/rickshaw bikes. He said this infringes Taxi drivers rights to ply for hire. Tom also accused TfL of failing to act over Hailo’s minimum fare policy.
He added,”why do the knowledge if apps can blur the lines.
An e-hail is akin to a manual hail, plying for hire by licensed Taxis must be protected at all cost.
Tom finished on the point that, if identity is important, why allow both industries to use the same vehicle (Mercedes Vito) and the same colour?”
Chairing the meeting, Isabel Dedring spoke about the Credit Card issue also stating she was in full support of the value of wheelchair accessibility. She said Taxis were the Gold standard. Dedring was often out of her comfort zone with comprehensive knowledge of the issues and when put on the spot by Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick she had to hand over to Garret Emerson.
Garret Emerson was asked why the ranks plan had been shelved and he replied it would be made available by the end of the year.
During a ministerial debate of the Private Hire Vehcles act 1998, it was stated that enforcement was not to become the poor relation to regulation. Many Taxi drivers would agree that this has now become the fact, as enforcement is almost invisible at night. Touts have little to no chance of being arrested.
Inspector Julian Collinson of Cab Enforcement stated that of the last 1000 arrests made for touting, over 90% were convicted. He said that Enforcement is at a satisfactory level. In a bid to conceal TfL’s disastrous record on minicab related sexual assaults and rapes, the inspector finished with a damning insult to the Taxi trade by saying that the sexual assault statistics are blurred due to the fact that victims are unable to remember if they were picked up in a Taxi or a minicab.
Taxi Leaks would take issue with the inspectors statistics on convictions as they vary greatly from the ones we have manage to acquire by Freedom of Information requests.
Assembly Member a John Briggs talked about enforcement and asked Steve McNamara his thoughts on the matter. Steve told the panel that touting was now out of control in Central London and had become an epidemic.
Westminster Transport Commissioner Martin Low was asked about the affect of Marshals on certain ranks. He stated that he thought TfL should be spending more money on providing new ranks and that Westminster would be more than willing to help.
Surprisingly Steve McNamara and Mike Galvin both left before the end of the meeting.
Taxi leaks have been informed that other factions of the private hire industry have been invited to meet with the transport committee on the 17th of this month in regards to the inquiry.
It appears that everyone can see the problems that Apps are causing the Taxi & private Hire trades in London, LTDA, LPCHA, Westminster Council and various others who were giving evidence today agree that TFL are failing both trades, they have failed to appoint enough ranks even though Westminster Council say that they would welcome more ranks.
Everyone accept TFL can see the problems that illegal touting cause our trade and the innocent travelling public, everyone accept TFL and the Metropolitan Police who try to divert the heat away from themselves by putting there blame on the London Taxi Trade.
Inspector Julian Collinson stated that many victims did not know if they got in a touts car or a London Taxi which is an outrageous statement, obviously London Taxis are easily recognisable by the shape of the vehicle and the fact that they have a For Hire light on their roofs, I would suggest that he means they were not sure if they got in a touts car or a private hire vehicle as the 2 of them could easily be mistaken.
Garret Emerson commented on the Inside Out program last night that the travelling public did not know the difference between a taxi and private hire car and to cite that as the reason that touting is so rife in London is pathetic, Garrett, the problem is LACK OF ENFORCEMENT, enforcement which is TFL’s responsibility.
The whole problem is that TFL are not only Total Failing London, but they are also failing both the Taxi and Private Hire trades, trades that they charge a fortune for licensing.