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Women’s taxi safety fears increase after peers give go-ahead to deregulation clause

22/10/2014

Unite Press Release Wednesday 22 October 2014

Women’s safety when they use taxis and private hire vehicles was put in jeopardy when the House of Lords agreed a proposal that that will mean they could be collected by a ‘rogue’ operator  when they ordered a minicab.

Unite, the country’s largest union which represents many taxi drivers, condemned the decision by the peers to agreed clause 12 of the Deregulation Bill which will allow firms to sub-contract bookings to operators in a different district.

Unite said that that, in effect, this meant that a fare would be picked by a ‘rogue’ driver, at a time when – according to a Local Government Association survey –  80 per cent of women said they would  be concerned if they were collected by a minicab from a different firm from the one they had originally booked with.

Unite national taxi rep Tommy McIntyre said: “Public safety, especially as it affects women, has been seriously jeopardised by this decision which is a victory for the free market ideologues of this Tory-led government. Market forces should not be come before the safety of the public.

“In London, there are 25 sexual assaults by minicab drivers every week – last year, there were 287 assaults. We fear that this decision could mean that the number of assaults will dramatically increase in the capital and across the UK.

“We call on MPs to seriously rethink this issue when the bill returns to the House of Commons.”

Unite and other taxi trade unions, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the Survivors Trust, all 19 police commissioners, the Institute of Licensing, and the Local Government Association (LGA) had all opposed 12 clause

Lords Division Results

More…

Unite Campaign Victory: Government Clime-down On Taxi Deregulation

London’s Cabbies Take Their Fight To City Hall

London Taxi Drivers Demonstration 24th September 2014

Join Unite online

New minicab law ‘would put women at risk’

20/10/2014

 

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From the Independent

Safety charities, the police and taxi drivers oppose coalition’s proposed relaxation of rules

JANE MERRICK POLITICAL EDITOR Sunday 19 October 2014

Ministers will come under fresh pressure this week not to ease rules on minicabs, a relaxation that safety campaigners say would endanger vulnerable women.

The Government has quietly dropped one of the controversial measures in its Deregulation Bill, clause 10, which would have allowed anyone, even without a private-hire licence, to drive a minicab when it is “off duty”. The change could have enabled sexual predators to pass themselves off as taxi drivers.

Yet, with the bill set to be debated in the House of Lords this Tuesday, ministers are ploughing ahead with two other contentious measures: extending a minicab licence permit from one to two years, which opponents say would make it more difficult for councils to carry out checks on drivers; and a clause that would allow private-hire operators to subcontract a booking to another operator in a different local authority area.

Concerns about the licensing of private-hire taxis have been heightened by the Rotherham abuse scandal, as many of the abusers used minicabs to ferry their victims around the town.

The Shadow Transport Secretary, Mary Creagh, said it was important that the Government dropped the entire package of deregulation of private-hire licensing, because of the increased risk it could cause vulnerable women and girls. The Local Government Association (LGA) added: “Our own opinion polling shows that 80 per cent of women would be concerned if they booked a journey with one firm and a different one turned up.”

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 17 police and crime commissioners from all parties, the National Private Hire Association, the National Taxi Association, Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid are all against the measures in the Bill. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust says that sexual predators commonly pose as legitimate minicab drivers.

Ms Creagh said: “We welcome the Government’s climbdown on their disastrous proposal to deregulate taxis, which would have put women’s safety at risk. However, ministers are still pressing ahead with their risky plans to loosen taxi licensing and allow cabs to work out of area, which Labour, alongside safety charities, has opposed.

“Ministers need urgently to review these final two measures and we repeat our offer to work with them to get the rogues off the road.”

In her report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, Alexis Jay concluded that “one of the common threats running through child sexual exploitation across England has been the prominent role of taxi drivers in being linked to children who were abused”. She argued against any weakening of regulations.

After clause 10 was dropped last week, Ann Lucas, the chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “When people get into a taxi, they put their trust in the fact that the person driving the car has been vetted and licensed and that it is safe to be in a vehicle with them – especially if they are travelling alone. The Government should also now delete the two remaining taxi clauses in the Deregulation Bill.”

The Government’s clauses do not apply to London, where private-hire licensing is regulated by Transport for London.

Ends.

More…

Unite Campaign Victory: Government Clime-down On Taxi Deregulation

London’s Cabbies Take Their Fight To City Hall

London Taxi Drivers Demonstration 24th September 2014

Join Unite online

French court fines Uber car service 100,000 euros

17/10/2014

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(Reuters) – A Paris court fined the French subsidiary of U.S. app-based ride service Uber 100,000 euros ($128,000) on Thursday for fraudulent business practices after it advertised its paid transportation service UberPop as a car pool.

UberPop, which the private company launched about a year ago in Paris, links private drivers with passengers. Called a "ride-sharing solution" by Uber, the service is now available in five other French cities.

The court ordered that Uber post Thursday’s ruling on its websites.

The San Francisco start-up said in a statement it would continue to operate UberPop while it appeals parts of the decision.

"This decision does not call into question the service," Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal told Reuters. "They just have to set the conditions in which we can do it."

Courts in Germany have banned UberPop and the company’s low-cost limousine pick-up service UberBlack, saying their drivers do not comply with German law for the commercial transport of passengers.

Uber, which is available in 43 countries and was recently valued at $18 billion, has faced disputes with taxi operators and regulatory issues in many cities where it operates, including in San Francisco.

Taxi drivers in Paris blocked traffic into the city centre in a protest against Uber in June, action duplicated in London, Berlin and Madrid.

(Reporting By Chine Labbe. Writing by Alexandria Sage)

Unite Campaign Victory: Government Clime-down On Taxi Deregulation

15/10/2014

NEWS FROM LABOUR: We welcome the Government’s climb-down on their disastrous proposal to deregulate taxis, which would have put women’s safety at risk

Mary Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the news that the Government have abandoned Clause 10 of the Deregulation Bill, said:

“We welcome the Government’s climb-down on their disastrous proposal to deregulate taxis, which would have put women’s safety at risk. However, Ministers are still pressing ahead with their risky plans to loosen taxi licensing and allowing cabs to work out of area, which Labour, alongside safety charities, has opposed.

“Ministers need urgently to review these final two measures and we repeat our offer to work with them to get the rogues off the road.”

June 2014: Unite cab trade delegation hands in thousands of petition leaflets opposing Government deregulation proposals to Labour MP’s Maria Eagle and Richard Burden

More on Government Deregulation plans

1. On 14 October DfT dropped Clause 10 from the Deregulation Bill

Clause 10 would have enabled people who don’t hold a private hire vehicle license to drive one when it is “off duty”. Safety campaigners and local government had warned this reform has the potential to increase the number of unlicensed drivers pretending to be legitimate.

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/deregulation.html

2. The Government failed to publish an Impact Assessment until 8 months after the reforms were proposed

The taxi and minicab reforms were added to the Deregulation Bill in March 2014. But the Government didn’t publish an impact assessment on their rushed and risky reforms until Labour asked for one on the 1 October 2014. It confirmed that the reform ‘could lead to an increase in illegal use of licensed vehicles.’

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/ukia/2014/295

3. Campaigners, Police and Crime Commissioners, Local Government and the trade joined Labour in opposing the reforms

Organisations including the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the Survivors Trust, the  Local Government Association, 17 cross-party police and crime commissioners and various industry bodies had opposed the reforms. Labour voted against the clauses in the Deregulation Bill at Report Stage in the Commons and will continue to oppose them in the House of Lords.

4. Remaining Taxi and Minicab Clauses of the Bill

Clause 11 of the Deregulation Bill will end annual license renewal for minicab drivers, which helps licensing authorities recognise changes to a drivers’ convictions or medical status. Clause 12 will enable minicab operators to subcontract a booking to another operator, licensed in a different area. Local licensing officers don’t currently have the powers to enforce safety in respect of vehicles in other areas.

5. Conclusions from Rotherham Report on Taxis and Minicabs

The Inquiry concluded that “one of the common threats running through child sexual exploitation across England has been the prominent role of taxi drivers in being linked to children who were abused.” The Inquiry found that young women in Rotherham immediately and consistently avoided taxis as a form of transport because of safety fears, and issued a clear warning about the poor enforcement powers of local licensing officers. The author of the Independent Inquiry into Rotherham, Alexis Jay OBE, has warned against attempt to water down taxi and minicab reforms.

http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham

See also…

London’s Cabbies Take Their Fight To City Hall

London Taxi Drivers Demonstration 24th September 2014

TPH Notice 09/14 – Victoria Station late night taxi rank trial

13/10/2014

Following recent taxi trade demonstrations Transport for London have issued the following notice to the trade.

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13 October 2014

On Monday 20 October 2014 a one month trial of a marshalled taxi rank will begin at Victoria Station on Terminus Place between the hours of midnight and 4am daily.

This trial has been permitted on condition of taxi drivers following the guidance set out in this notice. Unfortunately if drivers are found not following the information in this notice it is highly likely that the trial will be terminated earlier than one month without further notice. Should no issues arise during the one month trial period it is possible an extended trial will be permitted.

The temporary marshalled taxi rank will go-live on Monday 20 October 2014 and will be for up to five taxis.

It is important that taxis do not over-rank or attempt to access the rank outside of the marshalled hours as in recent months there have been significant issues at the station including drivers ignoring the banned left turn signage; bus station staff and bus drivers receiving verbal abuse and threats, taxi and bus passengers being put at risk and, in one instance, a vehicle accident. This has led to ongoing health and safety concerns for taxi and bus passengers and
drivers.

For the trial to be successful it is important that all taxi drivers observe the following:

  • Follow the instructions of the marshals at all times during the marshalled hours of 00:00 to 04:00
  • Do not attempt to access Terminus Place outside the marshalled hours  under any circumstances
  • Do not attempt to access Terminus Place if the rank is already full  during the marshalled hours
  • Do not enter into any disputes or arguments with any staff or the general public
  • Only leave Terminus Place via Buckingham Palace Road and not via the bus lanes in Terminus Place

During the trial the marshalled taxi rank will be monitored to determine whether it is operating successfully and whether arrangements can continue, on an extended trial, for a longer period. The location will also be monitored outside the marshalled hours to ensure drivers do not attempt to access the rank. If  buses, coaches or other works vehicles in the area are impeded by taxis it is  possible that the trial period will be terminated early.

Camera and on-street enforcement will remain in place to prevent issues with over-ranking or use of the banned left turn outside the marshalled hours.

During the trial taxi drivers are only permitted to make the left turn from  Buckingham Palace Road into Terminus Place between 00:00 and 04:00. Taxi drivers making the left turn outside of these times may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

All drivers using the late night taxi rank are kindly asked to observe the terms and conditions set out in this notice in order to help ensure the trial is not terminated early and to increase the likelihood of an extended trial which could benefit taxi drivers and passengers.

Thank you for your cooperation.
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SCOTTISH DRIVERS VOTE YES ON NEW TX4!

13/10/2014

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The London Taxi Company press release 09/10/14

The London Taxi Company has had a massive vote of confidence with Scottish sales continuing  steadily throughout the peak registration plate season, with added confidence provided by the 4 year extended warranty now available on new TX4s.

Mr Webster, an Edinburgh cab driver and LTC customer for more than 40 years, commented on his new 64 plate TX4, “It’s much superior to the models I’ve had before. It’s quicker, more solid and generally nicer to drive. The suspension feels better too.”

Feedback from drivers on reasons behind their purchase of the new TX4 has centred on the four year extended warranty available with the current finance deal, rather than price or affordability

The option to extend the 4 year, 120,000 mile vehicle warranty up to 180,000 miles over the same term has proved to be a winner north of the border.

James Dennison, UK Retail General Manager, said: “Given the mileage that double or triple shifted TX4s go through in Scotland, it’s unsurprising that the drivers have responded so positively to the extended warranty option. It’s all about providing them with peace of mind, not just at point of purchase but throughout their ownership of the vehicle.  With our current deal, they also have the option of upgrading or handing the vehicle back after the four years too, so they get security without restrictions – the best of both worlds.RB pic

The London Taxi Company team have an office at both Paton & Son dealerships and recently recruited new Customer Relationship Executive, Roger Buchanan (right), who splits his time between 
both sites. Roger works in Edinburgh on Monday and Tuesdays, and on Wednesday and Thursdays he works from the Paton & Son dealership in Glasgow.

James added: “It is critical that we have a sustained and consistent presence in Scotland.  
It is a vital market for us, not least because we have a mass of loyal customers there already.

Roger is an excellent addition to our team and I know that he is already enjoying getting to know 
the trade, the industry and our customers.”

To make an appointment or talk about new TX4 call Roger on 07813 457446 or email him at
glasgow@london-taxis.co.uk or edinburgh@london-taxis.co.uk

London’s cabbies take their fight to City Hall

08/10/2014

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ITF press release

Unite the Union’s London cab section and the LTDA (Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association) took part in protest action outside City Hall between 10-11am on 8 October.

Representatives from the ITF also participated. The main focus of the action was to protest unregulated competition in London and to highlight the Mayor of London’s lack of enforcement of existing taxi and private hire regulations, including allowing the Uber app – which undermines existing regulations – to be licensed as a private hire operator. Uber’s fare system is currently being challenged in the court. Labour member of the GLA (Greater London Authority) and Vice-Chair of the Transport Committee, Val Shawcross came out to attend the protest. At 11am, a delegation from Unite and the ITF met with Val Shawcross and several other members of the GLA and stressed that Uber needs to be suspended in London like in some other cities globally. This action follows previous protest action in London in September and June 2014.

Unite press release

ITF Photos

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