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Long serving unite member Fred Housgo responds to Leon Daniels’ recent letter to the London taxi trade

02/12/2012

TfL’s latest notice

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Earlier this month Leon Daniels, Managing Director Surface Transport wrote to every licensed taxi driver outlining the commitments made by the Mayor in his manifesto including the proposal to set up a „Cabbies Cabinet‟.
The “Cabbies Cabinet” would provide a regular forum for the Mayor and TfL to meet with taxi drivers/associations to discuss trade issues. The established trade associations will continue to be represented, however a high proportion of drivers are not represented by any trade association but might wish to have a voice.
Over 100 responses have been received so far but there is still time left for drivers to comment on the proposal for the “Cabinet” and how it should be organised. The Mayor is keen to hear the views of as many taxi drivers as possible on how the Cabbies Cabinet should be constituted. For example; how many members should there be, how often should it meet, and how will it communicate with the trade?
Please let us know your views on this issue via cabbiescabinet@tfl.gov.uk or write to us at TfL London Taxi and Private Hire, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, 4th Floor – Yellow Zone, Southwark, London SE1 8NJ.
The closing date for comments is Sunday 9 December 2012 after which all responses will be considered and recommendations will be made to the Mayor.
Thank you.

John Mason
Director Taxi and Private Hire

Fred’s letter to Leon Daniels

Dear Mr Daniels – re your letter 192/24679 regarding your post Olympic Games analysis, which appears to be totally at odds with the experiences of the vast majority of London taxi drivers, but I’ll let that pass.

Now we come to your Cabbies Cabinet – a patronising and condescending name if ever there was one. Cabbie is the sort of phrase I associate with the habitués of the St James’ Club members. However, if by setting up a licensed cab drivers committee are you suggesting it will have real power? I doubt it. But let’s for a moment suggest that I could offer some advice that you’ll take.

It should have the power to negotiate cab fares – for example, if we overcharge we lose custom; if we undercharge we can’t cover our costs. Would it be possible for this committee to demand the restitution of our ‘extra persons’ charge, to regain rate 3 to start at 8pm all week and that rate 2 is only used on Saturday and Sunday? Will we be able to censure the head of the Carriage Office, involve ourselves with the CO’s budget, demand a counter at Palestra House 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday for cab drivers to have proper access to the organisation that allegedly runs it? I can almost hear the laughter from your office.

Let me be frank, I think your ‘Cabbies Cabinet’ is an instrument for allowing the cab trade to blow off steam and nothing more. If you are genuinely serious about a strong, confident, financially sound licensed taxi trade for London then the only way forward is a strong, well-founded series of checks and balances to which the licensed tax trade can contribute, knowing that what it demands after proper negotiations will be implemented.

I would be interested in your response.

Fred Housego – badge no. 19888

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