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Upcoming London Taxi Rank Suspensions

10/01/2015

Information supplied by TfL 

Rank number
Location
Start date
End date
Events
Notes
4627
Temple Place
Friday 9 January 2015
Sunday 11 January 2015
No
15 metres only on the east side of the shelter to be suspended for construction of a chamber.
 
Shelter fund are aware and the shelter is closed at weekends.
5786
Junction Road (Archway Station)
19.00, Monday 12 January 2015
16.00, Tuesday 13 January 2015
No
2nd portion only of taxi rank to be suspended for removal of asbestos at No. 1 Junction Road.
4492
Lowndes Street (Lowndes Hotel)
08.00, Tuesday 13 January 2015
06.00, Wednesday 14 January 2015
No
Taxi rank to be suspended for carriageway resurfacing.
4364
Millbank (Tate)
07.00, Wednesday 14 January 2015
14.00, Wednesday 14 January 2015
No
Taxi rank suspended at the request of the Metropolitan Police.
 
Taxis to use coach bays to the north of the rank as in previous suspensions.
5652
Tooley Street (More London)
22.30, Tuesday 13 January 2015
06.00, Wednesday 14 January 2015
No
Taxi rank to be suspended for utility works in the carriageway.
4762
Hamilton Place (3rd portion of Hilton Hotel)
Monday 12 January 2015
Monday 12 January 2015
No
3rd portion only of Hilton Hotel to be suspended from 12.00 – 13.30, 17.30 – 18.30 and 20.30 – 21.00, for arrivals and departure of the US Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and support staff coaches
 
The police and security staff will be in attendance at all times.
 
All other taxi ranks will be unaffected at all times.
4762
Hamilton Place (3rd portion of Hilton Hotel)
Tuesday 13 January 2015
Tuesday 13 January 2015
No
3rd portion only of Hilton Hotel to be suspended from 09.00 – 10.00 and 12.00 – 15.30., for arrivals and departure of the US Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and support staff coaches.
 
The police and security staff will be in attendance at all times.
 
All other taxi ranks will be unaffected at all times.
4762
Hamilton Place (3rd portion of Hilton Hotel)
Wednesday 14 January 2015
Wednesday 14 January 2015
No
3rd portion only of Hilton Hotel to be suspended from 08.30 – 09.30, 13.00 – 15.00 and 20.00 – 21.00, for arrivals and departure of the US Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and support staff coaches.
 
The police and security staff will be in attendance at all times.
 
All other taxi ranks will be unaffected at all times.
4762
Hamilton Place (3rd portion of Hilton Hotel)
Thursday 15 January 2015
Thursday 15 January 2015
No
3rd portion only of Hilton Hotel to be suspended from 08.30 – 09.30 and 17.30 – 18.30, for arrivals and departure of the US Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and support staff coaches.
 
The police and security staff will be in attendance at all times.
 
All other taxi ranks will be unaffected at all times.
4762
Hamilton Place (3rd portion of Hilton Hotel)
Friday 16 January 2015
Friday 16 January 2015
No
3rd portion only of Hilton Hotel to be suspended from 06.00 – 07.30, for the departure of the US Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and support staff coaches.
 
The police and security staff will be in attendance at all times.
 
All other taxi ranks will be unaffected at all times.

Bradford cabbies could face tougher English language test

02/01/2015

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by Claire Wilde

CABBIES in the Bradford district could face a tougher English language test under new rules being put forward to raise standards in the trade.

Read on the Telegraph & Argus website

New drivers will be expected to be able to chat about things like the weather or the local area before they are given a licence, if Bradford Council’s proposals are approved.

There would also be new measures to clamp down on drivers exploiting a legal loophole so they can avoid Bradford’s spot safety checks.

But it would be cheaper and easier to put adverts on cabs, and a host of other licensing fees would be cut.

The measures, which look set to be approved at a meeting next week, have had a mixed reception from the district’s cabbies, with some saying the rules are too onerous on private hire firms, and others saying they don’t go far enough.

In the current English language test, would-be cabbies are asked to read a paragraph from a book and write a receipt for a theoretical journey.

But the new rules would see this replaced with a conversation test for all new drivers.

A Council report says possible questions could include: ‘What do you think of the weather recently?’, ‘Where did you take your last customer?’ or ‘How do you get from A to B?’.

It says: "The answers are not the focus, the focus is to ensure the applicant understands English and has contributed to a communication in English at a basic level."

The authority is also planning to lower many of its fees, noting that the taxi and private hire licensing service made a £30,000 surplus in 2013/14.

Another proposal is an attempt to tighten up a legal loophole that allows drivers to get licenses from other councils, meaning they aren’t subject to stringent Bradford Council checks.

In November, the T&A highlighted the problem of dozens of drivers holding these out-of-district licenses, with many of them coming from Rossendale in rural Lancashire.

The practice is entirely legal – hackney carriages licensed for one area can lawfully operate as private hire cars anywhere else.

But it means Bradford’s licensing enforcement officers, who carry out spot safety checks on cabs, have no jurisdiction over these drivers.

Licensing officers also believe many of these drivers are not declaring to their insurance provider that they work in Bradford, to avoid paying the city’s high insurance premiums.

Now private hire firms taking on drivers with out-of-district plates will be expected to check they are up-to-date on all their safety tests, and properly insured to ply their trade in Bradford.

Khurram Shehzad, chairman of the Bradford Private Hire Liaison Service, said this placed too much responsibility on private hire operators, and not enough on drivers.

But he welcomed the idea of a tougher English test.

He said: "It is in the interests of the public, because some drivers may know how to drive but when they have a customer in the car they can’t have a conversation.

"The public do ask for certain drivers. They say, ‘We want a driver that can speak English’. You do get requests like that."

Shabir Munir, committee member on the Hackney Carriage Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, welcomed efforts to clamp down on drivers getting licenses from elsewhere.

But he said the difficulty level of the English test would have to be set very carefully.

He said: "It’s a very fine line. If they make it too hard, then people will go to Rossendale and get licenses from there, and if they make it too easy, they lose customer service."

Stuart Hastings, chairman of the Keighley Private Hire Association, said: "It’s not enough. What they are doing there is nothing."

Mr Hastings called for a much wider tightening of the rules, such as a higher minimum age for drivers and a lower maximum age for cars.

He said he would also like to see the Council employ more enforcement officers rather than lower their fees.

He said: "We are licensed by the Council to be public service vehicles, like buses or trains. They should actually look at us more, because there are a lot of times where we are one-to-one with a customer."

The proposals will go before councillors on Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee on Thursday, where they are recommended for approval.

thetelegraphandargus.co.uk

Related.

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

London New Years Day Road Closures

01/01/2015

Various road closures will be in place to allow large crowds to gather for the parade. Road closures will be implemented from 04:00 with Piccadilly eastbound being closed from the underpass and Berkeley Square, including all access to the Square for the form up of the parade.

The parade will travel along Piccadilly from the underpass, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square, Strand and Whitehall.

From 12:00 all access to Parliament Square will be closed, and all roads will be reopened once safe to do so.

WHITEHALL FROM PARLIAMENT SQUARE TO

HORSEGUARDS AVENUE WESTBOUND

WILL BE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC FROM:

6.00AM UNTIL 6.00PM

PICCADILLY WILL BE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC FROM:

6.00AM UNTIL 4.00PM

WHITEHALL WILL BE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC FROM:

8.00AM UNTIL 5.00PM

BERKELEY STREET, BERKELEY SQUARE, STRATTON STREET,

MAYFAIR PLACE, DOVER STREET, ARLINGTON STREET

AND ALL STREETS SURROUNDING THIS AREA

WILL BE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC FROM:

08.00 AM UNTIL 4.00PM

THE PARADE ROUTE – PICCADILLY, PICCADILLY CIRCUS,

LOWER REGENT STREET, WATERLOO PLACE, PALL MALL,

TRAFALGAR SQUARE,  WHITEHALL AND

ALL STREETS SURROUNDING THIS AREA

WILL BE CLOSED FROM:

08.00AM UNTIL 4.00PM

THE PARADE STARTS AT 11.45AM

For more information on this year’s Parade visit London’s New Year’s Day Parade website.

London New Years Eve Road Closures

30/12/2014

Information From TfL

Driving and road closures

image

Roads in central London will start to close to traffic from 14:00 to facilitate the New Year celebrations, with most closures in place from 20:00.

Roads and bridges will be closed as follows:

From 14:00:

  • Westminster Bridge will be closed in both directions
  • Victoria Embankment closed in both directions from Southwark Bridge to Bridge Street
  • Parliament Square, Whitehall and Millbank from Parliament Square to Lambeth Bridge, and Victoria Street from Parliament Square to Buckingham Gate will also be closed
  • The Northbound bus lane on Waterloo Bridge will close – expect slow moving traffic

From 17:00:

  • Closures around Chichley Street and Belvedere Road on the South Side of the Thames

From 20:00:

  • From Vauxhall Bridge Road in the west of London to London Bridge in the east of central London
  • From Oxford Street in the north to Elephant and Castle south of the river

From 22:00:

  • Roads around St. Paul’s, Mansion House and Monument in the City of London will be closed
  • Additional roads to the east at Tower Hill may also need to be closed

All roads used for the New Year’s Eve celebrations will be reopened by 06:00. Where possible and safe to do so roads will be re-opened earlier. However, other roads will be closed in central London from 04:00 to facilitate the New Year’s Day Parade.

ENDS

TfL Private Hire Regulations Review

24/12/2014

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Private Hire Regulations Review

This notice provides an update on our plans to consult on potential revisions to private hire regulations.
The private hire operator, driver and vehicle regulations were made following the introduction of private hire licensing starting in 2001. TfL has identified a number of areas for consideration to ensure that they remain appropriate and fit for purpose.
The purpose of the consultation is to review various aspects of the existing policy and regulations covering private hire operators, drivers and vehicles, and to invite comments on proposals for change. TfL will then consider in the light of the responses to the consultation what, if any, changes to make to the regulations. The consultation will include:

  • A review of the information required to be captured by a private hire operator before the commencement of each journey
  • A review of licensing of ‘in-venue’ operators and associated requirements
  • Bringing the regulations up to date in the light of advances in technology, where appropriate
  • Proposals to cover temporary events licensing
  • Proposals to restrict the number of trading names permitted to be used in private hire operator licences
  • Proposals to explore and clarify the types of premises that constitute a suitable operating centre
  • Proposals to harmonise the retention period for record keeping and making clear what records an operator is required to retain
  • Proposals to implement an English language requirement for drivers
  • Re-visiting certain aspects of motorcycle licensing proposals
  • A review of records of private hire vehicles and drivers to be retained by licensed operators including clarification on insurance documents to be retained.

These are important issues for private hire operators and drivers and we will be inviting responses to help shape the future of private hire licensing in London.

It is anticipated that the consultation document and how to respond will be launched in Q1 2015.

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From the London Assembly – Future Proof: Taxi and Private Hire Services in London.

16/12/2014

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Executive summary

Over 300,000 journeys are made by taxi or private hire vehicle in the capital every day. Black taxis are one of the oldest and most instantly recognisable icons of London transport and, together with private hire vehicles, form a vital part of the public transport network for both visitors to, and residents of, the city. Taxis and private hire services fill a gap in public transport provision, providing services in places and at times when other forms of public transport are unavailable, and for those who are unable to access buses, the Tube, or trains due to disability or mobility impairment. Taxis and private hire are used by both the highest earning in our society and those on lower incomes, for business and leisure purposes, at every hour of the day and night.
Efforts to modernise taxi and private hire services and meet passenger expectations are being hindered by the lack of a Mayoral strategy for the future of these trades. This makes it difficult for Transport for London (TfL) to regulate the industries efficiently and effectively. Taxi and private hire services form a crucial element of London’s public transport offer, including for some of the most vulnerable passengers, but competition from new technology, and changing passenger demands, are challenging the traditional ways in which these services are delivered. London’s taxi and private hire services will need to evolve to meet these challenges. Failure to address fundamental issues affecting the trades threatens to spark a race to the bottom in terms of standards, putting the travelling public at risk, and threatening London’s reputation as a world leader for these services.

Strategy

The inherent role of the regulator, TfL, is to protect the interests of the travelling public. We call on the Mayor and TfL to preserve the distinction between the licensed taxi and private hire industries, recognising that diversity of choice is critical to meeting passengers’ differing requirements. We need a clear strategy to ensure the survival and prosperity of both of these services, which covers three critical, inter-related areas of public interest: safety, availability and accessibility.

Safety

The Committee heard that more passengers say they always feel safe and secure when travelling by licensed taxi, than private hire vehicle. A lack of supply of licensed taxi and private hire services in some locations may lead people to make unsafe transport choices; this is a particular concern in the context of cab-related sexual assaults and robberies. We call on the Mayor and TfL to develop specific public awareness campaigns on what to look out for when determining if a driver or vehicle is licensed. We also call for a comprehensive signage strategy for both taxi and private hire vehicles, and for open access to data so that tools that use technology to link drivers to vehicle and operator information can be developed.
We believe that cashless payment options would benefit both the industries and their passengers, reducing the risk of crime and removing a barrier to making safer transport choices. TfL, as a regulator, can greatly advance this cause by working constructively with the trades to iron out potential difficulties, explain the wider benefits, and explore options to incentivise a transition towards cashless payment options.

Availability

People often choose to use a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle at times when other public transport is closed, or in locations where other public transport modes are not available, particularly in parts of outer London. Passenger views on availability differ from those of licensed taxi drivers. The Committee heard that there are a number of ways in which TfL could regulate the market more effectively to ensure a better match between supply and demand across the city. In particular, there is a need for better data to inform policy decisions on issues such as sector boundaries, licensing numbers, and rank space provision.
Providing taxi ranks has a number of benefits relating to safety and availability, as well as potentially reducing congestion and vehicle emissions as drivers are not forced to continually drive around to look for work. However, rank provision is chronically underfunded and under prioritised, the process of appointing ranks is too lengthy, and the needs of passengers and drivers are not prioritised when allocating kerb space. We call on the Mayor and TfL to work with the boroughs to improve and increase rank provision, especially in outer London, and to ensure that existing facilities are better publicised.
Taxi driver numbers have remained static for the last decade, while the number of licensed private hire drivers has more than tripled. Some industry experts have questioned whether administration of the Knowledge creates an artificially high barrier to entry for taxi drivers, and, conversely, whether the explosion in private hire driver numbers in th e last decade is because the entry requirements to this market are artificially low. We urge the Mayor and TfL to assess entry requirements into both markets to ensure that they are fit for purpose, that the requirements are relevant to the specific demands of each industry, and to ensure protection for passengers, drivers, and other road users

Accessibility

Large parts of the public transport network are still unusable for many older and disabled Londoners, and taxis and accessible private hire vehicles are a vitally important part of ensuring good quality of life for disabled and older Londoners. Disabled people told us about a range of problems in accessing these services, including taxis not stopping when hailed in the street by disabled people, broken equipment, refusal to carry assistance dogs and insufficient numbers of wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles. Alongside efforts to increase the supply of accessible vehicles, TfL should work with disability campaigners and the trades to improve disability awareness amongst both drivers and booking staff, and adopt a zero tolerance policy towards drivers and operators who discriminate against disabled passengers.

New technology

The rise of new technologies has immense potential to change the way in which transport services are used. There is significant appetite for new technology among both passengers and drivers, especially when it comes to booking and paying. TfL must ensure that it has the regulatory muscle, and the political will, to hold the line against developments which threaten the interests of passengers. An unbalanced market may ultimately lead to a reduction, rather than an expansion, of passenger choice. The Mayor and TfL need to be prepared for the inevitable consequences of a transport environment in which technology is evolving faster than the legislation that is needed to govern its use.

Enforcement

Touting is viewed by both industries as the single biggest enforcement and passenger safety issue affecting the trades. Enforcement numbers are ‘outstandingly low’, compared with other world cities. Trade representatives have raised the possibility of the trades paying higher licence fees if this would guarantee better enforcement, and there are opportunities to improve enforcement through better use of technology.
The Committee is deeply concerned that specific TfL policies, such as those around satellite offices and booking destinations, could be creating more problems than they solve. We urge the Mayor and TfL to re-evaluate their enforcement strategy and to explore ways in which enforcement resources could be increased and better deployed. Current enforcement activity is disjointed due to the different enforcement powers available to police and borough enforcement officers. The strategy should contain specific actions that the Mayor and TfL, along with partner organisations and the trades, will take to ensure that the laws and regulations governing these industries are properly enforced. This should include closer working with the criminal justice system, and lobbying Government for the use of stiffer penalties for touting and greater enforcement powers including vehicle seizure powers.

Governance and Communication

Mass demonstrations on the street and votes of no confidence from trade organisations are not generally indicators of a healthy relationship between industries and their regulators. Effective communication between TfL and the trades is vital to implementing changes to the industry that will benefit passengers, but communication appears to have hit rock bottom in the last year. Many within the industries feel that, at a senior level, TfL is simply not listening to their concerns. The Mayor and TfL urgently need to address the widespread view that they are out of touch with the needs of the industries. TfL’s Taxi and Private Hire Unit’s current structure lays itself open to accusations of an inherent conflict of interests. The Mayor’s office, TfL and the trades should develop and publish a Memorandum of Understanding which clearly sets out terms of reference and defines the respective roles, responsibilities and expectations of each party.

Passenger engagement

Failure to address passenger concerns damages the long term interests of the trades, and TfL’s reputation as their regulator. The ultimate survival of both taxi and private hire industries will depend on them providing the standard of service that passengers want. The public can provide crucial feedback on drivers, operators and organisations that can help detect illegal activity, identify poor behaviours, and provide suggestions for how to improve services. We call for improved systems for passengers to make complaints and give feedback on both taxi and private hire services.

Click here to read the full document. Future Proof: Taxi and Private Hire Services in London

FRANCE 24: Paris taxis set to block traffic in Uber protests

14/12/2014

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Taxi drivers were planning to block the main roadways into Paris on Monday after a court rejected a bid to ban the amateur car service UberPop, while the minicab company continued to battle lawsuits in several other countries.

Click here to read on the FRANCE 24 website with video

Three taxi groups in Paris have called on members to take part in a collective action to disrupt traffic in the city starting on Monday morning to protest what they call illegal competition from the giant web-based taxi company.

Roadways connecting the French capital to Charles De Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly Airport, as well as the western Porte de Saint-Cloud road junction, will be blocked by cabbies starting at 5am.

The move could be a headache for commuters starting one of the last work weeks before the holidays, as well as for travellers flying into or out of the city.

"Join us in large numbers to protect our jobs, the hour is at hand,” Ibrahim Sylla, the president of the Taxis de France association, said in a statement.

It is not the first time French cabbies have rallied against the rise of minicab services, particularly Uber, which uses advanced mobile applications to link passengers to private hire drivers.

The UberPop app goes a step further by using non-professional drivers with their own cars to take on passengers at budget rates.

French taxis participated in a European-wide strike – which included sector workers in the UK, Belgium, Spain and Germany – in June.

However, France’s main Taxi unions were not taking part in Monday’s effort to block Paris roadways. Although the unions maintain that Uber is “an illegal service that should be banned”, it said in a statement that Monday’s action had been poorly planned.

Series of challenges

While Uber appears to have solidly established itself in France, and UberPop appears to have been given a green light, the company has run into roadblocks elsewhere, even in its home state of California.

A Dutch court on December 8 ruled that the UberPop service violates current taxi laws, as had been charged by the country’s ministry of transportation.

On the same day, the city government in New Delhi banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after a passenger accused one of its drivers of rape.

A day later, a judge in Spain also banned Uber’s ride-sharing service, saying it violated laws on fair competition.

Thailand has also ruled Uber illegal, and the service has hit regulatory hurdles in locations fromGermany to San Francisco, where a driver has been charged in an accident leading to the death of a six-year-old girl.

Last week, San Francisco and Los Angeles officials sued Uber for misleading consumers about fees and background checks.

"Uber continues to put consumers at risk by misleading the public about the background checks of its drivers and its unwillingness to ensure that correct fares are charged," Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.

Authorities in Denmark and Norway have also filed complaints against Uber.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

More:

Uber Offered Woman Credit in Response to Sexual Harassment Allegation

London’s cabbies take their fight to city hall

London Taxi Drivers’ Demonstration 24th September 2014

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

Join Unite online

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