PHC TAKES A LOOK AT THE STORIES THAT HAVE MADE THE HEADLINES OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES. THIS MONTH IN MARCH 2005.
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER WINS SEATBELT CASE – London’s minicab drivers finally got the proof they needed that they did not have to wear a seatbelt when they have a fare-paying passenger on board.
A prosecution case against PHV driver Daniel Olev was withdrawn at Horseferry Road magistrates court after he quoted from the exemption section of the 1993 Motor Vehicle Regulations Act, which stated that cabbies do not have to wear a seatbelt while they are, “Being used to carry a passenger for hire.”
COURIER COURT THREAT – Former despatch rider Martin Mubanga said he was looking to take the UK government to court over his abduction and alleged ill treatment at the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay.
The former London motorbike courier had been arrested in Afghanistan, while allegedly fighting for the Taliban. But Mr Mubanga said he had lost his passport after he fled Pakistan following the invasion by Ame-rica on the hunt for Osama bin Lad-en.
The despatch rider was finally released from Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay in 2005 and said: “I’m back in London but it’s so hard to adjust.”
TAXI RICKSHAW BAN PLAN REJECTED – The London Assembly transport committee rejected a plea by the hackney carriage trade to get rid of the capital’s rickshaw riders.
Bob Oddy, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: “They are death traps which can tip over if they touch the kerb or take corners ar speed. Licensing won’t make any difference at all – we want them all banned.”
The London Assembly’s transport committee disagreed however and recommended the 350-strong trade should be licensed and regulated.
Committee chairman Murad Qureshi said: “Rickshaws provide a welcome and colourful addition to the landscape of the West End and that’s how it should stay. I do not think they should be banned outright.”
Bug Bugs – London’s first pedicab company – put its support behind the LA decision and trustee Logan Townsend (opposite) said: “We are delighted the authorities are taking us seriously and have taken the time to get a balanced view.”
EYESIGHT COURT VERDICT – Colin Basset (opposite) was stripped of his livelihood after he lost his appeal against Transport for London’s (TfL’s) decision to revoke his private hire licence because of problems with his vision.
Colin’s eyes, with glasses, were nearly perfect, but one of them failed to meet the DVLA Group 2 criteria when he wasn’t wearing spectacles.
TfL’s lawyer said he, “couldn’t show discretion” even though Colin had never driven without his glasses in an accident-free seven year private hire career.
The licensing authority however was not satisfied with just kicking a man to the ground and asked the magistrates to award a substantial sum of legal costs against the private hire driver.
Outside the court, Colin told PHC: “That’s the end of my cabbing career as far as I am concerned. It’s simply unbelievable and I cannot believe that they have taken my livelihood away.”
‘IS IT A BIRD, IS IT A PLANE? NO IT’S A SUPERDUKE!’ – PHC bike reviewer Ian Kerr took the KTM for a spin and liked it a lot! “The Superduke has all the attributes to be the top dog in the naked ‘street-fighter’ class that is the fastest growing segment of the bike market.
The power is smooth and progressive from just a twist of the wrist and there is an almost telepathic connection between the throttle and rear wheel at all times.
“And despite its civilised nature, it will provide an exciting ride on the open road and top 140mph, providing you can hang on tightly enough to deal with the wind pressure at these speeds.
“Take it into a set of challenging bends, such as the coastal and mountain roads at the Spanish launch in Fuerteventura and you start to fully realise why the bike was built.”
CHAUFFEUR CON WARNING – Steve Garelick of Central Chauffeur Services asked PHC to alert its readers after a woman from Nigeria tried to scam him for thousands of pounds for a chauffeur booking for a non-existant Nigerian professor.
Steve said: “I am really concerned that other companies might be placed in the same predicament and I can’t sit by and watch other firms be defrauded.”
COURIER AWARDS – National Courier Awards celebrated its 10th anniversary and event organiser Tracey Worth said: “This year’s award ceremony was a gala-packed evening to celebrate the high levels of achievement within the sameday courier industry. This tenth year has been a very special one indeed.”
TFL CAB-BIKE LICENCE U-TURN – The Public Carriage Office (PCO) backed down and agreed to licence the passenger bike services run by the capital’s private hire companies after a hard-hitting campaign by PHC. Thirteen riders from four firms had faced the dole queue after the licensing authority said: “We’re not convinced that motorcycle taxi services are safe.” But, London Executive passenger bike rider Jonathan Brooks contacted PHC for help and the PCO, after an, “editorial kneecapping”, agreed to tweak the licence conditions of the 1998 Private Hire (London) Act.