PHC TAKES A LOOK AT THE STORIES THAT HAVE MADE THE HEADLINES OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS. THIS MONTH IN – OCTOBER 2015
RICKSHAW GROPER – A London pedicab driver was accused of groping a young woman after he offered her a free ride in his rickshaw.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard that Mohammed Hossain (35) from Plaistow, East London, assaulted a female clubber after he saw her crying in the street and volunteered to take her home for no charge.
Police officers saw the woman struggling to get out of the pedicab near to the British Museum and gave chase as Hossain tried to escape. He was arrested a short distance away. Hossain was found guilty and jailed for six months.
CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE – The London private hire trade faced a raft of anti-competitive proposals as Transport for London came under pressure from the taxi trade, the London Assembly and the 2016 mayoral candidates to ‘do something’ about Uber.
Possible rule changes included: an English language test and a ‘mini knowledge’ requirement for PHV drivers / PHV operators to have a landline / PHV drivers to only work for one operator at a time and the scrapping of satellite office licences.
The above proposals were to be put out to consultation and PHC warned PHV operators and drivers that they must respond if they did not want TfL’s rule changes to become law. Nothing is yet set in stone, but it is vital for the London PHV trade to understand that TfL is under extreme pressure to take action against Uber.
“It is important for operators and drivers to persuade TfL that the trade will not be shackled with uncompetitive new rules just because the taxi drivers want it so.”
This plea fell on deaf ears and many of the changes subsequently made it into the TfL PHV rule book.
MAYOR PROPOSES LONDON WHITE VAN LIMIT – The number of delivery vehicles faced being capped after mayor Johnson claimed the rise of internet shopping had led to an increase in traffic congestion.
Mr Johnson said: “Commercial vehicles delivering goods bought online are clogging up the capital’s roads. We think that by 2031 there will be a 20 per cent increase in white van traffic just because of internet shopping.
“It’s a big technical problem. Internet shopping is creating more traffic and we need to address it.”
POLICE ISSUE TAXI ‘FIGHT’ APPEAL – The Metropolitan Police issued a number of CCTV pictures after a security guard was allegedly assaulted after taxi drivers stormed the London Assembly building during a tense and heated mayor’s question time.
Detective chief Andy Barnes said: “I am asking the taxi driver community to reject and stand up against this behaviour, which undermines the hard-working and law-abiding majority who wish to see protests remain peaceful.
“These individuals must not be allowed to commit further acts of violence and the Met will respond robustly where it needs to.”
GMB SEEK UBER EMPLOYMENT RULING – The GMB union started proceedings against Uber in a bid to recover underpayment of income, compared to the national minimum wage.
Secretary of the GMB’s professional drivers’ branch Steve Garelick said: “A GMB driver working for Uber kept detailed records of time spent driving and his income and his expenditure and earnt just £5.03 per hour.
“This fall in drivers’ income poses a threat to public safety. As driver incomes fall, they have to work more hours to make the same money and fatigue is a huge public safety and occupational risk.”
WHITEHALL TAXI DEMO CHAOS – Roads in Central London around Downing Street were brought to a halt when black cab taxi drivers, family members and supporters staged their latest protest against what they claimed was the incompetent regulation of the cab trade by Transport for London’s taxi and private hire directorate (TPH).
Taxi campaigners argued that TPH was not enforcing the taxi and private hire regulations fairly, which supporters said was: “Decimating the black cab trade in London.”
Knowledge boy Patrick McGuiness said: “TfL has created an unfair, unlevel playing field’ We are not happy and we are not going away. And this demonstration is only the start of it.
“This protest is only family and friends. We’re going to see unprecedented levels of demonstrations, highlighting the failings of TfL.”
Cab campaigner Cher Morresey took part in the Whitehall demonstration and said: “My partner is working double his normal hours for just over a third of his normal wage. It is very hard to live.”
TFL PROSECUTE ILLEGAL DRIVERS – Transport for London successfully prosecuted 15 drivers as part of its on-going crackdown on illegal taxi and private hire activity in the capital.
According to a spokesman for Transport for London: “TfL’s compliance team carry out thousands of checks on licensed vehicle and driver licences across London to help keep the public safe and stamp out illegal cab activity. We want touts to be in fear of being arrested.”