London’s Largest Satellite Office

Article from the May edition of private hire and courier magazine.

Click on image to enlarge

The new mini-cab rank come feeder park will open this month at O2 centre in Greenwich. Mini-cab companies will be charged a fee of £2.00 to use the so called waiting facility for their pre-booked jobs. It will become London’s largest satellite office and would you believe it, they are employing professionally trained security guards to protect it from mini -cab touts!

This venue will be another jewel in the crown for the private hire industry and another stab in the back for licensed taxi drivers. Yet again TfL and the Metropolitan Police Farce have their fingerprints all over the deal.

This is the newly created model and the way forward for private hire to circumnavigate the 1998 Private Hire (London Act) and it’s the clubs belief that TfL have bent over backwards to help achieve this. It is our belief this model will be rolled out to all other major venues if it is seen as a success, which it will be! I wonder if the Olympic stadium is being designed to incorporate this facilility ? You can bet your bottom dollar private hire have been consulted over transportation facilities at the new stadium.

It’s becoming more and more evident  there is some kind of TfL strategy in place that we know nothing about. We are now witnessing the careful dissection of the London taxi industry. TfL since its inception has victimised the licensed cab trade by virtually holding it down with constraints while private hire has raped our industry. They have tried to force harmonisation upon us and have been robust in helping private hire find its feet.

Whatever gave mini-cabs the right to pick up from a rank? We had to endure hardship and three years on the knowledge for this privilege. Maybe if the people making the decisions that will affect the long term future of our industry were to complete the first twenty runs of the bluebook, remember them and call them over for a month (all to be done in their own time). Then maybe they could begin to understand why we feel so passionate about our jobs. It’s not all about money; it’s about being a part of  something that has been synonymous with London for 300 years. We have been undermined for far too long and tarred with a brush by people that are ignorant of what it means to us to be London cab drivers. It seems that there are many out there that begrudge us a living!

Yes, changes are needed, but is part of  TfL’s strategy that we be no more than a novelty sighting for tourists in the future? Because if we don’t start to bite back this could well become a stark reality!

Never in the history of the London cab trade has the future looked so ominous. The radio circuits have sold out to private hire, their systems are infested with mini-cab bookings. Their idea of competing with private hire is to provide a cheaper mini-cab for the customer booked through their own systems. How can this be beneficial to the radio circuit driver, or our industry? It’s nothing less than cab trade treason!

When was the last time you read anything from the self proclaimed gatekeepers of our industry supporting our trade organisations in their ongoing battle to stave off the onslaught from the private hire industry ?….. Zip, Nada, NOTHING! The time has come to rally and cut out the cancer that is slowly killing off  the licensed taxi trade in London!

This new ranking area and the latest assault by BAA /Addison Lee at Heathrow should be enough to get through to the very thickest skinned  cab driver, that there’s a limited future to our industry as we know it unless we make ourselves loud and very visible ! It’s getting less and less feasible to invest outrageous sums of money in a new vehicle when our livelihoods and futures are under threat by TfL accommodating private hire with whatever they ask for!


Additional photo’s.  Alan Mac

Click on image

10 thoughts on “London’s Largest Satellite Office

  1. As long as i take me money I’m o. k, (mini cabs at Heathrow) I may take me money I’m o. k, (mini cabs at the 02) It’s getting harder to take me money now.

    Could it be mini cabs at the Olympic arena with a rank, toilets, shower and eating facilities, mini cabs at Wembley stadium with rank, mini cabs at the Royal Albert Hall with rank, at Olympia, Earls Court, Wimbledon, every theatre, every main line train station, shopping centre, football stadium, restaurant, bar, club, and wherever the public are, the mini cabs will demand a rank.

    I can’t take me money now, I’ve been Shafted Goodandproper, I can’t pay £ 700 pound a month for my cab any more, I can’t pay my mortgage, my wife and children have left me and a local mini cab driver lives in my house now, what can I do?

    Well, I hope to enlighten you, you’ve got two options, 1 bend over, touch you’re toes, and smile, and say I’ve been Shafted Goodandproper,or fight back and take a stance, turn up at the demo, with all your mates, family and friends, the demo is open to ALL. No more sitting back and whinging and moaning pointing fingers, slagging one another off, this is your job, this is our job, this is my job, GOD DAMN IT, get off you’re butts and do, and remember, remember, remember,


    • Gentlemen, and ladies. It is great that you all seem so anxious over this story, and you are right to do so.
      But this has not just happened. We have sat back and allowed our radio circuits to use our subscriptions to aquire their own fleets of private hire vehicles. ( as long as we took our money! )
      And when I shouted from the roof tops that Dial A cab should not be setting up their own mini cab booking office, I was demonised in Callsign and many drivers accepted their opinion and I was branded……. (“a troublemaker”!) (“as long as they took their money”! )
      Now DaC have a whole floor staffed by employees who’s wages are paid by drivers subs just to book mini cabs!

  2. Yet again we have had the arse ripped out of us. Don’t no what else to say, Im lost for words. If this dont get drivers out of their seats and off their arse’s then we might as well throw the towel in .well done great article Mr Thomas

  3. Radio Taxis, pioneers of the “one stop shop” couldn’t wait to get rid of drivers to buy up their worthless shares. Now they’re tripping over their own feet trying to recruit them back on the circuit. DaC have next to no work at all going into licensed taxis.
    Radio circuits and the selfishness of those in privileged positions are directly responsible for many of the problems we are faced with today.Their greed, arrogance and sheer contempt these people have shown for the taxi drivers that put their trust in them is beyond comprehension.The involvement of radio circuits with PH is contributing and accelerating the demise of the licensed cab trade. We have to get organised and fight back if we are to survive!

    Their business plan and the one stop shop was meant to lead us to the promised land. We can all see where it has led us now………

    (“UP SHIT CREEK !!!!!”)

  4. We have to go to boris and demand that we are returned to the met police. Tfl will kill us off within 10 years. Let’s stop shrugging our shoulders and moaning and get active. If your mates won’t get involved, nag them untill they join a demo. If you bury your head in the sand and leave your bum in the air, it could get very painfull for you. And if you can’t sit down, you can’t work. All green badge drivers need to fight back NOW. If you work heathrow that includes you aswell.

  5. Heathrow, The O2, DaC and concierge, RTG One Stop Shop, Satellite Offices, TfL/PCO, Fiat TW200 and the licensing of vehicles that are clearly fit the description of a taxi, either by design or appearance! Stickers for our windows, the disappearance of vehicle inspection manual version 4 , vehicle inspection fee increase, implementation of age limit to taxis in service, assaults on cab drivers by touts, the flagrant breaches of the PH Act, Traffic systems that are cause chaos, road narrowing, a standard of law enforcement you would expect to find in some corrupt uncivilised republic somewhere, courts that hand out ineffective judgements that serve little or no deterrent to touting offenders.
    When was the last time a satellite office tout was given more than a slap on the wrists? TfL’s involvement with PH.

    TfL are meant to be the licensing authority, not a lobbying service to the PH industry. TfL appear to be bending over backwards to help PH get around the 1998 PH legislation.

    Come on guys and girls, wade in ! John Mason visits all of the websites, so let him and the other protagonists of the PH industry know how pissed of we all are !

  6. This has gone on for far too long, Lets get a demo sorted and bring London to a complete standstill by blocking all the bridges from Tower Bridge to Battersea Bridge for 2 hours!

    Then after the two hours all cabs head to TFL and park up around the building for an hour!


  7. No,No,No, this can’t be true never, our radio circuits giving our work to the enemy, this is darn right preposterous.

    These radio circuits were set up by taxi drivers for the benefit of taxi drivers some 50 years ago, I can’t believe they would do such a thing.

    So who would be making money out of this idea,anybody know ?

  8. Drivers need to take some responsibility too. We have sat back took our dough and shrugged our shoulders.
    We are going into this recession with our eyes closed.

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