What’s your view on the STaN (Safer Transport at Night) initiative? I guess we have to accept that the advertising campaign they are running and targeting at young people to discourage them from using touts when they are going home after a night out is a good move.
Apart from that, how effective is it considering the huge resources it is gobbling up?
We could be forgiven for thinking they have been trying to legalise a lot of the touting rather than policing it. At least, it’s hard to imagine why else they have introduced satellite PH offices and then turn a blind eye to the nightly transgressions of cars plotting up outside the venues and the Clipboard Johnny standing outside, touting business completely against the law.
Then, when they do get off their backsides and take away a licence, as they recently did with Diamond Cars at Abacus, the courts over-rule them. Why? Diamond Cars have been flagrantly transgressing the law ever since they opened their tout office and now they are back, its back to the same old law-breaking modus operandi. Why not? They have been sanctioned by the courts to carry on doing it!
It’s not all bad news though! Over three weekends in September/October there was a concerted effort by all 32 teams of the Safer Transport Command and Community and safety police to sort out the touts. How much did that cost??? They made 140 arrests. With the power of arrest I should think any one of us could have achieved that in the City of London on our own in one night. It’d be like picking cherries.
Now this may surprise some of you. STaN actually won a prestigious, international award at the back end of last year. It was the Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem – Oriented Policing. StaN beat all the other 60 submissions from across the world’s law enforcement agencies to win this award so they must have done things right. Hurrah, they’ve wiped out touting without our noticing. Er, no. They’ve eradicated the hundreds of sexual assaults/rapes that result from touting every year, Er, no again. Sorry chaps, STaN won the award for -wait for it – “reducing bicycle theft in London as set out in The Mayor’s Cycle Security Plan.”
That’s OK then. Don’t worry about touts thieving your living or your wives and daughters being raped by the touts. Your bike is safe with STaN on their game!
Having done their best to dissuade us from serving the Olympics with their daft traffic schemes and making life a lot more difficult for us to do our job, the authorities now want to make sure we do our job properly.
LTPH enforcement officers are going to be out and about checking taxis to make sure they have all the required equipment for carrying the disabled, such as straps, ramps, etc. They will also be questioning drivers to make sure they are aware of their obligations to disabled passengers.
This is to ensure that we provide a top class service to visitors to the Capital during the Games. They first do all in their power to makes it as hard as possible for us to do our job properly and then they want to make sure that we do the job in the way they have made it impossible to do. Are these the same bunch of hairy people that used to do the PG Tips ads?
What I would like the answer to is this. The taxi trade is largely a self-enforcing trade with very little need for enforcement officers and yet they can find enforcement officers to check this kind of stuff. Meanwhile, there are thousands of PH drivers that don’t even know the rules and laws, far less observe them.
Every night we see Clipboard Johnnies blatantly breaking the law by taking on-the-spot bookings outside venues. At the same venues, we see the PH drivers making illegal ranks and breaking parking rules. Meanwhile, people are hailing black look-alike MPVs that are cruising the street and blatantly plying for hire . Then, we have the majority of PH offices breaking the rules by describing their cars as “cabs”. Yet, no enforcement officers can be found to deal with all this.
Here’s an idea. Instead of using those enforcement officers to police what does not need policing, why not send them out at night where they are desperately needed? Yeah, I know, stupid idea! describing their cars as “cabs”. Yet, no enforcement officers can be found to deal with all this.
* Night time compliance team doubles in size to help tackle illegal touting and ensure compliance with licensing regulations
Transport for London (TfL) has today (Tuesday 14 February) confirmed that the dedicated London Taxi and Private Hire Compliance Night Team will more than double in size to meet the increasing demands of dealing with the effects of the night time economy. A further nine dedicated night time compliance officers will be recruited, increasing the size of the team to 16 members of staff.
The night compliance team focuses on ensuring that taxi and private hire licensees work within conditions of their licence. This includes ensuring that private hire operators, particularly those licensed within a venue, are taking bookings correctly and keeping accurate records. The team also works closely with the police to tackle illegal touting.
The team are deployed across London every night of the week, with a particular focus on weekends, to compliment the activity undertaken by the regular compliance team. The night team work with an emphasis on intelligence-led activity in response to specific concerns from the taxi and private hire trades.
As well as ensuring that operators are working legally, the compliance team conduct on-street vehicle and driver checks, taxi rank inspections and participate in multi-agency operations in support of TfL’s Safer Travel team.
Helen Chapman, Deputy Director of London Taxi and Private Hire, said: “I have recently assumed temporary responsibility for the compliance team and am delighted to have secured further resources to bolster this team. They do an excellent job and are out there every night to check that licensees, particularly operators within venues, are playing by the rules, working with other agencies to tackle touting and ensuring that drivers and vehicles are safe to carry passengers.”
John Mason, Director of London Taxi and Private Hire, said: “Introducing a permanent dedicated night team in May 2011 has proven very successful. However it quickly became clear that further resources were needed to carry out this important work. When we are ready to recruit a new Head of Compliance I feel satisfied that they will be able to join an already established team all working in the same direction and with the right tools to do the job”.
Corporate Olympic ticket packages costing £20,000 will let fans use VIP lanes in violation of rules By Glen Owen Last updated at 12:46 AM on 12th February 2012 Comments (92) Share Rich businessmen are being offered the chance to ‘buy’ access to VIP road lanes during the London Olympics for £20,000 a head, an undercover investigation has revealed. Companies including High Street travel chain Thomas Cook stand accused of violating Olympic rules by secretly including use of the fast-track routes in corporate packages.
Customers are being warned to keep the offer ‘really quiet’ because ‘people will say you can buy your way on to the lanes’. Controversy: Two companies have been caught offering paid-for access to VIP lanes for travelling to the Olympics The revelations will increase the controversy over ticket allocations for this summer’s Games, amid claims ordinary people have little chance of securing the best seats – and will face travel chaos as VIPs sweep past on dedicated routes.
A total of 39 miles of roads in London will include a special lane that can only be used by 80,000 accredited members of the ‘Olympic family’, including 10,500 athletes. The Mail on Sunday revealed last year that high-tech sensors are buried in the lanes to ensure that red traffic lights will automatically turn green to speed dignitaries to the stadium.
Experts warn that the express routes will bring chaos to the capital’s roads as thousands are forced into clogged bus lanes. Now two companies have been caught apparently offering paid-for access to the VIP lanes
Changes to taxi arrangements at Paddington Station
From Sunday 12 February 2012 there will be changes in and around Paddington Station, which will allow construction of the Crossrail station to get under way.
· A new taxi rank will open next to the Hammersmith & City line Underground station
· Departures Road and the current taxi rank (on the west side of the station) will be closed permanently
· Eastbourne Terrace will close to all vehicles (including taxis) for about two years
· The entrances on Eastbourne Terrace to and from the mainline station will close until the Crossrail works are complete
Taxi rank changes
A new covered taxi rank will open next to the Hammersmith & City line Underground station. The rank will provide direct access for passengers to and from the mainline station and will be fully accessible.
· Access for taxis to and from the rank will be from Bishop’s Bridge Road using a new junction adjacent to Sheldon Square.
· A small feeder rank will remain on Bishop’s Bridge Road, with a call forward system being introduced to help entry to the new rank.
· There will be a new drop off point within the taxi facility.
· City of Westminster is proposing a larger feeder rank within the Harrow Road gyratory system.
The new taxi rank arrangements at Paddington Station have been agreed as a result of TfL, City of Westminster, Network Rail and the London Taxi Ranks Committee working together.
The Transport for London Board has today (2 February) rejected a proposal to increase taxi fares by 22 per cent during the London 2012 Games.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, had previously described the proposal as a ‘major own goal’ for taxi drivers. And when TfL consulted the taxi trade the vast majority of responses from drivers were also against the increase as they believed it would reflect badly on taxi drivers and discourage custom.
In parallel, the Board has approved a taxi fare increase of 5.3 per cent for the coming year. Taxi fares are subject to an annual review and are calculated using a long-established formula based on the costs associated with working as a licensed taxi driver. The Board also approved a 20 pence increase to the £2.20 ‘flag fall’ – which is the minimum fare applied to the meter when a passenger gets into the taxi. This increase will apply across all tariff bands and is the first increase to this fee since 2005.
In the last year the price of fuel and the cost of insurance have both increased by 16 per cent. The new fares seek to deliver a balance between maintaining income levels for drivers, who face disproportionately high work-related costs compared to other Londoners, whilst ensuring passengers still get value for money for the high quality and unique service provided by the capital’s taxi drivers.
John Mason, Director of Taxi and Private Hire at Transport for London, said: “The annual taxi fare revision considers a large number of factors that make up taxi drivers’ running costs, including vehicle costs, parts, fuel and insurance. Each year we strive hard to balance affordability with the increasing costs taxi drivers face in providing a unique and world renowned service to the capital. The Mayor and TfL are convinced that the world famous knowledge that taxi drivers worked so hard to earn will play a key role this summer in transporting Games spectators and visitors around the capital. This increase will allow them to continue to do so while providing value for money to passengers.”
Taxi fares are reviewed annually and calculated by TfL based on a cost index that has been used since 1981. The new taxi fares will come into effect from 14 April 2012.