Victoria Station Forecourt Closure for the Diamond Jubilee

LT&PH have been informed at quite late notice that for crowd control purposes Network Rail intend to close the station forecourt rank at Victoria station.

The following arrangements will be in place;

Terminus Place rank will be closed on:

Sunday 3 June between 15:00 and 02:00 (Monday)

Monday 4 June between 20:00 and 02:00 (Tuesday)

Network Rail have said they will be supplying posters, etc to direct passengers to the raft. LT&PH said that there will also be taxis waiting at Wilton Road and some customers will go out this way so they should try also to direct some customers this way.

 

John Griffin, chairman of Addison Lee, could face prosecution

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The chairman of Britain’s biggest minicab firm could face criminal prosecution for instructing his drivers to drive illegally in bus lanes, The Times has learnt.
John Griffin, chairman of Addison Lee, last month instructed his drivers to break the law by driving in bus lanes, promising to indemnify them for any fines incurred and claiming that it was “discriminatory” to restrict the lane use to black cabs and not private hire vehicles.

Though the High Court forced Addison Lee to withdraw the instruction to break the law, Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley, wrote to the Metropolitan Police to ask whether Mr Griffin’s original instruction broke the law.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) confirmed that Transport for London (TfL), the capital’s highways agency, had also asked whether any criminal offence had been committed in issuing the instruction.

In a written response to Mr Austin, Commander Adrian Hanstock wrote: “TfL also asked the MPS to establish whether any offences are apparent arising from Mr Griffin’s directive.
“Mr Griffin’s letter has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration and the MPS is awaiting the outcome of this legal advice.”
Commander Hanstock also confirmed that TfL had requested that the Metropolitan Police Service Safer Transport Command “actively prosecute any contravention of bus lanes by unauthorised vehicles”, which Commander Hanstock described as a “recognised priority” of road policing units.

An expert said that prosecutors at the CPS would now be considering allegations that Mr Griffin’s instruction to his drivers could constitute criminal incitement.
Nick Freeman, a solicitor specialising in traffic and speeding offences, said: “He is inciting his employees to commit an unlawful act and yes it is unlawful.
“There is a criminal aspect, in terms of inciting someone to commit an unlawful act.”

Mr Freeman added that the letter could allegedly also be actionable under employment law by drivers wishing to sever their employment contract.
He added: “If I was working for him I would leave and say I had been constructively dismissed, because I am being told to do something unlawful by my boss.”

The Addison Lee chairman also provoked criticism last month by claiming that cyclists should expect to be hurt by drivers if they are “throwing themselves on to some of the most congested spaces on the world” and criticised those who are “up in arms about what they see as the murder of cyclists on London roads”.
Ian Austin MP, who is also the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, which has been supporting The Times’s ‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign, said: “John Griffin might think he is funny, but the police clearly take a different view and given the number of cyclists killed and injured, many people will think it is dangerous and irresponsible for someone in his position to encourage conflict on the roads and tell his drivers to ignore the rules.”

An Addison Lee spokesman declined to comment on the allegations, but said: “It is my understanding that TfL referred [the letter] to the police who referred it to the CPS. We’ve heard nothing back from that. We have withdrawn the letter and have had the judicial review of the bus lanes law brought forward to June, so it has been a success from our point of view.
“The drivers are all self-employed. They don’t have to go through anything special to terminate their contract. It was clear in the letter that it was up to the driver whether they drove in the bus lane and that if the passenger told the driver they didn’t want to use the bus lane, they didn’t have to go in them.”
The Times has been invited to attend Addison Lee’s driver training to assess whether it complies with demands made in the ‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign about improving drivers’ awareness of cyclists.

Source: the times

Diamond Jubilee Travel Update

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As you are no doubt aware, a series of events are planned in London between Saturday 2 June and Tuesday 5 June to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The celebrations will take place at various locations across London over the extended weekend and we have put measures in place to cope with the large, expected influx of visitors as well as keeping the city moving over this period.

Central London will be unusually busy throughout the weekend and we advise that anyone intending to be there at this time to plan their journeys ahead of travel, to use public transport and to keep updated with the current travel situation. See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/diamondjubilee

Attached are the posters that will be going up across the Tube and bus network from Monday 14 May. We are using multiple channels to communicate with visitors and regular travellers including direct emails, Twitter and on-system announcements.

Below is general advice for those moving around London over the weekend and detailed advice for the busiest days..

Tube
There are no planned engineering works over the weekend and the Tube is running a Saturday service on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June.
For real time service updates follow your Tube line on Twitter. Stations around Hyde Park and the river will be busier than usual at points over the weekend so plan your journey and check before you travel.

Bus
Many roads around central London will be closed to traffic, with a number of bus services diverted or not running their full routes. See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/buses

Barclays Cycle Hire
Although most docking stations will remain available, due to expected congestion in central London it may be difficult to replenish some stations as necessary. Customers are advised to check the cycle availability by visiting Docking stations status on our website.

Sunday 3 June – River Pageant

We are expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors to central London for the River Pageant. The event also requires significant road closures. We advise motorists to avoid central London for all but essential journeys. Access across the River Thames will be limited between 07:00 – 20:00.

Road Closures
Many bridges between Battersea Bridge and Tower Bridge will have restricted access between 07:00 – 20:00.
Vauxhall Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Road Bridge and London Bridge will be open to vehicle traffic for most of the day with full closures between 15:30 – 17:00. Capacity at these bridges will be limited.

The Piccadilly Big Lunch street party means that Piccadilly will be closed to traffic from 07:00 to at least 18:00.

Bus
Buses will not cross the river 07:00 – 21:30 between Battersea and Tower Bridge.

Instead a number of ‘bus hubs’ will be established at or near transport interchanges either side of the river. Bus hubs will be located at: Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Battersea Bridge Road, Chelsea World’s End, Elephant & Castle, Farringdon, Finsbury Square, Holborn, London Bridge, Piccadilly, Tottenham Court Road, Tower Bridge Road, Vauxhall and Victoria. The full list of bus services affected is available at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/buses.

Tube
Stations along the river and around Hyde Park, St. James’s Park and Green Park will be busier than usual.

River services
River boat services will not be running.

Tuesday 5 June – Thanksgiving Lunch

A ceremonial event starting late morning and finishing mid afternoon means areas around Hyde Park, St. James Park, Green Park and the Mall will all be very busy.

Road closures
Many roads around central London will be closed to traffic, particularly in the Westminster area, with a number of bus services diverted or not running their full routes.

Motorists are advised to avoid central London.

Other events
Due to other major events, stations near Emirates Stadium and Wembley Stadium may also be busier than usual over the weekend.

It promises to be an exciting weekend of celebrations that with appropriate journey planning can be enjoyed by all.

Law Commission press release

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Reforming the law of taxi and private hire services

Clearer rules governing taxis and private hire vehicles could bring stretch limousines and bicycle rickshaws into the licensing system but keep charity volunteers and childminders out of it, the Law Commission said today.

The Law Commission for England and Wales, which advises the Government on law reform, has launched a public consultation seeking views on proposed changes to the way in which taxis and private hire vehicles (often referred to as minicabs) are regulated.
The proposals retain the important distinction between taxis – which can “ply for hire” on the street or a cab rank – and private hire vehicles which can only be pre-booked.

But all vehicles would be subject to national minimum safety standards and, for private hire vehicles, these would replace more than 340 sets of local regulations. This will reduce the burden on business because, once appropriately licensed, a private hire firm could work freely across the country, without geographical or licensing restrictions. This would contribute to widening consumer choice and to making services cheaper and more competitive.

The provisional proposals published today follow a detailed review of the current law, some of which dates back to 1831 and is still in force.
Few of the proposals would affect the iconic London “black cab”. But outside the capital, taxi numbers could no longer be restricted by local authorities and private hire operators would be able to take bookings outside their own local area.

Licensing could be extended to limousines, motorcycle “taxis” and bicycle rickshaws (or “pedicabs”), which under current law may avoid the safety and driver training requirements imposed on taxis and private hire vehicles. But greater legal clarity would ensure that volunteers who give up their time to drive elderly people or childminders who collect children as part of their work would no longer risk being caught by licensing rules.
Among the other provisional proposals is a requirement that all new taxi and private hire drivers should have disability awareness training. The consultation also asks whether there should be a specific licence for accessible vehicles.

And where drivers or operators do break the rules, the consultation suggests that improved enforcement powers should be available, including impounding vehicles.
Frances Patterson QC, the Law Commissioner with responsibility for the project, said: “Our review provides a great opportunity to streamline and improve taxi and private hire legislation and we look forward to engaging with as many people as have an interest in this varied and important transport sector.”
The consultation is open until 10 August 2012. The Commission’s provisional proposals and consultation questions are outlined in the paper, “Reforming the law of taxi and private hire services”, which is available on the Commission’s website, http://www.lawcom.gov.uk.

Law Commission to start consultation on Taxi and Private Hire Trade

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Taxi and Private Hire Services
Status

On 10 May 2012 we are due to publish a consultation paper,

We are reviewing the existing framework of taxi and private hire vehicle regulation with a view to preparing proposals for consultation.
Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are an important part of local transport. They operate in highly regulated markets where safety and quality control are paramount. Licensing covers key areas such as the quality of services, the fitness of drivers, fare regulation and restrictions on the number of licenses issued.
The current law on taxis and PHVs has been criticised for being complex and outdated.
One problem is the multiplicity of legislation. Taxis, which can “ply for hire” so customers can stop them in the street, have different rules to PHVs which can only be pre-booked. In turn each of the taxi and PHV trades is regulated by multiple statutes. There are also different legal systems along geographical lines distinguishing Plymouth, London and the rest of England and Wales. Whereas some distinctions are clearly justified others are less clearly so.
Some of the legislation, particularly relating to taxis, is archaic. The key statutes date back to Victorian times and refer to “hackney carriages” when taxis were literally horse-drawn vehicles. Case law and guidance are indispensable in interpreting the law. This also makes the legislation less able to reflect more modern technology like the telephone, internet and GPS technology.
The project
The project examines the legal framework relating to taxis and PHVs with a view to making it simpler and more modern. We aim to publish proposals for reform in early May 2012. This will be followed by a three month consultation period where we invite the public to respond to our proposals. We plan to publish a final report with our recommendations and draft bill by late 2013.