TX4 Taxi Recall Update and Suspension of Minimum Euro 5 Standards

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This notice is issued further to TPH Notices 19/12, 20/12 and 22/12 and is intended to provide taxi drivers with an update on the TX4 taxi steering box recall. The notice also outlines further assistance TfL is providing the taxi trade by temporarily suspending the minimal requirement that all taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 standard introduced on 1 April 2012.

This suspension is being implemented to further assist drivers experiencing difficulties in purchasing or renting taxis during the current exceptional circumstances following the TX4 recall and LTC entering administration.

As was outlined in the previous Notices issued on this matter, following the recall of a total of 325 London taxis by the London Taxi Company (LTC) TfL took immediate steps to suspend the licences of all impacted taxis on the advice of LTC and VOSA. Since the recall LTC and it’s holding company Manganese Bronze have entered administration and the administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP have been seeking a resolution to the steering box fault while seeking to secure the long term future of the company.

Despite TfL taking steps to allow LTC to licence Euro 4 taxis and waive the vehicle licensing fee in order that drivers impacted by the recall could be provided with replacement taxis by LTC / the administrator, very few drivers were assisted in this manner.

TfL and the Mayor have been in daily contact with the administrator and are pleased that they have finally identified and tested a fix and are in the process of rectifying the steering box fault and getting those taxis and drivers impacted by the recall back on the road. The administrator has informed TfL that they expect this process to be completed by 14 December and TfL is having daily meetings with them to track progress and provide assistance wherever we can.

Despite the progress now being made to rectify the steering box fault it is clear that there is significant increased demand for taxis in London in the current climate, especially for taxis to rent. While TfL has been assured by the suppliers of the Mercedes Vito taxi that they are able to meet any demand for new taxis, TfL and the Mayor are aware that the lack of new and used TX taxis in London is causing some drivers difficulty in sourcing taxis especially on a part-time rental basis.

As a result, following discussions with the Mayor it has been agreed that it is appropriate to implement a temporary relaxation of the requirement that all taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 compliant.

Therefore, with immediate effect:
The requirement that taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 standard is suspended until further notice
TfL will now allow taxis new to licensing (and those previously licensed by TfL but which have not been licensed for some time) to be a minimum of Euro 4 standard for up to 5 years but only within the maximum age of the taxi of 15 years.

No taxi in scope will be allowed to exceed the 15 year age limit
The 15 year age limit for taxis and all other licensing requirements in terms of vehicle conditions and licensing requirements remain unchanged.

In summary; these changes mean that individual drivers and garages can now source Euro 4 taxis that would have otherwise not been licensed by TfL and can present these taxis to meet the licensing inspection standards in the normal manner. However any Euro 4 taxi new to licensing will only be licensed for a maximum of 5 years and will not be allowed to exceed the maximum age of the vehicle of 15 years.

TfL will review the impact of this suspension on a regular basis and will end it once it is satisfied that there is improved stability and availability of taxis.

Individual drivers and garages who source Euro 4 taxis which they wish to licence in London can now proceed and do so by following the standard taxi licensing and inspection process.
For further information please refer to previous notices via http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tph, contact us directly via TPH.Enquiries@tfl.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter @TFLTPH.

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TX4 Taxi Recall Update and Suspension of Minimum Euro 5 Standards

This notice is issued further to TPH Notices 19/12, 20/12 and 22/12 and is intended to provide taxi drivers with an update on the TX4 taxi steering box recall. The notice also outlines further assistance TfL is providing the taxi trade by temporarily suspending the minimal requirement that all taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 standard introduced on 1 April 2012.

This suspension is being implemented to further assist drivers experiencing difficulties in purchasing or renting taxis during the current exceptional circumstances following the TX4 recall and LTC entering administration.

As was outlined in the previous Notices issued on this matter, following the recall of a total of 325 London taxis by the London Taxi Company (LTC) TfL took immediate steps to suspend the licences of all impacted taxis on the advice of LTC and VOSA. Since the recall LTC and it’s holding company Manganese Bronze have entered administration and the administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP have been seeking a resolution to the steering box fault while seeking to secure the long term future of the company.

Despite TfL taking steps to allow LTC to licence Euro 4 taxis and waive the vehicle licensing fee in order that drivers impacted by the recall could be provided with replacement taxis by LTC / the administrator, very few drivers were assisted in this manner.

TfL and the Mayor have been in daily contact with the administrator and are pleased that they have finally identified and tested a fix and are in the process of rectifying the steering box fault and getting those taxis and drivers impacted by the recall back on the road. The administrator has informed TfL that they expect this process to be completed by 14 December and TfL is having daily meetings with them to track progress and provide assistance wherever we can.

Despite the progress now being made to rectify the steering box fault it is clear that there is significant increased demand for taxis in London in the current climate, especially for taxis to rent. While TfL has been assured by the suppliers of the Mercedes Vito taxi that they are able to meet any demand for new taxis, TfL and the Mayor are aware that the lack of new and used TX taxis in London is causing some drivers difficulty in sourcing taxis especially on a part-time rental basis.

As a result, following discussions with the Mayor it has been agreed that it is appropriate to implement a temporary relaxation of the requirement that all taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 compliant.

Therefore, with immediate effect:
The requirement that taxis new to licensing must be Euro 5 standard is suspended until further notice
TfL will now allow taxis new to licensing (and those previously licensed by TfL but which have not been licensed for some time) to be a minimum of Euro 4 standard for up to 5 years but only within the maximum age of the taxi of 15 years.

No taxi in scope will be allowed to exceed the 15 year age limit
The 15 year age limit for taxis and all other licensing requirements in terms of vehicle conditions and licensing requirements remain unchanged.

In summary; these changes mean that individual drivers and garages can now source Euro 4 taxis that would have otherwise not been licensed by TfL and can present these taxis to meet the licensing inspection standards in the normal manner. However any Euro 4 taxi new to licensing will only be licensed for a maximum of 5 years and will not be allowed to exceed the maximum age of the vehicle of 15 years.

TfL will review the impact of this suspension on a regular basis and will end it once it is satisfied that there is improved stability and availability of taxis.

Individual drivers and garages who source Euro 4 taxis which they wish to licence in London can now proceed and do so by following the standard taxi licensing and inspection process.
For further information please refer to previous notices via http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tph, contact us directly via TPH.Enquiries@tfl.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter @TFLTPH.

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Steering Box Fault in TX4 Taxis Technical Solution and Remedial Work

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This Notice is issued further to TPH Notices 17/12, 19/12 and 20/12 regarding the manufacturer/VOSA recall and subsequent suspension by Transport for London (TfL) of the licences of late model TX4 taxis affected by a steering box fault.
Since the recall announcement, Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor’s Office has been in constant dialogue with Manganese Bronze Holdings and the joint administrators to understand the technical nature of the recall, the steps that are being taken to identify and implement a solution and the impact of the decision to enter administration.

Through this dialogue TfL can now confirm that following intervention by the Mayor and TfL, Manganese Bronze Holdings and the joint administrators have now advised TfL that a technical solution to the fault has been identified. Finance and logistics are also in place to commence the programme of work and it has been confirmed to TfL that this will be within the next 48 hours. TfL has requested that the rework programme prioritises London taxis.

London Taxi Company (LTC) will be carrying out the rework programme systematically, based on the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the taxis and anticipate that all London taxis will be completed by 14 December. All remedial works will be carried out at their premises in Brewery Road.

LTC will contact the vehicle owners of the affected vehicles and arrange transportation to the Brewery Road premises.
On completion of the remedial works for each taxi, LTC will issue a certificate to the owner of the vehicle. It is important that this certification is carried in the vehicle at all times and can be presented to Police Officers, TfL Compliance Officers and at the time of the taxi licensing inspection.

TfL will remain in close contact with Manganese Bronze Holdings and the joint administrators to ensure that all affected taxis are operational as soon as possible.

TfL’s priority is, and will remain, to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and other road users and to assist drivers, where possible, affected by the recall.

The current position is as follows:
LTC initially announced that 440 vehicles across the UK are affected by the recall, of which, 316 are licensed in London

LTC has now identified a further 16 UK wide taxis affected by the recall, of which 9 are in London. This takes the total to 456 taxis across the UK and 325 TfL licensed taxis.

A full list of the affected London taxis, including the additional 9 taxis recalled during week commencing 12 November 2012, as provided to TfL is attached as Annex A.

The recall is due to a serious fault in the steering box and therefore the affected taxis must not be used under any circumstances until such time as the remedial work has been carried out and certificated by LTC.

While the recall has been described as “voluntary” this does not make it any less serious or imply that drivers/owners should not comply with the recall. The licences of all 325 licensed taxis remain suspended by TfL.

Controversial cash-cow camera in Battersea Square removed after public outcry

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A traffic camera, which snapped hundreds of unsuspecting drivers in just two weeks has been removed following a torrent of complaints.

The surveillance camera was set up in Battersea Square last month, with tickets given out to any drivers parking in the road who did not live there or run a business.

A backlash soon followed when it emerged thousands of tickets were being issued, raking in cash for the council.

Such was the uproar, the council has not only disabled the surveillance device, but also said it will cancel any penalty fines incurred.

A council spokesman said: “It is clear many motorists who have breached the rules were not aware they were doing anything wrong, while others have questioned the need for these restrictions in the first place.

“Our review will aim to ensure that whatever system is in place has the full support of residents and businesses.

“Until then we are ceasing further enforcement action.”

At a public meeting attended by 200 people at Thomas’s School last Thursday it was said one driver received 15 tickets, while shops and restaurants in the square have lost business.

The council has since agreed to remove the camera and cancel recently issued penalty notices.

There will also be a review of the no access restrictions.

Alina Vasilcan, owner of Square Sandwich, said: “All of the businesses have noticed the drop down in sales, 20 per cent from each of them.

“It is quite significant in a recession.

“Say someone comes in for a £10 lunch, then gets a £65 ticket, they are not going to come back.”

It is believed the no access rule to the square has been in place since the 1990s, but was never enforced.

Source: Wandsworth Guardian

Lock-in at black cab factory after 156 staff lose jobs

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Workers at the London Taxi Company were understood to be attempting to lock themselves in at their Coventry factory last night after the insolvency accountants now running the business sacked more than half the workforce.
The news of the sackings came hours after workers had read upbeat messages from PwC about the list of potential bidders for the stricken company. Late yesterday it emerged that PwC, the administrators of Manganese Bronze, which makes and markets the black cab through the London Taxi Company, said it would be making 156 workers redundant. It would leave just 96 workers on full pay with others sent home on standby.
On Tuesday, Matthew Hammond, the lead administrator, said: “There has been an enormous amount of interest . . . those expressions of interest — domestic, from Europe and internationally — gave us a fantastic start and puts us in a better position than we might normally have been in at this stage.” Mr Hammond had also paid tribute to Manganese’s engineers, who he said “effectively hand-build” the cabs.
Unite, yesterday expressed outrage at the redundancies. Roger Maddison, the union’s carworkers’ leader said: “Only last night PwC were telling us there were significant interested parties. Now the administrators are ruthlessly sacking over 150 highly-skilled workers. How can PwC treat this company as a going concern with virtually no staff? The black cab is part of Britain’s car manufacturing heritage.”
At the Coventry plant where unrest was being reported last night, 99 workers were made redundant, with just 55 kept on. PwC said the retained staff would focus on finding a solution for the steering fault, which led to the withdrawal of 400 new cabs and the suspension of all sales. Manganese had been plagued this year by plunging sales and an IT-related black hole in its accounts.
The other redundancies came at Manganese’s black cab dealerships in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coventry.

Source : The Times