London Lib Dems criticise car charging scheme

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Lib Dem London Assembly member Stephen Knight says Source London charging network is ‘failing to have much impact’

Members of the Liberal Democrat Party in London have criticised the Mayor of London’s support for electric vehicle charge points, claiming that as many as three quarters of those installed in the capital are not used.

Source London – the capital’s publicly available electric vehicle charging network, which is partly funded by the Department for Transport – was launched by Boris Johnson in May 2011. Improving air quality in the capital by encouraging the uptake of low emission vehicle usage is among its goals.

Around 1,300 electric car charge points have now been planned for London

Figures on the scheme released by the Mayor’s office in response to a question raised by the Liberal Democrats show that in the last three months of 2012, only 198 of the then 800 existing electric charging points were used.

The scheme has since been expanded to include 1300 charge points across the city, which the Liberal Democrats say could be better spent in other areas.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Stephen Knight has urged the Mayor to consider changing the focus of the scheme to investing in low emission buses and taxis, as he says this will have a greater positive effect on air quality in London.

Impact
Mr Knight said: “It is quite clear that Source London is failing to have much impact. A growing network of charging points, which are aimed primarily at private, electric cars, clearly has long term merit, but the Mayor’s number one priority must be to switch London’s 20,000 diesel taxis and 8,500 diesel buses to electric power.

“It is these diesel vehicles which clock up the most miles and make the greatest contribution to air pollution, especially in central London.

“The Mayor should concentrate on what he can actually deliver. Taxis and London buses are either run or licensed by Transport for London and the Mayor is in charge of the running of Transport for London. If the Mayor is serious about reducing air pollution in London he should concentrate resources on what he can actually influence.”

Source London
Responding to the comments, Source London said that the network will be used more regularly once the technology becomes more popular with drivers.

John Mason, Director for Source London, said; “Since its launch over 1,300 publicly accessible charging points have been installed across the capital as part of the Source London scheme, making it Europe’s largest charging network. We’re putting in the infrastructure now so that motorists know there is somewhere convenient to recharge their vehicle and ensure there is capacity as electric vehicle use becomes more commonplace.

“The tightening of the Congestion Charge discount so that only the cleanest and greenest vehicles qualify and the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone are set to encourage further electric vehicle take-up in London.”

In September 2012, MPs on the Transport Select committee criticised the government’s plug-in strategy for not effectively encouraging a strong enough uptake of plug-in vehicles in the UK (see airqualitynews.com story).

– See more at: http://www.airqualitynews.com/2013/08/20/london-lib-dems-criticise-car-charging-scheme/#sthash.WEkLDWXT.dpuf

Transport for London and its policing partners step up enforcement of ‘bike boxes’ to help improve cycle safety in the capital

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This week Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and City of London Police (CoLP) has stepped up its enforcement of Advanced Stop Lines, more commonly known as ‘bike boxes’, to help further improve safety for cyclists on the capital’s roads.

Advanced Stop Lines are the boxes marked on the road with a bike symbol painted inside, located at many traffic lights. The cyclist has a stop line several feet ahead of the line used by everyone else in order to give bikes more space so they can be seen more easily and are not right in front of a vehicle’s bonnet or wheels. However, very significant numbers of drivers are not currently stopping at the rear line.

The Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, said: “It may be that some drivers don’t realise they aren’t allowed over the Advanced Stop Lines, and when the lights are red, those areas quite often have cars and lorries all over them, completely defeating their purpose. Bike boxes are a really important way to keep cyclists and vehicles at a safe distance. They have already saved hundreds of drivers, particularly truck drivers who have blind spots in their cabs, from the anguish of unintentionally harming a cyclist, and of course saved hundreds of cyclists from serious accidents.”

Drivers caught crossing the first or second advanced stop lines when the signal is red will be liable for a £60 fixed penalty charge and three points on their licence. The only exception to this rule is if the traffic signal changes from green to amber and drivers cannot safely stop before the first stop line.

In addition to stepping up enforcement on motorists, rogue cyclists are also being targeted. Whilst most cyclists ride responsibly – some do not, and this can anger other road users. Cyclists will be targeted for jumping red lights and issued with a £30 fine if caught doing so.

Andrew Gilligan added “Whilst usually only endangering the rider themselves, bad cycling does annoy and frighten people, and we are going to tackle it. We are increasing the number of officers in our dedicated Met Police Cycle Task Force by more than a quarter. Riding bikes themselves, they will target particular cyclist misbehaviour hotspots.”

The start of the increased enforcement of both drivers and cyclists was supported by a seven-week intensive phase of engagement and education run by the MPS and CoLP.

The engagement programme included speaking with drivers and cyclists at key junctions and handing out flyers with information to help improve compliance around Advanced Stop Lines, explaining both motorist and cyclist obligations and the reasons for the rules.

Siwan Hayward, Acting Director of Community, Safety, Enforcement and Policing, TfL said: “Cycle safety is an important issue for us at TfL. Our aim is not to penalise road users but to help educate them into complying with the rules which is why we have been engaging and educating all road users at key London locations in a run up to this enforcement launch. Our message is clear; motorists leave room for cyclists in Advance Stop Line boxes and cyclists do not cross the Advance Stop Line box during a red traffic signal.”

Chief Superintendant Sultan Taylor, MPS Safer Transport Command said: “With a record number of Londoners taking up cycling, cycle safety and security is more important than ever. The Safer Transport Command is working with Transport for London and its policing partners to improve road user behaviour across London by ensuring Advance Stop Line rules are adhered to so that cyclists and drivers enjoy harmonious journeys.”

An improved cycling culture in London will also help strengthen the relationship between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The Cycling Vision for London launched by the Mayor this year includes a £1billion plan for improved infrastructure for cyclists and new, safer routes – including a whole network of direct, back-street “quietways”. Giving cyclists a more defined space of their own will help reduce conflict between them and other road users, and also help attract more women, older people, and more cautious cyclists.

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Important Vito Euro 5 upgrade news

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This letter will be sent out to all Vito Euro 5 owners.

EURO 5 VITO TAXI SERVICE MEASURE

Dear Mr/Mrs X (merge with address information)

Mercedes-Benz vehicle:
Chassis number:

At Mercedes-Benz UK we continuously monitor the performance of our vehicles, paying particular attention to any issues that could have an impact on vehicle or component reliability. Through these regular reviews, a modification has been identified which we would like to carry out on your vehicle at your earliest convenience.

During the conversion of your vehicle into a Vito Taxi, it was equipped with a rear wheel steer system (RWS), which was fitted by our engineering partners. This allows the Vito Taxi to meet the turning circle required by Transport for London. We have found that a component within the RWS, referred to as the “dogtooth”, may be susceptible to water ingress. Mercedes-Benz UK has been working very closely with our engineering partners and following extensive testing, a revised dogtooth, along with a modified cover and seal, have been developed.

The records held by KPM (UK) Taxis Ltd indicate that you are the owner of the above vehicle. On receipt of this letter, we would be grateful if you would refer to the enclosed list of participating Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealers, and contact the nearest or most convenient for you, quoting reference number 4650. The Dealer will arrange for the necessary work to be carried out on your vehicle, which takes approximately two hours, with minimum inconvenience to you. This work will, of course, be carried out free of charge.

We would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this action may cause and we would also like to assure you of our continued commitment to improving our product and our customer service. If you have any concerns or would like to discuss this work, please contact your local Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealer who will answer any questions or queries, or contact my customer service colleagues via email at vitotaxi@daimler.com or via telephone, on 008009 777 7777. Should you no longer be the owner of this vehicle, please contact us with the details of the new keeper, so we may contact them regarding this measure.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Yours faithfully

Mick Glover
Network Service Manager
Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles
Participating Mercedes-Benz Dealers:​Telephone No:

KPM Mercedes-Benz LCV​0207 375 1179
Mercedes-Benz of Brentford LCV​0208 560 2151
Mercedes-Benz of Croydon​0208 665 4540
Mercedes-Benz of Park Royal​0208 896 1565
Mercedes-Benz of Stratford​0208 221 4460
Orwell Truck & Van Colchester​01206 751 550
Rossetts Commercials Crawley​01293 652 560
Rygor Commercials Heathrow​0208 890 8907
S&B Commercials Stansted​01279 712 200
S&B Commercials Welham Green​01707 261 111
S&B Commercials West Thurrock​01708 892 500
SG Smith Croydon​0208 665 7800
SG Smith Sydenham​0208 659 3636
Sparshatts of Kent Ltd (Ashford)​01233 610 400
Sparshatts of Kent Ltd (Dartford)​01322 520 030
Sparshatts of Kent Ltd (Sittingbourne)​01795 479 571
Sparshatts of Kent Ltd (Tonbridge)​​01732 370 920​
Enza Motors (Manchester) ​0161 2306808

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Boris responds to LCDC request to write to all London MPs to fight Law Commission proposals.

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After recent Mayoral meeting where LCDC Chair Grant Davis asked Boris to support cab trade with the Law Commissions review, he promised to write to ALL London MP’s.
Letter below

All London MPs
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA Date:

Dear

Law Commission review of taxi and private hire services in England and Wales

As I am sure you are aware, the Government has tasked the Law Commission to review taxi and private hire services in England and Wales.
London taxis and their drivers are renowned the world over.

Before becoming licensed, drivers must complete the world-famous Knowledge of London which takes, on average, four years to complete and equips them with an in-depth knowledge of the capital’s streets. This 300 year old service ensures that your constituents can travel safely, and by the shortest available route; and all 25,000 London taxis are wheelchair accessible.

These high standards are what sets the London taxi trade apart from the rest of the country and this is exactly why we must ensure that the Law Commission does not make recommendations which dilute the trade, or flood the capital with minicabs or taxis licensed outside of London over which Transport for London (TfL) has no powers.

Currently, taxi and private hire licensing is carried out at a local level, and the needs of each area are reflected in the standards set on drivers, operators and vehicles. However, the Law Commission is recommending some proposals which will nationalise standards across the country, allowing private hire vehicles to be licensed anywhere in the country and operate in London.

We need to make sure that our London taxi trade remains both the pride of London and the envy of the rest of the world, and that the proposed changes do not detract from this. Therefore, I would urge you to write to the Law Commission, reminding them that London is different from the rest of the country and why the current system should be maintained.

I would like to thank you in advance for your support and hopefully together we can protect London’s historic taxi trade, its iconic vehicles and its trusted drivers, which are very much part of the capital’s landscape.

Yours ever,
Boris Johnson
Mayor of London