Taxi Driver Online

News, comment and advice on the UK taxi and private hire trades

Summer Ramadan hits 25% of cab drivers who stop work at sun-down

Posted by admin on June 21st, 2015

Source: BBC Online

At least a quarter of minicab and taxi drivers in London are stopping work once the sun goes down to mark Ramadan. The holy month commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.

Organisations which represent drivers said at least 25% were finishing their shifts before sundown to return home and break their fasts with family. It is estimated about one million Londoners will fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.

The Muslim holy month follows the lunar calendar and as such it is the first time in many years it has fallen at this point in the summer when daylight lasts for about 19 hours.

Steve Wright, chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association, said: “We are aware that many private hire and taxi drivers won’t be working during Ramadan. It’s certainly very tight, it’s about 25%, but it doesn’t stop the world from turning. “There are lots of religious festivals which means there are less drivers available but we cope with it and others make hay – it’s a sort of counterbalance.”

He said the organisation arranged its trade shows around religious festivals and “there was a time when if a James Bond film was on TV a third of drivers would be at home watching it, so it’s nothing new”.

Steve McNamara from the Licensed Taxi Driver Association, which represents black cab drivers, said the number of drivers observing Ramadan and only choosing to work during daylight hours “will be high”. He said: “London taxi drivers are very representative of the community we serve, recent graduates from the Knowledge of London are almost an exact mirror of the breakdown and mix of our great city.”

In contrast retailers in the city are seeing a boom in sales due to the so-called Ramadan Rush with new products and fashions released in time for the Holy month. Nazmin Alim, the creative director at AAB Collection at East Shopping Centre in Green Street, said: “Ramadan is considered a key trading period and something we prepare for well in advance.

“It’s also a very communal month where family and friends come together. Inviting people to open fast with you is something which is highly regarded. “Spending is on the agenda for food and clothing as social activities tend to increase due to invites, and gifts are given meaning the overall spend is much more during this month.”

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Former Redruth taxi driver has license revoked

Posted by admin on June 10th, 2015

Source: West Briton

A FORMER Redruth taxi driver has had licences for two of his vehicles revoked after authorities discovered them working in Birmingham as private hire cars.

Cornwall Council’s Miscellaneous Licensing Committee has cancelled two Hackney Carriage Licences held by Nadeem Ahmed for breach of the Council’s hackney carriage licence conditions.

At a meeting in May the Committee heard that earlier that month Cornwall Council’s Licensing Compliance team were notified by licensing enforcement for Birmingham City Council that two hackney carriages licensed with Cornwall Council were operating in the city.

Bob Mears, senior licensing compliance officer with Cornwall Council said: “We found that two Fiat Scudos which were licensed to operate within the Kerrier zone in Cornwall and the proprietor was Mr Nadeem Ahmed.

“We then confirmed with a private hire company in Birmingham that the vehicles had been operating for them.”

Mr Ahmed was asked to bring in the vehicles for a routine inspection, but despite initially agreeing to attend, he then telephoned back 30 minutes later to inform the officer that he was in Birmingham.

He said that he believed that he was perfectly entitled to operate as a private hire vehicle, but was advised that his vehicle must operate in Cornwall, principally from or within the taxi zone that it is licensed for.

Mr Ahmed had also provided Cornwall Council with an address in Redruth and clearly did not reside there as he currently lived in Birmingham. The council had not received any notification of a change of address from him.

In his defence Mr Ahmed stated that he had worked in Redruth but had had to move to Birmingham following his mother’s illness, however he was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why he had two hackney carriages operating in Birmingham.

After due deliberation the Committee revoked both hackney carriage vehicle licences.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “It is important for the safety and well-being of passengers that we are able to maintain effective checks on our hackney carriages and breaches of the conditions may, as in this case, lead to revocation of the licence.”

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Uber get the EU Commission to ask France for more information on taxi law

Posted by admin on June 1st, 2015

Source: Reuters

The European Commission said on Thursday it had asked Paris for more information on a new French law on taxis and chauffeured cars following a complaint from mobile phone taxi-booking service Uber.

Launched four years ago, the California-based company has expanded across Europe but has run into opposition from regular taxi drivers who say it breaks local taxi rules and violates licensing, insurance and safety regulations.

A number of European courts have banned Uber’s unlicensed taxi service, UberPOP. The latest ban came earlier this week in Milan. France’s so-called Thevenoud law requires chauffeured cars to return to a base between fares, restricts their use of software to find clients in the street and banned unlicensed service, among other measures.

In November Uber filed a complaint with the Commission against the French law, arguing it favoured regular taxis at Uber’s expense and that France should have notified Brussels of the new law. The Commission has written to the French government asking it for more information on the law, a Commission spokesman said.

“This latest letter is basically another nail in the coffin of an anti-consumer, anti-technology and archaically protectionist law,” Uber’s head of public policy Mark MacGann said on Thursday. Ultimately Brussels could take France to court if it finds that the law breaks the EU treaties.

The request for information, however, does not mean that the Commission will launch formal proceedings against France.

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Boris seeks new powers to ban ‘Pedicabs’ and limit Minicab number in London

Posted by admin on May 15th, 2015

Source: Mayor’s press releases

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today pledged to push for new powers to enable him to cap the number of Private Hire Vehicles in the capital.

The Mayor has also confirmed he will be seeking powers over unsafe and unregulated pedicabs and rickshaws on the streets of London’s West End.

The Mayor, who has received clear advice from Transport for London, will be pressing for Primary Legislation from the Government to enable TfL to cap the number of Private Hire Vehicle drivers operating in the capital, which are rising by more than 1,000 each month.

Currently there are 78,690 minicab drivers in London and over the past year that number has risen by 12,268. At this rate, over the next two years, there will be an additional 26,526 minicab drivers – bringing the total number to more than 105,000.

The growth of private hire vehicle drivers in the last 18 months (from December 2013 to date) is approximately 18%. The Mayor is concerned that this unprecedented rise in numbers is causing increased congestion, particularly in central London, as well as more pollution and problems of illegal parking.

The Mayor is of the firm view that London must be able to cap the number of minicab drivers – however, currently Transport for London does not have the ability to do so. He will, therefore, be seeking legislation to give the capital that power.

In a separate move, the Mayor will press to obtain powers over the regulation of pedicabs. The Mayor believes these vehicles jam up roads in the West End and unnecessarily and consistently fail to ensure the safety of their passengers. Uniquely, London is not currently able to restrict or regulate pedicabs in any way, unlike the rest of the country.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We must be able to take action against the threat posed by the massive increase we are seeing in the number of private hire vehicles. There are only 25,000 black cabs and 8,000 buses in London and yet there are already over 75,000 minicabs and rising. We’re starting to see a threat to free movement of traffic on the roads.

“What we are proposing therefore is legislation, which I will be looking to take forward in Parliament, to restrict the number of minicabs that can come on the streets.

“We will also be seeking powers for TfL over pedicabs – which so far have been completely immune from regulation. These vehicles jam up the roads and consistently fail to ensure the safety of their passengers.”

Notes to editor

Increase in private hire driver numbers in recent years:

2009/2010 59,191
2010/2011 61,200
2011/2012 64,063
2012/2013 66,975
2013/2014 65,656
2014/2015 76,249

Examples of traffic/parking congestion spots include:

West End (Piccadilly, Mayfair, Leicester Square) during Thursday, Fridays and Saturday nights and residential streets around Heathrow.

Particular streets/locations include:

St Pancras International
Dover Street
Berkeley St/Dover St
Piccadilly/Shaftesbury Avenue/Swallow Street and Wardour Street
Portman Square and Grosvenor Place
Knightsbridge/Hyde Park Corner
Edgware Road/ Marylebone (includes both Praed Street (Paddington Station), Star Street, Bryanston Sq and Marylebone Road).
Charing Cross Road/ Leicester Square
Camden High Street
Greenwich around 02
Clapham High St

The Mayor is seeking to include the legislation in a London Bill in this year’s Queen’s speech.

TfL currently has a major private hire review ongoing and will start making changes later this year. This includes an English language requirement and better geographic knowledge requirements for minicab drivers.

Tfl is also increasing its enforcement against touting and other illegal activity, working with the Metropolitan Police Service to target known hotspots and better responding to real-time information to take swift action against touting, for example.

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Cabbie’s licence revoked for failing to renew £55 MOT

Posted by admin on May 13th, 2015

Source: Reading and Berkshire News

A Hackney Carriage driver who failed to renew the £55 MOT on his vehicle has had his licence revoked.

Aqeel Maqsud Kayani, of Rosedale Crescent, Earley , did not MOT test his vehicle as required by Reading Borough Council despite reminders being sent from the licensing department.

The council revoked the 29-year-old’s Hackney Carriage Vehicle (HCV) licence and he appealed against the decision at Reading Magistrates Court on September 9, 2014. He lost that appeal and was ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Mr Kayani appealed against the magistrates’ decision and appeared before Reading Crown Court on Friday, May 1, 2015 to argue his case. The court heard the council had sent Mr Kayani a letter in June 2013 reminding him his MOT was due but received no response.

A further three letters were sent to Mr Kayani warning that his licence would be suspended and then revoked if he failed to go ahead with the MOT test. The council’s licensing department only received confirmation the MOT test had been carried out six days after the final deadline.

The judge at Reading Crown Court did not accept Mr Kayani’s argument that he did not receive any of the letters from the council and said the local authority had little option but to suspend and then revoke the vehicle licence. Full legal costs of £1,162 were also awarded to the council.

A Hackney Carriage with a valid plate in Reading borough has a transfer value of between £50,000 and £70,000.

Councillor Paul Gittings, Reading’s lead councillor for culture, sport and consumer services, said: “The safety of passengers using Hackney Carriages in Reading is very important to us which is why we must insist the vehicles undergo regular checks.

“Reading Borough Council issues reminders to HCV licence holders when their MOTs are due and the vast majority take their responsibilities seriously and act promptly. “The cost of ensuring a Hackney Carriage is fit to be on the road is £55 but the failure in this case of the owner to do so has cost him an awful lot more.”

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CCTV could be fitted in every Rotherham taxi in wake of grooming scandal

Posted by admin on May 1st, 2015

Source: The Star

Every taxi in Rotherham could be fitted with CCTV as part of tougher regulations following the town’s grooming scandal. Rotherham Council has launched a new four-week consultation on plans to make a series of changes to its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.

The shake-up comes after the Jay report revealed the ‘prominent role’ of Rotherham taxi drivers in the abuse of children, while the follow-up Casey inquiry said Rotherham Council needed to ‘get their house in order and regulate taxis effectively’ due to the ‘well-publicised link between taxis and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham that has cast a long shadow over the vast majority of law-abiding drivers’.

One of the main ideas is to require CCTV systems to be fitted in all of Rotherham’s 800 taxis.

Other proposals include child sexual exploitation awareness training for drivers, as well as ‘more rigorous standards’ when considering past criminal convictions, especially for sexual offences and violence. Applicants for licences who have not been resident in the UK will face extra requirements to prove their good character.

Commissioner Mary Ney, who is responsible for licensing for Rotherham Borough Council, said: “At the heart of the new policy lies a commitment to the protection of the public, the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable, and the prevention of crime and disorder. It seeks to set a standard that is among the highest in the country with the intention of both protecting the public and rebuilding confidence in the taxi trade following the Jay and Casey Reports. The policy will make it extremely difficult for disreputable individuals to operate within the Rotherham licensed trade.”

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