By Coity Allcroft
Unite Cab Section recently attended a meeting with London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown and Taxi & Private Hire General Manager Helen Chapman, along with LTDA and LCDC, to discuss the new regime’s attitude to long standing issues concerning the Taxi Trade.
Mike Brown made a number of statements that will ‘seem’ music to the ears of Taxi Drivers.
First off was Bus Lanes & Highways
Access to London Bridge on a three-month trial basis with a view to being made permanent. Access to Wandsworth gyratory, Catford-Rushey Green, Tooley Street, Shorter Street-Tower Hill, Byward Street-Gt Tower St, Euston Road by University College Hospital, plus: Strand-Waterloo Bridge, Bishopsgate and others are all being considered.
TfL will also support taxi trade approaches regarding Bus Lanes & Roads controlled by London Boroughs. Camden’s scheme for Tottenham Court Road may prove more difficult, although it’s hard to believe even Camden could refuse access to our new ‘green’ cabs from 2018.
The intention at the time of the meeting was implementation in October. Unite emphasised the need for operator insurance and English language tests. Mike Brown is prepared to re-look at these along with topographical, driving tests and other regulations.
250 more Compliance Officers subsequently announced by the Mayor is welcome and an offer to share their training schedule and even attend some training sessions was made.
TfL lawyers were ‘scrutinising’ the Canadian judgement on Uber’s method of dispatching work and will share findings where possible.
Ending the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles being considered.
The timing and possible implementation of the above now subject to a Judicial Review.
Ultra Low Emission Zone
“Taxi’s to be compliant by Jan’18, PH by Jan’23”, sound fair? With technology having moved on significantly since this decision, PH now having up to forty vehicles available and taxi drivers having, potentially and realistically, only two, Mike Brown agreed to look at reviewing the allowing of PH an extra five years.
Once again we strongly argued for a cap on PH numbers, which as we know needs Government to cooperate. Mike Brown stated TFL are exploring various options……don’t hold your breath!
Mike Brown was keen to emphasise that he is Executive Head of London Taxi & Private Hire & Helen Chapman is his right hand person and our conduit to him.
All above subject to 15% cost savings.
We agreed to meet in this forum up to three times yearly.
SEA CHANGE AT TFL? – That old saying- ‘The Proof Will Be In The Pudding’ comes to mind!