The City of London Corporation has today unveiled proposals to pedestrianise areas around Bank Tube Station to make the busy junction safer for walkers and cyclists.
Under the plans revealed this afternoon, Threadneedle Street could be closed for motor vehicles between Bank Junction and Bartholomew Lane in both directions to create a walking and cycling only area.
Cars and buses would also be banned between Queen Victoria Street between Bucklersbury and Bank Junction, except for vehicles exiting Walbrook in a westbound direction.
Princes Street would be open for buses and bicycles in a northbound direction.
The Corporation is also consulting on widening pavements around the junction to accommodate the large number of people who are expected to return to the area after lockdown.
The proposed design provides space for extra seating and green space and aims to improve street safety.
Alastair Moss, chair of the City of London Corporation’s planning and transport committee, said: “Bank Junction has already undergone transformative change, from a busy and dangerous intersection to a safer and more pleasant environment for all.
“This proposal further builds upon those changes to continue the progression toward creating a world-class welcoming heart of the Square Mile, bounded by the iconic Bank of England, Royal Exchange and Mansion House.
“By making subtle changes to just a few of the arms of the junction, we will ensure the streets are even safer for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as being able to provide welcome improvements to the public realm in this busy part of the City.
“We encourage all of those who work, live and visit the City to provide their thoughts on the plan as we look forward to welcoming more people back to the Square Mile as the lockdown restrictions are eased.”
The Worshipful Company for Hackney Carriage drivers have taken the difficult decision to cancel the annual Magical Taxi Tour to Disneyland in Paris.
The annual event takes children with life-limiting illnesses in a trip of a lifetime to Disneyland Paris to give them a break from their world of therapy and treatment in a fleet of 100 London Taxis, supported by the City of London Police, London Ambulance Service and the AA.
The children are transported in a fleet of 100 London Taxis on the Friday, escorted by City of London Police & French Gendarme motorcycle outriders who close the roads as the convoy passes through, they get spend the Saturday in the Disneyland park where they are allowed priority passes to get on the rides, they are then treated to a spectacular Gala Party in one of the Disney Hotels in the evening and return on Sunday.
The trip was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 Pandemic and it was hoped that it would be able to resume in 2021.
In a letter to drivers and support staff, the committee said “It is with a heavy heart that we have to write to let you know we are having to cancel this year’s Magical Taxi Tour to Disneyland Paris”.
The Big Breakfast at the East Winter Gardens Canary Wharf
The trip was planned to take place over the weekend of 1st to ther 3rd October this year and letters of invitation had already been sent out to drivers wishing to take part.
Taxi News spoke to Phil Davis, who is the driving force behind the Magical Taxi Tour, where he voiced his concerns over taking children with suppressed immune systems to France. He was concerned about social distancing and keeping the children safe.
The letter continues ” The situation across the channel is not good, and we are unable to predict what is going to happen in the months ahead. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to being able to organise the trip again next year”.
The trip is planned to take place in September 2022 and we hope that next year will bring better conditions and that the trip will go ahead as planned so that even more children are able to experience this once in a lifetime event.
Peter DaCosta is well known within the London Taxi Trade for his involvement with KPM Taxis.
Peter thinks that we gave Private Hire our work! Grant Davies of the London Cab Drivers Club interviews Peter DaCosta on LCDC TV.
LCDC TV is the Premier News Channel for all Taxi Drivers! News, Interviews and Your Views, keeping the Taxi Trade informed of what is going on and keeping them updated of current events. You can find it at www.LCDC.TV
Transport for London has had their appeal hearing granted even though the judge stated that they had no right of appeal.
During the summing up Mrs Justice Lang REFUSED TfL Leave To Appeal but allowed a Stay of 21 days.
She also ordered that:
The A10 Order (Bishopsgate Bus Corridor) is quashed
The Streetspace Plan is quashed
The Streetspace Guidance is quashed
That the defendants pay the claimants’ costs.
The amount of costs has yet to be decided)
The case succeeded on four of the five grounds advanced on behalf of the taxi trade:
In the Streetspace Plan and subsequent Guidance, the Mayor and TfL respectively failed to distinguish the special status of taxis from “general traffic”, neither taking into account the distinct status of taxis as a form of public transport nor the travel needs of those who rely on accessible taxis.
The Mayor and TfL failed to have proper regard to their Public Sector Equality Duties under Section 149 of the Equalities Act 2010.
The Plan, Guidance and the A10 Order unlawfully breached licensed taxi drivers’ “legitimate expectation” of being permitted to use bus lanes to ply for hire effectively as a vital part of London’s integrated public transport network.
The treatment of taxis in the Plan, Guidance and the Order and the decisions to exclude them were “seriously flawed” and “irrational”.
In a tweet UTAG stated:
“TFL have been granted an appeal and we will be consulting with our legal team asap and give further updates as appropriate”.
A Transport for London worker and her Brother face prison sentences after selling secret topographical test answers to failed minicab drivers
Graduate Cindy Ughanze, 28, was employed in the Topographical Assessment Department of Transport for London and sold information to applicants seeking to gain a private hire drivers license.
Prospective private hire drivers who wish to ferry passengers around London are required to pass a topographical assessment before acquiring their license, which tests their map reading skills.
This test is not as extensive as the world-famous Knowledge of London, which Black Cab drivers are required to pass before gaining their license and requires them to memorise around 25,000 streets in London.
Cindy plotted with her Brother Jordan Ughanze, 25, an engineering graduate, who approached the drivers and charged them a fee of between £300 and £500 to cheat the test.
Prosecutor Shannon Revel said: “Applicants are required to prove they have a working knowledge of the geography of London and their sealed test results are taken to TFL.
Cindy passed the details of the failed applicants to her brother Jordan, who offered them a way to cheat the system, and pass the test for a fee, he then filled in fresh exam papers which would be swapped by his sister.
The Ughanzes, both pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud TFL between February 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018, and both will be sentenced on 29th April 2021.
One driver who cheated the system and paid the Ughanzes for answers passed their retest with a mark of 88% after initially failing with a poor 43% result, the court heard.
The Judge at Croydon Crown Court advised both defendants to bring overnight bags when they return to court as they must be prepared to face prison sentences.
The prosecution centres around 22 failed applicants whose details were found in a holdall along with blank test and filled in test papers when Police raided the family home.
Those drivers have been permanently banned from holding a private hire drivers license by Transport for London but have not been prosecuted despite participating in the fraud.
The investigation targeted those at the top, added Ms Revel and came to light after on failed applicant tipped off the police when approached by the Ughanzes.
It is currently unknown if there are more private hire drivers carrying passengers around London who cheated the system, but taking into account past revelations it would not be a surprise. Drivers have obviously not come forward as they have also committed faud.
Cindy was employed by TFL on a salary of £32,000 after abandoning her masters degree and is now in receipt of Universal Credit, she would log into her work computer for up to 2 hours at a time outside of office hours to swap out the failed test papers.
She was arrested at her desk on 31st May 2018 before being taken to Charing Cross Police Station.
Father-of-one Jordan, an assistant project manger for Network Rail, has convictions for robbery, battery and fraud and is currently having the family council house transferred to his name.
‘They have both participated in a thoroughly dishonest enterprise, having been given a chance by the courts after previous offences,’ announced Judge Charles.
Referring to Cindy, the judge added: ‘Having been caught twice in her life for being dishonest, surely now is the time to show some honesty.’
They will appear at the same court next month to be sentenced.