Landmark win for UTAG and the London Taxi Trade

Landmark win for UTAG and the London Taxi Trade

As you know our Judicial Review challenge against TfL’s Bishopsgate closure The A10 Order and the wider, far-reaching Streetspace scheme was heard at the High Court via a video link on November 25th and 26th 2020 in front of Mrs. Justice Lang DBE.

We put forward a very strong case against these two schemes and they were superbly argued by our legal team; David Matthias QC and Charles Streeten Barrister.  The judgment has just been handed down and we are thrilled to able to tell you that UTAG & The LTDA won both challenges and won convincingly.

Our team challenged The Mayor and Transport for London’s A10 Order and the Streetspace Plan & Guidance on 5 grounds.

They were made without regard to the legal status of Hackney Carriages and the vital role they play in providing accessible public transport for those with mobility impairments.

They failed to have proper regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty, pursuant to Sec 149 of the Equalities Act 2010.

They resulted in disproportionate interference with the rights of HC drivers and other industry stakeholders.

They breached a legitimate expectation of HC drivers that they will be able to pass and repass and Ply for Hire along carriageways used by London buses.

They were seriously flawed

We won Grounds 1,2,4 and 5. We lost Ground 3 although by the very narrowest of margins and since we only needed to win one of the grounds in order to win the case that is of no practical consequence.

In her judgment, Mrs.Justice Lang confirmed that Taxis and Buses are the only two forms of public transport that are allowed to Ply for Hire; it’s important to note that she agreed we are public transport. 

We have said this for years and it’s now been confirmed by a senior High Court Judge which vindicates the message ‘Where Buses Go Taxis Go.’

      In light of this outstanding victory, Mrs. Justice Lang has 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)

Mrs Justice Lang REFUSED TfL Leave To Appeal but allowed a Stay of 21 days

To win the most important legal challenge the trade has ever mounted so convincingly is an outstanding victory and should not be underestimated.

 

 David Matthias QC leading counsel for the Claimants said:

“This judgment is of major importance not only to London’s iconic black cab trade but also to all people living, working or visiting London who are unable to walk significant distances or to cycle. 

In the course of her long and careful judgment Mrs Justice Lang has vindicated all the concerns raised by the taxi trade, both on their own account and on account of the disabled, the elderly and all other people prejudiced by the Streetspace Plan and its impacts throughout the capital. 

The taxi trade may feel justly proud that it has taken the Mayor and TfL to task in this matter and secured a seminal judgment which should guide the approach to be taken by local authorities to all future road schemes both in London and elsewhere in the country.”

 

However, without your support, trust, and financial backing, this challenge would not have been possible and although the trade as a whole will benefit, the real thanks go to you and the victory is yours.

 

We should also like to publicly thank the LTDA for backing us and coming as a joint claimant.  They have been a pleasure to work with and their input has been invaluable.  

Like UTAG, they knew these closures would not be temporary but merely a precursor to further wide-ranging access restrictions for taxis and agreed we must act jointly to stop the Mayor and TfL from causing more harm to our trade and inconvenience to our passengers, especially the disabled.

 

We must also thank our outstanding legal team; David Matthias QC, Charles Streeten Barrister, Darren Rogers Instructing Solicitor and last but not least Martin Low Expert Witness for providing vital evidence to The High Court.

We shall of course keep you updated as things progress, and our legal team seeks remedies from TfL; in other words, to allow us full access to these roads without delay. 

Thank you once again for your incredible and ongoing support; this is a great day for our trade.

Best wishes

On behalf of all at UTAG

Angela Clarkson and Trevor Merralls 

United Trade Action Group

Ascotts Offer free rent to its Drivers until 1st May 2020

Ascotts Offer free rent to its Drivers until 1st May 2020

*An update to all of our drivers – 19th March 2020*

As new reports of Covid-19 continue to develop, the welfare of our employees, customers and drivers is our highest priority.

This is not an easy time for the trade.

In light of the ongoing situation, we will be CANCELLING ALL RENTAL PAYMENTS for our fleet drivers from Monday 23rd March, until Friday 1st May 2020.

We hope that this gives you one less thing to worry about at such an uncertain time.

As much-valued customers, we are committed to assisting you and keeping you as up to date as we possibly can.

Stay safe and well!

The Ascott Family.

News from Mercedes Benz Finance

News from Mercedes Benz Finance

We have received the following courtesy of Penso regarding those of you who have finance through Mercedes Benz.

The best way to get in touch with us is to email us mbfscv@daimler.com

In order for us to help you as quickly as possible please include the following information in your email:

  • Agreement Number
  • Registration Number
  • Chassis Number

You can find this information on your agreement. If you cannot find these then please provide as much other information as you can.

You can also contact us by:

Telephone 0370 847 0700
We are open Monday to Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm and Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm

Or you can write to us:

Commercial Vehicle Finance Team
Mercedes-Benz Finance
Tongwell
Milton Keynes
MK15 8BA

CAB DRIVERS OFFERED FINANCE PAYMENT HOLIDAY IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

CAB DRIVERS OFFERED FINANCE PAYMENT HOLIDAY IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

 

  • LEVC and Black Horse have agreed to make a payment holiday available to TX cab drivers on existing finance deals
  • Three-month payment suspension in direct response to Coronavirus crisis and its impact on the trade
  • To register go to www.levc.com/payment-holiday

Black cab drivers can take a three-month finance payment holiday, LEVC can reveal, designed to ease the burden on the trade due to the current Coronavirus crisis.

TX drivers on any existing finance contract can apply for a three-month suspension of repayments by simply completing their details at www.levc.com/payment-holiday. The initiative has been agreed by LEVC and Black Horse – and is available nationwide.

Joerg Hofmann, LEVC CEO, said:

“This is an extremely critical time and the payment holiday will hopefully play a role in softening the impact that Coronavirus has on taxi drivers. We recognise and celebrate the efforts they make daily to keep working and Britain moving. The taxi trade has endured many tough times over its long and proud history in London and other UK cities – and it will endure this one too. But this three-month bridge will hopefully ease the burden drivers face.”

Women Attacked By Muggers ‬ Inside A Black Cab On Harrods Taxi Rank‬

Women Attacked By Muggers ‬ Inside A Black Cab On Harrods Taxi Rank‬

Just heard a frightening story in one of my WhatsApp groups. A driver on point of Harrods Rank, picked up an oriental lady with her two daughters.

She gave him her destination but before he could drive off, the doors were opened again by a small group of men similar in appearance to the Lisson Green Mob. One of the men came to the driver window and was asking to be taken to another destination. 
But as we’ve seen before, this was no more than a distraction tactic, because another of the men got inside the taxi and proceeded to try to mug the lady. As luck would have it, the lady put up quite a fight and the man made off with just the lady’s watch which he managed to pull from her wrist. 
On the way to her destination she explained to the driver that she was unhurt and really didn’t want to go to the police station. She said the watch was in fact just a cheap fake. She just wanted to get her daughters back to her hotel as they were both quite shaken up. 
Trouble is I’ve only heard the story second hand, and have no idea who the driver was. 
I just hope he reads this… as it’s imperative he goes to the police and reports the incident in full detail. This is not the first time something like this has taken place at a Taxi rank.
We can’t have our customers being mug inside our Taxis.
When passengers are picked up it is now extremely important the all doors are locked as soon as possible. 

This is what London has become under a Mayor who would rather spend money on two rappers… than on victims of crime. 
TFL refuses Uber Operators License in London

TFL refuses Uber Operators License in London

Transport for London have today announced that they will not be renewing Uber’s Private Hire operators license. After initially being granted a 15 month probationary license by Westminster Magistrates Court and then a further 2 month temporary license by TfL, the regulator are still not satisfied that Uber are fit and proper to hold an operators license in the Capital.

Uber now have 21 days to appeal TfL’s decision during which they can continue to operate, if they do appeal then they will be free to continue until the appeal has been heard.

Surely now it is time for TfL to revoke Uber’s license and prevent them from operating to protect the travelling public from the issues raised for the refusal.

TfL’s email can be found below.

Dear Customer,

Transport for London (TfL) has concluded that it will not grant Uber London Limited (Uber) a new private hire operator’s licence in response to its latest application.

As the regulator of taxi and private hire services in London, TfL is required to make a decision on Uber’s fitness and propriety before its current licence expires. Safety is TfL’s number one priority.

Uber has made a number of positive changes and improvements to its culture, leadership and systems in the period since the Chief Magistrate granted it a licence in June 2018. This includes interacting with TfL in a transparent and productive manner. However, TfL has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.

Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.

In September Uber was granted a two-month licence as further information was required on these issues, some of which emerged late in the process of its reapplication.

A key issue identified was that a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips – putting passenger safety and security at risk.

This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL.

Another failure allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and carry passengers, again compromising passenger safety and security.

TfL recognises the steps that Uber has put in place to prevent this type of activity. However, it is a concern that Uber’s systems seem to have been comparatively easily manipulated.

Other serious breaches have also occurred, including several insurance-related issues. Some of these led TfL to prosecute Uber earlier this year for causing and permitting the use of vehicles without the correct hire or reward insurance in place.

While Uber has worked to address these issues, they highlight the potential safety risk to passengers of weak systems and processes.

This pattern of regulatory breaches led TfL to commission an independent assessment of Uber’s ability to prevent incidents of this nature happening again. This work has led TfL to conclude that it currently does not have confidence that Uber has a robust system for protecting passenger safety, while managing changes to its app.

Legislation means that Uber now has 21 days to appeal, during which it can continue to operate pending any appeal and throughout any potential appeals process. Uber may seek to implement changes to demonstrate to a magistrate that it is fit and proper by the time of the appeal.

While Uber continues to operate, TfL will continue to closely scrutinise the private hire operator, which includes the need for Uber to meet the 20 conditions set by TfL in September 2019, and particular attention will be paid to ensuring that the management have robust controls in place to manage changes to the Uber app so that passenger safety is not put at risk.

Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, said: “As the regulator of private hire services in London we are required to make a decision today on whether Uber is fit and proper to hold a licence. Safety is our absolute top priority. While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.

“It is clearly concerning that these issues arose, but it is also concerning that we cannot be confident that similar issues won’t happen again in future. If they choose to appeal, Uber will have the opportunity to publicly demonstrate to a magistrate whether it has put in place sufficient measures to ensure potential safety risks to passengers are eliminated. If they do appeal, Uber can continue to operate and we will closely scrutinise the company to ensure the management has robust controls in place to ensure safety is not compromised during any changes to the app.”

Yours sincerely,

Graham Robinson
Interim General Manager of Taxi and Private Hire