Nov 08

UCG Response to Mr Mason’s Letter.

Planned Taxi Demonstration.

The UCG’s response to John Mason’s letter.

Dear Mr Mason,

In reference to your concern regarding our intended Mass Demonstration, on 17th November 2010.

With gracious respect, may I say from the outset that the members of The United Cabbies Group have voted unanimously in favour of this drastic action.

Although I am confident that you will already be fully aware of our group, rather than naturally assume, I would like to explain who we are…

We are not militant terrorists, and we are in no way enthusiastic about causing mayhem on the streets of London.

Every member of the UCG is normal law abiding Licensed London Taxi driver. Every member of the UCG has been deemed a fit and proper person. Every member of the UCG holds either a green or yellow official London Cab Driver’s badge. Every member of the UCG is in possession of a current CRB certificate, and every member of the UCG is of sound mind and medically fit.

In a nutshell, Mr Mason……we are neither terrorists nor fools.

We do have an official website, as I am sure you already know. If you are not aware, please log into www.ucg-london.co.uk

Our membership represents a broad cross section of the Licensed London Taxi Trade. We have no plush offices, minimum expenses, no fees, no wages, and a democratic voting process of… one badge – one vote.

Although our group have no affiliation with any other trade organisation, some of our members do belong to other unions, associations and clubs, but they also support the intent, passion and free spirit of the UCG.

It is indeed true to state, that under your command and structure, there isnt a member of our rapidly growing group who are not fearful for their future.

Regarding your e mail of 4th November.

Please be under no illusion of our concerns regarding the obvious frustrations, gridlock and inconvenience that our actions will cause.

The very last thing we wish to do is create misery and disenchantment to the thousands of shoppers and members of the public going about their normal business in the build up to Christmas.

However, what other realistic options have you given us ?

The Private Hire Consultation Document, we feel, is merely a smoke screen to artificially inflate the credibility and future of the minicab industry.

Our concerns of how your office can cope with a revamped new structure, when you are so obviously lacking in the current one, alarms us greatly.

As a trade, we have many worrying issues of course. However, the issue of the harrowing lack of effective enforcement has such a substantial and direct impact on our safety, our livlihoods, and the safety of the public, that we may ignore it at our peril.

Illegal touting by mini cabs, both licensed and un-licensed has never been so widespread. Go to any part of the City or West End on any night and you will see this illegal practice blatantly operating, as you well know having also been touted yourself.

The current understanding of Hackney Carriage law by uniformed police officers, of both the Met and City Police, is inexplicably poor. Although we realise that this is neither your responsibility nor your remit, the licensing and monitoring of minicab abuse is!

Sexual offences originating from minicab Satellite Offices are on the increase – fact!

We have already established that statistics and records of these offences are not being seperated. Therefore, sexual offences are being categorised and generalised to include the Licensed London Taxi Trade as well.

We as a trade are extremely concerned about this laid back and blase attitude and we are determined that our world famous and trusted reputation and brand is not tarnished and ruined by the inferior ranks of the Private Hire industry.

Unfortunately, when the great idea of Satellite minicab offices was conceived, TfL gave birth to an uncontrollable monster that is un-policeable, un-enforceable and unacceptable.

Although we realise that neither yourself, nor your office have powers of arrest, your colleagues from the Safer Transport Command Unit….do. What are the last year’s conviction rates like ? Not arrests, Mr Mason, but convictions ?

It is the issues of TfL allowing serious lapses of safety enforcement that we will be publishing on leaflets, and handing out to the public in Oxford Street on the 17th November.

We want the public to know just how lax and incompetent the hierarchy of TFL and STCU really are when their daughter’s are partying in London.

We want to warn the public that the odds of getting their loved one’s home safely, if they get in a tout’s vehicle, will be dramatically and dangerously reduced, largely as a result of inadequate enforcement.

Touts are blatantly plying their illegal trade in extremely high profile areas such as The Haymarket, Tiger Tiger, and Abacus in Cornhill.

Not too long ago, a Mercedes car was left outside Tiger Tiger packed with high octane explosives. Had that device activated, most of the Haymarket, and anyone in it, would have been blown into St James’s Park ! A quick thinking, experienced and brave Metropolitan Police Officer managed to ultimately save the lives of hundreds of clubbers by defusing it.

Yet, and incredibly unbelievably whilst the country is in a state of high alert, your officers and Westminster Council, between you allow a repeat of these private cars to illegally rank in the very same spot just Weeks before Christmas.

Are MI5 and the Counter Terrorism Branch aware of this deplorable lack of security ?
Sorry Mr Mason, but we feel this needs exposing.

We know you simply cannot cope now, so have absolutely no confidence that you will do so in the future.

With an ever increasing number of private hire discs being issued, an unenforceable, non compliant and un-policeable Satellite mini cab system, thousands of unaccountable illegal touts, serious sexual offences being statistically whitewashed over our renowned and trusted profession, and only 68 officers with a lacklustre and inefficient record……….and you have the audacity to say that our action is unnecessary !

God only knows Mr Mason what dire conditions of safety our city needs to be in…….before you would consider our actions necessary !

As world respected professional leaders of trade and industry, the Licensed London Taxi Trade drive millions of people to their destinations in comfort, care and safety.

We are proud of that Platinum standard reputation Mr Mason, and intend to uphold it.

Your department has shown us disrespect and disregard with impunity and it has offended us greatly.

We do not wish to alienate or inconvenience London’s people any more than you do, but feel that they have a right to know who the real culprits are……and it certainly isnt us, Sir !

To this end, we fully intend to launch a demonstration of disenchantment on the relevant date, and bring buses, traffic and trade to a standstill.

Only then will we be able to warn the people of London the real dangers that they face, but more importantly…….those who are letting it happen.

This response has been sent to Mr Mason.

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