Jan 12

With Friends Like These…

The Anderson Shelter recently contacted John Mason to seek recognition for the Taxi trade’s efforts during the latest bad weather.


The United Cabbies Group were not satisfied with the response given so we sent our own email to Mr Mason.

Here are both emails…

Dear Mr Mason,

The United Cabbies Group (UCG) have read with interest your reply on behalf of Boris Johnson to James Thomas’s (Anderson Shelter Blog site) email regarding the extraordinary efforts of London’s Taxi Drivers during the recent adverse weather conditions, you state…

‘As the Director of London Taxi and Private Hire the Mayor asked me to respond to you directly. Firstly, I would like to assure you that the Mayor and “his minions” at TFL have nothing but the upmost respect for London’s hard working, loyal and dedicated taxi drivers. Time and time again London’s cabbies rise to the challenge against adverse conditions to support London’s travelling public in getting to where they need to go. Such dedication is not ignored or underestimated but instead is applauded and publically acknowledged whenever possible.’

In your response, on behalf of the Mayor, you state that such dedication is applauded and publicly acknowledged whenever possible, please could you provide evidence of a single public acknowledgement that has been accredited to the London Licensed Taxi trade during your directorship or indeed during Boris Johnson’s term as Mayor, we have searched both Yahoo Google and The Evening Standard Archives and could find no trace of these alleged public acknowledgements.

At the beginning of November last Year the UCG became aware that because of substantial planned works on the London Underground being carried out on Remembrance Sunday, Veterans wishing to attend the Cenotaph Services would be facing huge travel difficulties. At very short notice the UCG organised a free Marshalled shuttle service from several sites in Central London to ferry Veterans to the Whitehall Area. And after liaising closely with the Metropolitan Police the same free Marshalled shuttle service was operated from Westminster Bridge to take them back again. Hundreds of London Cabbies gave up their time to provide this service.

Whilst the superb efforts of the London Taxi Trade on Remembrance Sunday were acknowledged by the Royal British Legion, and the Veterans themselves, no acknowledgement of any kind was received from TFL or T & PH. Whilst the superb efforts of the London Taxi Trade was the lead article on the local ITV News Channel (London Tonight), no acknowledgement was received from TFL or T & PH.

On the basis of your comments “ is applauded and publically acknowledged whenever possible “ we look forward to your response to this email with great interest.

Yours sincerely

Steve Mepham & Lee Osborne

On behalf of the UCG

John Mason’s Reply

Dear Mr Mepham and Osbourne

I refer to your email of 11 January.

I do not intend to spend any of my own or my colleagues valuable time or, more importantly taxi drivers license fees, on proving to you that we applaud and publicly acknowledge the good work and dedication of taxi drivers whenever possible. I would expect the majority of London’s taxi drivers would rather we focus our time and resources on more important matters.

However, I am sorry if you or others feel that TfL or the Mayor do not praise the efforts of drivers as much as you would like.

Of course, TfL are not responsible for what “Yahoo, Google or the Evening Standard Archives” chose to publish on such matters.


John Mason
Director – Taxi & Private Hire
4th Floor Yellow
197 Blackfriars Road. London. SE1 8NJ

So there you have it…

Mr Mason is not going to waste any of his time acknowledging the gallant effort we all put in to keep London Moving.

The snow came down and as usual London ground to a halt. The trains stopped, the buses stopped and the tubes stopped. Everything stopped, except for one mode of transport that never stops… The Taxis!

The driving conditions out there were abysmal and downright dangerous, but London’s famous Black Cabs kept plugging away, and we didn’t charge anything extra for it unlike Private Hire who’s prices immediately shot through the roof.

Treble bubble was the order of the day in a minicab!

And BAA at Heathrow Airport are no better!

Within an hour of the snow falling the airport had ground to a halt.

Nothing landed or took off for nearly a week, and thousands of passengers were literally stranded.

And I mean thousands, the Taxi queue on Terminal 5 lasted for two days. But eventually we cleared it.

Terminals 1,3 & 4 were just as bad with the queue of stranded passengers waiting for over 5 hours, with many of them dressed in their summer clothes in sub zero temperatures, But eventually we cleared it!

Have BAA come out and acknowledged our efforts?

Have they hell!

We have got no thanks whatsoever for clearing up their mess.

All we got was the canteen prices going up.

Thanks BAA.

What other form of transport could have done what we did?

I’ll tell you the answer… NONE!

And like TfL & T&PH, they won’t know what they’ve got til it’s gone!

So to come out and claim that they publically acknowledge us wherever possible, yet no proof of this can be found, is nothing but an insult to each and every hardworking Taxi driver who risked their lives out there.

However, one group who does recognise your efforts is the UCG. We would just like to thank each and every one of you for the part you played in keeping London moving, and if no-one else cares, we do!

Thank you.

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