On Wednesday 9th November 2011, the United Cabbies Group called for a Mass Drive-In Demonstration at Trafalgar Square in protest at Transport for London’s inability to deal with the touting epidemic perpetuated by the large majority of Private Hire drivers every day & night on the streets of our capital.
TfL’s failed Safer Travel at Night (STaN) agenda has created an ‘out of control’ monster that we believe is the direct cause of the serious number of rapes and sexual assaults committed by TfL Licensed Private Hire drivers, and with NO provisions made for when it all goes wrong the results are there for everyone to see.
Director of T&PH John Mason, and his Deputy Helen Chapman had the chance to implement measures that would have gone some way to taking control of this desperate situation when they announced the Private Hire Consultation, but they have both FAILED miserably when they dropped all the proposals that would have made a real difference, in favour of the pathetic changes they have opted for that simply give the green light to all the sexual predators to carry on as normal!
Surely both John Mason and Helen Chapman MUST now be removed from their positions before any more vulnerable women are attacked.
Within a short time the centre of London was brought to a complete standstill with Taxis appearing from every direction, sounding their horns and voicing their displeasure at TfL’s failure to stop the touting epidemic.
With an estimated turnout of somewhere in the region 0f 4000 Taxis, John Mason had better think again before he issues ridiculous statements saying…
“It is deeply regretful that a small and isolated group, who do not represent the views of taxi drivers across London, feel the need to stage this demonstration”.
Does this look like a ‘Small & Isolated’ group to you John?
With reports of the gridlock stretching as far as the Angel in the North, Shoreditch in the East, Elephant & Castle in the South and Earls Court in the West, it is evident that John Mason’s statement is nothing more than TfL propaganda to disguise their failings, and to protect them from having to officially engage with the Taxi trade’s fastest growing organisation…The United Cabbies Group.
You can run John, but you cannot hide!
Taxis stretch the length of The Mall.
A New Dawn!
The UCG were pleased to welcome our colleagues from the RMT London Taxi Branch to this demonstration.
They are the ONLY other trade organisation who are prepared to make a stand against Transport for London, and defend their member’s rights and the safety of the travelling public.
And of course with them they brought their big gun in the form of Bob Crow, the General Secretary.
As well as drivers from the UCG and the RMT, the demo was also attended by a large presence of LTDA and LCDC drivers, who in the absence of their leaders showed their support, and one has to ask exactly what it is they are doing to justify the subscription fees they take from their members?
It was also fantastic to see a large amount of Knowledge students in attendance, this is their future and we must all come together to STOP the likes of Peter Hendy, Transportation Commissioner at Transport for London destroying it to satisfy his own personal hatred of the Taxi trade.
Mayor Boris Johnson must realise that Peter Hendy is simply carrying out former Mayor Ken Livingstone’s STaN agenda in the hope that Livingstone will return to finish us off.
Peter Hendy MUST also be removed from his position, and the trade MUST fight tooth & nail to stop Ken Livingstone EVER being re-elected!
And Boris Johnson must also wake up and realise that time is running out for him, and if he doesn’t want to go the same way as his predecessor he has to remove the aforementioned and make serious changes to the way Private Hire is enforced. (Or not as the case may be!)
The United Cabbies Group would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended this demonstration, and you can be sure that this is by no means the end of our action. If Transport for London do not address our concerns we will be back.
* A Public Enquiry into the governing of the Taxi and Private Hire trades by Transport for London
* A re-opening of the Private Hire Consultation
* The United Cabbies Group to officially engage with TfL on the SAME terms and conditions as the United Trade Group ie. LTDA, LCDC and Unite
Until then these demonstrations will continue, see you all at the next one.
Special thanks must go to the UCG and RMT organising committees who work tirelessly for the trade, Jonathan Myers the UCG spokesperson who did a sterling job once again addressing the media, LBC’s James Whale who gave us a whole afternoon’s coverage, Seamus the Superstar with his bucket who collected a whopping £800 for the UCG fighting fund, all the drivers who donated to that fund, the Police who in the main were very co-operative on the day, the world’s media who covered this demo despite several other demonstrations taking place that day, and our own Stormcab, Headlong and The Roman for supplying us with these fantastic photos.
Top Notch all of you!
Last word must go to LT&PH Deputy Director Helen Chapman who ummed and errred her way through her first radio interview on LBC. Fear not Ms Chapman, you will have plenty of opportunity to practice. (Unless Boris takes our advice and gets rid of you of course)
We live in hope!
Footage courtesy of RMTV
Footage courtesy of Stormcab