Nov 20

The Cabbies Cabinet

Leon Daniels, Transport for London’s Surface Transport Managing Director recently sent out the following letter to each and every Licensed London Taxi driver with regards to Mayor Boris Johnson’s Manifesto pledge to create a ‘Cabbies Cabinet’ to address the Taxi trade’s issues.

Mr Daniels wastes no time in patronising the Taxi trade by telling us how great the Olympic Games were and what a ‘most spectacular’ advertisement to the rest of the world our great city is.

If Leon thinks empty streets, empty Taxis, empty bars, empty restaurants, empty theatres and empty shops is ‘spectacular’ then we suggest that he is ‘spectacularly’ deluded.

The only thing that was packed was the Underground, thanks to Transport for London selling £91 Million worth of tube tickets to LOCOG for those with Olympic tickets to travel for ‘free’, an experience we reckon they will remember for the rest of their days.

The reality is TfL’s scaremongering tactics frightened everybody away from the Capital and turned it into a ghost town. Many many businesses have been severely damaged by Leon Daniels and his colleagues decisions, and none more so than the London Taxi trade.

Many of London’s restaurants, bars and theatres were also severely affected, including the stage show ‘Blood Brothers’ which after 24 years is set to close. Writer Bill Kenwright has directly blamed Transport for London’s Olympic strategy for its demise, saying it was no longer viable to continue.

Nice one Leon!

Daniels then goes on to insult our intelligence by telling us how we all played a critical part in delivering the games.

How? When? What? Where? Leon?

If he means the Spice Girls standing on the roof of 5 Fairways at the closing ceremony was ‘critical’ then whoopie doo!

You told everybody to stay away from London…

You brought in 4000 volunteers to do our job driving BMWs…

You gave everybody with a games ticket free travel on the Underground…

You told all Taxi drivers NOT to go on holiday because it would be “a fantastic opportunity for cabbies”

and last but by no means least, the most despicable of the lot…

You kicked Taxis out of the games lanes which severely hindered us in carrying out our job!

Please spare us this nonsense Leon because quite simply…

You killed our trade!

And where are these so called ‘many Taxi drivers who enjoyed the whole experience and did well from it’ Leon? Because we most certainly HAVE NOT met any.

This is nothing but a fine piece of TfL propaganda which only the gullible and the insane would believe.

But Leon isn’t all bad…oh no. He tells us how he did us all a favour by not issuing any games lanes infringement fines for those of us who defied their draconian rules. What a nice guy!

What he doesn’t tell us is how we were the only form of transport who normally has access to bus lanes to get kicked out of the games lanes. Quite simply the issuing of fines to Taxi drivers who have already had their income decimated would be akin to ‘robbing the dead’ and the national media would have had a field day.

The London Taxi trade could quite easily have been included in the games lanes without any disruption whatsoever and we would have at least felt part of these Olympics, but old Leon wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of his Olympic Bonus.

How much did you get Leon? And have you had fun spending it?


The Cabbies Cabinet

The United Cabbies Group feel this Cabbies Cabinet is nothing but a farce!

Leon invites individual drivers to respond and tell him what they think.

The UCG asks… What is the point?

It states quite clearly in the letter that Leon only wants to engage with the ‘Established’ trade organisations ie. The LTDA, The LCDC and Unite, or the ‘subservients’ as they are more commonly known throughout the trade, and that is exactly why this debacle which is no more than a rebranding exercise of the much maligned Engagement Policy is a waste of time and will achieve nothing.

If you only continue to engage with the same old ‘chosen’ faces you will only get what you have already got… A Taxi trade fraught with problems.

There is only one way to sort this trade out, and that is for each and every driver representative group to be present around a table in equal numbers without any pre-conditions… and all on an equal billing.

Not just the ones Leon favours, or the ones who toe the party line, but ALL of them. Anything less is a waste of time and the trades problems will simply continue and will never be resolved.

How about it Leon… Do you have the bottle?

Or is this letter and this Cabbies Cabinet just another propaganda stunt to appease the dissenting voices, and a cosmetic exercise for the Mayor when you have no intention of listening to ‘real’ drivers views and plan to continue with the same old same old?

Prove us wrong Leon!

For those of you who agree with the UCG’s stance on this we have taken the liberty to draft a response letter to Mr Daniels and TfL which you can print out and send in.
Just click the link below twice.

Cabbies Cabinet Response Letter
Alternatively you can cut and paste the response below and email to Leon Daniels at this address…
Dear Mr Daniels,

Thank you for your letter regarding the Cabbies Cabinet.

Whilst I commend the Mayor for attempting to address the many issues facing the Taxi trade by means of a ‘Cabbies Cabinet’ I feel that unless this cabinet is conducted on fair, equal and transparent terms for ‘ALL’ taxi driver representative organisations including newly formed groups such as the United Cabbies Group (UCG) and the RMT London Taxi Branch then very little will be achieved.

Furthermore, and for the sake of clarity and transparency it is essential that all meetings with the trade should be fully minuted and made available to all Taxi drivers via the TfL website.

I strongly believe that for the ‘Cabbies Cabinet’ to become a success and a permanent fixture any additional meetings with the ‘established’ trade organisations should be discontinued from the outset.


Yours Sincerely

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