Our First Christmas in the New Office Winter 2015/16
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: 4 Roger Sligo’s ‘Ed Lines’ Vauxhall cars, Mountview Open House and other news 8 Open Day at Our New Home Geoffrey Riesel – the move to N. London Business Park 10 Tweeting in the New Year Geoffrey Riesel on the hash-tag #NewYearsResolution 12 Coming to a Polling Booth near you... Peter Gibson on the race for Mayor of London 14 Station Road Christmas Opening Hours When they’re open... and when they’re not 15 The Fight Against Uber Alan Franks gives us his opinions 16 Macmillan Coffee and Cake Morning Angie McGuire organised support against Cancer 17 The NEW London Taxi! Board Game Win a copy of this soon to be released game! 18 Credit Union – Low Cost ‘Saver Loans’ Quite simply – all you need to know! 19 Radio Taxis/Xeta Code of Conduct Just a handy ‘cut out & keep’ reminder list 20 Things to do on Christmas Day in London Roger Sligo – with some Festive suggestions 21 Taxi’ng Times – Episode 8... Terry the Cabbie spots ‘BoJo’ at Trafalgar Square! 22 Curiosity Corner Roger Sligo with more mysteries of modern London 24 The Crime Museum Uncovered FREE entry for all of London’s Taxi Drivers 26 All About the Black Cab Card Robert Stead with a step by step guide to accepting it 28 RadioTaxis Photo Contest: Views of London The winner and all the runners up 30 24 Hour Party People Roy Hughes with some Underground info 31 The Davis Cup Final 2015 Robert MacDonald Watson serves us an ace here! 34 Our Regular “Where Am I?” Contest Roger Sligo has a £25 M&S Voucher for you! 35 The Mountview Puzzler Page A crossword and a tough Soduko for you to try
THE MOUNTVIEW NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM IS: Roger Sligo – Editor & photos • Penny Cuckston – Administration Geoffrey Riesel & Peter Gibson – Board production Doug Canning – Graphic design, page layout, printing & distribution Graphics & Print: ©2015 • DC- Graphics • 0208 440 1155 • www.dc-graphics.co.uk Content: © 2015 • Mountview House Group Ltd • North London Business Park Oakleigh Road South • London • N11 1GN The information and images contained in this Newsletter are subject to copyright. Unauthorised use, disclosure or copying without prior written permission from Mountview House Group Ltd is strictly prohibited.
It’s a Great Big Win See Page 31
Vauxhall Recalls Dangerous Cars TfL Takes No Action! VAUXHALL have recently recalled 220,000 Zafira B cars, due to the high numbers of this model suddenly bursting into flames. It is reported that over one-hundred and thirty of these cars have caught fire with some of the occupants being trapped inside by the central locking system. The Zafira is popular with private hire drivers with around 6,000 (FOI figures) being licensed in London by TfL. With the present danger of one of these cars catching fire and trapping passengers inside, TfL’s main duty should be protecting the safety of passengers. It is therefore surprising that none of the affected Zafira B models have been issued with any stop notices! During 2008, eight TX4 taxis in London, about eleven nationally, were involved in spontaneous fires and yet within days the entire fleet of TX4’s, almost a thousand, were taken off the road by TfL. The drivers were forced out of work without pay, some being off the road for a couple of months, with very little chance of hiring another taxi. With the risk to public safety and with the time it will obviously take Vauxhall Motors to carry out repairs to the fleet of Zafira models, it is somewhat of a surprise that TfL have made no announcements of what drivers should be doing. Surely if it was right to stop taxis from being used to convey the public with an almost identical problem, then why hasn’t the same principal been used in this case too? We are all aware that minicabs are not licensed to the same high standard as taxis, even though they are tested at the same places. There is the question of why no hire and reward insurance is necessary during testing as it is with taxis. There are a growing number of PH cars which are not properly insured. There was a recent case exposed where an UBER whistleblower printed a made-up insurance certificate with a fictitious company name and was allowed to work on their private hire platform. More recently our own Chairman’s car, as you’ll read elsewhere in this issue, was “hit and run” by an UBER driver and then in a separate incident another minicab driver fled the scene of a minor road traffic accident that he had at Trafalgar Square, either their insurances were not valid or they were not properly licensed drivers! These types of incidents are reaching epidemic levels. Is it time that our trade started a campaign to
Vauxhall Zafira mini cab.
inform some of the companies, happy to send staff home by minicabs, of the differences between them and us? After all if The Mayor and TfL are not prepared to take over 6,000 possible fire hazard cars off the roads until the fault has been rectified, then they are licensing something that isn’t safe!
MOUNTVIEW OPEN HOUSE
The first open day programme was on Wednesday 21st October for clients, with our CEO Geoffrey Riesel welcoming them all to our “Office Warming Party.” There was plenty of time to chat while eating and drinking before the tour started. Because of the size of the reception area, it was large enough to house a vintage London taxi and a Tesla electric vehicle, the old and the new with plenty of spare space. Due to the number of visitors, the management formed small groups before entering the operation centre so as not to disrupt operators. The clients were guided around by Geoffrey Riesel, Gordon Brown,
Left to right: Peter DaCosta, Geoffrey Riesel and Brian Rice
Alan Franks and Robert MacDonald Watson. I heard some of the clients remarking on the size of the operation and the amount of staff under one roof. The following morning we catered for two sessions, one in the morning for trade representatives and another in the afternoon for our drivers. Some of the trade reps included Brian Rice (Dial a Cab), Malcolm Paice (Past Master, Worshipful Company Hackney Carriage Drivers) and Peter DaCosta (KPM), with the trade press – Sandy Goodwin (Taxi Globe) and Dave Allen (Cab Driver) also in attendance. In the afternoon our own RT and Xeta drivers were invited to come and see us. The drivers’ invites covered a longer period, from 1pm until 4pm, so they arrived at different times throughout the afternoon, which allowed us more time to meet and greet individually. Some of those who turned up to see our new home were: Keith Sullivan (Mike 42); one of the first to arrive, lives in Buckinghamshire and had started early that day at 4am, with his first job that morning from London Underground at Rickmansworth. Keith said it is definitely getting tougher out there at the moment – he told us that for fifteen years he worked four days a
week and now he has to do six. He drives a Vito taxi has done quite high mileage over last five years and has had no trouble with the Vito except for a while ago with the rear wheel steering. He’s been with Radio Taxis for fifteen years and really enjoys doing radio work. Payen (Kilo 76); a London cabby for 28 years and with Radio Taxis for twenty of them. He lives out at West Wickham. Payen is originally from Mauritius, having moved to the UK 49 years ago. He said his father was in the British Army and that meant that he had a British Passport, which he refused to give up for a Mauritian Passport, this is what he would have had to do if he had wanted to live back in Mauritius. Bruce Itzinger (Quebec 29); from Totteridge has been driving a cab for 33 years and for about a dozen years on Radio Taxis. He called in to see us on his way to visit his mum, who lives in a nursing home in Barnet. He was very glad he came and said he was most impressed with the new set-up in our very modern office suite.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST With a steady flow of drivers visiting throughout the afternoon, we must express our thanks to Charlie (a retired Radio Taxis driver from Enfield) who has been driving our shuttle bus (back and forth between the office and the local tube station) and also to Priscilla for providing all the home made hot spicy food Yum-Yum! Thanks to all the drivers, clients and trade reps that came to see our new home!
IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY Sometimes you are left wondering why car manufacturers still bother putting indicators on motor cars, after all a lot of drivers don’t bother ever using them. I remember when I took my driving test in 1965; you not only used the indicators but also had to give hand signals too! One of the worst places to predict which direction a vehicle is going to take, is at a roundabout, especially a mini-roundabout. Not only is it hard for other drivers to ascertain another car’s direction, it is even more dangerous and difficult for pedestrians. I live close to a roundabout and when crossing on foot you really do take your chances if a car is turning in your direction or not. I remember a few years ago, at the mini roundabout at the top of Kensington Park Road, when an open top MG did a complete circle, which is his right – but without indicating. I predicted he was taking the next exit before me, so I started to move cautiously forward, to the sound of his horn and a one fingered salute. Pulling next to him at Notting Hill Gate traffic lights, I said, over his open-top car “Pity you never used your finger to move your indicator with, then I would have known which way you intended going!” I will say that most taxi-drivers are very good with their indication. It probably has much to do with awareness of what we are doing, just in case a hand goes up and we need to stop quickly. One way our strapped-for-cash police service could help rejuvenate their bank balances would be to start nicking vehicles not indicating. CCTV could easily pick out the culprits – no need for any endorsements, just a fine like a parking ticket would do! LENNOX ROAD – FONTHILL MEWS
A few days ago I had a radio job to Mountview Road off Crouch Hill and I just couldn’t resist driving back down to Lennox Road. Looking at our old offices at Mountview House, where, although it was obvious
building work had already commenced, there was very little in terms of noticeable changes. There was however, a large plastic sign with “FORREST” and lots of safety notices obscuring a street level view, but everything else looked pretty much the same. It will shortly reinvent itself as a residential mews and I understand the gates will remain. Whether it will revert to be called Fonthill Mews is another story. I think I would prefer it to be named Mountview Mews, then one dark and rainy night I might be tempted to change the “M” from Mews into an “N” renaming it Mountview News!
TAVISTOCK PLACE MADNESS By the time you read this magazine, Tavistock Place and Bloomsbury will have become as unpopular as UBER. It has just been made into a one-way street going east, all the way from Gower Street – Torrington Place, to Judd Street. Posts are in position on the westbound side to make this a segregated cycle lane. The taxi rank outside the Tavistock Hotel will still be available; the only problem is the wheelchair ramp is on the other side – the road side. Camden Council, or to be more correct, James Hammond, who is Camden’s Principle Transport Planner (who looks like a young school leaver) is in charge of this madcap idea. He thinks it’s a alright for wheelchair passengers at this rank to wheel themselves to the next available turning which is Herbrand Street, about fifty yards down the road, where they can be safely loaded by the waiting cabby! One driver told me that a job from Waterloo Station to Euston Station went £25 on the meter, before the passenger had had enough and walked from Upper Woburn Place. The SatNav minicabs are even finding it more of a challenge than us, as it’s so new and their navigation system has yet to be updated. To help pay for these ridiculous ideas and with Camden’s mounting black hole, it has been decided to close most of their public toilets and the few remaining such as Lincolns Inn Fields will become Pay As You Go. Beware if you are sitting gridlocked in their man made traffic jams, should you become desperate for a loo don’t be tempted (as if you have a choice) fouling the streets, as they are bringing in, what they call patronisingly – “A Wee Fine” which will cost you £100. Should we take our case to the Courts of Human Rights? After all it is a call of nature! (Chairman Geoffrey Riesel says he understood that a taxi driver has [or used to have] a right, under ancient Hackney Carriage law, to urinate on his wheel in the street. However I wonder if anyone knows if this is still the case?).
BE VIGILANT IN ROMFORD ESSEX
MY TOP 5 ARE: 1. A Wonderful Life (1946) With James Stewart has got to be up there as one of the greats, with all the best ingredients in the snow with a good weep guaranteed. 2. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) which has long been America’s favourite Christmas movie. Starring English actor Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, a Santa Claus at Macy’s New York department store. 3. Scrooge (1951) there is only one film actor who can forever be the tight-fisted Mr Scrooge and that is Alastair Sim. Several remakes – but none can touch the original festive ghost story.
One of our drivers, Jamie, wrote to us warning about taxis being broken into where he lives in the Romford area. Jamie writes; “I’ve been done again. This is the second time in five months. This happened outside my house”. Please make sure to take all valuables out the cab – it might be worth writing a note something like; “No Passengers or valuables are left in this taxi overnight.” And then leave that in the window, I understand this can sometimes work.
CHRISTMAS FILMS – THE OLDEST ARE THE BEST With so many TV channels available these days Christmas films are everywhere. But with the thousands of movies shown all day, every day, there are just a few classics which are notable.
4. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) If Christmas shopping is getting you down, your least favourite store clerk could be James Stewart, with his soft drawling words that Margaret Sullavan could be falling for. 5. Wizard of Oz (1939) Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale taking her dog Toto on an adventure along the Yellow Brick Road. Over the Rainbow is one of the greatest songs of all time. I saw this film for the first time on TV one Christmas in the 1970s, at my late sister-in-law Pauline’s flat, where we were invited for Christmas dinner. The food, the company, the kids, the drink and the film made it one of my most enjoyable Christmas’s of all. I hope your favourite films are on TV this year – just settle back and enjoy! A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our readers. Roger Sligo.
Open Day at Our New Home: North London Business Park WE held three events all of which were really good and we’re so proud of our new HQ at North London Business Park. CLIENTS, drivers and the trade all said that they were most impressed, so from our point of view it was a really worthwhile exercise. Our thanks to those drivers who took the trouble to come and see for themselves. If you found it difficult to get to here but would still like to visit, then contact one of us and we can arrange for you to come and see us. So you might ask why did we move? Well, while Mountview House was a well loved home for us for over 25 years, it was a very quirky “Rabbit Warren” of separate silos, not the best way of creating a team spirit or to promote good communication between departments and personnel. Our new home is just marvellous and apart from looking mega professional it has really brought us all together as a team. The new offices are a great working environment and it will make us into a better company. I’ve been asked what will happen to the old Mountview House premises? Our understanding is that it is being turned in nineteen private residences, so I suspect they’re working hard on converting the property as we speak.
THE SCOURGE OF UBER As I’ve previously said publicly, I’m of course hugely disappointed, but not at all that surprised that the High Court didn’t rule that UBER do indeed use their device as a taxi meter. This was a very technical argument and in law a judge will always consider the merits of the case entirely compared in combination with the words of the law itself, not on the rightness of the argument. It was, for the trade’s lawyers to make the technical
argument and sadly that didn’t happen despite best efforts. However, both the taxi industry and Private Hire businesses agree that this court case is a set back, as we are very much on the same side in this one.
APPEAL? Nevertheless we do most definitely have the right of appeal, indeed both industries are meeting up to discuss an appeal to the Supreme Court. However, I do think that we should all be concentrating on getting our supporters to go online to the TfL website to download and respond to the consultation about Private Hire. The consultation issues, if accepted and implemented by TfL would seriously impact UBER’s ability to ride not only roughshod over the law, but would make it harder for them to get around the spirit of the law by using technology to do so. It would also mean that their ability to hire drivers who have not been properly vetted, despite their PR machine protesting that they actually do check all documents properly. And here are just three good reasons why circumstantially we don’t believe them.
I GOT HIT AND RUN BY AN UBER CAR Over the course of a few days in October… 1) While I was driving in Knightsbridge in my car, I got hit and run by an UBER driver who then made off when I thought he was pulling up to exchange details. 2) Then on Twitter only a day later, many of us saw the the picture of yet another UBER driver who actually ran away after his car was involved in a minor road traffic accident (RTA). 3) And then after that only a couple of days later, we all heard about a further UBER driver, yet again involved in an RTA, who asked his passenger, when the police were called, to say that they were a friend and not a fare paying passenger. Those incidents are not coincidences, they are because on an industrial scale, UBER drivers are able to get around UBER’s lax, unsafe and unfit for purpose, driver and document “scrutiny” procedure. Fundamentally, why would anyone properly insured and with a valid PH Licence, evade or lie their way through?
Geoffrey Riesel welcoming guests to the Open Day.
Fill out the consultation on the TfL website: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/tph/private-hire-proposals The main issues are that rules need changing to prevent the use of technology to get around the “Immediate hiring” issue which when customers can see the cars on the APP and choose, this is in essence an immediate hiring which should entirely be the preserve of a real taxi driver who has done the knowledge and can respond immediately and safely. So please not only fill in the consultation, please get other members of the public to do so as well especially your families, who are members of the public too! There are also two further consultations available which probably need your input and they are firstly about the potential mandatory requirement to accept credit cards in taxis and then the final one is in respect of a review of possible taxi fares reform in the light of the huge downward pressure on taxi fares as a consequence of the flooding of the market by operators like UBER.
Barry Pellar V042
WHO’S DRIVING YOU CAMPAIGN You might also be interested in looking at the Who’s driving you campaign fighting Uber mainly in the USA but worldwide too, http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/
Tweeting in by @radiotaxis_boss
What’s your #NewYearsResolution
LAST YEAR Mountview News used this regular Twitter feature to bring to you ideas of how to use Twitter at Christmas. So this year I thought we’d take a look at the New Year. Once we have put the enjoyment and excesses of the Christmas period behind us, our thoughts usually turn to the year ahead and the challenges we want to achieve and major things we want to do – often where we are going to travel to. We also make resolutions to be healthier – no doubt enhanced by the guilt we feel at the over indulgence during the Christmas period. So I had a quick look on Twitter using the hashtag #NewYearsResolution Twitter analysed tweets between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve 2015 to see which words are most associated with New Year’s resolutions. At the top of the list, unsurprisingly, was “work out.” Many also hoped to unplug from their devices in the New Year – it being ironic that they use their devices to tell Twitter this! This table shows the top ten resolutions based on a ranking of English-language tweets:
1. Work Out 2. Be Happy 3. Lose Weight 4. Stop Smoking 5. Unplug
Twitter can be an invaluable way of keeping up to date with what is happening. It can also be a useful source of regular information and advice. Since I joined Twitter I have found it not only helps me stay in touch with life in London but it can also be entertaining and informative at spare moments during the day. Sometimes it’s a source of world shattering traumatic events and only this week I was caught up in waves of Tweets and information about the dreadful events in Paris on November 13th. I also know that from feedback of drivers and clients that it has now become an established part of many people’s day. So I’ve set out opposite some of the accounts that might be useful for helping with your own New Year’s Resolution and there is also one or two that might give you ideas of what to do in January and how to choose that dream holiday. If you haven’t yet signed up to Twitter then I recommend you give it a go. Just log-on at: www.twitter.com and set up an account. 6. Be the best (at) 7. Stop drinking 8. Love myself 9. Work harder 10. Don’t F*** it up
You don’t have to tweet if you don’t want to, many people use their account just to follow others. And don’t forget to follow me at @radiotaxis_boss
the New Year #HappyNewYear Twitter Name
Helpful tips and motivation on health, dieting, nutrition, fitness and more.
NHS Smokefree is the national NHS campaign providing motivation, information and support for smokers who want to stop.
Weight Watchers is dedicated to inspiring and helping you adopt a healthier way to live. For life.
Daily Fitness Tips
Daily fitness tips and inspiration to help change your life. Follow us!
Doing my best to be a positive force in other’s lives.
A Luxury Travel Blog
Blogging on all things luxury travel at ALuxuryTravelBlog.com – please contact us via the blog. http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/contact-us
Time Out London
Looking for a leisurely way to spend New Year’s Eve 2015? How about a fun-filled day out with the kids? Or an evening spent enjoying the fireworks over the Thames? Check out ways to spend New Year’s Eve, whether you’re looking for daytime activities or an evening out, there’s tons of things to do in London this NYE.
MyFitnessPal is a free and easy health and fitness system that helps you attain your fitness goals.
Rich & Louise Thomas @Thaibootcamp
Tweets from Louise and Richard. We run a fitness bootcamp at the ‘Spa Resort’ in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We tweet about fitness, health, wellness and lifestyle. 11
Coming to a Polling Booth near you... By Peter Gibson Strategic Director THE RACE for Mayor of London will start, in earnest, early in the New Year. Polling day is Thursday 5th May 2016. The five main candidates are: ■ Sadiq Khan 45, Labour candidate ■ Zac Goldsmith 41, Conservative candidate ■ Caroline Pidgeon 43, Liberal Democrat candidate ■ Siân Berry 41, Green Party candidate ■ Peter Whittle, UKIP candidate THERE WILL be an array of other independent candidates and as I write George Galloway is supposedly standing as Respect Party candidate. Current betting odds are Sadiq Khan is 4/5 and Zac Goldsmith is evens, so this looks like a very evenly match contest between Conservative and Labour at least at the start of the campaign. Two strikingly different candidates in terms of background. It’s being billed as the son of an immigrant bus driver versus the millionaire Old Etonian. The people you vote for in these elections are responsible for many aspects of your everyday life – from the underground, local bus services and policing, to green spaces, air quality and of course for regulation of London’s Taxi and Private Hire Industry. There are a plethora of issues that we can quiz the candidates on and I would ask that you can use the good offices of Mountview News to do the asking. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to get answers from all five candidates listed above. Some of the issues that I am interested in hearing views on are: ● TfL – fit for purpose ● Pedicabs – regulation or abolition ● Private Hire regulation – limitation/Apps/ Topographical testing ● Expansion of Heathrow/Gatwick or other ● Cycles in London – plans to improve co-existence with other road users ● Housing – Where, when and how do you make it affordable?
SADIQ KHAN Sadiq Khan is the Labour Candidate, he is 45 years old and the son of a bus driver and a seamstress, he studied and became a lawyer, an MP and eventually the first ever Muslim and the first Asian to attend cabinet. Sadiq Khan was born, bred and raised in Wandsworth, South London. For the early part of his life, Sadiq grew up on a council estate in Earlsfield with six brothers and one sister, before they moved to a new family home in Tooting Bec. He went to the local state primary school before attending Ernest Bevin state secondary school in Tooting. He went to university in London to do law. As a lawyer, Sadiq specialised in representing the ‘underdog’; women who had been discriminated at work, employees wrongfully sacked, supporting the victims of injustice - these were the bread and butter cases he took on. He could have been a City lawyer but chose to put helping people first. In 2005 Sadiq gave it all up to stand to be the MP of the area where he grew up: Tooting. After he won, he used his first speech in the House of Commons to talk about education. Sadiq’s success partly comes from having decent local state schools to go – and that’s an opportunity he believes everyone else should have. Sadiq Khan MP showed early on that he was prepared to be independent, refusing to compromise on matters of principle. Faced with the decision to support Tony Blair’s proposal for 90 day detention without trial, Sadiq defied the party and voted against it – setting himself against many of his own colleagues. His act of principle was respected in many quarters both inside and outside the Labour Party. But he didn’t sit on the backbenches: his talent meant he was promoted to be the Minister for Community Cohesion, working with people of all faiths and none more than to promote greater understanding, including the tackling of the scourge of Anti-Semitism. As Minister of Transport he became the first Muslim and first Asian to attend Cabinet. He was the Crossrail Minister who ensured the project became a reality. In the 2014 London elections, Labour achieved the best council results since 1971 and best MEP results since the change in voting system. Sadiq masterminded
those campaigns. Shortly after the election, Sadiq Khan resigned from the Labour shadow cabinet in the House of Commons and announced that he would be seeking the nomination to be the next Mayor of London. Sadiq married Saadiya in 1994. They live in the Furzedown area of Sadiq’s Tooting constituency with their two teenage daughters, also born at St George’s Hospital and who attend local state schools. Outside politics, Sadiq is a big sports fan, especially football and cricket (he had trials for Surrey). He ran the 2014 London Marathon, raising more than £20,000 for the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund.
ZAC GOLDSMITH Zac Goldsmith (40) is the Conservative candidate and was born in 1975 in Richmond, Surrey. Zac has spent much of his life fighting for causes he believes in, since being elected, on local, national and international issues important to his constituents. For ten years Zac ran the Ecologist Magazine, receiving the Mikhail Gorbachev’s Global Green Award for ‘International Environmental Leadership’. During his tenure, the magazine grew significantly in scope, range and influence. One notable campaign involved challenging biotech company Monsanto over its undue influence on US regulators. The company waged a campaign against the magazine, forcing printers to pulp the early edition and retailers to agree not stock it. Instead of shutting down the magazine, it sold well over half a million copies. In 2010 Zac was elected MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston. He has been voted Politician of the Year four times by four organisations for his campaigning work. He has led campaigns against Heathrow expansion, pressed for free parking to help small shops in his constituency, stopped plans to charge families for enjoying Richmond Park, stopped the sell-off of playing fields, secured significant extra funds for Kew Gardens, secured funding for a new secondary school and much more. Nationally he has led campaigns to make our Planning system more democratic, our MPs more accountable to voters, and protection of our natural environment a priority. In 2015 he was re-elected for his London seat with one of the biggest increased majorities in the country. Shortly afterwards when Zac balloted his constituents to ask their permission to run for Mayor of London, they overwhelmingly backed him with 79% saying Yes. He recently raised the issue of Uber in a Commons Committee debate, saying that although he believed in technology in progress and in a free market, he felt that the taxi industry which was heavily regulated did not have a level playing field in order to compete. Uber he felt were abusing this and need to be regulated. To be fair and balanced Sadiq Khan also strongly supported this stance.
CAROLINE PIDGEON Caroline Pidgeon MBE is the Liberal Democrat candidate and currently the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly. Caroline moved to London after graduating from the University of Wales Aberystwyth in 1994. She worked in local government and the health service for over a decade before becoming a full time politician. She was previously a councillor in Southwark from 1998 until 2010 where she became Cabinet Member for children and young people and was deputy leader of the council. Caroline was elected to the London Assembly in May 2008 and has a strong track record of campaigning on issues such as strong policing and improved public transport. She is Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee and Deputy Chair of the Police and Crime Committee. Caroline has been a Trustee of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in Waterloo since 2005. In her role on the Transport Committee she has also strongly supported the taxi industry view that Uber needs to be properly regulated in order to befittingly protect the public. Caroline was a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority between 2008 and 2012 and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority between 2008 and 2010. Caroline was a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Southwark between 1998 and 2010 during which time she held several posts including Deputy Leader of Southwark Council and Executive Member for Children’s Services and Education. Caroline was also a Board Member of Lambeth and Southwark Housing Association between 2002 and 2010. Caroline was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours List for public and political service.
SIAN BERRY Siân Berry is the Green Party candidate. She was the party’s candidate in the 2008 London mayoral election. Born and raised in Cheltenham, Sian Berry attended the selective Pate’s Grammar School (where her father, John Berry, is a teacher). She attended Trinity College, Oxford, where she studied Metallurgy and the Science of Materials. Upon graduating in 1997, she moved to London. Sian joined the Green Party aged 28 whilst working as a medical copywriter for large pharmaceutical companies, which she then decided “conflicted” with her principles. She resigned, becoming increasingly politically active and beginning a new career in an ethical temping agency that dealt with a wide range of
charitable organisations. She worked as a website manager at Imperial College London but left this job to focus on her mayoral campaign. Sian was elected as the Green Party’s Female Principal Speaker unopposed in autumn 2006, succeeding Dr Caroline Lucas MEP and, working alongside male Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall. She served until autumn 2007 when Dr Lucas resumed the post following an election. She wrote a regular blog for the New Statesman current affairs magazine from November 2006 – July 2008. On 12 March 2007, the Green Party announced that Sian Berry would be the party’s candidate in the 2008 London mayoral election, after she received 45% of the votes in the London Green Party’s internal election. Sian recommended that her voters back Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone as their second preference and Livingstone did likewise. In the 2014 local elections, Sian was elected to the Highgate ward of Camden London Borough Council, holding the seat of outgoing Green councillor Maya De Souza in a split result for the ward. On 2 September it was announced that she had won the internal party election to stand as the Greens’ London mayoral candidate in 2016. Sian Berry was a founder of the Alliance against Urban 4x4s (‘Chelsea Tractors’) which started in Camden in 2003 and became a national campaign demanding measures to stop 4x4s (known in the United States as Sport Utility Vehicles or SUV’s) “taking over our cities”. The group was successful in getting the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to adopt one of its founding principles when he introduced a higher congestion charge for vehicles with high emissions.
In 2009 she was a driving force behind the Reheat Britain campaign for ‘boiler scrappage’ which secured funding to replace some of the most inefficient boilers in the UK through the 2009 annual Pre Budget Report. Since June 2011, Berry has worked as a roads and sustainable transport campaigner for the charity Campaign for Better Transport.
PETER WHITTLE Peter Whittle is the UKIP candidate. Peter is the founder and director of the New Culture Forum, a Westminsterbased think tank which looks at cultural issues in their broadest sense – including such areas as British identity, multiculturalism, and the dominance of a liberal/left approach in these areas. Peter is the author of five books on all aspects of British Society, the most recent of which looked at the various ways in which British identity and patriotism has been attacked and diminished in the post-war years. He has worked all his adult life in the media, both broadcast and print. Peter has written extensively for national papers from the Sun to the Sunday Times, he has appeared frequently across television and radio and as a director and producer has made numerous documentaries for the main networks. Peter was a grammar school boy, the son of working class parents. Born and bred in London, he has lived in the capital for most of his life, and was the first in his family to go to university, to Kent, in Canterbury.
Station Road Christmas Opening Hours 24th December: 08:00 – 12:00 25th – 28th December: Closed 29th – 31st December: 09:00 – 13:00 1st – 3rd January: Closed 4th January: Normal Opening Hours 08:00 – 17:00
The Fight Against Uber By Alan Franks AS I’M SURE that you are all aware, the fight against Uber’s hailing App continues in London with court cases questioning their legality. Even their drivers are now taking them to court to try and prove that they are in fact employees, if that were successful (which is probably not that likely) Uber would be liable for a huge amount of withheld employers contribution tax. The controversy and debate about their meter style charging method and in respect of their notorious surge pricing, continues together with their tax status having registered their company in Holland through their company Uber BV. Which means that they pay lower corporation tax. In London of course we are used to competition so that is not our issue, however this is different as both the meter and hailing issues are not within the current legislation albeit a meter is not currently allowed in any vehicle in London other than a licensed taxi. Around the world Uber is seriously affecting pretty much all of the taxi trades with demonstrations by cab drivers now commonplace. The most serious incidents have been in Paris with vehicles set alight and some serious violent clashes. Although there have also been demonstrations in Germany, India, Spain, Colombia, Italy, Denmark and in China during 2015. Uber continue to operate in more cities and more countries around the world affecting thousands of legitimate taxi companies and affecting taxi driver’s earnings. It will not stop there as taxi drivers around the world see their earning affected by Uber and in some countries Uber are using unlicensed drivers and are clearly breaking the law.
Also there are some serious safety concerns around this operation as serious assaults and rapes are being reported worldwide. In New York the story is different as the low earning taxi drivers’ defect to Uber which offers the opportunity to earn more and not being tied into a lease or dispatch. Also the notoriously badly serviced outer boroughs are being used by Uber as a marketing tool to get New Yorkers onside and to some degree it is working. Across America it is a different story with some companies reporting a 50% drop in revenue in areas that Uber is operating. They are also questioning whether the
drivers are employed and this has been successfully proved in California and Oregon although there is a class action scheduled for next year to confirm this. There are further lawsuits in Philadelphia and Chicago and in other states across America. Across the world the story is the same with demonstrations and court cases taking place. But do Uber care? The answer is no, they are determined to make a shift change and disrupt the taxi industry across the world. Does Uber make any money? Probably not as the records show to date that after investing $470M they still showed a loss of $417M which means they’ve ‘burned through’ almost $1BN. Nevertheless the paper value of the company is in their data and this is worth billions. The fight goes on – be lucky!
Coffee & Cake Morning FOR SEVERAL years we have been holding an annual fund raising charity day for Macmillan nurses. These are “fun” days and they had become something of a tradition in our old home in Mountview House. On Monday 28th September, Angie McGuire, a key member of the Customer Services Team, organised a coffee morning to raise money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. This was the first event to be held at our
new home in the North London Business Park. The work that Macmillan does is spectacular. From the moment you are diagnosed, through treatment and beyond they are a source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you feel more like yourself. It’s a great charity and very close to the hearts of many people here at Mountview House Group. The new office was decorated with balloons and posters and a wide variety of cakes were on offer, both homemade and shop-bought were brought in by staff and priced up to sell with all the proceeds going to the charity. As you can see from the photos a good time was had by all the staff and we managed to raise £200!
The NEW London Taxi! Board Game THE London Taxi! Board Game is a new game full of fun and knowledge for all the family (12 years +). It goes on sale for the first time later this month. Created by an Edinburgh black cab driver, the game was first piloted in Edinburgh and Glasgow, outselling the local Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit in major stores throughout Central Scotland. Now, with new features and a redesigned board, the London edition is about to be launched. Taxi! Board Game contains 600 local history and general knowledge questions about London, and just like driving a taxi, the better your knowledge, the better the tips. When your fare ends, you must answer a question on London to gain a tip. Taxi drivers have an opinion on every subject, land on one of the ‘Sound-Off ’ squares and it’s your turn to sound-off like a cabbie. The ‘Sound-Off ’ cards contain a hundred varied subjects. On being told the ‘Sound-Off subject’, you have 30 seconds to mention as many of the six key words printed on the card. Every key word you mention increases your takings. Driving a shift in a taxi is a combination of luck and knowledge, turn left you may get a £5 fare turn right and you could get a £40 tour. This is reflected in the ‘Taxi Board Game’ by the ‘Give or Take’ squares. Keep the card for yourself or pass it to a fellow player. Is your luck in? The winner is the player who has earned the most money at the end of the agreed shift time, eg; 1 hour or 90 minutes.
For more information about Taxi! visit www.taxiboardgame.co.uk or contact email@example.com. The game will be available to buy soon from London retailers and is currently available on Amazon UK. (Should be on Amazon 8th July).
To win a FREE copy of the NEW London Taxi! Board Game, simply answer these 2 questions below from the game and be entered into our Prize Draw. For a £2 Tip: Guess Who I’ve had in My Cab? This motorcycling stunt rider was born in Islington in 1959. Answer: ______________________ For a £4 Tip: Which band had a 1979 hit with ‘London Calling’? Answer: ______________________ Please post your entries on www.facebook.com/RadioTaxisLondon or tweet to @Rtg_london with #TaxiGame — Contest closes on 31/12/2015. 17
Credit Union – Low Cost ‘Saver Loans’ LAST YEAR the long standing Radio Taxis Credit Union merged with the nearby London Capital Credit Union to bring members a wider range of financial services including Visa cards, multiple budget accounts, online access and of course cheap loans. Since the merger, many more people have joined and started to benefit from the low cost ‘Saver Loans’ offered. There are now well over one million members of credit unions in the UK, including many working in the taxi trade. As co-operatives all credit unions are owned and controlled by members, so the focus is on delivering service rather than maximising profit. Disillusionment with the way the banks continue to operate has led to rapid growth in membership. The main objective is to encourage people to save. Members’ savings are pooled to from a pot from which any member can borrow at times of need. With no outside shareholders to pay, the loans are very cheap and flexible. The ‘Saver Loan’ sees part of the borrowers payments sent to their own savings account. They cannot withdraw savings while they have the loan, so they have a lump sum of savings once the loan is repaid. Eventually members no longer need to borrow as they simply use their savings. At times when you might need to borrow money, the credit union is a very low cost way of doing so.
The credit union offers large and small loans, but, for example £1,000 repaid monthly over a year: Loan Sum
12 Monthly Repayments of:
Total Interest Paid
Value of Savings @ End of Period*
*Borrowers must continue to save not less than £27pcm throughout the repayment term of the loan. The accumulation of savings reduces your need to borrow over time.
For savers: Every £1 of savings is a £1 share in the co-operative. Savers get a profit share as a dividend rather than interest. In early 2015 members received a dividend of 1.2% on savings from a balance of £1 on instant access accounts, with dividends paid before tax. This represented a very competitive return on savings. Additionally, any members who have borrowed received an interest rebate. We think that all of the above add up to compelling reasons to join the credit union. Even if you are not in need of any of these facilities now, what harm is done by joining now and having an alternative to your bank or building society when you are in need? To join or find out more about the Credit Union, please visit: www.credit-union.coop or call them directly on: 0207 561 1686.
Radio Taxis Code of Conduct for both RadioTaxis and Xeta Drivers
You will be in breach of this code if you: 1. Fail to complete a job once allocated, or fail to notify the call centre (while a trip is in progress) of any changes to the allocated trip details. 2. Take a job or passenger that has not been allocated to you. 3. Loiter or place yourself in a favourable position or use prior knowledge or other means to gain an unfair advantage. 4. Solicit direct payment for or convert an RT/Xeta client or account to one for your personal gain. 5. Conduct yourself in a manner that is likely to bring the company into disrepute. 6. Fail to reset the meter so as to arrive at the pick-up point with no more than the authorised run-in amount displayed on the meter at the booked time. Or fail to stop the meter on completion of a job. 7. Comment on or discuss fares or pricing, or price a job, with an RT/Xeta client without permission from the call centre supervisor. 8. Clear an account job in excess of the meter fare. 9. Persistently reject job offers or, reject an account job while booked on to a stand designated to that account. 10. Fail to use the “delay advise” facility (if likely delayed more than 15 minutes from receiving details, or arrive late for a booking) or fail to update your arrival time if you are further delayed en route to the pick up.
components, or misuse, or allow any unauthorised personnel use of any RT/Xeta installed equipment. 17. Damage any equipment or property, strip out radio/data equipment belonging to the company. In such circumstances RT/Xeta will take steps to recover any cost and consequential losses incurred. 18. Threaten or use physical violence, or verbal abuse toward anyone, while acting as a representative of RT/Xeta. 19. Argue with reasonable requests from call centre staff, RT/Xeta representatives, marshals or supervisors. 20. Give an incorrect arrival time when bidding for a job. 21. Fail to have the taxi meter set in the correct mode while servicing a street hire or a data allocated ride. 22. Remove or fail to display obligatory relevant Radio Taxis logos. 23. Book onto a stand, if you are not physically present. 24. Make yourself unavailable for a walk up hiring while booked on to a designated authorised taxi rank. 25. Excessively use the driver query line, particularly when a data message is available. 26. Are likely to cause damage to the company through any means or medium by indiscrete words or deeds. 27. Fail to keep confidential any conversations overheard in the cab.
11. Exchange allocated jobs, without permission from the call centre.
28. Use a hand held mobile device in contravention of the Road Traffic Act.
12. Use a badge number, other than your own or allow any other person to use your badge number on any RT/Xeta data network.
29. Fail to accept or complete a trip or discriminate against anyone on the grounds of race, or in the case of disability (e.g. wheelchair) unless you hold and have informed RT/Xeta of a current TfL exemption.
14. Process a fare for card payment (especially an RT/Xeta journey) through any facility other than an RT/Xeta payment system. 15. Promote a fare payment system or a taxi booking service other than the company (RT/Xeta), by use of mobile technology or brand advertising. 16. Tamper with, install or permit the installation of any (unauthorised) communications equipment or ancillary
30. Fail to take action to avoid a parking ticket, penalty charge notice, during the course of an allocated account job. 31. Fail to furnish job details on demand to police, wardens, authorised Heathrow officials, or radio circuit marshals at designated locations.
13. Refuse a Taxicharge street hail or, refuse to accept payment by credit/debit card for a legitimate street hail.
32. Fail to remain with the vehicle when using a “radio taxi “pick-up point at any of London’s airports, such action will render the driver/owner of the vehicle liable for any parking fines incurred.
THINGS TO DO on Christmas Day in London By Roger Sligo CHRISTMAS DAY is the one day of the year when London practically shuts down. Many of the major attractions and shops close their doors, tubes and buses come to a standstill and just a few taxis are working. MOST people opt to stay at home, unwrapping presents, feasting on large turkeys, munching on roast potatoes and possibly drinking far too much before falling asleep while watching the Queen’s speech. London on Christmas Day can be a wonderful time to explore the crowdfree streets, so let’s have a look at some of the things you can do.
Christmas Day Service Most London churches have a Christmas day service and this is a wonderful way to spend a few hours getting into the true Christmas spirit, celebrating the birth of Christ in one of the capitals most famous churches such as St Pauls Cathedral, All Hallows by the Tower, Southwark Cathedral or St Martin in-theFields. These tend to get very busy, so if you are indeed planning to attend, you need to get there early.
Swim While most of us are still tucked up in bed or tearing open the wrapping on our Christmas presents, some possibly crazy members of the Serpentine Swimming Club are competing in their annual race across the icy waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, for the Peter Pan Cup. This race dates back to 1864 and has taken place every Christmas Day since. It acquired its name because the author JM Barrie who wrote Peter Pan was a patron of the race. The courageous competitors must be a member of the Swimming Club, however the race draws a large number of spectators and is an ideal way to spend Christmas morning.
Two free guided walks leave from the Christmas tree in Trafalgar square, the 11am one follows in the footsteps of Samuel Pepys and explores Whitehall and the St James’s district, telling stories of the great diarist’s royal connections and hearing some chapters of his diary. The 2pm Charles Dickens walk, delves into the alleyways off the Strand and Covent Garden scouring this area for the novelist’s literary inspirations and his most popular haunts. Perhaps post walk, you could pop into one of the capitals pubs with lots of them open for a few hours on Christmas Day before having your Christmas dinner. You could also even (if you’re feeling loaded) try the Ritz hotel, which serves Christmas dinner at an eye watering £425 per person, where you will get served six courses including Goose Liver, Burnt Orange, Mulled Wine Gel and Toasted Brioche alongside Venison Wellington, Celeriac Puree and Truffle Chestnuts finishing off with a visit from Santa himself!!! Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have great Christmas and Happy New Year. Roger Sligo.
● We go that extra mile ● Mercedes Vitos available
● Pay in bank or online ● Full back up
Curiosity Corner Roger Sligo on the mysteries of hidden London
The Wedding Ring of a Love Goddess and a Market Porter
IN THE centre of the West Smithfield’s Rotunda Gardens, just above the market car park, there is a statue which was originally erected as a monument to peace. The sculpture has always been thought of as a memorial to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility. You will need either a pair of binoculars or a cameras telephoto lens to get a real close-up of the fingers on the left hand, only then is it possible to discover she is actually wearing a ring made of gold on her wedding finger. During 1924, in the meat market not far from this statue, a porter found a gold ring under some boxes he was loading. Other porters had already mentioned to him that their figure of love and fertility was an unmarried woman. In order to give her some respectability, the gold ring was welded by the porter to her wedding finger where it still remains, unnoticed to this day! It is a good thing that it has remained a hidden secret; after all it has been kept safely on her finger for almost a hundred years without somebody hacking-off her finger and pawning the ring!
Smithfield Depôt Railway Station 22
WHILST we are in the Smithfield Market vicinity it is worth mentioning that the roadway leading to the underground car park beneath Rotunda Gardens, was for over one hundred years the entrance to the Smithfield Depôt Railway Station. The cobbled stone roadway and the underground arches used for parking are all that remains of the station. Another unusual thing is that this depôt was one of the few correctly spelt (most being spelt depot) using the circumflex over the letter “o” in England.
A Palace, a Bridge and a Garden FOR relic seekers with some time on their hands there is another garden, this time in Hampstead, which is well worth a visit when you’re close by. Antrim Grove has a small children’s playground area called Antrim Gardens, formerly used as a tennis court. Visiting this small park has a surprise in store, for here we can have two curiosities for the price of one. There is a well-head made from the stonework taken from the original House of Commons, which suffered a fire in 1834. The Houses of Parliament we see today were rebuilt by architect Charles Barry, after a fire. There is also a baluster from the original John Rennie’s Waterloo Bridge, (demolished in 1936). When this was originally erected in the gardens it was converted into a sundial, but with the passing of time (excuse the pun) the only thing left remaining are the scars where the sundial fittings were once attached. Both these items were presented by a Mr and Mrs Lionel Barnett in 1945.
Aberdeen Granite IN 1762 the Westminster Paving Bill was tabled in the House of Commons. It was agreed something needed to be done to protect pedestrians from the horse drawn traffic. It was agreed that pavements needed to be built, but who should pay the bill? It was decided that the houses and buildings in the streets should be liable to fund these new pedestrian walkways. The first street in London to have a dedicated pavement was Craig’s Court in Whitehall. Like everyone else, the Admiralty also needed a pavement outside to protect the public, so to save public money; they decided that if kerbstones should be bought they should be the most cost effective and long lasting. Sir Henry Sidney had already thought of the idea of putting distinctive arrowhead (his family crest) markings on all government equipment. Aberdeen granite was reckoned to be the strongest, so a government agent was sent to their quarry in Scotland. Because of the time it would take before they came to Whitehall, months rather than weeks, making sure the Admiralty got the granite which they paid for, Sir Henry’s trade mark arrowheads were carved onto the stone. Today, over two-hundred and fifty-year later, these very long-lasting Aberdeen granite kerbstones are still outside the Admiralty building, separating the pavement from the road.
IF given the choice of one museum you wo I bet that the Scotland Yard’s legendary Cri come out on the top position of most peopl
The Crime Museum Un THE MOST probable reason why so many of us would choose this particular museum is because previously it has only been accessible to the police and their invited guests. Ever since its conception in the 1870’s the general public has never been admitted. You would have had more chance of winning the National Lottery, than to ever be one of those special elite guests, which included royalty, or the very rich and famous in society to be invited for free – until now that is… because we here at Mountview News has, with the help of our friends at the Museum of London, managed to get FREE ENTRY for all London’s TaxiDrivers to the Crime Museum Uncovered Exhibition, exclusively from its start date 9th October to the finish on 10th April 2016. I was invited to a preview at the London Museum the day before the launch to the general public and looking into the original Victorian showcases at the articles of crime still displaying the tatty old labels bearing names like, “the Old Bailey” and “Bow Street Magistrates Court,” with exhibit A or B still attached to the items by string. The museum covers everything from the earliest documented crimes, through to modern day events. All the way from Jack the Ripper through to the Broadwater Farm riots, or more recently the 2007 car bomb left outside the Tiger, Tiger nightclub in the Haymarket, which was thankfully discovered and successfully detonated before it could do any harm. The Metropolitan Police Crime Museum was founded in the mid 1870’s, it was and continues to be, used as a teaching collection for newly trained officers. It has never been opened to the general public. The museum began life as a collection of exhibits with its origin’s going back to the 1860’s and early 1870’s. It was required that
re – e h t s i g n i h t y “Ever to the r e p p i R e h t from Jack ” Kray Twins…
uld like to visit in London, me Museum would e’s lists.
ncovered prisoners property be kept for them, until they were released from prison. Most of the property was never claimed and the stores were soon packed from top to bottom with items relating to their crimes. Some of these items consisted of weapons and tools for burglary. By 1876 journalists were giving dark descriptions of the museum and calling it the “Black Museum”. In 1984 the museum was opened by order of the Commissioner, Sir Edward Bradford, for two hours in the afternoons of Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It was located in the Norman Shaw building of New Scotland Yard on the Victoria Embankment. There is a visitor’s book which was kept continuously from 1877, with signatures from the lesserknown amongst those of Kings, Queens, politicians and celebrities such as the escapologist Houdini, the author of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, composers Gilbert and Sullivan and even legendary comedy stars of the silver screen Laurel and Hardy. You can see an electronic version of the book on display in this exhibition, where you can easily see the renowned people’s signatures by clicking a button which puts a red circle around their handwriting. Death masks are kept up on high shelves as they have always been displayed in Scotland Yard. The only name I instantly recognized was that of Franz Muller who has been credited with the first railway murder in 1864 and was hanged outside Newgate Prison. One of the most sinister sights is the individual hangman’s ropes which once ended the lives of men and women dangling from the noose. Other noteworthy exhibits include: the hinged ladder of cat burglar and murderer Charles Pace. His thumb screw for turning keys left in locks, a set of lock picks, a covered lamp for emitting minimum light, he even had his own melting pot for gold jewelry which he would melt down before selling.
4 Everything is there from Jack the Ripper to the Kray Twins, there are items from 10 Rillington Place (where murderer Christie killed his victims, the houses there have been knocked down and redeveloped; now renamed Rushton Close which is in Notting Hill.) There is the lot from the shovel used to bury the remains of Doctor Crippen’s wife Cora at Hilldrop Crescent (off Camden Road,) this exhibition has it all. To take advantage of this chance of a lifetime, go to the cash desk at the Museum of London, for the “Crime Museum Uncovered,” show your Badge and Bill and mention “Radio Taxis Mountview News Free Entry Offer”. The offer will only apply to you the badge holder. TERMS AND CONDITIONS: • Valid for the Taxi Driver Identification Badge holder only.
• Entry is for next available time slot. • Redemption at ticket desk only. Roger Sligo.
ENTRY FO ALL L ONDO R TAXI N’S DRIVE RS
KEY TO PHOTOGRAPHS:
1. Ronnie and Reggie Kray: Briefcase with syringe and poison intended for use against a witness at the Old Bailey (never used) in 1968. ©David Gill/Museum of London. 2. The Acid Bath Murderer: Gloves worn by John Haigh to dissolve the body of Mrs Olive Durand-Deacon in 1949. ©Museum of London. 3. Masks used by the Stratton brothers: The first criminals to be convicted in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence, 1905. ©David Gill/Museum of London. 4. The Richardson’s: Electrical generator used to administer electric shocks by the Richardson gang, 1960s. ©David Gill/Museum of London.
All about the Black Cab Card By Robert Stead
RADIO TAXIS provides the “The Black Cab Account” card to quite a number of personal and business account holders. IN MANY customers it has replaced our Taxicharge card (it is in fact the same only rebranded.) One of the big selling points of “The Black Cab Account” is the ability for the account holder to use the card on the street when hailing a Radio Taxis or Xeta cab as well as when making account bookings. To use the card for a customer in your cab, the card needs to be swiped and the passenger needs to enter a four digit personal identification number (PIN) on the screen. In essence this converts a cash street hail trip into an Account trip. In case you have not been through this exercise before, we have created a “Step by Step guide” below to illustrate the procedure that enables an account trip to be created using a Taxicharge or Black Cab Account swipe card. If you have previously used the TaxiCharge Card before this follows the same process. If you have any difficulty with the procedure or need further explanation please call Driver Services on: 0207 561 5947.
A Step by Step Guide to Accepting The Black Cab Account Card 1. Engage meter (Hired). 2. Swipe card using card reader on the left hand side of the Zeus or for the PDA Swipe on the Printer. 3. Ask passenger for their PIN number. 4. Tap on Pin box and enter passenger’s PIN number, Tap OK then Tap OK on next Screen. 5. Message appears saying RTL Card Accepted Job Details have changed. Tap OK. 6. Complete and clear the job in the same way as a normal account job.
How’s that, clear enough? If not we’ll be pleased to explain or help you through the process. We hope you become familiar with this and will accept these cards giving our clients another part of our top notch service.
It’s time for the trade to fight back – and that means consolidation ByGeoffrey Riesel OVER the last few years the London Taxi industry has suffered more adversity than ever before. THE trade’s iconic pride of place – renowned across the world – has been confronted by a colossally powerful competitor – with a clever customer interface and extraordinary levels of venture capital funding, as well as significant public relations and political lobbying power. In the first place, the ability to accept street hails or immediate hirings has previously only been available to licensed taxis, something based primarily on the demanding Knowledge process. This has been the procedure which has, in the past, kept the travelling public safe. But it is a process which has been entirely circumvented by new technology – which did not exist when the regulations for Private Hire hit the statute books in 1998. Second, only London’s black cabs have a taxi meter, which is there to protect potentially vulnerable passengers and to ensure fairness of price. However, with the new technology, the “disruptors” have a powerful weapon at their disposal which is called by economists “price elasticity.” In other words they can be cheap as chips when it’s quiet and when it’s really busy they use “surge pricing” which means if you really want them you have to be prepared to pay significantly extra and thus probably get a service as a consequence when the trade is at full stretch, with inclement weather and dire traffic, yet still operating at metered fares. Our difficulty is that, when it’s not busy, some metered fares can seem expensive and in this market (where even Tesco is losing out to the cheaper Aldi and Lidl) that is a real turn off for the public. Finally, the competitor App is, we must concede, very user friendly, simple and effective to use which the millennia generation, who are typically glued to their smart phones, just love. The threat that faces us has even brought together most of the taxi trade organisations to fight alongside Private Hire – for they too are suffering from a loss of drivers and of business. We’re told that between 600 and 1,000 new PH licenses are being issued per week, flooding the market with drivers who barely meet the requirements. There is huge opportunity for fraud – whether it’s lack of hire and reward insurance, or
substituting drivers and vehicle licenses. There’s some evidence of numbers of minor Road Accidents where these drivers are making off without stopping. That situation is untenable for the future of London let alone for the cab trade. It is surely time to reassess in order to work out what the solutions are. It’s clear that taxi fare reform, especially for longer journeys which have all but departed the taxi industry needs to be examined very carefully. This can work but only if the equation points to it leading to drivers spending more time hired as a result and thus more income overall after costs. But how, apart from lobbying hard together for suitable regulation and obviously completing the second consultation on Private Hire, which can currently be found on the TfL website, can the trade fight such a Leviathan, given their resources compared to ours? None of the contemporary taxi companies – be it Radio Taxis, Com Cab, Dial a Cab, Gett or Hailo – can fight this on their own. It would be like King Canute holding up his hand to stop a giant tidal wave. The answer has to be consolidation. Individual drivers should be joining a radio circuit or downloading and using a taxi app. But critically we all need to consolidate on an individual basis and above all on a company wide basis. By working together or in tandem, the trade can pool resource and hugely reduce duplicated costs; it can thus also provide equally good customer interfaces, but most significantly the trade can start to match the huge amounts spent on marketing and political lobbying in order to start winning some of that influence and business back. Consolidation would also give Londoners access to much larger fleets of taxis – it could potentially include national and even international consolidation of services of every description. I’m not pretending that it’s an easy task to consolidate, especially with such long standing companies, each with their own particular history and who in reality have not done anything wrong, except to serve their customers well. But the market has changed; we can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. So our industry needs to wake up now. To either become the architects of change ourselves, or we become its victims. Given the options, I suspect I have an idea what most of you would choose. Geoffrey Riesel, Chairman & CEO, Mountview House Group.
Radio Taxis Photo Contest: Views of London
SO OFTEN we rush our journeys heading from meeting to meeting or fare to fare without a thought about what surrounds us. At Radio Taxis we wanted to see what the travellers themselves and what our drivers also see of their own city, we were fascinated to discover what moved them, what inspired them and what intrigued them. We wanted to see the London that you see. THE Views of London photo contest is open to all nonprofessional photographers, each quarter we offer the chance to win £100 and each year there is an annual prize of £250. Send us your best shots of London. It needs to be London breathing, London teeming with life and the London which is just fascinating. How would you represent it, how would you like to see it recorded? All entries are featured on the Radio Taxis web site and you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter , Google+ and Instagram; we’ve printed a couple of examples here too. Full details and the entry details are here: http://www.radiotaxis.co.uk/views-london/ Time to get snappy!
24 Hour Party People By Roy Hughes, Director of Commercial Development at Mountview House Group THE ECONOMIST John Maynard Keynes once noted, “When the final result is expected to be a compromise, it is often prudent to start from an extreme position.” The proposed twenty four hour weekend tube operation, albeit slightly delayed, is now expected to be introduced sometime in 2016; we presume that the parties will reach a mutually acceptable agreement. This is what the service will look like, with not every station on every line operating for 24 hours at weekends: • Jubilee and Victoria lines: will have trains running on average every 10 minutes across the entire lines. • Central line: will have trains running approximately every 10 minutes between White City and Leytonstone and approximately every 20 minutes between Ealing Broadway to White City and Leytonstone to Loughton/ Hainault. • Northern line: trains running on average every 8 minutes between Morden and Camden Town and approximatively every 15 minutes from Camden Town to High Barnet / Edgware. There will be no service on the Mill Hill East and Bank branches. • Piccadilly line: trains will be running on average every 10 minutes between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5. There are further plans to expand night time services to parts of the Metropolitan, Circle, District, and Hammersmith and City lines once the ongoing modernisation programmes are complete. Additionally, services could operate on parts of the London Overground in 2017 and the Docklands Light Railway by 2021.
FARES Standard off-peak fares will be charged for travelling on the Night Tube. Day Travelcards will be valid on the day of issue (using the date printed on the card), and for journeys starting before 04:30 the following day. For example, if you buy a Day Travelcard at 11:00 on Friday, you can use it until 04:29 on the following Saturday. Daily capping on Oyster cards and contactless payment cards also apply. So what will this all mean to taxis that work late nights or early mornings? Will the 24 hour weekend tube be a welcome alternative to the colorful pantomime that has become the night bus? Will the advent of the Tube running through the night create more work for taxis or diminish what hasn’t already been seduced by the likes of Uber?
If it is a numbers game, then the fact that the Tube is running through the night on a Friday and Saturday will undoubtedly mean that there are more people out and about between Docklands and Chelsea and The Southbank and Hampstead. Traditionally more people, means more work. You might take the tube home but you won’t want to get wet going from the restaurant that you are in when making your way to the venue that you are going on to. In the nature of things, there will, from time to time, always be issues and delays on the tube, as there are often on a daily basis, and this will always generate us with work. The expectation is that the new Night Tube service will open up London’s night-time economy to a whole host of new opportunities, altering the way that people behave and the way that businesses choose to operate. London is viewed as one of the most exciting capital cities in the world and the advent of a Friday and Saturday night underground service is probably long overdue and will help invigorate the London “nightlife” economy and this economic benefit should spill over into the Taxi sector. The taxi sector has always benefited from the growth in public transport, delivering more people into the centre and as a consequence a percentage of those will always choose to go home by cab. The Night Tube will also provide added economic benefits from extra tourist spend. Tourism was worth £16bn to London in 2013 and for every £1 spent in London by a tourist, 78p is spent by an overseas visitor. Even if the Night Tube only has a marginal effect in retaining London’s position as the world’s most visited destination, this is of significant economic benefit. In addition, there are estimates that the Night Tube, when fully established, will create approximately 2,000 permanent, new, jobs. Only time will tell and hopefully the Mayor (whoever that will be from next year), TfL and the Unions will deliver the ‘expected compromise’ needed to get this new service established.
THE DAVIS CUP FINAL 2015 By Robert MacDonald Watson, Company Secretary, Mountview House Group
IN ONE’S short life-span as a British sports enthusiast, I have been lucky enough to have had a few of these defining moments. This is when you reach a new experience, such as the first final achieved in umpteen years and even, one’s dreams of a first winner, or the rarefied event of a winning British team, almost unheard of since the dawn of time. NOVEMBER 27th – 29th, 2015 in the Belgian town of Ghent is one of those moments. This was the staging of the Davis Cup final, a team tennis competition contested by Great Britain for the first time in 37 years and last won by Great Britain (then known as the British
Isles) in the Fred Perry era of 1936. The Great Britain team had arrived at this point by beating, on the way, USA and Australia in Glasgow and then the much fancied France at the Queen’s Club in London. The Great Britain team has actually played against opponents in a Final in Belgium eleven times before, losing the previous encounter 4 -1 in 2012. The location of the matches depends on who hosted the last match between the countries. This year, Belgium got to play host nation at the thirteen thousand seat Flanders Expo on the outskirts of Ghent. Tickets were
Flanders Expo, Ghent, Belgium.
hard to come by for Brits as we were only allocated ten per cent. The Great Britain team has shown a remarkable resurgence under the non-playing captaincy of Leon Smith and led from the front by our top player and world ranked number two, Andy Murray. The format of a Davis Cup match is that it is played over three days. On Friday, there are two singles matches. On Saturday one doubles match and on Sunday two reverse singles matches. Winning three matches is the successful result sought. The Team squad consists of five players, three singles players and two doubles players. It is often the case that one of the singles players plays in the doubles. The Davis Cup structure is headed by sixteen nations in the World Group from whom the two finalist emerge. Then there are four lower groups operating like league tables with promotions and playoffs. In 1900 it was only contested by two teams, the British Isles and the USA. Now one hundred and twenty six nations take part. The Competition was originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, but it is now named after the Trophy bought by the Harvard University co-founder of the competition Dwight Davis. As if there wasn’t enough excitement and tension building up, we then had the Paris bombing and
shootings and then the lock-down in Brussels, close by the apparent location of some of the terrorists involved. Back in “Blighty” Brit fans like myself and my wife had an anxious wait to see if the event would go ahead and would our travel plans still work. All the hotels in the centre of Ghent were sold out, so some, like us, were due to stay in Brussels and then commute to Ghent. So Friday 27th November finally arrived, the Great Britain team having flown in to Belgium on Monday to practice on the indoor clay court. We travelled out on Eurostar, dropped our bags at our hotel and raced back to the station to catch the train to Ghent. For those of us who travelled through Brussels, it was like a ghost town with soldiers dotted about at strategic points and outside our hotel. Our thoughts and sympathies were with the victims of the Paris terrorist outrage. A tram finally deposited people at the out of town site housing the venue, the Flanders Expo alongside IKEA. It is actually just one great big shed in reality. Settling into our seats, most of the block of “Back the Brits” T-shirt wearing Great Britain supporters found that visibility was not ideal as you couldn’t see the line nearest to you and had to rely on watching the line judge before starting to cheer or moan. The Belgian’s had a colourful and noisy support group to the left of the chair umpire and they were chanting following virtually every point. A debutant Brit Kyle Edmund started proceedings against the number one Belgium David Goffin. Nobody really expected him to get more than a set. When he won the first two everybody was on the edge of their seats. In the end the Belgian ran through the next three sets and calm was re-established. After a break for frites and possibly a glass of Belgian beer, our star turn Andy Murray then had a tight, but in the end straight set
win over Bemelmans, so that day one, ended “one-all.” Spectators squeezed back into the tram and returned to Ghent, Bruges, Brussels or back home if that was the only day they could get tickets for. Saturday dawned with pale sunshine and in the afternoon, brothers Jamie and Andy Murray took on Goffin and Steve Darcis. They are not an established partnership, but they’re both singles players with excellent shot making. The first set went to Great Britain, the second to Belgium and at the early part of the third Belgium went 2-1 up with a break of serve. At that point the Great Britain tactics changed and the brothers regained control, winning the next two sets. Great Britain now two-one up, to take them through into the final day on Sunday. This is pretty well what was hoped for, but it was a real battle to get there against a very, very determined home side and in opposition to the majority of supporters. It seemed though, that Great Britain supporters had grown in numbers and were right behind “the boys” all the way through. The final day of “The Final.” Our number one against Belgium’s number one, Andy Murray against David Goffin. A win would give Great Britain the Davis Cup,
otherwise it would go to a fifth and final nerve jangling match. Great Britain supporters’ nerves calmed down a bit when Andy won the first set. The second set, which we started following on the mobile on our way home on Eurostar (no tickets for the match) seemed to go on for ever. When we got home and raced in to turn on the TV the score was “three-all.” Finally, Andy won the set “seven-five” and things started to look good for Great Britain. The third set saw Goffin scrap and fight as hard as he could not to lose but in the end, with a breath taking final rally, Andy saw Great Britain home 6-3 and the celebrations began. For those of us lucky to have been able to watch any part of the final and earlier rounds and all those at home glued to the television, it was a wonderful moment. Everybody can be really proud of the whole team. It was just an amazing performance, away from home and after That TV moment such a long wait since the last win. I for one, as a lifelong tennis fan, will treasure the moment for life.
Roger Sligo asks: WIN £25 “Where am I?” *
“Where am I?” OUR LAST Where Am I? Contest proved to be just a little difficult and ran over two issues, with the prize money doubling to £50. We had two correct answers just one day apart. The first one came from Dave Randall – K032 who said: “I believe that to be Amersham Grove SE14. Let’s hope I’m right, because I never win naff all!!” His answer was correct for the picture above and he is our winner this time. The runner up was Michael Hart – Tango147 – who also correctly named Amersham Grove and was just pipped at the post – well done to you both! This month’s picture clue (above, right) is hidden away near to a busy road junction, located close to a site of execution and not too far from an ex Prime Minister’s House. The picture shows seventeen poppies at a blocked-up window with the poppies attached to metal bars. These poppies are not for Armistice Day, they have been on display here continually
for at least four years to my knowledge – why they are here I cannot say, but I can say where they are – but can you? If you think you know, send an email with your name and call sign to: MVN.firstname.lastname@example.org or post by snail mail to: Where Am I Contest, Mountview News Editor, Mountview House Group Ltd., Suite 100 (Building 3), North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, LONDON N11 1GN. The winner who correctly names the location of this contest will receive a £25 M&S Gift Voucher!* Good luck!
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The Mountview Puzzler Page
CLUES ACROSS 1. Stronghold (8) 6. Basis (4) 8. A decimal measuring system (6) 9. Clear from a charge (6) 10. Scoff (5) 11. Changed (7) 13. Energetic activity (6) 15. Regular customer (6) 17. Wheelwright (7) 19. Gather (5) 22. Alarms (6) 23. Highly radioactive metallic element (6) 24. Group or band (4) 25. Recently married (8) Jotting space
MOUNTVIEW SUDOKU Give your brains a really good work out!
CLUES DOWN 2. Living in the ocean (7) 3. Trio (5) 4. Apiece (4) 5. Bivalve molluscs (8) 6. Legacy (7) 7. Glisten (5) 12. Hans Christian (8) 14. Floating mass of ice (7) 16. Unknown (7) 18. Seaport in NW Israel (5) 20. Covered with mud (5) 21. Sketched (4)
HAVE A GO AT THIS ISSUEâ€™S SUDOKU PUZZLE! The object is to write in the missing numbers in the empty boxes below. But to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3 x 3 box must contain the digits 1 through to 9 exactly once. What could be simpler? Hooked? Well you can find many more Sudoko puzzles online FREE by going to: www.sudoku.cc