Showing posts with label Taxi Leaks Editorial July 27. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxi Leaks Editorial July 27. Show all posts

Friday, 27 July 2018

What a waste of money: hundreds of taxi drivers wrongly sent warning letters for using bus lanes

Graham Foley, with a bundle of warning letters sent to taxi drivers, by the bus lane camera on the A40 in Cheltenham(Image: Copyright Unknown)

Hundreds of warning letters have been sent to taxi drivers because they drove in Cheltenham bus lanes - even though they are perfectly entitled to do so.

A mix-up means the letters have been sent to drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles by APCOA, the company dealing with traffic enforcement matters on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

So even though those vehicles are exempt from a ban on general traffic using the bus lanes, and also Boots Corner, newly-installed cameras have captured their registration details and letters have been sent out. They have warned the owners of the cars that they were illegally driving in the areas and would be fined £60 if they did it again

Graham Foley, owner of Dial-a-Cab in Cheltenham, said it had been alarming for his drivers to receive the letters, which must have cost the tax payer a lot of money.

The new camera overlooking the bus lane on the A40, by the Benhall roundabout, has been in use since late last month. A new camera monitoring traffic at Boots Corner has also been operating since then.

Mr Foley said it seemed APCOA had sent out letters to hundreds of taxi drivers, telling them they had been spotted driving in the bus lanes at Benhall and in Albion Street.

He said drivers working for his company had been sent 100 and therefore he thought the total number sent out had been about 1,000.

The new traffic enforcement camera in Clarence Street, Cheltenham(Image: Rob Jenkins)

He said: "The biggest thing about this is the phenomenal waste of money and that is council tax payers’ money."

He said APCOA should have been sent a comprehensive list of taxis that are allowed to use the bus lanes and Boots Corner.

And he believed the county council could easily have got that information from the district councils in Cheltenham and surrounding towns and cities, which are responsible for issuing taxi drivers with their licences.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: "APCOA now has a full list of exempt vehicles from all district councils across the county and is working hard to upload them on to the system.

"We’re sorry for this delay and would like to reassure taxi drivers that this was a short term mistake and will not be happening moving forward."

from Taxi Leaks

Memo To Mike 'On Side' Brown And Sadiq Khan....If NYC Can Do It, So Can't You ???

New York City officials are moving to cap the number of vehicles driving for Uber and other ride-hailing services as part of an aggressive move to address mounting concerns that their explosive growth has led to worsening congestion and low driver wages.

The legislation being considered by the City Council would make New York the first major American city to set a limit on ride-hailing vehicles, which in a relatively short period of time have transformed the transportation networks in cities across the world. Mayor Bill de Blasio, while stopping short of fully endorsing the proposal, suggested that the time had come to rein in the industry.

The proposal supported by the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, would halt the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, except for vehicles that are wheelchair accessible, while the city conducts a yearlong study of the industry.

It is the second attempt by New York City — Uber’s largest United States market — to cap the company’s vehicles after a failed effort by Mr. de Blasio in 2015. Since then, the number of for-hire vehicles in the city has surged, rising to more than 100,000 vehicles, from about 63,000 in 2015, according to the city.

Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Johnson and other elected officials have raised concerns about the decimation of the once-thriving taxi industry and the increasing gridlock on city streets. Questions over the impact of ride-hailing services have also become more visceral: Six professional drivers have killed themselves in recent months, including three taxi drivers.

New York’s strong stance toward Uber comes at a time when other cities are grappling with how to respond to the challenges posed by the remarkable rise of ride-hail apps. Last month, Uber won back its license to operate in London after agreeing to stricter regulations.

A series of proposals before the City Council — all seeking to tackle problems in the industry — would also move to set minimum pay rules for app drivers, a step that would make New York the first major American city to establish a pay minimum for drivers. The City Council could vote on the measures as soon as Aug. 8.

Mr. Johnson, a Democrat who became City Council speaker in January, said that it was clear that something needed to be done to grapple with the disruption in the taxi and for-hire vehicle industry.

“This is the plan that we came up with and in my heart I believe it’s the best path forward,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to protect drivers, bring fairness to the industry and reduce congestion. That’s what this proposal does, and it represents the broad outlines of what we think our next steps should be as a city to help the industry.”

Uber, setting the stage for what could be another fierce fight, immediately blasted the proposal, arguing that it would hurt its customers, especially those who live in the boroughs outside Manhattan, where the growth of ride-hailing services in neighborhoods ill served by public transit helped them achieve a milestone and surpass yellow cabs in the number of daily riders.

“The City Council’s Uber cap will leave New Yorkers stranded while doing nothing to prevent congestion, fix the subways and help struggling taxi medallion owners,” said Josh Gold, a spokesman for Uber. “The Council’s cap will hurt riders outside Manhattan who have come to rely on Uber because their communities have long been ignored by yellow taxis and do not have reliable access to public transit.”

Mr. de Blasio’s office worked with the City Council on the proposals and Eric Phillips, a spokesman for the mayor, said City Hall would monitor the legislation and hoped that it would help drivers and decrease congestion.

“The mayor was out front on this issue when few people were,” Mr. Phillips said in a statement. “He is pleased it’s getting the attention it deserves from the Council.” Any bill passed by the Council to regulate ride-hailing services would have to be signed by Mr. de Blasio before taking effect.

This week, transit officials said the popularity of Uber and other ride-hail apps had been a factor in the continuing decline in subway and bus ridership. But some transit advocates say the main reason riders are abandoning the subway and bus system is because of terrible service: Uber is just offering an attractive alternative.

The City Council is also moving to regulate Airbnb, another tech company that has upended a long established industry — in this case, hotels. Uber’s leaders have signaled that they were open to discussing new regulations, but they have adamantly opposed any cap.

On Thursday, as city officials began to discuss the cap, Uber released a new ad to oppose the proposal. The ad focused on the difficulty some New Yorkers — particularly people of color — face in hailing a taxi. It shows vehicles vanishing from the app. “If the New York City Council gets its way, all of this could disappear,” the ad says.
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat in his second term, engaged in a bruising battle with Uber during the 2015 debate over a cap. The company introduced an app feature, known as “de Blasio view,” that showed riders lengthy projected wait times if a cap was approved.

But Uber’s reputation has taken a hit in the years since it successfully fended off the mayor. The company was rocked by accusations of gender discrimination and harassment in its workplace, and its founder resigned last year.

Still, Uber and other apps like Lyft are popular in New York. The City Council’s legislative package would change the way these apps operate, licensing companies that provide more than 10,000 daily trips as high-volume transportation services with separate regulations. Under the bills, city officials could also set standards for how often a vehicle must be occupied by a passenger, to reduce the time spent driving around the city while empty.

Mr. Johnson’s office said that it hoped the proposals would push companies to add more wheelchair-accessible vehicles — a longstanding problem in the industry.

from Taxi Leaks

Victory for anti-CS11 campaigners as judge approves injunction against work starting and grants judicial review

The Mess That Would Be ‘Swiss Cottage’

A High Court judge has passed Westminster City Council’s bid for an injunction and judicial review into CS11, but said he was "exasperated" by both sides.

In a two-and-a-half-hour hearing this morning, Mr Justice Holgate heard Westminster City Council believed Transport for London (TfL) hadn’t properly modelled traffic for parts of the route, including through St John’s Wood.

Tristan Jones, acting for the borough, also alleged TfL hadn’t properly shared documents with Westminster City Council.

But this was rebuffed by TfL, which said it had shared the same information for the plans with consultants from the council as it had on the Oxford Street pestrianisation plans.

The High Court also heard the transport body hadn’t shown why the Swiss Cottage gyratory work and work on the 100 Avenue Road plans needed to take place simultaneously. Mr Jones said: "There has been no explanation why they most be done at the same time."

Andrew Parkinson, who was assisting the claimant, raised campaigners’ concerns that the gyratory section would increase traffic elsewhere in the route.

Meanwhile Timothy Straker QC, representing TfL, said the council’s "sudden" withdrawal was "politically motivated." He alleged that Westminster’s backing of the plans was dropped after May’s local elections.

The Conservative-run authority jettisoned support for the Oxford Street works at around the same time.

As TfL officers ferried information to him from the back of the court, he said: "If you look at Camden’s response to the consultation, they say they welcome the scheme because Swiss Cottage is so awful."

Throughout the hearing, Mr Justice Holgate aired his frustrations. 

At one point he accused Mr Straker of "grandstanding" over the accusation Westminster City Council’s actions were politically motivated.

He also said one authority taking the other to court was "like nothing I’ve seen before".

"Why is the court being troubled by this?" he said.

He urged the two parties to have informal mediation talks, and said they should be working together to agree the scheme.

The approval means work beginning on July 30 is delayed, and a full judicial review hearing will take place on September 6.

It is expected to last one day.

Following the hearing, campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui told the Ham&High: "We are obviously delighted that the judge expressly acknowledged and recognised the concerns of residents about ran running and traffic displacement into Hampstead and St John’s Wood.

"We were very ably assisted by the brilliant planning barrister Andrew Parkinson and couldn’t have done it without him.

"TfL will not be able to start work before the final decision of the judicial review full hearing."

She added: "The judge also mentioned there is a real prospect of an error of law in TfL’s decision [in March to begin work on Swiss Cottage]."

Ben Plowden, TfL’s director of strategy and network development, said CS11 was "a vitally important addition to London’s cycle network" and that work at Swiss Cottage would "make it a better place to live and work while reducing road danger for pedestrians and cyclists".

Of the hearing result, he said only: "Construction was due to begin on July 30. This will now be delayed pending the outcome of a judicial review."

Westminster’s environment chief, the rather more jubilant Cllr Tim Mitchell, said: "We are pleased with the High Court’s decision today which supports the council and residents’ right to be heard on CS11.

"We are worried that CS11 will cause traffic displacement, increase congestion and lead to poorer air quality.

"We are glad that the court has granted our injunction to stop works at Swiss Cottage until the very legitimate concerns with this scheme are addressed via a judicial review."

And he insisted: "Westminster City Council fully supports safe cycling and we are making major investments for cyclists within Westminster."

from Taxi Leaks