Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Who lives, who dies? The life-and-death decisions that autonomous vehicles might have to make

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Autonomous vehicles could have to make life-and-death decisions that more than a third of drivers would prefer not to think about until they happen. More than half (59%) say that, should they be the 'passenger' in a fully autonomous vehicle, and it had no choice but to crash, it should put them at risk if the alternatives risked more lives according to a survey by the AA. Surprisingly, more people were willing to put themselves at risk of death if they themselves were the passenger, as opposed to a generic ‘passenger’ travelling in the car (54%).
The AA-Populus Driver Poll of more than 21,000, found that one in 20 felt the vehicle should hit someone else. Respondents had the option to select a collision involving two children who had run into the road, or with two elderly pedestrians walking on the pavement. Highlighting the difficulty software developers will have over these decisions, many people felt they were unable to determine what action the car should take (40% and 34% respectively). The reaction time of autonomous vehicles, helped by sensors, cameras and radar systems is likely to be faster than those of a human driver. An autonomous vehicle is also more likely to see potential hazards further ahead, and travel within the speed limit. The question was asked in the context of the ongoing consultation by the Law Commission into Automated Vehicles. The question is a form of “The Trolley Problem” scenario that challenges ethical decisions in a life or death situation. In Germany, the ethics for autonomous vehicles makes clear that in the event of an unavoidable collision, any distinction based on personal features, such as age, gender and ethnicity are strictly prohibited. Edmund King, AA president says; “Autonomous cars should create opportunities for people who struggle to access consistent forms of mobility, like the elderly and disabled. “These vehicles will have so much technology that one should never find itself in this kind of situation.
“Of those who could make a choice, a clear majority decided to put themselves in danger perhaps indicating they accept the risks and potential fallibilities of the technology. “‘The Driverless Dilemma’ is a common question for programmers of autonomous vehicles, but the number of people who avoided giving a definitive answer shows this is a difficult ‘live or let die’ dilemma. “Drivers and pedestrians will want to know that fully autonomous vehicles have been rigorously tested to ensure fatalities are prevented and scenarios like these are avoided.”
February 12, 2019 at 07:27PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Perry Richardson THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Government response to Task and Finish Group on Taxis and Private Hire report could see new cross-border hiring legislation brought in

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With the government response on the Task and Finish Group Report on Taxis and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing now complete, it has emerged that the government could be looking to bring in legislation which would control cross-border hiring.
In their report, the Task and Finish Group (TFG) stated that Government should legislate that all taxi and PHV journeys should start and/or end within the area for which the driver, vehicle and operator are licensed.
The report also said that appropriate measures should be in place to allow specialist services such as chauffeur and disability transport services to continue to operate cross border.
The TSG report finally added that operators should not be restricted from applying for and holding licences with multiple authorities, subject to those operators meeting both national standards and any additional requirements imposed by the relevant licensing authority.
The government responded in their report by saying that there are clearly a range of views within the sector as to how cross-border journeys by taxis and PHVs should be permitted or restricted.
They then went on to say that although currently, a PHV journey can take place anywhere in England provided that the driver, vehicle and operator are licensed by the same licensing authority, the licensing requirements in different areas can vary considerably.
The government report then recognised that such variations, combined with the freedom to carry out journeys anywhere, can incentivise drivers or operators to obtain a license away from the area where they actually intend to carry out work, thus undermining the ability of local licensing authorities to set and maintain taxi and PHV standards for their area.
The government acknowledged that a national minimum standard will go some way towards resolving enforcement problems pertaining to cross-border hiring.
Surprisingly, The Suzy Lamplugh Trust have stated in its comments on the TFG report that it did not support legislation to control cross-border hiring, primarily because the introduction of a national minimum standard would resolve the current practice of drivers choosing which licensing authority to obtain their licence from based on weaker safety checks.
It was noted by the government in their response to the TFG report that even with a national minimum standard in place, there will still be variations in licensing conditions which may also encompass licensing costs and processing times.
The government has said that it does not intend to remove the ability of licensing authorities to set their own local standards in matters not covered by a national minimum standard, or above and beyond those minimum standards. They have recognised that local authorities are
accountable for licensing in their areas and should continue to have the powers to properly shape and influence their local market.
The government then went on to finally say that they agree with the principle of the recommendation made by the TFG on cross-border hiring and will consider the matter further, with a view to bringing in legislation and how it might best work in detail.
Among the issues surrounding legislation, which may need to be addressed are area size, flexibilities and exemptions, impact on business models, transport types, and the impact on passengers and businesses which are close to any given licensing areas borders.
As with any report, there will no doubt be ammendments along the way before any proposed legislation is passed through parliament.
February 12, 2019 at 11:56AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Steve Kenton THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Taxi union calls for Private Hire drivers caught illegally plying for hire to face criminal charges

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Taxi drivers in Glasgow are calling for tougher punishments to be enforced to private hire drivers who are caught illegally plying for hire. They say that the “pirating” needs to be treated as a criminal offence, which leads to court action rather than the offender just having to appear at the council’s licensing committee. In some other UK cities an enforcement officer works with local police to catch private hire drivers who are illegally plying for hire - taxi drivers in Glasgow are now asking the City Council to follow suit. As reported in the Evening Times, representatives from the local authority will attend the Taxi and PHV Licensing Policy Updates and Best Practices conference in London in the coming weeks to discuss how they can push forward with preventing the illegal trade of “pirating.” Steven Grant, secretary of Glasgow Cab Section of Unite the Union has said that they don’t believe a four-week suspension (the current punishment for illegally plying for hire) is enough of a deterrent and would like to see any offenders receive six penalty points on their licence. He believes that charging those caught with a criminal offence will act as more of a deterrent, leading to drivers to be less likely to consider plying for hire. Calum Anderson, Chairman of the Glasgow CAB Section added that they believe taking those who get caught pirating to court is the best way forward, although he admits its not likely to completely stamp it out of the trade. Councillor Alex Wilson will be amongst those who attend the London conference and has said that it is not the council’s job to limit the number of private hire drivers, but it is their job to protect public health and safety and will be looking to see what is currently working within the system and what isn’t.
February 12, 2019 at 09:57AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Michael Murphy THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Government response and consultation on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing

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Today the government will announce to the House the launching of a consultation on statutory guidance to be issued to taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing authorities. The government has also issued its response to the report of the Task and Finish Group on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing.
The draft statutory guidance proposes a range of robust measures to protect taxi and PHV passengers, particularly those most vulnerable. Government and licensing authorities must work together to ensure that, above all else, the taxi and PHV services the public use are safe. The consultation on this guidance will run until 22 April 2019. Nusrat Ghani MP, the Parliament Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport, said: “The taxi and PHV trade has experienced significant and rapid changes in recent years which have brought with them benefits but have exacerbated concerns over the existing structure of the industry and the environment in which it operates. In particular, many of these changes have highlighted inconsistencies in the licencing standards, and in the rigour with which these standards are applied by some licencing authorities. “The recommendations proposed in the draft statutory guidance are a result of extensive consultation, and in particular learning from the best practice of exemplary licensing authorities. “Consulting on statutory guidance is an important first step to reforming the way the taxi and PHV sector is regulated. “In addition to the statutory guidance consultation, the government is today publishing its response to the report of the Chair of the Task and Finish Group. The government has set out its plans to introduce legislation and bring forward the urgent reforms necessary. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chair, Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, for his report, and the members of the group for their dedication in considering the issues facing the trade and their potential remedies. “Government will when time allows bring forward legislation to introduce national minimum standards for taxi and PHV licensing, reinforcing the consistently high standards that the statutory guidance will bring to the sector. To ensure that drivers are under the same level of scrutiny when operating away from their licensing area we will legislate to enable enforcement and compliance checks to be conducted by any licensing officer against any vehicle regardless of where they have been licensed. Where drivers or vehicles fail to meet the national minimum standards, they will be able to take appropriate action to protect the public. Underpinning these measures will be the introduction of a national licensing database to assist the sharing of relevant information between licensing authorities and other bodies necessary to ensure that all those in the trade are ‘fit and proper’ and warrant the trust that is placed in them by the public. This database will build on the work of the Local Government Association and the National Anti-Fraud Network in establishing the National Register of Revocation and Refusals. “Taxis and PHVs provide a vital community service which is used by many people; helping them get to the shops, see their friends, or go to work or school. We will work with the trade, drivers and regulators as well as passenger groups to meet the challenges the sector is expected to face in the future and ensure that change is not at the expense of a safe and well-functioning market. “This work is already underway thorough the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge and the Law Commission’s consideration on enabling autonomous vehicles. I would encourage all to engage on these issues and help shape a successful sector that all can be proud of.”
February 12, 2019 at 09:15AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Perry Richardson THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Congestion Costs U.K. Nearly £8 Billion in 2018

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On average, road users lost 178 hours in congestion last year, costing £1,317 per driver
INRIX a mobility analytics and connected car services, today published its annual Global Traffic Scorecard that identified and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 200 cities across 38 countries. In the U.K., the 2018 Traffic Scorecard analysed congestion and the severity of it in the top 20 urban areas. Drivers in the U.K. lost an average of 178 hours a year due to congestion, costing drivers U.K. drivers £7.9 billion in 2018, an average of £1,317 per driver. London (227 hours lost due to congestion) and Birmingham (165 hours) ranked as the two most congested cities in the U.K. by INRIX overall impact of congestion ranking. London drivers lost up to £1,680 per year due to congestion, followed by Edinburgh (£1,219), Manchester (£1,157) and Leicester (£1,145). Liverpool had the lowest cost of congestion among the U.K. cities studied at £878 per driver. “Congestion costs Brits billions of pounds each year. Unaddressed, it will continue to have serious consequences for national and local economies, businesses and citizens in the years to come,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “In order to avoid traffic congestion becoming a further drain on our economy, it is increasingly obvious that authorities need to adapt. With the help of new and innovative intelligent transportation solutions, we can begin to tackle the mobility issues we face today.”
The Most Congested Corridors in the U.K.
The A406 from Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane tops the INRIX list of worst corridors in U.K., with the average driver wasting 61 hours per year in congestion. The A23, the Strand and Leeds Road and the A34 in Birmingham make up the top 5.
How the U.K. Cities Compare to Top Cities Worldwide
At the global level, Moscow topped the list of the world’s most gridlocked cities (210 hours lost due to congestion) when weighting for population, followed by Istanbul, Bogota, Mexico City and São Paulo. The dominance of Latin American cities should not be a surprise due to their rapid urbanisation, high levels of informal settlements, unforgiving topographies and financial volatility. London was the only U.K. city in the Top 10 most congested cited in the world.
Commenting on the report, Glynn Barton, Director of Network Management at TfL, said: “We are taking bold action to reduce congestion and improve London’s poor air quality. This includes removing the Congestion Charge exemption for private hire vehicles and reducing the time taken to clear up unplanned incidents, ensuring that roadworks by utilities companies and others are better coordinated. We are also working with the freight industry to encourage more efficient deliveries across the capital.” “To directly tackle poor air quality, we are ensuring that buses, taxis and private hire vehicles are as green as possible, alongside the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone this April. In delivering the Mayor’s ambitious plans for 80 per cent of all journeys to be made by public transport, walking or cycling by 2041, our plans will further help tackle congestion across London.”
February 12, 2019 at 07:55AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Perry Richardson THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Monday, 11 February 2019

Seprate taxi and private hire protests continue in the capital today

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How long can the authorities ignore the protests?
London taxi drivers have blocked Parliament Square in an ongoing protest against plans to restrict access on certain roads in the capital. The decision to exclude taxis from Tottenham Court Road on the grounds of safety and air quality, but not buses, has been met by anger from some within the industry. Since late January ongoing daily demonstrations organised by the taxi activist group the “ITA” have taken place in various locations in London. The group argues that the taxi, a public transport vehicle, has been overlooked despite moving to zero emission vehicles and recent concerns over bus safety. Cabbies who use Tottenham Court Road will face a £130 fine if they pass through the restrictions.
On the same day today private hire drivers also continued their protest against the congestion charge introduced by Transport for London, which will see their take home pay slashed by 25%.
The protest called by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain's (IWGB) United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch against regressive congestion charges on minicabs to be introduced in April, builds on previous demonstrations that have so far been attended by thousands of drivers. The growth of these protests shows the rising anger among minicab drivers that feel ignored by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who refuses to speak to them or address their concerns. The policy introduced by the Mayor and Transport for London amounts to a “tax on the poor” and will see minicab drivers’ take home pay slashed by up to 25%, while doing little to reduce congestion. TfL expects its policy to reduce congestion by only 600 cars per day or just 1% of the private hire traffic that goes through the congestion zone. Analysis included in TfL’s report to the Mayor shows that air quality is expected to get worse as a result of the plan.
February 11, 2019 at 09:06PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Perry Richardson THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

"Code Brown" as Aussie cabbie caught short

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A cab driver has been fined after being caught answering the call of nature on a footpath in Victoria, Australia last Monday.
Police in Lilydale caught the man "Brown handed" as he assumed the position and squatted in Chirnside Park, Melbourne.
He was handed an evidence bag and was forced to pick up the offending faeces before before being fined $645. The incident led to Police community liaison group Eyewatch posting a picture of the fine on its Facebook page with the tagline "We have a Code Brown. I repeat, we have a Code Brown." With the maxim "perfect planning prevents poor performance" in mind, It is believed that the cabbie was even armed with his own roll of toilet tissue. Upon hearing of the incident, various social media outlets sprayed the net with a plethora of poo-based puns. There is however a serious side as it was revealed that street-dumping jas become a major problem, with San Francisco having over 21,000 reported incidents in the last year.
February 11, 2019 at 07:44PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Steve Kenton THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Confusion reigns over cabbies using back-up credit card systems as some CMT units suffer communications failure

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The spectre of back-up credit card facilities within the London taxi industry has raised its head again as one of the industry's biggest credit card payment facility providers, CMT, developed a system fault on the evening of Friday, February 8, rendering some units inoperable.
The fault, which was identified by one of CMTs network providers, meant that APN settings were removed from some of CMTs sim cards, thus meaning that there was no data connectivity.
Despite the settings being re-added on Friday night at around 8.30pm, it transpired that the issue was not fully resolved. It was then discovered that the new settings were not being applied automatically and would have to be attended to manually.
In the meantime, drivers have been looking to use alternative, TfL approved back-up systems, whilst the CMT outage is being attended to.
However, things have taken a rather confusing twist. Coincidentally TaxiPoint have been in dialogue with a spokesperson at Transport for London regarding back-up credit card facilities, pertaining to the previous outage a few weeks earlier, when the O2 network went down.
TfL have stated that a second credit card facility is not permissible, and if there are any card system failures, customers must find alternative methods of payment, which could also mean searching for an ATM.
We have asked for the rationale behind this, given that there is no legislation pertaining to which system an individual can use, there is only the regulation pertaining to a vehicles condition of fitness. However if a system is an approved system, then it could be argued that as long as you have one fixed system in the vehicle, you should be able to use any other approved system allied to the one inside the vehicle. We are awaiting a response from TfL regarding the tginking behind not allowing a back-up system.
In the meantime cabbies have been frustrated by what is seen as a lack of common sense at TfL, citing that customers may have other modes of transport to use, such as a train or a plane and are on a time constraint, also those who are on tight working schedules, or going to theatres and cinemas, or are travelling to an area where there may not be a working ATM for miles around.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel regarding the problems at CMT, they have released an email saying the following:
"An issue was identified by one of our network providers on Friday night. For reasons still unknown APN settings were removed from our sim cards which meant that data connectivity would not work. The settings were re-added on Friday night at around 8.30pm and we were led to believe that all issues should be resolved. We saw a number of cabs reconnect to our host so were confident that it had worked. It is now clear that this did not resolve the issue for all. In essence, the new settings are not being applied automatically. We are working with our network provider to implement a remote fix, however, in the interim, we are able to re-provision the sim card in your vehicle in person."
They then went on to say: "From Monday all CMT Service Centres will be able to apply the manual, in vehicle fix. Most have already been briefed over the weekend, but for some we will be briefing them first thing Monday morning. We have written out the protocol and, while it is a relatively quick process, demand is expected to be extremely high so please continue to lend us your patience." They finally added: "As always, every Driver is welcome at Kendal Avenue (W3 0AF) regardless of where you were installed. If you would rather visit either of Taxiworld’s branches (Tottenham - N15 4QL or Brewery Road - N7 9QH) or Ascots (Blackhorse Road - SE8 5HY) then you can visit them as long as they installed and maintain your system."
Ultimately it looks as thought there will be some form of resolution to the CMT issues tgis week, however there is still serious confusion as to the reasons behind TfLs stance on using secondary systems.
February 11, 2019 at 03:28PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Steve Kenton THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Two men jailed for the knifepoint robbery of Taxi driver

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(Image:Elliott & Thompson)
Two men who robbed a terrified taxi driver at knifepoint have been jailed at Carlisle city’s crown court for a total of almost eight years. The court heard how Lexi Elliott and James Thompson - both aged 23 - got in their victims taxi at around 5:30am on December 11, high on cocaine and alcohol. They asked to be taken to a B&M Bargains store, but on arrival Thompson brandished a Stanley knife forcing the driver to run from the scene. They then stole his vehicle, which was found completely destroyed by fire a few hours later. In a victim statement read out in court, the victim spoke of his wife who had passed away only two years earlier, saying he was already feeling “fragile” and “already on the brink”. The court heard how the victim had memories of his final years spent with his wife stored on his mobile phone which was in the vehicle and never recovered. He said: “Being robbed at knifepoint tipped me over the edge.” He added, in relation to his missing phone, “They have taken a significant part of my life away from me.” As confirmed by the Cumbria Crack, both Elliott and Thompson were jailed for 49 months and 41 months respectively after admitting robbery and arson. Thompson also admitted being in possession of an illegal knife. Judge James Adkin told Elliott and Thompson: “It goes to show the fact that those who commit offences of knifepoint robbery can never know exactly the conditions of their victims. “You both are responsible for the lingering upset and pain that the loss of that telephone has caused.” Detective Constable Andrew Metcalf said: “I am pleased that both have been brought before the courts within months of the offence. “This was a pre-meditated attack on a person who serves the public and taken their means of income. “Today’s sentencing shows how seriously both police and the courts take such attacks and that they will not be tolerated.”
February 11, 2019 at 10:00AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Michael Murphy THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Fair Air aims to turn diesel taxis into alcohol fuelled green machines!

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The majority of taxis in the UK currently rely on the internal combustion engine for power using either petrol or diesel. However with restrictions on their use planned for London, and now potentially other areas, interest in the use of hybrid and 100% electric vehicles is growing. However there maybe another option open to cabbies which has yet to be discussed. 

A new company, Fair Air, is proposing a direct ethanol fuel cell as a potential source of energy for a 100% electric vehicle with taxis its target market. Ethanol is relatively cheap and is already commercially produced with existing forecourts able to be upgraded to handle this product. 

Following on from research undertaken with London black cabs, and to assist with Fair Air’s understanding of the wider potential market for such a vehicle, the new company are asking readers of TaxiPoint to complete a short survey. The questions can be found below and will help Fair Air learn more about the industry’s feelings towards alternative fuel sources. All responses will be treated in confidence. Fair Air Limited hope to rebuild London taxis into zero pollution ethanol powered fuel cell transport. Ubiquitous diesel London cabs will be remanufactured using advanced on board fuel cell electrical generators powered by the energy in ethanol (alcohol). Following taxis, municipal vehicles and buses could undergo the same treatment, making London’s transport the cleanest in the world. Novel fuel cell technology will eliminate the need for hydrogen for transport applications, replacing it with safe, easy to use ethanol, produced from waste. Ethanol is the same alcohol passengers drink in their G-n-T’s and Pints, although Fair Air does not suggest you drain the cabbies tank to satisfy your thirst!
Complete the ethanol survey by clicking the image above.
February 10, 2019 at 09:36PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Perry Richardson THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Experimental Harrods rank gets axed

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Basil Street rank is in line for the chop following residents’ complaints about over-ranking
The experimental taxi feeder rank that was put in place in Basil Street is to be removed when the trial period comes to an end on February 8. Unfortunately, as we warned in the last edition of TAXI there have been numerous complains made by the residents of Hans Road in respect of the unauthorised ranking that has taken place there on a daily basis.
Things got so heated on one evening that an LTDA marshal had to step in and break up a row between two drivers.
Understandably, the residents got fed up with it and began filming cabs and sending the videos to Kensington and Chelsea Council, which in turn contacted TfL.
However, it was recognised that the yellow box has helped to improve the situation at the Basil Street junction with Hans Road and Walton Place and this part of the scheme will remain in place. It has to be said that the management of Harrods have been very supportive of the taxi trade over the traffic issues around the store and Kensington and Chelsea council, along with TfL and the LTDA, are still committed to finding a solution that works for all. Certainly, the trade has not been blamed for the overall chaos in and around the area, which the experimental scheme was designed to alleviate. But the one issue we were held account for was the practise of taxis queuing or ranking illegally in Hans Road. The process will now be for the council to decide whether to formally scrap the experimental scheme or to take the highly unlikely decision of reinstating it.
Discussions are in fact already taking place between the interested parties with a view to finding a way forward with amendments to the trial scheme, which would change the current layout of the junction and possibly reintroduce a feeder rank. While there is sympathy for drivers trying to find ranking space around Harrods, particularly at this time of year, we can’t simply form our own ranks to the annoyance of residents and expect the council to ignore their complaints. The view of the council is that we have just moved the problem from one place to another and in the process stirred up a hornet’s nest of residents. A classic case of shooting ourselves in the foot.
February 10, 2019 at 07:50PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Richard Massett - LTDA THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Private Hire Driver loses his licence after refusing to pick up a blind passenger accompanied by his guide dog

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A Nottingham private hire driver has lost his licence after he refused to pick up a blind man who was being accompanied by his guide dog. Private hire driver Mohammed Saghir, pleaded guilty to failing to pick up a customer and accept a fare at Derby Justice Centre in December, and following a review by Nottingham City Council he has had his licence revoked. The committee heard Saghir, arrived at a pub near Trent Bridge to take Mark Whittle and his wife, Catherine, home. As reported in the Nottingham Live, Saghir arrived outside the pub, and sent a text to the Whittle's to inform them of his arrival. However, when Mr and Mrs Whittle emerged from the pub alongside Archer, their guide dog, he drove off.
Mr Whittle rang the council to complain and subsequently an investigation was launched into Saghir's behaviour.
Mr Saghir was handed a bill totalling £476.17. He was fined £210 with a victim surcharge of £30 and was ordered to pay costs of £236.17.
Mr Whittle said: "I was really angry about what happened. We’d gone outside and it was only when a member of the public approached to ask if we were waiting for a taxi – and told us it was driving away – that we realised the driver had left. “I called the cab firm and they got the driver on the phone but despite them saying to him that he had to take us, he was adamant that he wouldn't have the dog in his car. “I’m sorry that he’s lost his licence because that’s his livelihood, but he’s only got himself to blame. When he signed up to become a taxi driver, he should know the rules and regulations – in this case, he can’t refuse to accept an assistance dog. “It makes you worry what could happen if it was a young girl with a guide dog waiting for a taxi, which turned up only to drive off. I’m keen to raise awareness of this because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.” Portfolio holder for community protection at Nottingham City Council, councillor Toby Neal said: “We were shocked to hear of Mr Whittle’s experience and immediately investigated. It would appear that the taxi driver, for whatever reason, did not want to carry a guide dog in his car. “Under the Equality Act, guide dog and other assistance dog owners have the right to enter the majority of services, premises and vehicles with their dog. This includes taxis, and for Mr Whittle and his wife to be left standing at the side of the road is totally unacceptable. “This prosecution is an important result for the City Council and reinforces a strong message to taxi drivers that we expect the highest standards at all times. Our Driver Improvement Penalty Point System (DIPPS) was introduced in April 2017 and since then we have sanctioned 56 drivers for infringements of that code of conduct.”
February 10, 2019 at 06:53PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Michael Murphy THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

TfL look to public to help design new cycle network across London

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Transport for London are asking for public input, as they look to bring in new cycle routes across London. Four new routes that are being developed by TfL in conjunction with the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets. It is anticipated that a full public consultation will take place later this year. In 2017 TfL published the Strategic Cycling Analysis which set out proposals for 25 new cycle routes across London. In 2018 the Mayor announced that design work would begin on a number of these routes. Among those which have been proposed is a cycle route running between Camden and Tottenham Hale. This will be approximately 12km, and would connect the town centres of Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters and the Nag's Head, with the route using both main roads and quieter back streets. Other proposed routes would run between Lea Bridge and Dalston, taking in a 3km route which will link the cycle route between the City and Tottenham at Dalston. The proposed route will see the Lea Bridge Road, Downs Park Road and Sandringham Road all become part of the cycle route network. Hackney and Isle of Dogs will also become part of the cycle route network. A 7.5k route would run through Westferry, Mile End and Victoria Park, linking the cycle routes between Stratford and Aldgate as well as Barking and Tower Hill. This route will also interlink with the proposed Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Crossing. Ilford and Barking Riverside is also part of the new cycle route network proposals, taking in a 7km route, linking Ilford to Barking Riverside via Barking town centre .Transport for London have asked for ideas, comments and suggestions to help them develop their designs. A public engagement period will be running until 31March 2019, before a public consultation later this year.
February 10, 2019 at 12:35PM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Steve Kenton THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Electric taxi charging points for Rochford District and Basildon Borough following successful funding bid

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Charging points for electric taxis are set to be installed in Rochford District and Basildon Borough, following a successful joint funding bid. The funding will enable two charging points, at a cost of £75,000, to be installed in Rayleigh High Street and at Rochford Railway station as part of ongoing efforts to improve local air quality. Further funding will enable three charging points for private hire and hackney carriages to be installed in Basildon, Billericay and Wickford. Announced this week by the Future of Mobility Minister, a total of more than £450K will be used for the installation of 17 charge points in the East of England; at Southend-on-Sea, Luton, Peterborough, and Rochford District and Basildon. This announcement is another milestone in the delivery of the government’s Road to Zero Strategy and Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which aims to take advantage of the extraordinary innovation in UK engineering and technology to usher in cleaner, greener journeys. Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Terry Cutmore, said: "Rochford District Council is always exploring new means to improve our air quality, including the pursual of relevant funding opportunities which will benefit local residents. I would like to thank all those involved in putting this successful bid together, which will benefit our environment into the future. "We are among just 17 authorities nationally to receive a share of a £6million funding pot made available for the installation of new charging points for electric taxis.  The hope is that this will act as a catalyst to encourage more drivers to seriously consider the use of electric vehicles." Councillor Kevin Blake, Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Leisure, Culture and Environment Committee, said: "I am delighted we have been successful in this funding and would like to thank officers for their hard work in putting the bid together. We continue to work closely with Rochford and Essex County Council to find ways to improve air quality in the area with a range of measures. This funding will provide a further boost and incentive to encourage the use of electric vehicles." Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility Minister, said: "The government wants all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. Getting the right infrastructure and investment in place is a crucial part of this." This funding will support almost 4,000 ultra low emission vehicles across the country. Richard Harrington, Automotive Minister, said: "The UK has led the world in cutting emissions while maintaining growth in our economy. "These new charge points for greener taxis will help accelerate a cleaner environment for people across the UK. This will also point the way for a better, healthier future for us all as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy which builds on the government’s long-standing partnership with the UK automotive sector." It is estimated that across the East of England, 85 ultra-low emission black cabs and more than 340 ultra-low emission private hire vehicles will benefit from new chargepoints being funded by government, supporting a shift towards cleaner, greener transport.
February 10, 2019 at 11:11AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Steve Kenton THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT

Addison Lee up for sale as Carlyle Group look for swift exit

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Minicab firm Addison Lee are set to look for new buyers as American owners Carlyle Group seek to recoup on investment.
The investment group is looking to sell its majority stake in the London based minicab firm after buying it in 2013 for about £300 million. The private equity group went on to plough a further £100 million in to Addison Lee as they seeked to grow outside of London.
According to sources the firm are looking to sell Addison Lee for £390 million which could signal a small loss on its investment.
Addison Lee operates the second largest private hire service in London after Uber. The firm’s 5,000 cars are said to complete about 25,000 jobs a day, bringing it about 10% of the £3 billion London taxi and private hire market.
Just recently Addison Lee announced it would invest in 1,200 Volkswagen Sharans to create a fleet that is compliant with Transport for London’s new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will come into force on 8 April 2019.
However, the minicab company continues to fight against workers’ rights and announced financial losses of £20.8 million for the last financial year despite record turnover.
In November 2018, the courts once again agreed Addison Lee drivers were legally entitled to workers’ rights such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay rights.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) rejected Addison Lee’s arguments that their drivers are self-employed contractors running their own businesses. The EAT confirmed the Employment Tribunal’s decision that the true nature of the relationship is that Addison Lee drivers work for Addison Lee – agreeing with the original Employment Tribunal decision last year. The ruling will mean thousands of Addison Lee drivers are legally entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.
February 10, 2019 at 09:48AM http://bit.ly/2UVulRY Perry Richardson THESE POSTS ARE NOT OUR ENDORSEMENT