Cab Chat Daily Friday 21st September 2018
Some taxi drivers in York have been operating without valid criminal record checks in place due to a “serious” error by City of York Council.
A report by the council’s third party auditors Veritau uncovered that the council had not kept up-to-date background checks on its drivers working in the area.
Veritau said in a report: “Checks were out of date by several years and records had not been updated,” and that meant “a potential risk to the travelling public if drivers have not been vetted”.
The criminal checks on new drivers entering the trade were however carried out in accordance to the council’s licensing policy.
The report by Veritau goes on to say: “A criminal record check is an important safety measure and the policy dictates that this should be carried out every three years.”
The report states that the auditors found checks on some of the councils drivers were years overdue and some records were simply not on file at all.
The report also adds that “Around 400 complaints each year are made about taxis. Around half of these complaints over the last year have been in relation to Uber.”
Drivers and cyclists in London have the worst relationship of anywhere in the UK.
A study by Cars on Demand asked 2,000 drivers and cyclists in every region in the UK to rate each other’s performance on the roads.
The ratings ran from one to 10 with one being the highest and 10 the lowest.
Drivers in the capital gave cyclists a 4.9 whilst cyclists scored drivers 4.1 – scoring each other lower than any other region.
This was also well below the UK average, with British drivers rating cyclists 6.1 and cyclists rating drivers 4.8.
Paul Brown, managing director at Cars on Demand said: “It appears driver-cyclist relations aren’t at their best, which is a great shame.
“However, drivers are trying to be empathetic about the issues surrounding cycling and the rules of the road so hopefully if both cyclists and drivers pay more attention to each other, things can progress more smoothly on the UK’s streets.”
The survey also found that three quarters of drivers in the UK empathise with cyclists and the frustrations they fell on the road such as driving in traffic whilst a total of 39% of drivers also confessed to having road rage and getting angry at cyclists.
A new booklet promoting the Knowledge to potential taxi drivers has just been published online.
How to become a London taxi driver has been compiled by TPH. It talks about the proud history of the profession in London and shows people how they can become part of that tradition going into the future.
Katie Chennells, Knowledge of London Manager at TPH explains: ‘Driving a taxi is a great, flexible career and the booklet is a really good tool for showing would-be taxi drivers what people already doing the job feel about it.’
The booklet contains chapters on how to apply to study the Knowledge, the different stages to learning, how the system of appearances works and what individuals need to do to be successful students.
There are also case studies with students and working cabbies giving their reasons for wanting to complete the Knowledge, and why they love being taxi drivers.
Katie and her team are now taking the printed copies of the booklet into schools and colleges to inspire the next generation of London’s finest.
The pump prices of both petrol and diesel have risen for the tenth week in a row.
Petrol now averages 130.4 pence per litre while diesel is at 134.4p. These are the highest prices for four years.
Petrol has risen 12.2p in the past twelve months, whilst diesel is 14.3p more expensive than a year ago.
The highest pump prices ever recorded were seen in April 2012 when petrol hit 142.2p and diesel 148p.
Brent crude is trading at just below the $80 per barrel mark.
Chancellor Philip Hammond hinted earlier this week that he may scrap the eight-year freeze on fuel duty in this autumn’s Budget.
He told MPs his department’s analysis from 2014, which stated the benefits of the freeze offset all tax losses, would “have to be looked at again in the context of the economy today”.
Fuel duty has been kept at a rate of 58p per litre since 2011. Mr Hammond said:
“To support British households, the Government has frozen fuel duty for eight successive years, by April 2019 these freezes will have saved the average car driver £850 compared to the pre-2010 escalator and the average van driver over £2,100.”
However, The Treasury still receives 60% of the pump price in taxation, a mix of fuel duty and VAT.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“The Chancellor rightly says that drivers have benefited from a prolonged fuel duty freeze, but we shouldn’t forget that for many people real wages have stagnated or even fallen over the past decade.
“As it is, transport – and in the majority of cases this means running a car – remains the single biggest area of average household expenditure.
“Wider Government policy also affects the cost of fuel through its impact on the exchange rate. The continued rise in pump prices is partly driven by the weak pound against the dollar.”
The council which has licensed more drivers than any other area in England per population has backed calls to tighten up laws.
Joining calls from Zoom.taxi, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the LGA, Rossendale Council has said the rules need to be “updated” to be “fit for the 21st Century.
Rossendale Council in Lancashire licensed 3,756 taxi drivers last year, more than any other English council. The practise was picked up by The Times last week, after Zoom.taxi first raised it in October of last year.
Statistics put the borough ahead of major cities such as Manchester with 2,329, Liverpool with 2,224 and Birmingham with 1,338.
The borough has 53.7 licensed taxi drivers per 1,000 population, ten times as many as Christchurch, the second highest in the list, which has 5.3.
Fareed Baloch of Zoom.taxi welcomed the latest calls and said he would be writing to the Minister.
“This is not just about ‘outdated laws’, because a large part of the problem stems from the deregulation in 2015,” he said.
“What we need is a level playing field across England and Wales to stop drivers cherry picking cheaper, less thorough councils from which to be awarded a license.
A London taxi driver is trying to trace a Suffolk man who left a bunch of keys in his cab.
Kevin Quinn picked up the man in Covent Garden and dropped him at the offices of Estee Lauder in Cleveland Street W1 at around 10.30am on Wednesday September 11.
Kevin later discoverd the keys in the back of his cab but despite making enquiries at the drop-off and with the bank whose card the man used to pay the fare, he has so far been unable to trace him.
Kevin said: “We got chatting during the journey after I picked him up.
“All I know about him is that he said he came from Stowmarket in Suffolk, that he had driven down to London and that he had parked his car in Covent Garden before getting in my cab.
“It’s a big bunch of keys and I know that when you lose them it drives you mad.
“He may well have had replacements cut already but it seemed a shame not to at least try and trace him.”
Kevin can be contacted on 0771 556 9282.
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