On Wednesday evening a Taxi Driver was subjected to a vicious attack at South Kensington Taxi Rank by an Uber Driver after being asked to move off of the Taxi Rank so that he (the Taxi Driver) could perform his legitimate right to ply for hire on that rank. The driver was subjected to allegedly over THIRTY blows with an iron bar from the Uber driver. The Taxi Driver in question is lucky to be alive, the Uber driver has been arrested and charged. This act has prompted me to e-mail compliance to protest at their lack of presence and enforcement. A Taxi driver has the right to work without fear of violence or abuse in the same way as any other worker. TFL have a duty to protect the working rights of the Taxi industry. Here is the e-mail to compliance (and others) in full.
Dear Mr Rodgers & Dear Ms Kennedy-Todd,
I am e-mailing you to voice some serious concerns in relation to how the TFL Compliance teams are policing London's Taxi ranks.
I myself have had threats made against me including knife threats as I've tried to move PHVs off of Taxi Ranks so that I and my colleagues can lawfully ply our trade, Taxi drivers have been spat at and abused and attacked trying to do the same as myself and on Wednesday night an attack on a Taxi driver by an Uber driver armed with an iron bar in which the Uber driver wielded in excess of THIRTY blows led to the Uber driver being arrested and charged with GBH.
I am one of the representatives of Action For Cabbies, one of the editors of Taxipoint magazine and a working Taxi driver of 26 years service, I work afternoons and nights. I am extremely concerned at the lack of presence from your compliance teams, in fact I have not seen one single compliance officer operating at night for months, moreover I have not seen a single compliance officer move on nor ticket one single PHV on any rank. Admittedly you can only operate in areas where you have credible intelligence and I may not have been in areas where you may currently operate but quite frankly your endeavours are failing the Taxi industry.
There needs to be a root and branch re-evaluation as to how you are policing the PHV industry. Our job is to take people from one location to another, your job is to enforce the law surrounding both the Taxi and Private Hire industry. We are in the position that we are now having to police the ranks ourselves because of failures in reacting to credible intelligence supplied by ourselves . This is in turn leading to violence perpetrated against us. We are told to video, photograph and gather evidence.....yet despite the gathering of evidence there seems to be absolutely no enforcement on the ranks at night, you are conspicuous by your absence. You know exactly where the rank hotspots are, you have been informed many times via social media....and yet we are seeing little or no real action. I am seriously concerned that it will only be a matter of time before one of my colleagues is killed trying to do the job single handedly that you are charged to do as a unit. This is utterly unacceptable.
I would like to arrange a meeting with yourselves along with myself and several of my colleagues so as to devise a plan as to how we can move forward from this and assist you in carrying out your remit and helping you to be pro-active in protecting us from this ongoing, toxic and quite frankly dangerous situation. I appreciate that you deal with our trade organisations but I am afraid that this is no longer an acceptable course of action. I believe you need the input of drivers who are consistently at the sharp end of this problem on a night to night basis as we have a greater understanding of this issue.
Please note that I have also sent this e-mail to several other parties who may have an interest in this situation
I look forward to your swift response on this matter.