Monday, 5 October 2015

The same garage renting out Uber cars and licensed taxis? Marc Turner investigates... “Milking” the taxi trade??? 

A few months back, I began hearing rumours about a West London garage that was apparently renting out vehicles to both licensed Taxi drivers and also to Uber drivers. Whilst sceptical, I decided to put feelers out and within virtually no time, I was being sent info and links revealing evidence of truth... 

I hastily contacted Gurinder Dhillon, the owner of Premier Cabs, Indigo Taxis, (Belvedere) and Otto Cars PH but Mr Dhillon was on holiday. However, his spokesman confirmed the worst and said he would email Dhillon, who would then contact me on his return. He didn't! 

On Tuesday 25th August at 3.45pm, I brazenly entered the 'traitors' den with its licensed taxis and Toyota Priuses side by side in the yard and workshop. It would be fair to say that Gurinder Dhillon was not best pleased to see me and very quickly tried to berate me on his perception of my “conduct on Twitter.” 

I explained that I was doing an article for Call Sign on his unique perspective of the taxi/private hireindustry and it would be with or without his acquiescence. I hoped it would be with it, but he looked uncomfortable and was rather uncooperative throughout our unscheduled and strained meeting.

Dhillon tried to illicit my address, but had to be content with my mobile and email on his seeming pretence that he needed another week to think about talking to me. He refused outright to be photographed or recorded during our exchanges. 

With all his front, he was unwilling/unable to defend what I as a licensed taxi driver would call the indefensible. Mr Dhillon never did contact me. My first impressions of him being disingenuous, disobliging and even dishonourable seem to have been proved correct. 

While on the premises of Gurinder Dhillon, I observed unwitting taxi drivers arriving (apparently sent from Westminster Insurance judging by snatches of conversation I overheard) to have Taxi Witness CCTV installed. If they'd had an inkling as to what was going on at Depot Road W12, they might have thought twice before handing their hard earned money over. 

While in the yard, I decided to take photos of cars, taxis and the garage front - with no name sign apart from Unigate (see cover pic). But Mr Dhillon took exception to this, ran out and ordered me off his premises. Could his be a man with something to hide? 
At that point I decided take my leave anyway.
In conclusion, I must state that Gurinder Dhillon’s disloyalty to the taxi trade is not unlawful;nor is it illegal – even though some might say it was mightily immoral! 

Whereas Mayor Boris Johnson and the incompetents at TfL are just inept, Gurinder Dhillon’s activities are more pernicious and fuelled by the pursuit of a quick buck, which makes him culpable in the present 'race to the bottom' - a man willing to sacrifice integrity and reputation for personal gain in the name of business. 

It’s now out there and in the court of taxi drivers to make up their own minds. Personally speaking, I could never trade with someone who was contributing to the downfall of my own beloved industry... Marc Turner (R97)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sean Paul (Licensed Taxi Driver/Proprietor) Dear Patricia Gallan (Assistant Commissioner)

Re: Taxi Demonstration
Commencement: Monday, October 5
th 2015, 14:00

The licensed taxi trade appeals to the Commissioner of Police to reconsider the time constraint placed on The United Cabbies Group.

This appeal is made under the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association under Article 11 is a qualified right

I write without prejudice, to ask the Commissioner of Police to oblige Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and allow a reasonable amount of time for the pertinent and valid peaceful protest by Licensed taxi drivers to take place. Demonstrations organised by the UCG have a demonstrable history of being peaceful. Special mention should be given also to the MET who have also been creditable in all matters when policing these events.

With respect, the 30 minute time allowed, due to the nature of the demonstration, is insufficient and would automatically place taxi drivers in contravention of the Section 12 Order. It appears highly unfair, given the time constraint, that a Section 12 Order would prove be the default setting, prior to the actual demonstration itself.

For formal and clarification purposes. Article 11 provides that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly means the right to protest in a peaceful way, and includes static protests, parades, processions, demonstrations and rallies. The right to freedom of association protects the right to join or form ‘associations’, such as political parties, as well as the right to form and join a trade union. These rights are fundamental in a democracy. Protest allows individuals to unite in support of a common belief to express their opinions and voice their frustrations, and to criticise and voice opposition to opinions or beliefs they do not share.

Article 11 imposes two different types of obligations on the state:

• a negative obligation, which means that public authorities must not prevent, hinder or restrict peaceful assembly except to the extent allowed by Article 11(2), and must not arbitrarily interfere with the right to freedom of association

• a positive obligation, so that in certain circumstances public authorities are under a duty to take reasonable steps to protect those who want to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. The state must also take reasonable and appropriate measures to secure the right to freedom of association under domestic law.

 The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association under Article 11 is a qualified right, and balances the rights of the individual against the broader interests of the community and society. Article 11(2) provides that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association can be restricted in certain ways, but the restriction must be lawful, and in pursuit of a legitimate aim such as national security, public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, and is ‘necessary in a democratic society’. The restriction must also be proportionate, meaning that the measures taken are the least restrictive necessary to achieve the legitimate aim. It is my belief that previous demonstrations organised by the United Cabbies Group, have proven to be beyond reproach, and obliging in all matters. I draw on my experience of the last demonstration conducted outside Windsor House, Victoria St

What is also relevant to Article 11 is that it is intrinsically linked to the right to freedom of expression (Article 10).7 It is also closely linked to the right to manifest a religion and belief (Article 9). The protection of personal opinion guaranteed by Articles 9 and 10 is also one of the purposes of freedom of assembly and association.

The regulation of the right to peaceful assembly and association may engage a number of other rights. For example, police operations in relation to protests or strike action may engage the right to liberty (Article 5), and rights protecting physical integrity (Articles 2, 3 and 8).

The licensed taxi trade and the metropolitan police service have a long and healthy history, in fact, many taxi drivers such as myself, fondly remember the time when the PCO was responsible to the MET. By comparison the taxi trade feel they are being negatively targeted by the present incumbent at TfL, and that their voices are not being heard. Couple that with the imminent ruling by the High Court to define a taxi meter, these demonstrations have proven to be a remarkable aid at quelling growing frustrations. With this in mind, I believe the time restraint and the automatic inference of pre-emptive impeachment interferes disproportionately with the right to peaceful protest and falls below reasonable requirements of the Commissioner to meet human rights obligations under Article 11.

I once again appeal to you, to satiate growing feelings of frustration by lifting the 30 minute time constraint on tomorrow's demonstration.

Kind Regards Sean Paul 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Caught On Camera, Shocking Video Of Woman Stabbing A Taxi Driver

Close X
Embed Video Code:

Saturday, 1 November 2014

BBC Lazy Journalism Part Of The Problem. By Jim Thomas.

Taxi Leaks ran a story on the 11th October, about the constant abuse thrown at the London Taxi trade by the BBC and other media outlets. The BBC had ran a story which announced a London Taxi Driver had been jailed for causing the death of a fire-fighter and ex-Olympic bobsledder.

A serious allegation.

But on further inspection, we came to a sentence which told a different story:
St Albans Crown Court heard the private hire driver for Brent Council had stopped his taxi on the southbound carriageway near the Hatfield tunnel when he thought a stone had smashed the front passenger window of his car.

That's right, he's a minicab driver and his car is a minicab to be precise, not a Taxi. It should have been quite simple for the so called journalist who wrote the piece as he/she was obviously working from a court report that laid out clearly that this was a Private Hire (minicab) driver.

Was this purely lazy journalism?
or is it more of a conspiracy?

One of our readers was so incensed with the article, he made an official complaint to the BBC. 

Below is the unbelievably patronising reply he received.

Date: 31 Oct 2014 13:17
Subject: BBC Complaints - Case Number CAS-2965901-39PBGB

Dear Xxxx

Thank you for your contact.

While we readily appreciate your concerns it’s also the case that headlines need to be concise and so this headline simply referred to a London “taxi” as generally understood to mean a motor vehicle licenced to transport passengers in return for a fare and, in this case, operated in London.

The body of the article subsequently makes clear that Mohamoud Amin was a private hire driver and so we don’t believe the use of the word “taxi” was unreasonable or otherwise materially misleading.

Thanks again for contacting us. 

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints


The email wasn't even signed.

While we understand that it may be necessary for headlines to be concise, surely the BBC has a duty to be accurate. 

The BBC constantly blur the distinction between minicabs and Taxis at a time when minicab related serious sexual assaults are at an all time high.

Was it not the BBC's own "Inside out London" program, presented by award winning journalist Louise Hulland, that pointed out night revellers are confused about the difference between Licensed Taxis and minicabs? 

Click Here to watch inside out London<

Part of the reason for this rise in minicab related sexual assaults in London is ignorance. It would appear that the BBC is part of that problem, instead of being part of a solution.

Taxi Leaks would like to point out to the unnamed person who replied, that although there are only three extra letters in "London minicab driver" as opposed to "London Taxi driver", there is plenty of empty spaces in the two line title to describe the accused more accurately.

We would also like to take this opportunity to point out that under the London Cab Act, it is "illegal" for a private hire driver or operator to refer to themselves as Taxi drivers. They can not refer to their vehicle as Taxis. In fact they can not use the words Taxi, Taxis, Cab or Cabs in any promotional material or anywhere on their operating centre or vehicle.  

If the BBC is in any doubt of the damage that this type of misleading article causes, not just in London but across the UK, I would urge them to read and digest the recently published article "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (who’s watching the watchmen)" by Wayne Casey on the Nation Taxi Association website. 

>Click Here:national-taxi-association<

The accused Mohamoud Amin, 38, of Park Royal, London, was twice referred to by the BBC as a Taxi Driver and his vehicle twice referred to as a Taxi. 

This is unacceptable and we would ask the BBC to change the article which is still on the BBC News website.

If you the reader feel as insulted by this reply as we do, please fill in this online complaint form. It's long-winded but worth the effort.

>Click Here:complaints/forms/BBC<?

Monday, 19 November 2012

Enough is Enough: Contact Your MP And Assembly Member.

Back by popular demand, the team behind the Carry on Complaining site, would like to thank everyone for your kind words of support.

But now it's time for the words to be directed towards the politicians.

Time to take action

We have chosen for our first campaign, LTPH's refusal to enforce the law against illegal plying for hire.

Every night we all see the lines of illegally rank PHVs, operating from a satellite office and controlled by clipboard men. Not only are the public being aggressively herded away from a choice of taking a legal Taxi, Taxi drivers are being violently discouraged from stopping by PHV drivers and club security staff.

What we need you to do now, is to use the yellow link box in the right hand column (mobiles choose web view) which will enable you to send an email to your MP and Assembly Members. Of course it would be much better if you pen your own letter, but for those who find this difficult, we have put together a template example.

The "Write to them .com" website records your email and also records if you receive a reply, which encourages recipients to respond.


Dear *****

I recently saw this article on the Guardian series on-line website.

A 22-year-old woman from Walthamstow was sexually assaulted as she was driven home by a man pretending to be a minicab driver.

As the man drove the woman to her home in Walthamstow he assaulted her.

Police are investigating the exact location but believe it could have happened close to the end of the journey in Waltham Forest.

A minicab driver from Bexleyheath, has been charged with sexual assault in connection with the incident.

There seems to be a conspiracy of silence between The Police, TfL and Politicians in general to ignore this scandalous situation.

Every night, while working as a licensed Taxi driver, I see lines and lines of minicabs illegally ranking outside clubs touting for work illegally. At the weekend unbooked private hire cars can be seen parked on both sides of Regent Street opposite Swallow Street. The same illegal ranks of PHVs can be found most nights all over the capital.

I regularly see the Police and local council Traffic Wardens walk by and ignore them, even on double yellow lines and Red routes!

Nearly 2 years ago, It was reported to the police and PCO that a gang of unlicensed touts were working an area by Piccadilly Circus into Regent Street. This complaint was repeated 6 months ago. Friday/Saturday night, vehicles belonging to this group were seen touting in the same place, just after midnight.

The general public are being gradually "educated' into accepting that it is alright to get into one of these vehicles because if they were dangerous they wouldn't be allowed to operate in the way they do, would they?

Meanwhile another young girl has fallen prey to a serious sexual assault/rape.

Whose daughter,sister wife or mother has to become a victim before this is addressed?

I hope you can understand how sickening it is to witness all this happening every night all over London, and then just before Christmas read one of TfL/LTPH/Police press releases under the Safer Transport at Night banner?

The offence of Illegally plying for hire carries the same level 3 penalty as touting. In fact its easier to prosecute as you do not have to prove solicitation. It's reportable not arrestable, so a non warranted LTPH officer can report an incident for a case to be bought against the driver.

It's already being successfully done up and down the country by other licensing authorities such as Manchester, Reading, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford, St Albans, Milton Keynes and many others. In Cambridge recently, PHVs illegally plying for hire, have been given £120 fines, £150 +6 penalty points for no insurance, then ordered to pay £2000 court costs. 

Could you please, on my behalf as a London Licensed Taxi Driver, contact TfL Transport Commissioner Mr Peter Hendy and ask him why TfL/LTPH are refusing to charge offending minicabs for illegally plying for hire. LTPH, hasn't prosecuted one single case for this offence since taking over from the Met Police over a decade ago

How many more rapes and sexual assaults do there have to be before somebody with the power to do something to change the situation wakes up to this scandal?

Yours sincerely

If you live outside London and want to contact your MP, use this site.
On the right hand side of the page, is a box to enter your post code, it will take you to your MP and give his email address