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27 July 2017

Two Years Of Massive Disruption And Congestion In Marylebone, Curtesy Of TfL And Thames Water.



Baker Street:
Until early 2019, work is taking place to convert Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way traffic. During this time there will be changes to the road layout on these roads, between Park Road and Portman Square. For more details, please visit http://ift.tt/2h5ez7a. Additionally, there are lane restrictions on Baker Street southbound at the junction of Marylebone Road until mid-November, for Thames Water works. 

Vauxhall:
From 21:30 on Friday 28, until 06:00 on Monday 31 July there will be lane closures on South Lambeth Road southbound at the junction of Harleyford Road. This is for a crane operation

English language requirement
The deadline for new or renewal private hire driver’s licence applicants to provide evidence of their ability to comply with the English language requirement has been extended from 30 September 2017 to 16 July 2018. Please click here for more information 

Taxi rank locations now available to app developers
We are now publishing information about taxi ranks, including locations and operating hours, in our API, which means this information can be used by developers in apps. For example, customers can now search for their nearest rank in Apple Maps. Ranks listed include the new ranks at UCL Hospital Beaumont Place, DoubleTree Hotel in Kingston, and Hither Green Station (Fernbrook Road). 

OnRoute
The latest issue of OnRoute magazine features articles about our compliance resources, RideLondon, how you can help stop human trafficking, and much more. Read it now here 

Space for cyclists
To improve cyclist and driver safety, officers from the Met Roads and Transport Policing Command are undertaking a new tactic. Officers from the team will be patrolling in plain clothes, wearing video cameras and riding unmarked bicycles, to identify and deal with the offences that most deter people from cycling. Driving and cycling safety advice is available here

Waterloo proposals
We’re consulting on changes around Waterloo. The consultation closes on 20 August and you can find details here

Draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy
The draft Mayor's Transport Strategy sets out his plans to transform London's streets, improve public transport and create opportunities for new homes and jobs. Our public consultation on these plans is open until 2 October 2017. 
Read more and respond to the consultation here

Lambeth Bridge north and south proposals
We’re consulting on changes to Lambeth Bridge north and south. The consultation closes on 20 August and you can find it here

Fiveways transformation
We are working with Croydon Council on proposals to make Fiveways in Waddon simpler and safer for all road users. The joint consultation will close on 18 September. 
For full details, and to share your views, please click here

Camden Town Station 
We’re consulting on improvements to Camden Town Station. This follows a consultation in January 2017 on development above and around the proposed new station exit. The consultation closes on 18 August and you can find the new consultation here

Battersea
We would like your views on a number of proposed changes to the layout of Nine Elms Lane and Battersea Park Road. This consultation will run until Sunday 20 August. You can find full details of the proposals and respond to the consultation here

Charlie Brown’s Roundabout
We’re consulting on proposed change to Charlie Brown’s roundabout. The consultation is open until 4 August and you can find it here


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Owners Of ComCab -ComfortDelGro taxis- to offer QR code payment in DBS tie-up.

SINGAPORE: 

Passengers of ComfortDelGro taxis can now choose to pay for their fare using a quick response (QR) code, in a tie-up between the taxi company and DBS Bank.

Passengers just need to scan the QR code on the taxi’s cashless payment terminal and the app will automatically process the payment. (Photo: ComfortDelGro)

This is the first time QR code payment – a type of barcode read by devices – is being introduced for taxis in Singapore, DBS said in a press release on Thursday (Jul 27).

Starting Aug 10, users of the bank’s mobile wallet DBS PayLah can scan the QR code on the cashless payment terminal of any of the 16,000 ComfortDelGro taxis, and the app will automatically process the payment.

ComfortDelGro taxi CEO Ang Wei Neng said the move is part of the company's plan to provide more cashless and more convenient payment options for passengers.

"Cashless transactions account for one-fifth of all our taxi trips. We expect its volume to grow steadily as passengers become more accustomed to paying using such payment modes,” he added.

DBS said it has witnessed "a dramatic shift" in the behaviour of consumer's payments, who are becoming more inclined to cashless payments and withdrawing lower amounts of cash from ATMs.

Between June 2016 and June this year, the number of DBS PayLah transactions and payment volume more than doubled, DBS said

Source: CNA



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26 July 2017

Martin Lewis Putting Public In Danger? Advising His Readers To Use Uber


Came across this post on FaceBook this afternoon, from one of our ladies on the Save Black Taxis Group. 

Michele writes:
 
I've recently signed up to a weekly email from money man Martin Lewis. 

This was in his email this week about using Uber!


He has a Facebook page to which I've made a comment. 
Maybe some of you'd like to add your thoughts.

This is a surprising turn of events from Martin as he has always been seen as a supporter and user of Taxis, and was in fact photographed supporting the Save Black Taxi group.

This email is also surprising because Martin is a husband and father who surely should be concerned more with public safety than sheer cheapness. 
Or this this another case as just do as I say not as I do?

He is recommending an unsafe night service whose record of passengers, seriously sexually assaulted by the driver, has escalated by 50% this year (according to a Freedom of Information request made to the Metropolitan Police).  

Taxi Leaks' question to Martin Lewis:
Martin, would you really advise you wife, mother, sister, niece etc to use Uber to get home after reading about Uber's record of serious sexual assaults including rapes, plus their terrible driving standards seen daily on social media?


It's discussing to think that some people will do anything to earn a few quid in commission. 


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24 July 2017

Corrupt Rail Firm Fraudsters Sentenced Following Painstaking BTP Investigation


A gang of corrupt rail firm employees who took bribes to secure a lucrative contract have today been sentenced following an extensive and prolonged investigation by British Transport Police fraud investigators. 

The investigation related to offences of corruption, fraud and money laundering that occurred during the upgrade to Farringdon Station in 2010.

The sentence for each defendant is: 

1. Alandale Rail Ltd (now Alandale Track and Civils Ltd) was fined £25,000.
2. Innocent Obiekwe  (42) of Edgware, was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.
3. John Zayya (51) of Catford, was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified for eight years from being a director.
4. William Waring (56) of Ashford Kent, was sentenced to two years on two counts to run concurrently. The first count was money laundering the second count was corruption. Waring has also been disqualified from being a director for eight years. 
5. Kevin McKee (57) of Maidenhead was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on five counts to run concurrent and disqualified for eight years from being a director.

BTP’s fraud squad first started investigating corruption surrounding Alandale Rail Ltd in February 2011 when a whistle blower at the organisation contacted the Mayor’s Office at City Hall. The Fraud Team at Transport for London then alerted BTP. 

A meticulous investigation uncovered a network of corruption and bribery for a large contract connected to upgrade works at Farringdon station.

At the heart of the corruption was Obiekwe, a senior manager at Costain and Laing O’Rourke (CoLOR) who was responsible for ensuring the health and safety procedures at the project in Farringdon. During 2010, Alandale Rail, through Zayya and  McKee, made corrupt payments to Obiekwe in order to secure a lucrative contract and additional work to supply safety critical staff (see notes to editors) as part of this project. Corrupt payments were later made through Waring to ensure Obiekwe continued to favour Alandale Rail Ltd. 

The information which was provided to Alandale Rail Ltd by Obiekwe ensured that they had a positive influence on the tender process and could undercut bids made by competitors. The initial value of the contract was £2.1m but eventually rose to £5.2m. 

However, the corruption and dishonesty did not stop once Alandale Rail Ltd had successfully won the tender. After Alandale Rail were appointed, Obiekwe and the other defendants were part of a scheme to defraud CoLOR by claiming for ‘ghost workers’. Claims were fraudulently made to CoLOR for false work undertaken by safety critical staff working for Alandale Rail Ltd. Payments were claimed for workers who never attended the site or carried out any work, and invoices and timesheets were falsified to disguise the bogus claims. 

Throughout the investigation, officers identified payments in excess of £140,000 paid to Obiekwe along with other gifts and favours.

Detective Constable Justin Yorke from British Transport Police Commercial Fraud Squad, said: “The corruption shown by all defendants was complex, prolonged and meticulously planned. However, they did not plan on a whistle-blower reporting their corruption to the Mayor of London’s office. 

“Obiekwe provided confidential information to Alandale Rail Ltd which ensured that they could undercut competitor bids, in order to secure this lucrative contract. He was motivated by greed and took bribes from Alandale Rail Ltd employees. The behaviour of Obiekwe and his fellow defendants was scandalous and undermines the legitimate tendering process companies undertake every day. I am pleased with today’s sentences and I hope this sends a very clear message to any groups who may be considering similar actions. 

“The scale of the corruption was significant. Whilst we may never know the full extent of money fraudulently claimed and laundered, I am pleased that we have brought a criminal gang to justice.”

Notes to Editors 

The ‘Safety Critical Staff’ are specially trained and responsible for the safety of operatives working on the railway infrastructure including stations and tracks. They monitor the movement of staff entering or working on the station, check relevant permits, carry out safety briefings and are responsible for planning/securing stretches of track, known as possessions, to allow work to be carried out in a safe manner. There are different roles involved and operatives are trained to various levels depending on the environment they needed to work in. Safety Critical Staff are tightly regulated. 


Charges 

Kevin McKee pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on September 16, 2016 to the following charges:

1. Corruption, contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906
2. Conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law
3. Money laundering contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
4. Conspiracy to defraud contrary to Common Law
5. Money laundering contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Innocent Obiekwe pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 22, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

John Zayya pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 22, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. 

William Waring pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on June 21, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and money laundering contrary to section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Alandale Rail Limited (Company No 07019850) was found guilty by jury of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act at Blackfriars Crown Court.  

Perry Morgan (54) who was charged with corruption was unanimously acquitted during trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in June 2017. 



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Minicab driver, accused of sexual comments towards teen passenger has licence taken away

A Minicab driver has lost his appeal against the revocation of his private hire driver’s licence following an allegation of comments of a sexual nature being made to a teenage passenger.

At the recent hearing, Loughborough Magistrates' Court heard that North West Leicestershire District Council had first suspended and then revoked the private hire driver’s licence of Mohammed Kabeer, following complaints about his attitude, behaviour and driving standards.

The court was told that the licence was initially suspended on November 22, last year, following complaints about his attitude towards two female licensing officers, his manner of driving and inappropriate comments made to two passengers, including comments of a sexual nature made to a lone 18-year-old female passenger. This incident happened in Coalville.

Following a safeguarding report made to the council by the police in December 2016 relating to what the council considered to be inappropriate sexual contact between Mr Kabeer and a female passenger, the council revoked his licence on January 31, this year.

During the hearing, Mr Kabeer accepted that there had been sexual contact between him and the passenger but claimed that he was the victim of a sexual assault.

In dismissing his appeal the court found that the decision of the council was correct as its primary duty is the protection of the public.

Mr Kabeer of Southbourne Avenue, Birmingham, was ordered to pay the council’s costs of defending the appeal of £1,650.

Councillor Alison Smith, deputy leader and portfolio holder for community services at the council, said: “I am extremely pleased that the court dismissed this appeal and upheld the decision of the council.

“Members of the public have every right to expect that when they get into a Minicab the driver is fit and proper and will not abuse their position, whether it is by bad driving or inappropriate sexual innuendo or conduct.

“I hope this sends a clear message to the public that we will act robustly to ensure that they are protected when using taxis, and also makes it clear to the licensed vehicle trade that the council will not tolerate this kind of behaviour from drivers. A private hire driver’s licence is a privilege and not a right and where drivers fail to meet the high standards required by the council they can expect their licence to be revoked.”





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