27th August While waiting outside Abacus there was a noisy crowd of intoxicated people, some of which were hailing anything that moved – I was glad they didn’t see me sitting there waiting for a punter.
Even a passing minicab that stopped then drove off empty! Not long after, another passing minicab picked a particular punter up, in full view of a long queue of people waiting to get inside Abacus. It was so chaotic outside that no one really cared who picked them up, all they cared for was to be taken to their destination.
The minicabs did not waste anytime in fact, during my time there, I saw two more passing minicabs pick up punters. Obeying the degrading ‘current rules’, I was parked behind a minicab – watch out all of you that are in the process of doing the knowledge, the way things are going, you may not have a job by the time you acquire your badge!!! Anyway, I was sitting behind one minicab when out walked the driver with a punter in tow, so I thought I’d video ‘the event’ but they saw what I was doing and before long I had around me 5 or 6 drivers and one of which was the driver from the car in front of me.
He said to me: please tell me you’re not taking my number down to which I replied, no. I thought they would all go away but I was wrong, only the car in front did whilst the rest stayed and one of them told me that they were authorized to pick up outside the club.
I asked him by whom but they obviously couldn’t tell me but said that they have someone inside giving us the work and he’s holding a board. I said you’re having a laugh? this club lost their license to operate a minicab firm here over a month ago! he replied: I’ll bring him out to prove that to you and to my surprise, he did.
I wish it was someone posing as a clipboard johnny but I highly doubt it. I actually asked this guy who gave him authorization to do this but he just disregarded me and walked off, to do what we were supposed to be doing, working there! By the way, I have just called the PCO and they have confirmed that Diamond Chauffeur Cars now operate from their premises. They are increasing their operational business rapidly.
Luckily, I eventually got quite a good job from there and on my return, I went back to Abacus and this time parked on the rank and walked back to have a look from the opposite side of the road keeping my distance.
There were two police cars trying to sort out some problem, I asked one of them what was going on and he told me that a black cab driver called them out complaining about minicabs touting and when they arrived they saw the black cab driver sitting there with his hire light on.
He said to me some of you drivers take the piss, you complain about minicabs touting but you’re doing the same thing.Shortly afterwards they get a call on their radio and the old bill told me they have far more urgent matters to deal with. Well, not even the police have any regards for our trade.
Representatives of government like Qureshi, Police and governmental bodies are all turning their back on tradition and ignoring our achievement, hard work and above all, the tax that come out of our wages to keep them going!!! So guys if you do happen to call the old bill or they just turn up, remember turn your hire light of first. There is no authorized rank outside this club, they can nick you if they wish.
I walked back to where my cab was ranked up and started chatting to one of the marshals. He told me just over a month ago there was a meeting between T.F.L, City of London Corp, the P.C.O, L.C.D.C, L.T.D.A, Taxi Marshals .com. and the City of London police. He told me that someone from the taxi trade told the City of London Corp to get their act together or we will blockade the streets in protest so the City of London Corp now refuses to cooperate with everyone.
That’s why we’re stuck with a rank and two taxi marshals in Cornhill – not going anywhere. Surely someone can pop along to their office and sort this problem out, maybe the person that started it in the first place, apologize and restart the talks. We need an active representative speaking up for us urgently!!! Any suggestions? The marshal also told me that the City of London Corp sometimes put plain lookout vans outside of Abacus to keep an eye on things and they video anyone touting, in some cases nicking them.
The City of London police are getting together a special force to deal with the problems concerning the clubs and pubs in the Square Mile. That includes keeping an eye on us as well – as we are also providing a service.. Abacus lost their license to have a minicab firm working from their premises earlier in the year, they are now trying to get it back again. Because their staff used to get a free ride home so it is of their benefit to have a clipboard johnny operating from inside the club – it’s all to do with favors.
There is a total break down of law and order and every one is playing their part to keep it that way, what is being done to sort this mess out ? Absolutely nothing! Shouldn’t Boris step in and try to sort things out ? let us all email him explaining the predicament that we’re in.
I think there’s an easy way to sort it out and that would be to let us have our ranks with marshals outside the busiest clubs and restaurants, put direct telephone lines inside the clubs and restaurants for calling a minicab, any drunks that are left on the street that we or the minicabs don’t want to pick up the police should deal with them. We all would benefit from it and the rifts would ease up or hopefully stop.
The sooner these problems are dealt with the better because things will get a lot worse for all concerned. More taxi drivers are joining the RMT everyday! I’m not a member yet but I am seriously considering joining in. Because all we’re doing at the moment is banging our heads against a brick wall and if joining the RMT is our only option then so be it.
PS - Don’t forget to carry on complaining, I have know set up a new page on the site to make it easy to complain.
Be lucky, Steve.