News has reached us of the fallout from taxi touting inside Paddington Station.
One of our drivers recently picked up a passenger who had difficulty getting in and out of his cab and indeed walking. She told him she had been passing through Paddington Station on her way home one evening (at about 9:30pm) when she saw a rather dodgy looking man on the Cornwall-trains platform that runs parallel to the taxi rank.
He didn’t look like a passenger but he did look quite aggressive, so she decided to turn left a bit earlier than usual to exit the station. As she got closer to the man she heard him saying “taxi, taxi” to people as they walked towards the taxi rank. She turned left early and slipped on a coconut dessert someone had left on the marble floor.
She screamed as she landed in a splits-like position that was extremely painful. Another passenger, a petite young girl, somehow managed to lift her up and offered to get her an ambulance, then cleaned up the dessert.
The tout looked helplessly on despite being tall and well built. The injured woman did not want an ambulance as she lived nearby and did not realise how badly injured she was till she got home – clinging to railings all the way.
When our driver caught up with her, she was still injured as it turns out she had partially-ruptured her main groin muscle. This takes six-eight weeks to heal and in fact more than eight weeks later she is still not better and finds it difficult to walk as far as the closest bus stop (7 minutes away).
She told the Anderson Shelter:
“I know for a fact I would not have been injured if the tout had not been there as I only changed my route to avoid him. Whoever is in charge of that bit of Paddington Station (the side exit with departure boards and statue next to the Cab rank) appeared to be neglecting their duty. For security reasons, they should have challenged the tout who was not behaving like an ordinary passenger. People from all over the world come in to the station via the Heathrow Express and could be misled by touts. The floor should also have been cleaned. I hope I never see any touts there again.”
We all know about the touting that goes on in plain site, we see it every night.
But there is another threat out there, a threat that is highly dangerous.
Its the unseen tout, the sexual predator with something to hide. Why are the staff at major rail termini not picking this up on their CCTV systems and investigating?
This is not a good message to be putting out in this political climate.
If this had been a licensed taxi driver its odds on he would have been arrested.
Just before Christmas a plethora of licensed taxi drivers received PCN’s from CCTV camera operators for over ranking. How many Touts were arrested in stations using this technology, probably none.
You can see just how aggressive these touts getting . Click here
After spending millions of pounds of our money on an advertising campaign in the run up to Christmas, a leading Assembly Member advertises for an illegal Taxi to pick him up on twitter. You just couldn’t make this up…Click Here
Taken from the Anderson shelter and posted by Steve Emment.
These are some of comments so far.
Though we have not been able to get pictures of the actual registration numbers from where we are at North Greenwich Station (because they park where they can’t be seen, or in the O2 car park), we have managed to get some CCTV of the touts themselves hanging around in North Greenwich Bus Station, especially when there are events on at the O2, which led to a big joint British Transport Police and Metropolitan Police operation in mid-2009 to cut down on the touting and general anti-social behaviour outside the station (especially in the car parks). I can’t believe the cheek of some of these touts though – many a time I’ve been waiting around in my LUL uniform for a taxi to take me home and a tout has come right up to me and asked me whether I want a lift! The stupid thing is, half the time these idiots have their PHV photocards hanging round their necks, so if you don’t remember the face, you at least remember the name – and off goes a complaint letter to the PCO. Again.
Unfortunately, the Met and BTP are still aren’t doing regular enough patrols, and whilst they’ve managed to catch a few touts last year, we had a case of a young lady towards the end of last year who took the mistake of getting into a minicab where the driver had done something very untoward that has scarred her for life. It just goes to show that whilst you can catch the touts out, it must be something kept in check on a regular basis, otherwise they just come crawling back.
John Kennedy said…
We need to remember that “touting is rife and not just at christmas”.
John Kennedy vice chair RMT London taxi branch.