‘All Jews r same’: Manchester minicab driver slammed over anti-Semitic Facebook comments… but keeps job

A Manchester minicab driver has come under fire after saying ‘all Jews r same’ on the Anti-Israel Facebook page… but has kept his job.

The minicab driver, who MM have chosen not to name, works for Street Cars in Manchester and made the anti-Semitic remark under a post regarding a film viewing on the history of Zionism.

Street Cars has the largest fleet of Private Hire vehicles, executive cars and mini buses in Manchester City Centre and their drivers take Mancunians around the city on a daily basis.

Dave Rich, Deputy Director of communications at the Community Security Trust, which monitors and reports anti-Semitism, told MM: “Any anti-Semitism is unacceptable and anti-Semitism on social media is a big problem.

“Obviously many Jewish passengers would be seriously unhappy being driven around by a minicab driver who held those kinds of views.

“There has been an increase in Anti-Semitism over the summer and we have created a guide on how to deal with it on social media.”

He added: “It should never be ignored and it should always be reported to us, the police and to Facebook and Twitter.”

When contacted about the post by a concerned member of the public, Street Cars issued a statement saying the incident has been ‘addressed’ with the driver.

“Please first let me stress that the personal views of our drivers are not representative of our company,” the statement said.

“This Facebook comment is made from his personal account in his own time which we do not police. If you believe the content to be offensive we would encourage you to notify Facebook who I understand will remove or censor potentially offensive material.

“The driver will be asked to remove any affiliation with StreetCars from his Facebook page so that his views are not linked with our own.

“We apologise for any offence caused to you but again will stress that this comment is in no way representative of Street Cars views.”

After being contacted by MM, Street Cars issued the following statement: “We have taken time over the last 24hours to both investigate the incident and take appropriate action.

“One driver’s actions should not be taken as indicative of the 500 strong fleet of professional and experienced drivers that work for us. Any driver found within the fleet to be discriminatory in the line of duty will have his contract terminated immediately.

“In this instance, the driver’s actions were not directly related to StreetCars but are of serious concern to us. As a result he has been disciplined in accordance to the StreetCars code of conduct which covers acceptable behaviour whilst representing the company. His future conduct will be closely monitored. StreetCars in no way defends the actions of the driver.

“The driver has expressed remorse for the offense he has caused and we would like to pass on his sincere apologies.

“We too apologise for any offence caused but again will stress that this comment is in no way representative of StreetCars views.”

The post highlights the growth in tensions between the two ethnic groups in the city since the conflict erupted in Palestine over the summer, which has led to a number of protests in the city centre.

Tensions between Manchester’s pro-Israeli and Palestinian protesters have also led to a sharp increase in anti-Semitic and racist attacks over the last few months from both sides of the fence.

The Community Security Trust – which lobbies on their behalf of Jewish people and compiles statistics on hate crime – revealed there were 52 anti-semitic attacks across Greater Manchester in July, compare to 96 recorded attacks in the six months prior.

This was a 300% increase on July the previous year, when there were 13.

An attack on members of the Jewish community in July saw car loads of pro Palestine protesters driving Broughton Park shouting fascist slogans and hurling missiles.

In June Anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas were daubed over gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Rochdale.

Many of the incidents were online abuse, like Akhbar’s Facebook post, which has since been deleted after the comments, were condemned on the page.

source: http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/

Plans to enforce strict dress code for Denbighshire taxi drivers slammed as ‘nitpicking’

 

Diane Thomas-Mealing of Diane’s Cars, Prestatyn has been told her drivers need to dress smartly.

Prestatyn cab firm owner Diane Thomas-Mealing hits out over proposals which would see items such as baseball caps and mini-skirts banned

Cabbies face a ban on shorts, sports shirts and low cut tops in a dress code clampdown that could see scruffy drivers have their licences revoked.

Denbighshire council has been accused of “nitpicking” after proposing to ban taxi drivers from wearing a list of clothes, including baseball caps and mini-skirts.

Diane Thomas-Mealing, who runs Diane’s Cars in Prestatyn, has hit out at the local authority’s plans to introduce a new and more stringent dress code for cabbies aimed at promoting a good image of the county to visitors.

Councillors will consider the proposal at a committee meeting on Wednesday, and if they support the move Denbighshire Council will then begin formal consultation with licensed drivers.

If the dress code is eventually enforced any cabbies who fail to adhere to it would be hit with “penalty points” – a system put in place by the authority to regulate and raise the standards of drivers and taxi firms.

Diane believes operators should be allowed to police their own staff, saying she would send one of her drivers home if they turned up for work dressed inappropriately.

“This sounds like nitpicking to me”, she said. “The council isn’t in touch with the real world.

“These are the things people wear every day. I agree with the ban on hoodies, especially if they’re worn with the hood up – it’s an awful look.”

She added: “But will my husband not be able to wear his darts shirt now because it’s a sports shirt? It cost him £70 and is comfy. They’re telling people how to dress.

“You can get so many of these penalty points for different things now it’s putting people off driving. If the dress code goes ahead then we’ll have to conform, we’ll have no choice.”

The report put forward for members to consider next week states: “A revised dress code has for some time been discussed due to safety concerns and the impression left with visitors and residents to the county when inappropriate clothing is worn.

“A balance must be found between drivers presenting a good image for the county without impacting on an individual’s freedom to wear clothes that are not prescriptive.”

Though the code will not be a condition of the drivers’ licences, breaches will result in penalty points under the council’s regulatory scheme. The number of points given to drivers can range from three to 20 depending on the severity of the alleged breach.

When a licence holder accumulates 20 or more penalty points in a two-year period the issue is referred to the licensing committee, who can suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a licence.

source: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/

Piece of minicab driver’s scalp bitten off by cocaine-addled passenger

 

Blake Brown, of Ampulla Road, Croxteth, has been sentenced to four years in jail for biting off part of a minicab driver’s scalp

Part of a taxi driver’s scalp was bitten off and left lying on the floor after a horrific attack from a passenger.

Private hire driver Daniel Smith was responding to a call for a pick up at the Suites Hotel, on Riblers Lane, Knowsley when he was attacked by criminal Blake Brown on May 26.

Anthony O’Donoghue, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court how Brown, who was fresh out of prison after serving time for dangerous driving, asked Mr Smith, 58, if he could take him to Croxteth and he agreed.

But during the journey he became concerned Brown, 28, was drunk and may try to run off without paying.

When they got to Croxteth he noticed Brown had fallen asleep but when he went to wake him Brown, of Ampulla Road, Croxteth, punched him in the head.

A struggle followed as Mr Smith was driving the taxi, trying to find a police station, and Brown then grabbed him round the neck and sunk his teeth into his head, ripping free a chunk of scalp which he spat on the floor.

He ran off but was caught by police and Mr Smith identified him as his attacker.

The court heard that he suffered a 4cm by 5cm wound which required a skin graft to close and has yet to properly heal.

Mr Smith said he had suffered a loss of earnings and no longer felt safe working as a taxi driver.

Julian Nutter, defending, said Brown had been high on drink and cocaine during the attack, saying: “The man who did this terrible thing was transformed, mutated into something wholly different from his natural state.

“He’s deeply ashamed of what he has done.”

He said that Brown, who, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, had told him: “I was out of order and I have to take what’s coming to me.”

The court heard Brown had previous convictions for possession of cannabis, being drunk and disorderly, possession of a bladed article and making an explosive substance with intent to endanger property.

Judge Mark Brown jailed him for four and a half years, saying: “(The punch) was a wholly unprovoked and unjustified assault.

“Understandably Mr Smith’s reaction was to press the panic button on his taxi and endeavour to take you to the nearest police station.

“During that journey you punched him again and there was a struggle that was taking place as the taxi was moving.

“You grabbed Mr Smith around the neck and then bit him to the top of the head.

“In doing so you bit part of his scalp.

“The result was the part of the scalp was on the floor of the taxi.

“On any view this is a very serious matter.”

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

Sefton minicab drivers may no longer face ‘knowledge’ test

Minicab drivers at some of Sefton’s biggest firms may be allowed to carry passengers without taking the traditional “Knowledge” test.

Sefton council’s licensing committee will decide on Monday whether to keep or scrap the controversial Knowledge Test which all new minicab drivers in the borough must pass.

Bootle-based private hire firm Delta has put forward a proposal calling for the test to be scrapped, in light of recommendations made by the Law Commission.

Their report states that “private hire services should only be subject to national standards. Licensing authorities should no longer have the power to impose local conditions.”

Within its submission Delta said it believes the “current test is nothing more than a memory test and out of date” and that “computer aided and satellite navigation has totally transformed the industry since the knowledge test was introduced 22 years ago.”

The test, which is conducted by the council, involves new driver applicants having to answer 20 questions on local landmarks and licensing and driving rules, selected from a list of 60 questions, as well as six route questions selected from a list of 40 routes.

Paul McLaughlin, Delta company secretary, said: “In all honesty it is no more than a memory test, which has absolutely no bearing on a driver’s ability to navigate.

“You memorise the routes in advance and regurgitate them back onto a piece of paper. It is a tick-box exercise which has zero practical benefits for drivers or customers.”

Wayne Casey from South Sefton Hackney Carriage Drivers Association said he believed the ability to find places in a driver’s chosen working area is a reasonable expectation,

He said: “Failure to have or acquire this knowledge is to deny the fundamental function of hiring a vehicle and driver as a minicab.

“The tests were introduced many years ago by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council and seem common sense now.”

He also said how an informed choice, based on local knowledge, is still needed when using a sat nav as they usually give a choice of routes.

Tommy McIntyre from Unite the Union’s minicab section said: “The proposals (by Delta) seem ludicrous to say the least, that modern technology can replace the in-depth knowledge both private hire and Hackney drivers should have to perform their duties to the travelling public’s expectation.”

In a statement he said he believed an in-depth knowledge was beneficial to the local community who expect a professional who knows where they are going.

He added: “Modern technology indeed is an asset to the Hackney and private hire driver, but is in no way a substitute for the driver’s base topographical knowledge.”

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

E-cigarettes set to be banned from taxis

SMOKING electronic cigarettes in taxis in the Ribble Valley could be banned under plans to be discussed today.

The borough licensing committee will consider the proposal to alter the standard conditions for private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.

If the idea is approved a driver shall ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle, which for the avoidable of doubt shall include smoking or using electronic cigarette or any other vapour-producing smoking device’.

The idea was first discussed in March after the council received a query from a taxi driver over whether the existing smoking ban included electronic cigarettes.

The council’s conditions for taxi drivers simply state that they must ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle’, with no mention of e-cigarettes.

Smoking is defined in the 2006 Health Act as ‘smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco’ and being ‘in possession of lit tobacco’.

The council said it received three responses from taxi firms during the consultation period which were all in favour of the plan.

Sajjad Asghar, owner of Clitheroe Taxis, said: “This plan has been a long time in the coming.

“I think that it’s a brilliant idea because some drivers find it difficult to tell if the passenger is smoking a real or an e-cigarette.

“This sort of ban would help to kick people’s habit as well which is good for the whole community.

“I welcome this idea even if it only makes the smallest difference.”

In April, the council’s head of legal and democratic services, Diane Rice, wrote to all drivers and licence holders to consult them on the proposed changes.

Clitheroe Town councillor Simon O’Rourke said: “I think that it’s a good idea and it will help taxi firms a lot.

“I also think that more work needs to be done into the affects of e-cigarettes especially into their long-term effects.”

source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/

Apr 23

National Taxi Association AGM & Conference 2014

The Annual General Meeting and Conference in 2014 will take place at the Brittannia Country House Hotel, Palatine Road, Didsbury, Manchester.

The format will be as follows;

Monday 27th October 2014

09:00 to 12:30; NTA Directors Meeting

14:00 to 17:00; Annual General Meeting

19:30hrs; NTA Chairman’s Dinner

Tuesday 28th October 2014

10:00 to 15:30 Conference

 

 

 23153493

 

Booking form: Nta-2014-Conf-booking-form

 

Sep 20

‘All Jews r same’: Manchester minicab driver slammed over anti-Semitic Facebook comments… but keeps job

A Manchester minicab driver has come under fire after saying ‘all Jews r same’ on the Anti-Israel Facebook page… but has kept his job.

The minicab driver, who MM have chosen not to name, works for Street Cars in Manchester and made the anti-Semitic remark under a post regarding a film viewing on the history of Zionism.

Street Cars has the largest fleet of Private Hire vehicles, executive cars and mini buses in Manchester City Centre and their drivers take Mancunians around the city on a daily basis.

Dave Rich, Deputy Director of communications at the Community Security Trust, which monitors and reports anti-Semitism, told MM: “Any anti-Semitism is unacceptable and anti-Semitism on social media is a big problem.

“Obviously many Jewish passengers would be seriously unhappy being driven around by a minicab driver who held those kinds of views.

“There has been an increase in Anti-Semitism over the summer and we have created a guide on how to deal with it on social media.”

He added: “It should never be ignored and it should always be reported to us, the police and to Facebook and Twitter.”

When contacted about the post by a concerned member of the public, Street Cars issued a statement saying the incident has been ‘addressed’ with the driver.

“Please first let me stress that the personal views of our drivers are not representative of our company,” the statement said.

“This Facebook comment is made from his personal account in his own time which we do not police. If you believe the content to be offensive we would encourage you to notify Facebook who I understand will remove or censor potentially offensive material.

“The driver will be asked to remove any affiliation with StreetCars from his Facebook page so that his views are not linked with our own.

“We apologise for any offence caused to you but again will stress that this comment is in no way representative of Street Cars views.”

After being contacted by MM, Street Cars issued the following statement: “We have taken time over the last 24hours to both investigate the incident and take appropriate action.

“One driver’s actions should not be taken as indicative of the 500 strong fleet of professional and experienced drivers that work for us. Any driver found within the fleet to be discriminatory in the line of duty will have his contract terminated immediately.

“In this instance, the driver’s actions were not directly related to StreetCars but are of serious concern to us. As a result he has been disciplined in accordance to the StreetCars code of conduct which covers acceptable behaviour whilst representing the company. His future conduct will be closely monitored. StreetCars in no way defends the actions of the driver.

“The driver has expressed remorse for the offense he has caused and we would like to pass on his sincere apologies.

“We too apologise for any offence caused but again will stress that this comment is in no way representative of StreetCars views.”

The post highlights the growth in tensions between the two ethnic groups in the city since the conflict erupted in Palestine over the summer, which has led to a number of protests in the city centre.

Tensions between Manchester’s pro-Israeli and Palestinian protesters have also led to a sharp increase in anti-Semitic and racist attacks over the last few months from both sides of the fence.

The Community Security Trust – which lobbies on their behalf of Jewish people and compiles statistics on hate crime – revealed there were 52 anti-semitic attacks across Greater Manchester in July, compare to 96 recorded attacks in the six months prior.

This was a 300% increase on July the previous year, when there were 13.

An attack on members of the Jewish community in July saw car loads of pro Palestine protesters driving Broughton Park shouting fascist slogans and hurling missiles.

In June Anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas were daubed over gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Rochdale.

Many of the incidents were online abuse, like Akhbar’s Facebook post, which has since been deleted after the comments, were condemned on the page.

source: http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/

Sep 20

Plans to enforce strict dress code for Denbighshire taxi drivers slammed as ‘nitpicking’

 

Diane Thomas-Mealing of Diane’s Cars, Prestatyn has been told her drivers need to dress smartly.

Prestatyn cab firm owner Diane Thomas-Mealing hits out over proposals which would see items such as baseball caps and mini-skirts banned

Cabbies face a ban on shorts, sports shirts and low cut tops in a dress code clampdown that could see scruffy drivers have their licences revoked.

Denbighshire council has been accused of “nitpicking” after proposing to ban taxi drivers from wearing a list of clothes, including baseball caps and mini-skirts.

Diane Thomas-Mealing, who runs Diane’s Cars in Prestatyn, has hit out at the local authority’s plans to introduce a new and more stringent dress code for cabbies aimed at promoting a good image of the county to visitors.

Councillors will consider the proposal at a committee meeting on Wednesday, and if they support the move Denbighshire Council will then begin formal consultation with licensed drivers.

If the dress code is eventually enforced any cabbies who fail to adhere to it would be hit with “penalty points” – a system put in place by the authority to regulate and raise the standards of drivers and taxi firms.

Diane believes operators should be allowed to police their own staff, saying she would send one of her drivers home if they turned up for work dressed inappropriately.

“This sounds like nitpicking to me”, she said. “The council isn’t in touch with the real world.

“These are the things people wear every day. I agree with the ban on hoodies, especially if they’re worn with the hood up – it’s an awful look.”

She added: “But will my husband not be able to wear his darts shirt now because it’s a sports shirt? It cost him £70 and is comfy. They’re telling people how to dress.

“You can get so many of these penalty points for different things now it’s putting people off driving. If the dress code goes ahead then we’ll have to conform, we’ll have no choice.”

The report put forward for members to consider next week states: “A revised dress code has for some time been discussed due to safety concerns and the impression left with visitors and residents to the county when inappropriate clothing is worn.

“A balance must be found between drivers presenting a good image for the county without impacting on an individual’s freedom to wear clothes that are not prescriptive.”

Though the code will not be a condition of the drivers’ licences, breaches will result in penalty points under the council’s regulatory scheme. The number of points given to drivers can range from three to 20 depending on the severity of the alleged breach.

When a licence holder accumulates 20 or more penalty points in a two-year period the issue is referred to the licensing committee, who can suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a licence.

source: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/

Sep 18

Piece of minicab driver’s scalp bitten off by cocaine-addled passenger

 

Blake Brown, of Ampulla Road, Croxteth, has been sentenced to four years in jail for biting off part of a minicab driver’s scalp

Part of a taxi driver’s scalp was bitten off and left lying on the floor after a horrific attack from a passenger.

Private hire driver Daniel Smith was responding to a call for a pick up at the Suites Hotel, on Riblers Lane, Knowsley when he was attacked by criminal Blake Brown on May 26.

Anthony O’Donoghue, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court how Brown, who was fresh out of prison after serving time for dangerous driving, asked Mr Smith, 58, if he could take him to Croxteth and he agreed.

But during the journey he became concerned Brown, 28, was drunk and may try to run off without paying.

When they got to Croxteth he noticed Brown had fallen asleep but when he went to wake him Brown, of Ampulla Road, Croxteth, punched him in the head.

A struggle followed as Mr Smith was driving the taxi, trying to find a police station, and Brown then grabbed him round the neck and sunk his teeth into his head, ripping free a chunk of scalp which he spat on the floor.

He ran off but was caught by police and Mr Smith identified him as his attacker.

The court heard that he suffered a 4cm by 5cm wound which required a skin graft to close and has yet to properly heal.

Mr Smith said he had suffered a loss of earnings and no longer felt safe working as a taxi driver.

Julian Nutter, defending, said Brown had been high on drink and cocaine during the attack, saying: “The man who did this terrible thing was transformed, mutated into something wholly different from his natural state.

“He’s deeply ashamed of what he has done.”

He said that Brown, who, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, had told him: “I was out of order and I have to take what’s coming to me.”

The court heard Brown had previous convictions for possession of cannabis, being drunk and disorderly, possession of a bladed article and making an explosive substance with intent to endanger property.

Judge Mark Brown jailed him for four and a half years, saying: “(The punch) was a wholly unprovoked and unjustified assault.

“Understandably Mr Smith’s reaction was to press the panic button on his taxi and endeavour to take you to the nearest police station.

“During that journey you punched him again and there was a struggle that was taking place as the taxi was moving.

“You grabbed Mr Smith around the neck and then bit him to the top of the head.

“In doing so you bit part of his scalp.

“The result was the part of the scalp was on the floor of the taxi.

“On any view this is a very serious matter.”

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

Sep 17

Sefton minicab drivers may no longer face ‘knowledge’ test

Minicab drivers at some of Sefton’s biggest firms may be allowed to carry passengers without taking the traditional “Knowledge” test.

Sefton council’s licensing committee will decide on Monday whether to keep or scrap the controversial Knowledge Test which all new minicab drivers in the borough must pass.

Bootle-based private hire firm Delta has put forward a proposal calling for the test to be scrapped, in light of recommendations made by the Law Commission.

Their report states that “private hire services should only be subject to national standards. Licensing authorities should no longer have the power to impose local conditions.”

Within its submission Delta said it believes the “current test is nothing more than a memory test and out of date” and that “computer aided and satellite navigation has totally transformed the industry since the knowledge test was introduced 22 years ago.”

The test, which is conducted by the council, involves new driver applicants having to answer 20 questions on local landmarks and licensing and driving rules, selected from a list of 60 questions, as well as six route questions selected from a list of 40 routes.

Paul McLaughlin, Delta company secretary, said: “In all honesty it is no more than a memory test, which has absolutely no bearing on a driver’s ability to navigate.

“You memorise the routes in advance and regurgitate them back onto a piece of paper. It is a tick-box exercise which has zero practical benefits for drivers or customers.”

Wayne Casey from South Sefton Hackney Carriage Drivers Association said he believed the ability to find places in a driver’s chosen working area is a reasonable expectation,

He said: “Failure to have or acquire this knowledge is to deny the fundamental function of hiring a vehicle and driver as a minicab.

“The tests were introduced many years ago by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council and seem common sense now.”

He also said how an informed choice, based on local knowledge, is still needed when using a sat nav as they usually give a choice of routes.

Tommy McIntyre from Unite the Union’s minicab section said: “The proposals (by Delta) seem ludicrous to say the least, that modern technology can replace the in-depth knowledge both private hire and Hackney drivers should have to perform their duties to the travelling public’s expectation.”

In a statement he said he believed an in-depth knowledge was beneficial to the local community who expect a professional who knows where they are going.

He added: “Modern technology indeed is an asset to the Hackney and private hire driver, but is in no way a substitute for the driver’s base topographical knowledge.”

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

Sep 17

E-cigarettes set to be banned from taxis

SMOKING electronic cigarettes in taxis in the Ribble Valley could be banned under plans to be discussed today.

The borough licensing committee will consider the proposal to alter the standard conditions for private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.

If the idea is approved a driver shall ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle, which for the avoidable of doubt shall include smoking or using electronic cigarette or any other vapour-producing smoking device’.

The idea was first discussed in March after the council received a query from a taxi driver over whether the existing smoking ban included electronic cigarettes.

The council’s conditions for taxi drivers simply state that they must ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle’, with no mention of e-cigarettes.

Smoking is defined in the 2006 Health Act as ‘smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco’ and being ‘in possession of lit tobacco’.

The council said it received three responses from taxi firms during the consultation period which were all in favour of the plan.

Sajjad Asghar, owner of Clitheroe Taxis, said: “This plan has been a long time in the coming.

“I think that it’s a brilliant idea because some drivers find it difficult to tell if the passenger is smoking a real or an e-cigarette.

“This sort of ban would help to kick people’s habit as well which is good for the whole community.

“I welcome this idea even if it only makes the smallest difference.”

In April, the council’s head of legal and democratic services, Diane Rice, wrote to all drivers and licence holders to consult them on the proposed changes.

Clitheroe Town councillor Simon O’Rourke said: “I think that it’s a good idea and it will help taxi firms a lot.

“I also think that more work needs to be done into the affects of e-cigarettes especially into their long-term effects.”

source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/

Sep 14

Taxi drivers object to body odour test by San Diego airport authority

 

Cab driver Daniel Afeweki looks out from his Toyota Prius cab as he waits in line for his turn to pick up fares at the San Diego airport.

Inspectors check 52 criteria to evaluate taxis but drivers protest that some checks spring from prejudice and discrimination

Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Taxi drivers say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination.

For years, inspectors with the San Diego regional airport authority run down their checklist for each cabbie proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes. Drivers are graded pass, fail or needs fixing.

Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to change before picking up another customer.

Leaders of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union say the litmus perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad.

A 2013 survey of 331 drivers by San Diego State University and Center on Policy Initiatives found 94% were immigrants and 65% were from East Africa.

Drivers wonder how inspectors determine who reeks. Driver Abel Seifu, 36, from Ethiopia, suspects they sniff inconspicuously during friendly conversations in the staging area. Airport authority spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield said there is “no standard process” to testing.

Others drivers question how inspectors distinguish between them and their cars. The checklist has a separate item for a vehicle’s “foul interior odors”, which Bloomfield says may include gasoline, vomit or mildew.

“If they want to bring their smell detector, they can use it to test the customers and the drivers,” said driver Negus Gebrenarian, 39, from Ethiopia. He, like other drivers, said the stench is just as likely to come from the back seat as it is from the front.

The airport authority says it is enforcing a policy of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which regulates taxis throughout the region, that prohibits foul-smelling drivers and promotes regular bathing. It also says the practice is about satisfying customers.

“Taxi drivers are often the first impression that travelers receive when arriving into San Diego and we want to encourage a positive experience,” Bloomfield said.

Only about three drivers fail to get a passing grade each year, she said.
Inspectors have been smelling drivers for years. There was no controversy until a union employee waded through a 568-page airport board agenda and noticed the checklist, which had been approved in July for revisions unrelated to the body odor test. KPBS reported on the practice last week.

San Diego’s policy appears to be unusually explicit about sniffing out smelly cabbies. Chicago requires that drivers be “clean and neat in their appearance”. New York City’s wording is similarly broad.

Seattle long evaluated cabbies for body odor associated with infrequent bathing and not washing clothes but dropped that test last month for a more general requirement on cleanliness.

“The industry didn’t like it and they felt that we were kind of overstepping: Why are we dictating to them? We don’t tell city employees that you’ve got to shower more often,” said Denise Movius, Seattle’s deputy director of finance and administrative services.

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the 18,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said her face reddened with anger and dismay when she learned about the San Diego practice. She suggested the airport leave it to customers to complain about body odor.

“What a dehumanizing way to treat your workers,” she said. Travelers arriving in San Diego on Wednesday were mixed. Sue Beneventi, 70, thinks cabbies are getting picked on.

“If you’re going to say cab drivers, shouldn’t you also say waitresses and anyone else who deals with the public?” she said after returning from San Antonio.

Daniel Johnson, an 18-year-old Marine who came from Flint, Michigan, said it’s fair to grade on body odor, especially considering the $70 fare to get to his base.

He has felt trapped in smelly cabs in other cities.

“The smell puts a sour expression on your face and you’re thinking I just don’t want to be in here,” he said.

source: http://www.theguardian.com/

 

Sep 14

Oxfordshire taxi drivers offered council test as DSA alternative

West Oxfordshire District Council offices The authority wants to cut the risk of taxi drivers missing the January deadline

Taxi drivers in West Oxfordshire will be offered a locally-set driving test instead of a government one in a bid to stop some losing their licences.

In 2012, new rules were introduced meaning all taxi drivers had to be assessed by the end of January 2015.

The district council has agreed to set its own assessment, which will also be cheaper than taking the DVSA test.

Nearly 150 drivers in the district are yet to take the test, but not everyone is happy the rules are being changed.

Mandy Hart of MJ taxis, who has taken the government test, said: “We are unhappy that were were told two years ago that we needed to take the [Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency] test and now the council have moved the goalposts.

“I’m pretty upset to be honest because we could have done the local test. I think they’re trying to make it easier for the 145 drivers who haven’t done the [DVSA] test.”

External assessors

Nick Holt-Kentwell, chairman of West Oxfordshire Private Hire Drivers’ Association, said: “I know of drivers who have had to travel to Bristol for a DVSA test. The local assessment will mean this doesn’t have to happen, and will make it more accessible.”

A West Oxfordshire District Council spokeswoman added: “[The council] was approached by some local drivers, taxi firms and trade representative groups who asked for an alternative to the DVSA test to be made available.

“The alternative test is considered to be a suitable assessment of driving ability and covers all issues set out in the DVSA test as well as providing more opportunity to receive feedback.”

The DVSA test costs £79.95, with an extra charge for evening and weekend assessments. The local test would cost £70 with no supplement for evenings and weekends.

The assessments will be managed by qualified Advanced Driving Instructors, paid directly by the driver, so there will be no cost to the council.

Unlike the DVSA test, the assessment would not be valid outside of West Oxfordshire.

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Sep 13

Taxpayers will have to pay £66,500 for new DBS checks on taxi drivers in Milton Keynes

MILTON Keynes taxpayers will have to foot a £66,500 bill for all taxi and hackney carriage drivers to have their DBS checks done again.

Milton Keynes Council leader Pete Marland announced last night that after the taxi licensing scandal DPS checks (formerly CRB) will be carried out on all 1,300 drivers in the city.

He said: “Phase one will include DPS checks and a staff level increase with two reinforcement officers.

“Phase two will see the police consulted for all applications and a new taxi forum established.

“Changes to the regulatory sub committee will also be made where there will be a seven day period after each meeting allowing any committee member the time to come forward if they have any concerns about a decision.”

The DBS checks will cost £66,500 to be carried out and the council will foot the bill.

The money will therefore come from council budget which comes from taxpayers money.

Also at the cabinet meeting on Monday evening, a new Taxi Licensing Policy was approved that has clearer guidelines on how applications from previously convicted criminals should be considered.

Read more: http://www.mkweb.co.uk/

Sep 13

Row brewing as cabbies angered at planned rule change

A ROW is brewing between cabbies and licensing chiefs over a planned U-turn on rules governing the age and mileage of Neath Port Talbot’s taxis.

The council’s proposal to lift the rules — adopted in September last year — which stipulate that taxis and private hire vehicles must be under five years old and have clocked up less than 75,000 miles has been branded as “pathetic” by some, who argue the move would be unfair.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s registration and licensing committee will come to a decision on the policy change when it meets on Tuesday, but angered taxi bosses have voiced anger during the plan’s consultation period which ended in August.

Mike Davies, of Dial a Dap taxis in Port Talbot said he would be seeking legal advice if the measures are adopted.

In consultation responses added to the meeting’s agenda he said: “If you change policy are you going to compensate the drivers who have upgraded cars to adhere to the existing policy?” He added: “Policy is put in place to be followed not challenged.”

Another driver, Gary Irwin, responded by saying: “What is the point of a licensing committee who approve policies, only to override them when it suits themselves? Pathetic.”

The report argues that the council has adopted the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire National Inspection Standards and nine of the 12 consultation respondents were in favour of the move.

It adds: “The proposal to remove the age and mileage restriction from the policy will mean that the mechanical and physical condition of each vehicle will be assessed on its own merits and where the vehicle is capable of passing the council’s inspection, it will be deemed suitable for licensing.”

Read more: http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk

Sep 13

Training plans for Perth taxi drivers move up a gear

Proposals to introduce a series of training measures for Perth taxi drivers have been given the initial green light by the council.

The radical plans, which include training to help disabled customers, defensive training — driving safely to avoid preventable accidents — and personal safety and abuse awareness, will only be introduced after consultation with taxi drivers and private car hire firms.

A Perth taxi operator, Anddy Lothian, who owns Ace Taxis, has labelled the plans as “political correctness”.

At yesterday’s meeting of Perth and Kinross Council’s licensing committee, council solicitor Moina McLaren said the report she had prepared was for information and the local authority were looking at various options.

“There are no firm conclusions yet — it’s a case of trying to find the type of training that could be delivered,” she said.

“However, before any proposals are discussed, we will need to have consultations with the trade, in the form of a forum. At the moment we are just exploring different options and we want to keep costs at a minimal amount.”

She explained to the committee that the idea for the plan came about largely as a result of “a number of concerns about disabled passengers”.

Committee convener Jack Coburn said he thought it was “reasonable” that the local authority should look into the proposals.

“This committee will have to look at issues such as health and safety,” he said.

The move to introduce the training follows on from a controversial dress code plan by the council to ask taxi drivers and private hire car users to keep beards and moustaches “neat and trimmed” and to wear “tailored” shorts.

Ms McLaren’s report stated that some drivers were “unfamiliar” with their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

“These duties include taking such steps necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and in reasonable comfort and giving the passenger such mobility as is reasonably required,” her report said.

“Other reasons for introducing training, beyond that of disability, are that it would improve public safety, result in fewer complaints and create a better image of Perth.

“It would also provide taxi and private hire car drivers with an opportunity to obtain a recognised qualification and enhance the quality of service provided.”

Perth and Kinross Council would seek to cover the costs of the training by adding it to the licensing fee.

Mr Lothian said: “Our firm has been going for 20 years so why do we need training now? I don’t see why there should be any training — we don’t need an extra expense on top of things.”

source: http://www.thecourier.co.uk/

 

Older posts «

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.