Dudley Council has taken action against taxi drivers congregating in Woodside, Dudley.
Dudley News reports that residents complained that taxis had been congregating in Avenue Road by Woodside Park, causing a nuisance to residents, and in at least one instance, urinating in the adjacent park.
Officers from Dudley Council’s waste enforcement team undertook a joint operation with West Midlands Police to target the licenced vehicles (both private hire and hackney carriage) using Avenue Road.
At the time of the operation, three vehicles were spotted and the owners approached.
One was suspended for not displaying the required private hire signage, the other was advised concerning their actions.
The third vehicle was registered as private hire outside of the borough but was still advised regarding the reason for the operation.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm said: "Residents brought this to our attention in April and we took it very seriously, people should not feel intimidated or unwelcome on their own street or in their local park.
"This joint operation with our police colleagues shows that we can and will take action.
"We will continue to monitor the results of this intervention and if necessary carry out further enforcement activities in the area."
Transport for London (TfL) has won a Court of Appeal decision against a ruling from the High Court earlier this year that initiatives aimed at promoting active travel and making roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians were unlawful.
In January, High Court judge Mrs Justice Lang ruled that TfL’s Streetspace programme was unlawful.
The action was originally brought by the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and the United Trade Action Group, which argued that the Streetspace programme, TfL guidance to boroughs on low traffic neighbourhoods, and the closure of Bishopsgate in the City of London were all unlawful.
The judge in the initial case said that the programme was “seriously flawed” and went “beyond what was reasonably required to meet the temporary challenges created by the pandemic.”
But she also invited TfL to “substantially” revise its plans ahead of any appeal, and said that even if that appeal were lost, more time could be granted before the quashing orders are issued.
Making a statement yesterday evening, the newly-reelected Mayor called the decision a “vindication” of the programme.
“Our world-leading “Streetspace” schemes are helping protect the health of Londoners, and this decision reinforces my determination to make it safer and easier for Londoners to walk and cycle, and to help ensure a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic”, he said.
“The Judges’ decision today, along with the vote from Londoners on 6 May, is a double mandate allowing us to continue with our bold measures. Our changes to Bishopsgate make it safer for people walking and cycling. This central London scheme is the centrepiece of the work we have done across the capital during my first term.”
The Streetspace plan was put in place last May in a bid to make more space on the roads for non-drivers during the coronavirus pandemic.
It has seen the implementation of bus gates, banned turns and restricted access to streets in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods across London.
In addition, the A10 Bishopsgate order saw only buses and cyclists now able to enter the thoroughfare between 7.00am and 7.00pm on weekdays, effectively excluding licensed taxis from using this key north-south route.
A spokesperson for the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) said: “We are extremely disappointed with this outcome. It is hard to see how such a convincing judgement from a senior High Court judge could be overturned in this way and we do not believe that justice has been served.
“The Court did grant us permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and we will now be discussing next steps with our legal team.”
A taxi driver was robbed at knifepoint by a customer who threatened to kill his family.
The victim said in a statement read to Newcastle Crown Court: "I felt shocked due to the incident and very nervous. I've never been robbed before and this has been a very scary experience.
"I was just doing my job. I told him to leave without paying then he became aggressive. This behaviour is disgraceful."
ChronicleLive reports that on 20 February Longstaff, using a false name, ordered a Blue Line taxi to pick him up in Gateshead.
The cabbie requested payment up front and Longstaff said he needed to go to a cashpoint.
After directing him to various locations, Longstaff's attitude changed when the driver eventually refused to go where he wanted him to.
He then told him to stop and claimed he lived in the location and was told the fare was £5.60.
Longstaff reached for his pocket and the taxi driver thought he was getting money and turned the light on for him but Longstaff turned it off.
He then asked the cabbie how much money he had, at which point he was told to leave without paying.
Elizabeth Muir, prosecuting, said: "He just wanted to get rid of him.
"The defendant asked him again how much money he had and he told him he didn't have any.
"The defendant produced a knife from his pocket eight to ten inches long, with a slightly curved blade and said "Give me £40".
He then said: "I have a picture of your car registration and of you and I will kill your family if you don't give me the money".
He was given £40 but then demanded another £10 before saying if he told the police he would harm his family.
The court heard Longstaff was on a tag at the time and so when other evidence suggested his guilt, GPS revealed he was in the taxi at the time.
The 24-year-old, who has 38 previous convictions including for harassment of his dad and breaching a restraining order aimed at protecting his parents, pleaded guilty to robbery and was jailed for three years.
Fiona Lamb, defending, said he had been a soldier but had to leave the army after hurting his knee playing football.
After that he started consuming more alcohol and his life went off the rails.
Miss Lamb said Longstaff claimed it was a butter knife which he had.
The only two companies successful in a tendering process to run transport for children with special educational needs (SEND) for Sandwell Council are both run by Azeem Hafeez, the son of former deputy leader Mahboob Hussain.
According to the Express and Star both were implicated in the 2016 Wragge report, which alleged code of conduct breaches by ex-Councillor Hussain.
Mr Hafeez was arrested over the scandal before he was released without charge and the investigation was dropped. He denied any wrongdoing.
Sandwell Council bosses were set to sign off on the agreement worth more than £20 million on 16 June which will see SEND transport provided by North Birmingham Travel and County Cars until 2025. Mr Hafeez, 36, is listed as a director of both on Companies House.
A council report said the companies were chosen following a "closed bid tender process". The Labour-run authority said it had chosen providers who "have provided the most economically advantageous tender".
Opposition Conservative councillors said bosses were "looking after their mates" and that the decision showed while the authority has promised a fresh start, it was "making the same mistakes".
The land sales probe overshadowed Sandwell Council during the mid-2010s. Part of it looked at the sale of the Crocketts Lane Coroner’s Office in Smethwick, which was sold to Mr Hafeez for £80,000 in May 2013.
Mr Hafeez, a council employee at the time, put in a bid for the site the day before it was advertised for sale, it was said. The report says the sales were "likely to be the result" of confidential information being shared between Mr Hussain and his son. Mr Hussain labelled the report's findings "lies".
Mr Hussain was later found to have abused his position as a councillor by the authority.
David Fisher, leader of the Sandwell Conservatives, said: "We've been promised they are going to do everything transparent and that lessons have been learned. Although they are talking about it they are not acting on it.
"Senior councillors making these decisions have still got links to previously elected members. It's all pally pally and they need to break away from that."
Councillor Fisher added that by choosing companies run by the same person the council was "putting all its eggs in one basket".
"I think someone else should be making this decision," he said.
Sandwell Council said it "would not be appropriate" to comment prior to the decision.
Addison Lee, London’s leading private hire business, today announced an agreement to acquire black cab provider ComCab, creating the capital’s largest private hire and taxi company with over 7,000 vehicles.
Business Matters reports that the acquisition will see Addison Lee purchase the London operations of Computer Cab plc (ComCab), City Fleet Networks and Flightlink International from the ComfortDelGro Corporation. This now makes Addison Lee London’s largest private hire and taxi company, as well as London’s largest same day courier business. Following completion, customers will be able to book car, taxi, and courier services all on one seamless mobility platform.
Addison Lee’s CEO Liam Griffin said: “I am sure there will be a few raised eyebrows at this deal given that Addison Lee and black taxis were once seen as competitors. However, the industry we operate in has changed and this alliance combines the two most professional companies in our sectors who share the same focus on quality of service, the customers we serve and the importance of the drivers.
"We have always held the black taxi as our benchmark, and it’s now a privilege to be able to work with them.
“As London emerges from the pandemic, there’s going to be a significant increase in demand for safe, quality transport from both corporates and consumers.
"The London black taxi is iconic and famous as the best taxi service anywhere in the world. By bringing Addison Lee and ComCab together we consolidate our position as the market leader in corporate ground transport and we will be able to meet the need for quality and excellence in a way that none of competitors can.”
Rudy Tan, CityFleet Networks CEO, said: “We are excited to be coming together with a strong brand like Addison Lee that shares many of our same values.
"By joining forces with Addison Lee, our customers will have access to a wider choice of premium transport solutions, and our hackney carriage drivers will get access to a growing pool of customers and more opportunities to work.
"Keeping the ComCab branding will preserve our status as the leading taxi operator in London.”
Opposition councillors have questioned the decision to award schoolchildren's transport contracts to companies run by a former employee who was implicated in an explosive report about land deals at Sandwell Council.