Inquest hears that Taxi Driver who was Killed in a Crash had Taken Drugs

Bournemouth TaxiAn inquest was told that Farook Ali Mosoddar, a taxi driver from Poole was killed in a car crash on the A35 had taken cocaine, was speeding and was not wearing a seatbelt.

An inquest in Dorchester was told that the father of four who worked for United Taxis in Bournemouth was almost killed instantly when his vehicle collided with a Ford Mondeo, which was covered with taxi insurance, on 4th November 2011 at 10.45pm.

West Dorset coroner, Michael Johnston, said, “Mr Mosoddar was working and had taken a fare from Poole to Torquay.

“The passenger, Jiali Chen describes the journey happening at a high speed.”

The passenger, Miss Chen said, “The weather was not good, it was raining and foggy. We travelled at a very fast speed, sometimes 90mph to 100mph, and I did not feel safe because of the weather conditions.”

The driver of the Ford Mondeo, Fedrick Wareham, spent five days in Dorset County Hospital after sustaining critical injuries.

He said, “It all happened so fast.

“I didn’t see any headlights coming towards me.

“The approaching car was sideways on. The noise was enormous and there was an incredible industrial smell.

“I remember feeling a searing pain down my left side.”

Simon Rossiter, who had been overtaken by Mr Mosoddar not long before the collision, said, “The taxi went over the hatchings at the end of the dual carriageway and cut me up.

“I was doing about 60mph and the other car was going at about 90mph.

“When I came round the bend I saw hazard lights and realised there had been an accident and that it was the car that had just overtaken me.”

A collision investigator for Dorset Police, PC John Hayward, said, “It was clear from the positioning of the driver’s seatbelt that it had not been worn at the time.”

He added “It seems the driver may have tried to over-correct his steering while negotiating the bends at the top of the Three Sisters hills and spun out of control.”

It was revealed in a toxicologist’s report that there was traces of cocaine in Mr Mosoddar’s system.

Mr Johnston , recording a verdict of accidental death, said “For reasons we don’t know for certain the taxi lost control and spun into the other lane.”

New App Available for Booking Cabs

Black cabA new app called GetTaxi is available for the Blackberry, iPhone and Android which is set to make booking a cab in London easier than any other web based booking service, allowing full transparency to the user to avoid long waiting times and dodgy cabbies.

Most of us have had bad experiences with taxis, whether it’s a driver asking you for directions, drivers taking the long route around or ordering a cab that doesn’t show up! However, GetTaxi is a handy little app that may also be able to beat the competition. The USP of GetTaxi is that customers are able to watch the real time movement of the cab, the app shows a small image of the taxi approaching your geo-located pick up position on an embedded version of Google Maps, which factors in traffic and delays.

You can choose your driver, get an estimated time on the cab, send information to the driver e.g. if you need wheelchair access and you’ll also get a notification once your cabbie arrives.

GetTaxi CEO, Neal Fullman, said “”It really is a consumer focused experience,

“It’s a simple way of ordering a taxi. You’ve got full transparency over the way the cab is being dispatched, which takes out the whole rubbish experience of hanging on the line at a call centre, not knowing where your cab is and when it’s going to arrive or pull up outside.”

So far, over 1,000 London black cab drivers have signed up for GetTaxi. If you come across a cabbie you like you can add them to your favourites and look for them again when you next need a cab journey!

The drivers get a free, touch screen GPS installed in their vehicles so they can get more passengers at no extra cost and to themselves or their black cab insurance. GetTaxi get the money back for the GPS from a small commission from each fare picked up from the app.

Fullman said, “It’s risk free for drivers, that’s why we’re building the fleet so fast”, said Fullman.

“Previously they would have had to spend between 50 and 60 quid a week with a computer cab or radio taxi partnership, subscribing to the network. We only charge them based on the jobs that we get them.”

Protest over Biodiesel Price Increase

Black CabTaxi drivers in London will be amongst many motorists who are putting pressure on chancellor George Osborne over fuel prices ahead of the Budget.

The UK Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (UKSBA) has requested that black cabbies do a lap around Parliament Square, called Taxis ‘Toot the Treasury’ on 7th March between 9.20am – 940am.

They have been asked to join in the protest over changes to the subsidies for sustainable biodiesel, which is made from using cooking oil.

The black cab drivers will sound their horns 20 times as they drive pass the Treasury, to highlight that from 1st April the tax fuel is expected to increase by 20p per litre, which is around the same price as traditional fuel.

The changes will have a huge effect on companies that provide an alternative fuel source for over 1,000 London based taxi drivers and eco-concious companies. One of the companies who will be affected is Southwark-based Uptown Oil.

The UKSBA has pointed out that even though the government has invested loads in low-carbon technology, its reluctance to halt the biodiesel tax rise will encourage people not to think about biodiesel and the environment.

Jason Askey-Wood, director at Uptown Oil said, “People will go out of their way for biodiesel at the moment to benefit London’s environment because it’s cheaper – but that won’t happen any longer.”

Similar companies will now be relying on getting extra business from companies who are willing to pay more for low-carbon alternatives, but Askey-Wood has said that the rise in biodiesel will probably end its use as a road fuel, as the cost of UK taxi insurance and maintenance of the vehicles already makes it hard to pay extra for biodiesel.

He said, “There are lots of office buildings that are willing to pay more for biodiesel, but it’s a great shame they’re killing it as a road transport fuel,

“But you never know, Christmas might come very early and the chancellor might change his mind.”
Backed by the RAC and freight organisations, FairFuelUK has also taken its battle about fuel prices to the Treasury.

Fuel price pressure group reps have met with Treasury minister Chloe Smith to ask why motorists in Britain pay the highest fuel tax in Europe.

Spokesman for FairFuelUK and motoring journalist, Quentin Wilson, told the BBC Breakfast, “We want the Treasury to understand that by cutting duty we will stimulate the economy, create growth, get people back spending again.

“We have got to stop this fuel duty monster from taking control.”

Taxi Drivers in Mansfield Protest over Lack of Parking Spaces

MansfieldCab drivers in Mansfield Nottinghamshire are protesting over a lack of spaces for their vehicles in the council’s plans for a new bus station.

The taxi drivers believe that the livelihood of many cabbies around the town will be affected because of the plans to limit the amount of taxi bays to 10.

The council has been criticised by bosses for not taking them into consideration when they planned the £9 million new bus station.

The current taxi rank has space for 17 private hire vehicles or taxis, but the according to the Mansfield District Council, the “first class interchange” will split the bays into two with 4 on Queen Street and 6 on Quaker Way.

Taxi drivers in Prestatyn, Wales, recently protested and staged a blockage against the council’s plan to move the taxi rank. Cabbies in Mansfield may plan to take similar action.

A representation for Taxi drivers in Mansfield, Nick Shaw, said to Chad.co.uk, “These plans will mean that taxi drivers do not have a designated area to pick up so they will end up driving around the town centre like a pack of vultures trying to pick up trade.”

Taxi drivers are already struggling due to increased premiums for taxi insurance, the increased cost of fuel and the high cost of maintaining their vehicle.

Taxi Drivers in Blackburn face Licence Fee Increase

BlackburnTaxi Drivers in Blackburn are campaigning against plans to increase license fees.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has proposed to raise the fees by an average of 2.9%.

The plans will see the cost of a 1 year licence for private hire cars increase from £185.80 to £191.19, and for Hackney Carriage vehicles from £223.85 to £230.34.

Cab drivers have objected to the planned increase and have highlighted the already high cost of running the taxis e.g. private hire insurance, fuel and maintenance of the vehicles.

Chairman of the Hackney Drivers Association Ltd, Charlie Oakes, said that the trade for taxis in Blackburn with Darwen is the worst it has ever been.

Oakes said, “In today’s climate we are all having to look at where we can save money. The downward trend in work across the UK in the taxi trade and the lack of foresight in some parts of the trade over the years have left Blackburn Hackney trade at rock bottom, with work at an all time low.

“The changing face of Blackburn may well bring in welcome new business and shoppers and visitors to the town centre.

“But the taxi trade faces an unknown change itself with changes in the law.

“The trade is facing a big increase in fuel – around £1.40 per litre – and a big increase in the cost of insurance this year.

“The council has always maintained it wishes to help the trade as far as possible. Well this is one way it can help everyone in the trade and not just a few.”

The plans for increasing the licensing fees will be discussed by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Licensing Committee tonight and if they are approved, will come into force in April 2012.

Camera System is to Stay in Oxford

Taxi driver, Khalid Ahmed, has been told by the Oxford City Council that the plans to record all plans to record all conversations in city cabs will stay, despite his campaign.

The council has told Ahmed that the camera plan was vital to improve safety and that most drivers support the plans.

On Tuesday the Oxford Mail reported that Ahmed had got 100 signatures from drivers who opposed the scheme.

It is believed by a former taxi chief that an increasing number of drivers are now against the camera plans.

Julian Alison, Council licensing leader, told Ahmed in a letter, “The argument relating to ‘privacy’ is not so relevant in this matter.

“Once a vehicle is licensed, the level of privacy expected is not the same as for a private motor car.”

He said it was requested by drivers to record sound and audio as soon as the ignition is switched on.

Alison said, “Any concerns raised have been discussed and resolved.”

Over 900 drivers are licensed and covered by private hire insurance to drive the city’s 665 taxis or vehicles, he said that the petition did not represent the views of most of them.

The recordings from the taxis will only be assessed by council officers if evidence of antisocial behaviour is needed, or over a “specific incident”.

It has also been said that recordings will help tackle breaches of council codes for drivers. He said, “Unfortunately, the level of non-compliance (with driver codes) is of great concern, and exceeds one incident each day.”

The supporters also say that the recordings will provide very important evidence for passenger allegations against drivers.

However, Ahmed said the response showed “disdain” for the views of drivers.
He said, “There is a big, big majority of opinion against this. It is not just drivers who are saying it, it is members of the public.”

Alan Woodward, former City of Oxford Licensed Taxi Cab Association backed cameras when they were agreed in 2011. However, he said, “Once they (drivers) realised what it involves, they are not interested.”

The cameras, which cost £400 must go in new cabs after 1st April and be fitted in all the vehicles by March 2015.

Richard Barlow, a private hire driver, said he would get a system this year. He said, “I’m all for it. You will get more passengers, women will travel more.”

Although he did say recordings should start when the meters are activated instead of when the engine is.

During Barlow’s 35 years working on and off in the city, a few passengers have refused to pay and he has also suffered three minor attacks.

He said, “What have they got to hide? I’d rather have my safety than anything else.”