[Below are the noteworthy extractions from the Commissioner’s Report – MWM]
Since 1 August 2008, licensed private hire drivers convicted of taxi touting lose their licence for a minimum of one year. Their fitness to hold a licence will then be re-assessed by TfL if and when they reapply. The Cab Enforcement Unit made 1,230 arrests for touting between 1 August 2008 and 28 February 2010. To date, this has led to 344 Magistrates’ Court convictions involving licensed Private Hire Vehicle drivers. Of these drivers, 234 have had their PHV driver’s licences revoked, with the remainder still being processed.
Earn Your Travel Back (EYTB)
Up to the end of February, TfL had extended invitations to participate in the EYTB initiative to 2,044 individuals who have had their travel concession withdrawn as a result of a breach of the behaviour code. To date, 420 young people have been scheduled to attend volunteering sessions, with 382 successfully completing the day and earning back their concessionary travel (35 have failed to complete the day due to non-attendance, and three have failed due to poor punctuality or conduct). The take up rate from initial invitations is improving, but a proportion of individuals are still choosing to enter the appeals process, rather than immediately enter EYTB. It is anticipated that take up rates will continue to increase over time, particularly as initial appeals are dealt with, and a further opportunity to enter the EYTB initiative is offered to those who are unsuccessful.
Powered Two Wheeler Campaign
On 1 March, the latest DfT THINK! motorcycle safety campaign commenced on television, radio, cinema and online. The new television advertisements show bikers with flashing neon signs showing the rider’s name and personality traits, after research showed drivers are more likely to notice motorcyclists on the roads if they personally know a biker. The advertisement encourages all drivers to see the person behind the helmet in a bid to tackle the huge over-representation of motorcyclists in road casualty figures. Motorcyclists account for one per cent of traffic but 19 per cent of deaths on Great Britain’s roads.
Timed to coincide with the seasonal increase in scooter usage as spring begins, TfL will shortly start a campaign to promote rider safety and the need to wear protective clothing. The campaign’s message will also focus on encouraging take up of ‘rider safety day’ courses to improve road skills.
The overall campaign will consist of a direct mail and email initiative, and the distribution of ‘Z cards’, containing safety information and details about ScooterSafe, to scooter stores across London.
London Motorcycle Policy Unit
On 5 February, TfL announced the setting up of a new London Motorcycle Policy Unit working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service. It focuses on improving safety, and employs 12 full-time police officers in a special ‘Motorcycle Tasking Team’. The team runs training sessions for motorcycle riders, and carries out on-street enforcement to ensure that the motorbikes on London’s streets are roadworthy and legal. Rider Skills Days, part of the BikeSafe scheme, are low cost, one-day practical courses designed to help motorcyclists improve their knowledge, skills and experience to make them safer, better riders. As well as professional riding techniques, the courses also cover motorcycle control, collision causation factors and security.
Road Safety Statistics
On 2 March, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety published its 10 year progress report on the 2010 road casualty reduction targets, revealing that Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) figures in the United Kingdom were down 40 per cent in 2008 compared with the 1994/98 baseline. This compares with an Overall KSI reduction of 47 per cent compared to the Government target of 40 per cent, and a Child KSI reduction of 67 per cent compared to the Government target of 50 per cent. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on London’s roads has fallen by around a fifth in the past decade, despite the fact that there has been a 107 per cent increase in the number of cycle journeys made on London’s major roads during this time.
Online Facility to Change Zip Picture
On 2 March, TfL announced a new online facility to enable holders of a TfL concessionary photocard, with the exception of Freedom Pass holders, to change their Oyster card photograph online, for a charge of £10.
Until recently, concessionary photocard holders were unable to change the photograph on their Oyster photocard. As a result, a number of Zip Oyster photocard holders were found to be travelling with what appeared to be deliberately damaged or defaced photocards. In the case of young people, this breaches the Behaviour Code they sign up to in order to receive their Zip Oyster photocards, and can result in their travel concession being withdrawn for up to a year.
New Bus Maps
On 16 February, TfL launched a new tool that provides passengers with access to detailed information about local bus services in London. Passengers can search for information using a postcode, street name, route number or place of interest, and the tool will display the nearest bus stops, details of the bus routes that call at the particular bus stop, and the current bus route timetable. The tool plots the bus routes over a Google map and allows easy navigation using zoom and drag, to be able to view surrounding areas. Information on planned disruptions along a bus route can also be provided when searching for specific bus routes.
This new service brings a major improvement to the way TfL delivers information about bus routes to its customers. In the first week, nearly 100,000 visitors came to the site viewing over 250,000 pages – indicating that visitors were using the tools and conducting searches rather than simply visiting the page. A marketing campaign was also launched to promote the service, which saw a 100 per cent increase in traffic on the launch day of the campaign.
Coach Parking Map
The Coach Parking in London Map 2010 was launched at City Hall on 10 March. For the past eight years, TfL, in conjunction with the Confederation of Passenger Transport, has been involved in the design and publication of the map, which provides useful information on coach parking and driver facilities in London. Now in its second year of operation, a dedicated Coach Drivers Helpline provides further advice and assistance on driver and parking facilities, as well as guidance on parking regulations. Furthermore, a unique internet-based traffic management tool, the Interactive Coach Parking Map, offers the latest information on coach parking along with real time traffic reports on planned road works and potential journey disruptions.
In addition, a new coach drop-off and pick-up point has been opened next to Westfield. The bays are located on Westfield Way. Limited parking is also available but needs to be booked in advance.