Tag Archives: London

Student protest coincides with transport halts

Last week, a student protest in London turned violent when police clashed with rioters. Over 12 arrests were made whilst local transport came to a grinding halt.

Protests

Protesting against high fees and the government’s plans to scrap student grants, thousands of students and demonstrators marched outside the Home Office in central London.

Starting as a peaceful march, the protest soon turned sour when protesters met police lines in the capital.

Rioters hurled paint outside the Home Office whilst others threw smoke bombs and attempted to push their way into the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Officers on the scene were said to have arrested over 12 of the protesters for public order offences after the riot subsided.

Transport strikes

Adding to the unease in the capital, transport strikes also brought travel to a halt, meaning long delays and panic.

Transport union RMT continued with their 48-hour strike on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which ended on Thursday morning.

Speaking about the strikes, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT negotiators have made every effort over the past 72 hours to resolve this dispute through negotiation but due to the sheer intransigence of the management the DLR will now face its first ever all-out strike action in the 28 years history of the railway.”

Ongoing problems

All in all, with student protests, rail strikes and bonfire night problems, it hasn’t been a particularly good few weeks for London commuters and locals. The increasing number of ongoing disruptions to transport in the capital is extremely worrying, and with night tube negotiations still ongoing, we might not see any true respite until early 2016.

With the Christmas period quickly approaching, we can only hope that these issue die down soon.

You can find out more about the recent protests and strikes over on the BBC website.

For more information about me and my work, be sure to visit the HATS Group website.

Could this be the end of Uber in London?

Controversial, innovative and highly-popular, Uber – the technology-driven, worldwide taxi company – is changing the way the public think about private transportation. But could their business be threatened here in London due to a crackdown on private hire?

Uber

Since their launch back in 2011, Uber have changed the face of the private car hire industry. Through easy-to-use mobile phone apps, Uber have introduced a business model which many have not been able to keep up with.

Controversy

In London over the past few years, and in other major cities around the world, Uber have met both praise and criticism. Whilst some customers have enjoyed reduced waiting times, lower fares and easier access, Uber has often been challenged by governing bodies and other taxi companies.

Due to Uber’s quick-fire approach to private hire, many have questioned the legality of Uber and its use of unlicensed taxicab drivers. This has led to a number of lawsuits and demonstrations around the world, including protests from London’s black cab drivers.

Transport for London consultation

Despite heathy opposition though, Uber has continued to grow around the world, launching in new cities and locations every month. It’s a service which has proved extremely popular in London over the past few years, and one that sees millions of users every year. But all that could be at risk, as transport authority Transport for London (TfL) are set to launch a public consultation to improve the regulations that govern the capital’s private hire trade.

Problems for Uber

This consultation could mean big things for Uber in London moving forward, who could see their services disputed by new regulations.

Henry Bilinski Uber logoSpeaking about the up-coming consultation, chief operating officer for surface transport at TfL, Garrett Emmerson said:

“In recent years the private hire industry has grown exponentially and technology has also developed rapidly

“The consultation sets out a number of ways that standards across the industry could be raised, ensuring Londoners can continue to benefit from the service provided by licensed private hire vehicles. No final decisions have been made and we’re keen to hear a range of views from the trade and from Londoners, too.”

Restrictions

Whilst originally ok with Uber’s services, TfL has grown increasingly worried about traffic growth on the roads of London, and have now decided to consult on new proposals for private hire companies. Some of which could have a huge effect on Uber’s key features.

Draft proposals include measures that would force transport operators to provide booking confirmation details to the passenger at least 5 minutes before a journey is set to start. Which would prove problematic for Uber, who on average pick up passengers just 3 minutes after they request a car.

No doubt extremely unpopular with Uber, head of UK operations, Jo Bertram responded to the plans saying:

“These bureaucratic new rules will not improve your ride, they’re designed to address the concerns of black cab drivers, who feel under pressure from increased competition. But the answer is to reduce the onerous regulations cabbies face today – not increase them for everyone else.”

What’s next?

Whether Uber’s services will be restricted in the future remains to be seen. But as London’s transport body prepares to consult on over 25 new draft proposals, only time will tell.

You can find out more on the Transport for London website.

For more about myself, the HATS Group and Olympic South Ltd, be sure to visit www.HATSGroup.com

Until next time…

Henry Bilinski.

Underground workers threaten second tube strike on 5 August

After the chaos of the last tube strike, London underground workers are yet again threatening more disruption to services. Last time members of four trade unions staged a 24 hour strike, which crippled services across London – and now they all plan to walk out at again on August 5.

Undisruptive services at HATS

At the Healthcare and Transport Services (HATS) Group, we are well aware of the frustration and damage that such disruptions can have. Strikes such as this one heighten the responsibility that we have as a transport service to the public sector.

We understand just how important reliability in the public sector is. At HATS, the services we provide for the healthcare and education industries are built to be robust, flexible and most importantly, reliable. We realise that these strikes are not an uncommon throughout the public sector, but that makes us at HATS even more determined to power to retain services which are prompt and undisruptive.

Night service fallout

Aslef, RMT, Unite and TSSA members will all strike at 9.30pm on August 5 in a row over servicing the new Night Tube service. The unions are unhappy about pay and rosters for the new 24-hour service, which is due to start in September. All-night weekend services are set to begin on September 12 on sections of the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines.

Immediately after the proposal Aslef announced that its members would be striking due to the pay and conditions for the service. Soon after the other three unions followed suit, as drivers argued that they would have to work unlimited night shifts for no extra pay. Conciliation talks are due to start tomorrow and they now have three weeks to sort it out to avoid the commuter chaos which took place last week.

Effect on businesses

The tube is an essential part of many people’s lives in and around London, particularly for commuters trying to get to work. But who suffers most when disruptions hit?

The last strike caused huge delays and rush hour on the roads began even earlier as commuters tried to find alternative ways to get to work. The strike cost businesses millions of pounds as employees worked remotely and meetings were cancelled. The economy took a huge hit and if this proposed second strike goes ahead the damage to British businesses could be even greater.

For more information about the HATS Group and our range of comprehensive transport services, visit us at www.HATSGroup.co.uk.

Henry Bilinski.

About the Author

Henry Bilinski is the UK Chief Executive Officer for the Health and Transport Services (HATS) Group/Olympic South Ltd based in Wimbledon.

Henry is a highly experienced Chief Executive with over 30 years’ experience working in the transport and logistics industry. Having acted as a Dispatch Rider, Operations Controller, Managing Director, Owner and CEO for a number of different organisations throughout his career, Henry is an expert in his field.