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Half of passengers can identify licensed minicab

Fewer than half of passengers know whether their minicab is licensed, according to research by the London Assembly.

It found while 85 per cent of users say its important to feel safe in a taxi, far fewer actually knew how to identify a legal vehicle.

However two thirds of black cab passengers knew how to identify whether their taxi was licensed.

"The interest in and focus on the arrival of Uber in London has become a distraction from some very serious issues facing the Taxi and Private Hire industries. Transport for London's (TFL's) performance as regulator and enforcer has been woefully inadequate and the interests of the passenger are being largely ignored. A strategy and vision for the future is essential in order to support the industry and provide the service that passengers require. "TfL needs to get to grips with the basics - such as improving signage, installing more taxi ranks and staying ahead of the rapid technological advances, putting the passenger first - which is what Londoners and our visitors expect and deserve."

– Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee

Shoppers urged to save their cash for 'Buy Nothing Day'

Credit: Buy Nothing Day

Today is 'Buy Nothing Day,' and a campaign is challenging consumers to refrain from splashing their cash for 24 hours.

The campaign aims to encourage people to 'switch off from shopping and tune into life.' It also wants to get people to consider the ethical and environmental consequences of consumerism. For more information visit the 'Buy Nothing Day' website.

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Police called to Tesco store over 'Black Friday scuffles'

Police have been called to a Tesco store in north London following reported scuffles at a Black Friday event.

Police outside the Tesco extra store in Edmonton. Credit: ITV News

Reports on social media suggested that fights had broken out as shoppers at a Tesco's Glover Drive store in Edmonton attempted to buy coffee makers and televisions.

Guardian journalist Laurence Topham described it as "mayhem" inside, and police and ambulance cars were seen surrounding the entrance.

A Scotland Yard spokewoman told ITV News: "Police were called at 23.56pm to Tesco in Lea Valley, Edmonton due to large crowds gathering outside."

No arrests were made, she added.

At an Asda branch in north-west London, scuffles broke out as shoppers battled to get their hands on discounted televisions.

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Police receive 'multiple calls' to Black Friday stores

Police have responded to "multiple calls" over Black Friday sales in London.

Scotland Yard said officers were called to four supermarkets following reports that large crowds had gathered in a bid to grab a bargain on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

No injuries were reported at the three Tesco stores in Edmonton, Willesden and Surrey Quays or the Asda in Edgware, a spokeswoman told ITV News.

Police made no arrests at any of the four locations.

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Oxford Street expecting bumper crowds for 'Black Friday'

Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Thousands of shoppers are expected to descend on Oxford Street today, as retailers heavily discount their wares on what's being dubbed 'Black Friday.'

The trend, which originated in America, aims to kickstart the Christmas shopping season. Retailers on Oxford Street are expecting sales totalling £150million over the weekend.

Oyster card customers losing out to contactless payers

Oyster card customers are paying up to £100 more a week than those using Contactless. The contactless method WAS billed as the same fare- but because of weekly caps using this method, but only daily caps with an Oyster, those using Oystercards are left paying more. The research was done by the London Assembly Labour Group- which has criticised Boris Johnson for what it describes as a 'worrying gap' in prices. It also points out that half a million Londonderes don't have a bank account, let alone a Contactless card.

Contactless payers paying less than Oyster customers per week Credit: PA

The analysis from London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson Val Shawcross AM has shown passengers using Oyster PAYG fares are paying up to £107 a week more than those using Contactless and making the same journeys. Shawcross said the figures throw serious doubt upon the Mayor of London's pledge that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel.

Are Oyster card customers paying more? Credit: PA

A peak-time commuter who hits the daily cap travelling between zones 4 and 7 for example would pay £19.60 a day using Oyster. On Contactless this would only cost £29.40 for a whole week meaning savings of £107.80 over Oyster if they were to hit the daily cap for a whole week. For those only commuting Monday to Friday, the saving on Contactless would still be £68.60.

A zone 1-6 commuter who hits the peak-time daily cap would save £53.40 per week by switching from Oyster to Contactless.

London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross AM, said:

"Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel but that simply isn't true. There is now a worrying gap between the prices paid by Contactless passengers and those using Oyster.

"What we now know is that many people in London who regularly hit the Oyster daily fare cap are potentially paying far more than those using Contactless despite being told it was the cheapest way to travel.

"When Boris Johnson launched Contactless he could have chosen to add weekly caps to the Oyster Card. Instead he purposely chose to give Contactless card users a better deal despite almost half a million Londoners not having a bank account let alone a Contactless card."

The same fares apply to both contactless and Oyster. Contactless provides the convenience of Monday to Sunday capping, giving customers the same fare as is available to Oyster customers who buy a weekly Travelcard or bus pass.

If a customer uses contactless for a week within zones 4 to 7 they will get their fare capped at £29.40. If a customer buys a weekly Travelcard on their Oyster card for zones 4 to 7 they will also pay the same fare of £29.40.

We are looking at introducing weekly capping on Oyster when the current technology can be updated. This is a complex process as it requires changes not only to the card readers but also to our back office and retailing systems.

– Shashi Verma, Transport for London’s Director of Customer Experience

Londoners urged to check food hygiene ratings

The Food Standards Agency is urging people to check the food hygiene ratings of London restaurants- before they book Christmas meals. New statistics reveal almost half of Londoners don't check at all. That's despite more than a third of people reporting a bad experience and suspecting they contracted food poisoning. Checks can be done quickly and easily online via the Food Standards Agency website.

Greater London is a new hotspot for crash for cash accidents

Accidents deliberately caused in order to claim whiplash compensation are now at the highest level ever according to the UK's largest insurer, Aviva. More than 50% of Aviva's motor injury claims fraud is organised in nature and the insurer now has over 6,500 suspicious injury claims linked to known fraud rings.

Aviva reveals crash for cash hotspots Credit: Aviva

Top 10 Postcodes for Crash for Cash by number of accidents:

  1. Birmingham (B)
  2. Luton (LU)
  3. North London (N)
  4. Manchester (M)
  5. Leeds (LS)
  6. Uxbridge (UB)
  7. Harrow (HA)
  8. North West London (NW)
  9. Bradford (BD)
  10. Slough (IG)

Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud for Aviva's UK and Ireland General Insurance business, said, "Crash for cash is a serious social problem. No other form of insurance fraud puts the public at risk of serious injury. Imagine you're driving the kids to school when the car in front slams on their brakes without warning, leaving you no chance of avoiding a crash. These deliberate accidents are on the increase, putting innocent motorists at risk simply so the driver in front can get cash compensation"

  • Insurance Fraud Bureau says crash for cash costs £392m per year
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