Thursday, July 27, 2017

ComCab Owners -ComfortDelGro taxis- To Offer QR code payment in DBS tie-up.

SINGAPORE: 

Passengers of ComfortDelGro taxis can now choose to pay for their fare using a quick response (QR) code, in a tie-up between the taxi company and DBS Bank.

Passengers just need to scan the QR code on the taxi’s cashless payment terminal and the app will automatically process the payment. (Photo: ComfortDelGro)

This is the first time QR code payment – a type of barcode read by devices – is being introduced for taxis in Singapore, DBS said in a press release on Thursday (Jul 27).

Starting Aug 10, users of the bank’s mobile wallet DBS PayLah can scan the QR code on the cashless payment terminal of any of the 16,000 ComfortDelGro taxis, and the app will automatically process the payment.

ComfortDelGro taxi CEO Ang Wei Neng said the move is part of the company's plan to provide more cashless and more convenient payment options for passengers.

"Cashless transactions account for one-fifth of all our taxi trips. We expect its volume to grow steadily as passengers become more accustomed to paying using such payment modes,” he added.

DBS said it has witnessed "a dramatic shift" in the behaviour of consumer's payments, who are becoming more inclined to cashless payments and withdrawing lower amounts of cash from ATMs.

Between June 2016 and June this year, the number of DBS PayLah transactions and payment volume more than doubled, DBS said

Source: CNA

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Martin Lewis Allegedly Putting Public In Danger? Advising His Readers To Use Uber


Came across this post on FaceBook this afternoon, from one of our ladies on the Save Black Taxis Group. 

Michele writes:
 
I've recently signed up to a weekly email from money man Martin Lewis. 

This was in his email this week about using Uber!


He has a Facebook page to which I've made a comment. 
Maybe some of you'd like to add your thoughts.

Taxi Leaks Comment :
This allegation is a surprising turn of events from Martin as he has always been seen as a supporter and user of Taxis, and was in fact photographed supporting the Save Black Taxi group.

This email is also surprising because Martin is a husband and father who surely should be concerned more with public safety than sheer cheapness. 
Or this this another case as just do as I say not as I do?

Martin is recommending an unsafe night service whose record of passengers, seriously sexually assaulted by the driver, has escalated by 50% this year (according to a Freedom of Information request made to the Metropolitan Police)? 

Taxi Leaks' question to Martin Lewis:
Martin, would you really advise you wife, mother, sister, niece etc to use Uber to get home after reading about Uber's record of serious sexual assaults including rapes, plus their terrible driving standards seen daily on social media?


Uber's record of road traffic collisions is horrendous


Add to that the surging at peak times, also not mentioned in Martin's email. 

What they are saying on Martin's FaceBook page:




What they are saying on Twitter:


 . 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Corrupt Rail Firm Fraudsters Sentenced Following Painstaking BTP Investigation


A gang of corrupt rail firm employees who took bribes to secure a lucrative contract have today been sentenced following an extensive and prolonged investigation by British Transport Police fraud investigators. 

The investigation related to offences of corruption, fraud and money laundering that occurred during the upgrade to Farringdon Station in 2010.

The sentence for each defendant is: 

1. Alandale Rail Ltd (now Alandale Track and Civils Ltd) was fined £25,000.
2. Innocent Obiekwe  (42) of Edgware, was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.
3. John Zayya (51) of Catford, was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified for eight years from being a director.
4. William Waring (56) of Ashford Kent, was sentenced to two years on two counts to run concurrently. The first count was money laundering the second count was corruption. Waring has also been disqualified from being a director for eight years. 
5. Kevin McKee (57) of Maidenhead was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on five counts to run concurrent and disqualified for eight years from being a director.

BTP’s fraud squad first started investigating corruption surrounding Alandale Rail Ltd in February 2011 when a whistle blower at the organisation contacted the Mayor’s Office at City Hall. The Fraud Team at Transport for London then alerted BTP. 

A meticulous investigation uncovered a network of corruption and bribery for a large contract connected to upgrade works at Farringdon station.

At the heart of the corruption was Obiekwe, a senior manager at Costain and Laing O’Rourke (CoLOR) who was responsible for ensuring the health and safety procedures at the project in Farringdon. During 2010, Alandale Rail, through Zayya and  McKee, made corrupt payments to Obiekwe in order to secure a lucrative contract and additional work to supply safety critical staff (see notes to editors) as part of this project. Corrupt payments were later made through Waring to ensure Obiekwe continued to favour Alandale Rail Ltd. 

The information which was provided to Alandale Rail Ltd by Obiekwe ensured that they had a positive influence on the tender process and could undercut bids made by competitors. The initial value of the contract was £2.1m but eventually rose to £5.2m. 

However, the corruption and dishonesty did not stop once Alandale Rail Ltd had successfully won the tender. After Alandale Rail were appointed, Obiekwe and the other defendants were part of a scheme to defraud CoLOR by claiming for ‘ghost workers’. Claims were fraudulently made to CoLOR for false work undertaken by safety critical staff working for Alandale Rail Ltd. Payments were claimed for workers who never attended the site or carried out any work, and invoices and timesheets were falsified to disguise the bogus claims. 

Throughout the investigation, officers identified payments in excess of £140,000 paid to Obiekwe along with other gifts and favours.

Detective Constable Justin Yorke from British Transport Police Commercial Fraud Squad, said: “The corruption shown by all defendants was complex, prolonged and meticulously planned. However, they did not plan on a whistle-blower reporting their corruption to the Mayor of London’s office. 

“Obiekwe provided confidential information to Alandale Rail Ltd which ensured that they could undercut competitor bids, in order to secure this lucrative contract. He was motivated by greed and took bribes from Alandale Rail Ltd employees. The behaviour of Obiekwe and his fellow defendants was scandalous and undermines the legitimate tendering process companies undertake every day. I am pleased with today’s sentences and I hope this sends a very clear message to any groups who may be considering similar actions. 

“The scale of the corruption was significant. Whilst we may never know the full extent of money fraudulently claimed and laundered, I am pleased that we have brought a criminal gang to justice.”

Notes to Editors 

The ‘Safety Critical Staff’ are specially trained and responsible for the safety of operatives working on the railway infrastructure including stations and tracks. They monitor the movement of staff entering or working on the station, check relevant permits, carry out safety briefings and are responsible for planning/securing stretches of track, known as possessions, to allow work to be carried out in a safe manner. There are different roles involved and operatives are trained to various levels depending on the environment they needed to work in. Safety Critical Staff are tightly regulated. 


Charges 

Kevin McKee pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on September 16, 2016 to the following charges:

1. Corruption, contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906
2. Conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law
3. Money laundering contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
4. Conspiracy to defraud contrary to Common Law
5. Money laundering contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Innocent Obiekwe pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 22, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

John Zayya pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 22, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. 

William Waring pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on June 21, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and money laundering contrary to section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Alandale Rail Limited (Company No 07019850) was found guilty by jury of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act at Blackfriars Crown Court.  

Perry Morgan (54) who was charged with corruption was unanimously acquitted during trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in June 2017. 

Minicab driver, accused of sexual comments towards teen passenger has licence taken away

A Minicab driver has lost his appeal against the revocation of his private hire driver’s licence following an allegation of comments of a sexual nature being made to a teenage passenger.

At the recent hearing, Loughborough Magistrates' Court heard that North West Leicestershire District Council had first suspended and then revoked the private hire driver’s licence of Mohammed Kabeer, following complaints about his attitude, behaviour and driving standards.

The court was told that the licence was initially suspended on November 22, last year, following complaints about his attitude towards two female licensing officers, his manner of driving and inappropriate comments made to two passengers, including comments of a sexual nature made to a lone 18-year-old female passenger. This incident happened in Coalville.

Following a safeguarding report made to the council by the police in December 2016 relating to what the council considered to be inappropriate sexual contact between Mr Kabeer and a female passenger, the council revoked his licence on January 31, this year.

During the hearing, Mr Kabeer accepted that there had been sexual contact between him and the passenger but claimed that he was the victim of a sexual assault.

In dismissing his appeal the court found that the decision of the council was correct as its primary duty is the protection of the public.

Mr Kabeer of Southbourne Avenue, Birmingham, was ordered to pay the council’s costs of defending the appeal of £1,650.

Councillor Alison Smith, deputy leader and portfolio holder for community services at the council, said: “I am extremely pleased that the court dismissed this appeal and upheld the decision of the council.

“Members of the public have every right to expect that when they get into a Minicab the driver is fit and proper and will not abuse their position, whether it is by bad driving or inappropriate sexual innuendo or conduct.

“I hope this sends a clear message to the public that we will act robustly to ensure that they are protected when using taxis, and also makes it clear to the licensed vehicle trade that the council will not tolerate this kind of behaviour from drivers. A private hire driver’s licence is a privilege and not a right and where drivers fail to meet the high standards required by the council they can expect their licence to be revoked.”

Wonder if anyone at TfL bothered to check to see if this is the same Mohammed Kabeer?




Sunday, July 23, 2017

Madrid asks anti-trust watchdog to probe Uber's new airport service


MADRID (Reuters) - Authorities in Madrid asked Spain's anti-trust watchdog on Saturday to investigate whether Uber's new low-cost airport transfer service constitutes unfair competition. 

The city council's request follows the ride-hailing app's return to the Spanish capital last year after the CNMC competition regulator called for the government to lift a ban on the U.S. company. 

The firm's recently launched Uber Airport service offers a tariff of 15-29 euros for a ride between Madrid's Barajas international airport and the city center. Standard taxi fares for the trip are fixed at 30 euros. 

"(Uber Airport) could violate several articles of the Law of Unfair Competition and consumer rights, if it is proven that the service is being operated at prices below operational costs and with the sole intention of gaining customers through unfair competition," Madrid City Council said in statement. 

No one at Uber could immediately be reached to comment. 

Uber, which expanded into Europe six years ago, has come under attack from established taxi companies and some EU countries because it is not bound by strict local licensing and safety rules that apply to some of its competitors. 

Spanish taxi drivers have held three strikes so far this year, arguing that ride-hailing apps, which are regulated in Spain under VTC licenses typically used for private, chauffeur-driven vehicles, constitute unfair competition because they do not meet current regulations and pay less tax. 

According to taxi unions, in Spain there is one VTC license for every 11 regular taxis, well over the 1/30 ratio established under Spanish law in 2015. 

In Madrid, the only Spanish city where Uber is currently active, there are more than 2,000 VTC-licensed taxis and about 15,000 traditional taxis, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Works. 

In May, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dealt a blow to the company by ruling that it should be considered a transport service and not an app. 

Know Your Rights When Faced With Stroppy Compliance Or Police Officers.

    

The police/TfL Compliance are fully aware that the public have the right to record them on duty. 

However this doesn’t stop many of them from using threats, intimidation and even assault until innocent members of the public shut off their cameras.

What should you do if you wish to record the police but they become hostile and threatening?

Here is our comprehensive and updated guide on your right to record the police…


DO I NEED THE POLICE OFFICER'S OR COMPLIANCE OFFICER'S PERMISSION TO RECORD OR PHOTOGRAPH THEM?

No. In fact, you don’t require ANY member of the public’s permission to record or film then in a public place. 

If this were the case, then Paparazzi wouldn’t exist.

There is no law that says you cannot record someone in public without their permission (or a permit). 

The same rules apply to everyone including security guards, traffic wardens, bailiffs, the emergency services etc. If you are in public (or in your home) you have a right to record whomever you choose.

DO I NEED TO GIVE THE POLICE/TfL CO A REASON WHY I AM FILMING THEM?

If your approached and asked why you are filming, you are NOT obliged to answer them. A

You do not have to tell them who you are or what you are doing. 

However, most officers will take this an automatic affront to their authority and possibly use it as a reason to abuse you further.

If you are asked by the police or TfL why you are filming you can give any number of reasonable replies, such as:
“I’m just exercising my right to record in public.”
“It’s for my own personal records”
“It’s for everybody’s protection”

Either way, it pays to be discreet and non-intrusive when recording anyone who might protest.

CAN THE POLICE DEMAND TO SEE THE CONTENTS OF MY DEVICE AND DELETE ANY OF THE INFORMATION?

No they cannot. They would need a warrant under RIPA 

(Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

to access the contents of your device – and would have to arrest you and seize the device to obtain one.

If any officer asks to see what you have recorded tell them that they have no authority and if they wish to examine the device they should obtain the necessary warrant.

Any officer attempting to delete recordings or photographs from a device is committing a criminal offence, as this constitutes the destruction of evidence.

 

THE POLICE SAY IF I DON’T STOP FILMING THEY CAN SEIZE MY CAMERA FOR EVIDENTIAL PURPOSES, IS THIS TRUE?

Although in some instances the police can seize items that contain useful evidence there has to be a justifiable reason for doing so.  

A police officer cannot seize your camera under this power simply because you refuse to stop filming. Refusing to abide by an unlawful command that is made by a police officer is not a criminal offence. 

Therefore any attempt to seize your camera as a result would be malicious and the officer could be liable for a charge of misconduct.

TfL compliance have no right to seize your personal property under any circumstance 

 

WHAT IF THE POLICE PUT THEIR HANDS ON ME OR MY CAMERA TO MAKE ME STOP?

Any member of the police service or public servant that physically grabs at you or your camera in an attempt to stop you filming could be liable to a charge of assault. This also includes members of the public. 

Anyone that threatens or intimidates you into putting away your camera could be liable to a charge of harassment. 

If a police officer forces you to stop recording against your will, and you are not under arrest, then take a note of the officers collar number and make an official complaint of misconduct to their relevant Professional Standards Department.

Unfortunately, too many people in authority believe they have an automatic right of entitlement over the public. Paramedics, PCSOs, security guards and other state employees can become extremely aggressive and hostile when a member of the public records them. Although they are in the wrong for doing so it still pays to be discreet, reasonable and cautious when recording people who may suddenly become a physical risk to you at that moment.


AM I INFRINGING ANYONE’S RIGHTS BY RECORDING THEM?

The British Police are public servants and should expect to be placed under scrutiny. However police officers – and members of the public – commonly make outlandish claims of breached rights when they protest to being recorded.

Do these people object to the thousands of CCTV cameras that scrutinise us daily, without our permission or knowledge? No. And yet there is no difference between you filming out on the street and local authorities recording us all with CCTV; except for the fact you won’t have to apply to the authorities for a copy of a video you have recorded yourself.

If you hear an officer complaining that you are “infringing their human rights”, “acting suspicious” or “harassing them”, don’t let it intimidate you into switching off your camera. A police officer claiming he is being harassed whilst performing his duties is like a dustman complaining of a bad smell.

  

THE POLICE TELL ME IF I DON’T STOP FILMING THEY CAN ARREST ME FOR A PUBLIC ORDER OFFENCE, IS THIS TRUE?

The Public Order Act is the most abused piece of legislation in the UK when it comes to the police forcing people to comply with unlawful commands. And unfortunately too many officers think that ‘talking back’ is an arrestable offence, by way of breach of the peace or anti social behaviour laws. 

Any police officer that uses threat of arrest as a means to intimidate, punish or force you to comply with them is acting unlawfully.

As long as you are not behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would deem as anti-social or a public nuisance then the police have no cause to arrest you for filming in a public place against their will.

 

WHAT IF THEY THREATEN ME WITH ARREST FOR OBSTRUCTION, INTIMIDATION OR HARASSMENT?

Again, as long as you are not obstructing an officer from performing his duties, blocking a public right of way, following people against their will or just generally causing a disturbance, then the police have no grounds to move you on.

A common tactic used by police is to claim that ‘members of the public’ have been complaining and feeling intimidated. If the police make such a claim you should ask them for the incident number that was logged when members of the public called in. The police are required to give it to you when asked.

If they do not, you can be certain the police are lying. Make a note of their collar numbers and complain, or at the very least insist that you will make a complaint if they do not leave you alone.

IS THERE ANY OFFICIAL POLICY ON THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO RECORD THE POLICE?

Yes. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued an ‘all forces’ memo which lays out guidelines to officers on the rights of members of the public to record them. 

Should you find yourself in a situation where the police argue against your right, then use this letter as your trump card.

Remember, the general rule with the police is that they expect people to be ignorant of the law and to automatically switch off their cameras when told to.

DON’T MAKE IT YOU.