Thursday, September 21, 2017

I'm Spartacus asks the question : "So when is a handgun not a handgun?"



Excerpt from Inspector Neil Billany's Letter to Helen Chapman 'Concerns on Uber not reporting serious crimes to Police' 
"On 4 March 2017 Uber have had contact from a passenger informing them of a serious incident involving Uber (and TfL licensed PHV) driver. The nature of the allegation was that during a booked journey, a road rage incident has developed between the driver and another road user. During the incident the driver has taken what the passenger believed to be a handgun from the glove box and left the vehicle to pursue the other driver on foot.
At this point the passenger has fled to vehicle in fear."

Following on from yesterday's FOI requests, I'm Spartacus asks the question :
"So when is a handgun not a handgun?"

It seems when Uber ascertains it isn’t, not the police!
That astounding & disturbing fact from the diligent & professional Inspector Billany alone warrants a revocation today let alone consideration of renewal.

Let’s put it another way:
I as a proprietor, investigates me as a driver, for ‘pulling a blade’ on a passenger... no question of a revocation as I (as a proprietor) had ascertained it was a cosh. Yeah right!

There’s a duty under the common law to assist in the apprehension of a felon.

All the rest to me just shows TfL’s obsession on how things appear... rather than doing anything about serious threats to public safety.

Any right minded citizen must be outraged.

I'm Spartacus. 



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emails between Peter Blake, Helen Chapman And Neil Billany + 90 Pages Of Emails Between Uber And Chapman.


Can you please provide me with all email correspondence under an FOIA between the following dates and involving the following TfL staff: 1st January 2017 - 11th July 2017 (a) Peter Blake and Neil Billany (b) Helen Chapman and Neil Billany
We answered
TfL Ref: FOI-0866-1718

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 11 July 2017 asking for information about correspondence.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require. 

Please see the information you have requested attached in relation to emails exchanged between Neil Billany and Helen Chapman. Please note that we do not hold any emails exchanged between Neil Billany and Peter Blake within the time period you have specified.

For clarify, the letter in the first pdf is an attachment to an email provided on page 10 of the second pdf.

Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the DPA, specifically the first principle of the DPA which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act which would make the processing ‘fair’. 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed. 

Yours sincerely 

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

SEE RETURNED FOI RESQUEST RESULTS, CLICK LINKS BELOW:



TAXI LEAKS EXTRA :

Could I have a copy of the letter from Ms Chapman to Uber dated 25/10/16 and then could you narrow your search to only letters and emails sent by Ms chapman and replies received from Uber since 2012 working your way forward in time until the cost threshold is reached.

Letter From Harry Wall : The Blind Leading The Blind ?



You may be aware by now that Monday's Make a Stand demo has been cancelled. I can't tell you all how choked I am but unfortunately not enough support was forthcoming.

Initially, the feeling was good but as the days went on it became apparent that feeling wasn't lasting. 

Add to that the dreadful members of our trade, only too pleased to scupper any chance of unity that might bring some semblance of hope, who played their part brilliantly and I have to congratulate them on a job well done. 

They should all be very proud of themselves.

This past 3 weeks has been an education in many ways but the main lesson I learned was that this animal is too sick to help. 

The negativity on social media has played a huge part in its failure and has been watched from around the country by those who were at first raring to stand with us regardless if they were Taxi or PH because they saw the bigger picture.

Now, 3 weeks on and after reading the comments from leading trade figures within the orgs they want nothing to do with us, can you blame them?
I can't.



We had 8 cities at one point, 8 CITIES!!

Almost over night, they all cried off.
All because of org mentality, caveman mentality and sheer ignorance.

I've learned many in this trade, including activists from all orgs and unions are riddled with insincerity and deceit and I no longer want any part of it, it shames me.

Next week TFL officially announce if Uber are licensed. If they are, the orgs will go into overdrive and scream from the rafters, "JR,JR,JR!!"
Whist watching Taxify come back on line.

If they don't get licensed the orgs will go into overdrive screaming "Look what we did! Look what we did!"
"Ain't we clever"

Then Uber will appeal and keep functioning for the duration of the appeal. During which time Taxify will come back on line, along with Via and no doubt closely followed by Lyft.

Back to square one.
"Big news Monday!"
It's the business model that's the problem, not the company.

We had our chance, we blew it thanks to us.
I tried, I failed and I'm truly sorry.

I now wash my hands of it.
Be lucky

Harry.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT:

Nothing to be proud about!
On Monday 25th of September, the London Taxi Trade will be letting down their colleagues across the UK. 

Cabbies in Liverpool are reminded that your colleagues nationwide will be demonstrating. 

That's nationwide, except London.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Taxify hopes to get back on London roads by next week


Estonian ride-hailing startup Taxify hopes to have issues with local regulator Transport for London (TfL) resolved and restore service in the British capital by the beginning of next week at the latest.

On Sept. 8, just three days after launching its service in London, Taxify had to halt its operations there after TfL launched an investigation into the company.

It was determined that Taxify was not registered in London as a private hire vehicle operator, due to which it did not have the right to accept ride bookings.

Taxify CEO Markus Villig told ERR that preparations are underway for continuing operations in the British capital — TfL demanded additional security requirement compliance from the company, and Taxify hopes to have everything in order by the end of the week.

"Our plan is to launch sometime this or next week," he added.

The Estonian ride-hailing service has previously cited TfL's lack of interest in dialogue or offering tips to ensure their application is approved. According to Villig, the authority's attitude has not improved, but the company has reached an alternative legal solution.

"The first time they were not satisfied with the licensed business we have, but this time we found a different kind of legal solution with which we believe they will be more satisfied," Villig explained. "We're currently waiting for final approval from them so we can relaunch."

While the delay has meant additional expenses for the expansion to London, according to the CEO, the increase has been marginal in the context of the company's launch budget.

"Ultimately, what is most important for us is that [London] was our most successful launch ever for drivers and clients alike, so if we incur some additional legal fees, that isn't the main concern," said Villig. "Businesses are generally more concerned about where to find clients and drivers. In our case, thankfully, these problems have already been solved."

Expansion to Paris not to be affected

According to Villig, Taxify's planned expansion to Paris will not be affected the obstacles the company has encountered in London, as transport regulations in Paris are significantly simpler and the launch of new platforms more competition-friendly.

"Everything is going smoothly in Paris," the CEO confirmed. "Rather, we hope to receive final confirmation from London this week — then everything will be shipshape in both cities."

He noted that preparations are underway in Paris, and that there are teams on location in both cities who are working on training drivers.

When exactly Taxify can be expected to launch in Paris, however, Villig was unable to say, noting that the goal was to line up hundreds of drivers first, as Paris is such a large city to cover.

During its first three days of operation earlier this month, 3,000 drivers joined and 30,000 clients downloaded the Taxify app before the company halted operations after local regulator Transport for London had claimed that the new market entrant had failed to obtain a proper operating license.

Taxify operates in 19 countries around the world. In early August, the company announced that Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing had purchased a 13-percent holding in Taxify and would support the growth of the Estonian-developed platform in Africa and Europe.

Source: News EER. EE

TfL Increase Private Hire Licence Fees In London....Follow The Money...By Gerald Coba

A major set back for those who thought Uber would not be relicensed at the end of this month



London's Licensing authority (TfL) have pushed forward with new plans that are set to add nearly £1m to its bill.

They now plan to charge a maximum fee of £2.9m for the largest mincab firms to operate in the capital, it can be revealed, amending its original plans to increase it to £166,000.

To those who said there is no way TfL could relicense a company with so much controversy and complaint against it (sexual assaults including rapes of passengers by drivers, theft, customer account hacking, overcharging, spying on officials) we would answer, this has never been about regulation, legislation or public safety, it's always been about money.
Follow The Money!

TfL have also quietly backed down on their proposal to charge a £68 fee per Minicab, for any firm with more than 1,000 vehicles, after a backlash from the operators.

The changes were made after the industry warned that the extra costs would put small and medium sized firms out of business. This means the larger operators such as Uber and Addison Lee will now pay more and just a few of the smallest will pay less.

The troubled startup would have been charged just over the £2m mark, based on the number of cars it has, but will now have to pay the maximum £2.9m fee for operators with more than 10,000 vehicles.

And Addison Lee is now expected to foot a bill more than twice as much as under the original "per car" plans, as operators running between 1,001 and 10,000 cars will be charged £700,000. A further 10 operators with between 500 and 1,000 cars will have to pay £350,000.

The current fee is just £2,800 for any operator with more than 1,000 cars, but TfL has said it must change in order to cover the costs of a huge rise in the number of minicabs on the road. So much for congestion and pollution,as long as you got the money.
Follow The Money!

The changes are expected to bring in millions more as it becomes self sufficient after losing government subsidies, but it has warned that it still faces a shortfall.

It estimates more than 1,500 operators in total with fewer than 500 cars will be negatively impacted, paying between £3,174 and £157,000 in additional costs over five years. 400 with less than 10 cars will pay £826 less.

The details of the changes were quietly revealed among documents published with TfL's latest finance committee meeting last week and also include the date they are likely to be implemented - 1 April 2018.

Uber and Addison Lee have had their operating licences renewed in the short-term while TfL makes the changes, for four and six months respectively. But both will face a second temporary renewal before the changes comes into force.

Uber's is due to be renewed at the end of September and Transport for London faces mounting pressure over the matter. But where money is concerned, pressure calling for public safety is like water off a ducks back to TfL. Its alleged they will be looking to give Uber an 8 month extension, by then the new charges will be firmly in place.

               Breakdown of Fees





Sunday, September 17, 2017

Are Westminster Council getting ready to pedestrianise Oxford Street, by making one ways, two ways ???

You can now turn right into Brook Street from New Bond Street and go through to Grosvenor Square. A word of warning though. As this is a new feature please be very aware that other motorists still think Brook Street is one way and you may find cars coming at you head on. 


Claridges Taxi rank has been moved to outside the Ballroom and is now for four Taxis. Westminster council gave the ranks committee assurances that cars would not be parked in between the rank and the Hotel main door, but on the first day of operation, half a dozen cars have been parked there most of the time. 


One of the reasons the rank was refused outside the Main entrance, is that the hotel objected, saying they didn't want the Taxis outside. This is also what happened at the Palm Beech casino in Berkeley Street, causing Taxis to double park when picking up, blocking the street. 

It's been said that this new two way system is gearing up for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, but one of the main factors is that it's part of the cycle route...."The Grid"

You can now turn left and right from Book Street onto Davis Street southbound, traveling through to Berkeley square, and also (should you wish to) make a right turn into Grosvenor Street. 

As part of the trade off from the removal of the four spaces in Davis Street (Brook Street corner), there is now a two cab rank outside the C London Restaurant in Davis Street -Although evening time I've been there over the last few nights, the rank has been blocked by cars.

See Periscope video, click on link below:
First look at Brook And Davis two way working !

Jailed: Minicab rapist who plied student with drink and drugs


A minicab tout who twice raped a student after plying her with cocaine and alcohol has been jailed for 14 years.

Amos Mbonu, 48, preyed on the victim when she got off the Tube at the Barbican, offering her drugs and then taking her to a party in Leytonstone. 

He pounced on her as he drove her home, ignoring her pleas that she had a boyfriend and was not interested in him. 

The woman told Blackfriars crown court she has been left depressed, afraid to leave her own home, and unable to enjoy a normal social life after the attack.

Jailing Mbonu for 14 years for the “heinous” crime yesterday, Judge Rajeev Shetty said: “She wanted to do nothing more than get home, but unfortunately through nothing more than bad luck she came across you. 

“You enticed her to get into your car with the offer of class A drugs — you saw a female walking at night, probably under the influence of alcohol, and thought it was someone you might be able to take sexual advantage of.” 

Warning that Mbonu may continue to be a danger to women, the judge ordered him to serve an extra five years on licence after his release.

In her impact statement, the woman said she was unable to go to university lectures after the attack in October last year and may have to repeat her second year. 

She added: “I don’t go out to clubs and bars any more with my friends ...I’m afraid I will never enjoy life again.” 

Prosecutor Tara McCarthy told the court the victim, who had earlier been refused admission to a nightclub for being drunk, believed Mbonu was a regular minicab driver when she saw him in his car. He offered to sell her cocaine and drove her to a party in Leytonstone where he plied her with a bottle of wine. He then attacked her in a deserted car park as he drove her home. 

He was caught because he gave her his phone number earlier in the evening. 

Mbonu, from Bow, denied rape at trial but was found guilty by a jury in July. 

He continued to insist he was innocent at his sentencing hearing yesterday, but was also found guilty of supplying cocaine. He had been cleared of a second rape charge in 2001

Taxi Leaks Comment: 

Please remember, being drunk is not illegal. RAPE IS...

Source Evening standard, Court News

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Uber found guilty of avoiding government officials by using Greyball software


More troubling news for Uber, as an investigation conducted by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), have found Uber Guilty of using Greyball software that enables the firm to avoid government officials.

The concluded in their report that Uber had “illegally entered the Portland Market in 2014,” whilst they had no permit to do so.

PBOT said that Uber had “intentionally deceived PBOT’s officers” by using the Greyball software in the city as the software had been applied to 16 accounts that belonged to government officials.

The report further said: “In using Greyball, Uber has sullied its own reputation and cast a cloud over the TNC [transport network company] industry generally.”

So, what is Greyball?

Greyball is preventing undercover regulators globally from shutting down the hailing app service. This secret program can identify officials monitoring Uber drivers however, it was initially developed to protect the company from any “violations of terms of service.”

However, data collected from the Uber phone app had been used to identify regulators and other officials monitoring their drivers. This secret program has allowed Uber to monitor user’s habits to identify undercover regulators using the service as normal passengers by obtaining geolocation and credit card data.

Once the program has identified any official, regulator or even the police trying to entrap a driver another version of the app cancels their booking.

These methods and techniques are clearly enabling Uber to globally circumvent the authorities.

Dan Saltzman of Portland city commissioner said: “As regulators, it is our job to ensure these companies [like Uber] play by the rules, keep passengers safe, and act ethically.

“Moving forward, we have ensured that no attempts to evade regulators or deny service to riders in violation of city code or law will be allowed in the future.”

This week ten MPs said Uber is an “unfit and improper operator,” police have also accused the firm of failing to report sex attacks.

Labour MP Wes Streeting, who is the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, wrote to Mike Brown, TfL’s commissioner, he wrote: “The safety of Londoners must be at the forefront of decisions taken about the taxi and private hire industry in our capital city.

“We do not believe that Uber has shown itself to be a fit and proper operator.

“Competition in the taxi and private hire industry is welcome, but it must be on a level playing field and the safety of passengers must be paramount.

“In cities around the world, Uber has shown itself to be an unfit and improper operator.

“It’s time that London followed cities in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary by revoking Uber’s licence.”

Inspector Neil Billany of the Metropolitan Police, has said Uber only informs the police of “less serious matters” therefore being selective of the crimes they report.


Source : London Loves Business

"Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."... By Lenny Etheridge


       Brighton & Hove Taxi Trade News

        ITS NOT ABOUT COMPETITION



          SIGN PETITION CLICK HERE


The GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section calls for the November 2017 renewal of the Uber Britannia Ltd Brighton & Hove Operators Licence to be held as a Public Hearing with participation of the trade..media and other interested parties.


When Uber Britannia Ltd (UBL) originally applied for an Operator’s Licence in 2015 it was effectively treated as an unknown entity which is why the application was referred to a ‘Licensing Panel’ that was held in public and was open to questions and objections and recorded for a local TV station..


The licence was granted but UBL did not launch until nearly the end of that one year period so there was no basis of evidence not renew the licence... albeit for another one year period instead of the standard five years... and thus the decision was held in ‘In Camera’.


However with UBL now operating in the city for approaching one full year there is every reason for the renewal process to be fully focused on a Public Hearing.
Justification for this... even on just one simple point... can be based on the fact that at that initial ‘Panel Hearing’ which was held in public... UBL made a statement of their undertaking to only use Brighton & Hove licensed vehicles. This statement is often used when UBL applies for  local Operator Licences in various locations throughout the UK.

This undertaking has been blatantly broken with the use of TfL minicabs and private-hire vehicles from all over the country predominantly working in the city out of sight and control of their respective Enforcement Officers.

On this point the argument given by UBL every time is that they only use B&H licensed vehicles on their Brighton & Hove Operators Licence. However... as we all know.. this is all smoke and mirrors. The undertaking was from UBL and not from ‘UBL Brighton & Hove’.

We have photographic and video  evidence of Uber TfL minicabs sleeping in their vehicles literally 'camped out' which is unprecedented in Brighton & Hove.

We have photographic and video evidence of Uber Tfl minicabs and 'Out-of-Town' ph vehicles driving the wrong way in one way streets....

We have photographic and video evidence of Uber TfL minicabs illegally using bus lanes and driving in restricted areas....

Uber Britannia Ltd is fully responsible for these activities but takes no responsibility...

In addition at that 'Panel Meeting' UBL undertook to address the provision of wheelchair access stating that as it was a ‘Start Up’ company it would need a few month to progress this. we have an original audio recording of this commitment. On this basis the trade is within its rights to publicly question that failed commitment for this to be on public record.

The question that the council needs to be asked in public is if UBL had stated: “No.. we will use private hire vehicles from all over the country” then would the council have granted the licence in the first place?

The trade needs to address UBL directly in the same way as with the initial application. 

Mr Fred Jones of UBL is now a Trade Rep attending the Council Trade Form Meetings but often refuses to address matters of concern by the trade. Or when matters are addressed the answers are quite frankly beyond belief such as matters regarding public safety of CCTV and vehicle identification. Such matters are of extremely high public interest which needs to be reported on by the media.

The trade has officially been refused the request for a 'Public Hearing' but given the recent high media exposure of Uber  both nationally and internationally that covers a significant range of allegations such as government intervention through to Uber using software to “Dodge the law”* known as ‘Grey Ball” and the hundreds of lawsuits  then it is quite incredulous that Brighton & Hove City Council has chosen not to undertake the renewal process of the UBL Brighton & Hove Operator’s licence in Public but instead behind closed doors.. away from the direct questioning of the trade and the media.

We now request that the council reconsiders the process of the renewal of the UBL Brighton & Hove Operators Licence and place the matter for a Public Hearing for trade... the media and public to participate in.  

If any other Brighton & Hove Licensed Operator acted in the same way then we would demand the same Public Hearing for its licence renewal....

     ..................................................

       ITS ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY

Andrew Peters  Secretary GMB Brighton & Hove Taxi Section


This is inspired and rousing!
Sean's Paul Day's best to date.

Check out @seanpaulday’s Tweet: 

Friday, September 15, 2017

London's Gold Standard Taxi drivers giving free lifts to people affected by the tube explosion

London's Gold Standard Black Taxis have been offering free rides to people caught up in the terror attack at the Parsons Green underground station.

Drivers who had finished night shifts reportedly returned to work to help evacuate terrified commuters.

Parsons Green explosion: BBC's Sophie Raworth describes woman with burns "from top to toe"


London TaxiApp Cabby Gerald Coba said:

"While others seek to profit by increasing their rates (surge pricing) our drivers have again turned out in force to help the public free of charge, it's just what we do. 

"We've been doing this for many years. We are London's 4th emergency service and can always be relied on in emergencies such as this. 

“Our drivers don't want to make money from other people’s misery, that's not what we do.”

It's been reported that local minicab company Hayber Cars has also been offering free lifts to people undertaking short journeys following the incident.

At least 22 people have been injured by the Parsons Green blast, which Scotland Yard are treating as a terrorist attack.

A manhunt has been launched to find the person who planted the suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Other local residents offered to open up their homes to people affected by the explosion.

London Mayor tight-lipped on pending Uber license decision


 London Mayor Sadiq Khan declined to comment on Thursday on whether taxi app Uber [UBER.UL] will have its license renewed ahead of a decision due by the end of month, saying that giving a running commentary could prompt legal action afterwards. 

Uber, which has faced protests from drivers of London’s traditional black cabs, had its license extended in May for four months as the city’s transport regulator considers several factors including a new fees system which could raise the costs paid by larger private-hire firms.

Several lawmakers wrote a letter this week calling on Uber’s license not to be renewed, accusing it of not being a “fit and proper operator” and criticizing its record on safety and working rights. 

Asked about the upcoming decision during a question time session on Thursday, Mayor Khan said it would be wrong to comment ahead of the announcement. 

“You would appreciate I‘m sure how inappropriate it would be, bearing in mind that this is quasi-judicial role that is played, for me as the Mayor of London and Chair of (transport regulator) TfL to give a running commentary,” he said. 

“If for no other reason, because they would then challenge that in the courts and say that the outcome of the application had been pre-judged.” 

Uber has faced criticism in recent months over working conditions and later this month it will appeal against a decision by judges who ruled it should treat two of its drivers as workers and give them the minimum wage and holiday pay. 

In recent weeks, the app has announced a series of measures in the UK capital, including the introduction of tipping and plans to stop using diesel cars by the end of 2019. 

On Thursday, Uber said it was making further improvements for drivers by increasing some fares, allowing in-app messaging and committing to faster and easier administrative processes. 

Uber’s General Manager in London Tom Elvidge said their cars remained a key part of life in the city. 

“The app’s popularity speaks for itself with 3.5 million Londoners using it to get a reliable ride. More than 40,000 licensed private-hire drivers also rely on our app to make a living. We want to continue contributing to our city,” he said.

Source : LONDON (Reuters) -

Thursday, September 14, 2017

TfL Taxi and Private Hire, Have Knowingly Been Putting The Public At Risk... Part 1...by Jim Thomas


To add insult to injury, TfL have recently sent out this letter (below), to the 13,000 PHV drivers who have been found to have submitted DBS certificates from an Unauthorised source. 

While London Taxi drivers have been thrown out of work as their TfL authorised DBS applications have been caught up in a back log (some drivers have been out of work for over 3 months), the PHV drivers have now been given 28 days to submit new certificates. 

But this hasn't just come to light, TfL have known about the authenticity of these certificates since January and have scandalously said nothing!!! 
Until the story was given to the Sunday Times by the LCDC. 

Let's just reiterate on this....that's 13,000 Minicab drivers running round, picking up passengers, who have not had a proper criminal record background check.... 
TfL knew this was happening, yet were prepared to sweep it under the carpet and say nothing!


Senior staff at TfL are guilty of putting he public at risk from PHV drivers with fake DBS certificates. 

The question we now ask is:
Why have these PHV drivers, not had their licenses suspended, in the same respect as London Taxi drivers have been stopped from working, when caught up in backlogs beyond their control ?

Below is the letter sent out by TfL to the PHV drivers with unauthorised DBS certificates:


Please note: 
TfL ask for drivers to contact them once they receive their reference number, to verify they have made a new application, so their progress can then be tracked.

How come this is good enough for PHV drivers who have purchased fake DBS certificates...but not good enough for Licensed Taxi drivers who have gone through the correct channels and have been caught in a queue through incompetence ?

We cannot have one rule for them and a different rule for us:
Helen Chapman has stated that PHV drivers have the same enhanced checks as Taxi drivers. This is a lie!
We have been informed today that Taxi drivers have lifetime checks, whereas 'foreign' PHV drivers are only required to have checks which go back 3 years!


Our orgs must now insist that no Taxi driver is stopped from working while caught up in delays that are beyond their control, even if Chapman can't live with herself. 
She can always resign!

             Twitter poll

Letter to Editor From Lee Ward : Making A Stand, Part 2


If I had more time, I would write a shorter article, but to get everything I want into a short article is beyond my writing skills, so I apologise in advance.

Let’s recap from my last post, where I explained that TfL are between a rock and a hard place in dealing with Taxify, and as you know they have forced them to stop operating which, in my opinion is a knee jerk reaction, and one that’s showing the cracks in TfL from the pressure that they are under…
ok then, have a cheer or two for that….
 Feel better now? I thought you might…

Now how can TfL order Taxify to cease trading when they in fact do no different from Uber as shown in the table;


Now we know Taxify have stated that they operate within from the following statement, but it has a tone of ‘we do no different to Uber’ (highlighted by myself for ease of reference).

Taxify has now issued a statement saying it has “done everything in its power to comply with the local regulations, but is faced by aggression from TfL.” It says that running Taxify as a technology platform directing bookings to City Drive Services registered drivers is “completely compliant within the existing UK law, and is a common practice.” 

TfL has revoked the license held by City Drive Services
I guess TfL didn’t like two Genie’s popping out of the bottle so threw one back in, and I cannot see how they can now renew Ubers license later this month, not with this, the London Assembly voting against it and Sadiq Khan saying he wouldn’t let his daughters travel alone in a minicab (a bit harsh on the genuine minicab drivers, but they will always be tarred with the same brush as Uber while Uber is around I am afraid).

Perhaps for the first time in many months, I actually think that Uber will not be relicensed and the court case can finally begin, hopefully with the best Barristers and a judge that has common sense in abundance.

Now about that crack that showing in TfL, well, we heard of the very imminent departure of one Leon Daniels, not unlike how Travis Kalanick left Uber earlier this year, perhaps Daniels will be investigated the same as Kalanick is, now that would be a nice little turn up for the books, wouldn’t it?

And then we have the 13,000 Uber drivers who have incorrect DBS Certificates, I say Uber because the company Onfido was used by Uber for its ‘Ignition Scheme’ where they assist drivers in obtaining a TfL (or other area’s) license as soon as possible.

For TfL to give these drivers 28 days to acquire a new DBS is beyond me, regardless of who is at fault for this diabolical situation. At the end of the day, the DBS is possibly the biggest part in the application process of deciding who is ‘fit and proper’ to drive the public around. 

What’s next, a driver cannot show a driving license that is valid so they can have 28 days to find one? 

So how did the trade in London get into this mess that they are in?

Well, I will give my two penneth on what I think caused this situation from talking to various people and reading everything I can on the matter.

And my conclusion is, Uber played a game of chess while the Orgs were playing Tic-Tac-Toe.
OK, someone just walked over my grave, I felt the shiver like Miami felt Hurricane Irma today.

I will elaborate, so hang on before you all look north and put two fingers up.
Let’s look at that game of chess that Uber played first.

In 2013 they employed Jo Bertram, who had previously worked for McKinsey & Co. and Accenture, both companies specialise in ensuring that companies work smoothly with Governments across the world.

They employed Racheal Whetstone in 2015, a very well-known public relations executive, someone who for the past 10 years had worked with Google, and no doubt had previous correspondence with George Osbourne when he was dealing with the Google TAX issue.

She was the God Parent to David Cameron’s child, who sadly passed away (hate Cameron, but the child was innocent).

Cameron and Osbourne both told Boris Johnson to back off legislating Uber.
In 2014 along came Tom Elvidge, previously with Accenture and also Goldman Sachs.

Also in 2015 Fred Jones joined Uber, who was a Director at Accenture when Jo Bertram was there and specialised in strategic engagements for FTSE 100 clients and large Government Departments.

You can fill in the blanks about how this network of people got together, either before or after they joined Uber, who knows, but the game of chess was, I must admit, very well played.

Now, while this was going on, the Orgs did…. Erm, well, I can’t find anything really apart from the Taxi Meter bit. Tic-Tac-Toe a futile game where even children soon learn that it ends in a draw, a bit harsh? Maybe.

The Orgs have had plenty of quality information from various people across the trade who have happily supplied their work to the Orgs to take up and run with, but instead, because they didn’t come up with it themselves, they doctored it to make it their own argument and in doing so totally got it wrong, why fix something that isn’t broken or try and reinvent the wheel? Baffles me.


Instead of working together, sharing information and trying to make a joint effort to close down Uber, Uber sat back and giggled watching the Orgs fight amongst themselves, talk about Divide & Conquer masterclass.

There has been enough ammunition supplied to fire a Gatling gun, but no one pulled the trigger and that’s lead to apathy, apathy from people thinking of joining an Org and apathy from members of an Org. Despondency has set in where in reality, right now, drivers should be being constantly updated with information and called to arms like Rottweilers on a short leash with its prey in sight.

But no, nothing, nadda…
The Orgs are so busy not letting the other Orgs know what they are planning or doing that they don’t tell their members what they are planning or doing either, so the members are left in limbo and all that energy that should be being built up with less than 3 weeks before Uber are or are not licensed instead leaves those Rottweilers more like Pugs with their faces so long while sat on a rank.

Hey I may be completely wrong and everyone has signed up to a NDA Like TfL and Uber, if I am, then I apologise now. If I am not, remember I am a Yorkshire man, I say what I like and I like what I bloody well say.

Every area marked on this map has a serious issue with cross border hiring, it’s no surprise that Uber are licensed in every one of these areas.

Cross border hiring, or the Triple License Rule is the result of the Deregulation Act 2015 so people say, and personally, I think they have the argument wrong.
Before 2015 an Operator could sub-contract a booking to any other Operator within the same area, the Deregulation Act allowed them to Sub-Contract a booking to an Operator outside of their area, but its been twisted to the Operators advantage. 

Bookings taken inside area A by Operator A are being sub-contracted to Operator B that’s licensed in area B to cover the booking that’s actually in Area A…confused? Look at the map that should help.


Now the only thing that the Deregulation Act did was support companies to grow, at the expense of the drivers. Saturation was soon to follow with companies realising that they could get an Operators license in the area next to theirs, or further afield and use software to use the drivers from that area (usually the easiest to get licensed and no actual work for the drivers) to saturate the local market. It was all radio rent for the owners, longer between jobs for the drivers.

This, along with Uber and other companies, using the Triple License loophole, where provided the driver, Operator and Vehicle were all licensed by one area then that driver can work anywhere in the country, again something that the legitimate drivers object against.

I say legitimate because these drivers, who are the victims to all of this, have gone through all the necessary obligations to be licensed to drive in the area that they wish to work, not circumvented these requirements and gone for the easy route to get on the road.

It’s not only the companies to blame here, far from it, some authorities have jumped on the money maker, Wolverhampton as an example where they have licensed 6395 drivers up to August this year which is up from 927 in 2013. I think they were giving TfL a run for their money on the bragging rights for revenue stream.

These two issues, the Deregulation Act and Cross Border Hiring have caused massive saturation across the country, no different to the saturation in London itself as percentages go.
The trade cannot continue in this way, or the drivers.

We have waited on the Orgs and Unions, and nothing has happened.
We have waited on our Councillors and MP’s, and nothing has happened.
We have waited on our Local Licensing Authorities, and nothing has happened.

The only thing that has happened is drivers are working longer, losing families, homes and vehicles. Apathy if not depression has set in, reports of suicide have been heard, please, any driver out there that contemplates this, reach out, talk to someone, this is not the way out of trouble.

So, do we wait longer, do we lose more and do we feed apathy?

Or, do we make a stand, a national one.
Taxi drivers and Legitimate Private Hire drivers, for once in history, standing shoulder to shoulder to say enough is enough.

I don’t want any Org or Union to step forward here, but I would like them all to tell their members that they support it.
If you are a member or not, now is your time, now is your opportunity to make that stand.
Every City (or anywhere that is suffering) in this country protests, all on the same day.

It just needs one person in each area to rally the troops, no matter how many or few. Inform the local police and news outlets, give the public notice of what you are doing and why.

Let’s turn everyone’s heads, let people know. Let the authorities know.
They rely on our apathy and lack of unity, let’s show them what we are capable of.
Let’s MAKE A STAND.

If this fails, I have nothing more to give…. My time in this trade will come to an end.
Your friend, colleague and supporter…
 
Wardy
 
 
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